Thursday, April 26, 2007

Off to the AFPA conference in Ocean City, MD

Leaving shortly for the AFPA conference in OC, MD - presenting on the Functional Movement Screen, Joint Mobility, Strength, and Two classes on kettlebells - should be a lot of fun.

Should be off the grid until Monday.
Training today:

Squat w/ doubled over mini bands
alternating sets of 315 and 365
315 x 3, 365 x 2, 315 x 3, 365 x 2, 315 x 3, 365 x 2, 315 x 3

Pull-ups 45# x 3, 70# x 3, 100# x 1, chin x 1
One arm push-ups x 2,2,2 r+L

Swings 32 kg x 20 reps x 5 sets

Felt good today - heavier band squats felt solid.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Training today - Upper

Raw - build up to 275 x 1, 315 x 1
Bench shirt - Titan F6 - 315 x 2, 365 x 1,1,1,1,1
Raw paused (5+ seconds) 225 x 2

Lying triceps ext - 95 x 5, 105 x 5,5,5

Hammer Strength Row - 135 x 5, 160 x 5, 135 x 5

40 kg Swings x 60

Almost missed one rep on 365 cause it got kicked to my stomach - out of the groove - Never found the groove today in the shirt - must have gotten lucky and had it on perfect the first time last week - I'll keep learning though and the heavy lockouts have got to be good for my raw bench.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Todays training - Squats

Squats 455 x 2,2,2 405 x 2

Swings 24 kg x 10 minutes

Squats felt pretty damn good - felt very good to hit the sets with 455 - a bit of revenge!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

From Alwyn's blog yesterday -

By Mike Robertson and Eric Cressey:
"Believe it or not, crunches can actually lead to shoulder, upper back, neck, and elbow/forearm/hand problems over time. Your rectus abdominus runs from the rib cage to the pelvis, so when it contracts during a brunch, it depresses the rib cage. If the rectus abdominus chronically shortens from hundreds of crunches every day, you'll develop a kyphotic posture that, in turn, allows the scapulae to wing out and up, compromising the muscles and nerves of the upper extremities. Therefore, the best rectus abdominus exercises emphasize pure stabilization rather than actual muscle shortening; these exercises can be complemented with reverse crunch variations (external oblique emphasis), as these exercises will posteriorly tilt out pelvis without pulling the rib cage downward."

I want to shout this from the roof tops and scream this a people I see "crunching" for their "core work"!

There is a HUGE difference between Core activation, Core training and abdominal training - Crunches are an example of an abdominal exercise - they are NOT a Core exercise!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Quick extra note:

Check out Alwyn Cosgrove's blog today (link on the right) - great bit of info from Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson.

Especially the info on crunches and the tibialis anterior.

Great stuff.
Todays training - Bench

Bench with doubled mini bands
195 x 2,2,2,2,2 185 x 3,3

Inverted Row +100# x 5,5,5

Pull-ups +45# x 3,3,3

Floor Triceps ext 95# x 5, 115 x 3 negatives, 95# x 5

Swings 32 kg x 10 minutes

Feeling pretty good - swings are kicking my butt a bit but they feel great. Bench felt ok - I really like the tension from the bands and the lockout required.

Rest this weekend and hit the squats on Monday.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Training today:

Squats w/ doubled over mini-bands
315 x 3,3,3,3,3,3,3

Swings 24 kg x 60 (one set)
Windmill 24 kg x 5 r+L

No belt for the first 6 sets of squats - then added the loose belt for the last set.

Squats felt good despite being very sore from Monday's squats and Tuesday's Swings.

Tomorrow - band bench.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Wanted to re-post this here so it can be a handy reference:

This is Prilipin's Chart - considered the gold standard for utilizing volume and intensity in your training:

1RM% / RPS/ OR/ RR
55-65/ 3-6 /24 /18-30
70-75 /3-6 /18 /12-24
80-85/ 2-4 /15 /10-20
90+ /1-2/ 7 /4-10
RPS=Reps per set
OR = Optimum Rep Total per workout
RR = Rep Range per workout

Thanks Randy
Bench Shirt work today - very interesting...

Bench - Titan F6 (44)
315 x 2, 365 x 2, 385 x 0,1, 315 x 2,2,2,2

Bent-row 225 x 5,5,5 underhand x 5,5

Floor Triceps ext. 95# x 5,5,5

Swings 24 kg x 10 min

I am going to be bloodied and bruised from the shirt - very interesting - couldn't get anything to touch - even with 385 I was 2-3" off of my chest - good lock out work - missed one rep at 385 because I was out of the groove. Not a bad first day with the bench shirt.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Squats today:

Felt pretty good today - in my groove (pretty much) and much better.

135 x 5, 225 x 5, 315 x 5,
365 x 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3, 415 x 3, 315 paused x 3

Loose belt (3 notches on the belt) for the 365 squats - depth was good and just tried to have a good training day.
Run your numbers...

Pavel has a line in Power to the People that "...intensity is not a turned around baseball cap (points for the movie reference) - it is a mathmatical formula (% of your 1 rep max - or rep max)". So I decided to sit down and run my numbers:

Bench -
1 rm = 320
70% = 225
75% = 240
80% = 256
85% = 272
90% = 288
95% = 305

1 rm = 500
70% = 350
75% = 375
80% = 400
85% = 425
90% = 450
95% = 475

1 rm = 560
70% = 392
75% = 420
80% = 448
85% = 476
90% = 504
95% = 532

What does all of this mean? That I spend a lot of time at some pretty high percentages. I don't even consider reps below 495 to be worthwhile with my deadlift and I always want to be over 405 in my squat and I work my bench at high %s.

Time to get back to the grand old cycling method and work from low to high on the percentages and high (for me) to low on the volume. This is layed out in very clear detail in Coan's book - classic cycling based on peaking for a meet.

The squat cycle I have planned will take care of the squat and I have a deadlift plan as well and the bench will be restructured to fit.
Stepping back and looking at the numbers instead of perceived exertion is necessary.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Continuing to recover...

Very light stretching and movement today - and while I am fried - CNS and fatigue - I am healthy!

Everything is still where it should be and I feel good - other than fried - but as Jack Reape says: "nothing 5 big meals and 12 hours sleep won't fix"... or words to that effect.

I received and devoured Marty Gallaghers' book - Coan - The Man, The Myth, The Method - required reading for anyone interested in powerlifting or just getting stronger! More on this later.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Todays training...or...Listen better....

Todays training should not have happened.
Squats - 135 x 5, 225 x 5, 315 x 5, 365 x 4, 405 x 2, 455 x 0 - set up for some band squats with 315 and decided better and packed it in and went home - at least my groove felt better.

I should have listened to my body and recognized that my PR set of 5 on the deadlift + grip demo + squats on Monday + last weeks training + coming off of two meets in a row + the addition of jumpstretch bands to my training + increasing my volume on squats and bench to 10 sets or so on some days should have equaled a few days off or at least some 70% work with low volume.

Note to self - Re-read "Easy Strength" from PTPM #2 and apply it to yourself - not just your clients!

So for now - I will be resting until Monday and will be performing some 70% work for the next couple of weeks and sets of KB swings. Then I start my big travel weeks and will be squeezing in workouts when I can and by the end of that I have my next squat cycle scheduled to start in late May.
The sky is falling...or...My joints are doomed...

Yes I did watch Rocky and Bullwinkle as a child ;) But this is a post from the forum today and thought it was worth re-posting here:

All of the recent talk on aging and joints degrading has me thinking of "the sky is falling" or more appropriately in this case - "my joints are doomed"...

Take a deep breath and relax - this is a similar vein of discussion that people get into when genetics get the blame for everything and hope is lost because it is all predetermined by "genetics".

Siff and Verhoshansky in Supertraining discuss how studies have shown that those joints placed under load are healthier that those not placed under load. In other words - use it or lose it - your body is built for efficiency and it will not expend the energy to maintain something it perceives as "unwanted".

Factors to consider:
We are a sedentary population - yes you may exercise for an hour a day but when walking or weight bearing for less than 8 hours a day your body perceives this as sedentary and it can start to pull back the efforts to maintain the joints. Lesson: Walk and move during the day - desk jobs, commuting, TV, video games etc...are all ways to be very sedentary (even if you "workout")

Nutrition: Fish oils, EFA's and a good diet give your body the building blocks it needs - and Water, Water, Water - do not even start to complain about your joints if you are not taking care of your nutrition.

Trigger points: Trigger points and posture and chronic stress can and will place your joints in a situation where they will take abnormal wear and damage - so learn how to take care of these or work with a professional to take care of these.

Strength matters: Weakness will increase joint misalignment and postural issues - strong, well conditioned muscles are able to support and respond to a joints needs - be strong.

Mileage matters: The more miles on a car - the more maintenence required - we are not much different.

Previous injuries matter: Scar tissue, bad motor patterns from compensation etc...all take their toll - so take care of them.

Move - squat, reach, walk etc... move and bear weight and give your joints a reason to stick around.

Strength train, walk, nutrition, joint mobility and "stretching" (yoga etc... take your pick) - balance your hard style with a soft style of training - Durablity matters.

I run into 25-30 year old people who act like they are ready to be put out to pasture - give me a break - Yes - aging isn't for sissys so do what you need to to stay healthy and vibrant.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Alwyn Cosgrove on

Alwyn has put together a fantastic article on fat loss over on - I highly recommend you check it out.

Other than that I have just been recovering from my training session yesterday - feeling that PR set of 5 yesterday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Training today - bands and a PR...

Bench with doubled over mini-bands
225 x 2, 205 x 3, 185 x 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3

Deadlift - worked up to 495 x 5

Inverted Row - +100# x 5,3,5

Grip demo - tear phone book, tear deck of cards, bend 60d nail and Red nail, close #3

Surprised by the 495 x 5 - serious cardio ;) and a nice PR. Bands felt good on the bench - acceleration and lockout - just what I need.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Training Today:

Some days are better than others - after last week's squats I thought my form was set and things were solid - until I got under the bar today and everything felt heavy and out of groove.

Squats - 365 x 3, 405 x 2, 455 x 1,1,1, 405 x 2

Called it a day - squats were deep but not as "good morning" style and in the groove I had last week - and they felt heavy! I hate it when that happens.

Bench tomorrow.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Got my Jumpstretch bands today -

And decided to use them on my squat today - doubled over the bar and attached to the bottom squat rack pin -
135 x 6, 225 x 5, 315 x 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3

REALLY like the bands - tons of tension at the top and you have to maintain the tension and accelerate to the top - feels really good!

I am loving the PL journey.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A post on the forum from today:

This is a response I posted on the forum today that I felt would be worth re-posting here:

I have noticed over the past several posts that you are obsessed with or focused on aging and its "effects" - it seems you are either looking for someone to say that it is natural to lose function,strength,and "health" at or past a certain age - (bones ossifying etc...) well I have to chime in here and give you an opinion - and you may not like it...

We do not lose anything as we age - we give it away!

Yes there are some physiological changes - a switch over to more collagen than elastin, discs become more solid (not a bad thing by the way), etc...But loss of strength, mobility and "health" are almost always things that we give away.

Will a 60 yr old win in the Olympics - probably not but that does not mean you cannot enjoy vibrant health and strength as you age.

I am 35 and stronger and feeling better than I ever have in my life. Rif is 50 and doing great (dispite high milage joints and previous injuries) - and there are many others that age quite well.

My recommendations -
#1 - Get a hormonal profile done by an "anti-aging" Dr. or endocrinologist - thyroid, testosterone etc...very important!
#2 Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition - water intake, and - John Berardi's site
#3 Get screened for asymmetries or imbalances - Athletic Body in Balance by Gray Cook is a great place to start - or work with a personal trainer or coach who can guide you.
#4 Tai Chi or Qigong - breathing techniques and movement skills that will help you release tension and stress (stress can literally be a killer as you age and you must be able to handle it well)
#5 Kettlebells and strength training - appropriate for your "lifting age" and injury history.

This is similar to someone blaming genetics for not being able to accomplish something - there are many things within out control that have far more influence on how we live.

Believe me I mean this in the most positive and encouraging manner - it may be a bit harsh or presented in a "reality check" manner but it is meant to provide you assitance in aging well. My apologies if you are already enacting most of my recommendations or have some medical reason not disclosed here.

What do you think? Do we give it away as we age?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Upper body today:

Bench 225 x 5,5,5,5,5
Pull-up - BW x 10, +45# x 5,5,5
Inverted Row +100# x 3,3,3
Floor Triceps Extension - 95# x 6,6,6

Good upper body work today - took my grip out one finger wider on the bench which felt good. Lots of lats and some extra triceps work - fun stuff.

Training for now will be fun and on my own "instinctive" rotation - we will see how it goes.

Not much else to report for now - very busy getting organized and ready for my travel coming up:
April 27-29 AFPA conference in Ocean City, MD
May 4-6 Danish RKC in Copenhagen
May 11-12 AFPA conference in Myrtle Beach, SC

Then I start another rash of travel in June! Fun stuff!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Squats today:

Went to the gym feeling the need to squat and had a great session - My form today was excellent and I was in the groove. When I am in the groove it is an old style powerlifting "good morning" style squat.
135 x 5, 225 x 5, 315 x 5, 365 x 5, 405 x 3,3,3,3,3 - and the bar just felt empty!

Long discussion on the forum today about snatch styles - much ado about not much but interesting none the less.

Randy Hauer had a great blog today with some really good Monty Python references and the state of the fitness industry.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Further squat thoughts from the PL meet...

I need a lot more pop at the bottom of my squat. Not necessarily a quicker decent but once I hit the hole I need the "drop and pop" out of the hole. Sounds like I need some light speed squats and squats with the Jumpstretch bands.

Placing my order today for some mini-bands from - these will really help my bench and squat.

Also - I need a far more consistent squat set-up routine so that I am not flustered during a meet and my depth on my squats is always good so I can't watch the judging and let things get into my head.

Back to back meets was not a great idea but it did allow me to get in front of the judges and learn a great deal. Nothing like getting out there and getting "judged" to find out where you are outside of the gym. And - even better - I feel great today.

The journey continues...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

My first full PL meet and MANY lessons learned...

Well - some days you get the bull and some days you get the horns - I got the horns yesterday and learned a LOT during my first PL meet. I will try to go through the day and the lessons learned as systematically as possible.

First - Up at 4:30 am to leave the house by 5 am and make the two hour drive to Erie to make weigh-ins by 7 am. Which I did and weighed in at 179 pounds (more on this in a moment). Then breakfast and rules meeting at 8:30 am and lifting started at 9:30 or so.

Squats - I was deep into the second flight and because the first flight consisted of 19 competitors (several children) it took much longer than expected and meant I warmed up too soon for my squats (a theme that continued for the rest of the day) - and here is where the fun began. As I watched the judging I let it get in my head and reduced my opener to 455 - (the judging was strict and inconsistent (not a great combo) where the side judges would disagree on depth and left a lot of doubt for people with where to take their squats- but long story made short - I let it get in my head).
So finally my squats 455 - red lights (didn't wait for the rack command), 455 - two whites, 500 - buried in the hole - I tried to take this deep to avoid any reds and just got stuck in the hole. A MAJOR rookie mistake not waiting for the rack command because I nailed my squat deep and easy but lost it on the rack command and decided to retake my opener so wouldn't bomb out.

Bench - Again - because of the very long first flight I was ready too soon. And the judging was strict with very long pauses. In the rules clinic they were talking about how the bar had to touch the chest and be motionless then a press command would be given. Well the bar had to be dead and buried - then a press command was given and there were very long rack commands - I fully understand the press commands and rack commands but these were excessive (and it is isn't just my whining - many of the other competitors agreed). So my benches - 295 - white lights, 325 - buried, passed on my third - no sense repeating the obvious.

DL - Finally my favorite event and the chance to end the day on a high note! Once again the first flight went long and the forth attempts by the kids made it even longer - but my deadlifts - 500 - 3 whites, 560 - 3 whites, passed on my third.

The Good - a 5# PR on the deadlift and a 1310 total in a very strict meet.
The Bad - very long first flight with forth attempts and kids lifting, somewhat inconsistent judging.
The Ugly - not peaking for a meet, making weight the wrong way, rookie mistakes.

Not peaking for a meet - deciding to do this meet just two weeks ago and the weekend following a push/pull meet was not the best way to "peak" for the meet - just happy to walk away with a small pr on the DL and my first total in a PL meet.
Making weight the wrong way - I hover close to my weight class so I perceive it to be easy to cut a little a few days before the meet but restricted fluids too much and came into the meet very flat. Need to get a good - consistent scale and make weight the smart way since I am so close anyway.
Rookie mistakes -Man I felt like a fool not waiting for the rack command!! Since the judging for depth was already in my head - this just made it tougher and wasted an attempt. Lesson learned.

So all in all a great learning experience and my first full meet in the history books with a small PR and my first total. Only 86 pounds to raw elite! (Man I left a lot of pounds off of that total - if I hit my bench (325) and my squat (500) - that adds 75 pounds to my total and means I am only 9 pounds off of elite!)

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