All articles are written tongue-in-cheek and are not meant to offend anyone. They are from the point of view of someone who has worked in a gym and therefore come off quite as quite a rant.
Thursday, 27 January 2011
On Saturday i trained at the Olympic Sports Gym in Manchester. I drove down with Si who i train with in Rhyl and we met up with a load of guys from sugdenbarbell.co.uk. We did Log (152kg for a single, failed on 162kg), circus dumbbell (81kg, 2inch grip), farmers walk (i need to improve my turns!) and stones (got the 194kg stone). Good session overall and met some great people.
Day of of the new program
Still having a lot of trouble figuring out what i'm going to do for my new program, i swear that Practical Programming book by Rippetoe has made things more complicated! Anyway, first session was 'light' squats at 80% of 1RM so i did 3 sets of 3 at 240kg. This wasn't 'light'. But i finished those and wanted to do more so that was encouraging. I then did barbell jerk but my body literally started to fall apart. Seemingly i had underestimated the effort from the previous Log Press session. My bicep cramped, my tricep cramped, my shoulder cramped and only when my knee started to twinge did i call it a day. There's only so much you can push yourself before risking injury. I finished at this point.
I was supposed to then train on Wednesday but was massively ill and am currently recovering now. Am hoping to train at some point on Friday and then Events on Sunday. Hopefully next week i can restart training properly....
I'll also be looking to start making my final push to 145kg, my first competition has been pushed back a month (see comp tab) so i've got a bit of time. I'm hoping this slight extra weight gain will kick start the strength increases again.
Short post as everything is all over the place at the moment. Will try to re-post after my next session, hopefully i'll be back on track.
Update after the weekend on Sunday 30th Jan..
Trained on Friday, still semi ill so just tried to get some numbers out. Got a double on 270kg squat which i was hugely pleased with (90% of 1RM!). Also got a single on 175kg bench so again within 90% of 1RM. In the next few weeks looking to break the squat, hit some bigger numbers...
Also managed a set of 6 chins after a dodgy clavicle injury from a couple of months ago... I still got it!! No strongman on sunday as it was birthday weekend and i went to chester zoo :). But this means i can start fresh on Monday with a massive session.
Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Straight to the point today after an epic post last week. The video above is the same one as i posted on the facebook group, there's nothing new.
I've been recently toying with the idea of splitting my 'Push' day into a static press day and a explosive or olympic press day. The static press day would involve strict shoulder press, bench press, bench lockouts, close grip bench, tricep work etc and the olympic day would involve cleans, snatches, jerks, over head squats etc. I have also been meaning to add 'fitness' work to my workouts.
Today i did my olympic lift day with fitness.
I started with cleans and hang cleans to warmup while i waited for the squat rack to be free. Worked up to a set of 3 hang cleans at 120kg. Once on the squat rack i worked up to a 1RM jerk...
(all in kg)
175 (working set)
The video above shows my first attempt at the 180kg. To complete the rep i would need to control the bar above my head and go to a full standing position. Although my arms locked out (briefly) in the video, it doesnt count as a rep. Nevertheless, it does give me confidence for the next time i attempt to do this. Unfortunately i didn't film the 175kg rep as i didn't expect to get it.
After this i did my 'fitness' work. First i repped out on 85kg in 90 seconds clean and jerk. I managed 14 reps which isn't great. My grip was slipping like hell and as i didn't have chalk there was nothing i could do about it. I will be aiming for 20 reps in 75 seconds over the coming weeks.
After this i did the 'bear complex' for a single set at 60kg. This took me 60 seconds and by the end i was absolutely fucked. Again the grip was going but i was feeling the burn all round. Now i know this doesnt sound like much for all you fitness fanatics out there but i was feeling terrible after this. Anything over 3 reps is considered cardio thank you very much. Anyway, i'm hoping to do between 3-5 sets of 'fitness' at the end of each session aiming to take between 60-90 seconds per 'event' and either go for reps in time or time for reps. I will be using weights for all of my little fitness workouts and they will all be based on an actual event or near enough.
Just for anyone who is interested, the bear:
lower the bar
This is one rep. You do 7 reps for 5 sets. Type bear complex into youtube to see an example.
At the end of my 'fitness' work, i felt absolutely terrible.... like borderline vomming and my forearms were burning. I think i've got the grip for a heavy single but it seems to burn out quite quickly, i could blame the lack of chalk, but its more likely just poor grip.
Below is what i attempted to use instead of chalk. Board chalk, crushed up. It doesnt work. In the slightest. If anything it was detrimental as it made my hands really smooth and soft. Only later did i find out that apparently board chalk is actually 'gypsum' (thanks to Gaz of getlifting.info.... how did he know that???). Whatever the fuck that is. I'm going to find a climbing shop tomorrow so i can get some proper chalk before deads and bin that awful shite shown below.
Saturday, 15 January 2011
Strongman session: Wednesday
The second workout was a strongman session at Power House strongman gym in Rhyl.
The session was good, we started with Log press, went onto yoke and then due to time constraints we finished with some front squats in the gym.
The log was slightly different to the one i was used to as it was narrower and denser. Also we weren't lifting off a tyre. Long story short, i forgot how to clean the log up to my chest. Think the narrow grip threw me and i just had a mental block. I manged a set of 5 reps press off the chest on 125kg but couldnt clean anything heavier up. This was ridiculous as i had managed 160kg just two week previously. This wasn't a massive problem as i was pretty sore from the Monday and it was possibly wise not to push so hard, although my jerk did feel quite strong.
We moved onto Yoke next. We had a couple of runs. We did a set on 355kg and i managed a length but it felt so fucking heavy. We then went back down to 300kg and that felt much better and i managed it for fair pace as well which i was pleased with. Still my worst event and i'm still figuring where on my back it should go.
As we were short on time we worked up to a quick single on front squats. I was fairly pleased with this and finished on a comfy 200kg. We weren't squatting with safety bars so i was a bit apprehensive about failing and didn't try to push a 1RM today.
All in all this was a good session and got everything moving again. I managed to buy some tacky as well so that's ready for my next stone session.
The third and final session of the week was again in DW. I was in a bit of a shit mood straight away as i had planned to do deads but realized i had forgotten my chalk. I quickly rejigged the workout and started squatting instead. No ammonia salts, no grunting, a new bar, a new rack, no bare foot, no decent music and no one to shout at me. On top of this, i was feeling stiff so not in the best of places to start with.
By the time i got to 220kg i was feeling dire and considering calling it a day early but i figured id do at least one 'working' set within 90% of my 1RM (290kg), so i did a set at 270kg and this felt alrite. I think at this point the caffeine had kicked in. I put 285kg on the bar and this also felt fine. The reps were slow but i figured this was more due to lack of willpower then lack of strength and i knew i could sort my head out if i wanted to (you know sometime's you feel like you can't lift something and it's literally because you know you're not trying hard enough....).
At this point i decided to push for a 1RM. The caffeine was up and even the shit music had started to sound alright. I got my girlfriend to spot my depth for me after showing her how low i should be going, slapped 295kg on the bar, wrapped my knees until it hurt and got the rep out.
Figuring, as i was so close to 300kg, i might as well break through the big '7 plate' mark and put 305kg on the bar (if i can lift 5kg more then i can lift 10kg more, surely!?). After 6 minutes and another depth check with my girlfriend, i wrapped the knees and again got the rep. It was slow as hell but it never stopped. I was well pleased but i didn't want to push it any further. Basically, I wasn't 100% convinced the squat rack would hold the weight as it wasn't bolted down. After previously vigorously unracking 250kg the whole thing had jumped an inch. Also the safety bars didn't click into place so i didn't want to risk failing (if im going to fail, i like to practice failing a few times so i know what to expect). On top of this, the rep was slow and without my salts and vocal encouragement i didn't want to push my luck. In total....
1x270 (working set)
1x285 (working set)
1x295 (working set - pb)
1x305 (working set - pb)
In hindsight i should have gone for 310kg just to make my new 'total' 800kg.... I'm currently on 795kg...lol.
After this i did Glute ham raises as i didn't want to hog the squat rack any longer with good mornings. The session was done and i was happy again. I'm going to see if i can find some smelling salts and possibly take my own music. Hopefully this will make future sessions just as productive. I didn't get a video as i don't know if that's frowned upon in 'normal' gyms but if i go again in the future at the Power house gym or back at Daves's then i will supply visual evidence.
Just a note, there is never any point in 're-doing' a 1RM. If you got 300kg last week then there is no point in going for 300kg again this week. If you get 300kg again then you have gained nothing new. You might have easily gotten 302.5, 305 or even 310. Obviously you can do another set but if you then fail you could argue it's because you did that set at your previous 1RM.
Sorry for the long post and massive lack of pictures or videos, if you got to this point then congratulations. x
Wednesday, 12 January 2011
It doesnt enter the blood stream quickly like carbs, it doesnt last long like carbs and it doesnt get stored and become available quickly like carbs. There is an extra step in the process where the amine part of the amino acid is removed before it can be used as a carbohydrate. The amine part makes it a protein. This gets pissed out as it can't be stored. Workouts require energy and this is best gained from carbs. Too much protein means too few carbs means shit sessions.
2. Low calories
4kcal per g. Same as carbs but with none of the other advantages. Less then half of what fat contains. Need to eat twice as much for the same number of calories as fat. Tastes worse too.
3. No insulin response.
Insulin and Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) make you massive. Fact. Carbs make it spike. Protein doesn't. If you don't fancy injecting insulin, eat carbs.
4. Doesnt contribute towards testosterone production.
Testosterone is based on cholesterol. You need fat in your diet to get massive. There is nothing wrong with fat.
5. Interferes with post workout recovery.
You need carbs after a workout. The 30 minute window after working out is an opportunity to replenish muscle glycogen at a increased rate. There is nothing about protein in that 30 minute window. By all means have a decent meal when you get home but a sports drink (lucozade) or a banana is a vastly superior post gym snack compared to a protein bar.
6. Interferes with bulking.
For the reasons above you only need the bare minimum amount of protein for bulking. Any more is detrimental as fats and carbs are more important. Also protein cannot be stored so as long as you have 'enough' protein any more is wasted and bad.
Now, what is the 'right' amount of protein. The general consensus is between 1.5-2g per kg of body weight. Some people go as high as 2.5g per kg.
Studies have shown that 1.4g of protein per body weight for strength athletes provides enough for adaption and causes protein synthesis. Anything over this causes doesn't cause any more protein synthesis and there is excess protein breakdown which is caused by nutrient overload, as above, the amine part is pissed out and the rest is use as carbs.
(the paper - 1992)
Evaluation of protein requirements for trained strength athletes.
So for a 100kg athelete, thats 140g of protein. A pint of milk is 20g, a sandwich with cheese and ham is 40g, an egg is 6g, a 150g chicken breast is 45g of protein. So you can see that it's not hard to get sufficient protein in and after you have hit your limit you just top up your calories with fat and carbs.
The most ridiculous thing i have seen is 70kg people taking 300g of protein in a 2000kcal diet and expecting to gain weight....
Just a by note: This is an article on bodybuilding.com that summarizes the protein myth also. Basically it says taking too much isn't that bad for your health (in terms of kidneys etc) except that it's pointless and it means you are not eating enough carbs and fat. It basically backs up what is said above.
7.Maintenance and cutting weight
If you are maintaining weight then your protein requirements are similar but probably slightly less. You are not building muscle, just replacing damaged muscle. I would still stick to the 1.4g per kilo bodyweight.
If you are cutting, this is where larger amounts of protein may help basically for the reasons above: it's a shit energy source and it's lower calories. I won't go into 'cutting' diets because i know nothing about them but paleo and atkins etc are good for getting lean and both emphasize protein.
I hope now that you can see that protein is not a wonder drug. Any more then the bare minimum is pointless. Calories are the real king when it comes to bulking, in particular fat and carbs. Obviously if you eat too many excess calories you will get fat but that has nothing to do with the macronutrient ratio and eating fat doesnt not make you fat....
An advisable amount is 1.4g per kilo body weight. To play it safe, chuck a bit more on, call it 1.6g per kilo.
SO 70kg strength athlete needs 98g of protein a day (3 pints of milk and a chicken breast)
A 100kg athelete needs 140g of protein (a bowel of cereal, 3 pints of milk, a chicken breast and a snickers)
A 130kg athlete needs 182g of protein. (As above plus a pizza).
Eat carbs after gym.
Post article disclaimer!!
Just to say: Protein isn't evil. The article is written in such a negative way because people seem to hold protein as a magical powder. The general 'take home' message is:
DONT WORRY. Don't worry about having too much. Don't worry about having too little. Don't worry about how much per meal. Don't worry about losing muscle while you sleep. It'll all be fine. Just enjoy it. :)
Tuesday, 11 January 2011
I HAD decided to do push today as i did strongman on the previous Sat and was supposed to be doing it again on Weds but i figured that was a pathetic session so i wanted to add squats as well and just drop all the accessory work.
That didn't really go to plan as the squat rack was taken for ages by guys doing half squats. I truly don't know what i was seeing. They set up a bench to go down to, fine, they tested the depth of the squat, fine, it was quite close to parallel so fair play. They then put weight on the bar, stood in a different position, squatted til their hamstrings touched the bench and all of a sudden it was less then a half squat... How can the depth change so drastically in all of 5 seconds. Anywho. At least they were squatting. On the other hand, i wasn't. There was a smith machine but i wasn't that desperate.
Nevertheless, I started with the bench press. Worked up to 90% of my 1RM. I did a double at 170kg and then 2 singles at 175kg. The bench press was literally the worst bench press in the world. The flat part was too far back and the rack was sloping away from it so you had to reach over your head to grab the bar to lift it into position. It was obscenely awkward and it meant that you had to unrack the weight, THEN get your shoulders into position for a rep. Wriggling on a bench with 175kg held over your face is not advisable. Fucking shitty bench. Luckily as i was finishing bench press i saw that the incline could be moved flat and was a much better bench as the rack was positioned better. This is what i'll have to use for next time so that'll be fine.
This was the point when i was supposed to squat. However see above, rack was taken. I did some single arm shoulder press with a dumbbell (standing) and then called it a day.
Still no jacuzzi cos still no swimming shorts that fit me. Also this week has been a bit weird due events training on Wednesday. Food is still not ideal but it's ticking over. I'm going to try to get a weigh in at the end of this week and see where i stand and what needs to be done. The aim is still 145kg by March.
One other thing which was interesting and brought up over the weekend. During some static events in strongman competitions, you are allowed to wear squatting suits. Now if this is true, it's worth me getting a squatting suit and getting used to it, just for the sake of competitions. They are tight tight 'onesies/leotards' that kind of act like an all over weights belt. Long story short, they keep you tight and you can exert more force. Even if i don't train with it every day, if it gives me more reps in a come or a bigger weight lifted then it would be foolish to ignore it.
Quick post as i have to go to more teaching at 5pm (i thought stuff was supposed to finish at 5pm not bloody start). Then rhyl tomorrow afternoon then hopefully a decent squat or dead (or both) session towards the end of the week or over the weekend. Hopefully then from next week the training will be back on track and i won't be so angry at the gym. And i'll have swimming shorts.
Saturday, 8 January 2011
|Car deadlift frame and tractor for tractor pull.|
|Yoke and a couple of kegs|
|Tyres, axel deadlift and you can see the log in the back|
The kit for these was slightly different to the stuff i'm used to. The handles were shorter and so the weights were a lot lower to the ground. Initially i was a bit worried about being able to pick them up but as it happens that wasnt so much of a problem. We worked up to about 115kg in each hand doing double lengths of the room. I assume this was near enough 30-40m in total. As per usual, the turn was a pain in the arse but we managed. We then moved up past my previous 1RM for 20m (140kg) to 157kg in each hand. At this point i had reverted to hook grip and managed the 20m though i honestly thought my thumb had fallen off about half way along. We settled on doing one more set and instead of just jumping to 160kg we thought we do a proper increase and finished on a 20m length at 167kg. This is now my pb over 20m. The walk wasn't fast and i stumbled a bit, dropping them over the line at the end, but i got the full distance and we called it a day here.
We moved outside for the yoke and it was good as there was loads of room so we could get a bit of speed going. We could also drop the yoke a bit more freely which was also nice. We only worked up to 320kg for about 30 or so. The yoke slipped about 3/4 of the way along but i picked it up again and finished the distance. It was nice to do yoke again as i've been off it for a couple of weeks due to the snow. I don't know why but this is quite a bad event for me so it was nice to get on it again.
Again, a bit different from usual as they had a whole rack to do stones onto. We worked up with singles to the heaviest stone they had (22" diameter 165kg, another pb!!) and then set up 5 stones (105kg, 124kg, 132kg, 142kg and 148kg) and did a timed stone run. We left the 165kg stone out of the 'stone run' as its an awkward fucker. The run was alrite and i one-motioned the first 3 stones with relatively little problem. I lapped the 142kg quite easily but then slipped on the 148kg. It was just the accumulated fatigue that had got to me. A shout from one of the guys there got me down for another attempt and i succeeded eventually. The first 4 stones had taken me about 20 seconds then the last one was that same amount of time again and i got the total run in 38 seconds altogether. I was a bit gutted but also pleased at the same time.
I also used my tubi grip and duct tape combo on my forearms and had applied tacky to this. I found this really helpful. Just need to remeber to do it nice and tight or the stones will loosen it and rip it off. It helped tremendously for getting the tacky off at least.
We used the car deadlift frame but instead of a car, we put the 2 tractor tyres on it and then a wooden pallet on top of that. We worked up in sets of 2-3reps and then started adding 20kg plates to the pallet. We finished on a single with 6x20kg plates on top of the rest. I'm a fan of 'car deads' because the handles are by the side so you can kind of lean back while you lift. It also really bring your arse into it. I've got a massive arse so this is a huge advantage for me. At this point my back was feeling quite fragile and as we'd be training for nearly 4 hours (and the gym was closing) so we called it a day.
During the session i had 400mg of caffeine plus 2 energy drinks each with 100g (400kcal) of dextrose in them. On the way home i loaded up on Macdonalds as it was approaching 4 o clock and all i'd had all day was a bowl of breakfast cereal :(.
|2770kcal worth of Macdonalds. Shit loads of protein, carbs and fat and easy to eat.|
Overall it was a great fucking sesh, the PBs are rolling again and im enjoying it. I'm going to try and organize at least a session a week either up here or down in Cardiff and once i've gotten used to DW, training will be 100% back on track.
Regarding the various competitions, i've signed up for a Natural strongman qualifier which may or may not conflict with the Welsh Open. Both of them will conflict with my exams but it's only a day out so thats not a problem. I'm also wondering about the Novice and whether its worth skipping it due to the slighty different emphasis in events (i.e. they are more fitness/muscular endurance as opposed to pure strength - 20+ reps vs 5-10 reps). The only reason is that i would have to modify my training drastically to accommodate this and the obvious priority here is the Welsh Open. The disadvantage of skipping it is losing out on the experience as it's a comp i could potentially do quite well in. I'm still undecided.
Rest day tomorrow, the eating is going to be back on track and training at some point in the week depending on how i'm feeling. Life is good.
Wednesday, 5 January 2011
Accommodation is nice. Hospital food is quite cheap. Tescos is round the corner. Gym has a squat rack.
I've managed to find a place where they have strongman equipment up in north wales (what are the chances!!). This means i will probably split my events sessions between there and Cardiff on the weekends. It's a 10 hour round trip to Cardiff and if i'm not finishing in the hospital until 5-6 on the Friday evening then i won't be home until 10pm. This will make it much easier (and cheaper!!! round trip is like 60quid in petrol!!). The bulk of the workouts during the week will be done in the local DW Fitness center in Bangor.
This is my first proper experience of a 'commercial' gym, and while i'd never want to train there long term, as a fill in, its absolutely fine (touch wood). The deal i got there was really good and they have a jacuzzi for me to sit in after a session (ha!), they even threw in an hour of free personal training (hahaha!) and if i ever feel that way inclined, there is a sunbed and bf% measuring scales in the changing room (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!).
I managed a little full body session today, just to keep me going more then anything else. I did deadlifts up to a triple at 220kg. (5 sets in total, started at 60kg and added 2x20kg plates each set). I did push press to 120kg for 5. Then i just did some hammer curls while pinch gripping 10kg plates (bring the forearms into it for an ultimate grip pump) super setted with dumbbell pullovers standing.
I had my bag of stash in the corner with my belt and stuff and the squat rack was barren (standard), well, some guy was doing rows in it but that was it. I even managed to get a little chalk on my hands for the deadlifts without anyone kicking off. So far so good. I used my comedy white gym shoes and didnt even attempt to train barefoot (they are flat soled and sturdy so not a massive problem). I also tried not to provoke anything and lowered my deadlifts nice and quietly... well.... as quietly as i could be arsed. Of the other 6 people in the free weights area 2 were doing seated shoulders, 3 were doing some sort of fly and one was doing biceps. No danger of losing the squat rack at any point :).
This took me 45 minutes, it moved the major muscle groups and gave my forearms and shoulders a satisfying pump. In addition i didnt do any singles so CNS and lower back are recovering nicely.
Plan is now to get my eating back on track and start hitting the weight gain. I'm also going to try and work on my fitness a bit more. For the Novice Comp all i need is more reps in the tank however i am looking at the bigger picture which is the welsh open comp in 6 months and for this strength gain is paramount.
In addition to this i am getting through my book (practical programming for strength training). To be honest, some of the concepts are quite complicated, not to read and understand, but to get my head round. It really goes into periodization which is essential for progression and therefore important. This is quite difficult to master, especially as if you are training yourself (i.e. me), any experiments are done first hand. Luckily I'm not at a point yet where my progression is stalling due to inadequate programs so I'm not too worried and have time to read the book fully a few times before making any decisions.
The main point it makes is that as you gain more strength (as you go from novice to intermediate to advanced) you need to do fewer sessions and fewer exercises at a higher intensity. Then you need to rest longer. This is so so true. You adapt when you rest, not while you are training. IF you are not progressing every session then you are not resting enough (simple as). I'm probably somewhere within 'intermediate' i reckon, so there is still a bit of time before the programming starts to get complicated. There is also a section within the book on strongman prep so that'll be essential reading as well.
Sunday, 2 January 2011
Todays session was based largely on the Novice comp that i will be competing in in March. The first event in the comp will be a medley. With that in mind we started with farmers walk and instead of working up to a big 1RM we kept the weight a bit lower and did twice the distance (40m with a turn instead of 20m). We did this up to 100kg in each arm then did 20m with 120kg. After this instead of going heavier we set up the medley. I did take a picture but my phone died so i can't get it up but here's the summary:
- 100kg farmers walk (each hand) for 10m then run back to:
- 80-100kg keg carry for 10m then run back to:
- 250kg sled drag for 10m
We then went onto the log and did an hour overall of this. I again wasn't great on the singles clean and press but i think this was down to fatigue and just the end of a long training cycle. I missed a 150kg press twice which was unusual but wasn't particularly worried as it wasn't unexpected. We finished the session with 75 seconds clean and press with a 85kg log and got a new PB of 15 reps. My technique here is still a bit messy but its improving and hopefully i'll be hitting 20 reps come comp time.
That was the end of the session. We had planned to do yoke and atlas stones as well but i was feeling quite hollow and exhausted overall. There was no DOMS, just demotivation and a deep fatigue. Rob was feeling a niggle in his knee so we thought it wise to call it a day. We had trained for 2 and a half hours anyway due to the large number of farmers walks we did and the medley.
Plans for Deload
I'm going to take advantage of my deload to focus on eating, fitness and technique. I'll try and keep anything heavy to a minimum and keep off my lower back (and grip, farmers really took a toll). Eating will be aimed at a slow bulk. At roughly 8 weeks out from the Novice comp it's my fitness not my 1RM strength that will hold me back as the weights are relatively lower then those at an Open comp. For this reason i don't want to put the weight on quickly, i'd rather take it easy and adapt to my current bulk while increasing fitness and strength endurance. At the end of the day i've got over 8 weeks to put on 4kg so it should be nice and easy.
In terms of technique i want to try and nail my jerk and my clean technique. In terms of fitness i will be doing various circuits and medleys that can be set up in the gym. They don't have to be strongman specific but they will include a weighted component. Ideas include:
- 500m row - should take about 1minute 20 seconds or less so perfect timescale
- clean and press for reps or time
- Deadlifts for reps or time
- Duck walk for distance
- Keg carry for distance
- Barbell complexes for time or reps.