Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Good Template

I think I've got a good template working now. It'll look familiar to many--WSB-like.

Day 1: Fast and Light:
  • Emphasis on getting under the bar from various starting positions
  • Repetitive KB work combined with repetitive bodyweight work for left elbow/right knee "rehab"
  • KB work will most likely be a variation of the Clean and Press

Day 2: Slow and Heavy:

  • Probably some sort of slow pull and some sort of slow push
  • More repetitive work with the KB--primarily snatch work for conditioning and some more bodyweight work--Bulgarian Split Squats to even out leg strength discrepancies.

Days 3 & 6: Off

  • Just Z-Health on these days--full body R or I-Phase, depending on how I feel.

Day 4: More Fast and Light:

  • Focused on pulling the bar. Will probably work upto 80-85% here catching in a power position
  • More KB and bodyweight work here--most likely unilateral with KB

Day 5: More Slow and Heavy:

  • Squatting, heavy: 80%+
  • More KB snatch work--probably a lot of conditioning here knowing I'm having 2 days off.

Day 7: Off completely.

This template should allow me to rotate exercises and posititions without experiencing the CNS fatigue I usually get when I go longer than 2 weeks on a program.

Found a good DJM drill to cool off the right knee last night: the "Opener" from I-Phase. Good stuff. Released the right psoas and rectus femoris. Real good stuff.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

This Is Why Everybody Needs to Be Using Z-Health...Everybody.

I'm sure everybody's tired of hearing my "story" but I am just amazed at how smart our CNS's are if we just let them do their jobs. In my left hip, I have not one, but two tears in my labrum. It was also diaognosed with damaged/missing articular cartilage and bursitis--and that was the less painful of the two hips! My right hip has at least one labral tear. I was told by my orthopaedic surgeon that I should stop all weighted hip flexion exercises and that I would eventually need hip replacements. When I asked what would happen if I continued, I was told I would hasten the need for replacements.

It is almost two years to the day since I tore the labrum in my right hip and started the downward spiral. It was January 31st 2005. Today, I jumped under the bar in the clean for the first time since that day. And you know what? I was PAIN FREE--EVERYWHERE! No hip pain. No knee pain. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I have been using Z "religiously" daily since February of 2006. I feel great. I don't feel like I'm 34. I feel 10 years younger. My speed is up. My strength is up. My power--up. The only thing that's down is my bodyfat. (Bummer--I know...) Oh yeah, and I have full extension of my left elbow for the first time in 18 years. Pretty cool.

I have tried just about every restoration/renegerative/rehabilitative therapy/modality except prolotherapy. Foam roller--Yup. Static stretching--Yup. Active and Dynamic stretching--Yup. ART--Yup. Accupuncture (with and without electricity)/Accupressure--Yup. Chiropractic--Yup. E-Stim--Yup. I don't think I'm missing anything major. Z-Health is the ONLY "modality" that has permanently changed my body to enable me to lift again.

If you are tired of foam rolling, actively and dynamically stretching, and performing "activation" drills before every training session, you need to get to a Z-Health R-Phase Certification. Is it expensive? You betcha. Is it worth it? Abso-freakin'-lutely! At the very least, get your butt to an R-Phase certified trainer and get an assessment and R-Phase prescription. You'll be glad you did.

Here's today's training session:

A. Pressing/Heaving Snatch Balance: Avg: 50%/2 x12; 60s rest
(60kg/2, 65/2, 70/2) 4 series

B. Clean with Squat Under from High Position: Avg: 50%/ 2 x9; 60s rest
(80kg/2, 85/2, 90/2) 3 series

C. Front Squat
120kg/1, 2, 3, 1
Stopped. Bilateral knee pain. No need to push it since it's the first time under the bar in 2 years.

Feel great today. Definitely a milestone.

KBs tomorrow.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Kettlebells + Z-Health = The Perfect Exercise Combination

I know I've said this privately, but I'm not sure about publicly, so I'll make it so now:

Z-Health + Kettlebell training = The Perfect Exercise Strategy

Z-Health teaches you how to recapture your mobility, joint by joint, and in doing so, makes your CNS not only stronger, but more efficient. Now add the off-centered loading, ballistic or grind, of a kettlebell, and I believe your progress will be close to infinite--limited only by your recovery and your imagination. (See this link for my thoughts on KBs and the RKC:

I have been pushing hard through a hypertrophy phase for Olympic lift specific hypertrophy. However, that amount of volume plus the enormous amount of stress I've been under has not been good for my right knee. Not only that, I haven't been doing my Z specifically to counter my myofascial winding.

Last night, I attempted to finish this week's training session. My right knee would have none of it. I got thru 2 sets of RDLs and the knee was hollering. So, I stopped. I hadn't been using the KBs for awhile because I thought they would overwork the flexors on the left arm. Long story short, after a quick 6x6 with 60 seconds rest using 2x32kg on the Clean and Press, I had more extension in my left elbow than ever before. One of the concepts in Z is, increased loading cements movement patterns more quickly.

Apparently, this is exactly what my body needed.

My right knee pain disappeared totally. Totally.

I believe it was the internal rotation of the arm which caused full elbow extension on the backstroke of the clean (thumbs pointed back toward the body). All I know is it felt good--really good.

With that in mind, I then hit some snatches with the 32kg: 5+5 every 60 seconds for 6 minutes. It was harder than it should be. The knee was still doing great when I finished. This morning, it feels fine--can squat with no pain or discomfort.

Today, I'm on the platform after 2 weeks off and 2 weeks with chronic right knee discomfort--many times I can get it to go away enough to squat, but it comes back later on. So it will be interesting to see how I perform in light of yesterday's rehabilitative work with the KBs.

Back to my original point: My ideas are born out of my own training and that of my clients. I am my own guinea pig and then my clients receive the "benefit." We've all made more progress in the last year because of the integration of these two tools, these two systems (RKC + Z-Health). I for one am very thankful that I met Dr. Eric Cobb and Pavel Tsatsouline. These two men will continue to revolutionize the fitness/wellness/healthcare industries. It's my opinion, born out of my experience, that those who don't get on this train will be left behind.

Finally, back to my training: It is constantly evolving as I try to balance my body's needs with my psyche's wants. My body obviously needs Z-Health and KBs. My psyche wants Olympic lifting. The challenge will be continuing to combine all three to achieve my objective. Now that I know that right now my body actually benefits from the KBs, I'll have to find a way to incorporate them into my training regimen. This is a challenge I look forward to. More on how I'm going to set this up later.

In the mean time, here's what I know about what I'm experiencing right now:
  • KBs should be reincorporated into my training plan
  • Hypertrophy work cannot be performed at this time with traditional movements: RDLs, Squats, Barbell Presses
  • I still need to perform Z in such a way to combat myofascial winding
  • Squats and pulls need to be trained at a lower volume and a higher percentage of 1RM
  • Hypertrophy work must be performed in non-traditional ways--perhaps "fast-10s" style with KBs or through assistance lifts like hypers, lunges, rows and chins.
  • Back to waving the loads through various mechanisms like the series in barbell lifts for faster/greater adaptation
I'll take the rest of the weekend to design a program for the next 2-4 weeks based on the above ideas. When I get done, I'll post it, as usual.

Monday, January 15, 2007

It May Be Time to Rethink Things...

Just got back from tonight's training session. During the Back Squat, there were barely any reps that were the same. I used 150kg for triples. It wasn't heavy, but I felt uncoordinated. Some of my reps felt like my old pattern--lack of right knee flexion and lateral pelvic shifting to the right due to lack of space/mobility in the left hip. But nobody was there to confirm or deny my suspicions. It was only once I was done with the session and cooling down with some Pressing Snatch Balance with the bar, that I noticed that I my squat stance was wider. In fact, it has gotten progressively wider as the weight/volume has gotten heavier over the last couple of weeks, now that I think about it. Not only that, I'm still squatting with my feet pointing straight ahead--no external rotation of the legs and feet to create more space. This could be a big problem.

I'm not sure if it's the load, the accumulated training volume on the hips (RDLs and Squats 3 x a week), or the position, but things just feel "off." Again, the weight wasn't heavy tonite, but the right knee wouldn't cool off--it was on-again-off-again and in different places each time. I had to keep coming up with creative Z to try to turn it off. Then I thought the bar was sitting on my back off-center--slid to the left. I tried to over-compensate on some subsequent sets. I'm not sure what's really going on. My wife is suspicious that the swelling that never quite disappears in the right knee is a chondral (sp?) defect--but she hasn't seen an x-ray or MRI. If it is, that could spell trouble. I think it's just a tight IT Band. My goal for Wednesday's session is to have my partner or one of the trainers around and check everything out from behind. I will also bring my feet in (it sucks when your adductors start to blow up) and/or externally rotate them. I really wanted to set the nervous system up so I could just slide the feet apart and keep them parallel when I caught the lifts, but I'm not sure that's going to happen.

My right TFL feels chronically tight--when I try to lunge on my left leg, with the right leg in the "aft" position, I get shooting pain down in the right knee at the IT Band insertion. I can cool it off with some shoulder work on the opposite side, but I can't keep it that way.

Perhaps, with this newfound extension in the left elbow, I need to back things down and let my body accomodate to it. There may just be too much adaptation trying to occur right now. I'll have to seek some counsel on that one.

Tonite's training session:

A. Back Squat: 80%/3 x 8 sets; 2 minutes rest
70/3 x2; 100/3; 120/3; 130/3;
150/3 x 9 sets--wasn't happy with the 8th set, so I decided to hit a 9th. Probably shouldn't have.

B. Press: 75%/4 x 6 sets; 90 seconds rest
75kg/4 x 6 sets; Essentially a repeat of Saturday, but with a tighter rest. No problems.

C. RDLs: 70%/5 x 4 sets; 60 secs. rest
130kg/5 x 4 sets. Easy. A little tightness in left hip and groin from these. Not sure what that's about--perhaps that posterior-superior labral tear.

Tomorrow, I will really focus on some rehab/GPP and becoming completely discomfort free in the right knee.
First Training Session After Soft Tissue Work

I was able to achieve full elbow extension in my left elbow for the first time since I broke it 18 years ago. I was very interested to see how this would affect my training session, especially the effect it would have on the right knee.

Here's what happened:
  • My torso straightened on the RDLs along with my elbow
  • This created more loading of the left hip and less strain on the right knee
  • Left hip actually felt almost "crampy" around the joint itself
  • On the back squat, pelvis felt square
  • Left shoulder tends toward more extension when bar is on the back than right; this was not the case
  • More recruitment of left glute, left external/internal oblique while squatting
  • More "crampy" in the left hip
  • More recruitment of right VMO, right adductor complex, right gracilis
  • On the press, right pec recruitment, more left triceps recruitment due to full elbow extension
  • Overall, my body wasn't quite sure what was going on. Everything felt strong, but awkward. (Could be I lifted an hour after I got up...)

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. The right knee only barked a couple of times and then shut up. That crampy feeling in the left hip continued when I was finished. I drove to Winstom-Salem to Coach Ethan Reeve's annual strength and conditioning clinic and the hip was still crampy. I spent most of the day sitting. So Sunday, hip was still crampy. I was concerned because this is how the hip felt when I had to get the MRI. So, I stayed off the platform yesterday.

It's amazing how just a couple of extra degrees in the left elbow could make such a big difference in the whole system. The hip feels better today so it's going to be a spur of the moment decision whether I snatch and C&J today to make up for yesterday or just hit my regular strength day.

I'm excited to see how this is going to make difference in strength and power levels. The more I get rid of my compensations, the more efficient I become (duh!). I've trained so long in a compensated body that this seems like a whole new world of training for me. I am actually starting to feel young again (early twenties kind of young). Not only that, all these compensations on top of a grueling work schedule explain why I was only ever able to work upto 90% of Cmax without getting injured. 16 hour work days, 4-5 hours of sleep, and heavy training do not a happy body make. Every day is an adventure with Z--I never know how I'm going to feel or how I'm going to perform. The general trend is extremely positive. Three more months of training should be very interesting...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Soft Tissue Work and Z-Health

I have been adamant in my position about the need, or lack thereof, of soft tissue work in conjunction with Z. So I haven't gotten any massage; no foam roller; no stretching. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. (OK, I lied--I got one "relaxing" massage last April--a present from a client; foam roller twice; and static stretching twice.)

However, in my last one-on-one with Dr. Cobb, he suggested I get some work done on my left elbow. It's been about 4-6 weeks since then. I have been acutely aware of the changes R-Phase has been making in my body and I decided to hold off as long as possible. Last night was just about right.

My right knee had started to flare up again and barely anything would "turn it off." Last night, I had a massage therapist (Nina Elseik for those interested) who went through R-Phase with us work on my forearm...for a whole hour.

Here are my impressions:
  • One of the key tenets of Z-Health is to stay out of pain--no nocioceptive input--it induces Startle Reflex. I never experienced "pain," just a lot of "tension release." That puppy was T-I-G-H-T! But the interesting thing was, my brain didn't know really how to interpret what it was experiencing. Nina kept asking me if I was experiencing any pain. I couldn't really decide what it was. I commented to her that what I was experiencing wasn't like any pain that I've been used to--nothing sharp or pinchy.
  • At certain points during the work, I felt a warm sensation in my right VMO and gracilis/adductor complex. Very weird...but not really based on some of what I learned in R-Phase (TOP SECRET--you gotta take R-Phase if you wanna know.)
  • Just working on that forearm--that release of that much stored tension, caused me to relax incredibly. I had a very hard time getting off the table and had to "gear up" because I still had some work to get through later that evening.

So the short term results from last night's forearm only massage are the following:

  1. Full extension of the left elbow for the first time in 18 years.
  2. Increased radial deviation (approaching normal?).
  3. Pain free bilaterally and unilaterally loaded bodyweight movement in the right knee.

Some ideas/conclusions:

  • Another tenet of Z is "all the body all the time." Same as Dan John's "the body is one piece" concept. So it would make perfect sense that even though the forearm was worked on exclusively, it would produce a systemic response.
  • Although I still had some knee pain, later in the evening (ok, 1030pm) I performed some super-slow R-Phase plus some rehab/GPP work--focusing on wrist/hand/finger extension and then some unilateral loading for the right leg. Got totally out of pain. Totally. Therefore, it's possible that the left elbow was indeed the last piece of the myofascial winding issues I've been dealing with. Dr. Cobb says I'll see the real results in about 10-14 days.
  • Some soft tissue work may be/is necessary in [some] instances where there is protective spasm of tissue surrounding a joint (after a break, major surgery, etc) to return/allow the joint full ROM. This of course should be done with some active joint mobility work. (Last night after I got off the table, I performed some elbow circles in my new ROM.)

Depending on what happens in the next 7-14 days, I may schedule a follow-up visit with Nina. I'm looking forward to my next squat workout and my platform time on Sunday. I wonder if I'll notice any difference yet.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Sometimes You Just Shouldn't...

It's only Wednesday, but it's been a long week already--way too much going on for only the 2nd week in January.

Woke up at 4am this morning with a stomachache which lasted til about noon. Felt off all day. Didn't get my Z done yesterday--I let my day control me. I forgot I only had 24 hours...

Anyway, got thru 2/3 of the session tonite and just couldn't get the squat working: the right knee just wouldn't cooperate. Not enough time to run thru all the Z combos that usually work. So, I just stopped. I'm bummed about it cause everything's going so well, but I do have the massage tomorrow. I guess I need it. Better to live to fight another day. Maybe I should've expected it considering Monday's session. It's interesting how everything's related: emotions-body-nervous system--it's all hooked together. Hindsight being what it is, I shoulda just done some GPP tonite and hit this training session tomorrow. Live and learn.

Here's what I completed:

A. Press: 75%/4 x9 sets; 120secs rest
75kg/4 x9; Easy

B. RDL: 70%/5 x8 sets; 90secs rest
130kg/5 x8; Pretty easy, but felt "off," felt right knee a little...

C. Back Squat: 65%/6 x 6; 60s rest
Just couldn't get it going--120kg/2 x2 and had to shut it down--right knee pain plus no groove.

Massage tomorrow focusing on scar tissue in left elbow from a break in the radius wrestling 18 years ago...(Wow--that's a long time...). The doctor set the break incorrectly--he said that another degree or two and it would've been a compound fracture. Thank God for small blessings. Not really that big of a deal, but the results of no therapy sure added up over the years!

Plan of action: Eat extra food tonite and get more sleep than I did last nite. Tomorrow is some GPP/Rehab work.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Highest Workload in Years (3+?)

Hit 140kg for 9x4 reps today (5040kg). I haven't done this kind of workload in probably 3 plus years. It felt a little awkward the first couple of sets, but then got into the groove. Fatigue-wise, no problem. Probably could've done another 9 sets, but I'm constantly wondering how the right knee is going to respond. It's a little aggravated right now--but that's the weird part. It didn't start until almost 4 hours after the training session. I'll hit some super-slow Z in a few minutes. Oh, and my mistake, soft tissue work on Thursday, not Tuesday. That's too bad, cause I really want some now!

Here's how the session went:

A. Back Squat: 75%/4 x9; 2 minutes rest
140kg/4 x9--felt very good.
Looking forward to 160kg in 2 weeks.

B. Press: 70%/5 x8 sets; 90s rest
70kg/5 x 8; some grinding in my left shoulder that I hadn't noticed before, but other than that, pretty easy.

C. RDLs: 65%/6 x6; 60s rest
120kg/6 x6;
The only thing that challenged my CV system today. Also challenged the P-Chain. I have a feeling there will be some souvenirs tomorrow from this one.

I will probably take tomorrow off from GPP work and focus on some very precise, very slow R-Phase. I feel like I need it--especially in light of the extra grip work from the KBs. Not only that, but I've logged 5 training sessions in the last 4 days, which is higher than normal for me. Good thing I get to sleep in tomorrow.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Need for GPP

Once again, I am struck by the need to push my conditioning up. I hate feeling like I'm sucking wind when I'm finished squatting. I didn't get a second session in on Friday. Plus, I'm having some major issues with the left elbow too. Saturday my weightlifting partner had to work so we postponed our session until this afternoon.

Here's Friday's training session (1.5.07):

A. RDL: 70%/4 x 6 sets
130kg/4 x 6; 2 mins. rest

B. Back Squat: 65%/5 x 5 sets
120kg/5 x 5; 90 secs rest

C. Press: 60%/6 x 4 sets
60kg/6 x 4; 60 secs rest.

This was particularly easy. However the hole felt a little weird and I could feel some "clunking" in the lumbar region on my 4th set of squats. Before my fifth set, I performed some pelvic mobility in a lateral lunge position, one set for each lunge position (from I-Phase). Once back under the bar--I don't know exactly what happened--but I had crazy speed! My bar speed was incredible and the bar was jumping probably close to a foot off my shoulders! Weird! However, still not satisfied with the amount of heavy breathing.

Saturday (1.6.07) was a day for GPP. I wanted to change the reps up--use higher reps and just get some blood flowing plus the get the HR up. I was concerned about the left elbow and the supination/extension issues being exacerbated. But, I really can't think of anything better to push up GPP than KBs and I was "jonesin'" for them anyway.

Here's what I did. (I used 60s between just about every set.)

A. Double Snatch: 2x16kg/20 x 3 sets
B. D0uble C+Pr supersetted with Alt. Press: 2x16kg/10+10 + 10+10
C. Double Press: 2x16kg/20, 15
D. 2 Hand Swings: 32kg/20 x 4 sets

Some pretty heavy breathing and my shoulders got a lil' "pumpy" from the higher reps, but it felt like just what I needed. I tried not to overdue it because I knew I would be on the platform the following day.

My wife hadn't worked out all week so I encouraged her to do a session of Z-Health I-Phase (I is for Integrated and it's the next level after "R".) So I joined her. Almost every mobility drill is performed in a variety of lunge positions and is very challenging. This is very difficult for me. I need to spend some more time during the week performing these mobility drills because I definitely feel the difference in my body--easier to move--more fluid.

Sunday 1.7.07

Felt lethargic all day. Not really in the mood to train so it was a good thing I was meeting my partner. Didn't know how I was going to structure this cycle. I'd done 8 weeks of "speed" work so I wanted to venture into the strength realm. Decided to stay around 70% or so today. Both lifts were performed today with a 5 minute break between the two.

Snatch, power, from multiple positions:
50kg/2, 70/2, 80/2;
(above knee/2, below knee/2, floor/2) x3 only with 90kg.

Felt very good, very fast. Bar started to slow a little on the last set from the floor. These felt particularly good since I haven't performed them in a very long time--just training around the knee. That time spent training below the knee really transferred to pulling from the floor. I can't wait to see what the heavier weight brings.

5 minute break

Clean and Jerk, (power clean + power jerk)

90kg/2+2, 100/(2+2)2, 110/(2+2)2, 120/(2+2)5

Now this whole training session was pretty interesting: My right knee didn't feel great going into it and neither did my left elbow. My weightlifting partner noticed that I was bending my left elbow just above the knee on my 2nd clean of each set, right around my 1st or 2nd set at 120kg. (No wonder I smashed myself in the groin with my first set at 110!) I corrected and finished pretty strong.

My positioning and set up for the clean are much different than they have been--almost back to the original way I learned them. Feels comfortable, yet because of the left elbow, it felt kind of awkward--I know, two contradictory statements, but set-up is comfortable, pull is awkward. The jerk was easy, too easy.

I performed some I-Phase between just about every set today of both snatch and clean, possibly due to 4 training sessions in 3 days. I dunno. Overall, today's session felt very good. Wind/fatigue was not a problem--barely even sweat. So, I think yesterday's GPP session was just right. It didn't interfere with my speed at all today which was my biggest worry. We'll have to see how those types of sessions play out over the next 3 weeks.

Overall, this was a good and easy week of training. Just the way I designed it. Next week, starting with tomorrow, has 25% more lifts per day. Uh-oh. Could be in trouble. So by the end of the week, with an increase in tonnage and number of lifts per session, I could see close to a 30% increase in total workload by next Sunday. Should be interesting.

Soft Tissue Work and Z-Health.

I had mentioned previously that I saw virtually no need for soft tissue work in accompaniment with Z-Health. Allow me to expand on the word, "virtually."

In the case of scar tissue, there is need for some release work to be performed. According to Dr. Cobb, this should be light and slow, so not to introduce nocioceptive input (pain) into the body, which of course is how the scar tissue got there. So I have a massage scheduled for this Tuesday in which the therapist, another R-Phase certified trainer (There must at least 10 of us in NC alone!) will perform scar tissue release on my left elbow. I broke my radius wrestling when I was 16. Eight or nine weeks in a cast with no therapy after really did wonders for my elbow. Anyway, this appears to be the last compensation I have to deal with. When I get this taken care of, the right knee should calm itself down and I should be able to get back to overhead squats without locking down my right fibular head and cuboid.

Wednesday should be interesting. Of course, I'll post more then about my thoughts on soft tissue work.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Felt Like a Double

Easy training session yesterday. Some right knee discomfort on the 3rd set of squats for about 3-4 reps. I didn't stop but continued through. Performed some Z between sets and had a perfect last set--perfect alignment, discomfort-free, and powerful. However, 4x6 with only a minute rest between sets is a killer on my lungs. Shows me the need for some KB no matter how detrimental they may be at this time. To compensate for the KB, I'll just have to spend some extra time in supination/extension of the hand/wrist.

The First Training Session: 1.3.07

A. Press: 70%/4 x6 sets
70kg/4 x6; 2 mins. rest

B. RDL: 65%/5 x5 sets
120kg/5 x5; 90 secs. rest

C. Back Squat: 60%/6 x4 sets
110kg/6 x4; 60 secs. rest

I can't believe how easy this felt, except of course for the huffing and puffing on the squat. The weight was fine, my CV system was not.

After work, 2nd session w/ KBs

A. Snatch: R+L: 24kg/10+10 x3; 32kg/8+8; 6+6
I was surprised that I lost my groove with the 32kg. Not only that, but my grip was fried from the RDLs earlier. Gotta remember: skill...skill...skill...

B. Double C+P: 2x24/10+10 x2 sets
Very easy. Really wanted to do this with the 32s, but needed to take it easy.

C. One Arm Swings: 32kg/10+10 x2 sets

Rest was roughly 60s between all sets. By the time I was done with the swings, I had sweat pouring down my body. That was humbling. Gotta get back into these.

I'll probably throw in extra workouts later in the evening on my regular lift days--quick 15-20 minute one like this one just to get some blood flowing. Felt great after this one.

On the Right Knee...

I think I'm down to my last one or two compensation patterns. I'm going to have to go get some scar tissue work done on my left elbow/forearm. I've been putting it off, but I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet. I think this is probably the last of the compensation patterns. Maybe a little on my right IT Band since I never got any rehab for that dislocation. I also need to retest the myofascial winding. I feel my left lat so much more than I ever have and the chronic left trap tightness is almost completely gone. It has taken almost a year, but what a great year it has been! I was reflecting last Friday how much better I felt at this birthday than I did at my last one. It was physically, a very good year.

Now I've just gotta register for that meet in NJ in March...

Monday, January 01, 2007

Back from England and Plans for the New Year...

England was just how I remembered it as a kid: dreary, damp, and dark. Everything was gray and overcast while we were there and I couldn't beat the jet-lag. It was good to see my parents though. I gave my dad ETK and a 12kg KB and my mom Z-Health's R-Phase. They really took to both. My dad was impressed at how swings dropped his blood sugar (He's a type 2 diabetic). He even started reading ETK. So overall it was worth going to spend time with them. Training on the other hand was interesting. My goal was just to maintain a medium volume and medium intensity. I managed both. The only problem was my right knee is now a little "off," probably due to erratic sleep and a lot of sitting around. I had to really work thru R-Phase and get creative with the DJM over the last 2 days to get out of pain--chronic IT Band irritation.

I need to fill out my weight category so now it's that time to focus on gaining mass and building strength-endurance (yes, that is important for a weightlifter--it allows you to perform and recover from more and more higher intensity--percentage of 1RM--work) while still staying relatively lean. I have approximately 15lbs I need to put on. I also have a hellacious 1st Quarter of work, so balancing work, life, and lifting will be a challenge.

I decided to keep it simple and use a plan that has worked for me in the past: 1 squat, 1 push, and 1 pull, performed heavy, medium, and light three times a week, varying the daily intensities of each and placing a day of rest in between. These will be M/W/F training sessions and I will train the Snatch and Clean and Jerk on Saturdays. I will still have GPP/rehab days on T/Th focusing on supination and extension of the hands and wrists respectively--so probably some Pumps, Chins, and Reverse Lunges just to stretch out the legs and move the HR.

Here's how the program will play out:

Monday: Wednesday: Friday:
A. Back Squat A. Press A. RDL
B. Press B. RDL B. Back Squat
C. RDL C. Back Squat C. Press

Where A. is Heavy, B. is Medium, and C. is Light.

I will still keep to my 2 week cycles: Week 1: Low Volume; Week 2: High Volume

I will attempt this for 4 weeks, keeping the exercises the same (strength is a skill).

My A. exercises start at 70%; B. exercises at 65%; and C. exercises at 60%. Fatigue will be induced due to the volume of loading so it makes sense to adjust the percentages downward for subsequent exercises.

The reps for the first 2 weeks will be between 4-6 and the second 2 weeks will be between 3-5. Weeks 1 & 3 the total number of lifts per session (TNL) will be around 75 and for weeks 2 & 4 the TNL will be around 100 or so.

Today's Session:

A. Back Squat: 70%/4 x 6 sets
70/4, 100/4;
130kg/4 x 6 sets; 2 minutes of rest

B. Press: 65%/5 x 5 sets
65kg/5 x 5; 90 seconds of rest

C. RDL: 60%/6 x 4 sets
110kg/6 x 4; 60 secs. rest

This all felt easy which is how it was intended. It produced a mild sweat and a slightly elevated heart rate. Perfect for the first training session of week 1. By week 4, that squat will be at 85% for 10 sets of 3. That will be a challenge.

I hope this plan will work well. Tuesday and Thursdays will be the two days a week where I will be crushed at work, so that's why this training plan is designed the way it is. Also, I don't need to go to the platform to perform these sessions--very important.

We'll see how I feel tomorrow when 2007 starts...