Monthly Archives: January 2016

EVENTS SATURDAY: ALEX & QUAID

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THE SESSION started with log press, as it often does. The crew are only a few weeks into the new year and are already breaking personal records. Adrian came in early; we saw him finishing his log presses just as we were warming up. Ryan, Alex and I got to work. It was good for me to see the guys adopting the training methods I have prescribed; while I am still feeling things out (gingerly repping 100 kilos and leaving it there – the heaviest thing I’ve pressed in a long time) they were performing ten rep sets of the log clean press with a focus on form and challenging themselves without me having to say a thing. I like it when people listen.

When I cleaned the log, rolling it up my chest, I felt it pressing against Quaid. This is the name we have given to the bubble in my abdomen. Quaid is more unnerving than anything else; certain movements, like log press, make it hard to ignore… and always in the back of my mind is the reality that a hard enough strain will likely make it blow. I do it anyway, because it’s better than doing nothing. Plus, a hernia means surgery and a resolution, albeit one that will put me back on the rehab shelf. Better to get it over with. If, by getting strong, I hasten this eventuality, then so be it.

Ryan takes his annual leave as of next week, so this was going to be his last, best opportunity for a new 1RM deadlift. He worked up to a penultimate single of 210, and then pulled 230 for a 5 kilogram PR. Then Alex, who insists on deadlifting Fridays so he can complain a little more about the work I set for him Saturdays, nonetheless matched Ryan’s 230, making it look more like an inconvenience than a challenge as he did so.

Yoke walk, and Alex continued to impress himself by doing what he was told. We had previously talked about what he needed to do to get to a 300 kilo yoke, and his efforts in recent weeks indicated he was ready to try this now. He completed the run with, I think, one drop. Very impressed… I later asked him to do a static hold with 340, and he instead walked a pace or two with it before it crushed him. This I was less impressed with. But now Alex has a much better understanding of what he’s actually capable of… and this, also, makes me happy. It’s revelatory. When you see a person put down a weight which, a moment ago, they thought they’d never pick up. Witnessing that is fulfilling for me.

My money sets were as follows, with 5 minutes of cardio either side:
Log clean-press: 100 kgs x 2
Deadlifts: 175 kgs x 5
Yoke walk: 300 kgs x 20 meters

Nothing special today. I did a 20 meter, 300 kilo yoke at a reasonable pace and Quaid, likewise, didn’t explode. This bodes well for the future I think. And even if it doesn’t, it doesn’t really matter. 350 will be next. Then 380. Then 400, and so long as everything else improves at the same rate I’ll be able to say I’m finally back in contention for 2016. Maybe a lot sooner than I had originally planned.

2016: A Slow Rebuild

THIS would be week two of me gradually reintroducing weight to my routines. Pulling, pressing and squatting are back on the menu, and last fortnight’s efforts produced the following money sets:

Deadlift: 165 kgs x 3 x 5, 225 kgs x 5
Squat (SSB): 170 kgs x 3, 200 kgs x 1
OHP (axle, strict): 65 kgs x 10, 75 kgs x 5
Bench press: 50 kgs 10, 50 kgs x 15
Log clean-press: 60 kgs x 3
Yoke walk: 250 kgs x 15 meters
Farmers walk: 100 kgs p/h x 20 meters

I’ve left the boring bits out here, but will be posting my full routines as of next week. I’ll be attempting some more ambitious loadings on the squat and deadlift, and there will be more and heavier SM events on the cards now I know what feels good and what doesn’t. I’d like to squat 2me200+ for reps, pull 250+ for reps and walk a 300+ kilo yoke in the coming week. The axle pressing I did most recently actually feels more comfortable than benching right now. Due to this, I am both keen to see how heavy I can go and wary of further tendon damage… it was while performing a log clean-press in WASM’s August qualifiers last year that I sustained the injury. Pressing is my main area of concern. Based on how the yoke is feeling, I might even return to straight bar squatting this month; the RC tendons seem to be alright with this position, too. It’s just bench that is still a little painful.

I am looking forward to the clinic this weekend. Strongman events I have really missed lately. And it’s encouraging to find more people expressing an interest in joining. Hopefully PTC Perth will have another contingent of budding strong/wo/men looking to compete in the sport this year.

Finally, here’s an embarrassing pic of me when I was almost as pretty as Carl. Ah, the ravages of time.

And yes, I gots paid.

Return of the Lion & Other New Tails

Carl S 1WHEN I started strongman training mid-2011, Carl was one of the boys I met in Dan Macri’s backyard. Short and stocky with a dirty blonde mane and a perpetual smile, Carl was the only guy in the bunch to almost keep up with Dan under the yoke and the log… I forget now what kind of weight he was moving back then. I just remember being real impressed. Of course, when we met him he wasn’t nearly this pretty. In fact I’m still not certain this pic (left) hasn’t been photoshopped. Carl has kept suspiciously quiet on the subject… and the fact the pic (and several others) were taken in a seedy hotel room, when he was just a teenager… by whom? We’ll never know. Let’s just hope he gots paid.

It wasn’t long after meeting Carl that he shared with me and the group his thoughts and feelings, as a kid, on the subject of being an adult.
“When I was little I thought you could be anything you wanted to be when you grew up. Like, anything. I used to tell people I wanted to be a lion…”
A moment of silence, then we all laughed hard. Carl ‘The Lion’ Skudder was born.

On January sixteenth, the second clinic for the new year, The Lion returned to strongman at PTC Perth. The past year and more Carl has been quietly and diligently focussed on PL, training the 3 big lifts and very nearly, if not already, hitting somewhere very close to 300/200/300. He mentioned after shuffling in that afternoon that this would be his first session of strongman in some years. He then viper pressed a 100 kilo log, followed by a couple of strict reps for good measure. Carl is an excellent addition to our small but dedicated group, who continued with their training during my absence in the final weeks of 2015.

The break was just what I had needed. I did the ‘human holiday’ thing; deactivated facebook, switched off all alerts to my phone, packed a bag and got away to Margaret River for a while, to consume a lot of great food and wine and just generally relax. Those two weeks went fast, but they were thoroughly enjoyed. Now I return, fatter and weaker but with an ostensibly rehabbed shoulder and a plan for mitigating my diastasis recti.

Ah, yes. Don’t think I have mentioned this yet. Essentially a precursor to an epigastric hernia, this is something I discovered while doing my shoulder rehab program. I don’t know when it actually happened (most probably during my last heavy deadlift session some months back), but while performing 1-arm triceps pushdowns I noticed a bubble in my abdomen. More than a little pissed at rehabbing a recent injury only to discover an even newer one, I went home and began my search for a surgeon who hadn’t already upped stumps to Tahiti for the holidays. Eventually I found one and made an appointment.

“It’s not a hernia yet. I can’t fix this.” Was the surgeon’s diagnosis. I fiddled with the sample of thin plastic netting he’d handed me. This is what he uses to knit hernias back together. It felt like I could rip it pretty easily

“And then, if you go back to training in a month or so, doing what you do, it will just rip.” he advised matter-of-factly.

It kinda threw me, as there was nothing I could really do to fix it. Based on what the specialist I spoke with told me, there was no fix. Not at this stage. It needed to properly herniate before surgery was warranted. But he also suggested that, for the moment, it was a cosmetic issue. It looks ugly and feels weird, but with the continuance of my rehab programming and a focus on strengthening the transverse abdominals (and shedding some more fat), it can be reduced, and a hernia might even be avoided altogether…

WASM

The two months of avoiding all heavy lifting were undeniably boring for me, and I’m now just a couple of weeks into pulling, pressing, squatting and doing strongman events like I used to. The loadings are nowhere near competitive at this stage. I am giving myself till June to be 100% again and hitting new numbers, which is not exactly a tight deadline. I just don’t want to rush things… I also don’t even know if I’ll be up to competing in strongman this season. I may switch back to powerlifting till I’m sure the shoulder is no longer a liability. It all just depends on how quickly I can get back to form.

Some of the new aspects of my training, which I’ve had to embrace for a number of reasons, are steady state cardio and more cable movements to work the transverse abdominals . I’m on the assault bike every time I hit the gym now, sometimes twice per session. This will improve my conditioning, reduce boy fat and, by proxy, the distension. It will also set me on the ultimate path of any strength athlete; getting shredded for Stereos.

I have gone many weeks without making a blog entry. My iPhone is where I record all my training sessions as they happen. It’s presently wadded with notes which, if I were meticulous (OCD) enough, I would post up here for posterity. That was, after all, the major reason for my blogging in the first place; to keep myself honest and chart my development.

There are big, big things on the horizon this year… such as a major sponsor for strongman in WA, and a prize pool of around $10,000 for those who place in the qualifying rounds. But more on that later. For now, it’s a (globally) warm welcome to strength sports in 2016 from yours truly.

See you on the platform.