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  1. #1
    Registered User ClimberTrav's Avatar
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    Strength balancing towards my front

    Hello sages,

    I'm quite new here, have enjoyed reading through the posts, and reckon I'm ready to ask for help.
    46 y/o
    6'0"
    168 lbs
    13% BF

    Pre-covid actual gym equipment measured 1RMs
    Bench: 190
    Squat: 235
    Dead: 380
    Pendlay Row: 190
    Pullups: 15 (actually 10 today at 20 pounds heavier and letting them slide)
    OHP: 110

    3 workouts / week
    Workout A: Squat, bench, row + 2x (pick 2 of bi, tri, core, and occasional random). 2 hours to complete.
    Workout B: Dead, OHP, pullups + 2x (pick 2 of bi, tri, core, and occasional random). 2 hours to complete.

    I have consistenly gained 0.5 pound/week, over 5 months, while maintaining 13% BF, even with almost no equipment, post-covid. I want to make my pushes stronger, and I want to continue overall gains, and I'd love to not have to increase my time lifting. And post covid, I now have dumbbells, a swiss ball, a pullup bar, and gobs of creativity to make it work. Is it as simple as drop the pulls and only do pushes?

    Your recommendations appreciated.
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  2. #2
    In it for the gainz RestoringTally's Avatar
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    Two hours per workout is waaaay toooo loonngg. Typically, a workout should take 45 to 60 minutes. Any more time and you are either not working out hard enough or goofing off too much.

    It sounds like you have built up a good base. I suggest you start following a proven program. Check out the Workout Programs forum. Following a proven program will ensure you are hitting all your muscles for a good balance.

    It seems you have the equipment to do the basic compound lifts (bench, squat, pullups). The rest of your equipment is good for accessory exercises.

    Since your goal seems to be strength related, I suggest one of the following programs:

    Stronglifts 5x5 (my go to program)
    Fierce 5 - for building strength and mass
    Madcow 5x5 (intermediate and advanced)
    Texas Method (intermediate and advanced)
    Wendler's 5/3/1 book (advanced)
    A look at Wendler's 5/3/1
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  3. #3
    Registered User ClimberTrav's Avatar
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    Thanks for the direction.

    Originally Posted by RestoringTally View Post
    Two hours per workout is waaaay toooo loonngg. Typically, a workout should take 45 to 60 minutes. Any more time and you are either not working out hard enough or goofing off too much.
    Lord knows that my wife would agree with you. I'm doing 3 minutes rest between all working sets, and absolutely no screwing around. I'm so focused that I can't even hear music. At 21 sets, I'm looking at an hour of just regaining composure for the next set, plus I'm doing 3-4 warmup sets before the mains.

    Originally Posted by RestoringTally View Post
    It seems you have the equipment to do the basic compound lifts (bench, squat, pullups). The rest of your equipment is good for accessory exercises.
    Actually, not at all. I'm limited to [lack of] home equipment, for the past 3 months, and even right now, until the gym reopens. Even so, I feel like I can adapt traditional exercises with what I’ve got.
    Last edited by ClimberTrav; 06-21-2020 at 08:10 PM.
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  4. #4
    In it for the gainz RestoringTally's Avatar
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    Your first post above is not clear. Were you listing your previous workout and then asking for a home workout routine with limited equipment?

    If you are stuck working out at home and you are limited to working out with only "dumbbells, a swiss ball, a pullup bar," then you will have to get creative. Considering what you were lifting before, I cannot imagine progressing with limited equipment. But you can probably maintain what you have, assuming your dumbbells are heavy enough.

    For lower body, you can do 1-legged squats and 1-legged stiff-legged deadlifts with the dumbbells. You may need to stand on a box or strong chair for the 1-legged squats. Do 1-legged hip thrusters with DB supported on your hips. You can do kettlebell swings using a dumbbell.

    For whole body, 1-arm DB snatches and getups with a dumbbell instead of a kettlebell.

    For upper body, you can do pushups (1-arm or feet elevated), floor presses with dumbbells, DB weighted pullups/chinups (hold DB with crossed ankles), 1-arm pullups, tricep extensions, dumbbell halos for the shoulders, Arnold presses, DB overhead presses, 1-arm DB rows, etc. I cannot imagine that you will build beyond your barbell lifts with a dumbbell routine.

    Basically, do bodyweight exercises using the dumbbells for increasing the difficulty and intensity.

    I have no idea what you can do with a swiss ball. Practice dribbling with it?
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  5. #5
    Registered User ClimberTrav's Avatar
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    One-legged Swiss ball curl! Seriously, try it.

    Yes, my first post was not clear, and you're a saint for responding. My first draft was so long that the server rejected it. Same for the second. I had to trim it so much, to get it accepted, that my point was lost. Let me try again.

    Compared to standards, my back/pulls (pullups, rows, dead) is reasonably strong.
    Compared to standards, my front/pushes (squat, bench, OHP) is weak.
    The discrepancy between the two is significant, this due to 5 years of serious rock climbing which is almost all pulls.

    How do I adapt my program to bring my pushes closer to standard...accepting that it's ok if my pulls suffer, in the short/medium term, in order to make this happen.

    So, the goal:
    Make pushes stronger, and accept lack of pull progress, as necessary.

    Based on your previous advice, I chose Fierce 5 as my template--sorta--it is almost identical to what I was already doing, and I can approximate it with my limited home equipment. You pretty much listed off exactly the exercises I'm doing--lots of unilateral movements.

    For the sake of making this possible, it's ok to assume that my gym really is going to open up next week, as planned, but that feels moot to me. The answer I'm expecting is something like, "Stop doing rows and pullups and swap in Incline bench and front squats" or "You can't stop doing the pulls, so you'll have to add incline bench and front squats to each workout." But, that's the thing. I don't know which of those is the right way to do this.

    EDIT: BTW, thank you so much for telling me that 2 hours was way to long. Today, I reduced the weights, cut the rests down to 60, 90, and 120 seconds, depending on how *hard* the exercise, and supersetted the supps, and got it done in 47 minutes. Hallelujah!
    Last edited by ClimberTrav; 06-23-2020 at 11:22 PM. Reason: thanks
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  6. #6
    Weak and foolish OldFartTom's Avatar
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    In my opinion the simple answer is not to worry, just follow the program you pick as written.

    The reason for this is that the areas where you are currently better developed - are better developed/adapted and so will make further adaptions more slowly.
    The areas where you are currently less developed - are less developed/adapted and so will make further adaptions more quickly.

    Yes you can try throw in extra work to target certain areas, but you know what... if you train evenly to a good program it will naturally tend to even itself out anyway. If you are seriously prepping yourself for a physique show and want superb symmetry asap then yes this is important to accelerate (and if you're in that position ignore everything I ever say), but if you are just trying to get fitter and stronger for the goal of just being fitter and stronger then don't stress on this, it will take care of itself.

    90 something % of climbers have neglected their legs (in terms of the 1 rep max kind of strength), with the notable exception of Tommy Caldwell who is a climber who was raised on squats from age 3!! (except when he trained specifically for the Dawn Wall, when he ruthlessly specialised training to that route). I may be wrong here as VauxEast (climbing wall) has a squat rack, but in my few visits I've never seen anyone squat (I'm not pretending to be a climber here, I'm weak and useless). Maybe a relentless diet of barbell squats are what you really need, not a special re-jiggling the front/back balance program

    Edit: once gyms re-open, I'm missing this too
    Last edited by OldFartTom; 06-24-2020 at 05:51 AM.
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  7. #7
    Registered User ClimberTrav's Avatar
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    I think that you and Tally are both saying the same thing--stick with a program. Alright, I'm convinced.

    As far as legs, you're right about that. When I started climbing my squat was 95 pounds, and I never trained it. Bigger legs are just more mass to haul up the rock :-) Truly, the biggest gains I'm seeing are in my quads and glutes. Imma keep at it.

    Thanks.
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  8. #8
    In it for the gainz RestoringTally's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ClimberTrav View Post
    One-legged Swiss ball curl! Seriously, try it.
    That sounds like an exercise that you could only do for one rep. Ever.

    Originally Posted by ClimberTrav View Post
    Based on your previous advice, I chose Fierce 5 as my template--sorta--it is almost identical to what I was already doing, and I can approximate it with my limited home equipment. You pretty much listed off exactly the exercises I'm doing--lots of unilateral movements.
    Glad to have helped.

    Originally Posted by ClimberTrav View Post
    For the sake of making this possible, it's ok to assume that my gym really is going to open up next week, as planned, but that feels moot to me. The answer I'm expecting is something like, "Stop doing rows and pullups and swap in Incline bench and front squats" or "You can't stop doing the pulls, so you'll have to add incline bench and front squats to each workout." But, that's the thing. I don't know which of those is the right way to do this.
    Listen to OldFartTom. Following a good program will even out imbalances naturally. Just give it time.

    Originally Posted by ClimberTrav View Post
    EDIT: BTW, thank you so much for telling me that 2 hours was way to long. Today, I reduced the weights, cut the rests down to 60, 90, and 120 seconds, depending on how *hard* the exercise, and supersetted the supps, and got it done in 47 minutes. Hallelujah!
    Sounds way better. I may take 2 to 3 minutes rest on the last, heaviest set. Between other sets I average about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. When doing bodyweight exercises, it is more like 30 seconds rest because the intensity (and exhaustion) is not there. BW exercises are almost like doing aerobics for me.

    I used to like spending time in the gym and would dawdle. Now I have a home gym with a killer sound system. I rarely spend more than an hour at a time working out.
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    ─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────
    My goal is to have so much equipment that I don't have room to workout. I am almost there. :)
    ──────────────────────────────────-───────────────────────
    1st Meet Nov 2014 Push-Pull: 225 - 325 @ 194 Masters 59
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