Back in late May, I realized that my time for training was getting pretty crunched. Between taking care of one or both kids, coaching, writing, and dealing with a bunch of other life stuff, I could only reliably lift twice a week. Fortunately for me, I stumbled across a template from Dan John that required training only two days a week. So I figured I'd give it a shot. Here's some notes on the journey thus far, and my plans for the future.
The First Block (late May -- Mid July)
I committed a cardinal sin when I started this program. I modified it before I tried it. I know, I know...I've written about not doing it, everyone writes about not doing it, I know better, I did it anyway. In my defense, I saw a few different versions of this program floating around, and didn't find the one linked above until a couple of weeks in.
a) used a Front Squat instead of a backsquat
b) changed the reps on the DL (usually doing 5-3-2 or 3x3)
c) used different assistance exercises (mostly pullups, inverted rows, and TGUS)
I also experimented with working with a gripper in the mornings when I would take the dog out for a walk.
Despite all my screwing around, things seemed to be going well. My bench slowly but surely went up, as did my front squat. However, the gripper work apparently did a number of my hands and wrists, because after several weeks of that, I couldn't rack the bar for the front squats as well. And my hands and wrists were generally achy. So I decided to ditch the gripper work, and switched to the back squat. I also had a week off at the end of this, for a family vacation.
Second Block (late July -- Now)
This time around, I decided to do exactly what the program says (plus some mobility stuff). Followed the rep schemes, did all of the assistance work. My bench continues to slowly climb, but it is very slow. My deadlift hasn't changed a lot, but I have been mostly pulling those doubles cleanly. My back squat seemed to be going up, but then I ran into another issue.
I added a BJJ class on the night before my second lifting session. Which means that I would go into every day two (the squat day) fatigued, and it would hold back both the bench and squat. Having a lighter day for the BP seems okay, but I was getting frustrated with constantly having to squat through fatigue.
Also, all the assistance work seemed to aggravate the crap out of my forearms. I don't know why, but everything from my elbows down seemed to hurt more. When I took a deload week, and followed it up with a bout of stomach flu (great for the abs), things felt better.
The Plan for Now (Now -- Nov)
Things may change a bit in a few months, but for now, this scheme still seems like a good idea. However, I am going to try making some modifications once again.
A) Stick with the basic BP cycle, but plan that day two is a lighter day. I will either drop the total reps, or simply skip the last set (the really heavy one). (I considered subbing in a different exercise, but that seems to miss the point).
B) Switch the DL and SQ days. Yes, that means I'll be deadlifting the morning after BJJ class, but I'm sick of squatting fatigued. We'll see how that works out.
C) Go back to doing pullups, inverted rows, TGUS, and carries for assistance work. It feels way, way better on everything.
I've also noticed that I've added about 15-20 pounds since I started this program. Some of that is clearly muscle. Not all of it is. That's a dietary issue, which needs to be addressed.