Events Saturday: Full House

12764402_10208640792756916_63655281086220030_oUNPREPARED could be the buzz word for this session. I was unprepared for the awesomeness I was soon to witness, and I was unprepared when the thought struck me that I should be recording this amazing stuff. Unprepared describes where I’m at right now, actually, so there’s a recurrent theme here. But one session at a time… I’ll tie it all in at the end. Hopefully.

PTC Strongman had six trainees today. The original duo, Ryan and Adrian, were joined by Matthew, Andrew, Alex and newcomer Stephan. Stephan has been a member for some time now; I’ve gas bagged with him over the last several months, and most recently he competed in a novice PL comp and hit 230/150/270 I believe. I am eager to see what he can do if he sticks with strongman for a year.

First up: log clean-press. Ryan threw himself into the event with vigour. While I don’t expect he broke any records, having just come back from holidays, he followed the template learned over the last year of diligent training and pushed himself to a near vomitus state, enjoying himself immensely.

Alex has begun a simple max effort template with his deadlift, and this week we used the same approach for his log work. Building to 70 kilograms, he then clean-pressed it fifteen times.  Fifteen goddamn times. He’ll have a 120+ one-rep-max way sooner than I’d originally estimated, I have no doubt of this now. Absolutely brilliant effort from the soon-to-be Western Australian under-105 Strongman champion. Hopefully.

IMG_0575I was unprepared for how ruined I would still be feeling from the week’s routine, so I decided to focus on the class rather than myself. I was kept busy as everyone had stuff they wanted to work on. Andrew and Matthew are improving in their technique and Matt in particular is beginning to reach some heavy weight on the log, yoke and deadlift. Adrian has just finished rehabbing a hamstring injury and was back to basics with his pulling.

Stephan and Alex were both set the task of pulling 210 kilograms for as many reps as possible, with suitable form. That last point was emphasised when Stephan reached about eight and wasn’t able to lock his shoulders back and fully follow through with his hips. Alex managed five, which was also a brilliant effort as he was no doubt still a little buggered from his log work.

We finished with Farmers walk, and all the crew were made to upgrade to something approaching heavy; 80 kilos per hand, working up to 100 a hand for those brave enough to give it a shot. Grip strength is something I might look at working back into training with axle deadlifts in addition to more regular farmers walk.

My camera was at home and my iPhone was unprepared for the awesomeness of this Saturday afternoon; it ran out of disc space before I could record anything. Lesson learned. I can’t wait for the next one!

PULL THURSDAY: WK1 Peaking Cycle Begins

THERE’S been a very minor revision to my hasty five week program leading up to GPC states. It now looks like this:

Week 1 – 225 kgs x 81957895_10203370447241572_898808368_o
Week 2 – 265 kgs x 5
Week 3 – 295 kgs x 3
Week 4 – 315 kgs x 2
Week 5 – 335 kgs x 1
GPC States – 350 kgs

I have dropped two reps from the program, that’s it. There’s no personal records broken throughout, right up to comp day and that much-vaunted 350. Tonight was 225 for eight, and if I was aiming for max reps at this weight I believe I would be capable of at least a dozen currently. At this weight my (better than it was but still shitty) cardio would become an issue before my back gave out.

While I love to deadlift, I have more of an affinity for strongman events than the other two static movements which comprise powerlifting. So it’s pretty ironic that, thanks to my shoulder, my deadlift is also the only movement of the three that isn’t currently compromised… unless we reintroduce the ever-present threat of Quaid, but I’m done with sweating over that. I did one of, if not my strongest ever, 350 kilo yoke walk last weekend. It killed my knees, but it felt like a really good run. Next clinic I’ll have to get someone to time it. The point is; nothing has exploded yet.

As a side note, I also worked on my grip strength this evening by sticking with double overhand for as long as possible. I managed two reps of 225 before I switched to alternate, as it was not going to last a third. This was promising; my grip, like most other things, is slowly coming back to 100%. My best for a single, I think, is 240 kilos with a standard barbell, and a 180 axle for one. Or two. It’s not important enough to review.

I bumped into a fella who was testing maxes with a couple of mates… Matt I think his name was. His face looked familiar. He remembered me from my stint at Genesis Bentley. We had a chat about this and that… and I of course mentioned the clinic I run each Saturday afternoon at PTC Perth. Maybe we’ll see them in the future; they were all clearly impressed with how far ahead of the game PTC is when it comes to equipment, culture and atmosphere.

Cardio: assault bike 5 minutes, 60 rpm
Stretch!

Deadlifts:
75 kgs x 8
125 kgs x 5
175 kgs x 3
205 kgs x 1
225 kgs x 8

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

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

Press Wednesday: Almost Back to Form

I AM hitting a wall with my strict overhead presses. It’s actually a good sign as it’s the same wall. I feel about as strong in the press as I was before the injury… that set of 95 kilos for six isn’t my best at that weight but it’s close enough. And the single of 105 after it wPTC clinic 150725as really, really slow. But I locked it out. If everything feels good I’ll test my max on the log this weekend and begin a new (probably more periodisation) program in due course.

Bench is feeling better. Tonight I performed my heaviest set in months. Nothing remotely heavy. I’m really just hoping I can get back up to 150 kilos or thereabouts… a new PR in April is really not on the cards I don’t think.

 

Cardio: Assault bike 5 minutes  DB S/Set rotators & supine curls: 4 kgs x 2 x 10

Axle OHP (strict):
25 kgs x 8
45 kgs x 5
65 kgs x 3
80 kgs x 1
95 kgs x 6
105 kgs x 1

Bench press:
20 kgs x 10
60 kgs x 10
80 kgs x 10

EZ bar curls:
30 kgs x 10
40 kgs x 10
45 kgs x 8

DB front raise static holds:
Left & Right
7.5 kgs x 45 seconds each

1-arm triceps pushdowns:
Left plate 9 x 13, 12, 6
Right plate 9 x 15, 15, 9

Squat Monday: Not Great

SOME disappointing developments tonight. I tried barbell squatting for the first time since the shoulder injury. It didn’t go down at all… this position, much like bench press, seems to directly aggravate the tendons. I didn’t even bother putting any plates on the bar, racked it and went back to the cage and the SSB.

The next blow was the squats themselves; my knees are not the greatest after the punishment they received on the weekend, and while I completed all programmed reps and loadings, I was very high, practically performing a good morning when it came to the single of 230. I’d say I need to rethink the next 4 weeks of this program if I’m expecting to squat anything significant at states… if at all.

At least my bench felt better last week, so there’s still a chance I’ll put up something decent, and my events are, for the most part, coming along well. So competing in April – whether GPC or WA Strongman (or ideally both) is still a thing.

And I’ve already written a hasty 5 week template for my deadlift which tops out at a double of 335 the week before GPC states… and a predicted, ambitious new 1RM of 350 on the day.

Cardio: 5 minutes assault bike, 60 rpm
Stretch!

SSB Squats:
20 kgs x 8
60 kgs x 5
100 kgs x 3
140 kgs x 1
170 kgs x 1
190 kgs x 8
230 kgs x 1

Superset Leg extension / Hamstring curls:
LE 40 kgs x 3 x 10
HC 45 kgs x 3 x 10

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

Pinwheelz:
15 kgs x 10
17.5 kgs x 10

EVENTS SATURDAY: A 350 Yoke

THAT WAS my highlight for the day, though my trainees all had successes. After the recent birth of his first child late last year and sundry other commitments since, Matthew’s success was that he showed up. Andrew is steadily learning the ropes – this was his third session so far, and I was pleased to see his strength and technical development in both the log press and deadlift have measurably improved in these few weeks. Though thanks to his football training he always seems to show up with a pre-existing niggle or injury, which may make programming interesting in the future.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlex broke a personal record on the log press (90 kgs x 3), the yoke (310 kgs x 20 meters, 1 drop) and the deadlift (200 kgs x 8). By my estimation, he is capable of a 350 yoke, 110 log and 250 deadlift in the next 3-6 months. I will be personally insulted if, after this period, he doesn’t compete and come to realise his destiny as WA’s new under 105 strongman champion.

I used my LL elbow sleeves for my 110 log press attempt, and I’m pretty sure this (combined with perhaps over-taxing myself with that triple of 90 beforehand) was a bad idea. I haven’t actually used them at all since last year’s qualifier, and it was for the car walk; I typically only use knee sleeves. But for whatever reason I tried them today, and found they added just a bit of resistance I was not expecting, messing up my clean. I removed them, dropped the weight, and pressed 100 easy enough.

My yoke was strong. No drops, of course, and my biggest obstacles – my breathing and endurance – are benefiting from the regular cardio. This is the heaviest yoke I’ve walked in several months, and Quaid has remained inside my chest cavity. So there’s no reason why he’ll have a problem with 370 or 400 after that.

After the walk, my knees were shot. They didn’t want to deadlift today and I didn’t want to mess up Monday night’s session, so I left it there.

Next week I need to:
* Squat 190 x 8, with a single of 230
* Press a 95 kgs and 105 axle for max reps, and
* Deadlift… something heavy. Coz I still have to do that template.

Log clean-press:
55 kgs x 8
90 kgs x 3
110 kgs x 0 – disappointing
110 kgs x 1, 1, 1

Yoke walk:
210 kgs x 2 x 20 meters
270 kgs x 20 meters
310 kgs x 20 meters
350 kgs x 20 meters

Deadlifts:
75 kgs x 5
125 kgs x 5

Press Thursday: Curls for the Gurls

THANKS to equal parts vanity and the need to get stronger, I’ve added some things to my regular programming. First it was leg machines, now it’s isometricsAm Nats 2012 DB1, bicep curls and shoulder isolations. To be fair, I was doing a significant amount of isolation work last year which I dropped due to the injury. With it went some strength and a noticeable amount of shoulder mass. Now, I haven’t trained for the sake of looking better since I was about 150 kilos of mostly un-muscled lard, circa 2010-2011. It plays a bigger part right now as I’ve committed myself to shedding the fat I gained during my rehab. I want to get leaner as well as stronger. This still doesn’t mean you’re going to see me in a sequinned g-string on stage any time soon. But bigger shoulders and a smaller waist would be nice.

Happy to note my bench press, while weak as piss, is at least not hurting so much this week. I might even bench 100+ at GPC states. Woot. And finally on a serious note: no more C4 pre-workout for me. That shit messes with my pulse rate and makes me light-headed, which is not cool at all when performing reasonably high-rep overhead press. I’ve only used it on my last two sessions. There won’t be a third.

Cardio: 5 minutes assault bike, 55-65 rpm
DB S/set supine curls / rotators: 3 kgs x 2 x 10

Axle OHP (strict):
25 kgs x 8
45 kgs x 5
65 kgs x 1
85 kgs x 8
95 kgs x 4

Bench press:
20 kgs x 10
50 kgs x 10
60 kgs x 10
70 kgs x 10

EZ bar curls:
30 kgs x 10
35 kgs x 2 x 10

DB front raise static holds:
left and right
7.5 kgs x 30+ seconds – will have to time these properly in future

1-arm triceps pushdowns:
left: plate 8 x 15, 13, 8
right: plate 8 x 15, 15, 13

Axe-swings:
left and right
plate 8 x 2 x 10

Squat Monday: More Improvement

MY USE of the safety squat bar continues into a third month. It has to end soon so I can adapt for GPC states. For now I’m just glad to see my strength returning in the squat and not have it accompanied by knee issues, which is a huge positive. If things keep feeling this good, I might even be able to squat three times in April. Historically I’ve not managed more than my opener at both GPC and CAPO states. At GPC it was due to my knees just being their usual shitty selves. But at the CAPO state championships it was a conscious decision (again, based on the reality that my knees don’t like to squat) in order to save my strength and ability for the remainder of the comp.

Cardio: assault bike 5 minutes, 55-60 rpm

SSB squats:
20 kgs x 8
60 kgs x 5
100 kgs x 3
140 kgs x 1
180 kgs x 8
220 kgs x 1 – both belts

S/set Leg extensions / calf raises:
40 kgs x 3 sets of each x 10

DB forward raises:
7.5 kgs x 10
10 kgs x 2 x 10

Pinwheelz:
15 kgs x 3 x 10

The WASM Qualifier & Events Saturday

12657797_939393109463669_9185569573447202314_oTHE HEART of Fremantle hosted the first WA Strongman qualifier for 2016. A crowd had assembled early to watch some twenty one competitors, most of them new to the sport, prepare for the challenge ahead. Five events, starting (as is practically tradition) with the Yoke walk, followed by Log clean-press, Axle deadlift, Farmers walk and Atlas stones.

I couldn’t stick around for half of it, but I was there to see some impressive pressing from Matt Lynch Blanche, who’s name I remember from the under 105 division a few years back. New to the state but certainly not the sport, Matt has evidently stepped up his game to rival veteran strongman and all-round nice guy, Jay Connelly, in the heavyweights. Jay gave it his best and took second in what I’m told came down to a nail-biting final event.

12698379_939383872797926_928449032322528799_o

A little after midday I took off back to PTC Perth for the clinic. Few trainees this weekend meant I could focus more on my own lifting and I worked up to a 275 kilogram belt-less deadlift, followed by a reliable 300. I’m wearing my Rehband soft belt for most things now, and adding the Inzer lever belt for max effort deadlifts, squats and events. It feels weird, but it’s gotta beat a hernia.

 

I also continue to make steady progress with my pressing. The shoulder is not bothered at all by the clean, which is excellent. I worked up to a strict single of 100 after doing 5 reps sets of 60, 70, 80 and a triple of 90 kilograms. These are all sub-max for a reason, as my strict axle work midweek is where I hit max effort and I don’t want to jeopardise those sessions.

Just like the WASM qualifier, we finished the clinic with Farmers walk. A lesson was learned during that final event; it’s not something I perform regularly enough, and to prove this my hands quickly developed several blood blisters which were popped and oozing before the end of the session. Farmers walk will become a more common event going forward.

I have to say, it feels really fucking good to be lifting decent numbers again.

Log clean-press:
45 kgs x 8
60 kgs x 8
70 kgs x 5 – viper
80 kgs x 5 – viper
90 kgs x 3 – strict
100 kgs x 1 – strict

Deadlifts:
75 kgs x 8
125 kgs x 5
175 kgs x 5
225 kgs x 5
275 kgs x 1 – no belts
300 kgs x 1 – both belts

Farmers walk:
50 kgs p/h x 2 x 15 meters
60 kgs p/h x 15 meters
90 kgs p/h x 15 meters

The Eve of WASM’s 1st Qualifier for 2016

 

12243319_893809980688649_5194921565489402966_n

…and I have a little bit to review. I’m making slow progress back to form in some areas, but am still weak in others. For instance, my strict overhead press feels pretty much 100% now… and in fact I may have even broken a personal record for strict reps at 75 kilos this week. I’m still checking my archives (yes, I am that OCD) I am very keen to see what I can do in another month, as I’ve programmed max effort reps at 105, 115 and – hopefully – at least a single of 125; my pathetic new PR.

Squats are also coming along, though I’m still using the safety squat bar and that’s not going to properly prepare me for GPC states April. Coz yeah, I decided to do GPC states in April, which cuts short my own predicted return to a competitive condition by two months.

I just wish my bench was feeling as good as my overhead. But it’s not… it’s still really sucking and I don’t know at this stage what further I can do to strengthen it without risking more damage. Repping more than 50 kilograms is just painful.

I am increasing the volume of my routines now as I’m feeling more and more confident in the lifts and events I can do, which is still most of them. So long as Quaid stays on the side of my ribcage that he inhabits currently, there’s nothing else that ails me (save the bench situation of course), so I am thankful for that. Even my knees are feeling better, and as I haven’t had any serious needling done to them in recent months and they’re still not bothering me, I have to give props to Paul Carter for the advice he gave me before xmas on how to alleviate this. Ergo, leg press is now a regular part of my training… though I won’t be bringing back 3 seconds paused, 6 set and 15-20 fucking rep schemes unless they start to hurt again.

Shirked my deadlift session this week due to there not being enough hours in that particular Thursday and I had planned to make up for it tomorrow during the clinic. But I will have to see how much energy I have left for this, as tomorrow is also WA Strongman’s first qualifier for 2016, in Fremantle, which isn’t exactly close to PTC Perth, Malaga. So I have a little bit of driving and a deal of heavy lifting ahead of me. Assisting with a strongman comp can be a workout in itself.

Hope to see you there!

Squat Monday
Cardio: assault bike 5 minutes

SSB Squats:
20 kgs x 10
60 kgs x 5
100 kgs x 3
140 kgs x 1
170 kgs x 8
210 kgs x 1 – both belts worn

S/SET Leg extensions / hamstring curls:
40 kgs x 3 sets of each x 10

Press Wednesday
Cardio: assault bike 5 minutes
S/SET DB supine curls / rotators:
3 kgs x 2 sets of each x 10

Axle OHP (strict):
25 kgs x 10
45 kgs x 5
65 kgs x 1
75 kgs x 11
85 kgs x 6

Bench press:
20 kgs x 10
50 kgs x 3 x 10

EZ bar curls:
30 kgs x 10
35 kgs x 10
40 kgs x 8

1-arm Triceps pushdowns:
left and right
plate 7 x 2 x 15
plate 7 x 13(l) 15(r)

Axe swings:
left and right
plate 6 x 10
plate 7 x 10
plate 8 x 10 PR

Another Week Recap: Straight ‘A’s

FINDING the time to blog has been difficult of late, but this is a good thing; I like being busy. And I’m starting to enjoy training again now that I’m approaching heavier loadings in most things, so I’m training for longer and coming home more exhausted and crashing earlier. Mostly.

I have some sessions to catch up on so I will post them here to make this entry a weekly recap. But I want to start with last Saturday’s clinic, for a number of reasons.

Adrian, Alex and newcomer, Andrew joined me for strongman events on the 30th. Andrew is very new to strength sports in general and has some mobility issues, so we did a couple of things during the session to focus on his form in the press and deadlift. He is set for his evaluation this week and after a brief consult with his coach, Dan Rucci, I suggested he swap in axle over barbell military press. This will get him more quickly accustomed to strongman-specific movements.

Alex continues to improve across the board; today he pressed an 80 kilogram log for several comfortable reps and walked a 330 kilo yoke for around ten meters. He has a raw strength that will take him far, should he one day decide to compete.AA Yoke walk 415 kilos 5 meters

Cardio: assault bike 5 minutes

Axle clean-press:
45 kgs x 3
65 kgs x 3
80 kgs x 2 x 2

Yoke walk:
130 kgs x 20 meters
170 kgs x 20 meters
210 kgs x 20 meters
250 kgs x 20 meters
290 kgs x 20 meters
330 kgs x 20 meters

Cardio: assault bike 5 minutes

 

PULL THURSDAY January 28th

My deadlift is returning slowly. After this session I had a clearer picture of how to program the next 8-12 weeks. Safe to say, there will be no 300+ pulls in the immediate future.

Cardio: assault bike 5 minutes (increased min RPM from 50 to 60)1957895_10203370447241572_898808368_o

DB super-set (supine curls & rotators):
3 kgs x 2 sets of each x 10

Deadlifts:
75 kgs x 8
125 kgs x 5
175 kgs x 3
225 kgs x 1
265 kgs x 2 slow and painful, soft belt only

Seated Rows:
80 kgs x 10
100 kgs x 10
120 kgs x 10 TPR?

Axe-swings:
Plate 7 x 3 x 10

 

 

 

SQUAT MONDAY February 1stAxle Squat 1 zoom

Cardio: assault bike 5 minutes

SSB Squats:
20 kgs x 8
60 kgs x 5
100 kgs x 3
130 kgs x 1
160 kgs x ME: 8
200 kgs x 1 w/lever belt

Leg extensions:
30 kgs x 10
40 kgs x 2 x 10

Hamstring curls:
30 kgs x 10
40 kgs x 10, 8

Welp, can’t pretend anymore. Yes, I am using machines in my regular training. Wannafightaboutit?