Wednesday, August 29, 2007


It felt good to go out to the garage this morning and lift weights.  I did the following:

Barbell Complexes - 2 Warm Up Sets, 3 Work Sets, Weights Listed
Kettlebell Squats: 5 x BW, 20k, 16k's, 16k's, 16k's
DO Axle Deads: 73, 123, 163, 163, 163
Hang Cleans: 45, 65, 95, 95, 95
Push Press: 45, 65, 95, 95, 95

I need to try the 20k's on the squats and 105 on the Hang Cleans and Push Presses.  Axle weight was perfect.  Then I did the follow exercises to finish up:

Chins: 1, 1, 1
Side Bridges: 40s / 40s, 30s / 30s
Standing External Shoulder Rotation with Bands

Overall this was pleasant.  I will enjoy my endurance work tomorrow and Friday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


After Saturday's workout, I just let it all go.  Got pizza delivered, had some wine, and played some video games.  More of the same on Sunday.  Yesterday I skipped my workout and made a point to eat extra.  Today I am feeling better, but still wasn't up for lifting yet, so I just walked for awhile, maybe an hour or so.

The walk helped to clear my mind.  I am essentially burnt out on trying to get stronger.  I am going to back way off on the grip stuff, and back off quite a bit on the weights.  This includes dramatically cutting my time spent on the internet doing message boards and blogs, etc.  I'll still read a few blogs and keep mine up to date, but that's about it.

I'll do full body weights twice a week with a little grip stuff at the end.  Otherwise, it looks like some sort of long slow endurance work is going to find its way into my program.  I'm not a fan of the stuff for the long term, but I think a few month cycle of it will be good for me mentally.  Come winter I'll return to the weights with more focus.  The cold weather will make it a good time for a program based in the basement.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

This is not Working

Bodyweight hit 195 today, which means I'm sustaining a rate of change of 1lb a week.  That is exactly what I was sustaining prior to starting all the conditioning work and targeting a rate of change of 2lbs a week.  The only difference is now my enthusiasm is low, my strength is dropping, and I am constantly cold.

The short of it is, I don't think I'm eating enough.  My body has adapted to the insufficient food supply by shutting down.  That's really the opposite of what I want, so I'll be increasing calories until my enthusiasm returns, then targeting a rate of change from 0-1lbs per week.

I did do some grip work today.  The only things of note were that I tied my axle deadlift PR from a few months ago when I was 17lbs heavier, and I upped my 2" v-bar PR by 20lbs.  Ironically, both of these were made easier by not using chalk.  The paint on the FBBC stuff seems to respond best to the right combination of sweat and hand drying.  Also the constant rain over the past week put a fine layer of rust on the v-bar, which dramatically improved the friction.

Anyway, I'm off to eat.  Maybe I'll get a pizza delivered and have some wine with it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Do Something

I was not feeling it this morning, but this was the time I scheduled to lift.  Rather than try to push through my normal exercises and practice doing poorly at them, I took a short workout and did something different:

12k Kettlebell Warm Up
Bottoms Up KB Presses: 5/5 x 12k, 16k, 16k, 16k
One Arm Dumbell Snatches: Pile of singles from 45lbs through 65lbs
75lb Dumbell: Clean it twice per arm, Fail to push press it 3x lefty, 2x righty, succeed once righty
Take out the garbage to cool down

It was short, it was not the most effective, but I did something.  Complexes workout tomorrow, it will be better.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Morning Retreat

The heat index was 96 degrees yesterday afternoon.  The town home association is sealing our driveway this afternoon.  I decided it was best to move my workout for today back in the morning.  It went well:

12k Kettlebell Warm Up
KB Squats: 5 x BW, 20k, 28k, 20k's, 20k's, 20k's, 20k's
Romanian Deadlifts: 5 x 45, 95, 135, 165, 165, 165, 165
Rack Walk with 24k's
Overhead Walk with 16k's
Farmer's Walk with 24k's
Windmills: 3/3 x 12k, 12k, 12k

I left the 24k's out on the squats, since they feel weaker in the morning.  The deads will build up slowly but surely, they left me pretty sore last workout.  I stopped tracking the distance for the weighted walks, since I'm just guessing anyway.  The windmills feel pretty good, but I need to check my form on video before adding any more weight.

No time for grip in the mornings.  I'll hit it hard on Saturday.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Light One

I intentionally took today a little easier.  It felt like a good day to pull back a bit.  I did:

KB Presses: 5/5 x 12k, 16k, 20k; 2/2x24k; 5/5 x 20k, 20k
One Arm Swings: 8/8 x 16k, 20k, 24k, 24k, 24k
Chins: 1
Renegade Rows: 5/5 x 20k, 24k, 20k
Push Ups: 8
Flat Bench: 5 x 45, 95

I'm going to start switching the snatches up with swings and high pulls to vary my workouts.  I feel like I need to strengthen my foundation with the basics if I'm going to make more progress on the snatches.  I tried the chins to see if I can rep them yet, the answer is no.

The push ups were a bit of a dissapointment, as was the bench.  I stopped the push ups when my bad shoulder started to hurt.  The set of 5 reps with 95 on bench, my shoulder was clicking and popping for all of them.  It is frustrating to have spent so much time and money trying to rehab it, to have progressed so far on all my other lifts, and then to have it be so problematic with simple flat pressing.  I could push through it and lift quite a bit more weight, but that just seems like a bad idea.  I guess I keep on working around the problem for now.

Monday, August 20, 2007

New Toy

My 24k Kettlebell came today.  Of course I had to try it out.  Good thing too, because I was feeling crummy on the way home.  I did:

KB Squats: 5 x BW, 20k, 28k, 20k's; 2 x 24k's; 5x20k's; 2x24k's; 3x20k's
Braced Bending Isos between sets
Romanian Deadlifts: 5 x 45, 135, 155, 155, 155, 155
Light Vice Gripper between sets
Rack Walk with 24k's
Overhead Walk with 16k's
Farmer's Walk with 24k's

The pair of 24k's is heavy for me, no doubt about it.  I do think they will be doable over time.  During the squats I worked on my braced bending.  I failed on the kink of a piece of 12" x 5/16" CRS, which tells me my pulling strength has dropped.  I'd been thinking about given the two handed swings the boot, and this was the final straw.  I just don't think they were working well.  It's back to the Romanian deads for me, I'll ramp the weight back up over time.

My grip strength was also shot today, so I went light on the grippers.  I'll skip any direct grip work tomorrow, and then get back at on Thursday.  The weighted walks are what I think have really been improving my conditioning.  Doing these with the bigger kettlebells made quite a difference in difficulty.  I think it is because outside of being heavier, they are also larger, which offsets the weight further from my body.

Overall it was decent, especially given the weather.  My shirt was soaked by the time I came in.  I am very glad I took the time to get tools for cleaning up kettlebell handles a few weeks ago.  The handle on my new 24k was in crummy shape, with big rough spots on the handle that would have cut my hands up.  10 minutes of filing and sanding took care of that though.  It's the only thing that makes these Power Max bells worthwhile.  If I wasn't prepared to clean up the handles, I wouldn't bother with them.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Beautiful Day

60 degrees and pouring outside.  There is not better weather for training in the garage.  I really enjoyed today's workout.  It went down like this:

Barbell Complexes: 5 x 65, 95, 95, 95, 95, 95
5 x Front Squat
5 x Hang Clean
5 x Push Press
5 x Romanian Deadlift

Chins: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1

Reverse Bending
3/16" x 6" round
3/16" x 6" round
Medium Timber Tie
Medium Timber Tie
1/4" x 7" round
1/4" x 7" round

FBBC Bomb: 1/1 x 60, 70, 80, 70, 70

This was an excellent workout.  The cool weather let me add 10lbs to the complexes with no more effort than 85lbs was the last time I did them.  It looks like the conditioning goal I set for myself will actually be pretty easy to achieve.  I am happy to have gotten multiple singles on the chins, BW was 196 today.  Bending was weaker than usual, but I'll take it.

The evening workouts are allowing me more time for rest and I seem to fit my active recovery in much more often.  I spent most of today laying in bed sleeping, that may have something to do with the good progress.  Time for dinner and a shower.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Another Good One

Now that I've adjusted my eating patterns, the evening workouts are turning out excellent.  Today I did:

KB Press: 5 x 12k, 16k, 20k, 20k, 20k
KB Snatch: 8/8 x 16k, 24k, 24k; 10/10 x 24k PR
Renegade Rows: 5/5 x 20k, 20k, 20k
Thin Pinch: 5 x 60, 60, 60
Windmill: 3/3 x 10k, 10k, 10k
Wide Pinch: 5 x 20, 30, 40

My shoulder is feeling better with the KB presses, but still not excellent.  I am going to work up to another set with the 20k before I move on to the 24k.  I used the dumb sock on the snatches, but I did get a PR set in reps.  I need to work on shortening the rest time on the snatch sets, my conditioning is holding me back at this point.

Complexes tomorrow.  I think the evening workouts may be here to stay.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fun Day

Today was a good one.  I ordered my 24k kettlebell, there was excitement at work with a power outage, we got burritos brought in from Chipotle, and my workout went very well.  I did:

Walk home from work
Kettlebell Squats: 5 x BW, 20k, 28k, 20k's, 20k's, 20k's, 20k's
Braced Bending: 12" x 5/16" CRS, Finish 2 pieces of 11.5" x 1/2" 6063 Aluminum
Two Handed Swings: 15 x 24k, 32k, 32k, 32k, 32k
Rack Walk: 140ft x 20k's
Overhead Walk: 80ft x 16k's
Farmers Walk: 200ft x 20k's
Vice Gripper (between sets): 5 x 3/5, 4/6, 4/7, 4/7
Windmills: 3/3 x 10k, 10k, 10k

I made a minor change in my day that made a huge difference in the evening workouts.  I simply stopped eating after lunch.  It sounds stupid, but I usually eat constantly up until I leave work.  Running on an empty stomach made my workout feel much, much better.  This workout went excellent for me.  I am happy with the progress on the braced bending and really liking the Vice Gripper.

I am excited to get the 24k kettlebell.  I can use it for the squats and walks at a minimum.  I may work it into my renegade rows as well.  After some debate, I decided not to roll my any of my overtime pay into my wishlist fund.  The whole point of having the fund is to relearn how to make rational purchasing decisions.  Dumping an extra $400 in there would have really just been a delaying tactic.  I'm doing well with what I budgeted.

Upper and grip tomorrow, complex workout on Saturday.  I'll make a point to stretch tonight, since sleep isn't coming my way anytime soon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More Time Logged

Another day of just getting it done.  I didn't get to bed early enough last night and worked pretty hard today.  That left me feeling drained walking into the workout at 6:30pm.  Add in the weather, and I was just happy to do this:

KB Presses: 5/5 x 12k, 16k, 20k, 20k; 3/3 x 20k
KB Snatches: 8/8 x 16k, 20k, 24k, 24k
Renegade Rows: 5/5 x 20k, 20k, 20k
Thin Pinch: 5 x 50lbs, 60lbs, 60lbs
Windmills: 3/3 x 15lbs, 15lbs, 15lbs
Wide Pinch 5 x 20lbs, 20lbs, 20lbs
Walk Around Block To Cool Down

This workout just didn't feel good.  My shoulders didn't feel tight on the presses, my hands felt like they might rip on the snatches, everything ached during the renegade rows.  I need to get back on task with my recovery so that Thursday morning's workout is a good one.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Logging Time

Due to a failure of planning, I'm back on the evening workouts for at least the first half of this week.  Tonight's was just a matter of getting out there and doing something:

KB Front Squats: 5 x BW, 16k, 24k, 16k's, 20k's, 20k's, 20k's
Braced Bend 12" x 5/16" CRS
Rack Walk with 16k's 200ft.
Overhead Walk with 16k's 50ft
Farmers walk with 20k's 200ft
Assisted Pistols
Vice Gripper Sets - 3x5x4/6 setting; 1/1x5/7 setting
Windmills up to 12k

Nothing really exciting here.  I skipped the 2 handed swings since my right shoulder has been achey and they are hard on it.  The braced bend was tougher than I expected, I must still be tired from Saturday.  I really like the windmills and am going to make a point to review form for them and learn to do a proper one.  The TGU's seemed to bother my shoulders, these make them feel good.  I have more control and start from a position of strength with the windmills.

I decided that for the next month my grip work will simply be one or two exercises at the end of my main workout, no max attempts.  I'll alternate between narrow grip on my lower days and wide grip on my upper days.  Essentially, that's grippers and bending on lower, pinch and blocks on upper.

I get paid on Wednesday.  The check includes all of my overtime for the month of July, so I may treat myself to a 24k kettlebell.  I may benefit from double 24k's for the front squats and weighted walks.  Also, I like kettlebells and buying things.

Weekend Update

This weekend was the first full weekend I've had where zero work obligations impeded my time. I started Saturday off with some DDR, had the grip together on Saturday afternoon, then hit a good recovery session Sunday during the day. The grip together went like this for me:

Warm Up with 12k Kettlebell and cleaning the garage
Braced Bending: Fail on 14" x 3/8" HRS
Unbraced Bending: Fail on Grade 5 bolt, isos throughout the range of motion
Pinch Barbell: Singles up through 40lbs on each side of the bar
Blobs: Deadlifts up through 32.5lb blob
2 3/8" Rolling Handle: Singles up to Max
2" V-bar: Singles up to 123lbs

The get together was great. I kept biting off more than I could chew, which was a little frustrating. I am much further off of a Grade 5 bolt than I thought. Paul helped me out by letting my try one at each point in the bend. I'd do my best to fail at moving it, then he'd take it a little further, and I'd try again. My focus for the next month is going to be taking on lifts I know I can handle with the grip stuff. No maxes until the next get together.

Mike and Paul made it over. I was able to get video of two lifts:

Paul Spike Bending:
Mike on the FBBC V-bar:

Outside of the spikes, Paul was also taking down some 5/16" round plated steel. He's doing very well with the bending. I think the red nail will fall for him very soon. He hit 148 on the 2" V-bar, which is just short of the 150 that gets you on the cert list. I thought my bar was 25lbs, but upon weighing it, it actually is 23lbs. He'll get it next time I am sure.

Mike brought over a rolling handle for me that is very well made. He has a talent for putting together the grip stuff. For someone who has not been training the lifts, he did quite well. The first time using a thick v-bar he made a lift that should land him on John's cert list. He kept blowing me away on all the lifts. I'm pretty sure the 35lb blob went up for him. We also got him to bend for the first time. He took down a piece of 3/16" stock and his first timber tie. One of Paul's 60d's was a bit too much today, but I think is attainable for Mike with practice.

It was good to have everyone over. I am looking forward to next month's, on Saturday 9/8.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Grip Contest Video

The Larkins were kind enough to send out 2 DVDs full of pictures and a video from the contest.  I was able to use them to put together my video to mark off the contest goal on my list:

Stop Thinking Things

Today's workout was under far less than optimal circumstances.  I didn't get enough sleep, I had to push it until after 7:30pm, the garage stunk, and it was humid.  I just had to execute:

12k Kettlebell Warm Up
KB Presses: 5/5x12k, 16k, 20k; 4/4x20k;
KB Snatches: 5/5x16k, 20k, 24k, 24k; 3/3x28k; 3/3x32k (PR); 9/9x24k (PR)
Renegade Rows: 5/5x20k, 20k, 20k
Walk with Shouldered 5 gallon bottle: 200ft
Rack Walk with 20k's: 70ft
Farmer's Walk with 20k's: 70ft
Walk around block to cool down

It turns out when I shut my brain off and get to work, I actually do pretty well.  I need to stop thinking during my workouts and just act.  This is the focus Don Larkin talks about, and the performances I achieve when I reach it really exceed my average workout.  I'll be pleased about those triples with the 32k for the next week.

I may have figured out the snatch form so my skin doesn't tear.  Now I'm either way over-compensating, or I've got it under control.  We'll see the next time I video myself.  The snatches felt easier than usual, so I hope it's the latter.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Grip Grip Grip

On the way home from work today, I decided I really felt like gripping.  I am supposed to be hosting a grip together on Saturday, so this may not have been the best idea, but I wanted to!  I did:

Braced Bending: 16" x 3/8" HRS; Finish kinked 12" x 5/16" CRS
FBBC Bomb Lift: Singles with 60lbs, 70lbs and 75lbs
Unbraced Bending: 7" x 1/4" FBBC Stainless, Double Overhand
2" V-bar: Bunch of reps with 115lbs

It felt like more work than it looks like.  I got video of the braced bend and my max on the Bomb:

Braced Bend -
FBBC Bomb -

Overall it was a good session.  These lifts will get me on David Horne's braced bending list and John's Bomb cert list, so I like that.  I'm only 35lbs off the FBBC 2" V-bar list, so I may end up pushing for it.  We'll see.

Lower Conditioning - Refocused

This morning I decided I have let my workouts become too goofy, all in the name of conditioning.  It is time to focus on the basics:

12k Kettlebell Warm Up
KB Squats: 5x BW, 16k, 24k, 16k's, 20k's, 16k's, 20k's
Two Hand Swings:  15 x 24k, 32k, 32k, 32k, 32k
Rack Walk: 16k's x 140ft
Overhead Walk: 16k's x 30ft
Farmers Walk: 16k's x 140ft

That's it.  I put squats first so I couldn't skimp on them, pumped up my volume with two handed swings, then finished myself off with a couple weighted walks.  The workout went fast and felt good the entire time.  There was no fighting to regain focus for the next set, just execution.  I will take a similar approach to the upper workout tomorrow.  I think part of the reason I have been struggling to make every workout is accumulated mental fatigue from letting them stretch too long.

On the bright side, with the activity level I am now sustaining, hitting my bodyweight goal is an extremely simple matter of execution.  I hit 197 this morning and am on track to hit 189 as planned.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Wii Update

I hit a good recovery workout this evening, with about 45 minutes of stretching soft tissue work. I attempted to train grip earlier in the day, but my hands felt drained. I think it may be from the snatches yesterday.

My research on the kettlebell snatch form last night suggests my problem with the skin on my hands results from failing to release the kettlebell as it drops. I usually let it pull my arm down and hang on. I am excited to try again on Friday with this new insight.

The lower workout tomorrow morning should be a good one. I have been eating and resting well. The changes at work have made a big difference in my stress levels and available time. Time to call it a night, typing with this remote is a Wii bit slow.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Another Short One

Hot days and evening workouts just don't seem to work for me.  I took my kettlebells into the cool basement for this one, but my drive was still gone.  I did:

Kettlebell Snatches: 5/5x12k, 16k, 24k; 3/3x24k; 8/8x24k; 5/5x24k, 24k;

That was it.  I just didn't feel like doing anymore.  I know I said I wasn't going to do any more snatches until the end of this week, but the skin on my hands is fine now.  It is in the best shape it has been in for months.  However, even with the hand smoothed 24k handle, the skin still pinches.  The only thing that let me do these sets was using a sock on my palm to eliminate friction.

I am really stumped as to what I can do here.  Obviously one option is to just use the dumb sock, which is what I'm doing at the moment.  I really don't like this option though.  I feel like it's a failure to learn the proper way to move the weight.

The skin on my hands is pretty much perfect, the kettlebell handle is quite smooth, the temperature in the basement was ideal, I tried things with and without chalk.  It really comes down to how the kettlebell moves in my hand.

As I drop the kettlebell, the skin on my palm underneath my knuckles just sort of rolls over itself.  That pinches the skin, which leads to blisters, which leads to tears.  I need to figure out how to stop rolling the skin over itself as I drop the kettlebell.  I'll re-read enter the kettlebell and check my Cotter DVD to see what I can find.  If that doesn't work, I'll try a post on Iron Garm.

Monday, August 6, 2007

No Drive

Tough one today.  I ate poorly yesterday (Balance Bar, 3 Tacos, Pint of Ice Cream) and really suffered today as a result.  In spite of stretching in the evening yesterday, I woke up feeling weak and unmotivated.  I went into the gym and found myself laying on the stall mat thinking about going back to bed, so I went inside.

Over the course of the day I made a point to eat as well as I know how.  I drank plenty of water and made a point to leave work on time.  Walking into my gym at 6:30, I still felt crummy.  I was weak and my head hurt.  So, I went for it:

12k Kettlebell Warm Up
Two Handed Swings: 15 x 16k, 24k, 32k, 32k, 32k, 32k
KB Squats: 5 x BW, 16k, 24k, 16k's, 16k's

At this point, the squats were leaving me dizzy and my head was throbbing.  Humidity in the garage was 100% and my shirt was soaked.  I decided enough was enough and went inside.  I'll do better tomorrow.

On the bright side, my hands felt great when doing the swings with the 24k.  Outside of the work I did Saturday on the kettlebell handle, last night I used a pumice stone on my calluses while soaking in a bath.  It did an excellent job of cleaning off the dead skin.  My hand care program has been seriously lacking without one of these, and I didn't even know it.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Skin Care

The skin tear I had on Friday while doing snatches left me pretty disappointed.  I couldn't finish my reps on what was shaping up to be an excellent snatch workout, and then I backed out of the rest of the workout due to frustration.  By the end of the day, I was annoyed with myself.  I spent a lot of time reviewing why we lose skin to kettlebells and decided to make some changes.  In order to fix my problem, I am doing the following:

1. I purchased an array of files and sand paper to clean up my kettlebell handles and remove skin tearing imperfections.  Today I worked my 24k over, and it is much better.

2. I purchased an array of gloves to wear to protect my hands while my skin is healing.  Three different pairs of 99 cent gloves and an old sock.  Ironically, the old sock seems to work the best.

3. I took a hard look at my hands and decided the calluses I'd labeled as badges from my hard work were really skin rips waiting to happen.  I've been filing my calluses down, but not aggressively.  I think given what I am doing, I need to be aggressive about it.  Today I took a bath and really ripped into my calluses with a wash cloth.  Tomorrow peapod will be delivering a pumice stone, and I will start using that on a regular basis after I shower.

4. I moisturized my hands tonight and will make a point to do it more frequently.

5. I will replace my snatches with one armed swings all next week, giving my skin a chance to adjust to the new care program and heal the torn callus on my right hand.

6. I am going to focus on learning not to grip the kettlebell as I transition from the overhead position to the hang.  There is no reason I need to hold it tight while it is descending.  Ultimately, that is what puts stress on my skin.  It is a form problem with how I drop the kettlebell.

At this point, I should know enough from the grip work to be able to avoid skin tears from the kettlebells.  I incorrectly assumed all my grip work had turned my skin into leather that would never be challenged by a paltry snatch workout.  Boy was I full of myself.  I now know better and will do what I can to avoid having any more skin tears to deal with after this week.  I like the high rep snatching and want to be able to do it consistently.

Barbell Complexes

This afternoon was the perfect opportunity for my barbell complex workout.  After an hour playing with the grip toys, I was sweaty and ready for some hard work.  Last week I'd been stumped by 85lbs, so I put everything I could into it.  This week I did much better and hit the following complexes:

Barbell Complex: 5x65, 85, 85, 85, 85, 85
5xFront Squat
5xHang Clean
5xStiff Legged Deadlift
5xPush Press

That's right, I got my 5x5 with the 85lb barbell.  It makes me happy to progress so much relative to last week.  I did make some modifications to the workout that were important:

First, I did it in the afternoon after I was already warm, and it was raining outside.  I love to lift hard with the garage door open while it rains. 

Second, I switched up the order to what is listed above.  Putting the front squats first, which are the hardest lift for me, really makes the complex much less intimidating.

Third, I manned up.  I wanted to quit at the end of set 3, but sucked it up and finished the workout.

Overall, I am happy with how this workout went.  My next step is to reduce the rest time between each complex set.  I think a complex takes me a little over 2 minutes.  I would like to get my rest period between complexes down to at least that.  Once I am there, I will add weight and repeat the process of building my volume, then reducing the rest periods. 

My 5x5x95lbs conditioning goal will need to be done with rest periods equal to or shorter than the lifting periods.  I have confidence that I will get there by the time I hit my bodyweight of 189lbs.  I hit a bodyweight of 199lbs today, which is quite good considering what I ate while in Michigan.

FBBC Order Arrived

Today I had an awesome grip workout courtesy of Fat Bastard Barbell Co.  The order I placed last month arrived, and it was the following:

A styling new FBBC T-shirt
2 Horseshoes
Short Steel
The Big Squeeze (plate loaded metal 2x4)
A 2" V-bar (2" diameter x 24" long metal bar, load plates vertically on it)
The Bomb (8lb shot put with a hook in it)

I resisted temptation to put on my new T-shirt and went to work:

Bending - I got some 1/4" inch stainless and 1/4" hex.  I already know I cannot bend the hex, so I went after the stainless.  I could only manage a slight kink in a 7" piece.  I hope my hands are just tired from last weekend, because I really expected to take down a 6" piece.  Time to get stronger!  I left the horseshoes alone.

The Big Squeeze - I love this thing.  First I deadlifted it with a normal pinch grip.  I worked up to 35lbs on each side.  Then I deadlifted it with a wide pinch grip, up to 15lbs on each side.  Then I curled it with 5lbs on each side to get the feel.  Then I realized I could put it on my feet while sitting to work the front of my shins and did a bunch of reps that way.  I am very happy with this bar and it will see a lot of use in my workouts.

2" V-bar:  - I worked up to a max of 90lbs in plates on here, which I think is around 110lbs total.  It is massive and much slicker than the 2" v-bar Rick brought over.  To be honest, I don't see myself training this one much, but it will be fun for get togethers, especially since John has the 2" v-bar cert list.  I would prefer to use it over the 1" v-bar though, and put my 1" v-bar away as a result.

The Bomb - This thing is fun.  I worked up to 60lbs in plates on it, which was hard for me.  There are guys doing almost triple that weight on it, which astounds me.  I'm used to being 1/2 as strong as the top guys, not 1/3.  I hope this means it hits a weak point I have previously failed to train.  I will probably use it once in awhile, and it does have good get together potential, since John maintains a cert list for it.  I am happy with this.

Overall it was a great workout and I am happy with my purchases.  They were well worth the wait, and it is probably for the best the equipment did not arrive right before the grip contest.  My hands are fried.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Cut Short

I got plenty of sleep last night, probably 9 hours.  This morning's workout was intended to be at my own pace, taking the time to really enjoy what I was doing.  However, I went into the garage and just didn't feel like lifting.  I started out slow like usual:

12k Kettlebell Warm Up
KB Snatches: 12/12 x 16k, 20k; 8/8 x 24k; 5 / 1 x 28k; 1x28k

My intention was to pyramid up to snatches with the 32k, but during the set with the 24k, I lost a callus on the palm of my right hand.  I went inside, trimmed it off, and tried taping it.  First snatch righty with the missing callus, I could feel the skin ripping more.  I tried it again with a weight lifting glove on, same problem.

At that point, I decided it was the end of the workout.  This problem has been looming ever since I started doing higher rep work with my kettlebells.  They are cheap made in china bells from Gill Athletics.  The handles are rough and I know that's not well suited to high reps.  I've been intending to sand them down for some time, but wasn't sure how to go about it.  This evening I'll look online and figure out what to do, then Saturday while I am out I will get the supplies.  I'd like to give this approach a shot before dropping the cash for a new kettlebell with a better handle.

I was maintaining my calluses, BTW.  This rip was skin just below the callus, that then went up into the callus.  I think my hand blistered from the higher rep sets on Tuesday, leaving the skin soft and ready to tear today.  I'm pretty sure that's a symptom of a problem with my kettlebell handles.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Recovery and Rest

This evening I finally made time for a recovery session.  It's my first one since getting back from Michigan.  I was in dire need of it, and it paid off in a big way.  After 45 minutes of the foam roller, stretching, and the stick, I feel much looser and more comfortable.  I am still out of alignment, but there is only so much one session can do for you.  My big mistake was doing nothing after lifting all day on Saturday, sleeping in the hotel bed, and traveling home on the train Sunday.  I'll get this sorted by the end of the weekend.

Scaling back my work schedule is making life much easier.  I've only had 3 normal work days so far, and already I feel as though the work week is pretty short.  Stress levels have dropped, my evenings seem long, and I am gradually finding time for all the things I'd been neglecting.  I think by the end of next weekend I will be back to 100%.  The trick now is to anticipate scenarios that will create significant overtime and prevent them.  I am getting better at it and identified one today that I will be heading off on Monday.

For the next 6 weeks it's just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, doing my conditioning program working with what I have.  As long as I eat well and get the workouts in, I'll meet my goals.  6 weeks to drop 10lbs and bring my conditioning up from nothing to something really isn't asking much.

My budgeted approach to the wishlist is working well.  I have not ordered any new toys since I got the steel last month.  My FBBC order is finally at my parents house, I'll get it this weekend.  That should keep me pacified for a few weeks at least.  Not only that, I just got the Vice Gripper at the grip contest, which is really cool.

Realistically, I already have everything that is needed to get really strong.  Not to say there aren't other things I'd enjoy (David Horne's bending machine is awesome!), but I need to focus on making the most of what I have for the next month or so.  Once I hit my conditioning goals, I'll get myself something nice.

Lower Conditioning

This morning I woke up at 5:30, feeling tired even though I went to bed around 9.  Rather than fight it, I just got up and did my workout.  A little more effort than last time, I did:

12k Kettlebell Warm Up
Two Handed Swings: 15 x 16k, 24k, 32k, 32k, 32k, 32k
KB Squats: 5x BW, 16k, 24k, 16k's, 16k's, 16k's, 16k's
TGU: 4x1/1x16k
140ft. 16k's Rack Walk + 5 Overhead Squats w/ Hollow Bar
25 Medicine Ball Tosses + 5 Overhead Squats w/ Hollow Bar
140ft. 20k's Farmers Walk + 5 Overhead Squats w/ Hollow Bar
Walk around block to cool down

This was enough to exhaust me.  Walking up the stairs to get to the computer was a chore, and I am still shaking a little.  Something that stood out during the workout is I need to spend time doing mobility work tonight.  My body is tight and out of balance.