Back on Strong Lifts 5x5 - my program mini journal

(DougH) #21

Saturday 3/9/19, Workout A. “Shorter” workout, I have been focusing on longer rests between sets on the squat and I had to get home to avoid the wrath of my keto partner so I cut the accessory work after the dips.

  • Squat: 5x5 205lb.
  • Bench Press: 5x5 165lb.
  • Barbell Row: 5x5 115lb.
  • Dips: 3x5 @ body weight +30lb.
  • Pull Ups: 1 set 3 reps + 30lbs since I was running out and already had the dip belt and weight strapped on.

(DougH) #22

Tuesday 3/12/19, Workout B. Fasted since Sunday at 8pm.

I am thinking about getting a dexa scan, I should have when I started. I can see body recomp and lean muscle mass being built. I started around 159 lbs when I started back up, this was after Keto since October 2018 and extended fasting since January when I started watching Dr. Fung’s videos and getting his book (this was down from 180ish). My weight has been going up modestly with my current cycle of two day fast, and then feast days with a mix of days that are time restricted and others that have three solid meals (usually Saturday and Sunday). I started Sunday at 168 but that had some water weight because we had a cheat day Saturday visiting friends, so I was temporarily carbed up. Broke the fast after this workout with a 5 Guys burger bowls (extra patty extra bacon :joy: ), and woke up this morning back at 165.

  • Squat: 5x5 207.5 lb. Factional plates for the win. I may be slowing gains but the sets are feeling cleaner with better form by not tackling a 5lb jump each workout for squats.
  • Overhead Press: 5x5 105lb.
  • Deadlifts: 2x5 240lb. Saving time so only two sets. Stronglifts only recommends one set of deadlifts anyway, although I think this is low.
  • Chin-ups: BW +7.5lbs 3x5
  • Face-pulls: skipped
  • Bulgarian Split Squats: skipped

Five solid workouts away from squatting 225, which is two big plates on either side. That is usually a really encouraging milestone for me even if it isn’t very significant or heavy in the powerlifting world.

(DougH) #23

Thursday 3/14/19, Workout A.

  • Squat: 5x5 210lb.
  • Bench Press: 5x5 175lb.
  • Barbell Row: 5x5 120lb.
  • Dips: 3x5 @ body weight +35lb.
  • Pull Ups: 10/9/9
  • Face Pulls: 4x10, 37.5lb

(DougH) #24

Monday 3/18/19, Workout B. Fasted since Sunday at 4PM

This was a bad cheat weekend. Girlfriend and I went to Portland ME for a three day weekend and treated ourselves to a numerous cheat meals, and cocktails. By the time the damage was done I was 5lbs up which wasn’t bad considering that some of that was water retention from the carbs and some extra liver glycogen than what I normally carry now. I went on the trip right around 165 and came back 170.

  • Squat: 5x5 212.5 lb
  • Overhead Press: 5x5 110lb. I will need to start using fractional plates on this lift. I am at my limit of being able to adapt to 5lb jump each workout.
  • Deadlifts: 3x5 245lb.
  • Chin-ups: BW +12.5lbs 3x5
  • Face-pulls: 4x10 37.5lb
  • Bulgarian Split Squats: 3x8, 40lbs (20lb DB’s in each hand)

(DougH) #25

Wednesday 3/20/19, Workout A. Fasted since Sunday at 4PM. Experienced my first squat set with a missed rep. Definitely didn’t feel as explosive as other workouts, that could have been partially attributed to the cheat weekend, and partially to the 3 days of water fasting, but other lifts were strong.

The 3 days water fast resulted in body weight back down in the 164 range, so 6 lb impact on the scale.

  • Squat: 5x5 215lb. 5/4/5/5/5, I partially view the missed last rep on the second set to equipment. I was feeling a little week so I moved the safety bars up one adjustment higher in case I had to bail. I bottomed out on it while getting deep in my squat and it kind of screwed up my groove.
  • Bench Press: 5x5 185lb. This was nice and clean but it was also ego lifting, I was pissed about missing a rep already when only at 215 on squat. I will go back to normal 5lb jumps on this lift again.
  • Barbell Row: 5x5 125lb.
  • Dips: 3x5 @ body weight +45lb.
  • Pull Ups: 3X5 +15lb. I am going to start doing lower rep plus added weight on these since I got more than 25 total reps easily on the previous workout from last Thursday.

(DougH) #26

Monday 3/25/19, Workout B. Not fasted.

  • Squat: 5x5 215 lb. Good solid sets.
  • Overhead Press: 5x5 112.5 lb. Fractional plates were a good idea for this lift. I may move to 1.25lb increases versus 2.5lb increases depending on progress and plateaus.
  • Deadlifts: 3x5 250b. Good solid sets. I have been working on my setup and form, Alan Thrall of untamed strength has a great video about his 5 part setup.
  • Chin-ups: BW +17.5lbs 3x5
  • Face-pulls: 4x8 42.5lb
  • Bulgarian Split Squats: 3x8, 60lbs (30lb DB’s in each hand). These are killers!

(DougH) #27

Wednesday 3/27/19, Workout A.

  • Squat: 5x5 217.5 lb.
  • Bench Press: 5x5 190 lb.
  • Barbell Row: 5x5 130lb.
  • Dips: 3x5 @ body weight +50lb.
  • Pull Ups: 3X5 +17.5 lb.

Skipped the face pulls.

(DougH) #28

Monday 4/1/19, Workout B. Fasted since Sunday evening. This was a bad keto weekend in terms of diet, but the workout felt strong.

The workout was split between lunch and after work, Squats and OHP were done earlier at lunch. I was in the gym and the squat rack was open so I take the opertunity to get the rack dependent part of the workouts done at my lunch break if I can.

  • Squat: 5x5 220 lb. Good solid sets.
  • Overhead Press: 5x5 115 lb.
  • Deadlifts: 3x5 255 lbs
  • Chin-ups: BW +20 lbs 3x5
  • Face-pulls: 4x8 42.5lb
  • Bulgarian Split Squats: 3x8, 80lbs (40lb DB’s in each hand). These are killers!
  • OHP For Volume, Approx 75% of my 5RM, 85 lbs. 50 target reps broken down into as many reps per set as possible, 2-3 min rests. 15 reps / 12 / 9 / 10 / 8

(DougH) #29

Thursday 4/4/19, Workout A.

  • Squat: 5x5 220 lb.
  • Bench Press: 5x5 195 lb.
  • Barbell Row: 5x5 135lb.
  • Dips: 3x5 @ body weight +55lb.
  • Pull Ups: 3X5 +17.5 lb.
  • Volume Squats: Continues reps to failure until 50 reps 175lbs; 10/10/10/10/8/8. Rests were from 2 - 3 mins a set.
    Skipped the face pulls.

(DougH) #30

Tuesday 4/9/19, Workout B.

The workout was split between lunch and after work, Squats and OHP were done earlier at lunch. This was a huge milestone for me. I always want to lift more than I am lifting, especially when you see power lifters with 400+ lbs squats, so once I get to two 45 lb plates on both side it starts feeling like I am lifting something. Plus it just looks cooler on your back. Next pinnacle is 3x45’s per side, but I won’t rush to get there.

  • Squat: 5x5 225 lb. Wooohooo, two big plates per side. These felt great too, it wasn’t a grind although it wasn’t easy.
  • Overhead Press: 5x5 117.5 lb.
  • Deadlifts: 3x5 265 lbs. Strong sets, been working on using a hook grip, hurts like hell but the results are fantastic.
  • Chin-ups: BW +25 lbs 3x5
  • Face-pulls: 4x8 42.5lb

I skipped the split squats and the extra squat volume, the 225 squats and the heavy deadlifts didn’t leave me with much in the tank. I am going to have to start making more effort on getting enough calories, and I am going to scale back on fasting.

(Jeramy Koval) #31

Nice Doug! Keep up the great work.

I tried Stronglifts about 5 years ago but suffered a shoulder injury that sidelined me for 18 months. Might be giving it a try again once I finish my current program.

(DougH) #32

Thanks Jeramy. I am almost near the end of strong lifts. I have plateaued heavily yet, but you normally tap out in 3-5 months. I am 3 months in, but I have also added some things in that aren’t pure strong lifts, like fractional plates, and a decent amount of accessory lifts.

I am still evaluating what program to pick up, but it will be power lifting based with it also a little heavier on hypertrophy than strong lifts is.

I am behind on adding workouts:

Thursday 4/11/19, Workout A.

  • Squat: 5x5 227.5 lb.
  • Bench Press: 5x5 200 lb.

Skipped everything else.

This past week week I was on vacation, and only managed to get in one workout, but it was a decent one.

Tuesday 4/16/19 Workout B.

  • Squat: 5x5 230 lb.
  • OH Press: 5x5 120 lb.
  • Dead lifts 2x5 275 lb. Hook grip, no straps.
  • Chin ups 3x5 BW + 30 lbs.
  • Face pulls 4x8 BW 45 lbs.
  • Bulgarian Split Squats 3x8 90 lbs (45 lb dumb-bell per arm)

(Jeramy Koval) #33

Mehdi has an intermediate program that he recommends after stalling on Stronglifts. Not sure if you were aware but thought I’d share the link.

After hitting the gym today I decided to go ahead and change things up. Going to try Stronglifts workout for 12 weeks and see where it gets me.

(DougH) #34

I was aware, but I haven’t looked at the madcow prgram in a bit. Thanks for the reminder.

Monday 4/22/19, Workout A.

  • Squat: 5x5 232.5 lb.
  • Bench Press: 5x5 200 lb. One drop set 175 for 10 reps.
  • Barbell Row: 5x5 135 lb. Extra reps on last set.
  • Dips: 4x6 @ body weight +55 lb. One extra set and one extra rep per set for more volume.
  • Pull Ups: 3X5 +20 lb.
  • Volume Squats: Continues reps to failure until 50 reps 175 lbs; 12/12/10/10/9/8. 61 reps total. Rests were from 2 - 3 mins a set.
  • Face Pulls: 42.5 4X8

(Jeramy Koval) #35

Doug, do you find any issues with recovery between workouts while on keto? I’m assuming you follow the M/W/F or T/Th/Sa schedule that the program recommends. Curious to know if you still hit the same keto macros of if you’ve adjusted protein intake to promote muscle recovery and growth.

(DougH) #36

No I don’t normally have issues with recovery, but I have found that I gain slower on keto with similar amounts of calories that I used to use when I bulked.

I have been eating a good deal more protein than your typical keto diet, I work in some veggies but my meals are very meat dominant with the focus being eggs, skirt or ribeye steak, forested pork chops, fatty ground beef, bacon.

I guess you could consider it carnivore light.:rofl:

(DougH) #37

Tuesday 4/24/19 Workout B.

  • Squat: 5x5 235 lb.
  • OH Press: 6x6 115 lb. Three full sets of 6, then 5 on the last two
  • Dead lifts: 1 “max pull” 315 - three 45’s per side. Felt great. Then drop set at 285, grip was giving up so I switched to straps, and gave myself a slight back strain.
  • Chin ups 3x5 BW + 35 lbs. Going to stay around 25 - 35 added pounds and add reps until I can get up to 10 again.
  • Face pulls 4x8 BW 45 lbs.
  • Bulgarian Split Squats: skipped due to back strain from deadlifting.

This workout was humbling. I was rushing to get back to some heavy pulls on dead lift. So I jumped from 275 to 315. I started with singles to see how it felt, and it felt fine for a few pulls with a break in between. But I wanted to do my normal reps, so I decided the weight was pushing it.

I brought the weight down to 285, and at that point my grip was starting to suffer. I got out the straps which I don’t normally use, and think between focusing on the straps I let my form suffer and my back round. Go go gadget cat back. Nice hot searing pain in my lower back which instantly finished my dead lift sets.

I focused straight away on stretching and trying to make sure my back self sprinted as little as possible. It obviously wasn’t an actual serious injury, but backs are funny because they cramp up and self splint, which makes the injury painful and difficult to deal with.

I did yoga stretches, pulled my knees to my chest. Then I moved on to doing air squats and air dead lifts with no bar to keep moving.

The next day was stiff, but it progressively loosened up each day, and by 4/30 I was squatting again and doing bent over rows, so it should be mostly healed up.

(Katie) #38

Have you experimented with a low-bar squat? I used to have an issue getting to the proper depth due to mobility issues when I put the bar at the base of my neck/on my shoulders in the conventional way. Then I when I switched to a low-bar squat, with the bar across my scapula, I found that I could go way deeper and cleaner. Worth a try :woman_shrugging:

(DougH) #39

Thanks Katie. Yes I almost primarily low bar squat.

Once I get into a groove my ankle flexion is less of an issue. I get my own feel and technique going. Hip hinge always gets back to natural after a few sessions, though if feels clunky to start. Three months in and I can go ass to grass even on heavier squats. :+1::facepunch:

I also started using squat shoes with a raised heal. They help tremendously and give me what my ankle flexibility does not.

I am back over 225 with my squats now and the form is coming together and I am feeling great. My goal is to be up to three plates per side, 315 by this time next year. I think it is a very doable goal for 12 months. I bet with a coach I could get there even quicker!

(Katie) #40

Nice! :muscle:

I also think that it is doable. A coach would be great, so would a good powerlifting program if a coach is not feasible. You could look in to hiring Robert Sikes/Keto Savage. He is a keto and strength training coach. He has spoken at a few keto conferences.