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The Tale of Erskine777 and the Barbell: A Lightweight's Lifting Log


Orange Belt
Apr 2, 2007
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Me (as of 8/28/08)
Age: 20
Height: 5' 10''
Weight: 140 lbs

Tuesday- Judo
Wednesday- Deadlift, BP
Thursday- Judo
Saturday- Squat, OHP, Core
Sunday- Ross-inspired or Crossfit workout

I might throw in some random conditioning workouts after judo or bjj, depending on how draining practice is. I'm returning back to a 2-day split in the weightroom, using high-weight, low rep schemes.

Current Maxes (no gear used)
Squat: 290 lbs
Deadlift: 335 lbs
Bench Press (I use dumbbells): 180 lbs total
Front Squat: 225 lbs (just started doing these)
OHP: 145 lbs
PP: 185 lbs

Feel free to critique anything.

I haven't been able to set up a squat workout for the last month due to having the flu, midterms, and spring break. There's only one squat rack in my gym and it's usually occupied by some dumbass doing quarter squats, curls, or upright rows, so I can only claim it on Friday night when all the frat boys are out killing brain cells.

ATG Squats
1x10 135 lbs
1x5 185
5x5 225

Then I did some hack squats just because I haven't done them for a while.
Hack Squats
1x10 135
3x5 185

Pullups (I forgot my dip belt at home (i'm from Hawaii) and my university has the shittiest one so I just do bw)

Then I finished with some conditioning work with the following circuit.

Jumping Squats x 20
Plyometric Pushups x 20
Burpees x 10

for 3 rounds. With around a minute's rest in between. I was dying at the end and served as an indication of how truly out of shape I've become since highschool wrestling.
Wait! Weighing 140 and squatting 275 is just not right!
It reminds me of my suckiness.... that's why!

Good job man!
thanks dexbot. For the longest time, my squat was horribly sucky, I didn't even deadlift, and my bench was by far my strongest lift. But in senior year of highschool I started researching good lifting programs, found sherdog, and learned a lot.
Good stuff Erskine. I gotta say I'm dam impressed with you're dumbell bench at your bodyweight. When/if you switch over to barbell, you will definetely put up some big numbers!

Keep it up!
Good stuff Erskine. I gotta say I'm dam impressed with you're dumbell bench at your bodyweight. When/if you switch over to barbell, you will definetely put up some big numbers!

Keep it up!

thanks man. I think that my pushing motions are my strongest lift just because I've been doing them the longest. But it's weird, I've been so used to doing DB bench press that it's hard for me to do it with the barbell. Even unracking the barbell to initiate the bench press is difficult because I'm not used to having to press above and behind my head.
OHP and Core

Push Press
1x5 95 lbs
1x5 135
5x2 155
1x5 135

Saxon Side Bends
5x10 with 10 lb dumbbells

Decline Situps
5x15 at BW

My core is crap. I feel that the limiting factor in my PP is my core because when I use leg drive to start the initial part of the lift, I usually start to wobble around on heavier sets and have to readjust my stance so I don't fall over and this causes me to mess up the lockout. Overall a fairly easy workout and I didn't add any conditioning exercises because my legs were pretty shot from squats yesterday.
Standard's 100 Ab-rollout burpee challenge

Okay, as soon as I got up this morning I realized that I probably shouldn't have done any core work yesterday, since I was planning on doing this challenge. In fact, it's my last chance to crush JPC and not have be stuck in last place. While I didn't break 10 minutes as I had hoped, I came pretty close and improved my time by 8 minutes over the course of a month.

On a sidenote, this week is pure hell, with 3 midterms and it's likely my weightlifting schedule will experience no small amount of fubar as a result.
A really short workout today. Just wanted to relieve some studying stress, 'cause I've been cramming for ochem for the last 6 hours. Poor me...Juanlawnmower would've understood my pain.

DB Bench Press
1x10 at 50 lb dbs
1x8 at 60s
1x7 70s
3x5 80s
2x5 75s

Burpees x 100.

The bench press felt really good. The only problem was this annoying pimple behind my right shoulder blade and I was afraid it was going to pop and splatter blood everywhere. But it held up.
Well this week pretty much sucked. I had an Ochem test on wednesday, a Japanese oral exam on thursday, and a biochemistry test today. At least I survived and my squats today felt exceptionally good as I enjoyed my first serious lifting session all week.

1x10 135 lbs
1x8 185 lbs
5x5 230 lbs
1x10 135 lbs

Front squats
1x5 135 lbs
1x5 155 lbs
3x3 185 lbs

Weighted pullups. Managed to borrow my friend's belt.
1x5 25 lbs
5x5 45 lbs
These were extremely tough and I barely could finish. At the end of my sets I admit I kipped a fair amount.

Burpees x 100
Even though I suck at burpees, they're rapidly becoming one of my favorite exercises. I just feel kind of weird doing them though, b/c I use the mats where all the ladies and effeminate guys do core work and I feel so out of place. But I guess that's nothing new

On a side note, while i was doing my back atg squats, 2 guys asked me for some full squat tips. I was surprised, but certainly grateful that not only did they think I was knowledgable enough, but also that at least some of the people in my gym have the right idea about lifting. It'd be sweet if I could find some other serious lifters and start a powerlifting club at my uni or something.
1x10 at 65 lbs
1x5 at 95
5x5 at 115
I really focused on pushing these above my head rather than in front and it helped.

Saxon Side Bends
5x10 with 8 lb dumbbells.
I dropped weight with these because I wanted to make sure I was going as far down as possible without hurting myself. These certainly destroy one's ego, which I guess is one reason why people don't do them.

Decline situps
If anyone is reading this log, why is it so much harder to do a sit up with your knees up then if they're just flat on the ground? Or is my incredibly weak core to blame?

And my legs were really shot from yesterday so I didn't do any conditioning work. I went on an elliptical for about 10 minutes and then stretched out, while laughing at UCLA's misfortune.
Short and sweet tonight.

Burpees x 100
I'm slowly getting better at these. Now I can do 5 sets of 20 without becoming seriously winded.

Bodyweight circuit
10 squats
10 pushups
5 leg raises
x 20
Kind of crossfit inspired but instead of pullups I swapped in core work.

All in all a pretty nice workout. My only gripe is that the AC in my gym was turned off and a large group of Indians were working next to me. I'm not racist or anything, but I've noticed that as a whole, Indians smell somewhat odd. This smell intensified during my workout and canceled out sensory adaptation, and by the end of the thirty minutes of which my workout took place, I was literally gagging. But on the plus side a really hot chick with incredibly short pants sat down in front of me to stretch so the Indian smell didn't seem so important after a while.
Today I did ross enamait's interval challenge except I took out the burpees and replaced them with pullups since there's a outdoor gym station thing right at the edge of the track.

12 pullups
24 pushups
36 squats
400m sprint.
x 6

This is probably one of the most painful conditioning routines I know of. Haha, i remember the good ol' days when i would run 4-5 miles every day for "conditioning". Now sprint interval challenges like these or hill sprints are the only running that I do and I can say that I'm a much happier person.

1x10 135 lbs
1x5 185
1x5 225
5x3 275

All these are done with resets in between reps. I'm focusing on really keeping the arch in my lower back. I had a buddy film me deadlifting on his camera phone and I was surprised at how much it was bending, so i lowered the weight and am working my way back up. Sigh....I feel so ashamed of my deadlift.

Had to make it a short workout today because I have to catch up with classwork.
DB Bench Press
1x10 at 50 lb dbs
1x8 at 60s
1x7 70s
4x5 80s
1x5 75s

1x10 40 lb dbs
1x10 50 lb
3x10 60 lb
If anyone's reading this, when I do lunges should my back knee touch the ground or stay a couple inches above?

Tabata Intervals
Pushups for first 3 rounds
Squats for next 3
Situps for last 2
x 3
These were pretty fun. I averaged 25 pushups per round, 20 squats per round, and around 15 situps per round. Situps are definitely my weakest bodyweight/calisthenic exercise right now.
burpees x 150

turkish get ups
1x10 (5 each side all the way up and down) at 40 lb db
1x8 w 50 lb db
2x4 w 60 lb db
1x0 w 65 lb db
Almost killed myself on the last attempt. I was holding it above my head and I was starting to get up, but my elbow just bent and it came crashing down. Couldn't let go of it because then it would've landed on either my face or throat so I had to undergo a "controlled crash" where I tried to direct it so it would land on my shoulder instead. Accomplished it, but now my shoulder hurts. Oh well...

1 mile run
Just for kicks and giggles because I had some extra time on my hands. Didn't want to do too much lower body conditioning work because I'm looking forward to squat day tomorrow.
Whoops double post. Instead I'll post a pretty interesting quote I found by george mallory, the guy who climbed mt everest (supposedly). I think you'll find its very applicable to lifting.

"The first question which you will ask and which I must try to answer is this, 'What is the use of climbing Mount Everest ?' and my answer must at once be, 'It is no use'. There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behavior of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron. We shall not find a single foot of earth that can be planted with crops to raise food. It's no use. So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won't see why we go.
1x10 at 135
1x5 at 185
5x5 at 235
1x8 at 185
1x10 at 135

The last two sets were ATG squats with a 3 second pause at the bottom. I probably shouldn't have done all those burpees yesterday because my legs were a little sore coming into the workout. But overall I was pleased with my squats today. I think that I'll stay with a 5x5 framework for now, since I'm progressing at 5 lbs per week, and then test my 1rm in a couple weeks.

Decided to do volume today.
Sometimes there's a marine recruiting booth on my campus, where if you do above a certain amount of pullups you get free stuff. I think above 10 you get a shirt, above 20 a duffel bag and water bottle, and above 30 you get one of those underarmour shirts. Basically I want all the free crap I can get so I plan to try it the next time I see it.

There's just something about burpees I can't resist. Even though my legs were shot from my workout, I just felt the need to wreck them some more. I really focused on explosive jumping part, which slowly degraded into a feeble calf-raise motion at the end of my workout.

On a side note: I saw someone ATG squatting 315 lbs at my gym today. I know that it isn't a lot compared to what most of the guys in the s and p squat, but considering my gym, I'd say that's the most amazing thing I've ever seen.
Magic 60- April's conditioning challenge
5 db swings (each arm)
5 db snatches (per arm)
10 burpees
x 6 rounds

for a time of 15:12. This was the first time I've ever done swings and snatches, and it took me a while to figure out how to put hip drive into the swings. However, snatches just elude me and I will continue to work on my form for them. I guess because I've been doing sets of 20 or 30 burpees for such a long time that 10 felt relatively easy.

BW tabata rounds
2 rounds of squats
2 rounds of pushups
2 rounds of situps
2 rounds of burpees
x 3 total rounds
situps are by far the area i struggle the most at. I averaged 22 squats per round, 30 pushups, and 12 situps. I definitely need to do more core work, but I keep putting it off. I guess it's time to man up...
I saw someone ATG squatting 315 lbs at my gym today. I know that it isn't a lot compared to what most of the guys in the s and p squat, but considering my gym, I'd say that's the most amazing thing I've ever seen.

I know what you mean I do my (fairly pathetic) ATG squats all the time, all the time seeing plenty of badasses quarter squatting 315, but only once every couple months or so see another person doing proper squats.

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