Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I am not immune...

I am not immune from the advice and consequences of not following my own advice (as much as I would like to be).

As a result of starting Sumo DLs at the end of my squat cycle I have irritated my right ischial tuberosity (or SITS bone) where the hamstrings attach. This started as a very minor irritation and grew until after Monday's workout it was pretty painful. Nothing torn or bad - just irritated and painful.

Z, foam roller, ice etc... and no squats or DL until next week.

Lessons learned - Sumo DLs and me just don't get along! Anytime I work these at all they bite me back and I end up with a less than desirable result.
This is a big one...
LISTEN to your body and DO NOT push into PAIN.

Not that I was having "pain" - but as Boyle says - any answer other than NO is a yes. I couldn't say no - so something was off and I should have stopped sumo DLs after the first session.

So I will be going back to conventional pulls and squats next week and listening very carefully to my body.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Training today - 8/27/07

Squats - 475 x 4 (belt only), 485 x 4 (belt and wraps)
Bench - 225 x 5,5,5,5,5
Sumo DL - 445 x 4,4,4,4

End of the 15 week Ryabinnikov squat routine - I will be writing up an article or extended blog on how this routine went, how I modified it etc...but suffice to say I am very pleased with the results and I am looking forward to NOT squatting for a week and then begin a short peaking cycle to the AAU meet.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Training today - 8/23/2007

Squats - 515 x 2 - belt only, 525 x x 2 (belt and wraps)
Bench - 215 x 8,8,8,8

A PR day! Very happy to be 20# above my previous max for a double.
Now I rest!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Training today - 8/20/07

Squats - doubled over monster mini bands +315 x 3,3,3,3
Bench - 205 x 8,8,8,8
Sumo DL 425 x 5,5,5,5 Conventional DL 425 x 5

Very pleased with the Squats - the band squats over the past couple of sessions have felt heavy (especially since I am hooking them under a pair of 130# DBs instead of the lowest pin of the squat rack - makes them about 4" off the ground) and these felt very good and overall had a really "strong" feeling day.

The Dls are touch and go right now which is new to me but giving me some nice grip work (which I didn't know had gotten so weak!)

Overall - a strong day and now I rest up and get ready for heavy squats on either Thurs or Friday - just depends on how I feel.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Mobility and Stability expanded...

Mike Nelson has a great blog today on the concept of Joint Mobility vs. Stability and I wanted to try to add my two cents worth in here because I have used the terms Mobility and Stability to describe a linking or alternating pattern through the joints in the body. And I think this has at times caused issues due to semantics.

When I reference the mobility and stability trail I am referring to the concept that from the ground up the Foot should be stabile, the Ankle should be mobile, the Knee should be stabile, the hip should be mobile, the low back stabile, the thoracic spine mobile, the scapula stabile and the gleno-humeral joint mobile.

Now the problem here is that the terms mobile and stabile carry different and multiple meanings depending on context and background.

When I say a "the foot should be stabile" - I am not saying that the joints and structures within the foot should not have their full range of motion - I am saying that the primary characteristic of the foot is that it maintains its arch under load and that it is stabile under load - NOT that it is locked down and lacks it's normal range of motion.

And when I say "the ankle should be mobile" - I am saying that it's primary characteristic is it's ability to move through its normal range of motion under load - NOT that it is sloppy and moves beyond it's normal range of motion and has no stability.

And the Mobility/Stability trail was meant as a guide to a joints "Primary" characteristic and what happens when one of these joints loses it's primary characteristic. For example if the foot/arch becomes sloppy (meaning it loses it's ability to hold the arch and moves beyond it's normal range of motion) then the ankle which now does not have the support of a normal arch and begins to move beyond it's normal range of motion - begins to stiffen up losing mobility.

So using the terms mobility and stability in the context of the primary characteristics of a joint under load leads to some misunderstandings when it is not viewed in that context. All joints should be stabile within their full and natural range of motion.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Squats - 505 x 3 - belt and wraps

Training Today - 8/17/07

Squats - 495 x 3 (belt only), 505 x 3 ( belt and wraps)
Bench - 195 x 8,8,8,8

Felt pretty good today - a bit of revenge on 505 which stopped me at one rep the last time I had it on my back.
Bench looks weak because I am starting a bench cycle at 60%.

Video of the 505 x 3 belt and wraps is coming after this post.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Training today - 8/14/07

Sumo DL 405 x 5,5,5,5,5

No belt - all reps felt good - actually these past two Sumo sessions are the best sumos have felt.

Now time to rest up and get ready for squats on Friday.

Check out Rick Walker's blog on the links below - a strong guy with a different spin on training than my own.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Training today - 8/13/07...

And the plan leading up to AAU in Orlando...

Squats - 455 x 5 (belt only), 465 x 5 (belt and wraps), 455 x 5 (belt and wraps)
Bench 185 x 8,8,8,8

Sets of 5 stink - in a painful long time under load way (my respect for those that have survived 20 reps with 405 has increased a great deal).
Bench is light and happy - part of the plan leading up to the AAU meet.

This is the first workout of the last three week cycle of the squat program and it just gets worse from here on out - the last four workouts are heavy and tough. Keep checking in and you will see.

The plan...
Surovetsky deadlift routine (modified of course and pulling sumo style for the touch and go days)
Butenko bench routine (modified of course - lower volume and more progressive loading plan)
Squats Monday and Thursday - Sumo Tuesdays - Bench Monday and Thursday - after the squat cycle ends I will pull some conventional DL on Saturdays.

Bench for the next two weeks will be 4 sets of 8. Next two weeks 5x5. Next two weeks 4x4. and then one week 3x3 and the final week 3x2. If all goes as planned then I should hit my current max (325) for sets of two during the last workout.

DL - sumo for now on the Surovetsky plan (progressing through 5x5, 4x4, 3x3 etc...) once per week - then add conventional pulls on Saturday working heavy.

Squats - finish the Ryabinnikov - take a week off and then work out a four week peaking routine and then a week off before the meet.

This will be the plan for the next 8 weeks - (one week off before the meet).

So tomorrow will be Sumo DLs - which should be fun after todays squats. And it might cause me to hold on the next squat workout until Friday.

BTW - if the above routines don't sound familiar you don't have PTTPM newsletter do you?? ;)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Training today - 8/9/07

Sumo DL - 405 x 5,5,5,5,5
Bench - 315 x 1+, 1

Sumo DL actually felt very good and I will post tomorrow or Saturday on my plan for the last 9 weeks leading into the AAU Worlds meet in Orlando.

Answers to Rick' questions on not "warming up":

Rick had some great questions that I felt we could pull out into a post for everyone and to continue the discussion.

Rick laid out his warm up or build up for his squats - which is 13 sets into it before his working weights. Now I know Rick a bit and know that he is coming back into PL after some injuries and time off and he is strong as hell - hitting 700+ in the squat and 600+ in the DL. Rick knows what he is doing for himself.

"do 1000 pound squatters perform more of a build up" -
Well here is Ed Coan's build up for his squat workout with a working weight of 850+ (From COAN - The Man, The Myth, The Method by Marty Gallagher)
135 x 10
255 x 8
455 x 5
550 x 3
655 x 3
745 x 1
805 x 1
top set of 850 x 5

So we see some pretty big jumps - average of over 100# jumps between weights. No mention of what gear Ed was using but he progressed in his gear over his 12-16 week cycles so it may be similar to Rick's progression.

In the end it is all in what you have trained yourself to do - I have trained myself to take some pretty big jumps in weight on my way up to my work sets - But everyone has to do what is right for them. But less time under stress (even very low %1rm) is less stress on the joints and system.

"isn't there just more wear and tear - pain - stiffness - from more years in PL - does handling these kinds of weights wear you down over time" (I am paraphrasing so if I am incorrect let me know)

Pushing to the limits in any activity is not usually considered a good "health plan" - As Rif says - If you push for your limits - you will find them!
So yes - over the years and constantly grinding out maximal lift after maximal lift will take a toll on the body. Endurance cycling and running is well known for causing all sorts of injuries and medical problems as well.

However - I think a good program of Joint Mobility (Z-health), Foam roller and other Soft tissue techniques (massage, NMT, ART, etc...), recovery techniques (yoga, legs up wall pose and inversions especially, breathing, contrast bath/showers and proper nutrition) AND the biggest one - Not Pushing through and into PAIN - taking a step back instead of pushing through is the better course.

That last one may get me kicked "out of the PL club house" - but there it is! Training through injury pain is not wise but almost everyone does it.
I have been injured (back surgery anyone) and don't want it again - so I respect my limits and my body.

These health and recovery techniques will add years to a training career and help to prevent or mitigate the "inevitable" issues of being a competitive athlete.

At least this is where I stand on the subject now as a 36 year old lifter and someone who wants to accomplish my goals in powerlifting and then move on to other pursuits.

Video of 315 x 1+ Bench press today -

1+ because I had a bit of help on the 2nd rep and only get credit for the 1st one.
Bench was raw - no shirt.

First rep felt very solid and easy.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Build up sets...or How to not "warm up" for lifting...

I do not "warm up" for my lifting - after a couple of bodyweight mobility squats I perform a build up to my work sets.

No I am not crazy (much) and I do this for a good reason...I am not after a "workout" I am after results...too much of a "warm up" becomes a whole other workout in my opinion.

And keep in mind that I am performing some sort of Z-health drills, foam roller, stretch/mobility work everyday (Yes - this is quickly becoming Z alone but you have to work with what you have) - so I am loose already (so to speak).

So this is how a typical squat day will go...
The build up for yesterday's workout - first work set @ 445
Bodyweight mobility squats x 1 or 2
Empty bar x 3-5
135 x 3-5
225 x 3-5
315 x 3-4
405 x 2 (add belt)
First work set

For last Thursday's training with a first work set of 495...
BW mobility squats x 1
empty bar x 3-5
135 x 3-5
225 x 3-5
315 x 3-5
405 x 1 (add belt)
455 x 1
First work set - 495 x 2

The build up sets are simply to get my groove and prepare my neurological system for the load - true my muscles, joints, etc... are "working" to handle the load but I look at the build up sets as a neuro prep.
(And I rest a LOT between sets.)

If you are 1/2 an hour into your training before you are "loose" enough to get under the bar or you have doubled my volume in your "warm up" - you might want to ask yourself why you need a workout to get ready for your workout.

Powerlifters especially mistake stiffness for stability and accept loosing range of motion and freedom of motion as inevitable results of the training - and the "tighter" they are the better they can handle the load. And everyday trainees begin to accept loss of function and mobility are the result of aging etc...
I strongly disagree!

If you cannot move freely or efficiently you have a problem with your program - period!
And taking 1/2 your training time just to "oil" the joints enough to train is an indicator that you need to step back and re-evaluate what you doing.

So there you have bit of a long winded explanation of how I build up to my work sets.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Training today - 8/06/07...

Squats 445 x 4 (belt only), 455 x 4, 4 (belt and wraps)

And that was all I had time for - the squat program called for 435 today so you can see I continue to modify the program and bump where I can and performing the first sets belt only (the program calls for wraps on all sets after the second cycle).
The last three week cycle will be interesting - looking at some of the numbers coming up I will be challenged to keep performing the first set with the belt only - but that is what makes all of this so much fun!

Geoff has had some great posts recently on Z Health so check out his blog (link on the right)

Rif continues to pump out great stuff - with his recent "clients are not some other species of human with a different physiology" talk - remember if you are bored with your routine it isn't heavy enough. Check his blog on the right...

Aaron Friday had a good post a few days ago on some money related issues - very timely in this volatile market and times - link on Rif's blog....

I will be on a phone interview with Zach Even-Esh tomorrow so that will be interesting - I am really looking forward to speaking with Zach.

As I begin to study and practice Z in preparation for Sept I am finding some interesting stuff - movements that I feel should be smooth that are not and just standing in neutral stance with out my quads contracting takes some effort. This is very interesting stuff.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Training today - 8/2/2007

Squats - 495 x 2 (belt only), 505 x 1, 1 (belt and wraps)

KB MP 40 kg x 2, 2

Pull-ups +45# x 5, 5

Swings 40 kg x 5 sets of 10 reps (two arm, Alternating, Left, Right, side stepping)

Very nice to take my previous max and double it!

Feeling good - And - a big decision today...

I am registered for the R-phase Z-health certification in Durham, NC - Sept 17-22 - 6 days of 9am-6pm training in R-phase.

Guess I was thirsty and wanted some kool-aide!! ;)

Video of 495 x 2 - belt only squats

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