Training Updates, 520 lb x 2 Squat, 250 lb x 2 OHP, More PRs, 5 Fingers KSO Review and New Toys

October 13, 2013 — Leave a comment

Going to make a few changes to my training:

Training Updates


Pause everything!

I think I've been having some good success with beltless paused squats for warm-up, and occasional for PR attempts. I've also been pausing all of my front squats (including work sets) and I believe they have carried over pretty well to my low bar squat.

Also, the load I'm using for my work sets are feeling tough and grindy, so I want to lower the weight.

So...I'm going start performing beltless paused squats for my work sets starting tomorrow.

The plan is to do sets of 5 for beltless paused squats, and once that gets tough change to sets of 3 reps. Once that gets tough, add a belt, maybe lower the weight, and then go back to sets of 5 again. Once 5's are tough, move onto sets of 3 with a belt.

For my warm ups, I'm going to keep it as is, that is breathing paused squats up to 320 lb, then paused squats up to 460 lb, and finally a low bar squat of 500 lb before moving onto the work sets. I might add in some reverse bands as well to keep my body accustomed to handling heavy weights.

Bench Press

Similar to squats, I'm going to drop the weight and pause my work sets. I want to build some more strength from the bottom, and also give my joints a bit of a break from benching heavy all the time.

Also there's a push/pull powerlifting meet coming up in November, and if I decide to do it, it's probably a good idea to train paused bench presses. Still undecided if I'm going to compete or not.


I need to start deadlifting consistently on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

On Tuesdays, I've been experimenting with speed deadlifts with a band (green), only doing 5 sets of 3 reps at a pretty light weight.

Starting this week, I'm going to change up my warm up so that I'm doing a regular, no-band deadlift, working up to 500 lb with no belt. Then, strip the bar back down to do my work sets of banded speed deadlifts.

For Saturdays, I think I'm going to go back to mat pulls. Maybe warm up with deadlifts off the floor up to 500 lb with no belt, but transferring the bar + plates onto the mats for mat pulls will be a pain in the ass. We'll see how it goes.


I've been regularly doing dragon flags, ab wheel and L-sit chin ups as part of my warm up. I'm going to start making use of my inversion table (Teeter Hang Ups EP-950) and perform inverted sit ups. I'll do these on the days that I don't do dragon flags/L-sit chins.

My goal is to have super strong Adamantium Abs.

PR's This Past Week

Total: 5.

Squat: 500 lb (No Belt 1RM)

Wore VFF for this one to see how it felt.

Front Squat: 370 lb x 3 (3RM)

These felt very explosive. Any more explosive, then the bar would have leaped off my shoulders and into my chin, and the bar would have beat me by KO.

Previous 3RM was 350 lb, and previous best with 370 lb was 2 reps.

Overhead Press: 250 lb x 2 (2RM)

+5 lb PR. A little bit of lean back is fine (maybe even necessary) for heavy overhead presses, IMO.

Low Bar Squat: 520 lb x 2 (2RM)

+20 lb PR! Missed the second rep last week, but got it today.

~518 lb *was* my 1RM at my last powerlifting meet in June, and now I can do 2 reps with a little more than that weight. Progress is still progressing.

Paused, No-Belt High Bar Squat: 440 lb (1RM)

This felt easy, but a tiny 20 lb more crushed me :/

Vibram FiveFingers KSO Review

I got around to writing a review for the VFF KSO toed minimalist shoes.

TL;DR: They look strange, but are very comfortable. Works well for kicking the heavy bag, OK for low bar squats, not so good for high bar and front squats, and awesome for deadlifts.

Full review here: Vibram FiveFingers KSO Review

Other Stuff

I got some toys in the mail:

Spud Neck Harness

Spud Neck Harness

RumbleRoller Beastie

RumbleRoller Beastie

Going to be fun to put these to the test!

John Phung

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Ever since I started taking strength training seriously, I was bitten by the Iron Bug. Then it burrowed under my skin and laid eggs in my heart. Now those eggs are hatching and I... the feeling is indescribable.

Quick Stats
Height: 5'4" on non-squat days
Weight: 200 lb 210 lb ~220 lb (FOREVER BULK BRAH)


  • Texas Method: March 4, 2011 - April 28, 2013
  • Smolov Jr for Bench Press: June 4 - 22, 2012
  • Starting Strength: Nov 29, 2010 - March 4, 2011