Monthly Archives: April 2014

Thursday Squat & Monday Pull

TRIMMING down to the basics while my back is feeling crooked. I’m not saying last week’s belt-less money set was overkill… but I perhaps should have waited a bit longer before pulling it; I spent the rest of the week feeling pretty beat-up. I even skipped events training.

During my deadflit session this week, I attempted to focus on my power off the floor, as well as resetting completely for each rep. Because I can’t expect the bar to bounce down in the same spot, I instead will get used to pulling it from a variety of different places on the platform; this is the method in my madness.

There have been some exciting developments I should mention; to begin, Genesis have finally bought the ‘Awesome As’ yoke & farmers apparatus from Les! I’ve also gone ahead and purchased some Oly-spec DB handles which, with Fat Grips (another item I have on order) I will be able to construct Circus dumbbells, and heavier DBs in general, compared with what’s on offer in the Mirror Room.

The Genesis Mirror Room is where the Smith machine is located. Ordinarily this would be enough said, but I have spent a bit of time in there lately, on the nights I alternate squats and good mornings with leg press and accessory movements. The heaviest set of dumbbells is a pair of 60s; fresh, I can clean press one (with my left arm) for a half dozen lazy reps. And I can row a 60 all day (and the seated row machine is much the same). So the purchase of the Oly-spec handles was a necessary venture for me.

Thursday April 24th

Squats w/axle
20 kgs x 10
70 kgs x 8
120 kgs x 5
150 kgs x 1
170 kgs x 3

Good mornings w/axle
70 kgs x 8
100 kgs x 8, 8

Monday April 28th

Deadlifts
80 kgs x 6
120 kgs x 5
170 kgs x 5
200 kgs x 3 sets x 5 singles

Seated rows
113 kgs (full stack) x 15

Press Wednesday: Strength Returning

Am Nats 2012 DB1I HAVE not confirmed if tonight’s axle pressing was a technical or legit personal best. It feels weak, but then at the moment things generally feel weak. Even if this IS a new PR, I still need to drop back way more and aim for higher reps… take some of my own advice, in point of fact. I know it works… it got it from Joel.

I got to training way late and then my physio appointment ran overtime, so I cut a couple of things from my routine tonight and tried to reduce the duration of my DB training; I clean-press the left and then the right in succession. Tonight I used a 45 kilo dumbbell on the right, and managed 5 reps. Very promising; I look forward to being able to use a 50 for both soon. So long as I achieve strict reps with it.

OHP w/axle (strict)
20 kgs x 8
50 kgs x 5
70 kgs x 3
90 kgs x 10 TPR?

OHP w/DBs (strict)
left: 55 kgs x 4, right: 45 kgs x 5 TPR
left: 50 kgs x 5, right: 40 kgs x 5
left: 50 kgs x 5, right: 40 kgs x 5

Triceps pushdowns
91 kgs x 12, 12, 10, 10

Pull Monday: Beltless 5 by 5

A LITTLE frustrating tonight, but still a solid start to my programming. This is not my best ever belt less deadlift (I accidentally pulled 270 f1957895_10203370447241572_898808368_oor a triple a couple of months ago) but it is, I think, a technical PR at that weight. I say frustrating as the bump plates and rubber platforms create a lot of bounce, and when repping it can move around a lot. In future I may have to reset for each repetition, or waste more energy controlling the bar down.

A brief look back at my favourite lift, and the progress made over the last year: In early July 2013 I pulled a new 1RM of 285. I tripled
that in February
 this year, a few weeks out from Australia’s Strongest Man. And about a month ago, once I’d sufficiently recovered from ASM, I pulled my current 1RM of 300 kilograms at my new gym, Genesis Bentley.

I’d give more of a shit about my other lifts if they were as strong as my pull, and soon I hope my squat is going to come correct. But here at least I know my programming is working.

warmup & stretch

Deadlifts
70 kgs x 5
120 kgs x 5
170 kgs x 5
200 kgs x 5
220 kgs x 5
250 kgs x 5 beltless TPR

Glute-ham raises
BW x 10, 8

Kroc rows
left: 60 kgs x 8, 8
right: 60 kgs x 8, 8

Seated rows
113 kgs (full stack) x 10, 8
100 kgs x 8

Events Saturday

THE EASTER long weekend has at least given me time to relax and catch up on some sleep… lately it’s been feeling like I’ve been burning the candle at both ends, so to speak. I never thought I’d be the kind of person who says things like ‘burning the candle at both ends,’ or ‘there just aren’t enough hours in the day’, but I’ve been saying the latter repeatedly this year. It also speaks volumes as to the kind of party animal I am, that I look forward to spending as much of my four-day weekend as I can, asleep.

I’m also glad I can waltz in to Genesis whenever I please on Monday to do my pulling… this week I’ve added seated rows to the mix, since there’s one at my disposal, and after a better look around the brah-training section the other night, I’ve added a couple of other pieces to each of my weekday routines.

All in all it’s been a successful week; I’ve begun squatting again and performed a set of 280+ kilo leg press without incident. I therefore took it easy at events today… there’s no need to over-train at this stage. I need to build my strength back up slowly over the next two months and only hit competition weight ranges about a month out from the comp, in mid-July. Too much max-effort stuff will put me into CNS shock before my state-level campaign is over.

warmup & stretch

Yoke walk
215 kgs x 15 meters
255 kgs x 15 meters
295 kgs x 15 meters

Farmers walk
90 kgs p/h x 15 meters
110 kgs p/h x 25 meters
130 kgs p/h x 15 meters

Not Squat Thursday: Technical Progress

AWESOME, PAIN-FREE session this evening. I put on my Rehband knee sleeves once I got to the 200 kilo mark, but I’m not sure I needed them. Clearly, what has been holding me back all these months has been my previously petrified legs. I’m very happy with the likely prospect of returning to proper heavy squats very soon.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, skipping on accessories has huge drawbacks, and I’m trying to rectify that now with proper attention paid to the boring bits. As much as I enjoy heavy GMs, there comes a point where they become much more a lower back movement and much less a hamstring exercise. So Glute-ham raises, calf raises and possibly hamstring curls will be utilised going forward.

It’s been a productive week. I haven’t felt this positive about my training in a long while.

warmup

Leg Press
(platform weight unknown)
160 kgs x 8
200 kgs x 5
240 kgs x 5
280 kgs x 12 TPR

Good Mornings w/axle
70 kgs x 8
100 kgs x 8
120 kgs x 8
140 kgs x 5 TPR

Calf raises
80 kgs x 6
60 kgs x 10, 10, 12

Press Wednesday: But First, Pain

NOTHING special to record this evening; my press remains weak, and I again need to strip it back and base-build with reps at lower weights. But my right side is getting stronger, slowly, and I’m speeding up my DB presses to improve my cardio (which is shit, I must admit)… the max effort axle work beforehand means I can’t press the 60 kilo for enough reps to build mass, but soon enough I will be. By then I hope Genesis has an Oly DB handle I can load with 10s and stick a Fat Grip on, to better simulate the Strongman circus dumbbell.

According to my friend and former physiotherapist, Estee, there are ‘days of work’ in my legs. Ben of Activate concurs; he spent 45 minutes tonight prodding the lumps in my quads with his elbows. Ben has cleared a regular spot for me every Wednesday night prior to training, and with this intensive treatment I hope to rid myself of these persistent knee complaints and return to proper heavy squatting as soon as possible. The deep tissue massage was excruciating in places, but a definite relief.

I may try out my knees tomorrow night with some squats, but the plain remains to bust out some max effort leg press, so I will definitely finish here with my money set, and then move on to some GMs and calf raises.

warmup

OHP w/Axle (strict)
20 kgs x 8
50 kgs x 6
75 kgs x 3
100 kgs x 6

OHP w/DB (strict)
left: 50 kgs x 5, 5
right: 40 kgs x 9, 5

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

Klokov press
20 kgs x 15 reps x 3

Pull Monday: Underpowered

I HADN’T planned that single of 280. It was supposed to be a triple… but a triple would have been grinding and pointless. It was also supposed to be beltless, but after triples of 220 and 250 without one, I can guarantee I wouldn’t have made the set. I need to lower the weight further and try for 5 by 5 while I deload, and now I know where to start next week.

I also have the option here of continuing to strengthen my conventional deadlift or switching to axle deads, using the wooden platforms and bumper plates. And my axle, of course. The specificity of the axle deadlift will put me in good stead for the next Strongman comp. But having said that, it’s a different lift compared with the conventional barbell; it doesn’t hit the quads nearly as much… and not strengthening my legs is counterintuitive to the reason FOR my programming in the first place. So the former is the better option.

I’ve got a physio appointment Wednesday night, before my press session, and then Thursday night I intend to load up the leg press. Squatting last week was great, but I still was left with some pain. Obviously more needling is required. Plus, I can’t load my axle heavy enough right now, as I’m out of practice. I’m going to return to squatting on a fortnightly basis, alternating with heavy leg press to maximise strength development.

I’m also going to have to use some more machines… hooray. Calf raises and shit like that couldn’t hurt, when I’m bored of the glute-ham raises… and don’t I just love those. I will have to see what else I can throw in.

Deadlifts
70 kgs x 8
120 kgs x 5
170 kgs x 3
220 kgs x 3 no belt
250 kgs x 3 no belt
280 kgs x 1

Glute/Ham raises
BW x 3 sets x 10

Kroc rows
left: 60 kgs x 8, 8, 12
right: 60 kgs x 8, 8, 8

Hey Hey, it’s Squat Thursday!

State FInals 2013 Winning HeavyweightsI HAVEN’T been able to squat for nearly six months now, when I was repping 230 kilos on Les’ big cambered bar at PTC Perth when one knee filled with fluid, and both started to hurt pretty bad. Since then I’ve had to train around the squat, and no doubt my development has suffered setbacks because of it. Not to mention my performances at the Perth Cup and ASM.

Well I am hopeful that things are about to change. It’s kinda stupid to have to admit to, but like virtually every other serious lesson I’ve learned in the iron game, I’ve had to learn it the hard way. Regular dry needling and deep tissue massage isn’t just a luxury, when you both carry a significant amount of muscle mass, and use it for the things I use it for. Shit gets all messed up in there.

Long story short: the tightness from my quads was restricting movement around my patella, which was causing the grinding, clicking, popping, etc., when I attempted to squat. But with regular needling, I am confidant squat will become a part of my regular program again, if not right now then in the very near future,

I shirked once more on my assistance work. There just aren’t enough hours in the day… and I’d like to be able to say that I have a whole afternoon of events training to make good on tomorrow, but instead I’m going to be in Port Kennedy from the early morning, assisting with running the WA Strongman National Qualifiers round 2 at Crossfit Armed.

Squats w/axle
16 kgs x 8
66 kgs x 8
100 kgs x 8
140 kgs x 8
160 kgs x 3

Good mornings w/axle
70 kgs x 15
90 kgs x 10
100 kgs x 8
110 kgs x 5

Log, Interrupted

TONIGHT I met with Ben, of Activate physiotherapy, who was quick to scribble down as much detail as possible in our first consultation and tee up a free deep-tissue massage, which I am going to need… I haven’t had one in months. It is genuinely surprising how necessary this kind of treatment becomes; as you get stronger, your muscles get tougher, stiffer. Mobility and manipulation are also essential.

Too many other commitments tonight meant I was running on a tight schedule, and then I decided to shoot the shit with some mates, and teach a couple of Genesis members how to use one of the smaller Strongman logs they’d been toying with. It was fun, but before I knew it I had to go. The one big upside is that I didn’t aggravate anything; my elbow seems to have gotten over itself sooner than expected, and tendons also were holding up fine. I’m fairly certain I could have continued to 115, which is still my best pretty much for either log or axle.

It must be time to base-build again.

Log clean-press (strict)
65 kgs x 3
75 kgs x 3
75 kgs x 3
85 kgs x 1
95 kgs x 1
100 kgs x 1
105 kgs x 1

NOT Squat Thursday: Positive Signs

THE PURPOSE of tonight’s session was to leave the gym feeling no pain. I am pleased to say that was the outcome… Estee’s merciless needling of my quads – which were a two-session operation this week – had a direct benefit to my knees, which are now moving looser and more comfortably. I was tempted to squat, but didn’t want to go too heavy, or hit too high volume right away. That would be bad.

I’ll be scheduling fortnightly, hour-long sessions with Estee in the coming months, where she will do my quads and, if we have time, my traps also. These are the areas I seem to bunch up the most… which is understandable, considering the majority of my training involves resting heavy weight across my back and/or walking with said weight.

Very keen to get back squatting again! And I had something of an innovation with my GMs tonight; using the axle (jeez I love my axle) and a liberal powdering of chalk, I was able to better stabilise the weight and hit more reps. Although ideally, I should be doing 20-rep sets and keeping it lighter, as per my original programming for heavy leg days… I may have to mix it up so I can bring back heavy GMs… just coz I enjoy them and they will assist with hamstring development for my deadlift (not as much as glute-ham raises, which I hate but are also in my program).

Saturday is Events training day.

Leg press
base (?) +160 kgs x 10
+200 kgs x 8
+240 kgs x 5
+260 kgs x 12

Godd Mornings w/Axle
70 kgs x 10
90 kgs x 10
100 kgs x 10
110 kgs x 5