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.