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Ray’s Cutting Diary – Week 12

Dumbbell Rack

Here we are – the final week! The rep range is going down to 5-8, which means the weight is going up. I want to make sure that I don’t let the heavier loads psych me out, as it’s been a while since I’ve lifted this heavy. I also want to make sure I’m really pushing as much as possible instead of using the low-end of the range as an acceptable “get to” point. Couple these things with a focus on smashing my diet throughout this final week and the goal is simple: finish on a big, badass high.

12 weeks already? It’s gone fast this time, Ray! Good focus by the sounds of it for the heavier weights. Looking forward to seeing if the Calorie deficit plays its part.

Let’s get to it…

Day 78 – Chest/Back/Shoulders/Calves

 

Wide-grip lat pulldown into pushups (5-8 reps, 4 sets)

Up from 47.3kg to 52kg. I considered going even heavier, but I wanted to try to make sure I got four full sets out and engaged my lats properly. I managed to do this, hitting the high-end first, then dropping to 6 reps for a couple of sets before 5 reps and a rest pause in the final set. In between I started with 9 pushups, but this diminished to 8 and then a couple of 6s. A decent enough start, I thought.

Very good. Happy with these numbers. I also think you made the right decision. Had the lat pull downs been on their own, then perhaps heavier would have been achievable. But with the press-ups, extra fatigue means I think that your form will have suffered. Good choice.

Seated cable rows into dumbbell shoulder press (5-8 reps, 4 sets)

Unfortunately I had to wait a little longer than ideal to nab the cable row, but eventually it became free. Last week I started at 52kg for the rows, but had to dropset and then lower the starting weight down. It was a bit up and down. So today I went with a steady increase to 54.3kg. This proved a decent selection; I managed to hit 6 reps each time, and dropsetted another 3 reps with 41kg at the end.

Brilliant. Strong. Impressed with this, and again, another good choice. You really know your body now, which helps with weight selection and exercise selection as you move forward without my programmes.

In between I moved up from 10kg to 12kg for the presses, and managed to hit the range each time albeit with diminishing returns. I threw a rest pause on the end there too, supplementing five reps in the final set with another three after the pause. This exercise has never really taken off for me, unfortunately. Maybe I’m being harsh on myself, though.

I suspect you are being harsh. But if you do feel the shoulders are a little weak, make them a focus in your next training programme. Perhaps have them first up when  trained with chest or legs or whatever. And ensure you hit them 2 or 3 times a week, while leaving stronger areas to 1 or 2 respectively.

Incline dumbbell flyes into reverse flyes (5-8 reps, 3 sets)

From 18kg up to 20kg for the dumbbell flyes, and from 8kg to 10kg for the reverse flyes. I managed to hit 8 reps in the first set, but this dropped to 5 reps thereafter. I rest/paused after the final set but could only add one more rep. Still, better one than none. In between I did okay with the reverse flyes, hitting the low-end of the range each time with a couple of reps added after a rest pause at the end. In honesty, though, I don’t think the ROM or squeezes were quite as good as previously. To be expected with a heavier weight, I guess. It certainly wasn’t bad, but I’ve done better before.

I don’t do reverse flyes with 10kg, Ray! I can’t get the extension and squeeze, so great effort. You have obviously added some strength here. That movement is often a weak point for many people and therefore leads to shoulder problems, especially from heavy bench press etc. So a good one to work on as you have. Well done with rest/pause sets and not letting yourself get off too lightly. Again, great strength of mind.

Cable crossover into cable lateral raise (5-8 reps, 3 sets)

I was feeling bold, so I moved up from 32kg to 36kg for the crossovers, but it proved a bit much. I did hit the low-end of the range in the first set, but it was just a bit too heavy for me to get a good enough squeeze in and then control the weight back down. So I dropped to 32kg thereafter, again throwing in some dropsets in the final set.

Well done for trying it; even happier that you were man enough to take it back down again. Still 32kg not to be sniffed at. Good job.

For the lateral raises I first tried for 18kg, and again decided it was too much even though I did just about manage to hit the low-end. I dropped to 14kg for the second set, and down to 9kg for the third set. My left shoulder was noticeably weaker than my right here, and was the main reason I dropped down to 9kg at the end. Even at 14kg I had to kind of cheat it, using my right hand to help the weight up, before allowing it to slowly lower by itself. So the lat raises here were a bit messy, unfortunately.

We all have imbalances. It’s great that you have noticed it. Now work to your weaker side and bring them up together. I like cable lat raises performed separately to allow focus on one side; always keep the weights the same though so one doesn’t get stronger than the other.

Dumbbell shrug into decline dumbbell bench press (5-8 reps, 3 sets)

From 30kg up to 34kg for the shrugs; I hit 8 reps each time. No fuss. For the presses I moved up from 24kg to 26kg, and managed two sets at the low-end after hitting the high-end to start with. I did try to tag on a rest pause, but I couldn’t get it started. If I’d had someone spotting me I think I might have managed another couple of reps, but I just couldn’t power through the first part of the ROM by myself. Dang!

It’s often the case that a spotter would get you over that “sticking point”, even if you only do forced reps or half reps, it’s still working beyond failure and forcing adaptations. You’ll have Dom to train with for a few weeks after this, so maybe try to include these to help you get over a plateau. Great work re:shrugs. You could probably do heavier.

Calf press on leg press (5-8 reps, 2 sets toes in, 2 sets toes out)

Up from 154kg to 165.6kg here, with 8 reps every set. Although, truth be told, the final few reps in the latter sets were a bit iffy – reduced ROM, for sure.

Often the case, especially with a big weight that the ROM is reduced. Good effort though, even 5 reps at that weight is cheeky!

HIIT

Today’s HIIT…

  • 1min fast, 30sec rest x 5

I ran it at 17kph with a 2.5% incline; this is up from 16kph at a 2% incline last time I ran the 1min/30sec x5 format. I managed to complete it, but it was tough. The third and fourth sets were knocking me around quite a bit, and I wondered whether I might just fall short. But I found a second wind in the final set and brought it home. Good times…

Great work. I have trouble getting many people to do 1.5% gradient, let alone 2%. I did my Tabata at 2% last night and it does make a difference. Well done, great effort.

A decent session to start the final week. I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to increase the weight on Friday, though. We’ll see…

Day 79 – Legs/Abs

 

The final midweek leg session. I decided to wake up and hit the gym earlier than usual in an attempt to avoid the ‘gaggle’ who like to circuit round the main leg machines and cause me to seek alternative exercises. Not today, guys…

You tell ’em, Ray. Flash those quads; Quadricaurus Rex is here – or something big lifters say in Tweets…

Leg press into straight leg dumbbell deadlift (5-8 reps, 4 sets)

Up from 129.3kg to 136.3kg for the leg presses, and from 20kg to 22kg for the deadlifts. The presses went quite well; I hit the top-end, then low-end, then the middle, and then the middle again followed by some rest pauses (down through 100kg and 73kg). Again, due to the heavier weight I didn’t always manage to keep it going like a metronome, but it wasn’t too bad.

Always tough to keep strict, strict tempo as the weight goes up. Good effort for giving it a go and good weights going down. 

The dumbbell deadlifts went okay as well. I hit the range each time, and threw on a rest pause after the final set to make sure I hit the top-end.

Brilliant work. Well done.

Goblet squat into seated leg curls (5-8 reps, 4 sets)

Arriving early may not always be an advisable strategy, but here it paid off as I finally managed to snag the leg curl machine on a week day. I moved up from 24kg to 26kg for the goblet squats, and from 68.3kg to 75.3kg for the curls. I hit the top-end of the range each time for the squats, albeit with help from a rest pause in the final set. And, truth be told, I paused at the bottom of the ROM once or twice before then as well. In between I first hit 6 reps for the curls, but kicked up to 8 reps in the second set, then down to 7 reps, and finally down to 5 reps, on top of which I rest paused another 3 reps.

Wow! Great sets. Adding a rep or two mid way through for the second set is a good achievement. Maybe a bit of rest after the initial exercises and first set, but still. Well done to push on and not settle.

Pretty happy with the weight and volume achieved here. Even a little suspicious, in fact. I wasn’t expecting to do that well with the squats, to be honest.

As eluded to above, perhaps almost a bit of recovery from the initial big compound lifts?

Leg extensions into Barbell squats (5-8 reps, 3 sets)

No way – he’s pulled the Olympic bar across on a week day! Aye, get a load of me. The kit was available, and I just tried to be as efficient and considerate as possible with my work space. I moved up from 61.3kg to 70.6kg for the extensions, and loaded up a 40kg total for the squats (an increase of 10kg from last weekends effort).

Well done, Ray. Nice work. Definitely better for what you are doing. 

The extensions went well, hitting the top-end of the range at first before slowly diminishing down to 5 reps in the final set. I dropsetted down to 59kg for another 2 measly reps, before dropsetting again down to 45kg for a final 4 reps. My rule of thumb is: If I’m not hopping around after the set, I probably didn’t work hard enough.

Hahaha! Good rule, one I employ, at least the hopping around part.

The barbell squats went okay; I hit the top-end twice and then 6 reps at the end. I intermittently made some of them pause squats by holding the weight at the bottom for a count of five. This certainly increased the intensity. Maybe I should have done it for the whole set.

Pause squats are a tough one. Much harder but a different beast. Perhaps one to throw in over the next few weeks until Christmas?

Dumbbell walking lunges into dumbbell jump squats (5-8 reps, 3 sets)

Up from 20kg to 22kg for the lunges, and this time I swiped 8kg dumbbells for the jumps. I’ve been up and down with my weights for the jumps, so much so that I feel I’ve lost track of what I can consider progression.

For the first two sets of lunges I actually overshot the range, pulling out 12 reps each time. I did need rest pauses (at first after 8 reps, and then 6 reps), but it’s still more volume than I meant to do. Not sure why it happened, really, but it’s given me a little more perspective on what I’m capable of. For the final set I decided to aim for just 8 reps, but the goal was to do it without rest pauses. And I just about managed it, although I did need to lay down for a second or two at the end.

Lol! I like that you are working so hard you needed a lie down. In terms of overshooting, it’s where a PT can sometimes be of use. They may give you a weight, which if you saw the progression written would scare you, or equally be very easy. You do reps to failure and they judge what your mental and physical strengths are. You did this yourself here; a slip in focus and you did more reps than needed, but it showed what you CAN do. Something to think on as you move forward.

In terms of going up and down with weights for the jumps, this is a good reason to note things down and make an effort to stick with a plan and progress it. Not a problem for one exercise, but if someone approached their whole programme this way you can see why results would be a little fleeting.

The jump squats went well. At first I managed 7 reps, and then 5 reps (followed by a quick rest pause and another 2 reps). In the final set I decided to throw on a load of rest pauses, and after first managing 4 reps I went through four or five pauses, each bringing another handful of reps. I eventually called it after the quality of reps diminished beyond a certain point.

Great effort. You really do add intensity and leave everything in the gym. That’s not something I see in everyone I help. Very impressed.

Cable crunch into weight plank (5-8 reps / 30secs, 3 sets)

Up from 68kg to 73kg for the cable crunches, although the first set was a bit of a write-off as the ropes were taken so I tried using a V-bar. Just didn’t work, unfortunately. Awkward positioning etc. I snagged the ropes for the second set onwards, though, and hit 5 reps, and then 4 reps followed by a dropset. Not the best today, unfortunately.

In between the planks again weren’t the best. I used the 20kg plate and aimed for 30 seconds per set, which I managed at first but then fell short of. In hindsight I think I should have fought harder here. The mind fails long before the body, of course.

It does, but your mind was strong in the jump squats before. My thoughts are that 73kg may have been too heavy for the cable crunches and this affected the rest of the sets.

I actually turned this exercises into a triset (or is it a megaset? I should check out Sean’s glossary) by using the 20kg plate to do some goblet squatting. I only managed about 3 reps each time, though, so it never amounted to much.

Again, working above and beyond.

Reverse crunch on a decline bench into decline crunch

I wasn’t fully satisfied with my abs workout, so I threw on this little superset to finish the session. It didn’t really go too well, though. Scrappy little sets, iffy form etc. Not the finale I was looking for!

Sometimes you have to be satisfied with what you’ve done. Less is more and all that. Adding little exercises that actually aren’t doing much could be counteractive. Still, good choice of exercises and by the sound of it, not a bad display considering you should’ve been pretty fatigued.

Overall this was a pretty good session. I’m happy with the weight and volume of the legs exercises, although I was a bit disappointed that my legs didn’t feel like jelly as I left the gym. I wonder if this is because my squeezes weren’t consistent enough? I’m doing legs again on Saturday. It’ll be the final session of the entire programme, and I’m going to make sure that every single rep has a nice big squeeze so that I’m forced to crawl my way out of the gym…

I personally find my legs are far wobblier with higher reps/volume than heavier sessions. Heavy = I just can’t do that again. Volume = ouch that burns and leg wobbles. Doesn’t mean the heavier sessions aren’t doing the trick though!

Day 80 – Arms/Calves

 

Chin-ups into dips (to failure, 4 sets)

As per usual, I started with around 6 reps a piece with diminishing returns. I had hoped for a little more progress by now, to be honest. I suspect it might be a mental block.

Mental block perhaps, I also believe once your start eating with a surplus, either psychologically or physically, these big bodyweight compounds will increase reps wise.

Cable curl into triceps pushdown (rope) (5-8 reps / 4 sets)

Up from 32kg to 36kg for the curls, and from up 50kg to 54kg for the pushdowns. Hit the top-end of the range for the first three sets of curls, but this dropped down to 6 reps in the final set. I was pretty happy with this, as I was really trying to make sure I got a good squeeze in each time. For the pushdowns I hit the low-end a couple of times, and thereafter used dropsets. I could just about do 54kg, but it was heavy enough that I was struggling to really get the squeeze in down at the bottom of the rep. Still, this was a decent superset.

54kg! Well done, Ray, especially if you could still add a good squeeze. Sounds like an intense set and some good work.

Incline dumbbell curl into standing dumbbell triceps extension (5-8 reps / 3 sets)

Up from 12kg to 14kg for the curls, and from 20kg to 22kg for the extensions. The curls were intense, but I made sure I didn’t hold my breath (as per Sean’s comments from last week), and thus I never felt light-headed. I hit the middle of the range at first, and then the low-end before dropsetting to 8kg in the final set. It takes quite a lot to get the weight up from the dead hang, so I’m not sure that I managed to also get the best squeezes in. It’s like all the energy went into getting it up in the first place.

If you think percentage wise, 2kg is a BIG increase here. Hence the fatigue at just getting the weight up, nevermind the squeeze. Still, not holding your breath is a good progression and the weight isn’t to be sniffed at. A good aim for future for 10reps?

The extensions were decent; high-end, mid-range, low-end then a rest-pause. I need to make sure I’m not flaring my elbows though. It makes it easier. It’s cheating!

Yes and yes. When working with Dom up to Christmas get him to check you don’t do this.

Close-grip bench press into barbell curl (5-8 reps / 3 sets)

As with last week there was a bit of messing about before I got started here, as I got into a rack and loaded up an Olympic bar. I moved up from 50kg to 60kg, whilst increasing from 12.5kg to 15kg for the barbell curls. The presses were really intense. I only managed 6 reps in the first set, then 5 reps in the second. In the third set I did get to five reps, but I actually failed on the fourth. I let the bar sit on my chest for a moment before pushing it up back. I then did a dropset, squeezing out another 4 reps at 50kg. It’s a really good exercise, this. Very tough.

This is a great effort, if you look at arm specific programmes like Jim Stoppani’s this exercise always features, and often heavy. Great work; one for you in the future I think.

The curls were okay. I took Sean’s advice and closed my eyes to try to focus on the bicep muscles. I threw on rest pauses in the second two sets, at first to hit the top-end of the range, and then just to make the range. It’s a tough exercise to do after the presses, to be honest. I don’t get the same level of squeezing I can get from the cable curls, for example.

If we were continuing I’d tell you to switch the order to curl first, thus allowing full concentration to ensure the press doesn’t affect the curl. As it is, this is our last week. Perhaps try curls like this on their own over the next few weeks. Eyes closed and squeezing at the top with eccentric lower.

EZ bar curl into Lying triceps press (5-8 reps / 3 sets)

Today I moved the EZ bar load up from 27.5kg to 30kg – so not much at all. But last week I succumbed to quite a few rest pauses, so I figured a small increment would do the job fine. I hit the low-end of the range each time for the curls, with a rest pause thrown in on top. And I did exactly the same for the presses as well, actually, sans rest pause at the end.

Good choice; again, 2.5kg on 27.5kg is actually a big percentage. Good reps and sets all round, well done.

Leg press calf raise (5-8 reps, 2 sets toes in, 2 sets toes out)

None of my favoured bits of kit were available here, so in the end I actually did some standing dumbbell calf raises. I used 36kg dumbbells, and hit the top-end for a couple of sets, and then hit the middle of the range. They weren’t very good, to be honest. During my rest periods I took to doing a handful of diamond pushups, plus some hammer curls with 8kg dumbbells. Just having a little fun, really.

I love this, very “bootneck” and not what everyone would consider “fun” (I would!). Good job with the dumbbell calf raises, you have to compromise in life.

Overall this was a solid session. Some good weight and volume, I’d say. During the close-grip bench presses and barbell curls I did a little posing in the mirror and my arms were looking good. Nice and vascular, in fact. By the end of it they didn’t feel quite as fried as I wanted them to, though. Even though I’d really tried to concentrate on getting good squeezes in and, as I say, I shifted some decent weight and volume. Who knows. Still, I’m chalking it up as a positive session.

I’d agree. Good session. Like the legs, volume =  “fried”, sometimes heavy weight leaves you feeling like you didn’t do enough; but often the DOMS a day or so later remind you, you have. I have done triceps exercises for only 6 sets over 2 exercises before and had bad DOMS. At the end of the session, I didn’t feel like I’d worked my tris at all. Sometimes you just have to trust it!

Day 81 – Rest

 

Snoozing…

Day 82 – Chest/Back/Shoulders/Calves

 

Wide-grip lat pulldown into pushups (5-8 reps, 4 sets)

Up from 52kg to 56.6kg for the pulldowns, and I managed to hit the low-end each time. Actually, I failed in the final set after 3 reps, so I threw on a dropset at 45kg for another 5 reps. Not bad. In between I started with 10 pushups but, as ever, this diminished. Happy enough with this as a start, though.

You use of dropsets to take failure onward is to be admired. I feel a programme where you perform 2 x dropsets of 20-30% of initial weight would be a good fit to do with Dom after this for a few weeks. We can talk about this perhaps? Good work on the pull downs. Solid.

Seated cable rows into dumbbell shoulder press (5-8 reps, 4 sets)

Up from 54.3kg to 59kg. I managed the low-end for the first two sets, but then had to use dropsets to make the range. 59kg is a pretty challenging weight for me at this tempo; I can’t always get a good squeeze in, so the dropsets helped with that as well.

If you think about your bodyweight, this is heavy. Well done. Good performance on this. 

In between I moved up to 14kg for the shoulder presses and hit the low-end each time (with a bit of help from a rest pause at the end). Surprisingly, this was actually a pretty good set. I thought I’d struggle more given the increases in weight.

Considering you have felt that this was a weak exercise for you, this is a great performance. Hopefully you attempted it with a strong mind and determination and thus the results speak for themselves. Good work. Let’s keep this up.

Incline dumbbell flyes into reverse flyes (5-8 reps, 3 sets)

Up from 20kg to 22kg for the flyes, but sticking with 10kg for the reverse flyes. For the dumbbell flyes I hit the low-end each time over an intense few sets; I tried to throw a rest pause on at the end but it was only good for a single rep. I think my tempo has always been a bit dodgy here, as I actually seem to take things slower than 3010. It’s often more like 4020, I think. The weight is pretty heavy, so I can’t always get it back up that quickly. And I’m very cautious when lowering it.

It’s good to be cautious when lowering on flyes heavy, as it’s easy to injure the shoulder. So well done. In terms of raising slowly, if that’s because you can’t go any faster due to the weight, that’s not something to be worried about. It’s a good thing.

The reverse flyes went okay. Again, just the low-end, but they were reasonable for the squeezes. I threw on a couple of rest pauses, but eventually called it as I was no longer getting satisfactory ROM.

As I said above, I wouldn’t do reverse flyes with 10kg, so again, I concur, that not doing rest/pause was a good decision. Personally, I would’ve grabbed 6kg DBs and performed dropsets.

Cable crossover into cable lateral raise (5-8 reps, 3 sets)

Earlier in the week I started the crossovers at 36kg but found it a bit much. Today I decided to go for it again, and I managed to hit the low-end of the range twice before failing in the third (and using dropsets to get more reps out). They weren’t the best in terms of form and ROM, but they were good enough. And I actually still got some decent squeezes in.

In between I started at 18kg for the lat raises, but this dropped to 14kg and then 9kg. Again, I found that my left shoulder seemed weaker than the right, and at times I had to cheat the weight up. Not ideal, but better then jerking it up, as that would lead to an injury.

Overall, good choices and good work. Lat raises, see points earlier in the week re:shoulder imbalance training.

Dumbbell shrug into decline dumbbell bench press (5-8 reps, 3 sets)

From 34kg up to 36kg for the shrugs, and to be honest a pretty forgettable set. For the dumbbell presses I moved up to 28kg and managed to hit the low-end each time. It was pretty intense, though; really had to battle that final rep. I didn’t even consider trying a rest pause, really. I was spent!

Hahaha! A sign you are working to full effort. Good job. Nice weight and fought hard for the reps. Great effort.

Calf press on leg press (5-11 reps, 2 sets toes in, 2 sets toes out)

Up to 175kg – the entire stack. I managed 8 reps each time, although this was pretty heavy and again there were some reps where the ROM wasn’t the best. I actually supersetted this with a few more pushups. I only managed 3 or 4 each time, though.

Superb. Enough said.

HIIT

Today’s HIIT… didn’t happen. Due to my recent hip troubles and a desire to play it safe, I decided to give myself the rest. I didn’t want to push my luck ahead of tomorrow’s leg session. Maybe this was a weak decision? Possibly. I could have thrown in some rowing, to be honest. But still, I felt I’d had a really solid chest session and wanted to make sure I was fresh for the final hurdle tomorrow.

The right decision. Not worth getting an injury or affecting tomorrow’s session. This was also a great session, so work had been done. 

Day 83 – Legs/Abs

 

And it all comes down to this… the final session of the programme.

Leg press into straight leg dumbbell deadlift (5-8 reps, 4 sets)

Up from 136.3kg to 141kg on the leg press, and from 22kg to 24kg for the deadlifts. The leg presses were tough; I started at the top-end but this dropped to the low-end, and as usual I threw in some dropsets at the end for good measure.

Brilliant. And all on a Calorie deficit. Imagine if we were doing a strength routine and fully fuelled?!

In between the deadlifts were tough. Nice and slow, and I hit the low-end in each set. I’m sometimes a bit hesitant to throw in rest pauses etc here, because fatigue means poor form and I don’t really want to pull anything in my back.

Correct decision and by the sound of it a good set without.

Goblet squat into seated leg curls (5-8 reps, 4 sets)

From 26kg to 28kg for the goblet squats, and up to 81.3kg for the seated leg curls. In the first set I hit the low-end for both, but then I bollocked myself for settling and worked to the high-end in the second set. I then dropped back to the low-end, though, before using rest pauses and dropsets in the final set as necessary. Not bad; it all adds up etc.

First, 81.3kg for leg curls! Wow! Second, good job on having a word with yourself and not settling. Really proud, Ray. You have come SO far.

Leg extensions into Barbell squats (5-8 reps, 3 sets)

Once again I pulled across an Olympic bar, loading up a 45kg total. For the extensions I moved up from 70.6kg to 81.3kg, and I hit the middle of the range each time, throwing plenty of dropsets onto the final set to make sure my legs were feeling it.

Again, 81.3kg and dropsets. Well done on the barbell squats; far better. Good effort on these two supers.

For the barbell squats I hit 5-6 reps each time. I possibly could have done more, but without a squat rack I needed to keep a bit of energy in reserve to make sure I could safely get the weight back off.

Correct decision. Well done. Always safety first!

Dumbbell walking lunges into dumbbell jump squats (5-8 reps, 3 sets)

From 22kg to 24kg for the lunges, and from 8kg to 10kg for the jump squats. The weight has increased pretty rapidly with the lunges over the weeks, and I think today I finally hit a weight where I’m teetering on the edge of being out of control. I only hit the low-end each time, and I didn’t want to push my luck. Some of the reps were pretty out of balance, and at times this seemed to put extra weight and pressure through my hip (which reminded me that it still isn’t 100%).

It can take time for the supporting muscles and the co-ordination to get used to an exercise, then the weight flies up, which isn’t necessarily strength, before a plateau is hit. Timed right I’d say here. Well done.

For the jump squats I started off okay with 7 reps, but this diminished, and in truth they weren’t as good as they have been before. Less oomph this time around.

Cable crunch into weight plank (5-8 reps / 30secs, 3 sets)

After a few poor ab showings in a row, I decided to try and ‘get back on the horse’ today. So I dropped down from 73kg to 64kg for the crunches, and from a 20kg plate down to a 15kg plate for the planks. The crunches went really well, thankfully. High-end of the range each time, and I was satisfied with the form and ‘feel’ of the abs getting worked.

Much better. Great decision.

For the planks I worked to 30 seconds for each set. With a 15kg plate that’s not too much of a challenge for me on paper, but recently I’ve been failing with it, so I wanted to just lower the bar a bit to allow myself to get going again.

Well done.

Sean’s Pump-Up Circuit!

Knowing that I wanted to take some pictures at the end of the session, Sean designed a quick pump-up for me to run through, which involved a barbell and a bunch of exercises (overhead press, barbell row etc) all worked into a circuit.

The idea was to work through it all without stopping, then take a 2-3 minute rest and do it again. I did this, albeit I couldn’t help but stop at times as I needed to ease the burn! A great, intense way to finish the session and the programme as a whole.

It’s a tough circuit. Lets put it up here at some point if people are interested.

Day 84 – Rest

 

And that’s it. It’s all over. With the complete of this programme, my first bulk/cut cycle is officially in the bag. It’s been an intense and enjoyable journey, and very educational. Stay tuned for one final blog taking a lot back at my cutting programme. What did I like? Where can I improve next time? What lessons have I learned? The programme review is on its way…

Well done, Ray. I’m really impressed. When I first met you and your friends, you would’ve been the last person I would’ve expected to do this. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it’s the truth. I am really pleased and proud of you for doing all this work and to such a high level with such dedication. A great effort and some superb results I am sure. Now go and enjoy something nutritionally poor and Calorie dense!

Ray Wilson - Author

Ray has worked with Sean on a number of projects across film, web, and health and fitness. In 2015 he completed a bulk/cut cycle, blogging about his experiences with weekly input and advice from Sean.