Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Time Out...

Going on a cruise tomorrow. Gone til Monday night. Found another leak in my plumbing today. More stress. Still have to pack. More stress. Just grabbed a quick KB complex workout tonite: nothing too hard, mentally easy, techniquely easy.


Double Swing x5
Double Snatch x5
Double Cl + Pr x5+5
Front Squat x5

5 rounds. 60 seconds of work, 120 seconds of rest.

Worked up a good sweat.

Feel good. It'll be interesting to see what's on the boat.

Feel less stressed. Just remembering Jesus sleeping in the stern of the boat during a hurricane and Peter walking on water and sinking when taking his eyes off Jesus. Good stuff to meditate on, especially while cruisin'.

Datsit, as Rif says, til Tuesday.

Monday, February 19, 2007

LBP Update...

Low back/SIJ area is feeling much, much better today. Rest, enzymes, and broccoli seemed to do the trick. I guess it was just a matter of time getting that stuff out of my system. Internal organs feel stress more than the musculoskeletal system according to Dr. Cobb. Makes a lot of sense...

Quick "workout" seemed to speed things along today:

Pull-ups/Parallel Gironda Dips: supersetted, using descending ladders of 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

The goal was to use as much muscle as possible, so no tactical style--pure bodybuilding (I can't believe I just said that...) on the pull-ups and thus the Gironda Dips...

4 rounds of the superset ladder; rest as needed, never longer than 2 minutes between ladders.

60 reps of each. 120 reps total. Felt good.

Looking forward to getting under the bar again tomorrow. Probably a "catch-all" session since I don't know what they'll have on the boat. It'll probably pistols, pull-ups, and dips set on "repeat" all weekend.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The End of a Bad Week and the Start of a New One...

Last week was bad, really bad...one of the worst I've experienced in a long time. In fact, the last two weeks have been really bad. I'm going on a cruise on Wednesday with my wife to Cozumel. We both need to get away. Life has been too hectic.

Today is the culmination of the really bad stuff. Woke up at 630am to go to the bathroom. Felt great, especially after yesterday's training session. Went back to bed. About 730am went to roll over to the right from lying on my back when my SI area seized up. Talk about painful! It's doing better right now--I can sit without pain and can bend over with discomfort. Earlier, I couldn't even bend over. My wife says my SI function has improved since this morning.

I'm trying to figure out what caused this. The only thing I can think of is I mixed dairy and wheat together the last three nights--something I rarely do anymore. Cheeseburgers on Thursday night; a whole 18 inch pizza--minus one slice--on Friday night; and a roast beef sandwich with pepper jack cheese and whole milk last night. My stomach's rumbling right now just writing this.

I've been pounding the enzymes all day and they seem to be helping--that and the ground beef and broccoli I had for lunch. I've also been doing lots of Z all day.

Yesterday's training session was simple. I need to get the volume up in the front squat and hit some higher reps (greater than 3) to pack some meat on my body--especially my toothpicks.

Saturday, 2.17.07

Front Squat: Ladders: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

110kg/3 ladders from 1-5

Rest was approx 15 secs between set 1 and 2
...30secs between 2 and 3
...60 seconds between 3 and 4
...90 seconds between 4 and 5
And 3 minutes between ladders.

Felt good. New eye position held until the last ladder. Struggled to hold the eyes so I shut it down after the third ladder. Legs felt strong, which of course they should, because the weight was light. I was just trying to use the appropriate weight for those sets of 5...Right VMO was really cooking and the whole right leg felt more taxed than the left one. Goal will be of course 5 ladders, and then I'll add 10kg and start over. If I can do this with 160kg, I'll be sitting pretty (or squatting pretty, whichever the case may be...).

Took Friday and Thursday off. Flooded my brand new kitchen Wednesday night so I was waiting on the "dryer guy" on Thursday who was of course supposed to show up during my training time. Of course, he was an hour late. Friday, I was so stressed from the previous two days that all I did was Z--body was too wound up to do anything else. Not only that, I've been without heat in my new studio except for a space heater a client lent me. The furnace has a cracked heat exchanger according to the gas company guy. Fun, fun, fun...

Wednesday's training session was cut due to time, stress, and fatigue.

Wed. 12.14.07

A. Power Snatch from above knee:
50kg/2 x2
(70kg/2, 80/3, 90/2) x 5
These felt slow and the 90 felt awkward--very unusual.
Shoulders also hurt deep inside. Some sets were ok, some weren't.

B. Power Clean from floor + Power Jerk
90/2 x2
100/2, 110/2, 120/1
Cut it--felt slow, tired, and mentally drained. It had been a long, long day. Thank God for homeowner's insurance.

It'll be interesting to see how the day ends and how I'll feel tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Holy Hamstrings, Batman!

Grabbed a 10 minute KB snatch session today. I changed my eye position--looking down as always but also looking slightly left while keeping the head neutral.

Man--I felt muscles like I never felt them before!

Traps, rhomboids, hams, abs, oh my!

I uses VHS--Very Hard Style--really reaching back thru the legs to load everything up. Good stuff.

By the end of the 10 minutes my hams were toast--especially that hard-to-reach right one. I finally feel like I'm squaring up.

The session was simple:

32kg KB: L+R: 5+5 every minute on the minute for 10 minutes.

Each set took approximately 32-36 seconds, so I was below a W:R of 1:1. Easy for some, but challenging for me. Gotta get in shape for April. About an hour earlier, I C+P'd the Beast for a rep on each side. Pretty easy. Hadn't done that since September--no Beasts available. And I just hit some barbell presses yesterday.

Overall, feeling very, very good.

Back on the platform tomorrow for power versions of the lifts.

Monday, February 12, 2007

More with Dr. Cobb

Z-Health was back in town this weekend for another R-Phase. I sat in on part of Saturday but that was all I could handle. I had a private session Saturday morning. Here was the problem: I couldn't flex my right knee while my right was extension without sharp pain. Nothing I did would take care of it. Nothing. My timing in seeing him was perfect and it seems this always happens. Here's what we found: the same visual and vestibular disturbance we found at the start (apparently, these things return) plus more visual tracking problems.

Here was the coolest thing about the session: Dr. Cobb was palpating my right gastroc. It was tender to the touch. At this point, many other practitioners would've concluded that my right gastroc was the problem. Some SMR and/or stretching would've been prescribed; I'd done that stuff in the past. No dice. Back to Dr. Cobb: He had me do some more visual testing, found a faulty motor pattern, and had me do some visual and vestibular work. Here's the cool part: I didn't move anything other than my head and eyes. I was still standing in the same place and my right gastroc was no longer tender to the touch.

Take home point: The fascial system is slave to the visual and vestibular systems. Fascial winding apparently is determined primarily by the visual system. I did not know that. Very cool.

Then, Dr. Cobb found yet more visual problems. These made me want to vomit: sympathetic response. He concluded that if while looking down on the squat, I looked slightly left with my eyes only, that would break the old motor pattern and rewind the fascial systems associated with my right knee. I tried it yesterday. It worked like a charm. Perfect front squats. Perfect. Felt like a new knee.

Here was yesterday's training session (on the platform with weightlifting partner):

Sunday, 2.11.07
A. Snatch from high point.
Tried getting under the bar. Nothing doing. Right knee pain plus old winding pattern. Switched exercises.

B. Pressing/Heaving/Snatch Balance (depending on the weight)
(70/2, 80/2, 90/2) x4; approx 60-90s rest (you go, I go)

C. Clean from the high point
(100/2, 105/2, 110/2) x3; approx 60-90s rest (you go, I go)
My legs were feeling tired in the middle of these. Almost a week off will do that to you.

D. Front Squat. Just had to try these out, even though I was tired already.
100kg/3, 110/2, 120/1;
110/3, 120/2, 130/1
These were the BEST front squats I have ever done. Ever. It was like I was squatting on rails--straight up, straight down. Plenty of room left. Felt like I could've squeezed out 4-5 with that 130kg. Good stuff.

Tonite's session,
Monday, 2.12.07

Focus is on putting on some muscle as well as pushing the strength up. Using a program I developed a couple of years ago just before I hurt my hip. This combined with some heavy eating put approximately 10 relatively lean pounds on me at that time. Let's see if it still works, cause I need about 20 right now...

A. Press, jerk grip, 3RM, then 80% for 8 sets of 3 with 60s rest
Sets 4 and 5 were hard--then it got easier.

B. Rack Pull, clean grip, 2 inches below knee, 3RM, then 80% for 8 sets of 3 with 60s rest
This was really disappointing for me. I realized just how weak I've become, especially at this lighter bodyweight. Of course, just after typing this, I realize I've never had the mobility to pull from this position. But still, numbers seem a little low. If I want to C&J 200kg eventually, this number needs probably another 100kg added to it. Another year or so...

C. Front Squat, 1x5, 2x3
60kg/5, 100/3 x2 set; approx. 90s rest
Just wanted to grease the groove here. Try out the new eye position 2 days in a row. Again, no problems. Easy. Did feel a little tired after the RM work though.

D. 45 Degree Hypers
1x10, bodyweight.

I liked the RM work in the past with the back-down sets. My reasoning for doing this is that it put on specific muscle, that is, specific to Olympic lifting. The back-down sets work quite nicely for this. That 80% is a little heavier than it normally would be due to CNS potentiation from the RM work. So, I get to use more weight. Good stuff. We'll see how it works now with a more efficient CNS.

Overall, feel good--a little tired, but good.

Tomorrow is a KB/GPP/Rehab day.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Forced Rest...

Life's been kinda hectic lately: selling a business, opening a new studio, starting a new business, rennovating my home, managing another current business...I think as well as you do under stress, sometimes your body thinks otherwise.

I like to think I can keep my stuff together. I usually don't get sick--OK, the occasional stomach upset, but that's just a weak stomach. But all this stress, no matter how well I think I manage it, finally got to me: stomach flu.

Although it was a mild case, it knocked me down for the last 3 days. Still feel junky, but much better than the past two days.

The good news is that Monday's training session was focused on getting under the bar and it went very well. My speed is increasing: I experimented with pulling and then pulling under the bar and just pulling under the bar. Both were very fast. Of course it was only 100kg on the clean but still to hold it at the waist and BAM! just drop under it and explode out of the hole makes one feel very good--much better than the stomach flu.

Monday's session:

A. Pressing/Heaving Snatch Balance:
(70/2, 75/2, 80/2) x4 w/60s rest

B. Clean with pull under from high position
(90/2, 95/2, 100/2) x3 w/60s rest

C. Chins, bodyweight: 5, 6, 6, 7

At home:

D1. KB Clean and Press, Left then Right w/32kg
(5,4,3,2,1) x2
D2. supersetted with Pumps: sets of 5 after each C+P

Training felt good even though it was performed in my local "health club." Dan John, please forgive me for being a lesser man and not training at my platform where it was 27 degrees Farenheit.

Hopefully I feel better tomorrow night so I can hit another training session.

The only plus side is that I love cheeseburgers, double cheesburgers. Last night I was able to tolerate a bacon double cheeseburger from Cookout--felt like I needed the fat to bind things together, if you know what I mean... Mmmm good.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Staying Busy, But Not too Busy to Train

It's been a crazy month since I got back from England. Not the least of crazy things was the sudden decision by my former business partner and I that I should sell my half of the TPT partnership to him. Tomorrow seems to be the end of the storm as I should be into my new studio. I think this will be a very good thing for my clients: they will have an exclusive space all to themselves and I will be able to devote my full attention to them.

One of the calming influences during this time has been the ability to train, which is weird really, because in the past, training too was a negative stressor. However, in the last year, I've fully surrendered my training, which was the major priority in my life above all else, to God. It no longer holds my attention, my focus, my worship, like it once did. I actually sank into deep despair mid-year last year as I wrestled with the idea that I may never squat or compete in weightlifting again. I didn't feel like training and only forced myself because I needed to continue to be a role model to my clients and the trainers working for us. I forced myself to train for the "Beast Challenge" in September. At that point, I had resigned myself fully to never competing again in weightlifting nor squatting any sort of poundages again. My body was broken and so was my spirit. It was about that time that Z-Health was really working its "magic," so-to-speak and my body started to heal itself. God does interesting things to get your attention: He takes away the thing you worship most, the thing you think you will die without, the thing that replaces Him in your heart, in order to heal you; to heal that place in you that was wounded when you were a child, that place out of which you structure a life to protect yourself from ever being wounded in such a way again. As Z was healing my body, God was healing my heart, my spirit. Once I surrendered to Him the thing I thought I couldn't live without, He returned it to me as a gift--a gift which I would find as something peaceful instead of something that created inner turmoil and anxiety.

Fast-forward a couple of months and now I actually find training peaceful, no longer the urgent obsession to excel that it once was. Lately, it has become very private, very soothing, and very enjoyable in a healthy way. I only came to this realization last night--my last day training at TPT. It was very sad to walk away from something I helped build into the premiere personal training facility in our area. I was tempted not to train, because in the past, the idea of lifting heavy when I was stressed usually resulted in some form of injury or other failure as a result of "Man-ing Up." Last night was different: I squatted 160kg for 30 reps. Not big numbers for sure. But it is the highest workload that I've squatted in many years--perhaps five or more. It was very soothing. I thank God that what I once worshiped instead of Him, He has given back to me for my enjoyment instead of my imprisonment, which training once was--a self-imposed prison of the heart.

So now, training is no longer a compulsion, an obsession, an idol. It is just fun and finally peaceful. I no longer train to prove myself. I train because I like to and because it's good for the mind, body, and spirit. Last night was the realization, the fulfillment of this concept.

Friday, 2.2.07
The session was very simple: It was a heavy squat day. It's purpose is to build strength and put on some mass.

Back Squat

60kg/3, 100/2, 125/1, 142.5/1;
Cluster Sets: 30s rest between reps; 3 minutes between sets
160kg/(1+1+1+1+1+1) x 5

I could tell that this was a manner in which my body was not accustomed to working: my legs started to get sore about the third set. It will be interesting to see how this approach will work: On the surface, the singles seem very conducive to training for weightlifting. Psychologically, it works great, because unlike Dan John, the idea of squatting for sets of 10 makes me want to not squat at all. Anything more than two reps is endurance training in my book. And for that type of training I'll use KBs or unilateral work.

After, I attempted my KB snatches. However, the hole in my left hand opened back up forcing me to drop to a lighter bell. Unfortunately, my hams, adductors, and glutes were fatigued from the squatting so even the 32kg made me breathe harder than normal.

KB Snatch: On the minute.

40kg/3+3, 4+4; hole in hand opened back up
32kg/6+6 x5

7 minutes total.

Feeling Hopeful and Possibly Right on Track

Fast and Light Day--Thursday, 2.1.07

I love wave-loading and my body seems to like it too.

A. Power Snatch from below knee:
60kg/3, 70/2, 80/2;
(90kg/2, 97.5/2, 102.5/2) x 3; approx. 120s rest

10 minute break

B. Power Clean from Floor:
(110kg/2, 120/2, 130/2) x 3; approx 120s rest

I was a little tired by the time I got here so the 130kg actually turned out to be 2, 2, and 1. No big deal though, because this is approximately 80% of my last competition clean and jerk.

I'm feeling hopeful because if my training continues to progress at this pace, there is a very real possibility that I could qualify for Nationals at this meet in March. However, I'm not going to sweat it. The goal at that meet will to be to get on the platform and go at least 4 for 6, preferably 6 for 6.