Mixing it Up: Strength Stats and Routine Changes

I used to set specific strength goals that I wanted to reach by a specific date.  (Example A, Example B, Example C) And while these goals were excellent for providing motivation, unfortunately they caused my form to suffer in order to reach them on time.  Ultimately they just put me at an increased risk for injury and gave me inflated strength measures.

So for the past couple months I decided to ditch the goals and instead focus on perfecting my form.  I started doing VERY deep squats and made sure everything I called a “rep” was indeed a full rep.

obligatory “ab progress” shot

Here are my current stats:

Back Squat: 7 reps of 85 lbs of DEEP squats
Front Squat: 7 reps of 85 lbs of DEEP squats
Dips: 7 reps of body weight
Deadlift: 7 reps of 140 lbs
Bench Press: 3 reps of 100 lbs
Overhead Press: 4 reps of 90 lbs
Lat Pull-Down: 5 reps of “8”
Assisted Pull-Up:  5 reps of resistance “5”

According to Strength Standards, an awesome website that I found out about through Dana McMahan, here is where I currently rank on the strength scale:

Squat is likely under-estimated since my numbers would be higher if I wasn’t doing deep squats…

The only problem is I’m finding that my muscles are exhausted by the end of the workout.  Currently I’m doing all lower-body on Monday and all upper-body on Friday, so whatever exercise I do last suffers severely.  My gains are starting to plateau and quite frankly I’m getting a little bored.  So in an effort to mix things up, stay interested, and increase my gains here is the change I’m going to make:

Old Monday WOt: Back Squat, Front Squat, Deadlift, Dips
New Monday WO:  Back Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift, Cable Row

Old Friday WO: Bench Press, Overhead Press, Lateral Pull-Down, Assisted Pull-Up
New Friday WO: Overhead Press, Front Squat, Assisted Pull-Up, Back Extension

Any suggestions?  Any advice is welcome and much-appreciated :)

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6 thoughts on “Mixing it Up: Strength Stats and Routine Changes

  1. You are seriously strong. Well done.

    I’m a fan of machines, because you can safely slow down the movement without risk of injury. SuperSlow reps on machines (leg press, chest press, pull-down) would be completely different than your current routine and expose you to HIT (High Intensity Training). There are lots of videos on YouTube if you decide to experiment.

  2. Impressive – you look like you’re in great shape. I’m currently setting myself the goal of really pounding my abs and obliques (they tend to get neglected in my usual workout). I’m on a mission to conquer the flabby bits!

    • it’s a mission easier said then done!

      i used to spend a lot of time on crunches and stuff to try and tighten my abs, but i find i get the best results when i focus on my upper and lower body instead. it might just be my body type though!

  3. Hi!

    I must say I envy your tummy. I’ve never really thought about exercising because I was in very good shape for the first 26 years of my life. But the last two years, I think my metabolism slowed down and in our office we always have pizza, ice cream and cakes from our boss :(

    I gained weight and it’s evident in my thighs and my tummy. No more flat tummy :(

    I was just wondering if you could give me advice, I currently jog and do sit ups. Are those enough or do I have to do weights as well? I didn’t know some of the equipment you mentioned.

    • Jogging and sit-ups are definitely not enough! First and most importantly you need to make sure that your nutrition is right. Cake and ice cream is okay every now and then, but you need to be eating good stuff at least 80% of the time.

      Second, don’t overdo the cardio. Remember muscle burns more calories than fat, or no muscle. So start incorporating some strenth exercises into your workout. It’s okay if you don’t have any fancy equipment. You can push-ups, squats, and lunges anywhere. Start off using your bodyweight and then you can work up from there.

      Check out http://www.marksdailyapple.com for food info, and http://www.bodyrock.tv for workout ideas. Thanks for commenting!

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