Press Wednesday: Stop Poking Me, the Yoke’s Back

THERE’S a new needle man in town and his name is Dan Rucci. Having finished the course just five weeks ago, the PTC Perth owner/operator/athlete is already a dab hand at hurting people in new and interesting ways with tiny needles. I asked him to attack my right quad – which he did – but also stuck a bunch into my TFL and right knee. The long, fun ones. Dan can explain it better than me, providing this more clinical info; “we hit the patella tendon and also the medial condyle of the femur with knee in about 70 degrees of flexion. Quite useful when dealing with certain knee pain.”

As expected, once he was done I felt like I’d been hit in the hip with a mallet… but later during my stretching I noticed zero pain in the affected area. This is very good news, and I’m anxious to see how everything feels on Thursday when I deadlift. If I can put this issue to bed I can switch my attention back to getting stronger, which would be nice. Novel, even.

In other good news, the yoke is back and it’s better than ever! I took it for a quick run on the track; it’s sturdy, just as heavy and freshly painted, which makes it go faster, of course. We will be firing on all fours at the clinic this weekend; those who might compete in May can now train effectively. And we’ll see if Kong can even fit in the yoke.

AA Yoke walk 415 kilos 5 meters

Cardio: HIIT assault bike 7 mins rpms: 40/60/40/60/40/60/40
DB super-set
supine curls & rotators: 4 kgs x 2 x 10
Stretch

Bench press:
DB 15 kgs x 10
60 kgs x 5
80 kgs x 5
100 kgs x 2
120 kgs x 3 x 5

Axle OHP:
45 kgs x 8
75 kgs x 3
85 kgs x 6

Pinwheels:
15 kgs x 10
20 kgs x 10
22.5 kgs x 10

DB front raises:
10 kgs x 10
12.5 kgs x 10

1-arm triceps pushdowns:
Plate 11 x 2 x 10

EVENTS SATURDAY: MEET KONG

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THERE’S a funny saying in the strength sports community which belies an unsavoury truth: Competing is “just something we do between injuries”. This is just as true for me as for anyone who might try and compete at this level. But something else I like to do with my time is coach.

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When I moved my training to Genesis Bentley in early 2014 I carried on the legacy begun by Dan Macri, creating the WA Strongman Genesis chapter. Despite it’s unfortunate demise, Genesis chapter provided me with the chance to train some great people in the sport I love so much, one of whom went on to compete that year and did me extremely proud. Ashleigh’s determination, combined with the short amount of time we had to get her prepared and the fact that I was competing on the day myself made it a pretty exciting experience.

In 2015 PTC Perth suggested I do the same for them, and together we even created PTC’s first ever strongman novice competition in WA, which was a huge success! Throughout that year I had the opportunity to coach a bunch more awesome people, amongst them were Kat Becker and John Champion; two athletes from other disciplines (PL and Xfit respectively) who, with very little actual assistance from myself, went on to dominate their divisions. John in fact took first place in both the under 90 and under 105s in the state finals that year and Kat – being the strongest woman in WA Powerlifting already – simply dominated. I think she may have found the lack of real competition disparaging. I do hope she continues with the sport though, regardless of how relatively sparse the field might be in this state; that’s Perth, unfortunately.

IMG_0604All this nostalgia is not for no reason. At today’s clinic I met Eddie, who is called Kong by his friends. Kong is easily six foot five or six, in his early thirties with a beginner to intermediate level of training and precisely zero experience with proper strongman events, until today.

After a few pointers with the log, Kong clean-pressed 90. Then 95, 100 and 105 before failing under 110. Most of those presses looked effortless; strict, even lazy. Can a quick press also be a lazy press? Apparently so… and all this happened after Kong told me of his shoulder mobility issues. Clearly not an issue right here. This behemoth will press 120 before I’m even back to full strength. I’d put money on it.

Stalwarts Ryan and Alex were also in attendance and just as impressed. They excelled themselves, of course, with Alex repping a 90 kilo log (I think) four times and later pulling a 180 kilo axle for thirteen. Kong pulled a beltless 200 kilo axle and Ryan pulled it twice, after a punishing series of presses he had programmed for himself. He worked up to a 57.5 kilo monster DB clean-press, which was a serious new PR for the man and well above the loadings for the conditioning and technique-focussed work I’ve introduced Alex to recently.

Kong tells me he’s very interested in getting strong, and I have absolutely no doubt that he will be stronger than me in the clean-press (at least) in a matter of months. Maybe weeks. It will depend on how good of a coach I am, I guess…

Monster dumbbell clean-press and axle deadlift were also on the agenda today, but that was it. The yoke is still in the shop, which really compromises training for everyone considering entering the WASM qualifier on 7th May. Unless it’s back next weekend, I’ve recommended to Ryan, Alex, and will tell anyone else who’s serious to spend these next two Saturdays at the Muscle Pit under Dan’s tutelage. Yoke is definitely not something that you can jump back in to after weeks of not training it and expect to do well.

Having said that, I will be at PTC next weekend, doing what I do.

 

 

1 Month Recap: Barely Lifting

18/03/16 Pull Disaster
Deadlifts:
75 kgs x 8
125 kgs x 5
175 kgs x 3 – right quad fucked
Leg press:
140 kgs x 10
190 kgs x 10
240 kgs x 10
Seated rows:
110 kgs x 10
120 kgs x 10
130 kgs x 10
140 kgs x 6
DB front raises:
10 kgs x 3 x 10

22/03/16 Squat Etc
Cardio: HIIT assault bike 7 minutes RPM: 30/60/30/70/30/90/30
Stretch
Squats:
70 kgs x 3 x 3
Super-set Leg extensions & Hamstring curls:
HC 45 kgs x 3 x 10
LE 40 kgs x 3 x 10
DB front raises:
10 kgs x 10
12.5 kgs x 2 x 10
Pinwheelz:
15 kgs x 10
17.5 kgs x 10

28/03/16 Barf Monday
Cardio: HIIT assault bike 11 minutes (RPMs not recorded)
Stretch
Super-set bent-over BB rows (underhand) & Seated rows:
SR 90 kgs x 10
BB 100 kgs x 10 – Barfed. Went home and barfed some more.

31/03/16 Improv Thursday
Cardio: HIIT Assault bike 5 minutes
Stretch
DB super-set rotators & supine curls:
4 kgs x 2 x 10
Deadlift test:
75 kgs x 8
125 kgs x 8 – feeling meh
Bench press:
DB 15 kgs x 10
60 kgs x 8
100 kgs x 8
120 kgs x 3 – not bad
Pinwheelz:
20 kgs x 3 x 10
1-arm Triceps pushdowns:
left: Full stack x 8
right: Full stack x 12
left: Plate 12 x 14
right: Plate 12 x 15

04/04/16 Pull Monday
Cardio: HIIT Assault bike 7 minutes
Stretch
DB super-set Supine curls & Rotators:
4 kgs x 2 x 10
Deadlifts:
75 kgs x 10
125 kgs x 10
175 kgs x 3 – again, meh
Bent-over BB rows (underhand):
105 kgs x 10
115 kgs x 10
120 kgs x 5
Seated rows:
120 kgs x 10
130 kgs x 10
140 kgs x 10
DB front raises:
10 kgs x 3 x 10

09/04/16 Clinic Saturday
Feeling beat up and coming down with a(nother) cold, I put Alex, my only trainee on the day, through his paces with the equipment available. Currently the yoke is being worked on by Les. Until we get that back, comp prep for the May qualifiers is seriously hampered. Once Alex’s session was over I did more bench and shoulder work… I think I worked up to 120 for 5.

One Dusty Month

As my more devoted readers will know, the negative stuff that sometimes deters me from writing eventually gets recorded too. Everything does. I return when I have something worthwhile to post. And I do! But first…

CARL The Lion once said that I was “always either sick, injured or in trouble.” and I doubt a truer word has been spoken on the subject. Well, at least I haven’t been in trouble lately. But I have just seven sessions to record for the last month, the second half of which I spent with a cold, then food poisoning, then a worse cold. All the while nursing my latest injury, which struck just in time to end my prep for GPC states.

Fortunately my right quad is feeling better. I’ve been really babying it on the few occasions I have trained lower body this month, working up to tonight’s single of 250 which was strong and quick. It is healing; now I can pull without it sapping my strength. So long as I don’t do anything stupid, I am hoping to be more or less uninhibited come May. The jury’s still out on whether or not I’ll be anywhere near competitive for WA Strongman’s next qualifier though.

PULL WEDNESDAY APRIL 13th
Cardio: HIIT assault bike 5 minutes RPM:40/70/40/60/40
Stretch
DB super-set supine curls & rotators: 4 kgs x 2 x 10

Deadlifts:
75 kgs x 8
125 kgs x 5
175 kgs x 3
225 kgs x 1
250 kgs x 1 – beltless, strong and quick… and almost pain-free 🙂

Seated rows:
100 kgs x 10
120 kgs x 10
140 kgs x 10
160 kgs x 5 PR

Bent-over BB rows (underhand):
110 kgs x 10
120 kgs x 6

Prod, Pin & Press

YESTERDAY the pain in my quad and the ache in my knees had kept me up most of the night. I had an hour booked with my regular physiotherapist late that afternoon. Dominique put a lot of needles into both my legs and my left shoulder, just to be certain that was as loose as it could be. My right VMO got most of the attention, of course. Dom recommended I take one or two weeks off… I think I replied that I had states in three and so that wasn’t really an option right now (and not till early May, to be realistic –  I’d like to at least do a strongman qualifier this year also), but I would try and take it easy till it felt better… or something vague like that.

Dom has been treating me for years now, and has become very proficient in attacking me with needles. It’s sad for me to see her disappear to Kelmscott, where bigger and better things await her but which is just too far from me to be viable for regular treatment. The good news, of course, is that Dan Rucci is freshly qualified to hurt people with long pointy things and then charge them for it. From here on out, my traps, quads and glutes are his territory. I know he’s as excited about this as I am.

PRESS TUESDAY:
Cardio: HIIT 45 seconds x 2 @ 80 rpm, reminder 40 rpm, 7 minutes total
DB s/set supinated curls & rotators: 4 kgs x 2 of each x 10
DB bench press: 15 kgs x 15

Bench press (paused… mostly):
60 kgs x 8
90 kgs x 8
110 kgs x 4 TPR
75 kgs x 10

DB s/set supinated curls & pinwheels:
PW: 20 kgs x 3 x 10
SC: 10 kgs x 3 x 10

1-arm Triceps pushdowns:
Left: plate 10 x 11, 12, 12
Right: plate 10 x 15, 15, 15

TRYING a couple of new things tonight when it comes to rehab and conditioning. This is my first attempt at HIIT and I’m pretty sure I could have done it better, but it’s a start. I need to continue my regular cardio sessions and make sure they’re as effective as possible, and this has been recommended to me by a couple of people now whose opinions I trust. I’m also, as you can see, doing more curling.

Yes. This is stuff I haven’t done since I was training at home in, like 2010/11. But it’s the most effective thing I can find for targeting my weak left arm; I feel the tendon through the shoulder joint getting stronger and more accustomed to being used. My benching is also slowly getting easier and stronger. I am uncertain now how GPC states is going to go down for me, but I’m committed to doing it so I may as well suck it up and deal. even if I don’t hit new numbers, that’s not the point. The point is that I’m able to do it at all.

Pull Thursday: Needing A Needling

WELL THAT sucked. My program called for a triple of 295 tonight. I couldn’t manage more than two. I tried again after a few moments but it just wasn’ coming up. This damages my comp prep, but it’s not completely unexpected. At the start of the week a co-worker asked me if I was limping. I feel like I’m always kinda shambling and limping so it’s not something I really notice. Not until it came time to pull did I have to acknowledge the discomfort and tightness deep in my right quad. As the weight went up, the imbalance became more noticeable. I was clearly underpowered and, in addition to having a pretty sparse diet currently (I’m back to maintaining a calorie deficit in a further effort to shed the fat I put on over the holidays), these things combined to fuck with my money set.

Everything was feeling a little rotten tonight actually; the bent-over rows decided to aggravate my impinged nerve, which makes things like getting out of the car post-training a lot of fun. I’m currently doped up on Tramadol and Naproxen, and looking for a physiotherapist who can get this quad needled as a matter of urgency.

Deadlifts:
75 kgs x 8
125 kgs x 5
175 kgs x 3
225 kgs x 2
265 kgs x 1
295 kgs x 2 FAIL

Bent-over BB rows (underhand):
100 kgs x 2 x 10
100 kgs x 5

Seated rows:
110 kgs x 3 x 10

Press Wednesday: a 140 bench

I HAVE not benched more than 100 kilograms since mid-September last year, when I repped 140 for nine, touch and go, for a new personal record. Well, tonight I pause-pressed that number. It was painful, but it went up. This is ten kilos off my predicted opener of 150, which is still well off my best one-rep-max in training (177.5) and 175 at CAPO last year. But I can’t expect to hit new PRs so soon after rehab.

Staying uninjured is priority one. Err, no, sorry; competing in April is priority one… staying uninjured comes second to that. Wrong again. Pulling at least 340 would be priority two. Pulling 350, priority three. Then making sure I’m as strong and as lean as possible. Then… yeah, let’s slot ‘staying uninjured’ in behind all those more important things. Still pretty important though. I guess I’m a little stoic about it.

After that single I worked on technique with some sets at 90, and a little input from PTC’s resident Rain Man, Dale. Dale looks (to me, at least) like a young, bespectacled Ed Coan, and occasionally produces some genuinely sage advice. With a change of perspective, my rep work was feeling less pained. On the whole I should feel pretty good about tonight.

Stretch
DB super-set rotators & supinated curls: 4 kgs x 2 x 10
DB bench press: 15 kgs x 10

Bench press (paused):
60 kgs x 8
100 kgs x 3
140 kgs x 1 TPR
90 kgs x 8, 3, 3

EZ bar curls:
40 kgs x 10, 10, 8 TPR

DB front raise static holds:
50 seconds each arm PR

1-arm Tri-pushdowns:
left: plate 9 x 15
right: plate 9 x 15
left: plate 10 x 12 PR
right: plate 10 x 15 PR

PTC Strongman 1 Year Anniversary

TODAY marks the one year anniversary of these clinics being conducted at PTC Perth. The sport and I, and all my trainees owe PTC and the Rucci brothers a debt; without their willingness to host these sessions and invest in the right equipment, there would be no PTC Strongman in this state. It was an awesome day; all trainees pushed themselves to their limits in what were, for most of them, new apparatus. The log and axle rising bar clean-press medley – an event at last year’s WASM qualifiers and something we practiced leading up to the comp – was a new experience for everyone apart f10498269_10206279640369582_1309978662936654429_orom Adrain and Ryan, so they took the lead when it came to loading.

The rest of the crew caught on fast and soon the event was running like an oiled machine. I had seven trainees this weekend, and spoke to more people before and after the session who were interested in joinin12764441_10208696521710105_354069350125995145_og us down the track. With GPC states coming up, many people are already invested in and focussed on that. I am also trying to keep my training regimented leading up to the comp… so I pretty much just fooled around today when I wasn’t capturing pics and movies of the boys’ efforts; something I really should do more often so other people can witness the feats of strength going on in quiet little Malaga each Saturday afternoo12829143_10208696520750081_5319298989266574530_on.

As I might have mentioned, no date has been confirmed as yet for WA Strongman’s next qualifying round but it’s anticipated to be late April – early May. I am keen to learn the events so my group can be more specific in their training and I can better structure what they do each week. It will also mean clinics may run in excess of two hours, to ensure all (or as many as possible) comp events are covered. I know several of the guys are keen to compete this year, and I’ll do what I can to get them as prepared as possible. PTC Strongman will have a team in 2016.

What little training I did do was as follows:

Log & Axle medley: 50 to 100 kgs
Axle deadlift: 4 x 160 kgs (grip test)
Farmers walk: 60 kgs, 100 kgs, 110 kgs p/hand for 20 meters

 

 

The Birthday Week That Was

THIS WEEK has seen some highlights. I back squatted 230 and pulled 265 for 6 with no belts or straps. I also turned 36. The GPC state championships are now just a month away, and I’ve finally (with some assistance from Dan Rucci) gotten back under a regular barbell. So I should be able to at least match my previous best of 250. With my shoulder the way it is, I wouldn’t give myself more than a 150 kilogram bench. But I want a new personal best deadlift. 350 would be nice. But I could be being overly optimistic, in which case a new competition best of 340 would suffice. Anything less than this, I will be pissed.

Squat Monday

Cardio: Assault bike 5 minutes @ 60 rpm
Stretch!

Regular old straight bar Squats:
25 kgs x 3, 5, 8
65 kgs x 5
100 kgs x 3
130 kgs x 3
160 kgs x 1
190 kgs x 1
210 kgs x 1
230 kgs x 1 – nice and deep – much better than my effort with the SSB last week

Super-set Leg ext / Hamstring curls:
HC 45 kgs x 3 x 10
LE 40 kgs x 3 x 10

DB front raises:
10 kgs x 10
12.5 kgs x 2 x 10

Pinwheels:
15 kgs x 10
17.5 kgs x 10

Pull Thursday

Deadlift:
75 kgs x 8
125 kgs x 5
175 kgs x 3
225 kgs x 1
265 kgs x 6 – no straps, no belts

Bent-over BB rows (underhand):
100 kgs x 10
120 kgs x 10, 5

Seated rows:
100 kgs x 10
120 kgs x 10
130 kgs x 10