Saturday, June 30, 2007

Worn Out

Today was planned as a test day for my goals list.  It did not go well.  The only thing I hit was the goblet squats with the 32k, which are easy for me at this point.  Everything else was just weak.  I need to rest, it's really that simple.  Anyway, this is what I did:

Goblet Squats: 5x12k, 5x16k, 3x24k, 3x32k
Cleans: 1x95, 1x115, 1x135, 5xMissx155, 1x135
Chin: MissxBW (so very close, I used the underside of my chin to finish pulling myself up)
Push Ups x 10
Grippers: 1/1x#1, BBSA; Miss/Miss x Easy #2
Bending: 1xTimber Tie, 1x7" 1/4 round CRS, Miss x Grade 2 bolt

At that point I decided to call it a day.  I got video of a lot of it, but deleted all but the goblet squats, since they are the only thing that will make it on my goal list.  I used the tripod with my wife's camera and it worked very well.  Two good pieces of feedback out of the videos:

1. It is 100% certain to me that I am trying to pull my cleans up with my arms.  My arms are bent while the bar is below my knees.  On my failed cleans, I rammed the bar into my chest, just above the nipple line.

2. I'm a big cheater on my pushups.  I don't go low enough and reach with my head.  This needs to be fixed.

Well, time to rest.  Looking back at this month, I have made no progress.  I need to spend the next month with a better focus.  In order to achieve that, I am going to cut out all video games during the month of July.  Hopefully that simple change will put me back on track.  They have been cutting into my sleep.  If at the end of July I have not progressed, it will be time to start sacrificing strength to get lighter.  I may even have to do some cardio.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Lightweight

This morning I woke up on time with every intention of doing my upper workout before work.  Much to my surprise, my entire body is wiped out from yesterday's heavy low rep workout.  I skipped the weights and went into the office. 

On the way home this evening, I found the perfect spot to kettlebell by the pond near my house.  Seeing as today's workout was destined be a light one, I opted to take my 16k kettlebell over to the pond to practice juggling.  30 minutes later, I'm wiped out.  The light weight has me feeling far more tired than all the heavy weights did yesterday.  I'll stretch later tonight and do grip tomorrow.

The plus side of all the overtime at work is finally coming out.  I got my first overtime check today.  Now I am scheduled to get kettlebell instruction on next Saturday morning.  I also placed an order with FBBC this morning.  I'll be getting a 2" v-bar, a pinch barbell, a "bomb", some 1/4" shiny stock, and a couple horseshoes.  I do like getting new toys.

This weekend will be focused primarily upon rest, recovery, and preparation for future success.  I'm going to clean up the garage and get the things I'm not using out of there.  I officially have permission to move my wife's planting stuff and hyperextension bench to the basement.  That's going to open up a lot of space I can use for other things.  Then I'm going to the mirror store on Saturday and will hopefully arrange to get a mirror put into my gym.  On Sunday, If I'm lucky, I'll be able to get another stall matt.  We'll have to see how time goes.

I might not like doing the overtime, but I sure like when it pays off.



Thursday, June 28, 2007

No Sweat

This evening was cool, and I was feeling strong.  Time for a low rep, no sweat workout.  I did the following:

Kettlebell Deadlifts: 5x16k, 24k, 32k
Deadlifts: 5x135; 3x185; 3x225; 1x275 (Ties PR); 3x225; 1x135
Front Squats: 1x45, 95, 115, 135 (PR), 115;
Back Squats: 1x115, 135, 155, 165 (Ties PR), 115
V-bar (between sets) 2x1/1x90; 5x1/1x115; 1/1x135

That's it.  Strong workout, that squat PR has stood for years.  I had more in me, but this is the first time I've back squatted in a long time.  On every single lift it was evident that I am all back.  My pushing muscles need to get stronger to balance things out.  I could also feel that the imbalance in my hip rotation is ultimately going to be a limiting factor with heavier weights.

Luckily, it looks like what I am doing with the lighter weights is working.  I will stick with it.  I think part of the reason I am all back is that the kettlebell snatches effectively have me pulling 4 days a week.  If I start doing turkish get ups on my upper day, that may help balance things out.  I also need to put squats first on my lower day.

Back to the grind next workout.  Still not sure if that will be Friday morning or Saturday, but I am looking forward to it.

More Recovery

Got in at 8:30 last night, more overtime at work.  I could have worked much later, but remembered my commitment to leave at 8, no matter what.  The excellent workouts on Monday and Tuesday left me feeling drained, so I made time for a session of soft tissue work and stretching.  I then opted to sleep in this morning.  Right now I am feeling pretty good, but I may push my lower workout to tomorrow morning.  Friday's upper workout can always be done on Saturday, and I like the morning workouts.  If I feel good when I get home, that could change though.

It looks like things are coming together for me to get some in person instruction on the kettlebells.  The overtime has put me in a position to afford it, and I live relatively close to an RKC Team Leader.  Hopefully we will get together next Saturday.  I think my snatches have the potential to improve quite a bit.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Recovery and Rewards

Last night I made a point to take time for recovery.  I left work on time, went for a 3 mile walk with my wife, had a good dinner, and spent 45 minutes stretching and doing soft tissue work.  Sleep was a little short at 7 hours, but I woke up this morning and walked into the garage feeling good.  Given that sitting and walking were difficult by the time I got home yesterday, the recovery work paid off.  

This morning I did:

12k Kettlebell Warm Up
Snatches: 5/5x16k, 20k, 24, 24k; 8/8x20k
Overhead Barbell Press: 5x45lbs, 65lbs, 85lbs, 95lbs; 4x95lbs; 5x85lbs
V-bar (between sets): 1/1x90, 100, 110, 110, 110, 110, 110, 125
Renegade Rows: 5/5x16k, 20k, 20k; 8/8x20k

That's it.  It doesn't look like much written out, but it was a lot of work.  I seem to do better with many sets than I do with heavy weights or high rep sets.  The sets of 8 on the snatches and renegade rows exposed a definite weakness in my conditioning.  I will spend most of the summer building up my volume and work capacity.

Morning workouts are definitely the way to go for me, especially when coupled with a strong focus on recovery.  I look forward to Thursday.



Monday, June 25, 2007

Good Morning

Yesterday revolved around being able to get up this morning and lift weights.  I had to skip inputting my time tracking for work, walking with my wife, stretching, and eating a nice dinner.  However, for my sacrifices I got a nap, a full night's sleep, and a great workout this morning.  I did:

12k Kettlebell Warm Up
Kettlebell Squats: 5x12k, 16k, 24k; 5x5x16k's;
Romanian Deadlifts: 5x95, 135; 5x5x185;
V-bar (Between Sets): 5/5x110lbs
Lunge Walk: 8/8xBW; 2x5/5x12k

Overall workout took about an hour.  I was fried after this.  The kettlebell squats were tough to warm up into, but as I progressed the sets they got easier.  I guess I need to shoot for 5x6 next time.  Romanian deads I will simply try to repeat next workout.  That's the most reps or sets I've done on them in a single workout, ever. 

V-bar was interesting, I tried to do it during squats, it hurt.  I finished during the work sets of my deadlifts, no problem.  I need to start including a warm up with 90lbs before I go heavier.  The lunges were a good finisher.  I want to build these up to lunge walks with a kettlebell in the overhead position.  I think it will hit everything on me that is weak.  Right now, I have to do them with the kettlebell in the rack position.

That's it.  I feel great now.  Morning workouts are the way for me to go.  I get in, do my sets, and get out.  The time limit puts me on task and eliminates the screwing around.  I'm leaving work by 8 tonight and have another good workout planned for tomorrow morning.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Recovery Session

Last night I set aside 45 minutes to stretch and do soft tissue work.  Between that and the workout earlier in the day, I had the best night's sleep I've gotten all week.  My entire body was tight.  My bad shoulder and foot were both beginning to feel the effects of being neglected.  I need to make time for stretching like this, regardless of what else is going on.  It is one of the two keys to my success outside of the gym.  The other is sleep, which stretching also seems to facilitate.

Progress this week was nonexistent.  Bodyweight is about half a pound up from last week.  I've been eating more take out and convenience foods due to the time constraints I am under.  Normally I can get away with that and still progress, but the daily walks have been knocked out of my schedule.

I think I'm going to set 8pm as a hard cutoff for leaving work each day.  I need to be in bed by 10 if I'm going to get up and hit a morning workout.  Accounting for the walk home, making dinner, and settling down for bed, 2 hours is about right.  When I go home at 9:30 or 10, my shot at the morning workout is already gone.

More stretching today.  I also want to either juggle the 16k kettlebell or go for a walk.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Logging Hours

Without time for stretching and unable to sleep, I'm kind of a mess.  Today's workout was just a matter of getting out into the garage and taking some time for myself.  I had to go to work for most of the day to finish what I didn't get done last night, so I was happy just to do something.  There's not much point in outlining what I did, but I focused primarly on grip work, investing a lot energy in trying to learn how to do braced bends.  I also did my 5/5 reps on v-bar, some kettlebell stuff, a little with my medicine ball, some wide pinch, and some thickbar.

Tonight I stretch.  Tomorrow I stretch.  Monday it would nice to be up early enough to lift in the morning, but I'm not counting on it.  I sent out some emails today saying "no" regarding future demands on my time, but that's just going to keep work from becoming impossible.  I'll have to keep making time to train where I can for now.



Thursday, June 21, 2007

Just Pull

Sleep deprived today.  I didn't get to bed until after 1am last night, then I was woken at 7am by my wife's alarm and the cats.  Too tired to be mad, I got up and went to work, already resolved to go home on time and train.

I promptly walked out of work at 5:15pm, ready to train.  By 5:45 I was in the garage, enjoying the heat.  I did:

2 Hand Swings: 8 x 12k, 16k
2 Hand Swings + Deadlift: 8+8 x 20, 24k, 28k, 32k
Rest Pause Deadlifts (had to break out the new 45's): 3 x 135, 185, 225, 225, 225, 225
Kettlebell Squats: 5 x 16k, 24k; 3 x 16k's, 16k's, 16k's, 20k's; 5x16k's
V-bar (between sets): 5/5x100lbs
Turkish Get Ups: 1/1x16k; Fail/Fail x 16k

When I failed on the turkish get ups, I knew for sure I was done.  This is stating the obvious, but deadlifts from the ground are hard.  They take a lot more out of me than the Romanian deadlifts do.  All the 45's I have laying around make it seem like slapping another pair on the side shouldn't be a big deal, but I know to bide my time.  I'll only do these from the ground once in awhile, as I know my form isn't great.

V-bar is slowly coming around.  I am not limited by hand strength right now.  My skin simply slides across my hand, bunches, and then pinches.  It hurts and limits my weights.  I'm doing 5 reps with each hand every workout to tighten and toughen the skin.  Until I approach limit lifts, I'll add 10lbs every other workout.  Since it is my skin holding me back, I'm not sure where that will take me.  At least now with the extra 45's, I can leave the bar loaded.  Sure makes it easier to train the lift.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Everything Right

Last night I realized that with no end in sight to the extra work, I just have to take the time for myself, and let what happens at work happen.  Instead of staying up till an unreasonable hour working, I had a good dinner, spent some time with my wife, and went to bed at 10pm.  After getting up at 6:45 this morning, well rested, I set aside 35 minutes to do a full session of stretching.  This is the first full stretching session I've had in around a week.  I worked through quite a few restrictions, possibly the most I've ever dealt with in a single session.

Now I feel much, much better.  I'm enthused to go into work and give it my all.  I'll probably be there until almost 10 tonight, so that's a good thing.  With the braced bending, The Stick is fast becoming a preferred myofascial release tool.  Working over my ITB and quads felt really good.  I also figured out I have a bunch of restrictions on my inner thighs.  Not surprising, given that I give tissue quality there zero attention and kettlebell work just nails the area.  I worked them lightly with the stick today, it was all I could take.  I expect to see some benefits from making that area pain free over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Heat Resistance

Summer started for me today.  With temperatures in the upper 70's and a west facing garage, today's 6pm workout was hot.  It's just a shadow of what is coming, but I was sweating buckets.  Good day for a lot of volume and lighter weights.  I did the following:

12k Kettlebell Warm Up
One arm swings: 5/5x16k, 20k
Snatches: 5/5x16k, 20k, 20k, 20k, 20k
Experiment with Spike Bending Positions between sets of Snatches
Overhead Barbell Press: 5x45, 65, 85, 85, 85
Renegade Rows: 5/5x35, 35, 35, 35
V-bar: 5x1x90 (between sets of rows)
Grippers: 1/1x#1; Easy #2 Righty, Miss Easy #2 by 1/4" Lefty
Bottoms Up Presses: 5/5x16k, 16k, 16k, 16k
Blob Work: 27.5, Negatives on 35lber, Negatives on 40lber
Finisher: 1/1xWalk with 20k Kettlebell Overhead
8lb Medicine Ball: 2x5 Underhand Throws and Catches + 3/3 One Arm Press Throws and Catches

I think that's it.  A ton of work, no heavy weights.  Workouts like this have a way of making everything else seem insignificant.  By the end I simply felt tired and content.  I finished the workout standing in the hot garage listening to Jimi Hendrix and eating lemon ice.  Garage gyms rule.



Monday, June 18, 2007

Everything Wrong

Today's workout consisted of me doing everything I know I shouldn't.  I put it off until the evening.  I'm running on 5 hours of sleep.  I focused on braced bending since my metal came, even though it's a leg day.  I had to short my core exercises because I was goofing off.  I had fun though.  This is what I did:

Warm Up - Carry stuff upstairs, arrange 45lb plates around gym, open order from McMaster, kettlebell warm up
Braced Bending - 12"x1/2" 6063 Aluminum, Kink 10" piece, Increase kink on 14" x 3/8 CRS, same with 10" x 5/16 CRS
Kettlebell Squats: 5xBW, 12k, 16k, 20k, 24k; 3x3xPair of 16k's
Romanian Deadlifts: 5x135, 155; 2x3x185

That's it.  I was in the garage for well over an hour.  I spent way too much time playing with the metal and should have stopped after the first piece of Aluminum.  This 1/2" 6063 is the exact same difficulty as 5/16" CRS.  It's pretty cool.  Maybe I'll bring some to the Michigan contest and see what guys can do.

The braced bending really takes a lot out of me.  I ended up doing the style where you pull it across the patellar tendon in the knee.  My back gives out before me knee does, but I'm not sure how good this is for it.  I guess I'll see how I feel tomorrow.

The only thing of note on the lower movements is that my hips were tight.  I'm sure it's a result of the sumo deadlifts on Saturday.  I could feel them jamming things up.  I haven't been attending to my active recovery sufficiently, and it shows.  I need to get back on task.

I did talk to my boss about the need to trim back my work to avoid burn out.  He was in agreement that we needed to manage it.  We are still working to figure out how, but it's good that he's a partner in getting me the appropriate work load.  Hard to find guys like that in the business world.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Procrastination

I've been fighting to start my work all weekend.  I skipped it yesterday in an effort to renew my enthusiasm.  I keep putting it off and will probably be up all night finishing it.  Dumb I know.  Anyway, here's an update:

1. BW hit 204 this weekend.  I guess I managed my food properly over the business trip.  It really comes down to how much I eat, not what.

2. We rented a car this weekend and I totally scored at Play It Again Sports.  They had 8 used 45lb plates in great shape for 30 cents a lb.  I bought them all for $115.  Sweet.  My wishlist is rapidly dwindling.  Once I get the second stall matt, I can keep my grip stuff all setup and loaded with plates.

3. I gave up on selling the Powerblocks.  Total pain in the butt.  My wife's going to give them to her brother, and I'm going to get the space back in my garage.  I also moved a bunch of stuff I'd been storing there into the basement.  The gym is looking awesome.

4. It looks like I should get to go to the mirror store tomorrow during lunch.  I will get a quote for mirroring one wall of the garage.  My gym is quickly turning into my favorite place.

5. Tomorrow's workout will be in the evening.  It will definitely be a matter of gutting things out due to lack of sleep.

6. The trouble I am having starting my work is a clear indicator of burn out.  I like what I do.  I get paid to design and manage the implementation of websites.  In my free time, I play on the internet and run my own website.  It's just a matter of too much work per week.  I sent the email to my boss setting end of July as a clear cut off point for the overtime.  In the meantime, I need to focus.  I can do anything for 6 weeks, this isn't even that hard.  Maybe I can embrace the material rewards and use greed to keep my motivation high.

When the clock hits 9pm, it's balls to the wall until this requirements doc is done.  Time to man up.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Welcome Home

Today was my first workout in the home gym since last week's get together.  It was a welcome change of pace from the lame hotel gym.  My gym rules.  I spent 2-3 hours out there and did the following:

Cleans: 3x45, 65, 85, 95; 1x115, 115, 135, 145 (PR?), Miss 155, 155 (PR)
Normal DO Axle Deads: 1x163, 183, 203, 203
Sumo DO Axle Deads: 1x163, 183, 203, 203
Blob Negatives: 35lber and 40lber
Braced Bending: 16"x3/8" CRS (PR), Kink 13"x3/8 CRS
Unbraced Bending: Timber Tie, 6"x1/4 FBBC Round (Ties PR)
Overhead Sledge Levers: 3/3x20 on 6lber, 3/1x25 on 6lber, 1/1x6lber
Renegade Rows: 3/3x16k, 4/4x16k, 3/3x16k

I think that's it, not really sure.  It started pouring rain about 1/3 of the way through the workout.  Training in my garage with the door open and a downpour outside is probably my favorite thing about living in the new house.  It was incredibly energizing.

Huge PR on the cleans, probably a result of all the kettlebell work and Romanian deads.  My form is abysmal, I am curious to know what I could get if I knew how to do a proper clean.  The braced bending is a lot of fun, I really want to bend a 3/8 spike.  Tomorrow I am going to buy some more 3/8 CRS to work up to it.  The steel is expensive, but it's rare greatness even offers a price

Very excited to tie my unbraced PR.  That Grade 5 bolt is looking more and more certain at the July contest.  I opted not to train any one handed lifts.  While one handed deads would have fit well with my pulling theme, they are just too hard on my back and shoulders.  Not worth it.  I'll take what I can at the contest and leave them at that.  Maybe two weeks out I'll do one practice session with them.

Back to the grind Monday morning.  I'll stretch later tonight, probably tomorrow as well.  It's good to be home.



Thursday, June 14, 2007

16k at the Sheraton

Thursday night I hit a brief kettlebell juggling workout outside my hotel, around 25 minutes.  It shaped up like this:

One and Two Armed Swings
Two handed Swing and Throw
Snatches
Presses
One and Two Armed Catch and Release
Alternating Swings
Swing and catch into palm, back down
The same, but press overhead before dropping down
Toss kettlbell from bottoms up position in one hand to waiter's position in other hand and back
Around the body, both ways
Figure 8's through the legs
Walk up and down parking lot with kettlebell overhead

Think that's about it.  I tried reversing the direction of the figure 8's, but that made my back hurt.  The only shaded spot outside the hotel was kinda filthy, so I opted to stay off the ground.  Throwing the kettlebell was pretty fun.  A good workout overall and definitely some much needed activity.

After dinner, I swam in the pool.  I found a depth of the water at about 2' (on the stairs) where I could do an assisted pistol that felt pretty good.  It was cool.  Then I spent a lot of time trying to push off the wall at one end of the pool and get to the other end with that push.  Never quite made it, but it was fun.

Bodyweight remains unchanged.  Given what I ate over the past week, that's pretty good.  I'll workout today, probably grip and kettlebells.  That will get me back on schedule.  It will also give me two days to stretch and rest before resuming full bore training.

Time comittments at work show no sign of slowing down, so I'm going to have to make my progression work with the heavier load.  I think if I limit goofing off on the internet to whenever I need to come online to write up a workout, that will balance things enough.  I'm also going to set end of July as my target to be done with the overtime for awhile.  I'll be teeing some things up with my boss on Monday that should begin us moving down that path.  My budget is balanced so I make more than enough money during a normal work week, I'm not going to waste my twenties working even longer for money I just don't need.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

50 or Less

Upper workout today, had to make due with the limitation of nothing but dumbbells up to 50lbs.  It worked out ok.  I did:

Walk around outside for 30 minutes
25lb Dumbell Warm Up - Swings, Snatches, Presses
Snatches up through the 50lber
Single arm presses up through the 50lber
Renegade Rows up through the 50lbers
Pulldowns up to 130 on the stack
Balance on one foot with weight overhead, up through 50lber
Bicep curls up through the 35lber

The technical contact from our integration partner for the client we are visiting was in the gym while I lifted, so I got the chance to chat with him while I was working out.  He's a good guy and I'm happy to have had the opportunity to talk to him in an informal setting.  I think the project is going to go very well.  This did mean I ended up holding back on the workout a little bit.  I think I did enough volume to make up for the reduced intensity, but it was definitely an atypical workout for me. 

The pool had a couple middle aged women drinking beer in it, so I opted to skip swimming this evening.  I'll probably stretch later tonight, after I shower and get some work done.  I did try pistols in the water last night, they didn't work for me.  Almost all of the resistance disappears as soon as I start to sink into the water.  The resistance changes too sharply to do me any good.

From a nutritional perspective, food has sucked since getting here.  I can definitely see how traveling every week can catch up with someone.  Lunch was sandwich platters, which means 2 cheese sandwiches on white bread for me.  Then the guys and I went to PF Changs for Chinese, and the company will pay for dessert.  How can I say no to that?  The slice of chocolate cake I got was big enough that my first thought upon seeing it was to cuss.  Needless to say, it was excellent and I am really enjoying myself.  Fortunately, I think between work and training, I am expending enough energy to balance things out.



Monday, June 11, 2007

No Weights Indeed

Interesting workout today.  I ended up deviating from my plan and pushed the workout to this evening.  Despite my best intentions, I did not get to bed early enough to be well rested for my workout this morning.  Instead I went to work, rode the train to Michigan, and hopped in a cab to my hotel on a hill in Novi.  By 7:30pm I had just checked into the hotel.  All I'd eaten since breakfast was a bag of almonds, so I was starving.  After some Mexican food and a fancy sizzling apple crisp desert, I was ready to roll.  Luckily the area is hilly.  I did:

Walk around for around an hour, up and down hills
25lb dumbell warm up - swings, snatches, squats, etc.
Goblet Squats: 5x25lbs, 35lbs, 50lbs, 60lbs, 70lbs, 70lbs
Single Leg Deadlifts: 5/5 x 15lbs, 35lbs, 50lbs, 50lbs
Turkish Get Ups: 3/3x35lbs
Walking Lunges: 2x16xBW
Swim and Stretch in Pool for 30 minutes

That's right!  The hotel has dumbell pairs up to 50lbs!  This is after the definite "No" I got when calling the front desk and asking "Does your fitness center have weights?".  So, I brought my kettlebell for nothing.  I got some weird looks from the middle aged guys riding their stationary bikes and walking on the treadmills, but it was a pretty good workout.  I am interested to see if the single leg deadlifts make me sore.  Lunges were brutal.

During my wandering, I learned there is a Trader Joes about a quarter mile away from here.  I am planning to stop there for dinner tomorrow night.  It's possible my co-workers will talk me out of it, but I think I will be ready for some simple food by then.  The Mexican sat pretty heavy, I was getting close to losing it between sets of my workout.

The internet I'm using is $10 / day, so I'd better go do some work.  The prices here are crazy.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Chicago Grip Association Meet Up Recap

We had the first meet up of the Chicago Grip Association today.  It was a blast.  Hours doing grip stuff with a great group of guys.  Rick, Steve, Allen, and Neil showed up. I'll have a hard time remembering everything, but I did:

Axle Deadlifts - tied 213 PR
Blobs - went up to the 32.5, finger press with the 35
Plate Pinches - Did 3 10's, missed 4 with a rod through it, Did 2 25s
Bending - Several nails, including a new type of hard timber tie, and a 7" piece of 1/4 FBBC
One Hand Deadlift - up to 165lbs
Bottoms Up Kettlebell Press - up to 24kg righty, 20k lefty
Grippers - got to try an Ivanko Supper Gripper with three springs, that thing's tough
V-bar - up to 125, tired, but hand started to give warning signs that skin would tear

I think that's everything I did, but there might be more.  The guys did a lot of cool stuff I can't do.  Axle deadlifts up to 323, my 40lb blob got lifted normal and by the face, 4 10's pinched, 4 10's with a bar plus weight pinched, 2 35's pinched, grade 8 bolt bent, 10" spike bent, one handed deadlifts up to 215, v-bar up to 215 plus the bar, my 28k kettlebell got flipped.  It was wild.

This is all great motivation for my training.  I am definitely looking forward to doing it again.

EDIT - Here are the videos from the get together.  We didn't break out the camera until it looked like Neil had a chance at certing on the v-bar, so just a few today.  I hope to get more next time:

http://www.gripfaq.com/videos/20070609NeilVbar200.wmv
http://www.gripfaq.com/videos/20070609NeilVbar210.wmv
http://www.gripfaq.com/videos/20070609NeilVbar215.wmv

Friday, June 8, 2007

Upcoming Travel

Next week I get to spend 4 glorious nights in Eastern Michigan on a business trip.  The hotel we are staying at is $200 a night but has no weights.  How freaking stupid is that?  Anyway, I'm going to have to make do with what I can take with.  I'm brining a 16k kettlebell, my footsie roller, and some dexterity balls.  I think the week's going to look like this (all workouts in the morning):

Monday - Lower at home, balls to the wall
Tuesday - Upper and Conditioning in the hotel parking lot in the morning, possible swim in the evening
Wednesday - Swim in the morning
Thursday - Lower in the hotel parking lot, possible swim in the evening
Friday - Upper and Conditioning in the hotel parking lot
Saturday - Heavy grip and kettlebell day with my weights at home

This is going to be a good chance for me to focus on getting the most I can out of limited equipment.  The upper days will probably rely upon a lot of juggling and volume.  The lower workout is going to be based upon assisted pistols, lunges, and single legged deadlifts.  I think I can train well provided I make the time and don't drink at dinner.  I am looking forward to the chance to use the pool.  Just floating in the water is a great way to release tension in the body.

I am going to need to be careful to temper my response to an expense account for all I can eat food.  My natural inclination is to eat until I am sick at every meal.  That's going to weigh me down while meeting with the clients and can have some unpleasant after effects.  I am there to be at the top of my game, not to eat as many dollars worth of food as possible.  I can't lose sight of that.

Release

This morning's workout didn't get started until almost 8.  I was at work until 10 last night.  Account for getting home, stretching, and getting read for bed, I didn't wake up until later this morning.  My rule with the overtime is I won't sacrifice eating, sleeping, bathing, or lifting.  So into the garage I went:

12k Kettlebell Warm Up
Snatches: 5/5x16k, 20k, 2x5/5x24k (also did one 5/5 of high pulls with the 24k)
Overhead Press: 5x45, 65, 85; 3x95; 5x85
16k Kettebell Press: 3/3, 4/4, 5/5
One Arm Rows: 5/5x16k, 20k, 24k, 24k
Renegade Rows: 5/5x16k; 4/4x20k; 3/3x20k

The snatches were sloppy.  I need to work form with the 20k.  Overhead presses are slowly getting stronger.  The kettlebell presses are full range of motion, to train my body to use the muscles around my shoulder properly.  Renegade rows are hardcore.  With the pair of 20's I can now do them alternating at the heavier weight.  It's tough, and I'm sure it's great for all the little muscles around my shoulders.

That's it.  Only thing sore from the lunges yesterday is my butt.  The right side is sorer than the left, so maybe some muscle in there is responsible for the imbalanced external rotation.  Who knows.  I need to get my gym cleaned up tomorrow morning for the get together.  It's a mess.



Thursday, June 7, 2007

Making Time

Work is crazy right now.  The past 4 business days I have averaged 3.5 hours of overtime per day.  Last night I was up until 11:30 working, then had to get up, squeeze my workout and shower in, do a 9am call, eat breakfast, and get to work for a 10am call.  Needless to say, coupled with the time off, I was looking forward to this energy release.  I did:

12k Kettlebell Warm Up
Romanian Deadlifts: 5x95, 115; 3x5x165
Goblet Squats: 5x12k,16k, 24k
Double Front Squats: 2x5x16k's, 2x20k's
Turkish Get Ups: 2x2/2x16k
Bodyweight Lunges: 10/10; 27 walking lunges

Deadlifts and Squats were kind of supersetted.  I scaled back on the deadlift weight and focused on my shoulder position.  It seems I'd gone back to pulling my shoulders up and back, instead of pulling them back and down.  Resuming proper pulling position really eased the pressure on my bad shoulder and made me feel much more stable.

The 2nd 20k kettlebell arrived on Monday.  No screwing around with these, the pair feels heavy.  The double 16's are the same weight as my 32k.  They felt "easy" if anything, since before I had to hold that weight in one kettlebell.  The pair of 20k's are a different beast.  When I build up to 5x5 with them, my squats will be much better.

Turkish Get Ups are a great exercise.  I need to get better at them.

The lunges were inspired by two things:

1. I sent an email to the physical therapist that helped me with my shoulder problem.  I described the hip imbalance, and he gave me some things to check.  One of them is if my adductors are weak.  I figured the lunges are a good way to find out. 

2. The the workout Mike posted the other day.  He did 50 rep walking lunges with the 16k kettlebell.  I wanted to see what I could do with just bodyweight.

Anyway, these were killer.  I need to do them more.  Tomorrow, when I am sore, I will get to find out what is weakest.  I think the inner thigh on my leg that externally rotates too far will be in some real pain tomorrow.


Overall a good workout and great release of tension.  I have the first Chicago Grip Association meet up on Saturday and am looking forward to it.  Upper workout tomorrow.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Recovery

Yesterday I did everything I could think of to be ready for my workout this morning - soft tissue work, stretching, long walk, a hot bath, and lots of sleep.  None of it helped.  Warming up in the gym this morning, I was negotiating with myself what weight to use on the Romanian deads, trying to decide how much I could cut off the working sets.  I went to do my bodyweight squats to conclude the warm up, and I just couldn't bring myself to start them.

That was an indicator to me that I have pushed too hard.  I will take Monday through Wednesday this week for recovery, no lifting.  Walking, stretching, and soft tissue work are still fair game.  I'll also make a point to eat as well as I know how.  Already this morning I made a hot breakfast, and I prepared pasta for the week.  Hopefully by Thursday I am ready to go.

I did do some more shopping this weekend.  I ordered "The Stick" and a back roller from Amazon.  Then I submitted an order to Gill Athletics for that second 20k kettlebell.  I am enjoying the double front squats and would like to move up to the pair of 20k's in the next 20 weeks.  Since I normally hate squatting, I opted to make progression as easy as possible.

Yesterday I did do some activity.  While waiting to go on my walk, I spotted a 6" adjustable wrench sitting on a shelf, taunting me.  I wrapped that sucker up and went at it.  It started to go, but the bend was only 1.5 inches from the end of the handle.  Try as I might, I could not get it down much past 90 degrees.  These are kind of expensive for bending, so I'm going to wait awhile before touching any of my other wrenches.  On the bright side, with the bend so far down the handle, it still works fine as a wrench.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Anti-Work

Last night I was at work until 10pm.  We have a project that has reached crunch time, so I've got some long weeks ahead.  On the bright side, my wife is working overtime as well, so we get to do it together.  I don't feel like I'm missing out on much then.  After all those hours sitting yesterday, I made a point to stretch for an hour before bed.  Loads of tension had built up through the day sitting.

Today I didn't get my butt out to the gym until 6pm.  I really need the workouts to counter act the effect of working long hours, but most of the day was spent sleeping and lazing around.  When I finally got out there, I decided to give the kettlebells a rest for the day.  I did:

Pulldowns - Range of weights on a rack mounted pulldown Chris Rice made me
Overhead Press - 5x45, 65; 4x5x85lbs
Axle Clean and Press - 3x73; 3x93; 2x1x123lbs;
One Arm Rows - 5/5x16k, 20k, 24k, 24k (I had almost made it)
Bending: Grade 2 Bolt
Overhead levers : 4 or 5 singles with 6lb sledge
Kettlebell Juggling with 16k, around 10 minutes
Y's: 2x5/5x3lbs

That's it.  Once I got the kettlebells in my hand, I couldn't help myself.  The lure of the kettlebell is too strong.  I tried introducing the pulldowns because I feel like I my shoulder health was really benefiting from the pulldown machine at World Gym.  I'm not sure if these have the same effect.  My performance on the Y's shows my lower traps are doing fine, my shoulder just hasn't felt as stable as I would have liked lately.

I think that's primarily the result of my failure to focus on sticking with reps and basic, non ballistic exercises.  Hence, the changes in today's workout.  The axle clean and press ties my PR, but I didn't mark it as such since it clearly was not a max effort.  I'm probably good for another 10 or 20 pounds on the lift.  In the back of my head I am wondering if I could hit my 3/4 body weight clean and push press goals right now, but I want to save them for when I'm under 200lbs.  My body needs some sub-max workouts.

Yesterday's workout had a tremendous impact on my hamstrings.  Bending or squatting are both quite painful right now.  The soreness is one of the primary reasons my workout got put off to so late.  I kept hoping I would sleep it off or work the pain out through the day.  In the end, the only thing that helped was lifting the weights.

I got some of my most critical workout shopping done.  I needed some smaller gym clothes.  It turns out not only does Amazon sell shorts, they sell underwear!  I never have to go to the store again



Friday, June 1, 2007

Wishlist

I want it all. Good sense tells me to wait. These items will be used in my gym one day:

Patience is Required...
1. 2" FBBC Wrist Roller
2. Plyo Boxes
3. Sled
4. Trap Bar
5. Heavy Bag
6. Metal DDR Pad
7. Glute Ham Bench
8. Bands
9. Weight Vest
10. Medicine Balls
11. Heavy Dumbbells
12. Insulated Garage Door

Laying Bricks

Finally dragged myself out of bed for a morning workout today.  I have not been doing well hitting these consistently since my office moved.  Today is a return to the normal pattern, I will keep it up from here on out.  No more atttempts at max effort stuff for awhile either.  I need to work on building my foundation.  I did:

Goblet Squats: 5x12k, 16k, 24k
Double Kettlebell Fronts Squats: 5x5x16k
Romanian Deadlifts: 5x95, 135; 4x5x185lbs
Turkish Get Ups: 3x1/1x16k

I focused on pulling myself down into position on the squats.  I think it might help to resolve my hip imbalance.  It certainly stopped my knee from clicking.

I wanted 5x5 on the Romanian deadlifts, but didn't think I could hit the last set, so I saved it for another day.  I'm going much lower on these now.  My flexibility has increased to the point where the bar hits about mid-shin while keeping a neutral spine.  I had to move out of my rack because the safety pins don't go low enough.  The increased range of motion accounts for the lack of weight progression.

Turkish Get Ups felt great.  My shoulders were feeling a little iffy yesterday evening, they feel excellent now, even after the deadlifts.  I need to do these each lower workout.

Well, that's it.  Nothing glamorous, just laying the bricks.  I'm probably going to try to keep volume a little higher for the next few weeks as I push towards 200lbs body weight.  My goal is to hit the Michigan Grip Champs under 200lbs and do as well as I did last summer at 240lbs.