PR Friday – 29 AUG 2014

PR Friday — Post your training updates, PR’s, and questions to the comments and the 70′s Big crew will respond. 

Weekly Q&A gives you a chance to ask anyone from the 70′s Big Crew a question in the comments below, on Facebook, or Twitter. Follow 70’s Big on Instagram

Recap: On Monday we reviewed lessons from Dr. Stuart McGill and how to incorporate them into our training. Chalk Talk #5 gave explained how to do soft tissue work on the quads to reduce anterior knee pain.

Based on what we learned about spinal positioning and low back health, why is the picture below bad? What could happen at the spine? What are some cues to prevent this from happening?

A for effort, but this could be problematic...

A for effort, but this could be problematic…


30 thoughts on “PR Friday – 29 AUG 2014

  1. cues : lead with the chest, jump ON the box
    problems : hyperextension with such load could block verbatabres, and more repetitions with this form could cause pain in low back – stuff happness to spine :)

  2. No PRs this week

    Squat triple is at a slow 460 of prev fast 475

    Considering a 12 pound loss of body’s that’s not too bad.

    No pressing this week – pinched a nerve in the digiti minimi brevis.

    Compromised grip strength – managed a quick double at 485 conventional pull before it became too much to hang onto.

    The picture: I believe hyper extension doesn’t cover it. However, her thoracic and cervical spine look fine. Some ribs-down/bracing cues should fix this

  3. DL PR, hit 400×5 which is nice although I think my lower back is starting to slightly round (that or I’m too paranoid), failed my last rep on the Benchpress (210×5, only did four) which left me quite annoyed but meh

    I’m running 5/3/1 and I’m really temped to add more volume to Squat day, currently doing this : Squats 5/3/1/Hack Squats 5×10/Leg Curls 5×10/ Calves… Thought of adding Leg Press but not sure about it, would appreciate your thoughts on that

    As for the picture, a hyperxtension I guess, not sure about the loads there but if she keeps doing it like that she may screw with her lower back/spine

  4. My wife and I have a 7 week old and since she was born my time in the gym has been reduced to about 2, 1 hour sessions a week as things are a bit crazy. I’m making the best of the situation by finally taking the time to seriously cut the 40-50 lb of extra fat off me and drop from SHW to the 105s, and just doing 1 high intensity upper (bench supersetted with chins, press supersetted with Kroc rows) and 1 high intensity lower body workout (squats followed by deadlifts, which I might start supersetting with curls) a week. I was doing a 5/3/1 template with the main 4, but now I’m just hitting a heavy double/triple on the competition lifts and winging the others.

    TLDR: New baby, no time, doing high intensity instead of volume whilst cutting fat to make the best out of it.

    There are two weaknesses I have that I’m trying to work on over time and I’d like some advice on them.

    The first is crappy grip strength. I can only double overhand my deadlift up to about 375×3 and my 1RM is about 545. I almost locked out 575, but grip went. Added the kroc rows to upper day to work grip a bit more. During the DL workout, I double overhand as long as I can in the warm ups, then switch grip. The question here which works grip harder, a) switching to mixed grip with just chalk, or b) staying at double overhand and adding in straps, gripping the hell out of the bar, and letting the straps take up the weight that you can’t handle?

    Second weakness is bench, which is more of a long term fix. My max squat is 495, max pull 545, but my max paused bench is only 307 (I think that was the kg conversion from the comp). I’m going to start adding more volume and assistance after the cut, but my question is for during the set. I am currently pausing every rep in a 3-5 rep set. Am I cutting myself short by doing this? Should I only be pausing the first and/or last rep and touch n’ going the rest?

  5. No PRs this week, as I switched to your Transitioning to Olympic Weightlifting template because powerlifting was boring me. It’s working well, but I’m running into an assload of technical problems in weightlifting. A few questions off the top of my head:

    – My primary limitations are staying vertical in the squats and catching the snatch in the bottom position (read: I fucking can’t. I can power snatch all day but the overhead squat kills me.) I need mobs / stretches for this.

    – I’m cleaning my presses and enjoying it, like a boss. Should I be hook gripping these? Should I be doing this for front squats too?

    • I’m pretty much a total noob at WL, but I have a similar situation in regards to my snatch/OHS being limited by mobility. My thoracic spine is essentially frozen in a tiny bit of flexion from sitting at work all day. So, I took my chair out of my office and stacked my computer on some books to raise it up – the poor man’s stand up desk. Then I would do some of Kelly Starrett’s thoracic mobility drills (the book is great but the basic stuff is on youtube). My personal favorite/worse thing ever involves a golf ball and a 45 bumper. The other one I found really works for me is laying across a foam roller at the stiffest point in my T-spine and reeeeeaaaaaaaching out my arms to lightly hold on to an unloaded barbell. I try to make my arm pits flatten out to the sky. I will also move my hips up and down to increase/decrease the pressure and also to avoid my hyper-mobile low back compensating. I’ll hold this for several minutes. I can’t remember who said it, but I just repeat to myself that sitting is like smoking for your back.

  6. No PRs this week. Getting back into the swing of lifting. I think I may have tore my pec minor slightly this week though.

    That McGill article was very interesting to read. It made me question some of the workouts I do in relation to lower spine health. How do you feel weighted planks and deficit deads will affect lower spine health and spine stabilization?

  7. Programming Question: Currently doing a four day, upper/lower split. First lower day I am squatting/deadlifting. I was wondering what you guys would recommend for the squat: front squat or back squat, and how would you program the sets and reps for it before deadlifting? I was thinking either low volume front squat (2-3 sets x 1-3 reps) or lighter, higher volume back squat (3-5 sets x 3-5 reps). Not sure which is more optimal though.

  8. Running the 5/3/1 template from outlaw power and reaching the tolerance level for the volume of conditioning. Thus, each week I sub in the “boring but big” work for different days. This week it was on press day and squat day. Last week was on dead and bench days. I began following this program simply to be on the same page as so!e workout buddies. Likely, I will be shifting back to a Texas method setup with which I have had my best success.

    Question: what do you recommend for placement of unilateral training? Today on front squats (3×10) I felt much more tightness and now soreness in my right quad than the left. I also have more right knee pain than left regularly (I believe it relates to tight quadriceps muscles.

    70-80-90 work this week:
    Deads 380×10
    Press 140×6
    Squat 305×10
    Bench 205x TBD would like 8-9.

    Weight hovering around 170

  9. Justin – Thanks for the chalk talk vids. Also glad you are finding time to do some posts every now and again. Great to see!

    Kinda lost in trying to find a program. I’m a firefighter so I need a decent blend of strength and conditioning. I’m curious if you have been able to get a look at the Field Strong program Mr. Welbourn is doing,

    On another note, been going to a chiropractor on a weekly basis and haven’t felt this good in a long time. Probably since before my army years.

    Thanks guys.

    Oh yeah, looks like she is way over extending the back. Almost looks like it could turn into a horizontal pull instead of a vertical. Little to no shrug, might end up reverse curling the bar.

    • What does your weekly schedule look like? That’s going to probably make a big difference on what program you follow.

      I haven’t followed Field Strong, but I spent a year doing John’s programming when I was in SOF (also did his cert). Smart guy, and that mix of heavy lifting and higher-intensity, shorter duration conditioning wouldn’t be a bad fit for a firefighter (I assume – never been one myself, just to be clear).

      • I work a 24 on 48 off schedule. Some days we are fairly slow call wise (interrupted sleep to little sleep). Some day we stay pretty busy.

        Yeah that is what I’m leaning towards, the mix of heavy lifting and high intensity condition.

        Thanks for the response!

    • I followed Field Strong for the first 6 week cycle so I might be able to help out a little bit. I was on the PA1 program, which is the linear progression. It’s an amazing program in some ways, but the workload ended up crushing me.

      If you’ve ever read “you need to be doing a dynamic warm-up” and wondered exactly how a real coach would program that for you, then Field Strong can help there. There’s a big difference between reading things like “you should be working some planks into your routine” and “Monday’s stability work is 5×30 sec. dead bugs with 30 seconds of rest between sets.” I felt so much better warmed up for each workout and my trunk stability improved in leaps and bounds.

      The problem for me was the massive time and recovery commitment. You train for 6 days a week to do the full program, though Wednesdays are more of “active recovery” days (Saturdays sometimes are as well). Due to the lengthy warm-ups, stability work, and conditioning on top of heavy lifting, quite a few training days took me around 2 hours. Even the Wednesdays often involve an hour of (admittedly not that hard) work. Spending that many hours a week ended up leaving me feeling what I’m pretty sure was overtrained. I’m sure my recovery wasn’t completely flawless, but I was sleeping 8+ hours a night and eating as much as I could (and at least 1g protein/lb bodyweight).

      I’m currently on week 6 of the 70’s Big S&C program (so take my opinions with a grain of salt because I’m relatively new to this) and I’m still getting stronger with much less time in the gym and now have the ability to fit things I enjoy like pick-up basketball into my schedule again. It’s a much better fit for me.

      I can’t speak to how the PA2 program, the one designed for those who have exhausted a linear progression, would work for more advanced athletes who have built up a better tolerance for volume.

      • Thanks for the review of the Field Strong program. I appreciate it!

        I need to look into the program you are doing currently. Are you making up your own conditioning sessions?


        • Yes. I’m at a pretty low level of conditioning now, so I’m starting with pretty simple things like rowing for 10 min, intervals on a bike/rower/track, kettle bell swings, etc.

  10. No PR’s to speak of. I believe I managed to herniate a disc in my L5 region two weeks ago today. It’s progressively getting better through chiropractic manipulation and mobility work.

  11. 162.5×3 squat
    97.5×3 bench. Probably will start incrementing my 1.2kg instead of 2.5kg because every other friday I miss the tripple. Bought chains, $1 = 1meter = 280grams, cheap as fuck, total of $4 spent.
    177.5×3 deadlift. 4 plates, here I come.
    Nice friday, no misses happened.

  12. First time poster working on week 6 of the 70’s Big S&C Program (+RDL’s on Monday). Things are going well but I thought it would be great to get some help from the 70’s Big crew on my squat form. I’ve got two videos, let me know if another angle is needed.

    5×230 (today, side view)

    5×220 (last week, “eight o’clock view”)

  13. PR’s:
    Squat 415 – 2×3
    I just started “running out” squats the past couple weeks. It’s a great shift from 5’s.
    Bench 265 – 2×3
    First session running out bench. It was some clean reps, man, real clean.
    Press 160 – 3×5
    I’ve about tapped 3×5 in the press, it’s time to modify it to drive progress.
    No deadlift PR. I performed 475 for a smooth triple. Which is working back up to a recent PR of 500×3. Somewhere after the 500 I just burned out my deadlift and am finally working back up.

    Just ordered a 70’s Big shirt for me, and one for my lady that says I love Guys That Are 70’s Big. I plan for us to wear them in tandem. Also I really appreciate the tip about the two books in a recent Chalk Talk video. I ordered both immediately and Amazon has finally shipped them today.

    Lastly, I am always experiencing pain in my lower, mid and upper trap(s) after volume and intensity day. I have reverse cervical lordosis. I’ve been very diligent with postural corrections and chiropractor visits. Got any good info on rectifying this? I believe my reversed neck curvature is allowing my traps to snap city my ass when I tense hard.

  14. I’ve been running TM minus the light day for over 14 weeks now and I’ve not stopped hitting PRs every week.

    Mon: Squat/Bench 3×5, Row/Pullups
    Thu: Squat/Bench 3RM, Alternating Deadlift 3RM/Speed

    My question: I’m only training twice a week, I know it isn’t optimal but surprisingly I’ve still managed to hit PRs every week. What kind of issues will I run into eventually by only training twice a week? My bench is starting to slow down, could it be due to the lack of pressing?

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