Archives For jamie lewis

Here is my new secret weapon(s) to increase my deadlift:

rubber-pavers (1)

rubber-pavers (2)

rubber-pavers (3)

Ok not that much of a secret, because I found out about it here: ROM Progression Method.

The idea with ROM progression method is to increase the range of motion over time.

I kinda-sorta played around with the ROM Progression Method before, doing rack pulls in my power rack, but that was a pain in the ass to adjust the safety bars every time.

I had to set the safety bars on my rack to the right level, which involves pulling it out of the holes from front-to-back, and sliding it back in at the right level, all while listening to the screeching sound and feeling the vibrations from metal sliding on metal contact.

At the same time, I didn't use my B&R bar for rack pulls. I used an old, no-name crappy Olympic bar that I got from Kijiji. I've read that rack pulls done in the power rack runs the risk of bending whatever bar you're using, and I did not want to bend my best bar. The crappy Olympic bar is a bit thicker than the B&R bar, and the chrome is peeling off. Also, it barely fits inside of the safety pins of my power rack.

Well, getting my deadlift up has been a bit of a mystery to me, but partial deadlifts seemed to have helped before.

So, I figured I might as well do this right and pull from rubber mats rather than doing rack pulls in the power rack.

I had some left over rubber stall mats, so I cut them up resulting in 8 pieces of roughly 18"x24" rectangles. I also purchased 8 x 18"x18" rubber paver tiles from Home Depot ($7.99 before taxes and free shipping!).

With a total of 8 mats on each side, this raises the bar so that it's about 2" below the bottom of my kneecaps.

So right now I have 8 mats about 3/4" high. One week, I'll do my mat pulls with 8 mats, and then the next, I'll remove 1 mat so that there will be 7. This will be repeated until I am pulling from the floor.

It'll probably take a few "cycles" of this to reach my goal of a 600 lb deadlift.

I was going to start this yesterday, but ended up grocery shopping and then eating a hamburger instead.

Rep PR's and Other Training Updates

Hit some PR's this past week:

5RM: Low Bar & High Bar Squat: 430 lb x 5

2RM: Bench Press: 340 lb x 2

Overhead presses has been crappy lately, so I'm going to replace them with some good old fashion clean and presses. This should provide a "deload" from heavy OHP (because the weight I can use for C&P is limited by what I can clean, which is lower than my press), give me an opportunity to work on power (or muscle) clean technique, and get a little more yoked.

Also, looking at my Youtube channel I saw that the last time I tested a bench press PR was over a month ago. I might try 365 lb soon.

Stuff You Should Read

A few good articles I came across this past week:

  1. Self Assessments- Retarded In The Workplace, But CROOSH In The Gym (NSFW) by Jamie Lewis
  2. Random Things I've Learned Through Weightlifting And Writing- Part 1 by Kirksman
  3. 12 Fitness Lessons by Greg Robins
  4. 120 Tips on Strength Training for Women by Bret Contreras
  5. Increasing Work Capacity by Greg Nuckols
  6. A-List Exercises: Upper Body Pulling by Nick Tumminello

Let's see how my training went this past week:


Decided to add a couple of sets of low bar squat to Monday's already high volume squat workout, and it was quite challenging. Maybe it's my lack of conditioning, but I had to lie down on a bench with my feet elevated during the later sets. I have never done this before.

I did 2 sets of 5 after 5x3 of low bar squats. My low back muscles felt extremely pumped after the sets of 5, and may have made the high bar squats more difficult than it should have been. I think I'll try adding the 2x5 low bar squats after 5x5 high bar squat to see how it feels.

Surprisingly, I did not experience much DOMS in my legs or lower back the next day, and I could walk up and down the stairs just fine.

Maybe, because my body proportion is similar to that of Wolverine, I have similar healing powers too! I definitely do not have the body hair though.


For overhead presses, I missed again (twice!) at 260 lb even though I didn't bench as much on Monday (3x5 instead of the usual 5x5), allowing my triceps to be "more fresh" on OHP day.

Maybe it has to do with my grip width, and how it affects my upper body position. I find that with a wider grip, I can stand more erect, but with a narrower grip, I need to lean back a little so that the bar is over the center of my body. I used a narrow grip, and I'm pretty sure I was standing more erect than leaning back, because the bar felt a little too forward as I tried to press the weight up.

Or maybe, I'm just not strong enough to OHP 260 lb. Yet.

I did get a body weight (200 lb) 7 rep max, and I'm hoping for 225 x 5 for the next session.

Bench Press

Out of all the lifts that I do with a barbell, I think I'm making the most progress with my bench press.

I hit a new 3RM at 330 lb. Previous my 3 rep personal best was 320 lb a little over a month ago. +10 lb increase is not too bad!

I think this weight would be a good opener for the bench press in a powerlifting competition.

Also, I think I finally (and accidentally) figured out how to utilize my lats to drive the bar up during the bench. I'll need to experiment more though.

Anyway, check out some of the articles I wrote this past week:

  1. What I Eat And What Supplements I Take
  2. How To Get That Last Bit Of Whey Protein Powder Out Of The Container

And take a look these:

  1. Dude, So and So Got SO Fucking Jacked For That Movie: Hugh Jackman by Jamie Lewis
  2. Maximal Leg Development by Mike Robertson
  3. How to Lose 40 lb of Fat in 63 days by Marty Gallagher

Some training updates and notes from this past week, mainly for myself to clarify exactly what the hell I'm doing (or about to do), and for those who might be interested in my workouts.


For the squat, I'm increasing the volume on both volume day and intensity day.

For volume day, it will be:

  • Low bar squat: 5x3
  • High bar squat: 5x5

So that's 40 total squat reps (generally Texas Method is 25 total squat reps, and I've done 30 in the past). I'm playing with the idea of adding a couple of low bar squat back off sets of 2x5. Not sure yet.

And intensity day:

  • Low bar squat: 3x3
  • High bar squat: 2x5

Normally for intensity day for the Texas Method is 1x5.

We'll see how this works out.

I haven't squatted 500 lb or more in a long time. In fact, my squat has gotten weaker after making some changes to my programming. I have a feeling this increased volume, along with performing low bar and high bar squats in the same workout, will build a solid foundation and get me back on track.

My short term goal is to finally get a high bar squat of 500 lb or more (current max is 495 lb, missed on 500 lb a few times), and to break my overall squat (which is a low bar squat) PR of 510 lb.

Overhead Press

I missed a 260 lb overhead press on Wednesday, but did get some repetition PRs (225x4 and 200x6).

My triceps always feel a little fatigue and sore on Wednesday from Monday's bench workout. I suspect that if I decrease my bench press from 5x5 to 3x5 on Monday, I'll press 260 lb on Wednesday. We shall see.

Bench Press

My first bench press PR of the year! 360 lb with a reverse grip:

Everything felt smooth for the most part. I did feel the bar move forward towards my head by a fraction of a nanometer (normally on the descent, it goes down until the bar touches a point below my sternum), but I managed to control it and press it up.

I think I'll hit some repetition PR's before tackling a 1 rep max again.


I'll be trying out some added volume for deadlifts at 5x5. Basically, I'll work up to a heavy single (500 lb) with a hook grip to keep my pain tolerance high and to ensure I can deadlift 500 lb anytime, and then hit 5x5 for my work sets. I'm starting with 320 lb and will probably be adding 5 lb or so per week.

I was thinking of doing rack pulls again and gradually decrease the height of the bar over time, but changing the sabre style safeties in my power rack is a bit of a pain in the ass. Maybe I'll come back to this in the future.

L-Sit Chin Ups

Lastly, I also posted a video of me doing some L-sit chin ups, which I believe helps in the OHP (see my article below) and keeps me from looking like a Centaur.

Anyway, here are some blog posts I wrote this past week that you might have missed:

  1. Pressure Cooker Pork Bulgogi Recipe - This is yummy.
  2. How To Prevent Your Back From Slipping & Sliding During The Bench Press - This $1 item helped increase my bench press.

And check out these articles about the overhead press:

3 Ways To Increase Your Overhead Pressing Strength by John Phung (hey, that's me!)

I wrote a guest post for at the request of the site owner. I write about some things that has helped me with my overhead press. I have a still have a few tricks up my sleeves, so maybe there will be a part II in the future 😉

Pimpin' Ain't Easy #4- Let's get Down to The Finish (NSFW) by Jamie Lewis

Another article about the overhead press, detailing different methods by guys like Tommy Kono and Bill March, who both had a similar body weight as me in the past, but pressed well over 300 lb over their heads.

I had some shoulder pain while squatting last week, so what I did this week to deal with this issue is I tried high bar squatting while holding onto a pair of straps (video). It works pretty well, although a bit tricky to balance.

A couple of personal records this week:

  1. 245lbs overhead press (+5lbs) PR
  2. 530lbs deadlift (+10lbs) PR (followed by 550lbs with straps)

I ALMOST had a 350lbs bench press (which would have been a +5lbs PR), had it not been the sudden slip of my body on the bench while pressing the bar up.

Hopefully I'll hit another bench press, overhead press and deadlift PR before the year is over.

My squat has been suffering. It could be because of the change of programming I did recently, small nagging injuries, or both. I'm going to have to re-evaluate my programming and look at my logs to see what worked for me in the past.

Also hung up a couple of posters for my home gym (finally!)

Anyways, check these out:

  1. My Insecurities by Courtney Gould
  2. Dude, So and So Got SO Fucking Jacked For That Movie: Chris Hemsworth by Jamie Lewis
  3. Best Squat Depth for Glute Activation by Chris Beardsley

Well I totally missed on the 350lbs reverse grip bench press last Friday due to pain radiating from my shoulders down my arms, but I did manage to get a 520lbs hook grip deadlift PR (video).

Anyways, check these out:

  1. The Chaos And Pain Guide To Brutal Squats by Jamie Lewis
  2. The Coaching Eye by Stef Bradford
  3. Gods of War: Ramon Dekkers by T.P. Grant