[Weekly Review] December 29, 2014 – January 4, 2015: Training Updates, 3 PRs and Stuff You Should Read

January 5, 2015 — Leave a comment

Welp, it's 2015 now, meaning many people are making resolutions.


New Years resolution: Eat more vegetables. #health #fitness #gains #spinach

A photo posted by John Phung (@johnny_phung) on

Training Updates

Reflecting back on recent training, I realize that there are certain lifts that would probably benefit from increased frequency.

My thing is that I don't want to spend more time doing more stuff!

So, I'm going to make some changes to my training that will allow me to increase the frequency of certain lifts without expending more time.


Simply cram them into my warm up! This will allow me to practice more technical/explosive/poorer leveraged/weaker lifts/lifts that I suck at as a "warm up" to heavier lifts without significantly spending more time or energy.

Here's what I mean:

A lift that I do on and off is the low bar squat.

After a layoff of low bar squatting, getting back into it feels awkward. I can't seem to find my groove and my technique is off. I could low bar squat more frequently, but I find with frequent low bar squatting at RPE 9+ sets really takes it's toll on my shoulders, elbows, and low back. And it's just not comfortable. This is not the case with high bar squat, which is why I do that particular variation so often.

To make sure that the low bar squatting technique is grooved freshly into my muscle's brains, what I'm going to do (and I've done this in the past - mostly in 2013) is warm up with low bar squat, and then move onto high bar squat with a few warm up sets followed by my top sets and back off sets (if any).


Breathing Paused Low Bar Squat

  • 140 x 10
  • 230 x 5
  • 320 x 3

Paused Low Bar Squat

  • 410 x 1

Paused High Bar Squat

  • 410 x 1

High Bar Squat

  • Whatever x Whatever

This can be done with front squat as well, but my purpose is to fine tune my low bar technique on a regular basis and prevent myself from getting rusty with the lift.

Another way I plan on incorporating this is warming up with overhead presses, then move onto a few warm up set of bench presses, then finally my top set (and whatever back off sets I decide to do afterwards).


Overhead Press

  • 45 x 10
  • 100 x 5
  • 140 x 3
  • 190 x 2
  • 230 x 1
  • 250 x 1
  • 300 x 1
    • SOON

(set up bar, safeties and bench for bench pressing)

Paused Reverse Grip Bench Press

  • 320 x 2
  • 370 x 1

Reverse Grip Bench Press

  • (PR set)

For deadlifts, I have more recently performed the clean & press as "warm up" prior to deadlifting. I think explosive lifts will revv up your CNS if done prior to slow lifts, making you lift more weight. At the very least, it allows me to practice something more technically challenging than simply bending over and picking something off the ground.

Now, I just need to increase the frequency of deadlifting, and I'm set.

3 Personal Records

Only 3 PRs this week, mainly because of holidays and stuff </excuses>.

Bench Press: 335 lb x 4 (4RM)

Did this after doing a bunch of overhead presses.

High Bar Squat (No Belt): 405 lb x 10 (10RM)

New Years Resolution: Do more cardio.

DONE! Now I can relax for the rest of the year.

Overhead Press: 270 lb x 2 (2RM)

Felt like risking my life today, so I used a false (or thumbless) grip for the OHP.

I'm usually paranoid of the bar slipping out of my hands with a thumbless grip for any pressing movement, but I'm sure my Spidey senses and reaction time would get me to safety if I do drop the bar.

Stuff You Should Read

  1. 2014 Year In Review & Goals for 2015 by Me!

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