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  1. #1
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    Talking Dad Bod vs. the Generic Bulking Routine: A Star Wars Story

    Greetings all, throwing up a journal for accountability, since I work out at home in a basement setup (power-rack, barbell, dumbbells). I've been lifting for about three years, greatly enjoy spending time with my family (wife and three little ones under the age of 7), fly-fishing, Python programming, and the Star Wars universe (what's left of it). I work a desk job as a 'data scientist'/Python developer.

    Inconsistent effort has resulted in inconsistent (hardly any) gains. Nearly three years in and it is a joke to tell people I lift as a hobby. Eric Helms describes at least a 4:1 ratio of building to cutting as being ideal... I've done the inverse, or worse, than this... with probably 10-15% being any 'building' phase, and the 90%+ in some sort of half-hearted deficit.

    I've spun my wheels quite a bit. I was a victim of information overload... Starting Strength, BLS, leangains, 3DMJ, Revive Stronger, Rippedbody.com, all great sources of information, but I got a little too far down the rabbit hole and was worried about tiny details when really I didn't have the big rocks in place yet (or didn't have them in place consistently.)

    Background - see attached image for a visual reference
    TLDR - I find your lack of gains disturbing. I'm guilty of program hopping too. Time to change this.
    2016 - Started lifting during a deployment following Bigger Leaner Stronger and counting macros. Lost almost 40 lbs. Wish I'd recomp'd, but didn't know much at the time. Straight deficit, but still had decent results.
    2016-2017 - Got into a 'bulk', got lazy, inconsistent, burned out on tracking food all the time, body weight drifted back up. Hopped between kinobody, some Training Pyramid programs, rippedbody.com programs.
    late 2017-2018 - dropped some weight back off, found Wendler's 5/3/1 and really enjoyed it, high lifts were bench 200, squat 205, DL 245, OHP 105. Stuck with 5/3/1 the best of any program since BLS, about 4 months.
    mid 2018 - present - hired a trainer for 12 weeks, dropped more weight off, from 178-166lbs. Had the goal of hitting 10% body fat and then bulking... cutting was atrocious with my schedule, choosing between sleep or working out basically, also hard on the family. Trainer had me going 4 days a week but they were long workouts. Tried 6 days a week - just too much.

    So here we are...
    Currently - decided on Lyle McDonald's Generic BUlking Routine. Been doing a 3-day version for about 3 weeks now. I think this workload is something I can maintain.
    Goal - lean bulk through at least March. I need to not worry as much about 'getting fat' and chasing abs... need to put on some size and I think a consistent, smart surplus and consistent training (even at just 3 days a week) will serve me better than in the past.

    So now, slight calorie surplus, shooting for 1-2 lbs per month gain and consistent strength gains. Eating about 2600-2700 cal, 160P, 330C, 70F each day for simplicity, but mainly making sure I hit protein and then stay within 100 cal or calorie target. I'd like to do this through at least March or April, and see where I'm at. If I could go back up to 190-200 lbs w/o looking like a fat slob, that would be great, then come back down to 12-15% for general everyday maintenance.

    Posting past workouts soon, then I aim to post workouts as they're performed as well as update profile pics of my progress. I also will post some form check videos - very much appreciate input as I definitely think I overthink some movements and make them harder than they need to be. Any feedback or comments are welcome.
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    Last edited by chrisseals; 10-27-2018 at 01:48 PM.
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    Registered User chrisseals's Avatar
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    Here's October's first cycle. Calling them cycles since the true program has 4 workouts per week.

    Cycle 1 -
    8 October Upper A
    Flat Bench - 135lb - 6,8,8
    BB Row - 115lb - 6,8,8
    DB Shoulder Press - 30lb - 12, 12
    Chin-up - Bodyweight (168lb) 10, 10
    Standing 1-Arm Tricep Extension - 20lb - 15, 15
    Alternating DB Curl (seated) - 20lb - 12, 15

    11 October Lower
    Low-Bar Squat 155 - 6, 6, 1 - coming from two weeks off at least, some nasty hammy cramping
    Straight-leg DL - 135 - 8, 8, 8
    Front Squat - 45 - 8, 8
    Calf Raise - 25lb - 12, 12, 12

    15 October Upper B
    Incline Bench - 135 - 7, 7, 7
    BB Row - 115lb x 3 x 8
    Lateral Raises 10lb x 3 x 12
    Chins Bodyweight (168lb) 1x12
    Tricep Extensions 20lb - 15, 15
    Alternating DB Curls 20lb - 12, 20

    17 October Lower
    Squat 155 - 6, 6, 7
    SLDL - 135 x 8, 145 - 8, 8
    Front Squat 65 - 10, 12
    Calf Raise - 52.5 - 12, 12, 12
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    Registered User chrisseals's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    Cycle 2

    Upper A 20 October
    Flat Bench - 145 - 8, 8, 8
    BB Row - 125 - 8, 8, 8
    DB Shoulder Press - 40 - 12, 12
    Chins - BW(168) - 12, 12
    Triceps Extension 25 - 15, 15 (second set really sucked form-wise... elbow dropped quite a bit with each rep.
    Incline DB Curl - 25 - 12, 11

    Lower 23 October
    Squat - 165 - 7, 6, 6, 6
    SLDL - 145 - 8, 8, 8
    Front Squat - dropped, in a rush and brushed this exercise off for the day
    Calf Raises - 52.5 - 15, 15, 15

    Upper B 25 October
    Incline Bench - 140 - 8, 7, 6
    DB Row (so I can do these in paired sets... makes for a bit shorter workout) - 52.5 - 10, 12, 12
    Lat Raise - 15 - 10, 10
    Chins - 10lbs (178) - 10, 7
    Tricep Extensions - 20 - 15, 15
    Hammer Curls - 20 - 15, 13

    Lower 27 October
    Squat - 165 - 8, 6, 8, 8**
    SLDL - 155 - 4x8
    Front Squat - 75 - 12, 12
    Calf Raises - 52.5 - 4x15

    ** Squats are a mental game for me. I can hear my knee cartilage like a bowl of rice krispies or packing peanuts, and some days even warming up with the bar just plain sucks. The thought of putting on more weight is always a bit intimidating, but today I visualized pushing my hips straight back, and then trying to bring them forward again, and this thought helped me knock the reps out a lot quicker and it wasn't such a mind game. I will submit form videos soon throughout the next cycle.
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    Registered User chrisseals's Avatar
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    Yesterday hit:
    Day 1 of Cycle 3, Upper(A).
    Flat Bench 150 - 8, 8, 7
    BB Row - 115 - 8, 8, 8 ** did supinated grip, watched some Rippetoe vids, completely changing up my form here but will be able to progress more confidently now that I have reps isolated and a better idea of proper form
    DB Press 45 - 12, 12, second set was a burner
    Chin-ups w/ 10lbs (181 total) - 12, 12 (again, second set was a burner)
    Skull Crushers (instead of tri-extensions, feel that these are better for counting clean reps. Standing Tri Extension it is too easy for me to flatten out my elbow as the reps get difficult... - anyways, Skull Crushers - 25lb - 10, 12
    Incline DB Curl 25lb - 12, 12

    Overall good workout, feels good to work out with food in my system from a few meals of the day. Feel that I'm progressing in everything. If I can hit the max end of my reps on the first set, and keep all other sets above the minimum end, I will add 5 lbs next session.

    I've had a double birthday party, surprise party for a friend, and then tonight Halloween... some of the other parties were a bit rough, definitely topped 3000 cal, kept it under control this evening however. Majority of my days last 3 weeks have been in the 2500-2700 cal window.

    Already feel fluffy and chunky... this is going to be a major mind*#%& as I gain weight, to not freak out and start cutting.

    I keep reminding myself, that I've never 1) consistently trained for progressive overload for more than 10 or so weeks on one program while 2) on a consistent surplus and 3) gotten decent semi-consistent sleep.... so, here's to buckling down and getting the big rocks in place.

    Appreciate any who take the time to read this far or are following along. Happy Halloween!
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    🥋 A Karate Kid age 60 Samraiwise's Avatar
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    Tell us more about fly-fishing, we all should have life other than just lifting weights and running with huffing and puffing. Just don't tell me too much about your happy life with wife and three adorable children......because it hurts me a lot, and don't ask me why....

    Information overload is better than no information because at least you have a choice. Whenever you lost, just remember "the simple is the best". Reboot your system and your brain. That's all there for you to know.

    Your photo says you are doing more than fine, more so if your default age "48" is true, though something tells me you are far younger than that, LOL.

    Originally Posted by chrisseals View Post
    Appreciate any who take the time to read this far or are following along. Happy Halloween!
    You should have knocked some of us neighbors' doors, many of old codgers here were waiting for kids with all those candies ready but nobody came so we ate em all ourselves as usual......and gained extra pounds as a result. Still are busy trying to come up with a good excuse to our wives.

    Welcome and Awesome!! Do kick our ass old coots and Happy Halloween yourself, belatedly!
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    Registered User chrisseals's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Samraiwise View Post
    Tell us more about fly-fishing, we all should have life other than just lifting weights and running with huffing and puffing. Just don't tell me too much about your happy life with wife and three adorable children......because it hurts me a lot, and don't ask me why....

    Information overload is better than no information because at least you have a choice. Whenever you lost, just remember "the simple is the best". Reboot your system and your brain. That's all there for you to know.

    Your photo says you are doing more than fine, more so if your default age "48" is true, though something tells me you are far younger than that, LOL.



    You should have knocked some of us neighbors' doors, many of old codgers here were waiting for kids with all those candies ready but nobody came so we ate em all ourselves as usual......and gained extra pounds as a result. Still are busy trying to come up with a good excuse to our wives.

    Welcome and Awesome!! Do kick our ass old coots and Happy Halloween yourself, belatedly!
    Thanks for advice and taking a look at the log Kaz!

    I'll not go into more family details (and I am sorry for the pain you feel there..) however, fly-fishing... now there is a relaxing escape from the everyday craziness. I do not have my laptop at the moment but when I get back to it, I'll post some pictures of my last trip. I only get out 1-2 times per year, but they are grand. Typically get out in the fall, and hit some streams in central Missouri that have spring-fed, shallow waters that you can wade, and go try to fool some trout into biting. It's a great thing.

    I'll tell you a secret - I am 33, I have my birthdate in the system and not sure why it's saying 48, however, I gravitated to this forum as I've repeatedly seen lots of sage advice in the +35 forum and workout logs, and feel that this crowd has much more useful perspective for me seeing as how I try to do this on top of full time work and family. I hope the locals don't mind giving me a 1.5 year grace period.

    Fly-Fishing, fishing of just about any kind, and also movies are entertaining. I'm a fan of LOTR also... and some Star Trek though honestly I'm a bigger Star Wars fan, obviously. What do you think of the new Star Trek reboots? They've been a lot of fun, light-hearted, and I think the casting is pretty excellent too

    Anyways, thanks for following along Kaz. Look forward to more talk!
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    Red face

    2 November 2018 - Tried to post form vids but still under the 50 post minimum... See the links in the attachment!

    Cycle 3, Lower A

    Squat 170 - 7, 7, 6: 3 sets today, not as much time to work out as last leg day so cut one set out. Did increase in weight.
    Front Squat - 85 - 10, 10 (should have done a vid for this one... but next time... have one hell of a time keeping that bar from sliding off my shoulders.)
    SLDL 165 - 7, 8, 8: 3 sets also, time crunch (kids' bedtime fast approaching)
    Calf Raises 52.5 - 15, 15, 15 one set less... grip was hot trash near the end, nearly dropping the dumbbell. I do these in a myo-rep fashion, 15 reps, 5 sec, 15reps repeat.

    Nutrition was a bit trashy the tail end of this week with Halloween.... lots of candy, donuts, junk floating around the office. I let myself live, try to cap under my daily calories still, but I know my body'd like some oats or potatoes better than 4 fun size snickers and a sour cream donut. At least for this workout I didn't get sick... sometimes that happens when the diet isn't fantastic.

    Speaking of the office, I dabble in some Python programming and am going to take a stab at plotting some body measurements and strength gains as this bulk goes on. i will save off some snapshots of my Frankenstein visuals and post some updated numbers and another workout early tomorrow.

    I welcome all feedback regarding the form vids. Will probably make a separate post. Cheers!
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    Never fly fished myself. Like to fish and hunt just never learned to cast with a fly rod setup. I have a guy at work that might teach me, he catches steelhead in the spring and fall in tributaries to Lake Michigan.

    As far as training, consistency is important. Take your surplus slow, I’d try to not exceed 3lbs per month, and from where you are now it might be good to cut again around 190. That’s 22lbs of gain and will make your deficit shorter. Dieting for more than 3-4 months can set progress back, so personally I think you would be better off trying to keep your bodyfat reasonably low while eating just enough to get stronger. Based on your pics you can successfully manipulate your intake, just keep it in a smaller window and focus on getting stronger.
    My knees sound like firecrackers too, but no pain just noise. Knee sleeves are somewhat helpful in keeping your knees warm for squats. I use rock tape knee sleeves, there are other brands that are great too. Might be worth the investment. Good luck!
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    Registered User chrisseals's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Plateauplower View Post
    Never fly fished myself. Like to fish and hunt just never learned to cast with a fly rod setup. I have a guy at work that might teach me, he catches steelhead in the spring and fall in tributaries to Lake Michigan.

    As far as training, consistency is important. Take your surplus slow, I’d try to not exceed 3lbs per month, and from where you are now it might be good to cut again around 190. That’s 22lbs of gain and will make your deficit shorter. Dieting for more than 3-4 months can set progress back, so personally I think you would be better off trying to keep your bodyfat reasonably low while eating just enough to get stronger. Based on your pics you can successfully manipulate your intake, just keep it in a smaller window and focus on getting stronger.
    My knees sound like firecrackers too, but no pain just noise. Knee sleeves are somewhat helpful in keeping your knees warm for squats. I use rock tape knee sleeves, there are other brands that are great too. Might be worth the investment. Good luck!
    I hear the trib fishing up there is sick... would definitely take your friend up on that. Fly fishing is nowhere near as intimidating as it seems and in a lot of ways is a bit simpler than spin fishing.

    Thanks for the feedback - I may look into some knee sleeves... and I also like the plan of aiming for 190 and then easing back. Thank you for this.

    Long deficits suck... Saw a thread by Induced_Drag where he recommended gain 25 lbs, roll it back for 10 weeks, repeat - for your first 2 or 3 years to get 95% of the gains you'll ever make.... that was a big motivator for me to not worry about remaining skinny and trying to put on size.

    Weigh-in this morning:
    Weekly avg weight - 170.4 lb (+2.1lbs from last week average. I know that's too much to sustain but I had a few really high days in there where water weight swung 2-3 lbs over night and then dropped back down. I'll reassess weight gain on a monthly basis so I don't react too fast.

    I will save on sharing measurements and will instead generate my graphs... however I will say that my measurements for the most part stayed the same.

    Will log Upper workout later today!
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    Originally Posted by chrisseals View Post
    Fly-Fishing, fishing of just about any kind, and also movies are entertaining. I'm a fan of LOTR also... and some Star Trek though honestly I'm a bigger Star Wars fan, obviously. What do you think of the new Star Trek reboots? They've been a lot of fun, light-hearted, and I think the casting is pretty excellent too

    Anyways, thanks for following along Kaz. Look forward to more talk!
    That's all I wanted to know, just keep me posted, especially THE NEW STAR TREK REBOOTS!! I've seen all TV series and Movies and read many of those Star Trek fan fictions!! Just not yet, not many informations about the newest series, for I live in a small island far eastern part of the planet Earth. We'll talk about it more later!! Good luck, and you are doing great!!

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    Thumbs up

    Kaz, you win for the most innovative emojis...

    Cycle 3 – Upper B, 3 November – Candy and Halloween junk food strike back
    Incline Bench – 145 – 8, 7, 4 – feeling pretty weak, discouraging
    DB Row – 65 – 12, 12, 12 – Need to pair these next time with the bench to make for shorter workout
    Lat Raise – 12.5lb -12, 12 – worked on form
    Chins – BW 169, full range of Motion 12, 10
    Skull Crushers – 25lb – 15*
    Hammer Curls – 20lb – 15*
    *ended the arm work paired sets one set shy, as I was building up queasiness the entire workout and really didn’t feel like barfing in the basement
    Sobering workout, a reminder of needing to eat to fuel performance. Blech.

    Cycle 3 – Lower B, 5 November
    Back Squat – 170 – 8, 6, 6, 6 – feeling good, but left knee had some tightness and slight burn, and I tend to not push it when it comes to knees/shoulders giving me weird sensations
    SLDL – 170 – 4x8 – these feel pretty solid
    Front Squat – 85 – 12, 9 these were still giving me some unpleasantness in the left knee, but proceeded anyways. Form video in attachment.
    Calf Raises – myo-style, 52.5lb(x2) – 4x15

    **This workout was MUCH better, had a lot of kid distraction because momma needed a break and sent them in the basement with me, but otherwise it went well.
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    Cycle 4, Upper A
    7 November

    Flat Bench 155 - 8, 8, 7
    Barbell Row 135 - 7, 8, 8
    Dumbbell Press 50 - 10, 10
    Chinup 10lb (181lb) - 10, 10 - focused on a good full range of motion so progress is easier to track and legitimate
    Skull Crushers 25 - 12, 10
    Incline Dumbbell Curl - 30 - 8, 8

    Cycle 4, Lower A
    11 November

    This was an AM workout, whey and cereal beforehand w/ caffeine pill but still felt fairly weak/tired

    Back Squat 175 - 3x6 - stopped at 3 sets as form was getting weak, 4' rest
    Front Squat 85 - 10, 9
    Straight Leg DL - 175 - 3x8 - stopped at 3 sets, bushed from rest of workout
    Calf Raises 52.5(x2) - 15, 10, 15, 15, 15
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    Cycle 4 Upper B

    November 12

    Deloaded workout, spent the first half of the day at the driving range with some buddies (Top Golf is pretty magnificent...) A flatbread pizza and many a Blue Moon are so-so workout fuel. Kept a shorter workout.

    Incline Press 145 - 4, 5
    DB Row 70 - 5, 5
    Lateral Raise 12.5 - 15
    Chin-ups +10(181) - 10
    Skull Crushers 25 - 8 (right elbow tendons pretty sore, I assume from trying to murder golf balls)
    Hammer Curls 25 - 15
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    Talking End of Cycle 4, Start of 5, weigh-ins and measurements

    Cycle 4, Lower B
    14 November

    Back Squats - 175 - 8, 6, 6, 6 -- feeling good, bracing back and slowing down the descent a bit
    Front Squat - 95 - 6, 8 -- working on upright stance
    SLDL - 180 - 8, 6, 6 -- grip a little weak today but otherwise feeling solid
    Calf Raises - 52.5(x2) -- 4x15

    CYCLE 5, Upper A
    17 November

    Flat Bench - 160 - 8, 8, 5, 4
    BB Row - 140 - 4x8
    DB Presses - 50(x2) - 11, 10 -- these are awful
    Chin-ups +10lb (181lb total) -- 12, 12
    Skull Crushers -- 25 - 12, 10 -- 20lb burnout - 15
    Incline DB Curls -- 30 - 10, 10 -- 20lb burnout - 15


    Progress thus far --
    First set of measurements from 20 October (few weeks into bulk) - second set of measurements from today 17 November
    Weight avg - 168.5lbs -- 172.2lbs (+3.7lbs)-- a bit ahead of my current goal of +3 lbs per month.... some of the weight gain was in 1-2 lb lumps within a few days, due to falling off course with eating... Need to reel in and make sure I'm eating relatively clean still.
    Chest - 93.6 -- 93.6
    Right bicep - 33.9 -- 34.6
    Left bicep - 34.1 -- 34.6
    2" above navel - 80.1 -- 80.6
    Navel - 83 -- 84.2
    2" below navel 86 -- 87.5
    Hips - 97.9 - 98.7
    Right thigh - 57.4 -- 57.5
    Left thigh - 57 -- 57.5

    I plan on going through Cycle 6, then restarting another mesocycle of 6 cycles, upping my starting weights a bit and trying to continue the overload.

    Updated pics attached as well.
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    Cycle 5, Lower A

    21 November

    Back Squat - 180 - 8, 6, 4, 3, pretty drained, poor sleep night before so only about 5.5 hours last night
    Front Squat - 95 - 8, 7
    SLDL - 185 - 3x6
    Calf Raises - 52.5(x2) - 4x20
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    Cycle 5, Upper B

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

    Incline Bench - 145 - 6, 7, 4 -- trying to work with a wider grip here as my forearms are NOT perpendicular to the bar when the bar is touching my chest.
    DB Rows - 70 -- 8, 8, 8, increasing next workout
    Lat Raises 12.5 - 12, 15
    Chins - +15(188) - 10, 10
    Skull Crushers - 25 - 15, 10, 10
    Hammer Curls - 25, 15, 10, 10
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    Cycle 5, Lower B

    24 November

    A bit of an audible called for this workout... told my 7 year old we'd get out squirrel/rabbit hunting early before the sun came up. I thought I could squeeze in a full early morning fasted workout and she caught me after the first exercise.

    Back Squat - 180 - 7, 6; 155 - 9, 8

    Went and walked a few miles hunting behind our place, and then came back, ate breakfast and chopped firewood for a few hours. We have a third Thanksgiving gathering of the week/weekend today, so I will call the workout good for today.

    Haven't weighed in for a few days, figure during these Thanksgiving days, it's best not to shock myself with some sky-high weigh-ins. I'll get back to normal business on Monday.
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    Chopping wood for a few hours is a great workout on its own lol.

    Just call it density training and you’re golden.

    With the work you’re putting in, I doubt your thanksgiving forays will jump your weight too much once you’re back to a regular eating schedule.
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    Cycle 6, Upper A
    November 26

    Flat Bench - 165 - 6, 6, 3; 135 - 10 * I notice a lack of sustained strength on the bench/incline bench when I am alternating them. Going to pick one of the other for the next cycle...
    BB Row - 145 - 7, 8, 8
    DB Press - 50 - 12, 10
    Chin-up - +15(190) - 11, 8
    Skull Crusher - 25 - 3x15
    Incline DB Curl - 25 - 10, 10, 12
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    Cycle 6, Lower A
    November 28

    Back Squats - 180 - 8, 6, 6
    ** did 45 minutes on a recumbent bike watching Sophia the First with my 6 year old in lieu of the rest of this workout

    Cycle 6, Upper B
    December 1

    Incline Bench - 135 - 4x7
    DB Rows - 85 - 5, 6, 5, 5
    Lat Raise - 12.5 - 15, 15
    Chins +25(198) - 6, 6
    Skull Crusher - 25 - 15, 16, 15
    Hammer Curl - 25 - 15, 15, 15
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