Monday, July 30, 2012

Snatch Day - Short and Sweet

Qigong and SJ on the front porch, including crane pistol.  Weather was nice, felt great to do at about 3 PM

And then another good snatch day.  As before, 20 kg, and as I did twice last week, sets of 8+8 in about :45 followed by :30 rest.  7 sets today, 112 total reps, time was 7 minutes even.  Goal is 10 sets like this for 160 total reps, and then we'll move to 9+9.

Onward and Upward.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Off for the Weekend

I had a great week of lifting but was feeling very tired on Saturday.  I ended up skipping lifting altogether, taking a nap, and turning in early.  Much the same thing on Sunday, too - I had to work in the morning, so I came home and took a nap and didn't lift.

My mind says I can lift 6 days/week - so far, my body likes 5 days/week better.

Tomorrow, Monday, I expect to feel good and to get in a regular workout.

Onward and Upward.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Easy, Low-Volume FSQ, BP, HLR

I had a FSQ/BP day two days ago, thought I'd have another today but was feeling pretty tired, and I've also had a touch of dizziness these last two days, so I decided to still do the lifts but easy.

FSQ: 135 x 3, 4

DB Bench:
35's x 4 - pause, exhale
35's x 5 - pause, no exhale

BP: 135 x 8, 135 x 5 - all paused, first set w/ middle fingers on rings, second set w/ ring fingers on rings.  I'm not sure that a narrower grip is ever going to be good for me - lockouts are easy, all my weakness is at the bottom, and the wide grip feels strongest.

HLR: I rigged up a board behind a chinup bar so that I couldn't lean back - my wife watched, and tells me I got past 90 degrees, and even past another 45 degrees after that, but it didn't feel terribly close to me.  I'm guessing it's not gut strength but back tightness that limits me in this but it's tough to say.  Really tried to hollow and round everything.  Did 3 singles, videotaped the last one, will try to post it later:

Then did 3 regular HLR's on a different chinup bar, ankles to bar - that's just so much easier.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

SuperJoints, Qigong, Snatches

My plan is alternating days like yesterday - low volume and heavy kb press/pu, barbell FSQ, barbell BP - with days of qigong + snatches/swings.  Today is the latter.

I mix movements from Super Joints with my Crane Frolic Qigong and I throw in a few Z-Health things, too.  Today, my focus was on a good pistol as part of my routine.  I usually do a "crane pistol", which features a 1-leg DL immediately before the pistol - today I did that, and then I just did a second pistol.

My focus in the pistol is on proper dorsiflexion - ankle bending.  I am doing these on my front porch, which has a very slight downward slope, making pistols easier, but I and purposely going _way_ deep, letting the air out and rounding my butt as close to the ground as I can before inhaling to repressurize and restart.  My goal is to increase the volume I can do like this on a single day, then transfer the work to a perfectly level floor and build the volume back up again.  2 each side total after 1 each side two days ago, but the left side, which is where my dorsiflexion is problematic, was _much_ improved today, largely due to my doing the FMS knee-outside-the-stick drill.

20: snatch, same as two days ago but one more set, so 96 reps in exactly 7:00 - started a new 8+8 each 1:15, and alternated which hand went first - six sets total, 3 left first alternated w/ 3 right first.  Lifting time :40-:45, rest :30-35 each set of 16 reps.  The goal is 10 sets or 160 total reps - two day ago, we were halfway there, today 60%.

Onward and Upward!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

FSQ, BP, Good KB Press/PU

After a  good previous kettlebell press session trying not to kick my hip out at the sticking point, today I decided to try the 28 kg and see if I could do the same for a few singles.  As usual, I pressed left, then right, then supersetted the same number of pullups as I'd done presses and with the same weight bell.

28: press/pu, 1

My form felt very good - no hip kickout, nice and tight throughout.

My general training method on grind days days is:

1.  KB press/pu - a few

2.  Barbell Front Squat

3.  Barbell Bench Press

1 down, 2 and 3 to go so let's continue:

FSQ: bar x 5
135 x 5 - excellent, first rep slow, the rest easy and bounced from very deep
135 x 5 - felt good, just a little effort on 4th and 5th rep but certainly could have done a couple more
135 x 5 w/ pause on 5th rep.  

That's 15 reps in 3 sets, up from 15 reps in 4 sets the last time, and I'm content to call it a day for this lift - don't want to burn it out, still aiming for high weekly volume, hope to do it again tomorrow.

Dumbbell Press
35's x 3 - pause, exhale, repressurize, press
35's x 8 - not much pause, no exhale at the bottom, but the extended ROM feels just fantastic.  Still getting a click/slip in my left shoulder but it's a good one - it where things are _after_ the click/slip at the bottom that feels like where I'd like them all the time.

135 x 5 middle fingers on rings - so easy after the db bench
135 x 5 w ring fingers on rings
135 x 5 w/ pinkies on rings
135 x 5 w/ pinkies just inside the rings
135 x 5 w/ a finger's worth of space inside the rings to my pinkies - felt really, really good.

How tightly I clench my glutes makes a huge difference both to how strong my bench feels and to how my back feels afterwards.  Been doing a little bridging right after laying down on the bench, too - such as it is because my bridging is awful ...

Finished with 2 HLR's - forget to mention that I did 1 yesterday.  Trying to keep a narrow grip and elbows locked.

That's it for today, more 20 kg snatches tomorrow.

Onward and Upwards.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

20 kg snatch, 8+8 in :45, :30 rest, total 80 reps in 5:45 - excellent result today, better when I haven't done other lifting first.  Yesterday's performance with 16 kg felt worse.  I felt fine after this - a bit out of breath but basically OK.

I decided to do this because I was short on time but a good lesson was learned about high-rep snatches - don't lift first or don't expect much if you do.

I bought a pair of 35 lb. dumbbells today - Gawd, I hate buying things like this retail.  The salespeople had the need to chat me up, which wasn't so bad, but trying to make me feel like they were doing me a favor by charging me $1.10 per pound for hex dumbbells - that's something I could have done very nicely without.

Onward and Upward, Comrades - tomorrow, more barbell front squat and dumbbell and barbell bench press.

Monday, July 23, 2012

FSQ 2 Days in a Row, plus 16 kg snatches

Stick: shoulder dislocates and OHS

24 kg: press/pu, 3 - haven't done these in a while.  I noticed that I was cheating a little when pressing 28 kg (a 16 plus a 12)  over vacation, kicking my hip out to the side a little at the sticking point.  My focus today was getting tight and not doing that with 24 kg.  As usual, format was press 3 left, press 3 right, 3 pullups, this time on right foot, all paused at both ends.

FSQ: 135 x 2, 2, 2 w/ band around knees - did these yesterday but the weight is light and this feels PTTP-like - getting used to the movement through daily training at a "heavy enough but not too heavy" weight.

BP: bar x 3, 135 x 2, 2, 3, 4 - experimenting with grip width, narrower than ring fingers on rings starts to bother shoulder, seem to be able to gradually bring grip in throughout a workout, need to do that - did it backwards this time.

Long Rest

16: snatch, 20L+20R+15L+15R in 2:50 - was hoping to do 100 reps today, with additional 10+10+5+5 but didn't feel like it and didn't want to push things today - back still is less than 100% although better every day.

I need, in order to stay current with my RKC snatch test requirement, more cardio in my typical training week.  I think I'm going to try 5L+5R snatches on the minute with a 20 kg tomorrow instead of waiting a few days as I'd previously planned.

Because of my asthma, I have to take a slightly different approach to training cardio - pushing it at all gets me in trouble, so I have to save that card and play it only infrequently.  I can reach my goals through  easier training and higher volume but my snatch and swing volume has been low.  Mind you, my resting pulse is in the upper 40's even with this small amount of cardio, but they don't test your resting pulse, they count your snatches.  Going anaerobic is fine; it's going aerobic and towards lactate threshold for 3 minutes and up that makes the asthma kick in - at least that's how it works for me.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Home From Road Trip - Sore Back Saturday, FSQ Sunday

All that driving took its toll, and my lower back was quite sore Saturday, better today but still not completely out of the woods.

Walking really helps my back - my wife and I took a 3-4 mile walk today and that's always a good thing.  I took one more naproxen when I got up but didn't feel the need for it the rest of the day.  I think it was my right hip flexor that was tight - I felt it let go towards the end of the walk and it felt really strange, kind of like someone had a piece of duct tape on my right thigh.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

No lifting, sore back, some McKenzie back exercises and a lot of naproxen.  Exhausted, took a nap, which also helped immensely.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Front Squats - after the nice walk mentioned above, I helped my 15-year-old front squat then I did the following myself:

135 lbs. x 3, 4, 4, 4 - all very deep and paused briefly.  It's been a few weeks since I've front squatted.  Marty Gallagher's schedule starts with 3 sets of 8 for 24 total reps.  Today I did 15 total reps.  I'm going to try to get in a second FSQ workout this week - I need volume at this lift and 135 lbs. feels like the perfect weight.  Being able to do 3 sets of 8 is a good goal although I may settle for 5 sets of 5 as being more in keeping with my goals.

I need to focus on keeping my right knee pushed out - that's where I have the permanent nerve damage and it's tougher than it otherwise would be for me to control.

I noticed tightness in my right trap/neck, focused on keeping the right shoulder low for the final set, which felt really tight and strong.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Last day in the road - double press in one hand, double swings

20 July 2012, final morning of this road trip. A simple workout: Press 16 + 12 kg in one hand for two alternating singles, then 25 double swings, switch the bells and catch my breath, and 25 more swings. Bodyweight only windmills and Cossack sequence to finish. NB: two people outside with me, both smoking while I exercised, and one person watching me from a window. Rather a starck contrast, wouldn't you say, of two people self-destructing and one doing nothing while one demonstrated how little time but how much commitment staying in shape requires?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Almost home - dumbbell BP and Cossack Sequence

Thursday, July 19, 2012 Still on the road. Decided to use the hotel weight room because it had a bench and dumbbells. Did 3 sets of 5 with 25 lb. dumbbells, 1 set of 5 with 30 lbs. and 1 set of 5 with 35 lbs., each time following the protocol of lowering actively, pausing at the bottom and exhaling and feeling a maximal stretch, then pressurizing and coming back up strong. My left shoulder gets very tight and I needed those three sets of get it moving properly before going to heavier weights. Finished with a good Cossack sequence, focusing on good form and spending a nice, long time in the hip flexor stretch position, making sure flute was tight on stretching side.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

More training on the road with two light bells

More training on the road with a 12 and a 16 kg bell. Monday, 16 July 2012 Qigong including a few crane pistols. Press double bells in each hand for two alternating singles, front squat 6 reps each way, double swings x 20 each way. Tuesday, 17 July 2012 In parking lot next to car. Press double bells in one hand for 3 alternating singles each side, front squat x 9 each way with pause, windmill 16 kg x 6 each way, double swings x 20 each way. -S-

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Training On A Road Trip

We are on a family vacation, probably one of our last because our kids are 15 and 19 years old. Thursday, July 12 - stretch and get on the road, 8 hours of driving. Friday, July 13. Hotel gym had a bench and dumbells, so did a few Marty Gallagher inspired dumbells bench presses with 25's - lower under control, relax and exhale and the bottom, pause, repressurize, and explode up. Felt great, also showed the movement to my 15 year old with 20's and my wife with 15's. Also did qigong including a crane pistol each side, also splits and other stretching. Also double swings with the 12 and 16 we brought - 16 reps, switched, and another 16 reps. Saturday, 14 July. Walked a bit by the water in Petosky, MI, also stretched and did some pushups. Bodyweight getup starts with my wife providing pressure on the outside of my bent kneed. Sunday, 15 July. More getups with my wife providing pressure on my knee and offering feedback about side to side differences. T-spine rotations, as I do almost every day, then press with 16 plus the 12 in one hand for two alternating singles. Then 16 kg snatch, 40L + 40R in 3:02. Off to go kayaking on Lake Michigan.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Meet Report - WNPF Nationals, Philadelphia, July 8, 2012

It's been a while.  I did my first powerlifting meet in six years a few days ago, and posted this report

which I've copied in below.  More to follow soon.

I went to the WNPF National Meet on Sunday, July 8. It's part of a "tournament" which means other meets being held in other locations and the same or near dates all count, so I don't know if I won my age/weight/division, but here's what I do know so far:

1. The meet was very well run by helpful, cheerful people who knew what they were doing. It went along quite smoothly and I thought the judging was fair and consistent.

2. There is great benefit to showing up - it turns out that no one had ever set the National records in the WNPF in my age/weight/division of M55-59, 148 lbs., raw. So every lift I made was a new national WNPF record - whee!

3. I weighted in at 148 even, and my lifts were about what I expected, and certainly nothing to write home about but, since I've only been back at PL training for 3 months, I'm not going to complain, either. I went, in pounds, 205, 175, 315 for SQ, BP, and DL, and went 8 for 9 - I tried 190 in the BP and didn't get it. I had to fight for my third squat but I did, and every lift I made got 3 white lights. I've bench pressed very little in my life and still don't know how to fight it out with a heavy bench press, but I'll get there.

I also didn't train my DL at all, and 315 is fine for me and I probably had a bit more in me. No belt or any other supportive gear for me, of course, and I even did my first two deadlifts with an overhand grip before switching to over/under for my third.

After having recently attended at Marty Gallagher workshop with Kirk Karwoski, I've decided to work on my barbell front squat for a while - it's a lift I feel will benefit my overall strength a great deal, and once my FSQ gets to a certain point, I know it will not only benefit my regular SQ but my DL as well.

One point that comes up time and again is people asking me how I feel about getting records with such low numbers and against no competition - my answer is the same as it's always been: I trained, I showed up, and I competed on someone else's clock. If you want to stay at your high school weight into your late 50's, come to a PL meet, and lift more weight than I can, I will be the first one to applaud you but, until then, I'm delighted with my trophy from the meet and what I hope, after another week, will be national championships in my age/weight/division.

NB: It is interesting to go through life with abs and a grip that are stronger than my legs, arms and shoulders. Interesting and, in my own humble opinion, very, very good. I don't get hurt when I lift because I can't squat, bench, or pull as much as I can hold in my hands and support with my abs. While it may not be the profile of an all-out competitor, I'm very happy with it.

If you haven't competed at weight lifting in some form, I encourage you to do so. You'll find everyone from kids to grandparents, every body type imaginable, and everyone else knows what you've been through to get there and treats you with the honor and respect you deserve for putting in the training and showing up at the meet.

Onward and upward, Comrades.