Jump to content
EricMilfeld

Powerlifting Log

Recommended Posts

EricMilfeld

Dumbbell Press

50s x17

Cable Hammer Curls 

170x2x5

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rick Walker

Eric,

I have been following this log since it's inception. Always cool to see what you are doing as you get older.

I notice your volume is pretty low. How are you handling this? After Squatober, I talked to a bunch of older guys (40+) that participated in it and they found that just doing a couple reps each day not only increased their 1 rm, but they did far less work then they would have if they did a normal, once a week squat workout. 

I haven't figured it out yet. I pushed my volume high once I hit 41 to 8 total workouts a week. My numbers were shooting up by leaps and bounds and I was putting once quite a bit of lean muscle (I was doing high intensity workouts and high volume workouts). Things were going along quite nicely (except my lower back was constantly pumped all day, every day) and I ended up tweaking my hamstring a little doing Bulgarian split squats for 4 sets of 6 reps. That night I did 3 sets of 12 belt squats and Bulgarians with lighter weight and it felt good, so I decided to go ahead and pull sumo the next day. On my 3rd set, 3rd rep I felt the muscle belly rip. I did a fourth rep just to make sure and the pain was fairly bad. The next three days the muscle spasms were almost unbearable and it is still sore now five days later.

So I am now wondering what I should do. The volume was working, but it may be too much for me now that I am 41 and I might just end up tearing myself to pieces. I am thinking of backing off and doing, at the most, 3 movements a day. How do you feel your volume you do is helping you? 

Thanks.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EricMilfeld

Deadlift

Not feeling great today, most likely due to skipping last week, pushing a bit too hard on that squat PR two weeks ago (broke form on last rep), being depressed all week, and lifting after close stance squats just three days ago.

225x7

2” Deficits

195x7

Shrugs

230x8

230x10 

Chins 

159.2 fail

153.2 fail

148x1

Pullups 

bodyweight x10

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EricMilfeld
21 hours ago, Rick Walker said:

Eric,

I have been following this log since it's inception. Always cool to see what you are doing as you get older.

I notice your volume is pretty low. How are you handling this? After Squatober, I talked to a bunch of older guys (40+) that participated in it and they found that just doing a couple reps each day not only increased their 1 rm, but they did far less work then they would have if they did a normal, once a week squat workout. 

I haven't figured it out yet. I pushed my volume high once I hit 41 to 8 total workouts a week. My numbers were shooting up by leaps and bounds and I was putting once quite a bit of lean muscle (I was doing high intensity workouts and high volume workouts). Things were going along quite nicely (except my lower back was constantly pumped all day, every day) and I ended up tweaking my hamstring a little doing Bulgarian split squats for 4 sets of 6 reps. That night I did 3 sets of 12 belt squats and Bulgarians with lighter weight and it felt good, so I decided to go ahead and pull sumo the next day. On my 3rd set, 3rd rep I felt the muscle belly rip. I did a fourth rep just to make sure and the pain was fairly bad. The next three days the muscle spasms were almost unbearable and it is still sore now five days later.

So I am now wondering what I should do. The volume was working, but it may be too much for me now that I am 41 and I might just end up tearing myself to pieces. I am thinking of backing off and doing, at the most, 3 movements a day. How do you feel your volume you do is helping you? 

Thanks.

Hey Rick,

I'm sorry to hear about your injury.  Hopefully it's not too serious, but as I'm sure you know, don't waste any time if there's a chance surgery is needed.

Yes, my volume has always been extremely low.  The first fifteen years of my training consisted almost exclusively of warming up and then doing one max set of either 2, 3, or 5. I've never found that program in a magazine or website. 😂 Factors that enabled it to work for me were the naturally hight testosterone levels of youth, plenty of rest, and gaining weight for a large portion of that time.  But I think the most critical factor was my individual mindset.  Sub-maximal efforts didn't motivate me, so knowing I was going for a PR excited me and lit a fire under my butt.  My perspective was that anything additional was redundant, as I had already pushed myself to the limit and any additional sets would yield fewer reps with the same weight.  I certainly don't recommend what I was doing for anyone else, but I never got injured during that time period and my deadlift, for example, improved from 320 @119 at my first meet to 617 @181 when I was 21 years old. Then in my late twenties lifting became secondary to jiu jitsu training and general conditioning.  By my early thirties I was hungry for some lifting competition again and discovered grip training.  I did the occasional deadlift meet throughout my thirties, but didn't  really improve on my past performances.  By the time I was forty I was starting to suspect that lifting PRs were a thing of the past.  I did experiment with a few different training regimens trying to kickstart things, but to no avail. It didn't bother me as much as it would have otherwise because I had grip training to focus on and the PRs were coming frequently.  Then I started plateauing with grip and decided to give powerlifting another earnest effort with a different approach.  And that's when I started this log.  So here are the key components of what I've been up to:

1) More volume than before, but yes, still very low.  2-3 work sets only, and that often includes a variation movement (like pauses or deficits). I tried squatting twice a week, but because both my squat and deadlift are so back dominant, my lower back protested.  I consider squats and deadlifts as assistance movements for each other. 

2) Intensity.  I still love high intensity goal-oriented workouts, but I'm applying a lot more common sense, and most importantly, I'm listening to what my body is trying to tell me.  My intent is to almost never do a squat or deadlift that takes 100% effort.  Occasionally it happens, but it's rare.  As a general rule I always want to leave at least one rep in the tank.  Now on the last workout of one my short cycles leaving one rep in the tank, for say a set of 8, is still very hight intensity, because I'm quite accustomed to grinding.  It may sorta feel like a max set of 8, but deep down I know I could have fought out one last rep.  I should clarify something, on sets of 5 and higher the "one rep in the tank rule" certainly applies, but with a heavy set 3 or 4 I try to leave 5 or ten 10 pounds in the tank to keep the intensity proportionately high.

3) Breathing.  It sounds funny, but addressing my breathing is something I credit with progressing again.  I used to hold my breath until the completion of each lift, keeping every little muscle tight to the max. It had a tendency to make work sets feel harder than they really were.  But now I've applied something I learned from jiu jitsu, and that's being efficient, relaxed, and breathing correctly.  I think it's one big reason I used to despise high reps and now appreciate them.  So now, as soon as I pass the sticking point on a lift I exhale and even relax muscles that aren't specifically involved in the movement. I can feel my blood pressure as it returns to normal between reps and towards the end of the reps themselves.  I stay calm and patient on the high reps now.  

4) Programming. My philosophy now is to use very short cycles (2 or 3 weeks), finishing preferably with a PR, or close to it.  Then I do one or two recovery weeks, and start the next little cycle. Get in and get out!  Don't hang around a heavy weight or number of reps too long.  I give this a lot of credit for my progress.  For example, with squats I'll do three weeks of 8s, making big jumps each week,  then a recovery week of really high reps, then three weeks of 5s, recovery week, three weeks of 3s, recovery week, and then start all over again.  I love lifting heavy and pushing it, but with this regimen I have plenty of time to recover physically and mentally without ever getting bored of the routine.  With deadlifts in particular, I'm very prone to overtraining, but with big jumps from week to week, frequent changing of the reps, and leaving just a tiny bit in the tank I seem able to avoid it almost entirely. But overarching all of this is intuition.  In terms of assistance movements weights and reps and exact poundages, I often don't know until just before I start lifting or well into my warmups.  I really thrive on being motivated by doing something "special" each workout.  If it starts to feel too much like just going through the motions of a prescribed routine I lose my edge.  It's a big reason I've never wanted a coach or followed someone else's 12 week routine with every rep and set all worked out ahead of time.

So I guess to summarize, I'm doing everything I can to stay fresh and motivated. And yeah, I definitely still trade in some volume for intensity.  It's still fun for me, and that's always been key.  

Edited by EricMilfeld
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shoggoth

Copying

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rick Walker

Eric,

No, the injury is definitely a tear in the muscle belly with no tendon involved. It bruised and pooled at my knee, but it was not too bad. After my pec tear in 2003 I realized that unless the tendon detaches, they won't do anything for it anyway, so I didn't bother to see a doctor. I will start back training on it next week with belt squats and move from there.

I cannot pull and squat heavy in the same week. My lower back just gets so pumped up that it is constantly in a state of fatigue. It isn't weak, just constantly pumped. 

I am thinking of doing 3 to 4 movements, 4 days a week, throw in some Airdyne HIIT cycling, and call it good. Maybe something like 5/3/1 again, very condensed and short.

Time will tell. I just cannot take the pounding of the high volume anymore.

Thanks!

-Rick

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EricMilfeld
9 hours ago, Rick Walker said:

Eric,

No, the injury is definitely a tear in the muscle belly with no tendon involved. It bruised and pooled at my knee, but it was not too bad. After my pec tear in 2003 I realized that unless the tendon detaches, they won't do anything for it anyway, so I didn't bother to see a doctor. I will start back training on it next week with belt squats and move from there.

I cannot pull and squat heavy in the same week. My lower back just gets so pumped up that it is constantly in a state of fatigue. It isn't weak, just constantly pumped. 

I am thinking of doing 3 to 4 movements, 4 days a week, throw in some Airdyne HIIT cycling, and call it good. Maybe something like 5/3/1 again, very condensed and short.

Time will tell. I just cannot take the pounding of the high volume anymore.

Thanks!

-Rick

Sounds like a solid plan, Rick. Besides the lifting all I do is take long walks. It seems like a good balance. 

Did your pec ever return to normal in terms of strength after that 2003 tear?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rick Walker
8 hours ago, EricMilfeld said:

Sounds like a solid plan, Rick. Besides the lifting all I do is take long walks. It seems like a good balance. 

Did your pec ever return to normal in terms of strength after that 2003 tear?

It not only returned to normal strength (raw bench of 365, shirted bench of 425) but I came back stronger and hit a 545 bench in an Inzer open back shirt. Though I never tried a raw max, I was routinely hitting 405 off of 2 boards with no shirt and repping 315 for sets of 10. That was back in 2007 early 2008.

I did a one-legged SLDL with 60-pound dumbbells on it last night while I was training Casey and it felt decent. I think it was more my adductor than my hamstring. I will see come Monday...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EricMilfeld
45 minutes ago, Rick Walker said:

It not only returned to normal strength (raw bench of 365, shirted bench of 425) but I came back stronger and hit a 545 bench in an Inzer open back shirt. Though I never tried a raw max, I was routinely hitting 405 off of 2 boards with no shirt and repping 315 for sets of 10. That was back in 2007 early 2008.

I did a one-legged SLDL with 60-pound dumbbells on it last night while I was training Casey and it felt decent. I think it was more my adductor than my hamstring. I will see come Monday...

Man, you came back in spades!

Well that's encouraging!  Maybe pull conventional while you heal...?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rick Walker
5 hours ago, EricMilfeld said:

Man, you came back in spades!

Well that's encouraging!  Maybe pull conventional while you heal...?

I was pulling both ways. One day I would do 5 sets of 6 sumo, then 6 or 7 hours later I would do 4 sets of 12 conventional. 3 days later I would do conventional for 5 sets of 6. The following week I would flip it. I have always found that as my sumo goes up, my conventional goes up. When I hit 700, I was hitting 600 in the sumo fairly easy. 

Monday I will get after it again and make some changes to lower the volume. I still want to focus on strength in my squats and deadlifts, but I will cut back on the double workouts. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mike Rinderle
On 12/3/2018 at 5:37 PM, EricMilfeld said:

Hey Rick,

I'm sorry to hear about your injury.  Hopefully it's not too serious, but as I'm sure you know, don't waste any time if there's a chance surgery is needed.

Yes, my volume has always been extremely low.  The first fifteen years of my training consisted almost exclusively of warming up and then doing one max set of either 2, 3, or 5. I've never found that program in a magazine or website. 😂 Factors that enabled it to work for me were the naturally hight testosterone levels of youth, plenty of rest, and gaining weight for a large portion of that time.  But I think the most critical factor was my individual mindset.  Sub-maximal efforts didn't motivate me, so knowing I was going for a PR excited me and lit a fire under my butt.  My perspective was that anything additional was redundant, as I had already pushed myself to the limit and any additional sets would yield fewer reps with the same weight.  I certainly don't recommend what I was doing for anyone else, but I never got injured during that time period and my deadlift, for example, improved from 320 @119 at my first meet to 617 @181 when I was 21 years old. Then in my late twenties lifting became secondary to jiu jitsu training and general conditioning.  By my early thirties I was hungry for some lifting competition again and discovered grip training.  I did the occasional deadlift meet throughout my thirties, but didn't  really improve on my past performances.  By the time I was forty I was starting to suspect that lifting PRs were a thing of the past.  I did experiment with a few different training regimens trying to kickstart things, but to no avail. It didn't bother me as much as it would have otherwise because I had grip training to focus on and the PRs were coming frequently.  Then I started plateauing with grip and decided to give powerlifting another earnest effort with a different approach.  And that's when I started this log.  So here are the key components of what I've been up to:

1) More volume than before, but yes, still very low.  2-3 work sets only, and that often includes a variation movement (like pauses or deficits). I tried squatting twice a week, but because both my squat and deadlift are so back dominant, my lower back protested.  I consider squats and deadlifts as assistance movements for each other. 

2) Intensity.  I still love high intensity goal-oriented workouts, but I'm applying a lot more common sense, and most importantly, I'm listening to what my body is trying to tell me.  My intent is to almost never do a squat or deadlift that takes 100% effort.  Occasionally it happens, but it's rare.  As a general rule I always want to leave at least one rep in the tank.  Now on the last workout of one my short cycles leaving one rep in the tank, for say a set of 8, is still very hight intensity, because I'm quite accustomed to grinding.  It may sorta feel like a max set of 8, but deep down I know I could have fought out one last rep.  I should clarify something, on sets of 5 and higher the "one rep in the tank rule" certainly applies, but with a heavy set 3 or 4 I try to leave 5 or ten 10 pounds in the tank to keep the intensity proportionately high.

3) Breathing.  It sounds funny, but addressing my breathing is something I credit with progressing again.  I used to hold my breath until the completion of each lift, keeping every little muscle tight to the max. It had a tendency to make work sets feel harder than they really were.  But now I've applied something I learned from jiu jitsu, and that's being efficient, relaxed, and breathing correctly.  I think it's one big reason I used to despise high reps and now appreciate them.  So now, as soon as I pass the sticking point on a lift I exhale and even relax muscles that aren't specifically involved in the movement. I can feel my blood pressure as it returns to normal between reps and towards the end of the reps themselves.  I stay calm and patient on the high reps now.  

4) Programming. My philosophy now is to use very short cycles (2 or 3 weeks), finishing preferably with a PR, or close to it.  Then I do one or two recovery weeks, and start the next little cycle. Get in and get out!  Don't hang around a heavy weight or number of reps too long.  I give this a lot of credit for my progress.  For example, with squats I'll do three weeks of 8s, making big jumps each week,  then a recovery week of really high reps, then three weeks of 5s, recovery week, three weeks of 3s, recovery week, and then start all over again.  I love lifting heavy and pushing it, but with this regimen I have plenty of time to recover physically and mentally without ever getting bored of the routine.  With deadlifts in particular, I'm very prone to overtraining, but with big jumps from week to week, frequent changing of the reps, and leaving just a tiny bit in the tank I seem able to avoid it almost entirely. But overarching all of this is intuition.  In terms of assistance movements weights and reps and exact poundages, I often don't know until just before I start lifting or well into my warmups.  I really thrive on being motivated by doing something "special" each workout.  If it starts to feel too much like just going through the motions of a prescribed routine I lose my edge.  It's a big reason I've never wanted a coach or followed someone else's 12 week routine with every rep and set all worked out ahead of time.

So I guess to summarize, I'm doing everything I can to stay fresh and motivated. And yeah, I definitely still trade in some volume for intensity.  It's still fun for me, and that's always been key.  

This 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mike Rinderle
On 12/4/2018 at 9:53 PM, Rick Walker said:

Eric,

No, the injury is definitely a tear in the muscle belly with no tendon involved. It bruised and pooled at my knee, but it was not too bad. After my pec tear in 2003 I realized that unless the tendon detaches, they won't do anything for it anyway, so I didn't bother to see a doctor. I will start back training on it next week with belt squats and move from there.

I cannot pull and squat heavy in the same week. My lower back just gets so pumped up that it is constantly in a state of fatigue. It isn't weak, just constantly pumped. 

I am thinking of doing 3 to 4 movements, 4 days a week, throw in some Airdyne HIIT cycling, and call it good. Maybe something like 5/3/1 again, very condensed and short.

Time will tell. I just cannot take the pounding of the high volume anymore.

Thanks!

-Rick

Same with me.  Muscle belly tear in the quad back in the day.  Like you said, they don't do anything unless you detach the tendon.  I have a divot in my outter quad, but other than that, I don't think it affected my strength long term.  Same with my right calf.  Missing about half of the outter head of my right calf from a tear, but she still seems to work ok.  Worst part was the pain from all the blood pooling.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EricMilfeld

Bench

117.5x8

2 Second Pauses

110x9

68 pound Dumbbell Presses (2.5” handle)

Right x8

Left x7

Hammer Curls 2.5” Dumbbell

68x7

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EricMilfeld

Squat

185x2x5

3-Second Pauses

175x5

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EricMilfeld

Bench

100x18

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rick Walker

I have done some tinkering with my programming while I waited for this hammy to heal up. It feels 100% again and I will get back on the horse.

While reading, writing, and pondering the meaning of life (lol!), the wife and I discussed me taking another shot at hitting over 700 raw in the deadlift. I know it is possible, but my volume will have to be very low and this will most likely be the very last time I work up to this kind of weight. Both my sumos and conventionals feel good lately, so I think I can run a non-linear cycle and shoot for a late summer pull. I would love to hit it in a meet, but since I am on HRT I am not going to jump through all the hoops to get approved to lift in a fed. I guess I could always enter an IPA meet and just enter as a pro and not worry about it.

Time will tell. I have a plan, a decent low volume program (similar to 5/3/1) to run, and the patience. I would love for my kids to see their dad haul up over 700 in real life.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EricMilfeld
9 hours ago, Rick Walker said:

I have done some tinkering with my programming while I waited for this hammy to heal up. It feels 100% again and I will get back on the horse.

While reading, writing, and pondering the meaning of life (lol!), the wife and I discussed me taking another shot at hitting over 700 raw in the deadlift. I know it is possible, but my volume will have to be very low and this will most likely be the very last time I work up to this kind of weight. Both my sumos and conventionals feel good lately, so I think I can run a non-linear cycle and shoot for a late summer pull. I would love to hit it in a meet, but since I am on HRT I am not going to jump through all the hoops to get approved to lift in a fed. I guess I could always enter an IPA meet and just enter as a pro and not worry about it.

Time will tell. I have a plan, a decent low volume program (similar to 5/3/1) to run, and the patience. I would love for my kids to see their dad haul up over 700 in real life.

Hey, that’s exciting that you’re going to pull 700 again! Having done it before, you’ve got muscle memory and experience in your corner. And being a Master this time makes it an even greater accomplishment. Sounds like your biggest challenge may be holding back enough to stay injury-free, but it sounds like you’re on top of it. Will you be posting a workout log anywhere?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rick Walker
3 hours ago, EricMilfeld said:

Hey, that’s exciting that you’re going to pull 700 again! Having done it before, you’ve got muscle memory and experience in your corner. And being a Master this time makes it an even greater accomplishment. Sounds like your biggest challenge may be holding back enough to stay injury-free, but it sounds like you’re on top of it. Will you be posting a workout log anywhere?

Nah. When the lift is done, whether it is in my gym or in a competition, I will post up a video on Youtube and send you a link, but I won't be detailing my workouts anywhere. It is the same as always; hard work, lots of sumo pulls, heavy supermans, pause squats, wide stance back squats, Bulgarian split squats and Romanian deadlifts. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EricMilfeld

Deadlift 

240x7 PR! (could have grinded for 8)

Snatch Grip w/ 1” Deficit

190x2x5 PR

That 529x7 PR was particularly satisfying after 496x7 felt so heavy last week. My body weight took a big jump this week from all the Mexican food and margaritas, so I figured it would be pretty pathetic not to redeem myself with a PR. Wish it was always that simple and easy. 🤠

Shrugs

235x2x10

Chins

108.1x2x12

 

 

Edited by EricMilfeld
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shoggoth
4 minutes ago, EricMilfeld said:

Deadlift 

240x7 PR! (could have grinded for 😎

Snatch Grip w/ 1” Deficit

190x2x5 PR

That 529x7 PR was particularly satisfying after 496x7 felt so heavy last week. My body weight took a big jump this week from all the Mexican food and margaritas, so I figured it would be pretty pathetic not to redeem myself with a PR. Wish it was always that simple and easy. 🤠

Shrugs

235x2x10

Chins

108.1x2x12

 

 

Salt and tequila are amaziballs for gainz!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EricMilfeld
Just now, Shoggoth said:

Salt and tequila are amaziballs for gainz!

Well I wish you would have said something about your trade secret years ago!

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mike Rinderle

I skip the food and just pay 4 Mexican gentlemen to lift it for me.

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EricMilfeld
3 minutes ago, Mike Rinderle said:

I skip the food and just pay 4 Mexican gentlemen to lift it for me.

I dunno Mike... that sounds vaguely like cheating... well unless they’re documented...

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rick Walker

When my son was competing in powerlifting, he always re-hydrated after a weight cut with a full jar of dill pickles, including drinking the pickle juice, as well as a gallon of water/Gatorade mix.

The pickles would put weight back on him FAST. He could put on 15-pounds from weigh-ins to warm-ups.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EricMilfeld
16 minutes ago, Rick Walker said:

When my son was competing in powerlifting, he always re-hydrated after a weight cut with a full jar of dill pickles, including drinking the pickle juice, as well as a gallon of water/Gatorade mix.

The pickles would put weight back on him FAST. He could put on 15-pounds from weigh-ins to warm-ups.

Holy moly that's a big cut!  I've heard of the pickle trick but never tried it.  But I believe my cutting days are over.  For me it takes too much of the fun away from the experience at this point in life.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy policies.