Tucker Loken – Week 4 and 5 Combo lower – When to throw in the towel and when to push through

Sometimes everything feels like it’s clicking. Sometimes it doesn’t. And somewhere it falls right in between.


These weeks were both great learning experiences. Coming back from some injury and overtraining before starting our Powerbuilding program had me going a little lighter here and there, and being careful with my intensity. This week, I feel like I got my mojo back.

Week 4’s combo lower was a great lesson in when to keep pushing through. By my 4th working set on squats my lower back, especially the left side was getting way over taxed. I’m not sure if it was from being unfamiliar with the weight or a combination of reasons, but I had the craziest back pump. I had to lay down after squats for a good 10 minutes and put my feet up, and when I reached around to touch my back and hips the whole area was so pumped it felt numb, like I had an ice pack on it. This wasn’t an injury though, it was just a little set back during training. So I let the pump go away and got to deadlifts. I kept the volume and weight a little lower and finished up my leg work without any problem.

Week 5 had an even better squat day, and by mistake I got to the gym late and I only had half an hour left after I was done, so I omitted deads, hit quads hard and saved my deadlifts and hamstrings for another day. No horrible back pumps, and just a good old fashioned workout. The weight felt great and moved quickly.

Deadlifts this were that time to cut it a little short in the interest of being safe. I hit 3 good sets, but I could tell I was fatigued by the final set. Ever since hurting my back last year doing deads, it’s been very easy to re-injure, and being fatigued doesn’t help the situation. On set 4 I hit a couple decent reps, and then felt that familiar strain right before I hurt it in the past and decided to cut it early. Even though I didn’t push it all the way, it was still pretty sore the next day, so I’m glad I didn’t keep going. I finished up hamstrings and took off.

Call me a pussy, but I like lifting too much to be sidelined for that long.


Week 4

Combo lower –

McGill Big 3 warm up

Squats RPE 8 4 sets 405×8

Deadlifts RPE 8 1 top set 315×8

Followed by hypertrophy work of leg press, leg extension, leg curl and lunges


Week 5


McGill Big 3 warm up

Squats RPE 8 4 sets 455×6

Followed by hypertrophy work of Hack squat, leg extension and lunges



Dead lift

McGill Big 3 warm up

Dead lifts RPE 8 3.5 sets of 405×6

Followed by hypertrophy work of lying leg curl,standing single leg curl and GHR

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Tucker Loken is a Bodybuilder turned Powerlifter turned Powerbuilder from Eugene, Oregon. He did his first bodybuilding show when he was still in high school, and has been training male and female competitors for shows since 2011. Several years ago he decided to take a step away from his normal routine and learn how to get strong. He worked with Brian for 9 months, added 200 pounds to his raw total and qualified as an Elite lifter in the 220 pound weight class. He returned back to bodybuilding much stronger and now incorporates the 10/20/Life philosophy into his training to keep himself healthy and making continual progress in the Big 3 as well as adding size and shaping his physique. Now part of Team PRS, he brings his unique expertise of nutritional knowledge and how to balance Bodybuilding with Powerlifting to help athletes achieve their best potential.
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