I decided to give my personal workout program a new nickname – up to this point have referred to it by it’s phase of revision (which is 2.1) almost like a software program. I decided to nerdify it up even more by having the name reference the four states of matter, which since we’re on the second major revision of the plan puts us at “Liquid”.
This feels appropriate too – my first novice-era program was pretty much a consistent linear program which was very rigid with very consistent progress (you could say it was “Solid”), and now my second state of my workout program advancing me towards intermediate skill is more flexible with lots of minor changes being made along the way due to it being a more sophisticated periodized plan, being more “fluid”.
Metaphors aside, “Liquid” is a pretty fun plan that works well for me right now, but hard to tell just how well until we break it down a bit…
Mesocycle 4 lasted from October 1st to November 10th and it happened during a fairly stressful work period while I ran a closing store through the final phases of liquidation. Work absolutely saps the motivation to get workouts done, while I was able to keep it consistent I think the biggest hit was to my cardio. It didn’t help that the cold weather started to set in, which made it less motivating to be outside. My cardio doesn’t have to be top notch though, in a life priority I’m sure I can make it up in the years to come and still hit my goals, my real priority is lifting. It is very notable how much life circumstances can impact an exercise plan, and how it’s important to keep prioritized.
All said though I feel this mesocycle went well, and enjoyed it greatly.
Cycle 1: Conditioning
Period: Oct 1st to Oct 7th
Rest Days: 3
This was the first workout week where I swapped out my old front squats for the high bar back squat, which was a real good change. Deadlifts went well, Bench Press was still rough, Squats were really good. Dev day this week was arms and shoulders. Fairly straightforward.
Cardio was very light this week, 3-ish mile hike in Boyce Park was the only real dedicated cardio I had on one of my rest days.
Cycle 2: Hypertrophy
Period: Oct 8th to Oct 13th
Rest Days: 2
Started the week with a cold, so the first couple of days had a shorter than usual workout. I got over it though and wrapped up strong. This was the first time I did a new stretching/rotator cuff exercise routine (hard to really describe but in short I stretch one arm while doing rotator cuff exercises with the other then switch) which really makes the shoulder health work a little more compact and nice.
The only cardio this week was a 3.82 mile run in Frick Park, fun and nice. Definitely lacking in the cardio department which is a trend of mesocycle 4.
Cycle 3: Stability & Control
Period: Oct 14th to Oct 19th
Rest Days: 2
Started this cycle out at low energy, second workout had a time constraint, but otherwise things went well. I noticed again seeing good mornings (pinned in the squat rack) back in workout schedule, and I want to note that I definitely am trying to throw in either those or stiff legged deadlifts (which I find works best if you just start from the floor with a proper barbell as if you were going to do deadlifts and trying to get low enough to touch the floor again, although my flexibility ends a little above the floor level). This I think is very important to hit on leg-focused days.
This cycle was the first cycle I started to just decide that my bench press, which has felt weak up until this point, just needs more volume so I started making developmental day a secondary bench day and I’m keeping it that way until I start seeing better progress.
Got a great 5.16 mile run in at Monroeville Community Park this week and did a 2 mile run with a 1 mile walk, so improved my mileage a bit, but not yet anywhere near where it was before.
Cycle 4: Conditioning & Speed
Period: Oct 20th to Oct 28th
Rest Days: 4
This may seem a little long because my 4th cycle overlapped my 5th cycle. This cycle also marks my return back to my first gym, which I’m only doing as a secondary gym membership. I like my first gym a lot, but I fear in the winter I’ll have missed days due to weather or other concerns and my old gym is next to where I’ll be working soon, so for winter I’ll have both then I’ll drop the old gym when the cold weather passes. It’s nice to have variety for the time being.
As for the workouts themselves, my bench still felt weak, and I feel it’ll take a bit of extra time to make it up so I’m just putting in the work right now. Oddly the change of scenery had a noticable impact on my workouts… I just felt like my current gym had better workout days than the old gym. Again dev day was bench press focused.
Did 2.2 miles on the treadmill for cardio, and a 3 mile run outside. It was breezy and before a storm, sounds cold but the weather was perfect once the pace set in and I had no rain on me.
Cycle 5: Heavy Weight Acclimation
Period: Oct 27th to Nov 3rd
Rest Days: 3
Again this workout cycle overlapped the previous one, stretching it out an arbitrary day. Started this workout week with a nice new PR in my deadlift of 330lbs, it was just one of those days where everything felt right so I went for it and hit it. Did strain my low back for a few days, since it was impromptu it was beltless, but it felt great. I started doing some stiff legged deadlifts in a more traditional fashion, almost like a deadlift, although my flexibility doesn’t let me quite toucgh the floor yet, and it felt good.
For cardio I did a 5.3 mile run outside again in the breezy weather, it was the only run this cycle though.
Cycle 6: Strength Testing
Period: Nov 4th to Nov 10th
Rest Days: 3
Okay, so my testing cycle went pretty well overall. My Deadlift is still consistently improving, which is fantastic. My Bench Press is still stalling, but I realize that it should improve if I just invest a little more energy into increasing the volume. My squat, which was started at kind of a low figure, feels pretty solid and I felt comfortable bumping it up considerably.
For my final week’s cardio, I did 6 miles on the treadmill. Still a noticeable diminishment from the last mesocycle.
Conclusions & Progression Updates
I feel that what my bench press needs is more volume, so more developmental day workouts will be chest focused and more bench press exercises will end with drop sets until I see an improvement. Addressing that matter my squat and deadlift progress well, and I’m happy with how that goes. The program so far needs no real changes at least for now, although I should focus better on keeping my cardio going. While I do not need to hit any new cardio goals (it’s winter time basically and I don’t see myself running a race until spring), I do need a little more to keep pace and prevent degredation of my running ability. Alright, new goals…
Deadlift: 350lbs (previously 340lbs, tested one rep max is now 330lbs)
Stated Goal: 400lbs verified one rep max
High Bar Back Squat: 220lbs (previously 200lbs, I did feel this first training estimate was low so I felt increasing to 220 would be worthwhile)
Stated Goal: 315lbs verified one rep max
Bench Press: 190lbs (no change, as stated increasing volume as I will not budge this up until I am comfortable with the level I’m at, perhaps I moved this up too fast in the first place as this is the second training cycle I am not increasing it)
Stated Goal: 225lbs verified one rep max
Not the most exciting update, but worthwhile progress made. I feel like mesocycle 5 could be really great!
Some of my favorite pics during this training cycle… click the left/right arrows to click through