Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Frustrations of Not Regularly Blogging...

I used to love blogging--writing to get the thoughts out of my head. Now, with a new business, those thoughts are just bottled up. The road to hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. I'm in my own personal blogging hell then.

My training has been following the same path--sporadic at best. I'm able to train routinely on the weekends, but the weekdays have been non-productive. Not a good sign for a meet that's 5 weeks away.

I'll train and go anyway. Thank God for visualization--I'm going to need it.

Last weekend, I had my speed day on Saturday, and a strength day on Sunday. What I failed to realize is that I need my heavy O-lift day on Saturday's, cause, hey, I'm lifting heavy in a Saturday meet. Makes sense to me...Mid-week will be a lighter day because my stress levels can handle that.

Last Monday, I was sore from a heavier squat session on Sunday--BSQ, (160kg/2, 156/2, 170/2) x3 series. So I performed light KB snatches--16kg/10+10 for 5 sets and 60s rest.

I missed Tuesday's training and Thursday's platform training, so I brought home a 32kg KB and did some work with that along with some pistols--5 Snatches + 5 Clean & Presses each side, followed by 1 minute rest, followed by 5 pistols each leg with the 16kg. 5 rounds later, I was huffing and puffing swearing at my lack of stamina.

Yesterday, I went to the platform. Probably didn't warm up enough, since I feel beat up today in the shoulders and knees. (Lots of Z later today.)

Here's the training:

A. P. Snatch, Fl,: 60/4, 60/3, 70/3, 80/2, 90/2, 100/1, (105/x) 2; Restart
(90/kg/1, 100/1, 110/1)x 3; rest 60-90s
This was a frustrating start because my mind wasn't present. So I had to calm my mind. This took a lot of energy.

RPE = 7.5

B. P.Cl + PJk: 90/2+2, (110/1+1) x2, (120/1+1) x2; (110/1+1, 120/1+1, 130/1+1) x3; 60-90s rest
I was just plain ol' tired by the time I got here and had to force myself to get it done. Fortunately, the last set of 130 felt like a feather and was lightning fast, so I finished on a high note.

I probably should've gone even lighter today, but with the impending meet, I knew I had to do some work. My shoulders were feeling beaten up after a couple of the snatches and my form wasn't as good as it was last Saturday. But sometimes, you just have to lift. It's a pretty safe bet that meet day won't be perfect, so I'm learning how to train under less than ideal circumstances. Today, as I mentioned earlier, I feel pretty beaten up. So, before I train this afternoon, I'll make sure I get a lot of high quality Z in.

Friday, March 21, 2008

RPEs Are the Way to Go

I've been using RPEs a lot in my training recently. I try to match the RPE to the percentage of my lift, for example, RPE of 7 equals 70%, and so on. I know I'm making progress if the RPE is lower than the percentage. At least I think I'm making progress. This keeps me dialed in to my body and not necessarily the weight on the bar. I believe Siff called this "cybernetic periodization."

Wednesday's training was outstanding. I trained at an unusual time--3pm--instead of the usual 8pm. Overall, I think it will be much better.

Here's how the training session played out.

A. Power Snatch, Floor: (60kg/3, 70/2, 80/1, 90/1, 100/1)
105/1 x5, 110/1 x5; 60s between sets.

RPE = 7/7.5

I haven't hit numbers like this since I was training for the Nationals in 2000. These felt very good--however, I need to stay over the bar just a little longer on the first pull, keep the elbows straighter, and not rush the second pull. Much better than last week when I had to switch to above the knee because I kept hitting myself in the jewels. Overall, I'm pleased.

B. Power Clean, Floor: (90kg/1, 100/1, 110/1, 120/1)
130kg/1 x10

RPE = 7.5-ish.

This was tough to tell what the true RPE was. Felt light, but slightly awkard. Have to slow down the first pull and make a true distinction between the two. Also need to keep the elbows straight and exagerate staying over the bar to be able to pull the bar straight up the thighs and not back into the body like the snatch. Overall, felt very strong. My clean has traditionally lagged behind my snatch, which, technically, is an indicator of a lack of maximum strength. However, for the first time ever, I'm feeling very hopeful that my clean will jump up. My overall strength is feeling very, very good.

This training session was truly eye-opening. It told me that if everything goes according to plan, I am well on my way to hitting my numbers at this meet in April. The only thing lacking is that I'm missing my strength sessions due to poor self/time-management. I will get back on track this weekend as I enforce my new boundaries.

I was seriously considering throwing a KB only day into the cycle, but after seeing that the meet is 6 weeks from this Sunday, I thought better of it. I'll get those back into the cycle regularly after the meet. I really need to focus on usable leg strength, so I'll squat twice a week--light and heavy.

The interesting thing about training is I am much more body-aware than I ever have been. It's fascinating when I'm on the platform. This is all a result of Z--more coordination, increased proprioception, more displayable strength.

I have a quick strength session to make up tonight, and then speed tomorrow and strength again on Sunday or possibly Monday, depending on how beat up I feel after two in a row.

It finally feels like it's all coming together.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Training Update, Nerves, and Speed, Baby, Speed...

This past week has been crazy busy. I had to go to Phoenix last weekend (40 hours--Friday thru
Sunday) for a figure competition and stayed with my very good friend, Josh Henkin. If you live in AZ, you have to pay him a visit--the man knows his stuff.

Last week, I had significant left elbow pain/discomfort. Courtney did some scar release work on my abdomen and my left AC joint. Left median and ulnar nerve pain started to dissipate. However, still couldn't support much load in the rack position.

Thursday's training ended up primarily being Back Squats. I've settled on my previous theory that I really have no business using the bar on heavy strength work for more than 3 reps. I squatted 160kg/2 x10 with 60s - 90s rest. Bone rhythms were right on and the weight felt fast and light. Not much else that day due to the left elbow.

Saturday, I snuck in a training session at Josh's between the pre-judging and the night show. This was a 50-70% day, which really means I try to keep the RPE between 5 and 7. Power snatches from the floor were spot on and so were the Power Cleans from the floor.

A. P Snatch, floor: 85kg/2 x10; 60s rest; RPE = 5.5

B. P Clean, floor: 100kg/2 x10; 60s rest; RPE = 5

These caught me completely off guard: After all the travel and sitting and poor eating and lack of sleep, these were lightning fast! At times, there barely felt like there was anything on the bar.

Due to the lack of sleep this weekend and the outstanding training session at Josh's, I took Sunday off from any strength work and hit a light KB circuit yesterday.

No training today, even though it was scheduled. I'm readjusting/implementing boundaries and will be training during the day, between 230-430pm, instead of at night which tends to be catch up from business.

Tomorrow is a technique day--70-90%, with hopefully RPEs that at least match, but are preferably on the easy side. Strength work on Thursday.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Mixing It Up

Yesterday, Sunday, I hit some Good Mornings from a pulling stance--Not my strongest exercise for sure. Worked up to 120kg for a 5TM (Training Max, different from an RM--TM is working up to a comfortable stop, RM is all out.) Then backed down to 80% (95kg) and hit 5x5 with 60s rest for some hypertrophy work.

I'd love to have long, rest-filled training sessions, but my schedule just won't allow it. I'll have to make it up with something extra--I-Phase and/or some KB work for recovery.

After the GMs, moved on to the Military Press. And then needed to figure out this left elbow thing: More overhead squats--found out that the right elbow wasn't fully locked. Talk about SMA--how does one miss that? Anyway, locked out the elbow and lo' and behold I got more into that left hip again and the right knee was smooth and oiled. Cool.

Here was the training:

A. GMs, pulling stance: 5TM: 120kg, then 80% for 5x5 w/ 60s rest (95kg/5 x5)
B. Military Press: (70kg/5, 75kg/5, 80kg/5) x2; 90s rest
C. Overhead Squats: 50kg/6 x4; rest as needed but short

Today--Some GPP

A. 45 minutes of I-Phase

B. Get-Ups: 10 minute drill w/ 24kg, alternating L+R, 1+1; worked on being very smooth. Felt good since never used to be able to do them do to knees. Threw in some arm bars on the L side. Hindsight, should've thrown some in on the R side for the L hip. Next time.

C. KB Presses from full lunge position (trail knee off the ground) to work on opening the hips: 5 reps each side contra-lateral, 5 reps each side ipsi-lateral, 5 reps each side contra-lateral again.

Felt good.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Back In the Saddle

I've been offline for the last month or so. Have some personal issues I've been working through plus the stress and responsibility of opening a new business have kept me very busy. However, I've realized that I've missed blogging/writing and actually feel disconnected from my blogging community, who have been a big support to me. Sorry for not posting for awhile--my goal is now to post three times per week or so, basically around my training sessions at a minimum until I get this business where I want it.

Speaking of training...

It was not going well due to being so sick. That messed me up bad. Even 4 weeks later, I still have a cough. My plan to put on some muscle has changed. That week didn't work out for me--my body wasn't ready for it. Plus, I realized time was running out for my weightlifting timeline. So I'm now training for a meet--the Moorestown Open, on April 26th/27th.

I also got a reality check while I was sick and after reading Rif's blog--in which he stated he loves to train just to train--I used to feel that way about weightlifting. Now I don't. For the first time in my life, I actually need a meet date to organize my training around, otherwise, I just feel lost. I think part of it is that although I love weightlifting, I realize that I can't do it forever, and I now don't want to do it forever. Although I'm enjoying this process, I'm actually looking forward to the day when I don't have to monitor everything as closely as I do now. And I'm looking forward to the day when I can get the KBs back out and go to town on them, instead of using them for GPP work.

Back to the meet: I originally set a program that had me training each lift or some variation of it 4 times per week. Now I've switched that program to another which has me training each lift or some variation of it 4 times per week...However, I've had to build in a "speed" day, similar to a Westside template, because my coordination is off. In the past, this has been the best way to regain my coordination. My technique has been off on both the snatch and the clean. Yesterday, I got back in my groove. My clean felt the best it has in probably 10 years or so--no lie.

Here's what the program looks like as of yesterday:

Day 1, Saturday: Speed/Technique: O-lifts--50-70%, 2's, 60s rest

Day 2, Sunday: Strength: Assistance work, 3-5s, possibly some RM work with some backdown sets

Day 3, Tuesday: Speed/Technique: O-lifts--70-90%, singles, 60-90s rest

Day 4, Thursday: Strength: Assistance work, 3-5s, possibly some RM work with some backdown sets

Monday and Wednesday will most likely be some R-Phase/I-Phase and some light KB GPP. My elbows, especially my left one, have been bothering me since I got sick (weird--and I don't know why) and the KB work seems to help. I will also have to boost my calories. Right now I'm at about 3600 per day. I think I'm going to have to ramp up close to 5000 based on past experience. Better put some extra money aside for the increased food bill.

I realized that I have been using the same weights in my training for the last 8 years or so, and I just couldn't handle doing that training for this meet. So, I'm training off the numbers I want to hit in the meet--140kg in the Snatch, and 170kg in the Clean and Jerk. I've been under 140kg before, but couldn't hold it, and I've cleaned 170kg before, and jerked it from the rack. Right now, I'm moving better than I ever have, I'm faster than I was at age 27, and my strength is coming back so fast that I expect to beat all previous PRs by the end of 2008, so why not train this way? If/When I hit 140/170 I will qualify for the American Open in December and 2009 Nationals. And this is all part of my plan.

Yesterday's training:

A. P. Snatch from floor: 50%/2 x12, 60s rest. 70kg/2 x12
This was challenging to get my technique back. It returned around set #9. Better late than never. It still wasn't perfect, but it was much better than it had been.

B. P. Clean from floor: 50%/2 x10, 60s rest. 90kg/2 x10
A little heavier than 50% but I didn't feel like messing with the "change" on the bar, so I just slid a 10kg on each side. These were so much better than they have been. Found the correct bar path and my timing between the first and second pull also returned. The weight felt almost effortless. This will be very fun to watch improve...

C. BSQ: 50%/2 x5; 110kg/2 x5
Left elbow was giving me some problems and the knees were not that happy here. Not pain, just a little discomfort.

D. Push Press, 50% of Jerk/2 x5; 90kg
Couldn't get these moving--right knee wasn't happy and neither was the left elbow. Decided to quit after first set. Don't want to re-enforce pain during this important movement pattern. Decided to move on to elbow "damage control."

E. Pressing Snatch Balance, 40kg/5 x3
These felt like just what the doctor ordered. Reduced left elbow pain and right knee soreness disappeared. The knee soreness (bilateral) was most likely due to squatting on a freshly broken toe. The body is so smart, it moves away from pain. Did this on Wednesday and the squat was not what it should've been. Live and learn some more, I guess.