Getting stronger, part 2

It’s been 4 weeks and 6 days since I did a write up of my training and eating plans for this period. Strangely enough, I injured myself during squatting. My hip flexors locked up and wouldn’t let go for almost two weeks, hurting like hell whenever I wanted to bend over to pick something up, even if it was just a shoe. Trigger point massage and stretching did little more than temporarily relieve me of the pain, although the pain is all but gone since yesterday.

Still, I managed to get some results that I’m happy with over 5 weeks… Except I ate more than I planned. Story of my life.  Let’s start off with some numbers:

20-june -> 24-july
83,9 (185lbs) -> 87,1kg (192lbs)
Waist: 83cm -> 85cm (to be expected, seeing how much I ate)
Arms (left-right) : 37-38cm -> 38-39cm
Chest: 109cm -> 111cm
Legs (left-right) : 58-59cm -> 59-59cm
Resting heart rate 55-57 -> 51-52 (I think the 55-57 was a little off)


And I still don’t look like this. ‘Tis a sad world.


My caloric intake was planned around 3000 but I decided to move it up to 3500 since my workout frequency would go up. I ended up with an average caloric intake of 4000 with 7200 (!) being the highest day and 2700 being the lowest. My protein intake was intended at 180+ grams which was not a problem. There was one day with 155 grams but the average intake was around 220. (Note that these are all estimates, I don’t obsess over every single gram of whatever.)

I’ve been feeling a lot stronger over the course of the weeks, with a small PR here and there. Just to give an idea, I listed a few old PR’s and new numbers. Note that I haven’t done a bench press workout in a year (save for one time for fun), which is cool.

  • Back squat: 1×170kg/375lbs (with double ply knee sleeves) -> 3×164kg/362lbs (without sleeves)
  • Snatch: 1×105kg/231lbs -> 1×107,5kg/237lbs
  • Paused bench press: 1×122kg/268lbs (about a year ago) -> Back up to 3×105kg/231lbs
  • Chin up: 1×(95kg/209lbs bodyweight + 20kg/44lbs) -> 1x(89kg/196lbs bodyweight + 32kg/71lbs)

And I increased either volume or weight on a lot of assistance exercises. Added a few kg to my muscle snatch, did triples on power snatches from knee height where I would normally struggle with just one rep, my romanian deadlifts and pulls from the floor have gotten heavier, etc. I’m particularly happy about how strong my back feels after all the pull variations off the floor, as well as the rowing movements and chin up movements. I feel my snatch technique has improved but my clean & jerk technique has not.


I now lift about as much as Deng Wei, a chick who is 5 years younger and weighs 30kg less. Nice.


So I feel I could’ve gotten more out of these 5 weeks, but I’m glad I was able to progress despite my injury. My workouts were all over the place because I travel back and forth a lot, train at different facilities, etc. I spent around 6-12 hours a week in training. Some workouts were only half an hour, others got close to 2 hours. My original plan for training got messed up but I tried to do the following:

-Technical weightlifting exercise, 4-5 times a week
-Snatch or clean & jerk variation, 4-5 times a week
-Squat variation, 2-3 times a week
-Pull variation, 3-4 times a week
-Low volume upper body pulling exercise followed by moderate volume variation, 2 times a week
-Low volume pressing exercise followed by moderate volume variation, 2 times a week

Two examples:
Front squat
Deficit clean pull
Romanian deadlift + shrug
Barbell row

Muscle snatch from hip
Power snatch
Back squat
*short break because I had to work*
Overhead press
Kettlebell swings

But there have been a few occasions where I was pressed for time and just got in, worked up to a heavy set of squats and called it a day.

As for my injuries? My knees have been feeling better over the last weeks, the trigger points around my right upper arm/shoulder blade seem to have gotten negligible and (aside from my injury) my back feels amazing after doing a lot of romanian deadlifts and incline bat wings. My right gluteus medius/piriformis is fine as well and… Well… There’s my wrist which still hurts, but at least that was just from me falling down.

So yeah. Plans for the upcoming weeks:

  • Lower volume, up the intensity. Still not going to max out but I’m going to cut down on the moderate volume stuff.
  • Give more attention to the clean & jerk.
  • Workout structure remains the same, but exercise selection and volume will change.
  • Still work on back strength.
  • Eat less, since I don’t have much volume to keep up with, might as well lose some fat.
  • I have a minor powerlifting meet coming up in 6½ week for fun, so I want to set some personal records there. Still not doing any deadlifts, I’ll just do more heavy pulls off the floor.
  • Still going to monitor resting heart rate. I got over 60 twice, the rest was nicely under 60. No problem there.
  • More tiger balm. And ponder what I will do about my ankle injury.


“It would have been easy to mope around and say, “I’ll never be as good as they are.” But I looked at it a different way: It was awe-inspiring to see someone performing at a level I didn’t even think was possible.” – Ramit Sethi