Week 1A of Volume Tap 531 Cycle 24

This morning I completed Week 1A of Volume Tap 531 Cycle 24 as follows:

Bench Press   3-135, 3-160, 3-205, 3-215, 3-245, 3-275, 1-285, 3-260, 3-245, 3-230, 3-215, 3-190

Incline Bench Press 5-120, 5-150, 5-190, 5-190, 5-190, 5-190, 5-190 (final set w/ Donkey Kick)
Multi-Grip Chins  8-0, 8-0, 8-0, 8-0, 8-0, 8-0

Dips  10-0, 10-0, 10-0
Decline Situps  15-0, 15-0, 15-0

Bodyweight: 206.8 Pounds (Down 13.8 Pounds from 7/9)

Workout Duration: 57:24.82 minutes (with 1:00 rest between sets)

Good workout today.  I'm about at the end of the line with Madcows without doing some resets but since I'm getting close to my meet I'm going to run a "bridge" 531 program for a few weeks until I'm ready to start JC.  This program is called Volume Tap and it's a derivative of Wendlers Spinal Tap program, which is a program where you run all 531 sets for a 3 week cycle in one day for a given exercise.  Today Bench was up.  I did 3's all the way across except for my 100% joker set at 285 where I did 1 rep.

I did Inclines for some extra volume with a 5x5 set at 190.  I didn't really need it for 190 but I used my Donkey Kick on the final set, mainly so I could take a video using it.



Week 10 Workout B of “Madcows”

This morning I completed Week 10 Workout B of "Madcows" as follows:

"Light Squat Day"

Hypers  15, 15
Deadlifts	3-185, 3-245, 3-295, 3-335, 0-390

FSL Deadlifts   3-295, 3-295, 3-295

Squats 5-165, 5-205, 5-235, 5-235
Multi-Grip OHP	5-95, 5-115, 5-135, 3-145

Bodyweight: 206.0 Pounds (Down 14.6 Pounds from 7/9)

Workout Duration: 57:55.19 minutes (with 1:00 rest between sets)

Tough workout today.  This was supposed to be a rest day.  I got impatient though and wanted to do my dead day so I went a day early...mistake.  I've adjusted my form and am trying to use more legs and less back and I think that is a good move.  Unfortunately I was pooped from heavy squats, hill running, and intense yard work yesterday and I just didn't have my strength available on the final set.  I went to lift the 390 and got the bar about an inch off the ground.  I held it there briefly and realized I just didn't have it so I put it down.  I then did 3 lighter sets at FSL weight and called it a day for deads.

Week 10 Workout A of “Madcows”

This morning I completed Week 10 Workout A of "Madcows" as follows:

Band Facepulls	15, 15, 15, 15, 15, 15
Bench Press   5-140, 5-180, 5-205, 4-250, 4-250, 4-250

Slingshot Bench Press	3-245, 3-245, 3-245
*NOTE - This is a homemade Slingshot made with 20" bicycle tube and duct tape -- I call it the "Donkey Kick" in honor of my youth spent on a bicycle

Squats    3-155, 3-205, 3-245, 3-275, 4-310
Bent Over Rows	5-115, 5-145, 5-175, 5-195, 5-220

Hypers	20, 20, 20
Wide-Grip Pullups	10, 10, 10

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldowns	10-105, 12-105, 15-105
Decline Situps  15, 15, 15
Upright Rows	6-115, 6-115, 7-115

Bodyweight: 206.0 Pounds (Down 14.6 Pounds from 7/9)

Workout Duration: 1:27:09.61 minutes (with 1:00 rest between sets)

Great workout today. It was Sunday morning so I took my time and made sure to get all of my accessory work in too. I used my new homemade Slingshot for some extra work after bench and enjoyed that. I’m still thinking about buying a real one but I made my own to use in the meantime and it actually worked very well.

Squats felt good. I got 4 reps at 310 and they felt pretty good overall. I moved my feet in a little and angled them out more. My depth wasn’t as good as last time so I plan to try moving them out a little farther next time. Still very happy with my progress on the squats over the past few sessions though.


After lifting I went for a run with the dogs on the very hilly Deer Creek Tribute Trail in Nevada City. I ran 3.42 miles in 48m:03s, climbed a total of 375 ft to a max elevation of 2676 ft, and burned an estimated 583 kcal.

After running and eating lunch I did a butt load of yardio including hauling a bunch of concrete pavers around the yard for my wife and also digging up a couple of dead fern bushes. Needless to say I feel like my body got A LOT of work in today. 🙂

Week 9 Workout C of “Madcows”

This morning I completed Week 9 Workout C of "Madcows" as follows:

Hypers 10-35, 10-35, 10-35
Band Facepulls	15, 15, 15, 15
Bench Press    3-140, 3-170, 3-210, 2-235, 3-280

Bench Press    1-265, 5-230, 5-230, 5-230
Bent Over Rows 5-115, 5-140, 5-170, 5-195, 5-220, 8-170

Squats    3-155, 3-195, 3-225, 3-245, 5-275

Bodyweight: 205.2 Pounds (Down 15.4 Pounds from 7/9)

Workout Duration: 1:10:44.96 (with 1:00 rest between sets)

Good but TOUGH workout today. For bench I got 3 reps at 280 which was my goal. Rep #3 wouldn’t have counted in a meet because I actually went down a little halfway up before grinding it out. I was a little bit further forward on my bench than usual so I missed the left upright when I went to rack it. That added a little excitement as I had to find the energy to push the bar up again to the rack. 🙂

Squats have been a work in progress. After reading Andrew’s post this morning I think I have the final piece of the puzzle…I needed a wider stance so my stomach and belt can fit between my knees and allow me to get lower and drop between my hips. This combined with Shawn’s breathing advice and Ron’s pausing during warmups to find depth seem to be the winning combo. I think I’m on a good path there.

Deads are another story. I had a very sore back yesterday and after reading some articles about deadlifting and re-watching my video from Wednesday I realize that I am pulling the weight with my back and not pushing with my legs. That is why things are feeling so heavy and I’m getting so sore. I think I have a solution there and I can’t wait for my next Dead day to try it out.

Also, I signed up for Alan Thrall’s deadlift tournament on 9/30 so that’ll give me a chance to test out my new form/theory on the platform. 😀

Regarding the deadlift revelation I had here are some articles I found very interesting. The first one said you should never have a sore lower back after deadlifting if you’re doing it correctly. I’ve always had a sore lower back afterwards so I think I’ve been doing it wrong all along. The second one reinforces some key points about form and about pushing.



Week 9 Workout B of “Madcows”

This morning I completed Week 9 Workout B of "Madcows" as follows:

"Light Squat Day"

Hypers  15, 15
Block Pull Deadlifts	3-155, 3-245, 3-285, 3-335, 3-380 (4" Block Pulls all sets)

FSL 1.75" Deficit Deadlifts   3-285, 3-285, 3-285
Multi-Grip OHP	5-95, 5-115, 5-130, 5-145

Squats 5-160, 5-195, 5-230, 5-230
Incline BP  5-145, 5-175, 5-205, 5-225

Bodyweight: 205.6 Pounds (Down 15.0 Pounds from 7/9)

Workout Duration: 59:52.28 minutes (with 1:00 rest between sets)

Tough workout today.  For some reason I could not fall asleep last night so I tossed and turned in bed until 1 am and then went to the sofa where I finally fell asleep around 2 am.  I got up at my normal time of 4:15 am to work out so needless to say, I was at something less than 100%...but hey man I couldn't miss deads. :D 

In any case I got 3 reps at 380 and not the 5 reps I was hoping for but I'll take that.  That 3rd rep was tough and I don't think I had any more in the tank at that point.  I really didn't feel like doing the FSL Deficit Deads but decided to bite the bullet and go for it.  I wound up getting 3 sets there so I'm glad I did it.

Squats felt OK.  I'm pretty used to squatting 3 days a week now and this light session actually goes a long way towards loosening things up after deads and helps me get ready for my heavy squats in Workout C (coming up on Friday).

OHP and Incline BP both felt good.

After working out I threw on my backpack with a 25 pound plate in it and took the dogs for a walk.  I walked 1.19 miles in 23m:56s and burned an estimated 263 kcal.  That seemed to loosen up my hammies and low back which both felt a little tight after the deads.

Week 9 Workout A of “Madcows”

This morning I completed Week 9 Workout A of "Madcows" as follows:

Hypers 15-35, 15-35
Band Facepulls	20, 20, 20, 20, 20
Bench Press   3-135, 3-165, 8-190, 6-220, 4-250, 5-250, 2-250, 5-235, 5-220, 6-205, 7-190

Squats    3-135, 3-175, 3-205, 5-240, 3-270, 5-305 (1+ set), 2-290, 3-255, 5-225
Bent Over Rows  8-155, 6-180, 4-205, 4-205, 4-205, 5-190, 6-180, 7-175, 8-155

Decline Situps  Skipped
Multi-Grip Chins  Skipped

Bodyweight: 209.2 Pounds (Down 11.4 Pounds from 7/9)

Workout Duration: 1:08:24.21 minutes (with 1:00 rest between sets)

Good workout today.  I changed things up a little and added some more volume to my Madcows plan.  I am now doing heavy squats in Workout A and heavy bench press and rows in Workout C.  I then do submaximal volume for the opposite lift on that day, so volume bench and rows in Workout A and volume squats in Workout B.  Deads, Front Squats, Incline BP/OHP will be done in Workout B.  This keeps the spirit of Madcows in tact but lets me get more submaximal work while also spreading out the straing from maxing out a little bit over multiple days.

Week 8 Workout C of “Madcows”

Yesterday morning I completed Week 8 Workout C of "Madcows" as follows:

Squats	3-145, 3-175, 3-205, 3-235, 3-285, 2-315, 3-285

Bench Press		5-135, 5-165, 3-195, 4-225, 3-245, 1-285, 4-240

Pendlay Rows	5-115, 6-165, 5-175, 5-205, 3-225, 5-195, 10-115
Dips 8-0, 8-0, 8-0

CGBP	6-135, 6-155, 6-185
DB Hammer Curls	10-25, 8-30, 8-30

Bodyweight: 206.0 Pounds (Down 14.6 Pounds from 7/9)

Workout Duration: 1:24:33.49 (with 1:00 rest between sets)

This was a pretty good workout for the most part.  It feels like I've been fighting off a cold or something so I went into this one feeling less than 100%.  Squats were pretty tough.  I was trying to do 3-5 reps at 305, but damn that 305 felt heavy as hell from the time I unracked it so I stopped at 2 reps.  I forgot that I was using the Texas Squat Bar which ways 55 pounds (and I didn't remember until later on when I was posting my video), so it turns out I was actually doing 315, so I don't feel so bad  now. :D 

Bench was also tough.  I was supposed to do 280 for 3 but couldn't find any 2.5 pounders around the bench area so I just went up to 285.  Going into it I just didn't have my mind right.  I did 1 rep and failed on #2.  In the video you might notice the guy with his foot up on the bench next to mine glance over as I'm failing the rep and my brother is taking it from me...that is Silent Mike...so now I can at least say I've failed a rep in front of a YouTube "celebrity".  Seriously though, I was bummed to only hit one rep there, but then again I was on a strange bench with a lot of activity going on around me and I just wasn't on my A game today...no excuses it just is what it is.  I'll drop back down to 280 in my home gym next week and get my 3+ reps.

One more thing to note is that baced on a suggestion from John I moved my grip out a little wider in bench to keep my forearms more vertical...I'm also working on getting rid of the elbow flare (still a work in progress).  Related to that I'm thinking about purchasing a SlingShot to help me dial in my elbow/forearm positioning and maybe also do some overload work.  If any of you have a SlingShot please chime in about whether or not you think it is a worthwhile tool.