TR's Ed Coan Deadlift Program (utterly modified) Monday, January 21 Okay, I’ve been going nuts not having any goals or following any sort of pre-planned lifting schedule. I feel as though I’ve been wasting my time in the gym. Currently, due to my shoulder difficulties, I am unable to do number of major exercises. My rehab guy says no bench presses, no overhead presses, no dips, no pec dec. Pretty much, anything fun is out the window. In addition, I’ve been cutting, trying to lose the last five pounds that will let me get down to 10% body fat. I’ve been eating a bit less than 10 calories per pound of body weight (though I do make sure that I get at least one gram of protein per pound in order to lessen the likelihood of muscle loss). Anyhow, with a calorie deficit, it is not likely that I am going to produce any new muscle. Even using HST principles to workout, there’s not going to be any growth without sufficient fuel to feed the manufacturing process. So here I sit with no particularly good reason to go to the gym. Oh, yeah, I know I’ve gotta lift “heavy” in order to retain muscle, but what program should I use? HST? 5X5? All the major programs seem designed for growth, and right now I’m in the fat losing mode. I can’t even do Korte’s program again (Thank God!) because I can’t bench. After giving the matter some thought, I’ve decided to try Ed Coan’s Deadlift program. Here’s the right url for the spreadsheet: http://www.ontariostrongman.ca/Resources/training/phillipicoan.xls. If I’m not going to gain muscle, I ought to at least endeavor to gain strength. Besides, Coan’s program doesn’t require any of my “forbidden” exercises. Heck, it doesn’t even include squats…! I figured I’d try his workout to see if I am able to do it, and maybe add a bit to my deadlift. My goals: Deadlift 315 lbs (had been 325). 10% Body fat. Total body weight 126 lbs (though not necessarily – 10% BF is the big one). By April 1 (April Fool’s Day – how appropriate!) (note: having re-assessed my goal and re-doing a couple of weeks, I may have to change my goal date to April 15th, Tax Day – still appropriate). Of course, as a good HSTer, I felt very free to tweak things to suit my particular situation. I don’t really want to do without squats, so I decided I would use them as my warmup exercise, alternating front squats and back squats every other workout. Twenty good squats oughta have my legs and back ready for some heavy lifting. Coan’s ten-week program consists of mainly of deadlifts with some assistance exercises done in sets of 3x8 (no doubt Stephan Korte would roll over in his grave…). The deads are done with two heavy lifts and then 8X3 speed sets, though this varies some in later weeks. As the weights get pretty heavy (for me) pretty quickly, I’ll probably switch the 8x3 deadlifts to Max-Stim before long. Dan Moore reminds us that “WORK as defined in physics is Force X Displacement, a scientific way of saying Work=Weight X Distance Moved. Putting this into a context we are interested in, we can say Work = Load X Reps X Sets.” Thus doing 24 Max-Stim reps produces the same amount of work as eight sets of three, only the fatigue is managed differently. The assistance exercises are Stiff Leg Deadlifts (I’ll do Romanian Deadlifts instead; they’re about the same thing, but I think I understand the RDL better than the SLDL), Bent Over Rows, Good Mornings, and lat pulldowns. Coan doesn’t assign any particular weights for the assistance exercises, and, since they are all new and unfamiliar to me, I intend to start with very light weights and only gradually work my way up. The heavy deadlift starts at 75% of the goal weight and ramps up 5% per week for the first four weeks. The speed sets start at 60% of the goal weight and also increases by 5% per week for the first four weeks. Weeks five through nine also operate on a percentage basis, though the percentage varies. I thought I’d give this a try. I’ve got nothing to lose but my pride (and those last five pounds of body fat). After a couple workouts I decided to add in some calf and tricep work at the very end of the workout (if I still have any energy left). This makes for a lot of lifts, but most of them are relatively light. As things get heavier I may have to drop my extra lifts and concentrate on what Dr. Coan has prescribed. My proposed A Routine *Front Squat Deadlift Heavy Deadlift Speed Set Romanian Deadlift Bent over Row Good Mornings Lat Pulldown *Seated Single Calf Raise *Standing Calf Raise My proposed B Routine *Back Squat Deadlift Heavy Deadlift Speed Set Romanian Deadlift Bent over Row Good Mornings Lat Pulldown *Tricep Pushdown *Dumbbell Skullcrushers (*these are my additions to Coan’s program) During Week 5 (repeating Week 3’s weights), I figured out that Ed Coan apparently expected this program to be used only once a week! On other weekdays workouts would emphasize squats or bench. I wondered when those exercises got their turn... I hope I am not overtraining my lower back by doing deads three times per week. However, since I can’t really do bench presses anyhow, I may as well continue my routine. Perhaps I’ll add in a “Squat Day” with squats and squat assistance exercises… Monday, January 21 (Week 1) Front Squat 4x5x85 Deadlift Heavy 2x245 Deadlift Speed Set 8x3x195 Romanian Deadlift 3x8x95 Barbell Bent over Row 3x8x75 Waiter’s Bow 3x8x25 Lat Pulldown 3x8x90 Wednesday, January 23 Back Squat 20x155 ms Deadlift Heavy 2x245 Deadlift Speed Set 25x195 ms Romanian Deadlift 3x8x85 Bent over Row 3x8x85 Waiter’s Bow 3x8x25 Lat Pulldown 3x8x90 Seated Single Calf Raise 2x10x55 Standing Calf Raise 2x10x120 Tricep Pushdowns 2x10x90 Okay, 8 sets of 3 are fun, but I’m a Max-Stim kind of guy. I seem to be able to regulate my fatigue much better using ms reps rather than a series of sets. So I changed my “Speed Sets” to Max-Stim (they weren’t very speedy anyhow…). Friday, January 25 Front Squat 4x5x95 Deadlift Heavy 2x245 Deadlift Speed Set 25x195 ms Romanian Deadlift 3x8x85 Dumbbell prone Row 25x35 ms Waiter’s Bow 3x8x25 Lat Pulldown 3x8x90 Seated Single Calf Raise 2x10x55 Standing Calf Raise 1x20x120 Tricep Pushdowns 2x10x90 Yeah, okay, bent over rows – whatever. My lower back is taking a beating from all the squats, deads, Romanians, and good mornings, so I changed my rows to prone rows on a bench using dumbbells. You gotta love a guy who schedules deads, RDLs, good mornings, and bent over rows into one workout, but since I’ve added in squats, I figured I could skip the bent over rows. Monday, January 28, 2008 (Week 2) Back Squat 20x155 ms Deadlift Heavy 2x260 Deadlift Speed Set 25x215 ms Romanian Deadlift 3x8x95 Dumbbell prone Row 25x35 ms Waiter’s Bow 3x8x25 Lat Pulldown 3x8x100 Tricep Pushdowns 2x10x100 Dumbbell Skullcrushers 2x10x10 I did not do well during today’s workout. I was halfway through my warm-ups (I use my squats as a warm-up) and I was tired already. I began reasoning with myself that 10 Max-Stim reps were plenty, that it was just for warm-up; I didn’t really need to finish all 20… and so forth, but I did them anyhow... I was beat the whole time, from beginning to end. The deads were heavy today. The heavy lift at 260 lbs was twice my body weight. It went right up, but it went slowly (btw, last October 19, it took 275 lbs to double my body weight; apparently I’ve managed to lose a few pounds since then!). The Max-Stim reps of 215 about did me in. I threw in a coupla sets of dumbbell skullcrushers with my vet’s approval. I’m only allowed to use ten pound weights, but it’s a start. I was very tired all the way through the workout, and went home feeling like a zombie (but, hey, a zombie who had just lifted twice his rotting body weight…!). Wednesday, January 30, 2008 Front Squat 5x45, 5x65, 5x85, 20x100 ms Deadlift Heavy 2x260 Deadlift Speed Set 24x215 ms Romanian Deadlift 3x8x95 Dumbbell prone Row 3x8x35 Waiter’s Bow 3x8x25 Lat Pulldown 3x8x100 Seated Single Calf Raise 2x10x55 Standing Calf Raise 2x10x120 I wasn’t nearly so beat afterwards today as I was on Monday. The more deads I did, the better I felt and the easier they went up. Friday. February 1, 2008 Back Squat 10x45, 5x95, 3x135, 20x155 ms Deadlift Heavy 2x260 Deadlift Speed Set 25x215 ms Romanian Deadlift 3x8x95 Dumbbell prone Row 8x35 ms, 2x8x40 ms Waiter’s Bow 2x8x25, 1x8x35 Lat Pulldown 3x8x100 Tricep Pushdowns 2x10x100 Dumbbell Skullcrushers 2x10x10 The heavy deads felt heavy today, but everything else went well. Maybe it helped that I ate nearly 60 grams of carbs before I went to the gym. That’s more than I had all day yesterday… I had to share the squat rack with some high school kid and his coach. Actually, I thought it was kind of a treat to see someone else doing squats! This kid is an offensive tackle – about the size of a small Canadian bear. He started his squats at 315 lbs and went up from there. Heck, my goal for my whole deadlift program is only 325 lbs…! Monday, February 5, 2008 (Week 3) Front Squat 5x45, 5x95, 20x105 ms Deadlift Heavy 2x280 Deadlift Speed Set 18x230 ms Romanian Deadlift 3x8x105 Dumbbell prone Row 3x8x40 Good Mornings 3x8x45 Lat Pulldown 3x8x100 Seated Single Calf Raise 2x10x60 Standing Calf Raise 2x10x130 280 lbs went right up, though the second lift was a bit of a struggle. Front squats seem to be much more pleasant than back squats. I am able to go noticeably lower. I upped the weight on most exercises. Not by a lot, but enough to serve as a reminder that I’m supposed to be following at least some HST principles. I’m still trying to lose those last five pounds, so I’m not eating enough to generate any sort of hypertrophy. Even so, the concept of progressive load keeps urging me to add a bit, weekly if not daily. I quit screwing around with the Good Mornings. I had been trying to do a Zercher-type variation, a sort of a Waiter’s Bow. I’ve been using first a 25 lb plate and then a 35 lb plate, holding it to my chest as I bent over at the hips. Today I used an empty bar on my shoulders and just did a clunky old Good Morning; I found that it was much easier. I’ll begin to add some weight to this exercise, but slowly as I gain more confidence with it. Wednesday, February 06, 2008 Back Squat 10x155 ms Deadlift Heavy 2x280 Deadlift Speed Set 18x230 ms Romanian Deadlift 3x8x105 Dumbbell prone Row 3x8x40 ms Good Mornings 2x8x65 Lat Pulldown 3x8x100 Tricep Pushdowns 2x10x100 Dumbbell Skullcrushers 2x10x12 I was tired going in to my workout. I decided to do only 10 squats for my warmup. I figured I could do 10 more afterwards if I had any juice left. I didn’t… Friday. February 8, 2008 Front Squat 5x95, 5x115 ms Deadlift Heavy 1x280 (I missed my second lift) Deadlift Speed Set 18x230 ms Romanian Deadlift 3x8x105 Dumbbell prone Row 3x8x40 Good Mornings 3x8x65 Lat Pulldown 3x8x100 I couldn’t get the heavy lift up today. I only did a very few front squats, then decided to go ahead with my deads. After a brief warm up with 3x135 lbs, then 3x230 lbs, I went to lift the 280, but it did not move. This is the same weight I lifted twice on Monday and twice on Tuesday, but today it had a mind of its own. I didn’t sleep at all last night; perhaps that contributed to my failure. I remembered some of the advice I’ve received about lifting – especially that a lot of it is mental. So I sat down and rested for two minutes then went back to the bar. This time it went up. It was heavy and slow but it went up. I did a little victory lap afterwards – I felt like Rocky…! After another few minutes, I went for my second lift, but this time it wouldn’t go up. I could just break it from the floor, but it wouldn’t go up. I tried another coupla times, then let it go. I went on and finished the rest of my workout. I think I’m beginning to get the hang of the Romanian Deadlifts. Today my back was straighter, my butt went farther back, and the bar went farther down than anytime previous. I’ve only been using 105 lbs, but now I think I can bump that up a bit. The same goes for my Good Mornings. My back was straighter, my butt went back farther, and I got clear down to parallel without much effort. Again, I might try adding a bit more weight. I didn’t do any calf raises today. My time was running long. Besides, I figured if I missed my most important heavy lifts, it wouldn’t matter much whether I did my calves or not. I am a bit concerned going into next week. I am scheduled to lift 295 on Monday. I think I may skip the warm up squats. Instead I’ll just warm up with some 135 and 225 deads, then I’ll do a 280 in order to prove to myself that I can do it. That’ll put me back on track, and I can go on and do my 295’s.