This is just a collection of observations related to lifting right now.

Week 3 now with Finishers

Week 3

That is, week 3 of the 5/3/1 template. Week 3 is when you lift the most that you’re going to lift that month. The idea is that after week 3 you are going to take a rest (deload) for a week. This seemed like a good time to throw in finihsers.

depth check


Finishers are ways of doing exercises at the end of a workout that are kind of un-conventional. Normal exercises are prescribed with sets and reps and you work through them. Finishers are a-typical. If you did them all the time you might burn out but they are good to do occasionally to get results.

Traits of finishers

  • you do them at the end of your workout
  • you do them intensely, nothing is left in the tank at the end
  • it’s okay if form goes bad (as long as you’re safe)
  • you do them rarely
  • they are meant to give you a pump (hypertrophy is the goal)

Here are some examples of finishers:

I’m doing 2 strip sets at the end of every workout for the 3rd week of 5/3/1. I like it. I don’t have it in my spreadsheet so I could see leaving it out if I’m not feeling it.

Here are the exercises I’m doing for each day:

  • press: thin grip bench
  • dead: RDL
  • bench: curls (Sun’s out gun’s out)
  • squat: front squat

Pull-Up Bar and Symmetry

I bought a pull-up bar. I got the Stud Bar, seemed appropriate for me. One of the provided bolts snapped, I may have not drilled deep enough into the rafters. Even with only 3 bolts in, the thing is solidly in place. And the bar is thick. I’m a tubby man and the bar doesn’t bend at all.


One bad thing about having pull-up bar is that my 7 year old son climbed up a rope I had hanging from it, fell down and broke his arm. We did have some foam padding under the bar but obviously it wasn’t enough to prevent that injury. That entirely sucks and is squarely my fault. But it’s a somewhat safe lesson in his own mortality that will serve him well.

I haven’t done pull-ups since I stopped working out at the local gym. I was doing pull-ups in-between every pushing movement as prescribed by Jim Wendler. So yeah it’s been a year with no pull-ups. I haven’t tried to see how many I can do. I’m very conservative when I introduce or re-introduce movements back into my routine. So for now I’m just doing 1 pull-up in-between each pushing movement on press and bench days. Next month I think I’ll attempt 2 pull-ups and see where that gets me.

What I did not expect is that it seems to have helped some lingering shoulder pain I have acquired. I have been going pretty heavy (relatively for me) with the press. My PR for the press is 205. It just enforces the mantra that you should train with symmetry. I was doing a lot of pushing in the vertical plane but no pulling in the vertical plane.

Doing pull-ups along with backing off the press weight a little bit has my shoulders doing much better.


Speaking of backing off on the weight. I have either stayed level with where my weights were or in the case of the press I have come down a little bit. It just seems that I need to not push it quite as much as I have been. When you take something away hopefully you’re adding something back that moves you forward or challenges you. I think that’s what I’ve done.

Iso-lateral means that you’re doing something favoring or just using one side of your body. If you’re using a machine you can probably isolate things very well. If you’re using other equipment like a kettlebell, dumbell, landmine or pulley you can’t isolate things very well. But that’s not so bad because this imbalance causes all sorts of interesting muscles to engage to stabilize and firm up your body so you can perform the exercise. Really this is good stuff for the core and will make for a more solid human.

I like the movements. I feel like it’s kind of shoring up my strength. Building a stronger base. I was watching a video from Mountain Athelete. They train military people and mountaineers. I believe he used the phrase combat chasis. Really from the chest to the knees, that area that is going to be carrying the load where you really want to be strong.

Here are the iso-lateral movements I’m doing these days:

  • kettlebell snatch
  • kettlebell suitcase deadlift
  • kettlebell press
  • landmine row
  • kettlebell calf press
  • kettlebell squat (not a goblet squat)

Re-set the Bench

I did the math and figured out how low I could start on the bench, add 5 pounds a month and still end up at benching 285 at the end of the year. And that’s where I put my bench. I still feel sub-optimal when I bench. It’s an exercise that I kind of don’t have a lot of respect for and I’m in no rush to see it go up. It’s the typical meat-head barometer for how strong you are but has little carry-over in the real world. Unless you find yourself with your back firmly pressed on a flat surface and a desire to press in a perpendicular direction to your back.


My paleo-ish perma-bulk could probably use some dialing back so here are some tweaks I have been making.

  • don’t go looking for food dairy but don’t avoid it, so no snacking on cheese, no more sour cream
  • 1 scoop of protein and 1 cup of milk post-workout (as opposed to 2 scoops and probably 2 cups)
  • no half & half in drinks after lunch, my morning coffee will always have half & half I will die on that hill
  • no snacking except for 3 brazil nuts and 2 90% Lindt squares before bed
  • no breakfast on days I don’t lift
  • low carb 6 days a week
  • moderate carb 1 day a week

New Music

My music was getting old. I did the lazy thing and actually bought some music instead of working hard to pirate it. I should spend 20 minutes to clean up the list below to remove all the un-necessary information. It’s especially in-excusable because I’m awesome at VIM. But I’m still not going to do that. This is what I get when I copy and paste my playlist from iTunes.

You got your dubstep, old school rap, pop, new rap, metal. It’s working for me.

  • This Is the Shark Attack (Skrillex Remix) 5:21 Shark Attack Shooting Judas Remixed Electronic 1
  • I Am Not a Goal-Oriented Person 2:55 Whores Clean - EP Rock 4
  • Turn Down For What 3:34 DJ Snake & Lil Jon Turn Down For What - Single Dance 2
  • Breadfan 5:41 Metallica Garage, Inc. Rock 1
  • Pompeii 3:34 Bastille Bad Blood Alternative 2
  • Starships 3:31 Nicki Minaj Starships - Single Hip-Hop/Rap 2
  • Solar Flare Homicide 3:50 Emmure Speaker Of The Dead WORKOUT 4
  • Down Low 3:35 AlexAnder and Dr. Ozi Drumstep 7
  • Feel so Close (Radio Edit) 3:26 Calvin Harris 18 Months Dance 1
  • Recess 3:58 Skrillex Recess Dance 3
  • Right Round 3:23 Flo Rida R.O.O.T.S. (Deluxe Version) Hip-Hop/Rap 2
  • Party Up (Up in Here) 4:29 DMX …And Then There Was X Hip Hop/Rap 2
  • Drinking from the Bottle (feat. Tinie Tempah) 4:00 Calvin Harris 18 Months Dance 2
  • Last Looks 4:07 Whores Clean - EP Rock 2
  • Pornstep (feat. The Highbury Whores) 4:38 Dodge & Fuski Fierce / Pornstep - Single Dance 2
  • Lost Weekend (feat. Mike Patton) 4:35 The Qemists Join the Q Electronic 1
  • Periphery - Icarus Lives! - Periphery 3:30 WORKOUT 2
  • Do It With a Rockstar 4:25 Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra Theatre Is Evil Alternative 9
  • The Darkest Nights 3:52 As I Lay Dying Shadows Are Security Metalcore 6
  • Bangarang (feat. Sirah) 3:35 Skrillex Bangarang Dance 3
  • Bleed 7:23 Meshuggah ObZen Rock 6
  • Try to Survive 4:40 Chimaira The Infection WORKOUT 2
  • Android Porn 6:56 Kraddy Android Porn / Steppin’ Razor - Single Electronic
  • Cougars, Not Kittens 6:40 Whores Clean - EP Rock
  • & Down 4:18 Boys Noize Oi Oi Oi Electronic 3
  • Vacuity 4:52 Gojira The Way of All Flesh Metal 6
  • Fuel 4:30 Metallica Reload Rock
  • Save the World (Radio Mix) 3:33 Swedish House Mafia Save the World - Single Dance 1
  • Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion 6:57 Meshuggah Koloss Metal 2
  • Power Glove 4:21 Knife Party Haunted House - EP Dance 5
  • You Can Do It 4:19 Ice Cube Greatest Hits Hip Hop/Rap
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll (Will Take You to the Mountain) 4:44 Skrillex Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites Dance 8
  • In Your Words 5:24 Lamb Of God Wrath Metal
  • Razor Sharp 4:41 Pegboard Nerds & Tristam Monstercat 013 - Awakening Dance 6
  • Feüer Frei 3:13 Rammstein WORKOUT 2
  • Pound the Alarm 3:26 Nicki Minaj Pink Friday … Roman Reloaded (Deluxe Edition) Hip-Hop/Rap
  • Fight the Power 4:37 Public Enemy Power to the People & the Beats - Public Enemy’s Greatest Hits Hip Hop/Rap
  • Get Up 3:16 50 Cent Get Up - Single Hip-Hop/Rap
  • Combustion 4:11 Meshuggah obZen Metal 2
  • Feel So Numb 3:39 Rob Zombie The Sinister Urge Hard Rock 5
  • Halo 3:17 Soil Scars 3
  • Bring the Noise 3:46 Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back Hip Hop/Rap
  • Straight Outta Compton (2002 Remaster) 4:19 N.W.A. Straight Outta Compton (2002 Remaster) Hip Hop/Rap
  • My Apocalypse 5:01 Metallica Death Magnetic Rock 1
  • Reptile’s Theme 3:57 Skrillex Reptile’s Theme - Single Dance 9
  • Enter Sandman 5:32 Metallica Metallica Rock
  • Can’t Hold Us (feat. Ray Dalton) 4:18 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis The Heist (Deluxe Edition) Hip Hop/Rap 8
  • Weekends!!! 4:45 Skrillex Weekends!!! (feat. Sirah) - Single Dance 3