EDITOR'S NOTE: Ever wonder how a world-class coach actually trains? Wonder what it's like to train as a "mature athlete?" Welcome to the athlete journal of Charles Staley. A big believer in practicing what he preaches, Charles trains and competes just like his clients. Now, every Friday read what Charles has done this week in his workout sessions, and how he feels about it.

 

This week was characterized by a re-dedication to hard work. Focus on the process and the intended result will follow.

 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 10:30 AM

 

Breaking Muscle Shop

Bodyweight: 199.6 lbs

 

I walked into the gym today after spending some time pondering this question:

 

Is it more likely that I'm working too hard in the gym, or not hard enough?

 

Funny thing is, I already knew the answer to this before I posed it: it's entirely clear that I'm not working hard enough. If you look at my training journal, a typical squat session (just to take an example) looks like this:

 

45x5, 45x5, 95x5, 135x3, 185x1, (Add a belt from here on out) 225x1, 275x1, 315x1, 365x1

 

If I'm having a particularly good day, I might venture into the 375-395 territory for a single as well. It would be perfectly reasonable to ask why I only do a single at 225, or even 275, and it's also quite reasonable to wonder why I don't do any back off sets after I hit my biggest single for the day.

 

So I DID ask myself that question, and the answer turned out to be that I've really been more concerned about what I can lift, rather than how hard I'm working. I'm only hitting singles from 225 forward because I'm 'saving myself' for the big single I'll be attempting a few sets later. Why no back off sets though? Well, although I'll typically reason to myself that I'm trying to save my shoulders or whatever, the real reason is that I hit a single that made me happy for the day, so I've given myself to take a vacation so to speak. It's just simple complacency.

 

Yesterday I became annoyed at myself for this, and I decided the focus of the day was going to be on work. Putting in the time. Paying my dues. No belt today (which puts 40-50 pounds on my squat), no saving myself, no concern about hitting big numbers. Just work. And my workout looked like what you see below.

 

I then moved on to deficit pulls, which I'd never done before, and these were also done beltless.

 

I think I'm going to alternate between "work" days (which will be characterized by the type of stuff I just described) and "performance days" which will be used to monitor my status, and also to reward myself for the previous work day.

 

For those familiar with my work, this discussion might sound contradictory to my well-known adage "What matters is what you do, not how it feels to do it," but I don't see it that way really. What mattered yesterday was what I did. As I write this now I'm unusually sore, which of course is a nice, constant pat on the back - a reminder that I worked hard yesterday, and that's nice. But the real point is that I'm starting to find a balance between performance and the process that leads to the performance. I've often said that the focus should be on the process, not the end result because first of all, you have much more control over the former than the latter, and second, if you do the former, the latter should simply take care of itself. 

 

BUFFALO BAR SQUAT

Set 1: 55 lbs × 5

Set 2: 55 lbs × 5

Set 3: 105 lbs × 5

Set 4: 145 lbs × 5

Set 5: 195 lbs × 5

Set 6: 235 lbs × 3

Set 7: 285 lbs × 2

Set 8: 305 lbs × 1

Set 9: 325 lbs × 1

Set 10: 285 lbs × 3

 

1" DEFICIT DEADLIFT

Set 1: 135 lbs × 3

Set 2: 225 lbs × 3

Set 3: 315 lbs × 3

Set 4: 405 lbs × 3

Set 5: 405 lbs × 3 (Video Below)

 

 

Friday, April 12, 2013, 10:30 AM

 

Bodyweight: 201 lbs

 

Notes: I worked hard today, took tops sets close to failure- solid hypertrophy session.

 

BENCH PRESS (DUMBBELL)

Set 1: 120 lbs × 10

Set 2: 120 lbs × 10

Set 3: 160 lbs × 10

Set 4: 160 lbs × 10

Set 5: 160 lbs × 10

 

MILITARY PRESS

Set 1: 45 lbs × 10

Set 2: 65 lbs × 10

Set 3: 85 lbs × 10

Set 4: 85 lbs × 10

Set 5: 85 lbs × 10

 

BICEP CURL (DUMBBELL)

Set 1: 70 lbs × 10

Set 2: 70 lbs × 10

Set 3: 70 lbs × 10

 

Saturday, April 13, 2013, 10:30 AM

 

Bodyweight: 200.4 lbs

 

Notes: I’m totally tanked today from Wednesday’s session. I was worried about my adductors on squats and deadlifts, and felt very weak on those exercises anyway.

 

SQUAT

Set 1: 45 lbs × 5

Set 2: 45 lbs × 5

Set 3: 95 lbs × 5

Set 4: 135 lbs × 3

Set 5: 185 lbs × 1

Set 6: 225 lbs × 1

Set 7: 275 lbs × 1

 

DEADLIFT

Set 1: 135 lbs × 5

Set 2: 135 lbs × 5

Set 3: 225 lbs × 3

Set 4: 315 lbs × 3

Set 5: 405 lbs × 1

 

BACK EXTENSIONS

Set 1: 95 lbs × 10

Set 2: 95 lbs × 10

 

BARBELL HIP THRUST

Set 1: 315 lbs × 10

Set 2: 315 lbs × 10

 

Monday, April 15, 2013, 10:30 AM

 

Bodyweight: 201.8 lbs

 

Notes: I worked everything hard today - very good session.

 

BENCH PRESS

Set 1: 45 lbs × 5

Set 2: 45 lbs × 5

Set 3: 95 lbs × 5

Set 4: 135 lbs × 5

Set 5: 185 lbs × 5

Set 6: 205 lbs × 5

Set 7: 225 lbs × 4

Set 8: 245 lbs × 2

Set 9: 225 lbs × 1

Set 10: 225 lbs × 1

Set 11: 225 lbs × 5

 

Notes: Sets 9 & 10 had long pauses. Set 11 was touch ‘n go style.

 

CHIN UP

Set 1: 201.8 lbs × 5 reps

Set 2: 226.8 lbs × 8 reps

Set 3: 226.8 lbs × 7 reps

Set 4: 226.8 lbs × 6 reps

Set 5: 201.8 lbs × 10 reps

 

EZ BAR CURL

Set 1: 65 lbs × 10

Set 2: 75 lbs × 10

Set 3: 75 lbs × 10

Set 4: 75 lbs × 10

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