A Revolutionary Ranger's Training Log in the Age of Zombie Capitalism

Al Raven

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In unrelated news here's the university work I'm gonna be focused on in the upcoming months:
  • I have a bunch of courses with weekly readings and discussions, but more importantly here are some papers/research projects that I'm getting started on right now (and most of them should be done by january)
  • A paper on some topic concerning the transnational history of fascism - I'm currently discussing with the prof what is best (for example I need to find/be able to access a primary source that's relevant), but I'd ideally want to study the impact of the U.S.A.'s bringing in former Nazi officials/experts/war criminals and other collaborators (e.g. Ustasha from Croatia, collaborators from Latvia, etc) into the U.S. after WWII (as part of their anti-communist "national security" strategy), on the evolution of the fascist movement in the U.S. itself...
  • A paper talking about conspiracism focusing on the case of Alex Jones, and approaching this phenomenon partly in terms of how it's a form of (online to a large extent) "participatory" culture that makes people feel like and believe that they're themselves doing deep and smart investigations - whereas that's not at all the reality...
  • A paper studying the 'collective action dynamics' of the online activists in Myanmar through the hashtag "Justice4OurStudents" - part of the movement there resisting against the military junta's coup.
  • Related to the latter, my MA thesis project is about the "Milk Tea Alliance", won't get into it here but my main research specialty - if you will - is the sociology of social movements/mobilizations (and political sociology more broadly). The MTA is a network of transnational solidarity between activists in a bunch of mainly Southeast Asia countries like Thailand, Myanmar, Hong Kong...
Also, my football team Manchester United is progressively getting better and better, it's awesome! They masterfully beat rivals Tottenham yesterday, it was so good and our best performance under the new manager^^

I hope you're all doing great, love and solidarity:heart::heart:
 

Al Raven

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A note on warm up sets (for the squat especially): it's kinda great because it both enables me to gradually warm up the body and train precise technique/form for the heaviest sets, but also actually with these sets I don't need to do higher volume of reps or sets on the main ("work") sets because I'd already done it through the warming up! Love it, I'm such a fan of squatting and deadlifting, it's wonderful^^
 

Al Raven

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End of the year workout plan - considering how busy I am because of uni work, and also that I'm always extremely tired (see: narcolepsy)
  • 2 to 3 times a week:
    1. warm up
    2. squats 3x5 @ 110(+)kg
    3. deadlifts 1x5 @ 120(+)kg
    4. farmer’s walk @ 35(+) kg
    5. 20-30min run
    6. full body stretch
  • On other days, I'll have to see how much energy/fatigue I have but here's what I'm choosing to focus on if/when I can: short workouts w/ pushups, pullups, bicep curls, shoulder presses/exercises (e.g. 4x10+@10kg)... Keep it simple and short. These are the exercises (excluding bicep curls) for which I have a lot of room for progression, maybe a few others but those are the ones I've chosen to pick for starters...
 

Al Raven

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Starting in january, I'll have much more time and will be able to train more if I want to.
And I'm still unsure if I should focus (partly) on losing some more weight - I'm not sure, the main reason I still think I might want to is because being 90+kg seriously makes progression for pushups, pullups, running, etc... - things I've set myself as a goal to improve/become better-stronger at them - REALLY hard...
But at same time I feel really good where I am now, I feel strong and I like how I look (body shape etc), so we'll see if I settle on either way by the end of the year...
 
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Al Raven

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In summary, my plan until december (will be kinda nice to embark on a new workout plan starting january!) is mostly pragmatic and so I want to commit to doing heavy squats/deadlifts + a run (not necessarily always at max intensity, just do some kind of running 2-3x a week) + full body stretch, at least twice a week (2-3x is the idea). I'm keeping the pushups, pullups etc as an option for short (or longer if I feel like it...) workouts during the rest of the week
 

Al Raven

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Starting in january, I'll have much more time and will be able to train more if I want to.
And I'm still unsure if I should focus (partly) on losing some more weight - I'm not sure, the main reason I still think I might want to is because being 90+kg seriously makes progression for pushups, pullups, running, etc... - things I've set myself as a goal to improve/become better-stronger at them - REALLY hard...
But at same time I feel really good where I am now, I feel strong and I like how I look (body shape etc), so we'll see if I settle on either way by the end of the year...
note: "if I should focus" means not for now obviously, but maybe in january. From January to June I'll be focusing almost exclusively on my Master's thesis - i.e. no coursework nor assignments outside of that...
 

Al Raven

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Today's workout:
  1. Squats 3x5 @ 110kg (warm up sets: 1x5@empty bar/20, 1x5@80, 1x3@100)
  2. Deadlifts 1x5 @ 120kg (warm up sets: 1x3@100, 1x1@110)
  3. 20min run (didn't really care about speed or distance, but treadmill was set at 8kph for most of it)
  4. full body stretch
 

Al Raven

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I'm okay with keeping the squat weight at 110kg for while, because I think I have room for improvement and I want to train more so that I can do it with perfect form/technique, including for example making sure I go 'below parallel' (i.e. full range aka right after I've passed the point where thighs are parallel to floor).
For deadlifts, I had been using chalks for a few weeks but with the mixed grip (which I've used today and the last time) for now I don't need to. Concerning weights, I think I can aim for +2.5kg next time (or next week)^^
Coming back to squats, I wonder if maybe it's time to buy a belt because I've never used one up to this point but now it's above 100kg so it might be necessary/better...
 

Al Raven

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Hi all, I'm back for this week's workout(s) (one today and another tomorrow, didn't do much rest of the week as I was so busy and tired - just some pushups and pullups here and there).

Today's workout:
  1. 5+sets x 5 pushups (1min rest or less)
  2. 3-5sets x amrap barbell bent-over rows @ 60kg
  3. 4x10 shoulder presses (I like the 'Arnold' variation) @ 10kg, rest 30"-to-1' (preferably 30")
  4. 4x amrap (dumbbell) bicep curls @ 10-12ish kg
  5. Run 20-30min
  6. Full body stretching
I'll do it soon and write down thoughts (if any) afterwards
The latest hiit workout looks great, gotta try it sometime!
 

Al Raven

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Today's workout:
  1. Squats:
    1. 1x5 @ bar/20
    2. 1x5 @ 70
    3. 1x3 @ 90
    4. 1x1 @ 100
    5. 3x5 @ 110 very hard
  2. Deadlifts
    1. 1x3 @ 100
    2. 1x1 @ 110
    3. 1x5 @ 120 (mixed grip).
Both were hard, the squats very hard. It's not that surprising, I hadn't done it for 7+ days. I also think maybe I did too many/intense warm up sets. In any case, at least for squats I don't mind staying at this weight - for now I'm in a very busy period, I don't mind doing it twice, once like this week is not ideal but it is how it is - and anyways going up is out of the question because it's very straighforward: if you can't lift a weight, you won't. So seeing how hard the 110kg squat is for me, I have some time training at this weight until I can feel confident and ready to move up.
 

Al Raven

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Also, I forgot to buy a weightlifting belt, and I'm now feeling it my back is hurting/very sore today... I know that I can do these lifts since I did it a week or so ago, so I'm not too worried and it's normal that it takes a toll and I need to make sure I rest properly and stretch/take care, it's a heavy weight workout after all...
 

GentleOx

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"So sleepy!"
Both were hard, the squats very hard. It's not that surprising, I hadn't done it for 7+ days. I also think maybe I did too many/intense warm up sets. In any case, at least for squats I don't mind staying at this weight - for now I'm in a very busy period, I don't mind doing it twice, once like this week is not ideal but it is how it is - and anyways going up is out of the question because it's very straighforward: if you can't lift a weight, you won't. So seeing how hard the 110kg squat is for me, I have some time training at this weight until I can feel confident and ready to move up.
You're doing well with the squats. Could be your body just needs some time to grow. I got stuck with a certain weight, and it took me some months to train out of it.

A belt will be helpful (I favour the ones with the metal clamps), but do remember that it's all about form, form, form.
 

Al Raven

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Absolutely, and I actually don't mind at all being "stuck" because I see it (apart from simply concretely not being able to manage a higher weight) as - like you said - a patient process of training form (and therefore training strength), i.e. training the movement with (as best as possible) form.^^ I'm happy to have reached (altho to be fair I do think I'm not yet able to do it with consistent form, so that's my goal for the time being) a kind of benchmark (for both squat and deadlfit), and I do truly only care about training strength as a skill not (merely) a numbers' game.
Thanks for the feedback as always!
 

Al Raven

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So because I'm really sore after saturday and sunday's workouts, today I'm not gonna planning anything but a stretch/foam rolling/yoga/etc would be nice.... This week I plan do to a bit more than other weeks because I only have work to do rather than courses/seminars I need to attend, so my schedule is more open-ended. But also I have tons of work and as usual fatigue/narcolepsy factors in, so even if I make some plans for the week's workouts, I still have to adapt and see what I can and feel like doing...
 

Al Raven

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Today's workout: epic hiit, 3 sets.
Tomorrow I plan doing squats and deadlifts again, but maybe I'll drop to 100kg or 105kg for squats in order to make sure I practice perfect form, aka esp. full range of motion. I'm buying a belt on saturday, so maybe sunday I'll do the same workout again if I have enough time...
 

Al Raven

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Nope I'll do squats and deadlifts on sunday, I have too much work and don't feel like going to gym this morning. Moreover the whole point was I need to buy a belt, which I should be able to do tomorrow...
Still will do some kind of workout today (maybe a short one with pushups and dumbbells etc)
 

Al Raven

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Unfortunately, I can only have the belt in 10+ days (bcz of delivery). Still, tomorrow I'll do squats and deadlifts, there's usually less people at the gym on sundays so maybe I'll go at 10 or 11am (usually I try going before 10am). I'll do deadlifts at 120kg (like the last times), and maybe I'll practice the squats at 100kg (last time was 110kg, but when I have the belt I will perhaps start at 105, or possibly try 110 again... not sure yet) so that I can (hopefully) really practice full range of mention ('below parallel')

Btw yesterday I did GtG pullups (both grips) throughout the day (sets of 1's and 2's spread every hour or couple of hours, sometimes doing 1 or 2 'chin ups' and 1 'pullup'): I managed to do about 13 more or less... in total
 

Al Raven

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Here's an idea for tomorrow's workout:
  1. Sets of 2 or 3 pushups with 15''-to-30'' rest -> goal is doing as many sets of this as possible (and see how many reps in total I can do..)
  2. Similarly, sets of 1 s-pullup (so-called 'chin up') -> as many sets (and hence also reps) as possible
  3. Squats 3x5 @ 100kg, with perfect form (esp. range of motion)
  4. Deadlifts 1x5 @ 120kg
Sounds good! Maybe a bit of cardio at the end but not sure I'll have the will or energy to do it after #1 -> #4...
And a full stretch at the end would be nice too
 

Al Raven

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I actually did the squats @ 105, but maybe it's a good idea to take up from 100 next time... Sadly I have to wait for until 23 Nov for the belt... But in any case, I'm not in a rush and more importantly, it's normal that I'm struggling with these heavy squats because for a few weeks I've only been able/motivated to do the workout once a week, which isn't enough for training these complex/very intense movements. Starting january I'll have far more time, I'm extremely overworked and tired right now (and until new year, basically)
Pushups: 6x3 w/ 30" rest
(Supinated) Pullups: a) 8x1 w/30" rest; then b) 2x amap band-assisted: 3, 2. (with 30" rest also)
 

Al Raven

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I'm at peace with the fact of not always being able to keep my progress, linear progression is only possible for so long obviously... (and more fundamentally, my university schedule/workload + combined w/ narcolepsy means I shouldn't be too negative about myself because it's still very good that I'm training to be healthy and happy, there are inevitably ups and downs and obstacles in life, it's actually enjoyable in the long run if you stop obsessing in a productivist and linear mindset of constant growth at all costs - I think mindful and self-caring experimentation and fun is far more important than wanting to break PRs without listening to your own body, needs, wants, energy/fatigue, etc...)
 

Al Raven

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Today's workout
  1. S-pullups ('chinups') - amap sets of 1: 9 (or 10?), + 3 negative s-pullups.
  2. Pushups - amap sets of 3: 6 with ~perfect form, +1.
  3. Squats: 3x5 @ 100kg. I think it was the right choice to go down again, this felt better, more in control.
  4. Deadlifts: 1x5 @ 120kg.
 

Al Raven

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Today's workout:
  1. Plan was 4x10 shoulder press (10kg dumbbells) w/ ~30" rest, but for last set I managed only ~3 reps.
  2. S-pullups ('chinups') - amap sets of 1: 10 (I think?)
  3. 10min run
  4. Pushups - amap sets of 3 (30"rest): 5.
  5. 4x amrap bicep curls @ 12.5kg dumbbells (<1min rest)
  6. Squats 3x5 @ 100
  7. Deadlifts 1x5 @ 120
[Note: The bottom line is that for heavy squats and deadlifts, in order to progress I need to train these moves/exercises multiple times (and probably three rather than two) per week, which is not how I had proceeded when reaching 110kg (now back to 100kg to improve technique/form) squat/120kg deadlift (i.e. I sometimes did two workouts a week and either increased weight in between or from week to week). So this week I did twice (whereas in past couple of weeks only managed to do it once), hopefully I can keep doing this (and ideally do three times, so that I can really start improving again) despite all the stress and volume of work for university. ]

Both Manchester United teams (women's and men's) won their last (premier/super league) games in spectacular fashion by scoring the winning goal at the very end of the game! GGMU
 

Al Raven

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Today's workout:
'Greasing the Groove' - throughout the day, w/ hourly s-pullups (1x1) and pushups (1x3) from 9am to 6pm.
Since I started the day with 1x4 pushups and 1x2 s-pullups, that makes a total of: 11 s-pullups (so-called 'chin ups'; it's obviously not my chin I'm pulling up, is it? lol) and 31 pushups.
Since I was working at/from home today, this was a nice way to a) get some workout in despite my busy/intense workload, b) stay active throughout the day.
 

Al Raven

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Today's workout
1. 3x max s-pullups: 3, ~3, 2. (2' rest)
2. 3x max pushups: 8, 5, 4. (2' rest)
3. 3x max barbell bicep curls (w/ empty bar ~20kg) (~30" rest)
4. 3x5 squats @ 100kg. Did it with the belt (for the first time), and it felt pretty good, esp. was able to maintain good range of motion and technique...
5. 1x5 deadlifts @ 120kg
(excluding the warm up sets for squats and deadlifts, obviously)
 

Al Raven

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Today's workout:
  1. 3x amap bicep curls @ 12.5kg dumbbells
  2. 3x amap shoulder presses @ 10kg dumbbells
  3. 3x 15-20m (I'm really bad at estimating distances though...) back and forth sled pushes @ 60kg (with ~1min or less rest in btwn)
  4. 3x 2 Turkish get ups @ 12kg kettlebell. -> damn this move is hard to learn...
  5. 20min run. Feels good to get back to running like this, the reason it felt so bad in recent weeks is because I was mentally stuck on trying to run (treadmill) at 8kph, which is currently the upper limit of running speed I can maintain for ~10+min. This time I went at 7kph and it's far more comfortable, I might even have pushed myself and gone for 30min but that wasn't my goal...
Tomorrow: my 'classic' full-body strength wkt made up of s-pullups, pushups, and heavy squats and deadlifts.
 
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Al Raven

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It's just too much for me to plan workouts at the gym every day or every other day. As I've noted multiple times, this'll change in January but until then I am too busy with uni work on a day-to-day basis. My program/approach for december is thus:
  • two to three times a week: strength wkt with 1. s-pullups, 2. pushups, 3. squats (100+kg), 4. deadlifts (120+kg)
  • try running a few times, at least once 20-30min but preferably 2-3 times
  • stretch a bunch of times
  • apart from doing 2-3x a week the gym workout as described above, try doing things at home (bodyweight exercise with as decent area in bedroom to move around, pullup bar, dumbbells, 12kg kettlebell) -> small workouts with dumbbells/kettlebell, Greasing the Groove/throughout the day pullups and/or pushups, maybe short hiit workouts, ...
It's basically what I've already been doing in recent weeks, but that's just a formal/quick udpate/note about my current regimen.
 

Al Raven

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Today's workout:
  1. Squats 3x5 @ 100kg. I think I can start going back up and try 102.5kg next time (and we'll see how it goes, key is mastering technique etc)
  2. Deadlift 1x5 @122.5kg. Probably gonna do this weight again (not sure for how long but at least once or twice...), there's no need to rush (esp. since I can't train 3x a week which would help I think)
  3. 3x amrap barbell shoulder press (empty bar - 20kg)
  4. 3x amrap barbell bicep curls (empty bar - 20kg)
 

Al Raven

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I plan to do squats again (and the other things) tomorrow, but I think it's important to now try to address/find a strategy or solution for the fact I've been feeling a (light, not excruciating) pain on my right hip, which happens when at the bottom of the squat. I can train in spite of it and it mostly feels uncomfortable rather than very painful (then again light pain is pretty much the same as "it feels uncomfortable", I guess). Doing some hip flexor stretches and such has helped a bit to ease this during and after squatting, but it's the right time to tackle this before it potentially gets worse.
It would be helpful to have some feedback from some experienced (barbell) squatters, maybe @GentleOx ? Or someone can tag someone, obviously this is a very common thing that happens when heavy squatting...

It's clearly on that right side that I have this issue, other side/leg is completely fine thus far....

From taking a look online and also intuitively, the first things to do is a) keep paying attention to form and find potential corrections or improvements to make in the movement/technique, b) doing some mobility/stretching/foam rolling/etc stuff for the hips, but also maybe other parts like ankle mobility etc that impact the load/pressure/anatomical mechanics/etc of the whole movement and thus might contribute to this hip pain or pinge. However, the fact it's only on the right side is significant, I'm sure it can provide hints at what might not be working (e.g. form/technique) and eliminate other cues/things that are working fine since I feel no pain on left side...

Any feedback or advice is appreciated, it's not an urgent or very painful issue but now's the time to deal with it before it gets worse or whatever...
 
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Al Raven

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I learned (a few years ago, then going back regularly to learn more etc) to do squatting and other barbell lifting via Starting Strength (book, program, videos, etc), which seems a very sound and knowledgeable approach (based on long term experience of weightlifting coaches who then turned to expand it to general public). But I'm not necessarily wedded to that, I do for now consider it very reliable especially the details and cues/etc the book goes into. So I'm mentioning this because that's my benchmark and main reference for trying to perfect/improve/examine/etc my squatting technique and progression (low bar squat, bellow parallel, knees out - which might be sth IVe not fully mastered or I shoulfd try improving, focusing on vertical hip drive, looking down at the floor, etc...).
 

Al Raven

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I do sometimes feel that centering*** weightlifting - and obviously I enjoy squats and deadlifts a lot, wouldn't have kept doing them otherwise - traps me in what I can do (notwithstanding the busy schedule right now which is major reason I'm a minimalist in workout ambitions until January) because ultimately most of the other stuff I do is programmed and decided AROUND and depending on what I do with squats and deadlifts.

***(not so much because I prefer to but by necessity, because it's a level of intensity and so on that can't be a lateral or minor part of one's overall workout program, e.g. in terms of what you're doing on a weekly basis - in other words heavy lifting requires training these moves often and carefully, and obviously it takes a toll on the body so I can't just multiply other exercises I do outside of these, plus as you know until January I'm just too busy)

Not planning or considering dropping squats and deadlifts, these are just some notes of a feeling I have occasionally, but again this might be largely because I'm stressed out by university work and limited in terms of experimenting/having fun with workouts because of schedule + tiredness (incl. narcolepsy)
 

BrigidForged

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I am not a weightlifter but maybe if you posted videos of yourself doing the squats (if you are comfortable with that) some weightlifting Bees may be able to do a form check? Can you get a form check in your gym otherwise?
 

Al Raven

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Really not in the mood for doing the squats/deadlift workout today, would prefer doing sth at home. We'll see...
It's clear that doing 2 and preferably 3 weightlifting workouts per week is better for progression/consistent training, but I'm not a machine (or at the level of some other folks who train everyday) + university work/stress + tiredness (narcolepsy). I can still do other, shorter workouts at home throughout the week, and it's normal that we can't always stick to a strict weekly schedule with all that's going on in our lives. (And exercise/training is essential but it's always "only" a part of our lives, not the other way around i.e. rest of our lives aren't an add-on to the continous linear process of working out and training...).
I'll have the time/opportunity to reassess and stick to a more "stable" program at the end/beginning of the year/next year.
I do think that - apart from the fact I've mentioned numerous times that its just a very busy and stressful period atm, so doing a bit of exercising is already nice even if I can't do evrth I would have liked, or progrrss as I would prefer to -, I need to find a way to reconcile a) the (heavy) squatting and deadlifting, which I don't intend to stop but I need to find HOW I'll keep doing it, how I envision/strategize my progression; and b) I don't actually like to be doing only or mainly weightlifting, I want bodyweight stuff, cardio/hiit/running, "functional" training, pushing sleds, kettlebell complex moves like TGUs, maybe combat stuff, etc.... To be fair from january to june I have pretty much a completely self-determined schedule (I have a MA thesis to complete so lots of work, plus other non-training project/plans, but I'll get to define my daily and weekly plans without having to attend courses, seminars, lectures...), so I will definitely find a better approach than recently.
 

Al Raven

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My ideal situation would be - probably need to some period with more (i.e. more frequent/etc) squat/deadlift training until I reach a benchmark I'm satisfied with - doing heavy deadlifting and squatting once or twice a week (which isn't really a way to keep increasing or perhaps doing it but much slower over time, but if I reach a certain benchmark I think Id be satisfied with just practicing heavy lifting to maintain this strength instead of aiming for more necessarily) and then mixing things up the rest of the week.
 

Al Raven

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Today's workout
  1. As many sets of 2 s-pullups (chinups) as possible, with 2min rest: total = 6x2.
  2. Watching the WC quarter final (the 4pm game):
    1. at every ten minutes' mark (0', 10', 20', 30', 40', 50', etc), do 2 (or 3) pushups. Total (130'): 13x2 = 26.
    2. at half time: lower body stetching
 
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Al Raven

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Today's workout
  1. Squats 3x6 @ 100kg
  2. Deadlifts 1x5 @ 122.5kg
  3. 3x amrap combo (bicep curl + shoulder press) @ 12.5kg dumbbells (both hands)
This time I didn't use the belt nor chalk, it went well although since I did sets of 6 reps for squats it was a bit tougher than sets of 5 I did usually.
Enjoyed doing the pushups throughout the game yesterday, it's a nice way to practice them in a kind of 'Greasing the Groove' fashion!
 
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