Monday, December 31, 2007

GripFAQ.com Expansion

Over the past two days I spent quite a bit of time doing search engine optimization on GripFAQ.com. The short of it is I added two functions, one to give each image a click through for its own page, and another to give each entry its own page.  This gives the site around 200 key word laden pages. I think it also adds some nice usability features.

Sunday afternoon I spent several hours taking pictures and videos for the site as well. Once I get those processed almost all the entries should have their own pictures. I think I have around 2 dozen videos to go up, but I am not sure of the best way to present them.  Embedded youtube panels coupled with download links is the best I've come up with so far, but I'd prefer to be hosting all the content. I am leaning towards putting all the videos in a single section under the top nav, opposed to peppering them throughout the page.

Otherwise I've got some other good stuff in mind:

1. Dynamically resizing pictures from my source files upon page loads, instead of using pre-sized pictures. I think this will give my a lot of flexibility with the layout.

2. Finish the C# conversion on the admin side.

3. Enhance the admin tool to manage the site sections via a webpage instead of the database.

4. Convert the whole site to the .NET 2.0 framework.

5. Today's changes introduced a number of opportunities for code refactoring that will require expansion of my C# and SQL skills. I had to balance getting it done at all with getting it done right, but am looking forward to tweaking over time.

6. Fix the page layout upon printing to paper so that it looks like on the screen. I am having a heck of a time getting things to flow together smoothly. Once this item and the dynamic picture resizing is done, I am much closer to a print version of the site (book).

7. Eventually the look and feel need to be revised by a professional graphic designer

8. The writing has considerable room for improvement. On going content revisions are needed.

9. The pictures have considerable room for improvement. Eventually sessions with a professional photographer are needed. Ad revenue will have to pick up for this one though.

10. As always, more content needs to be added.

11. My blog needs a header and style sheet that aligns with the GripFAQ.com header and style sheet. I am not sure how feasible this is give the options provided by Go Daddy.

There is certainly no shortage of work, good thing I enjoy it.


Oh, and my training - well, I plan to resume normal workouts Wednesday morning at the latest. Tuesday seems unlikely with new years eve and all, but Wednesday I will be ready to go.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saturday Update

The extra time available for vacation has resulted in DDR making a strong comeback as my activity of choice. Thursday and Friday I had solid sessions, working up to a few 7 foot songs by the end of Friday. Between the weight I've dropped and wearing 2 pairs of thick socks, I am now able to play without any foot pain.  The game is a ton of fun and it makes holding back very difficult. I found myself pricing metal pads at $330 this evening, but held back on buying one.

My Saturday training session got pushed back to Sunday, both due to DDR and from staying up far too late on Friday night. I got into a groove updating gripfaq.com and did not go to bed until 2 in the morning. Making things worse, I woke up at 6:30am excited to continue. With 12 total hours invested I managed to:

1. Get the website running on my laptop again

2. Capture two database connections that were being left open, which I think will fix the intermittent connection error the website encounters running on my Go Daddy hosting. I think the error is caused by Go Daddy killing my active SQL processes when the maximum number of allowed database connections is exceeded.

3. Update the top nav to allow my blog link at 1024x768 screen resolution, as well as to leave space for a new section.  In the near future I may add tips on planning training or video demonstrations.

4. Greatly improve the site appearance in FireFox, tweaking a range of display issues to make the fonts and left nav function the same as in Internet Explorer. This took quite a bit of patience due to cross browser style sheet rendering variations.

5. Refactor the style sheet and include file structure, significantly reducing the size and complexity of the code

6. Expand the supporting grip section content, including entries on thick bar deadlifts, timed holds, rolling handles, and rolling handle deadlifts.

7. Deploy and test

With three days of vacation remaining, I hope this groove continues. I have very few commitments and some excellent ideas for improving the site. Outside of updating the text content, there are a range of pictures, videos, and technical upgrades I would like to make.

This evening I also went ahead and ordered a 40k kettlebell from Perform Better, for $135 delivered.  While I cannot use it for much right now, I have been thinking about getting one daily since Gripmas.  I want to hit my 1/2 body weight kettlebell goals with this kettlebell and a body weight in the mid to high 160's.  When it arrives I will immediately knock the clean and goblet squat off my list. The others will take some time, but I think they are possible.  This course sits much better with me than my original plan of dropping into the high 150's to hit my goals with a 36k kettlebell.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Success

Everything lined up for this workout to go very well. The past few days I have been napping daily and running a slight caloric surplus with quality food. Yesterday I played DDR for active recovery. This morning I got up, ate, took a nap, shot pool, watched strongman, and drank a few cups of tea. By the time I hit the weights at 11, nothing was stopping me.


90 seconds rest between sets:


Goblet Squats - 5 x BW, 16k, 24k, 32k
Kettlebell Squats - 5 x 16k's, 20k's, 20k's, 20k's
Romanian Deadlifts - 5 x 135, 185, 185, 185
Turkish Get Ups - 1/1 x 16k, 20k, 20k, 20k
Renegade Rows - 5/5 x 16k, 20k, 20k, 20k
One Arm Press - 5/5 x 16k, 20k, 16k, 16k
Vertical Bar - 1/1 x 135, 135, 135, 145
Axle Chins - 2, 2, 2, 2
Front/ Back Neck Work - 10/10 x 12, 12, 12
Grippers - 5/5 x T, #1


Hah! I exceeded my progress expectations for the entire holiday, let alone this single workout. On top of my recovery coming together, the weather was perfect. It was all I could do to stop and go inside. Post workout I ate a pile of food, and then three hours later I was starving and ate again. My body is quickly rebuilding what was lost on the Rite of Passage program.


I will train again on Saturday.  DDR may happen Thursday or Friday. If the weather stays nice, I might also do some activity outside.



Monday, December 24, 2007

Confounding Factors

As alluded in my prior post, a range of confounding factors are preventing me from training more frequently. I think one of the issues I am having is with my nutrition.  Other than eating out, I eat very little junk. My food budget just does not allow for it. However, I have gotten incredibly lazy with my meal preparation. In the simplest sense, I'd rather go hungry than spend 20 minutes cooking and eating a meal.

This has lead to an ability to maintain my weight, even when I intentionally loosen my diet to add extra calories. Last week, concerned by the 2lb loss to 175 the prior week, I opened things up. During that week span, I ate out Italian twice, ice cream once, Chinese twice, and pizza once. I also spent every day at work foraging on Christmas cookies, chocolates, and meeting left overs. Saturday morning, I weighed in at 174. This drop was with a single workout all week.

There are a lot of problems with this. The biggest is I need to just barely run a caloric deficit to make real progress towards my goal of relative strength. Extreme deficits will only exhaust me and eat away at the little muscle I do have. The second problem is the quality of food I end up eating as a result of my poor preparation.  Take out and office snacks are not the basis for a sound, healthy diet.

So, what to do? For starters, I have ordered 4lbs of mixed nuts from amazon, in 2 32oz plastic jars. I will keep one at work and one at home. During the day, I will make a point to snack from them on a regular basis.  My hope is they will push out the crap at work and solve the issue of just going hungry at home. I am not sure if they will get my calories to the point where I need.

If this doesn't fix the problem, I will phase calorically dense foods into my meals. Initially, I have begun eating my pasta with a topping in addition to cheese (pesto, butter, or red sauce). The other idea I have is replacing my cottage cheese with a higher fat yellow cheese, but I'd rather not.  Eating more isn't a terribly realistic option for me. I will not stick to that with quality foods.

This morning I also ordered a two pairs of warmer pants for training in the cold garage. Hopefully that helps with another of my confounding factors - training squats and turkish get ups in the cold garage makes my knees ache. Short rest periods help, but they are not enough.

The biggest confounding factor I am working with is the week before Gripmas I put in notice at my job.  There are a variety of factors not appropriate to discuss in a public forum, but time has come for me to move on. I am in great shape financially and do not have to work for at least a year. However, I can't stand the prospect of doing nothing! I am very strongly achievement motivated.

So, this occupies my time, pushing back other life priorites. Since giving notice, I have identified my first choice organization and team, evaluated what they do, submitted an application, and made contact via my personal network. While waiting for callback, I am learning more about the working environment I want, doing introspection on my personal priorities. Add to that my ongoing commitment to professional development, and I have a full schedule.

Realistically, lifting isn't going to take priority over figuring out how I went to spend 40+ hours a week for the next 5+ years of my life. So, until I have the work situation sorted, lifting gets minimized.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Back Burner

Due to a range of competing priorities, my training has to go on the back burner for awhile. This means I'll be scaling down to the bare minimum of 2-3 full body sessions a week, with set periods of 90 seconds per set.  Progress should still be made. Sunday morning was the first of these workouts:

90 Seconds Per Set:

Goblet Squats - 5 x BW, BW, 16k, 24k, 32k
Kettlebell Squats - 5 x 16k's, 20k's, 20k's, 20k's
Romanian Deadlifts - 5 x 135, 185, 185, 185

At this point I out-trained my conditioning and the sick feeling in my stomach became too strong to ignore. I had to stop, shut off the timer, shut off the music, and pace while focusing on not losing it. I thought about going inside and deviating from my written plan, but that would make me a quitter. Instead, after about 10 minutes, I got back to it with untimed sets:

Turkish Get Ups - 1/1 x 16k, 20k, 20k, 20k
Renegade Rows - 1/1 x 16k, 20k, 20k, 20k
One Arm Press - 5 x 16k, 20k, 20k, 20k
Vertical Bar - 1/1 x 135, 135, 135, 135
Axle Chins - 2, 2, 1, 2

My immediate goal is to get through this entire workout on my timer, with 90 seconds per set. That will give me a 32 set full body workout in approximately 50 minutes. I can always make time for that twice a week. During the holiday I am on now, I plan to train Wednesday (12/26), Saturday (12/29), and Tuesday (1/1).  I may also work in some assorted DDR, yoga, and stretching.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Missed Workout

Well, the pool table is in and plays great. It cost me $2400, a lot of sleep, and a workout. I tried making time for my upper body session on several occasions, but the energy just wasn't there. Tuesday evening the guys were at my house from 7pm to almost midnight, and then they had to come back on Wednesday evening to finish leveling the table. I didn't even do anything and it was exhausting. I do now have a 9' Gold Crown III in my basement though.

I have the next week off and am looking forward to it. My application is in for the new job I want and my contact indicated all I can do right now is wait. So I will enjoy the holiday and relax.  It will be easy to get all my workouts in. Maybe I'll even do some work on gripfaq.com.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ninety Seconds - Lower

The theme of this morning's workout was to train my lower body and do something every 90 seconds.  My garage is cold and my pants are thin, so I need something to keep me warm.  This does it:

Goblet Squats - 5 x BW, 12k, 20k, 28k
Kettlebell Squats - 5 x 16k's, 16k's 16k's 16k's, 16k's
Romanian Deadlifts - 5 x 45, 115, 165, 165, 165, 165, 165
Turkish Get Ups - 1/1 x 16k, 20k, 20k, 20k, 20k
Underhand 8lb Medicine Ball Tosses: 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

I had no trouble staying warm and my knees felt much better through this workout.  I actually ended up doing more sets than the last one, most likely because of the shorter rest periods.  With the Gymboss telling me to go every 90 seconds, I couldn't stop to think about it.  I like the way this turned out.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Weekend Review

This weekend marks my return to an upper / lower split. On Saturday I did lower body, with a focus on Romanian Deadlifts and Goblet squats, along with a few minor exercises.  Weights were kept light but soreness still set in for Sunday. On Sunday I did upper body, hitting one arm presses, renegade rows, chins, grip, and neck work.

Already I feel as though this plan will work better than the Rite of Passage was.  The weights I am moving are just heavier.  Doing sets of straight one arm presses (opposed to cleans and presses) showed me that my pressing strength is down quite a bit, inspite of the focus on pressing.  My body weight pegged the scale at 175 on Sunday, so I am hoping the heavier work will also stimulate my appetite.  I do not want to drop more than a pound per week these days.

I will need to figure something out for keeping my knees warm in the winter weather.  Saturday morning's training session left my knees a little achey, which I attribute to not staying warm. I am thinking long underwear or neoprene knees sleeves will do the job.  Maybe I can just take short rest periods.

On a non-training related note, tomorrow evening I will be getting a pool table. I am very excited.  The Olympic weight set guys never got back to me and a good deal came around on a used Gold Crown III table. I have definitely blown through my wish list fund and then some, but it will be worth it. Depending how my employment situation plays out, I may still end up getting the weight set in the near future.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Unstructured Activity

Wednesday afternoon's post lunch slump gradually gave way to a strong desire to get in the gym and lift.  Not one to deny greatness, I left work a little early and hit the weights.

This workout was relatively unstructured, but I enjoyed it.  The exercises went like this:

45 Degree Back Extension: 3x10
One Arm Swings: 5/5 x 12k, 16k, 20k, 24k
One Arm Push Press: 3/3 x 12k, 16k, 20k, 24k, 28k
Power Cleans: 5 x 45, 65, 85; 3 x 115, 115, 115
Renegade Rows: 5/5 x 16k's, 16k's
Front Squats: 5 x 45, 65; 3x85

I stopped here.  Gripmas hinted at it, and this workout confirms it.  The Rite of Passage routine is not serving me well.  All my lifts are down, including the ones I have been training.  While the volume of presses and chins I can handle has improved, nothing else has, not even my peak pressing strength.

This indicates it is time for a change.  As of Saturday morning, I am going to return to the 4 day per week lower/upper split that served me so well during the first half of this year. I think higher volume with basic compound exercises will work better than all these one arm presses and chins.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Update

No training yet since the contest, but it seemed time for a blog update:

1. This morning is the first time since last Friday that I feel fully rested.  Travel exhausts me.

2. My hands finally feel good today, but I went into the gym to train and there was no enthusiasm.  I put in one set of 10 on the 45 degree hyperextension and decided to give myself another day off.

3. Thanks to scheduling my grocery delivery a week late, an unexpected Christmas check from my grandpa, and the sale of my pda wrist roller, I have an extra $210 to play with for new toys.  With another $100 available as of Friday's paycheck, I'll be ordering that Olympic weight set this week.  I am waiting on a quote from the vendor to throw a 36k kettlebell in there.

4. The work issues are ironing themselves out even better than I planned.  I am excited at the direction my career is headed.

5. Turns out the cab company is only going to refund the overcharge from the ride to the airport, and not the whole thing.  That bumps my overall contest cost a bit, but it was well worth it.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Gripmas 2007 Results

This weekend I went to Crooksville, OH and competed at Gripmas 2007. The few days leading up to Gripmas were taken pretty easy. I entered into the contest well rested and under trained. The events went like this:




Grippers in Chokers - Maxed at a #2

Two Handed Pinch - Maxed at 116, failed at 126

Axle Deadlift - Maxed at 209, failed at 220

Medley - Got 4 of 21 lifts: #1 strap hold, easy wide pinch, 77lb 3" Dumbbell (PR), and Anvil by Horn

Reverse Bending - Barely got 7"x1/4" CRS round, failed at 6"

100lb Plate Hold for Time - 23 seconds (16 second PR)




In each of the first 3 events, I got the weight just below my current PR, but missed the weight just over. The medley was balanced very well, keeping me busy the entire 150 seconds, but also challenging the top guys. It really brought down my reverse bending. The plate hold for time was a nice surprise, with a huge PR.




My event attempts strategy was to start one notch below what I expect to be able to hit on any given day, and then increment up in small jumps from there. This worked well. I hit my max in 2 attempts on grippers, pinch, and the axle. I hit it in on my first attempt on the reverse bending. One thing I need to consider now is not taking attempts I will fail in each event. I went all out on axle and pinch attempts I could not hit, and that hurt my overall results.




This is the first contest where I am in second to last place instead of last place, but in fairness, the guy who was placed behind me totally skipped bending. I am sure he could have gotten on the board, which would have put me back in last place. Ah well




After the contest I did the following:




40k Kettlebell - 2 Hand Swings, 1 Hand Swings, Clean each arm, Goblet Squat

130lb Sand Bag - Lift to chest twice

Chin Up on Rings

Partial Chin Up on Eagle Loops




It does not look like much, but the kettlebell and sand bag took a lot out of me. I may end up making a sand bag at some point, it was fun. I definitely have no need for a 40k kettlebell for now. The 36k will be ordered in the next few months. Chris has some of the bumper plates I have been looking at, but the gym was too full for me to try them.




The day after the contest, other than some soreness in my hands and forearms, I feel pretty good. This week of lifting will be relatively unstructured, allowing my body and mind to recuperate. The mental need to recover from max attempts and the stresses of travel is my primary concern. I do plan to hit my Rite of Passage Heavy workout on Sunday with three 5 rung ladders.




Cost wise, this contest worked out much better than Michigan. I spent 74 in cabs, 42 of which I expect to get back due to an error by the cab company. I dropped 25 on the contest fee, 120 on plane tickets, 126 on the hotel, and 40 on food. Total cost was 365, 42 of which I hope to get back, for a total cost of 323. Mike getting me to and from the airport made a huge difference in keeping the expenses down.




I am very glad I went.


Gripmas 2007 Experience



Friday after catching my plane to Columbus, I met up with Mike Amos of Anvil or Hammer fame at the airport. He gave me a ride to the hotel, where we checked in and got some dinner. I had a chance to chat with Mike for awhile and he's a great guy, very down to earth and easy to get along with. We share a similar perspective on many things.




After a decent night's sleep, we went to the Super 8 continental breakfast and then lucked into seeing Josh Dale on our way back to the room. We talked with him for awhile while he ate breakfast and then got things together for the long haul to the park 'n ride. Josh got us up to speed on the guys to watch for in the contest and re-aligned my perspective on the type of work a dietician does. They do way cooler stuff than just help people lose weight.




A number of us met up at the park and ride - Stew, Nick, Eric Milfeld, Doc, Jeremiah (an MMA guy Nick is training), and Dave Thorton. Eric has earrings made out of tiny bent nails, totally cool. Stew took 6 of us in his van and showed what a former truck driver can do on the hilly country roads, telling stories the whole time. He's extremely entertaining and made the ride go by in no time.




Crooksville is small town America, we literally almost missed it. Town is a few small shops with a couple stop lights, and that's it. Chris wins the coolest house in town by default, just from his awesome gym. By the time we got there, things were already in full force, with John Eaton hard at work calibrating grippers. A number of other guys were helping things along.




I spent the time they were calibrating grippers looking at the cool stuff Chris has. It was very similar to being at Don Larkin's gym, with little pieces of iron history all over the walls. Everywhere I looked there was something I had always wanted to see or try. Even better, there were things that I didn't even know I needed to see, but I got to. He has unique equipment, contest results, pictures, quotes, prizes, even the cover of the first Strength and Health he got with his first weight set. It is excellent.




We ran through rules and got down to work. Brad (a local powerlifter) brought his wife with, and she was promptly drafted to run the events and scoring. She was a great sport about it and stuck with the job the entire contest. I really enjoy the grip stuff and would have been thoroughly tired of it half way through the contest. Major thanks are due to her for tracking the full contest results.




Grippers went quite well. Chris had a full range of grippers in chokers in very small increments, going all the way up to #4 level. I was kind of laughing at the range they were calibrated up to, and then Josh came along to close the hardest available gripper, gave Eaton a harder gripper to calibrate, and then closed that one too. Awesome. I do not know much more about the gripper results, I find it hard to pay attention to grippers in contests any more.




Next up was two handed pinch. This is where I expected to be separated from the pack, and sure enough, I was. I went for the narrower width along with Zach and his dad Dean. They both blew past me on the pinch, with Dean edging Zach out for the higher lift. Dean has never trained grip before and was persuaded by Zach to compete, so it was pretty fun to watch him beat Zach. It was also humbling for me. I am sure this is the first time he ever touched the implement. Mike is another guy who did great for his first time on the device, hitting 170.




The big guys of course lifted big weights, with Jedd making an attempt at the new world record. It wasn't to happen today, but it was fun to watch him try for it. John Eaton gave us all a great demonstration on the value of starting the lift with the apparatus perpendicular to the ground. This is also where the guys with strength backgrounds started separating themselves from the pure grip guys. Overall body training is the biggest determinant of grip strength by far.




Axle deadlifts followed two handed pinch. Chris has a great setup for all the plate loaded lifts, with weights calibrated down to a very fine level of detail. Bob was a huge surprise here, deadlifting close to double body weight on the axle, at a slim 159lbs. He's a great example of why you should never judge someone's strength based upon their size. Eric, Dave, and Jedd pushed the limits on this event, along with another local lifter. The powerlifters did very well, with Jeremiah Fox and Brad both bringing up big weights with limited grip exposure. Chris ran things up with the best of them, giving me something to aspire towards at any age.




Next up was Chris's medley. This thing was a true work of art - 21 objects to be loaded in two minutes and thirty seconds. Chris gave us all a primer, and then he showed how it was done, loading 20 of 21 objects in 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The only guys who got more were Dave and Jedd, who at this point I expect to be able to do anything and everything . Dave upset Jedd as my favorite, beating him out on time. For someone so calm, Dave plowed through the events with impressive speed. Here everyone pitched in unloading implements and really made things run smoothly, especially given the number of guys.




After the medley was reverse bending. A number of guys had not reverse bent much before, including Jeremiah (the MMA guy) and Bob. Jeremiah did well from what I could tell. Bob got through some 7"x3/16 square using my Ironmind pads, which was excellent for his first time bending. Based on his other lifts, with a little form tweaking, he will be able to go far beyond that level. At this point I was too tired to track what everyone got, but the intensity level was high.




Next up came 100lb plate holds for time, the final event. Chris's son set things up so all the scoring was tracked in an excel spreadsheet on a laptop. Between events the scores were updated, meaning that for this final event things were set to line guys up to face off for their placings. That added a lot of excitement to the event, as we gradually built up to the stronger guys and longer times. I went first and then took position spotting one of the hundreds, to get first hand view of the coping strategies.




This is an event where an experienced strength background made a huge difference in endurance. As much as a test of strength, it was a test of pain tolerance and will power. The guys who really excelled were able to commit their entire being into the lift, to the point where exertion with just their finger tips was making their face turn red and their entire bodies tremble. The intensity was insane, and I think everyone dug as deep as they were capable of. This was the loudest the room got all day, with everyone screaming and yelling. What a great way to explore limits.




Post contest Chris's wife hooked us all up with lots of food, while his son helped to tabulate scores. The food was very good and dinner was the quietest the gym got all day. Everyone just sat and shoveled. I could almost hear Homer Simpson going "can't talk, eating". There were awesome cookies and brownies a few of the guys wives had made. I know Brad's wife made some of them, another of the Ohio guy's wives did as well, I believe.




Dinner was followed by placings and prizes. I know Jedd and Eric were the top two. I don't remember all the other placings, but I do recall Brad coming in at 6th, which is impressive given he started training grip 3 weeks ago. Nick and John Eaton both made an excellent showing for guys who never train. Chris worked with a number of sponsors for the contest and quite a few cool toys were handed out, along with some very creative trophies. Everyone got a frying pan with their contest results on them.




Post contest the toys were broken out and many cool things happen. Here's what I can recall:




Anson doing a muscle up on the rings, followed by several other guys coming very close. Anson is one of those guys who is actually beyond the highest expectations I have for my training. Most surprising on the rings was Jedd, at 265, getting almost all the way up into the start position for the dip on a muscle up. Zach very nearly made it as well. Here I watched and learned a little about how a false grip is used on the rings to get better leverages.




Nick did some awesome stuff. I knew Nick was strong, but I didn't realize how strong. He was flipping the 40k kettlebell, did a 2 hands anyhow with an anvil and a 32k kettlebell, and U'd an enormous piece of flat stock. I think it was 4 foot by 1/2" by 1". That was just sick. I'm pretty sure he got a larger 3/8" grade 5 bolt and I saw him casually rip a deck of cards.




Doc was another surprise, shouldering two different sand bags one at a time, each well over 100lbs. That might not seem like a big deal, but he could only use one arm. It was a definite sight to look over and see him on the floor wrestling with a sand bag using one arm, with the other arm out to the side, wrist in a brace. Two severed tendons from work didn't stop him from putting on an excellent show.




Bob's wife was not one to let him steal all of the pound for pound strength glory. She did an excellent job of pinching 3 10lb plates with one hand, which I am going to guess was more than 1/3 body weight. It impressed everyone there, more so than a lot of the other stuff that went on that day.




Jedd of course was a machine, lifting two blobs, as well as doing cleaning one by the face. Just about anything one person did, he stepped up and did as well.




John Eaton was the inspiration for Jedd cleaning the blob by the face, doing it first with each hand. He also showed us a trick by crushing a bottle cap between his pinky and rings fingers. It looked painful, but he destroyed the bottle cap.




Several guys showed me how things were done on the sand bags, with Mike putting everything through Chris's 200lb bag overhead. I was also given a crash course on how to pick up the smallest bag, which I never would have gotten to my chest otherwise.




Stew started a round of chins on Chris's eagle loops. By themselves they were impressive, but with the anvil between his feet, they were nuts. To make it even cooler, after Nick did the same with the anvil, Stew upped the ante by using 2 24k kettlebells. Chris also pulled himself up on the eagles loops with the anvil between his feet.




Josh bought a 175lb 2.5" solid thick handled dumbbell Zach had made for him, for under $200. It was a little harder than the Inch and stopped everyone there. Zach also brought the 130ish thick handled dumbbell he made. I believe Jedd put it overhead. These dumbbells are pretty cool, and I think Zach has the materials needed to make another 175lber cheap if someone contacts him.




Chris set things up for a weaver stick lift, which I had never seen before. He did quite well at it, actually breaking the Masters world record on the lift. John Eaton was another big shower here, pushing things out close towards the open world record. Eric and Jedd stuck with him most of the way as well.




Chris broke out a table top wrist curl setup, with Josh making the biggest showing, taking some huge weights for a ride. I stayed far, far away from this one, wanting nothing to do with the injury potential. Josh was wrist curling almost twice the weight than I can deadlift.




Another cool item I saw was a loadable blob made by Mike Buck. It had nicely rounded edges and looked like a killer pinch device. He said it was made on the cheap, but I really don't think they can get any nicer.




That is all I can remember, but it was an excellent time and I am very glad I went. Once again my expectations on strength were re-aligned. A number of the guys made lasting impressions on me and will be shaping my training for years to come. The grip guys are a great group and I really enjoy spending time with them. Chris put on a top tier contest and the thought he put into each event really showed. His experience was a benefit to of all us, with things running exceptionally smooth given the huge number of participants, especially for a first time contest.




Oh, and the smartest thing I saw all day - Chris taking the group picture before lifting started. That's wisdom.




Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Variety

This morning was my variety workout.  Yesterday I worked out a rather permanent solution to my work problems that relieved a lot of stress, but also left my too excited to sleep well.  That coupled with the snow storm had me going into this one tired and a bit stiff.  I opted for squats driven by the Gymboss:

Warm Up
Goblet Squats every 90 seconds: BW, 12k, 16k, 20k, 24k, 28k, 32k, 16k's, 16k's, 16k's

That's it.  This left my very sweaty and tired.  My new house is awesome in winter.  The forest preserve covered in snow is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.  To top it off, the association plows driveways, sidewalks, and walks to our porch.  I am very happy today.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Rite of Passage - Light

Simple workout this morning:

20k One Arm Press Ladders: 5 x (1/1, 2/2)
Chins: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1
6 minutes 20k snatches: 5/5 at 0, 1:30, 3, and 4:30

That's it.  Body weight is holding at 177.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Rite of Passage - Heavy

Sunday morning means time for my heavy workout.  This one went exactly as planned:

20k One Arm Press Ladders: 5 x (1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4)
Chin Ladders: 5 x (1/1, 2/2, 3/3)
10 Minutes 20k Swings: 7/7 at 0, 1:30, 3, 4:30, 6, 7:30, and 9 minutes

I felt good at the end.  Next Sunday will be a down day due to Gripmas the day before.  Then I'll add a rung and go back to 3 ladders.

Yesterday I went to look at Brunswick pool tables.  They are sweet.  I am looking forward to filling the open spot in my basement.