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Super Ape
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Won't go into full detail, but I had to do a at-home pump day on Wednesday because life reasons.

Yesterday did my SSB speed box squats with 5kg added (top sets of 72.5kg) and then hit sets of 6 on 80kg and then 85kg (which is 187lbs...I pumped myself up by internally rapping 'Yeah and you don't stop, because it's 187 on an safety bar squat' lol). I think using the SSB, box, and no belt makes that equivalent to repping a 2 plate free squat with belt. I had a rep in reserve no doubt, but I was pretty tired afterwards. Made successful weight jumps in my accessories, which were as last lower body day.

Not sure if next gym day will be tomorrow or Sunday, depends on plans. Ultimately next lower day I will up the speed squats another 5kg but I may do speed pulls instead of the sets of 6. I'll probably do a training max on the SSB Box Squat the lower session after. I think I'm good for 110kg, but I guess we'll see in about a week.

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I did about 60 minutes of what I define as "leg wiggling," riding on my stationary bike for an hour at any damn speed I please (average 40-50 RPMs) just to see if I could do a dang hour. No prob. We turn up the intensity next time. 

I gotta get into a gym, stat, to add a weights component, but that's trickier than it seems. My income's limited, and I gotta see if there's someplace I can go besides Planet FItness - just don't care for them, used to belong to one - but I'm not sure the alternatives are in my price range. Feast or famine - either can't afford it or can afford a gym I don't much care for. I don't think being able to deadlift is too much to ask, but it is at Planet FItness. There's a million reasons why I don't much care for the place, actually.

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Yeah, they would have been a lot more convenient for me if they were even remotely equipped well - and I looked at one right when my motivation was starting to flag this past winter - but the lack of even one fucking squat rack in the whole place made me eject. When I commented on it, the person giving me the tour said, "Oh, like a CrossFit gym." I wanted to say, "No, like literally any other gym, you fucking moron," but instead I just left.

The only good thing that can come out of a Planet Fitness is naked Snaps from some girl you might know...

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They had Smith machines at the one I've been to, which allowed for some kind of form-wrecking squatesque motion. Problem is there's tons of cheap bros still trying to do bro workouts in the gym so the Smith machines are packed with 135-pound benchers. The dumbbells are packed with more-back-than-arm-movements curlers. The place is just a shitshow, great for people who need to lose a little weight and could stand to get on a treadmill, but little else. And I've got an exercise bike at home, so I don't really need the place for cardio.

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Another day, another hour on the stationary bike at a slightly faster pace than yesterday. I listen to music, but time still drags. Guess I should increase the intensity a bit, give me something to think about besides "will this ever end?"

Today, I had plenty of distraction for the last 30 minutes or so by one of my cats, who decided that playing fetch with him would be tons more interesting than me pedaling in place. He's skinny - he'll never understand.

Fud plan 4 now:

6 p.m.: Medium chicken breast, 100 grams oatmeal

9 p.m.: Medium chicken breast

Midnight: Medium chicken breast

Not a lot of food, will be going up soon, most likely.

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Watched various gym bros:

 - Ego-lift on squats with heels coming off the ground on the upward motion

 - Do OHPs with only the top half of the range of motion (same bro, bro)

 - Do planks with their low back in hyperextension - and this was not someone overweight or out of shape, just fucking lazy, not to mention planks are garbage

I see stuff like that - and other things like teenagers doing upright rows like it's 19-fuckity-12 - and I kind of want to scream at these people.  Or maybe start my own gym that has "motivational phrases" like "When your form sucks, you suck" and "Set a personal record today of not half-assing your workout".  Ugh.

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49 minutes ago, Contentious C said:

I see stuff like that - and other things like teenagers doing upright rows like it's 19-fuckity-12 - and I kind of want to scream at these people.  Or maybe start my own gym that has "motivational phrases" like "When your form sucks, you suck" and "Set a personal record today of not half-assing your workout".  Ugh.

I used to do upright rows, and 100% of the time it felt like my shoulders were going to fall off.  It's amazing I didn't do any lasting damage doing that bullshit exercise over the years. 

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4 hours ago, Contentious C said:

Watched various gym bros:

 - Ego-lift on squats with heels coming off the ground on the upward motion

 - Do OHPs with only the top half of the range of motion (same bro, bro)

 - Do planks with their low back in hyperextension - and this was not someone overweight or out of shape, just fucking lazy, not to mention planks are garbage

I see stuff like that - and other things like teenagers doing upright rows like it's 19-fuckity-12 - and I kind of want to scream at these people.  Or maybe start my own gym that has "motivational phrases" like "When your form sucks, you suck" and "Set a personal record today of not half-assing your workout".  Ugh.

You ever read this? https://leangains.com/fuckarounditis/

They had my dreaded enemy at work today — free food. I'm a sucker for free food from way back, and they had another weakness of mine, regular Ruffles potato chips. I'll gain some weight with all this salt, but back to it tomorrow. I need a healthier approach to food, but they're hard to master when you're a bachelor and don't feel like cooking your ass off.

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Free food is tough for me too. Keto was a good escape from that - because you know that if you do kick yourself royally out of ketosis then it's going to be a royal pain getting back in.

I do wide-grip upright rows; not right now, but they will be rotated in - they're a great exercise tbh. Arguably wide grip high pulls are better.

I'm flicking through that article and whilst I'm not a minimalist - I think it is important to rotate movements in and out in order to prevent overuse injuries (which are the most common type),and I think there are good reasons to train biceps directly, there is a lot of truth to what he says. Most people need to actually do less, but track and fight for progress.

I actually do a lot of small part work though, and I think it can be quite time efficient if you giant set it. For example. Yesterday:

SSB Speed Box Squats - 12 doubles (adding weight every 3 mini-sets - 70kg->77.5kg)

SSB Box Squat Singles - 85, 92.5, 100, 105, 110kg (I could have made 115kg, maybe 120kg but third squat day since returning so why bother?)

Hip Thrust Machine - 100kg, supersetted with Seated Calf 30kg 3 sets of 20 on both. 

Seated Leg Curl 40kg , giant setted with Abductor 55kg and Adductor 55kg, 3 sets of 20 on each.

 

The point is, the vast majority of my sets are small part work - this is fine and they're actually being done relatively quickly because not a lot of rest is needed. Half my sets are done in the last 20% of the workout.

The idea that you should rely on deadlifts for your hamstring work is incredibly suspect. I've been adding weight to everything and that is indeed the key thing - keep making weight or rep gains. If you stall, swap the exercise out any way you can  - I can do a prone curl instead of seated, I can change the setting on the adductor/abductor if I really want to keep them in, I can swap in Good Mornings for the Hip Thrust machine, I can switch to a standing calf, I can change the box height or use a straight bar.

Unless you're actually advanced, you're probably doing way too much volume. You v. rarely should go beyond 3 sets, 2 sets is underrated. Anyone who is regularly doing much more than 20 sets is probably not working hard enough during the actual sets (I count the above as 4 + 1 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 20 fwiw), and it's questionable whether training for more than 90 minutes is beneficial to most people - v. few people are actually going to do more than 20 good sets in that time if they warm up and rest properly between primary exercises.

btw, you probably also shouldn't be fighting for reps on the bench, squat and deadlift on a regular basis. Generally you want to leave a rep or two in the tank. There are plenty of very solid powerlifters who basically never go beyond RPE 7 on the main lifts, especially during rep work on those exercises.

 

 

Edited by RunningFromAmerica
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59 minutes ago, RunningFromAmerica said:

Unless you're actually advanced, you're probably doing way too much volume. You v. rarely should go beyond 3 sets, 2 sets is underrated. Anyone who is regularly doing much more than 20 sets is probably not working hard enough during the actual sets (I count the above as 4 + 1 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 20 fwiw), and it's questionable whether training for more than 90 minutes is beneficial to most people - v. few people are actually going to do more than 20 good sets in that time if they warm up and rest properly between primary exercises.

 

Honestly, I didn't even realize this was a thing until fairly recently.  How do you do 20 sets of anything?  Seriously, how long are people in the gym if they are doing 20 sets.  I just don't see how or why you would ever do that.  The most I'll do is 5x5 on squats, where I can load up the weight and rest enough to get a decent amount of work without completely fatiguing myself and that is only 25 total reps.  There is some evidence that change in rep ranges provide benefits for muscle growth, so you can do 3 sets of 5 one day, 3 sets of 10 another day, and 3 sets of 15, on another day...but those are spread out over about a week or more.  Doing 20 sets of any exercise even over the course of a week sounds excessive.

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Tbh only the most avid bench specialists are doing 20 sets of 1 exercise. I meant 20 sets of different exercises over the course of a workout.

You get programs like Ice Cream Fitness that prescribe 29 sets for Workout A - which for most people is going to be way too much (tbf Blaha said it's for people with optimal recovery conditions i.e. lots of food and sleep and a lot of novice programs are for high school athletes who should already have good general physical preparedness). Ice Cream Fitness 2.0 was 12-16 sets depending on whether you were deadlifting and whether you did the optional facepulls and standing crunches.

Personally I think (and Blaha doesn't disagree) the 2.0 needs a little more hamstring and glute so it would end up being around 20 sets.

 

 

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Managed to lose two pounds this week despite Monday's shameful pigout. I'll take this as a win.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and it strikes me that dieting is a balance between being easy on onself and hard on oneself. I could've prevented this whole affair if I'd repeated to myself "I'm not caving" instead of "I always cave, woe is me." It's a change of a couple of words. I could've done this. I know it. Instead, I caved. Now that's it's over, I have to tell myself that mistakes were made, no problem, and not beat myself up over it. 

I'm really eating too little to have much will to exercise (here we go again - a handy little "I gotta exercise" would do wonders here. I still have plenty of time left in the day.

First testosterone injection seems to be doing not much whatsoever. I have to go back for a second tomorrow, maybe it just needs time to build up. I'd like to think it helped me lose what weight I lost.

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I watched a gym bro do upright rows on the frickin' Smith machine today.  I wanted to go Patches O'Houlihan on him with the 5-lb weights around the gym.

I haven't felt a good connection with a couple of exercises - I'm actually still struggling to feel right with squats so far, but more on that later - so I decided to super-set all my upper body stuff.  After my low-incline DB presses at 45, I did coffin presses at 25 (ow); then added some EZ-bar lat pulldowns with my arms held as close to 90 degrees as possible through the motion after my pull-ups (ow); and I tossed in static hold lateral raises for as long as I could take it after OHPs (OW!).  I think the pulldowns were the least effective, but I probably need to cut the weight and do a lot more reps (the point of the elbow angle is to get biceps out of it and recruit lats as much as possible). 

The coffin presses, on the other hand, fucked me up something good.  I don't think I've ever felt my sternum and upper chest keep activating this long after a workout, which is almost certainly a good sign.  My upper chest would be most politely described as "avian", so I need the stimulation there.  The shoulder stuff was decent but still got too much trap involvement; not sure what to do there aside from laying into an incline position to try to get them out of the move. 

I'm not sure what to do about the squats.  My lower and mid-back are something of a disaster.  I probably have a shitty bed and shitty furniture, so I've had more or less constant pain for 6+ months or longer.  The weird thing is the workouts help a TON with feeling better.  I know some of that is stretch reflex, but I don't think the pain mitigation of that lasts for more than 20 or so minutes, so the fact that I feel better for the rest of the day means I'm probably doing something really positive with the workout and then sitting on crappy stuff all day.  But this relates to my squats because I feel those spots giving out a little, and it means I can't load anywhere near enough weight to get my quads to really fire.  I'm thinking I'm going to super-set them, too, but I'm not 100% sure with what.  I don't trust my balance enough yet to do Bulgarians, but they'd certainly be effective, since knowing what torture they are is my biggest mental block to getting through leg days.  But I'll probably just do single-leg drop squats with a couple of 15s or something until I feel like my legs are getting torn up.

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4 hours ago, RunningFromAmerica said:

Tbh only the most avid bench specialists are doing 20 sets of 1 exercise. I meant 20 sets of different exercises over the course of a workout.

You get programs like Ice Cream Fitness that prescribe 29 sets for Workout A - which for most people is going to be way too much (tbf Blaha said it's for people with optimal recovery conditions i.e. lots of food and sleep and a lot of novice programs are for high school athletes who should already have good general physical preparedness). Ice Cream Fitness 2.0 was 12-16 sets depending on whether you were deadlifting and whether you did the optional facepulls and standing crunches.

Personally I think (and Blaha doesn't disagree) the 2.0 needs a little more hamstring and glute so it would end up being around 20 sets.

If we're talking about 20 sets over a whole workout, that doesn't sound crazy at all.  I'm looking at my heavy upper body day, and it's about 30 sets but split over multiple muscle groups.  With that said, my trainer kind of reiterated the idea of reverse pyramid training out of the blue yesterday.  Basically his advice was that failing on the first set is much more valuable than failing on your last set.  The best way to increase strength and build muscle is to challenge yourself the most when you are at your strongest and least fatigued, and then scale down from there.  So if your goal is to do 4x8, it's much more valuable to get 6 at a high weight, and then drop the weight to get 6 to 8 more, for all 4 sets.  Track all 4 sets, and increase the weight when you get to 8 reps in any particular set.  I've been doing this all backwards for my entire life.  My goal was always to always start at a weight that I felt comfortable with to get through my first set, and then fail on subsequent sets.  I'd never move up until I could get through all my sets without failure.  I've been at a crazy weight plateau so I'm doing a mini-bulk phase where I'm upping my calories for about a month or so and I'm going to be putting in much more heavy lifting to see if a couple extra lbs. of muscle will kickstart my metabolism to cut another 10 lbs. or so.

 

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1 hour ago, Contentious C said:

I'm not sure what to do about the squats.  My lower and mid-back are something of a disaster.  I probably have a shitty bed and shitty furniture, so I've had more or less constant pain for 6+ months or longer.  The weird thing is the workouts help a TON with feeling better.  I know some of that is stretch reflex, but I don't think the pain mitigation of that lasts for more than 20 or so minutes, so the fact that I feel better for the rest of the day means I'm probably doing something really positive with the workout and then sitting on crappy stuff all day.  But this relates to my squats because I feel those spots giving out a little, and it means I can't load anywhere near enough weight to get my quads to really fire.

How would your back handle front squats? Those always caused my quads to fire right up.

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31 minutes ago, jstout said:

How would your back handle front squats? Those always caused my quads to fire right up.

I tend to like front squats a lot, but more because they get my abs working harder than for any other reason. Hack squats are also a favorite. I just don't think I would super-set either with standard squats; probably better to do something unilateral as a burnout. 

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Came down with a cold over the weekend, got tested for Covid, just to be sure. Yeah, not that, fortunately, but it made sure I haven't done anything at all this week (either?). The good thing is, my ankles and calves finally got the rest they needed, as the slow, short walk I took yesterday, was pretty much completely painless, which hadn't been the case for a couple of months prior to that! I guess this was my body's way of saying: "Hey, asshole! Enough with the overtraining and drinking! Time to just lie down and sleep for a few days!"

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On 8/4/2021 at 8:41 PM, supremebve said:

If we're talking about 20 sets over a whole workout, that doesn't sound crazy at all.  I'm looking at my heavy upper body day, and it's about 30 sets but split over multiple muscle groups.  With that said, my trainer kind of reiterated the idea of reverse pyramid training out of the blue yesterday.  Basically his advice was that failing on the first set is much more valuable than failing on your last set.  The best way to increase strength and build muscle is to challenge yourself the most when you are at your strongest and least fatigued, and then scale down from there.  So if your goal is to do 4x8, it's much more valuable to get 6 at a high weight, and then drop the weight to get 6 to 8 more, for all 4 sets.  Track all 4 sets, and increase the weight when you get to 8 reps in any particular set.  I've been doing this all backwards for my entire life.  My goal was always to always start at a weight that I felt comfortable with to get through my first set, and then fail on subsequent sets.  I'd never move up until I could get through all my sets without failure.  I've been at a crazy weight plateau so I'm doing a mini-bulk phase where I'm upping my calories for about a month or so and I'm going to be putting in much more heavy lifting to see if a couple extra lbs. of muscle will kickstart my metabolism to cut another 10 lbs. or so.

 

I'd be honestly interested to know what your trainer's views are based on. I would describe myself as not closed-minded, but deeply skeptical with regards to reverse pyramid training. Tbh the science doesn't suggest failing is particularly useful on heavy compound movements (it's ok on small movements where it's harder to judge RIR and failing isn't as fatiguing) and you're better off resting for longer than dropping the weight - or just doing higher-rep backoff work.

There are plenty of people doing 30 set workouts, but much less people actually getting a lot of benefit out of the extra 10 sets and probably more people losing progress as a result of that extra progress in all honesty.

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57 minutes ago, RunningFromAmerica said:

I'd be honestly interested to know what your trainer's views are based on. I would describe myself as not closed-minded, but deeply skeptical with regards to reverse pyramid training. Tbh the science doesn't suggest failing is particularly useful on heavy compound movements (it's ok on small movements where it's harder to judge RIR and failing isn't as fatiguing) and you're better off resting for longer than dropping the weight - or just doing higher-rep backoff work.

There are plenty of people doing 30 set workouts, but much less people actually getting a lot of benefit out of the extra 10 sets and probably more people losing progress as a result of that extra progress in all honesty.

It is a very new idea to me, but I'm willing to try the reverse pyramid for the next month or two to get through my plateau.  Based on pretty much all research I've seen, the sweet spot seems to be to work to be to constantly lift to within 2 reps of failure.  The issue is how do you judge when you will fail without actually failing.  My last workout I was able to do 205 8 times for 3 sets.  Tomorrow, I'm going to move up to 215, and go for 8, but won't complain if I fail at 6.  It isn't really that far off from the sweet spot, so I don't see any reason to not give it a shot.  For the next month or two my goal is to add as much muscle as I can, which realistically won't be more than 3 or 4 lbs. tops, but I'll try to remember to post my progress.  My biggest issue is that I have a pinched nerve in my back, so I can't squat or deadlift heavy.  It's low enough that it doesn't really bother me at all when I do any upper body work, but there are no better muscle building exercises than squats and deadlifts.

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This video is bizarrely unlisted, but I think Nippard's demonstrations of RIR here are pretty useful:

Re: Reverse Pyramid Training. Yeah, still not buying but I understand the idea of trying something to bust through a plateau. My approach, rightly or wrongly, would be to hammer weak links with accessories to get the necessary hypertrophy - and for me, btw, this is a good reason to have a standard gym routine of 18-20 sets; you can always add a couple more sets on something if you really think you need it or towards the end of a training cycle. if you're doing 30 pretty much as standard anyway, you have nowhere to go volume wise except to deload. So I wouldn't necessarily be against someone doing 30 sets on upper body once every 4-6 weeks - but it shouldn't be every week imo.

Westside do 15-20 sets after their max effort and speed work, but they're not natty obv. If you look at something like Fierce 5, the Intermediate/Advanced Split is 15-21 sets per workout (and actually the one with 21, 3 are optional. Mostly they're 18). I stand by the number.

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Today's Foolish Lifting is brought to you by the big-but-old guy who gets on hamstring curls and jerks nearly every plate by swinging his body like he's trying to fuck the padding.

Went with squats first today (as opposed to deadlifts) and did drop squats/kinda lunges in between to get my quads/glutes/hams to fire more.  Worked fairly well and burned like I expected.  Definitely don't have the balance yet for Bulgarians.  And by the time I got to deadlifts, I did those and I was *gassed*.  I don't look in the mirror to pose or flex or inspect; I look in the mirror to ask myself if I still have the will to live.  So yeah, good workout.

Still not really feeling the kind of back connection I want to on pull-ups & the one-arm rows I did today; not sure what I'm going to have to do about this.  My shoulders were always bordering on double-jointed to begin with, now they're just shitty and loose, and I worry that the poor connection is because of my long-ass arms and my uncooperative shoulders making it harder to really squeeze my lats.  Having said that, though, that may change, as I decided against the static holds after OHPs and instead just did partial side raises as high as I could go with the OHP weight (just 25 right now).  Range was only 25-30 degrees on that, not very high at all. Felt a MUCH better connection in my side delts that way, better than I had when I did reps like that at home with my bands, and a lot less of my traps jumping in.  I think that's because the resistance curve on a band is so different, whereas the partials with heavy weight are right in the sweet spot for the resistance.  Really happy with those. 

Edited by Contentious C
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I know that feeling well!

2nd Covid jab and date nights saw me take 3 nights away from the gym but back on road today. My bench of choice was being used so I decided to forego speed work i favour of a training max on the close-grip Incline (30 degrees I think) Bench Press. Given I had literally not done this movement in 9 months, it went pretty well. My previous best was 100kg with a wider grip, belt and wrist wraps. I put up 95kg with a little bit of slowing down half way through but not an outright grind by any means - 100kg would have been fine but there was little to be gained by going for it. I thought this was a pretty good test of where I am strength-wise because although a bigger belly can reduce ROM on a bench press it isn't going to help an Incline that much. Basically push-ups and band work whilst I've been away have basically left me in a position to make gains on this lift, which should carryover to my flat bench. I will probably test my bench in a couple of weeks.

I think I will start wearing the wraps soon. I don't like them much and I think not using them is kinda *manly* (it also builds forearm and grip), but I think it taxes the nervous system a bit more and I definitely felt the fatigue on later accessories.

Tomorrow I'm going to do speed squats and then my first speed pulls in a long time. My deadlift is quite likely to be relatively dogshit for a while, which tbh I am ok with. But we'll see how it goes. I'll probably pull semi-sumo to start with, and then maybe throw in a set of RDLs with a conventional stance. I may strap-up to start with too, but we will see.

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I just bought another bike I can't ride - too fat at the moment - but I got a good deal on an old Nikishi Japanese-made road bike, with a five-speed (?) drivetrain. It's old and made of steel, so you know it's bulletproof.

I just gotta quit with the free food at work and settle back into a groove and I'll be riding the damn thing in a couple of months - getting back on my herd of bikes is my prime reason for trying to drop some pounds. The free food train pulled out of the lot Friday, and I'm expecting several weeks of sanity at work.

It's amazing that for a company constantly pushing losing weight on us (insurance reasons), we stay fed at work.

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County reinstated mask mandates indoors this week, so this workout suuuuuuuuuuucked.  Probably took another 15 minutes than I would have otherwise to catch my breath.  I've always struggled in the first 15-20 minutes of anything strenuous, and it makes me wonder if I have some degree of exercise-induced asthma.  But, I got through, and I went up in weight on all my push exercises.  Another month of this and then it'll probably be time to see how I do on a real split.

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