Day 17 (Sean’s day) – The Health Lift

Posted: March 30, 2011 in Bill Starr 5x5 Intermediate Programme
Tags: , , , , ,

Today was the second last session of our 6 week Intermediate 5×5 plan – I hit the gym myself seeing as Ross can’t use the ISE until Thursday, when he’ll do his session. He’ll post his mid-week session up tomorrow.

Anyway, 5×4 – Light squats, military press, Deadlift.

Squats – what a freakin’ revelation…I spend about an hour/two every day looking at training videos online – eyeing up different techniques, what works, what doesn’t, what’s harmful, what’s helpful. I’ve been obsessed with getting an extremely heavy squat because in my eyes that meant extremely strong legs…the problem is, with power lifting techniques, the main aim is shifting as much weight as humanly possible in a squatting motion, not necessarily training your quadriceps ability to contract against resistance…

That may sound strange, but what I’m saying is that the wide stance takes the tension off of your quads and places it more so on your hamstrings/hips/posterior chain…that’s not where I’ve been wanting my tension to be held (atleast not as intensely). Those muscles tend to be stronger, hence why you can squat more with the powerlifting technique.

So, I’ll finsh this week on the powerlifting style then when we begin training with new 1RMs mid-April, I’m switching to what’s considered a high-bar olympic style squat. In picture form:

I’m going from this style:

To this style:

The reason I’m doing this is because of my own theory of lifting for general strength…Horizontal push/pull, Vertical push/pull, Quad based legs, Hamstring based exercise…at the moment, I’ve been doing too little quad based work – I’ll have this fixed for our next training plan. More on the idea behind this concept later, busy at the moment.

Military press – hugely improved technique since last week. I felt as though I was hoisting the weight up on my last two reps last week where I can say this was all done with the power of my shoulders and core this week. That’s 5 reps at 47.5kg…my 1RM was 50kg when this all began…re-test is going to be absolute filth. Progress brings progress, etc, etc.

A quick reminder on press technique by Mark Rippetoe:

(QUICK EDIT) – Inbetween sets today, I did some plyometric pushes – press up position with my feet on the floor and my hands on the bench, far enough back that my core was challenged, so that the explosive movement was done with the same muscles I use to push vertically…I also grab an empty bar and did some explosive reps. Certainly looks like it helped!

Deadlifts – today they were frankly a nightmare…as usual, my favourite nightmare. The grip was challenging this week in the last set in the last two reps, but that’s to be expected. I wasn’t half as well fed as I was when we had the ridiculous mid-week session not long ago…regardless, the weights went up. I had some pausing inbetween reps on the last set, but it was re-adjusting my grip that had loosened on the way up…still, re-test is going to be ace here too! Some really clear gains in this last week.

I was intending to do some grip work, but the gym closed…woops!


I bumped into a friend of mine at the end of the night who mentioned an interest in Deadlifting – I only showed him the technique but even his very first repetition wasn’t far off acceptable form…in my eyes, it’s proof that the Deadlift is a very natural movement for people. Natural movements tend to be done by humans more often, so what does this mean for you? Deadlifting will make you stronger at things you do…often! Get on it, folks!

Also, a shout out to the Irish lad who gave a blog some support when I first came into the gym today, the following is in your honour…


Today’s notes:

– Technique, technique, technique…Hmmm…deja vu.
– Squat techniques – there’s plenty! If you want to be a powerlifter, powerlift…but I’m now thinking that for the average dude who wants strong legs, high bar olympic lifting and Deadlifts are the way to go!
– Never be content with your technique…always try to look for mistakes, even if there are apparently none.
– Pressing anything overhead, keep your core solid – it’s a total body movement.

No time to re-read – peace.

  1. Tommo says:

    Hi Sean,
    Regarding your switch from low-bar to high-bar squats, why not go to front squats? Considering your reason for the switch, that’s what I would consider.
    Nice blog, by the way.

    • Hey Tommy,
      I’m actually just done discussing that on the S&C forum as I’d suggested the same idea. The only thing holding us back from switching entirely to front squats is technical ability. At the moment, I don’t feel my technical ability in the front squat is up to scratch enough to see any real raw strength gains compared to the “strength” you get from learning acceptable technique. I’m going to detail very soon what the new regime is going to be, but with regards to squatting, it’ll be done twice a week – once as heavy as possible, the other light-medium. I’m going to use high-bar oly’ squats for the heavy sessions and use front squats for the lighter sessions, until I feel we’re both technically up to scratch. Though with the ramping method it’s not usually an issue as you do as much as you can do within your given ability, I also do want to gain more strength in a high bar capacity (which, IMO, sits inbetween hip dependant and quad dependent squats) which is a movement I’m technically able in.

      If I put on my predictive hat, I reckon we’ll see the most benefits in leg/core strength when we’re working Deadlifts once a week (Romanian/SL) and front squats once a week, with a light high bar oly’ session. I’m not starting off from there as I want to see the difference from the new regime which I’ll post about soon.

      Thanks for your interest Tommo,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s