Monthly Archives: February 2014

WA Strongman: Genesis

SOMETHING very serious is happening to the sport of Strongman in Western Australia. WA Strongman now, officially, has two training camps. The original is of course Daniel’s playground; the pen we all helped to build for his equipment, out the back of the Muscle Pit in Cannington. But now SMWA has been given a new playground, at the heart of Genesis 24/7 Bentley.

I, along with champion powerlifter (and fellow WA Strongman member) Joel McCaughan, met with Ben Ritchie of Genesis management. Ben told me he had been the innovator behind the gym’s layout. He expressed a real interest in working with us when it came to getting the right equipment for serious training, and we soon had a few contacts for him, for everything from a real Strongman yoke to a properly rated monolift!

We spent at least an hour just talking about the gym, and gyms in general, and what it took to make the best, from our own unique perspectives. My only regret is that I chugged my pre-workout at the start of the discussion, and it had worn off by the time I was starting my session.

It would be seriously amazing if Genesis follows through with all the of suggestions made. but for me, all I need is a better yoke, an axle, and maybe some heavier dumbbells (the heaviest is only 60 kilos, and the heaviest kettle bell just 48); before I injured my tendons I was doing pull-ups with chains at 130+ kilos body weight, and rowing an 80 kilo kettle bell. I want to do those things again. But they are not essential; the yoke and axle are.

This was my second training session at Genesis, and my last before Australia’s Strongest Man. I know I’m not nearly prepared enough, but then nobody ever feels like they are prepared enough. I’m just going and doing it, and giving it my best, so I can at least say I’ve done that.

Speaking of temperamental tendons – both forearms were really bad tonight, so I didn’t do the rest of my pressing (incline bench and klokov were on the menu), but rest and recovery is more important right now than pushing through a training session, and risking further injury.

strict OHP w/barbell
60 kgs x 6
80 kgs x 6

Log clean-press
90 kgs x 3

Farmers walk
75 kgs p/h x 20 meters x 2
115 kgs p/h x 20 meters
135 kgs p/h x 20 meters

Events at Genesis

Genesis Bentley Plaza is a spacious and very well equipped 24/7 gym that has just opened, fairly close to my suburb. I had heard a lot of good things about the place prior to my training session today, and I have to say that, for the most part, Genesis really delivers. Plenty of racks, plates, platforms and a reasonable amount of dedicated Strongman equipment and apparatus, with more on it’s way.

The management are also keen to get feedback from serious lifters and athletes, and have already jumped at the chance to sponsor Asha Tracey, WA Strongman’s female phenom who is, right now, in Ohio preparing to compete in the Arnold.

I met with the PT in charge for the day and had a brief chat about what they had on offer, what was still to arrive, and what I saw that could be improved. Clarry was very receptive, and suggested I come back next week to meet with management and discuss further.

I know I said I wouldn’t deadlift again before ASM, but today I had to give the equipment a proper test out, and that included finding out if I could fit enough of their 25 kilo bumper plates onto their standard bars to challenge me. And there was, with just enough room to keep progressing up to 350. That will do; once I’m there, I’ll suggest they get some Ivankos, or similar. And a texas bar wouldn’t go astray, either.

…and I did some stupid glute/ham raises, coz I need to do more of them.

Yoke walk (Aussie Strength brand, rated 80 kilos)
240 kgs x 20 meters
320 kgs x 20 meters
360 kgs x 10 meters
240 kgs x 10 meters – fast
static holds
400 kgs x 15 seconds x 2

Log clean-press (Aussie Strength brand, rated 60 kilos)
60 kgs x 5
80 kgs x 3
100 kgs x 2 x 2
right forearm tendon was feeling a bit rough after the yoke, so stopped here

Deadlifts
120 kgs x 5
170 kgs x 5
220 kgs x 3 (no belt)
270 kgs x 3

Glute/ham raises
10 @ BW
8 @ BW
…hammies were fried. Weak as shit.

Events & Assistance

THIS will be my second-last saturday events training session before ASM, and in these last weeks I intend to do more events training at PTC mondays, wednesdays and thursdays, rather than my regular programming.

It’s deeply ironic; faced with the prospect of training around my current injury is going to require a reliance on machines that I’m not all that comfortable with. But, if I’m going to attempt to develop my quad strength without further damaging my knees, I’m possibly going to have to find myself a leg extension / curl machine. As it is I’m using a high-pin setting on the leg press, to reduce ROM, and I will continue to utilise things like hexbar deadlifts in place of squats… and get myself better acquainted with the goddamn glute/ham-raise machine.

Axle OHP (strict)
35 kgs x 10
75 kgs x 5
95 kgs x 3
105 kgs x 1
75 kgs x 15

Leg Press (3rd pin)
165 kgs x 10
205 kgs x 10
245 kgs x 10
285 kgs x 10

Farmers walk
90 kgs p/h x 15 meters x 2
110 kgs p/h x 15 meters x 2
130 kgs p/h x 15 meters

Pull Thursday: Last Lift Before ASM

THAT was the result I needed. I can take satisfaction in making legit progress with my deadlift tonight. But I still have many criticisms I need to make. Starting with my weak, weak legs.

I’m actually starting to feel exactly what is holding back my progress, and the video confirms a couple of things; my quads are not helping at all with anything heavier than 250; I’m stiff-legging like a mofo. And my hamstrings are lagging too (that’s not cramping or spasming – that’s my hammies failing me). So what does this prove? A lot of stuff.

There have been aspects of my physiology that, through either lack of the right equipment or general reluctance to program in the boring stuff (like glut/ham raises), have not been paid enough attention. Combined with the fact that I can’t squat right now without fucking my knees, and it’s obvious where my weakness is, and what I need to do to progress well past the (still unbroken) 300 kilogram benchmark.

This was my last deadlift session before ASM. At least I made it count.

warmup w/bands

Deadlifts
70 kgs x 8
120 kgs x 5
170 kgs x 3
220 kgs x 3
250 kgs x 2
270 kgs x 1
285 kgs x 3 PR

Kroc rows w/KBs
left & right
32 kgs x 8
40 kgs x 8
48 kgs x 8
56 kgs x 8

Press Wednesday: 1 Kilo at a Time

GETTING my focus back, and taking progress where I find it… I have been down on my pressing ability lately. I have cause to; it continues to be my weakest lift. It was only because just recently a fellow PTC member Facebook messaged me, telling about his ambitions in the press, that I took stock of what I could do – what others wished they could do – and where I came from. Oh, and I suppose I should mention again that I also had to have shoulder surgery in early 2013, which held back not just my press, but virtually everything. The point is, shit has been holding back my press but I need to get a better perspective on it. Here is a link to my pressing ability in August 2011. As you can see, I am leaner and stronger now, and my pressing ability is much improved (and I’ve handled actual competition-sized logs since my backyard training days).

You can also see that it hasn’t always been about being Australia’s Strongest Man one day; it started out as a way for me to enjoy my training more, to help me ‘get fitter’, shedding one kilo at a time. What the fuck happened? I grew some balls, and decided to give it my best shot. I’ve beaten myself up, mentally and physically, over the months and years since I decided to commit to competing in Strongman. And I still have years ahead of me if I intend to get strong enough to actually win ASM, and/or move on to international competition. The sport has brought me great satisfaction and improved my life immeasurably, and for now the pros still out way the cons. But we will see what kind of condition I’m in at the end of March, and if my body actually has the capacity to keep going.

warmup w/bands

Axle OHP (strict)
30 kgs x 10
61 kgs x 5
76 kgs x 3
91 kgs x 3

Axle clean-press
101 kgs x 2
106 kgs x 2 TPR
111 kgs x 1 PR

Incline bench press
60 kgs x 8
90 kgs x 8
100 kgs x 8
110 kgs x 5

Klokov press
20 kgs x 10
30 kgs x 10 reps x 2

1 Month till Australia’s Strongest Man

This training week in review, and it’s been fairly disastrous. I’ve found myself falling further behind the eight-ball with injury, work and personal dramas stealing my focus. On the upside, I am pleased to see a couple of PTC crew getting into Strongman training, with the intention of competing this year. I was happy to give advice on the log clean-press amongst other things. I hope to see Rod and Kurt stick with it, and will now have to make sure the farmers picks and yoke, which PTC also have, get a workout in the future.

My press hasn’t improved much at all for the last month, and my pulls suffered doubly from a concoction of pre- and intra-workout powders which made me feel sick to my stomach, and my back was feeling pretty rotten to begin with, so I scrapped it after repping 220.

I attempted the yoke walk with knee wraps, and that didn’t go as planned; the wraps seemed to compress things in all the wrong places, when I attempted to walk it just made things worse. Either I need to wrap better, or not bother with the wraps at all and just hope, with enough time to heal and Dan’s hand-me-down knee sleeves, everything will hold up on the day.

Press Wednesday February 5th

warmup w/DBs & bands

Log clean-press
57.5 kgs x 3
77.5 kgs x 3
97.5 kgs x 3

OHP w/Axle (strict)
105 kgs x 4
70 kgs x 14 TPR

Klokov press
20 kgs x 10 reps x 3

Pinwheelz
10 kgs x 15
15 kgs x 15

Pull Thursday February 6th

warmup w/bands

Deadlifts
70 kgs x 8
120 kgs x 5
170 kgs x 3
220 kgs x 3

Events Training Saturday February 8th

warmup w/bands

Yoke walk
135 kgs x 15 meters x 4
215 kgs x 15 meters x 2
295 kgs x 15 meters
335 kgs x 5 meters
255 kgs x 25 meters
375 kgs x FAIL

Not Squat Monday: Hurl-worthy

CONDITIONING and accessory work for the lower posterior chain is what’s on the menu for Mondays, for the next 5 weeks at least. Once my knees can handle the depth I will be incorporating leg press and continuing with the high rep / low weight scheme I’m using with the other exercises. I’m trying now to just get the knees accustomed to the ranges of motion I will require of them in March… and then just a little bit more. It sucks having to try and program strength development around compromised knees. It just plain sucks.

I guess I was a little bilious from the combination of watermelon Mr Hyde and the peanut butter & jelly protein bar Chase handed me as I left Muscle worx today. I was grateful, coz I was hungry. I’m hungry all the time. But I should have had my pre-WO a little later. The 20 rep sets of hexbar deads made me almost hurl. Almost, not quite.

I was, again, glad to have borrowed Dan’s Rehbands for tonight’s session. I’ve needed to get myself a pair since I threw away my Tommy Konos in disgust after state finals last year. The ones I intend to get are pricey, but well worth it… I just hope, if I order them this week, that they will arrive in time for ASM. I’d like to think so.

You know, I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can do with a 100+ kilo axle this wednesday. Right now I’m just thankful my doctor gave me that repeat script. I should get a solid night’s sleep tonight.

warmup w/DBs and bands

Hexbar deadlifts
75 kgs x 20
125 kgs x 20
175 kgs x 20

Cambered bar GMs
50 kgs x 20
60 kgs x 20
70 kgs x 20
80 kgs x 20

Another Rehab Week Recap

I HAD the opportunity to sit down with one of my coaches and write out (kinda) a program to assist me in the lead up to ASM. I have yet to template it, but it involves hexbar deadlifts instead of squats on mondays, alternating with leg press from high pins. My press routine will be devoted to overhead from here, for obvious reasons; while I’m really enjoying benching again, with the tips I got from WA champ Nathan Baxter, it’s pointless for SM purposes. I will be doing incline bench for assistance work, but that’s it.

All the same, I did enjoy my last bench session this week. I was groggy and not focussed thanks to the tramodol… I saw some guys playing around with PTC’s little Strongman log, and so I joined in. I had been planning some axle press, but since it was my first session back after Perth Cup, and I was a little whacked out, I decided to mix it up a bit. This was my first session with PTC’s log; I’ve not used it in the past as it doesn’t really correlate to a proper-sized SM log in terms of it’s width and grip spacing. It is still a log, though, and logs are fun. Right up until the weight plates slide off because the collars you used were just a bit too big.

Events training was also looking depressing this week, until Dan loaned me his rehband knee wraps (which he uses as elbow wraps), which alleviated some of the pain with my yoke pickups. I was able to do more this weekend than last weekend, and the strain was not significant enough to have aggravated anything. Not to mention, just getting back under nearly 400 kilograms is a necessary experience for my CNS to have, this close to competition. Once it was up, it didn’t feel too bad at all, and I focussed on my breathing. Static holding 375 and walking with 415 are not nearly the same thing… but we will get there. So long as my knees hold out and I can keep comp prep on track.

I’m the first to admit that what I’ve done today is not enough to properly prepare. I’m treading a fine line here; I want to get stronger, but anything that’s going to further damage my knees will be counter-productive, obviously. I’m getting better at identifying when it’s time to stop pushing, but it always leaves me wondering if I actually pushed enough. It’s a catch-22.

Press Wednesday January 29th

warmup with DBs & bands

Log clean-press
57.5 kgs x 3
77.5 kgs x 3
97.5 kgs x 1
102.5 kgs x 1
112.5 kgs cleaned, then weights fell off during press attempt…

Bench press
60 kgs x 10
100 kgs x 5
120 kgs x 3
130 kgs x 3
140 kgs x 3

Events Training Saturday February 1st

warmup w/DBs & bands

Yoke static holds
295 kgs for 30 seconds approx
375 kgs for 10 seconds approx

Sack carry
100 kgs for 50 meters
100 kgs for 10 meters, placed 1.3 meters x 4