Squat Workouts, Post-Exercise Recovery and More

Wow! My muscles must be out of shape, or my bench lop-sided, or I worked harder than I realized. These shoulders are sooore. To give you a brief recap, I did my first real bench press workout in about a year (you can read it here:  
First Bench…)

How the hell did I tolerate so much soreness as a teenager when 12 or more sets per body part was the norm? I have a theory that if we don’t do anything to prevent it, we actually get softer-mentally and physically, as we get older.

In other words, maybe some straight forward hard work is going to be all I need in this first few months. After that simple bench press workout leaving me so sore, maybe I haven’t been working hard enough. So on to the squat. Here’s the thing:

I couldn’t resist trying my own little Colorado Experiment. You know? The one where Arthur Jones and Casey Viator torture themselves on Nautilus equipment (and a squat rack) and gain a combined 80+ pounds of muscle? Yeah, that one.

It’s not that the 5/5 protocol put out by countless gurus won’t work, I’m sure it will. Especially because for the purposes of powerlifting, I will be experiencing a novice’s reaction to training; great progress in the first few weeks no matter what I do. But I get bored easily, and you are supposed to rest and focus on the lift taking place and  nothing else.

Can’t stand that. Instead, I like the idea of going all out, non-stop until your muscles have nothing left. It’s quick, it’s painful, and it keeps me from getting bored.

The other reason is the haters. Who knows if the Colorado Experiment was really as successful as they say? If it were even 10% true, this is still one whopper of a success. But I find it annoying to read outright dismissal of these claims from people who haven’t put themselves to the test.


I decided I will give about 4 weeks to the process of 1 set until absolute failure (ala Arthur Jones.) And guess what? I started it with my squat workout.

Now going all out by yourself is difficult, if not impossible. But if you set things up right and push harder when that inner voice tells you to stop, chances are it will be a higher intensity workout than normal. Here’s what I did:

Warm-up: Had a TaeKwonDo class before I did these, but the body wasn’t completely wiped, or I wouldn’t have tried this. Still, the muscles were warm and ready to go. So after


to practice technique, I loaded the barbell on my chain support system, loaded up the plates to 185# (I also haven’t squatted in a while, so I was guessing on a 6-8 rep range weight,) and kept stripping plates. Without stopping except to get weight off, I did:

185 x 5-6
165 x 5-6
95 x ~8
Bar (45) x 10-12
Then I did bodyweight box squats (using cinder blocks) until I couldn’t get up.

I know I didn’t completely decimate my thighs, because I briefly considered going at another round of that.Briefly, it wasn’t the toughest, but it was more intense than any leg workout I’ve done in a long time. It will certainly get tougher. Besides, there were several moments yesterday when the legs gave out without warning, reminding me that only the next day or two would reveal just how hard I worked.

The diet felt out of control. It was as though I were trying to put all my experiments into one day. For the next four weeks, my goal is to minimize coffee (1 cup a day,) and drink green tea and high antioxidant tea (chocolate ‘pu erh in this case.) In addition, I am soaking in a lukewarm/cold bath after workouts in an attempt to reduce inflammation and speed recovery.

Here is a rough road map of yesterday’s diet:

-Dinner: ~4 0z. ribeye steak; Waldorf salad; spinach and cheese ravioli (2-3)
-Mid AM: Whole grain macaroni and chicken soup (~3 cups)

and in no particular order:

1/4 cup blueberries, peanut butter banana smoothie, 2 cups of caffeinated green tea w/ginger …damn, I know there was a lot more, but unfortunately (or fortunately) I was a bad record keeper yesterday. So be it, the process refines itself. Until next time!

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