Sunday, July 29, 2012

July 29, 2012 - Upper Body Training

Dynamic Warm-ups

Close Grip Barbell Incline Bench Presses
275x0,1 PR+25lbs

One Arm Dumbbell Rows
120x21/21 PR+5lbs & 1 rep

Barbell Push Presses

One Arm Dumbbell Rows (straps)
155x13/13 PR+4lbs & 3 reps

Barbell Overhead Quarter Squat Lockouts
405x3 (3 second hold on last rep)

27 Minutes of Stretching

Comments: I hate incline benching. Really hit or miss. Stuck with the quarter/plate jumps this time. Felt good so I went for 275lbs. Missed it spectacularly as I pressed it out away from my chest. Literally took a 10 seconds breather and gave it another shot. Super ugly but I got it for big PR.Next was one arm dumbbell rows. Quite easy but my upper back got quite pumped from the high rep set. Push pressing just plain sucked today. Really disappointed with how these went. Went back to the rows for a heavy set with straps. Loaded up the dumbbell with as many 10's as I could fit on there. Not bad, just weird breaking up the lifts like this. Going to have to use 25's next time as there is no more room. Started heavy and took big jumps on overhead quarter squat lockouts. Mike said it was ok. Really tough to find the groove on these. Off by an inch and it gets away from you. Had an awful time with 405lbs. Could only hold it overhead for three seconds. Decent amount of stretching to finish up the day.

Friday, July 27, 2012

July 26, 2012 – Event Training

Dynamic Warm-ups


Truck Drags (60 seconds rest)

34 Minutes of Stretching

Comments: Rained earlier today so it was very humid outside setting up for today. A storm front past by so it became windy and drastically cooler. I wasn't sure how today would go with the yoke with the upper back thing going on again. Haven't used my own yoke in quite some time. 810lbs didn't feel that bad but I stumbled close to the end of the run and the yoke swayed and put a lot of pressure on my left side and knocked the wind out of me. Put me to a crawl to finish the run at that point and decided to stop the yoke work for the day there. Cleaned up everything for the next part of the workout and then the sky broke open and the downpour came. I figured I'd still give it a try. Had to use the truck (wasn't sure I'd finish it) since none of the other vehicles had sturdy tow hook ups in the front. Even with the rain, it was quite easy. Actually felt like I was getting the foot speed part of the workout down this time and got the short rests in as well. Legs just blew up from this and I was sweating even with the rain. Felt good to relax after everything.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 24, 2012 – Lower Body Training

Dynamic Warm-ups

Front Squats


30 Minutes of Stretching

Comments: Trained at Jenkins' place today. Quite sore and beat going into this workout. Lots of bruising from the axle supports and my chest and back where tight from benching and rows. Left ankle was also sore. Front squats never felt good. Even the barbell made whatever is going on with my upper back/rib act up so I had to grit my teeth and get used to it for the rest of the workout. I haven’t been doing them butt to ankles since I tore my oblique last year. Just sticking with high boxes and straps to hold the bar. These were tough but it is a starting point. Legs were pretty sore from them. Upper back thing was still bugging me on deadlifts. I dropped some of the singles from the top as bending over and having the shock of the weight hitting the ground while I held it was aggravating my upper back. Just had to get mad and make the feeling go away for the all-out set. My goal was at least six and I got that so I gutted out two more reps. Felt surprisingly good. Stretched and called it a day.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22, 2012 - Upper Body Training

This weekend has been odd. Slept for 14 hours yesterday. Never slept that much straight before, even when I've been sick. Guess this past week took a lot more out me then I thought. Point is, sleep was off for the past two days. Got to get used to waking early again for work.

Dynamic Warm-ups

Close Grip Barbell Bench Presses

Axle Clean and Presses (Strict + Push)

Bent Over Barbell Rows (straps)
305x15 PR+3 reps

Axle Chest Supports
512x5 (19 second hold on last rep)

29 Minutes of Stretching

Comments: Started the session off with benching. The weights felt heavy on my forearms, even at the light weights. I should have stuck to my plan of quarter/plate jumps but I wanted to try for a PR. 345lbs felt heavy but moved fast on video. Shouldn't have tried for 385lbs. Onward. I wasn't sure how axle work would go since I've been focusing on log for many months now. Not bad. Happy to get 272lbs for a strict press after a clean. Rows were good, I knew it would be gassed when it came to the all out set. Hit what I expected. Axle supports were much easier than log supports. First couple of sets were almost flying off my shoulders. I knew it was going to be a long day at that point. Just kept going and going. Really hurt to hold the axle for the last rep, pinching my skin as my upper back fatigued. Not much stretching but quite beat from all the supports.

Friday, July 20, 2012

July 19, 2012 – Event Training

Dynamic Warm-ups

Sled Drag/Prowler Pushes (60 seconds rest)

32 Minutes of Stretching

Comments: Very humid out today. Today looked simple on paper. Moved the equipment outside so I had more room. Took a lot of work and effort to get both setup with weight. Also had to deal with cars coming into the parking lot. First set went quite well, good foot speed. My legs just died on the second set during the prowler portion so I took off a pair of plates. Still wouldn’t function correctly and the rest of it was just slow. Wouldn’t have mattered what weight I had on there, my legs were too pumped to do anything meaningful. Took off a plate from the sled for the last set. Gasping for air after this. Luckily I had plenty of active rest taking back all the plates and implements. Stretching felt good.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 17, 2012 – Lower Body Training

Dynamic Warm-ups

16" Rack Pulls
Added Straps

Atlas Stone Loads to 58"

25 Minutes of Stretching

Comments: Trained at Jenkins' place today. Haven't been doing rack pulls much, mostly block pullls as they feel natural. I was worried how it would go as I wasn't feeling like I was on warming up. Lower back felt fine but the left side of my mid-back was acting up, even on the light weights. Really felt like I had to strain to move the weights but video suggests otherwise. Never really went for a max effort at this height pull but I hit what I was hoping for for the last set. Really had to get amped up for that set. I knew I could get another rep after the first. Maybe had an ugly, hitched and ramped third rep in me if I was going for triples. Took a bit of time to put the plates away and get ready for stones. I haven't touched stones since March and I knew I'd be rusty. Jenkins let me use his Spartan Stone Sleeves (just too hot and humid to keep tape on my arms) and they worked well. May need to buy a pair shortly. Did five warm-up singles with the smallest stone before going for the max rep set. Supposed to be a one minute time limit but I had to deload the stone to a side platform and then to a horse mat before bringing it back to where I was lifting. I felt stupid when my grip slipped on my first pick. Got my head in to it and went to work. Picks and laps where super easy, just not used to the crushing weight on my sternum from stones. Weight felt easy but my conditioning isn't back yet. Not quite in record stone lifting shape. I also never had a chance to use this height platform for rep sets where I used to train so this was interesting. Very close on the eighth rep, hips and glutes just done by this point, especially after the rack pulls. Talked with Jenkins quite a bit during training, good seeing him again. Little bit of stretching and done.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

July 15, 2012 - Upper Body Training

Start of week two. Last week was a bit tough stress wise. This week might just be more of the same. Hopefully it isn’t.

Dynamic Warm-ups

Close Grip Barbell Incline Bench Presses (2 second pauses)

Barbell Push Presses

Barbell Overhead Lockouts
285x1 (34 second hold at top)

34 Minutes of Stretching

Comments: Not too sore. Abs barely feeling it. Hip flexors and calves are the only soreness reminders of last week’s training. Incline pressing was just like benching from last time, just at the beginning rather than midway. Didn’t do the 50-40lbs jumps though since I really suck at these. Figured the 40lbs jumps would keep me in a good range and I was right. Push pressing felt good, nice and comfy on my shoulders. I think I psyched myself out on the last set. Got nervous. Missed the third rep and had to settle, take a big breath and shove it up there. I would have been so pissed off if I had missed that rep. Overhead lockouts felt fine, all the sets definitely made my shoulders tired. I think I was good for more weight but I didn’t want to chance it as lockouts can be tricky. Triceps were surprisingly sore from all of this.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

July 12, 2012 – Event Training

Been having computer issues as of late. Looks like it is under control for now.

Dynamic Warm-ups

Farmer's Walk (15" pick)
354x34'5" (PR+13lbs)

Truck Pushes

35 Minutes of Stretching

Comments:  Hot out today. Hip flexors and abs have been incredibly sore this week since the last workout. First time using my new farmer's implements from Rouge Fitness. Pick height is bit lower than what I've been training on as of late. I was worried that the slick handles coupled with the humidity would make gripping them tough. Felt easy working up in weight. The lighter sets feel weird as I feel I could just jog with the weights. Felt better when I got up to two plates each side. 304lbs probably should have been where I called it for the day. It was good set but I noticeably slowed down. The thing is though that the pick is the hardest part for me, so these lower pick farmer's are going to be tough. 354lbs felt like forever to break off the street. I knew I was in trouble as I wasted so much energy picking them up that my grip was already straining. Couldn't get the full distance. A PR for that low of a pick though. Hopefully I'll be better prepared for next time. Truck pushing was next. A bit tricky as the roads are horrible here. Pot holes and uneven patches abound. Couldn't get the rest to just 60 seconds as there was no room for the truck to turn around so it had to go around the block. So probably closer to 90 seconds. I know the plan was foot speed and I failed that miserably on that for two of the three sets. The road is inconsistent. I started low for the first set and I had to really pedal to get it going. Just wasn't moving fast. My little sister was filming/commentating/yelling and I deserve all of it for asking her to film. I was breathing really hard after that first set. Not sure what happened on the second set but I practically ran upright with the truck. My little sister had to run to keep up. I felt good and ready for the final round. I was wrong. Even slower than the first set. Halfway through my legs just wouldn't respond and became a slow, grueling death march to the finish. Finish I did but I was so exhausted. Had to walk around our block to get back to normal before sitting in front of a fan in the basement and stretching.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 10, 2012 – Lower Body Training

Rough day outside of training.

Dynamic Warm-ups

18" Safety Squat Bar Box Squats w/3 Mini Bands
No Bands
Add Bands (+40lbs)
Add Bands (+80lbs)
Add Bands (+120lbs)

Reverse Hyperextensions

Decline Situps

36 Minutes of Stretching

Comments:  Knees felt a little achy warming up. Not used to doing that high of reps for the warm-up but it made my knees feel better. I tend to feel a slight pain in my left hip/lower back. I tend to get that when I’m warming up with the ssb. Put on a belt after 305lbs. Not sure what it is, hard to describe, but the weight feels easier/lighter when I really focus. Like going into a higher gear. Both reps were real grinders with 425lbs. I haven’t done reverse hypers in over a year but I had set weight in my head to try. Never tried them for reps higher than 12 so +20 was interesting. I knew it would be tough after about rep 14 to get 20 or more. Everything below the waist was just gassed by that point. Walked like drunk cat for a bit after that set. Haven’t felt reverse hypers in my legs like that before. I generally don’t do direct ab work and if I do, it is usually weighted for 15 reps at the most. For situps, I set up a decline bench and just did reps until it started to burn. Once I got to that point, I felt I was close to 50 and aimed for that as my goal. The last 10-12 reps were really tough, entire abdominal structure was cramping up hard. Took a while standing in front of a fan to feel fine enough to stretch. Quite exhausted from this workout.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 08, 2012 - Upper Body Training

First workout under Mr. Westerling's tutelage. Current schedule is going to be Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. I am looking forward to this training.

Dynamic Warm-ups

12” Log Clean and Presses (Strict + Push)

250x15 PR+10 reps

Close Grip Barbell Bench Presses (2 second pauses)

12” Log Chest Supports
410x5 (6 second hold on last rep)

37 Minutes of Stretching

Comments: Clean and pressing felt pretty good. Nice and crisp. Press felt slow with 210lbs so I tried using a somewhat hard belt. 250lbs was as high as I felt comfortable going with the 20lbs jumps. No pain in my shoulders so happy about that. Pulldowns felt good at the start, a bit tougher once I got over 190lbs. Haven't done them regular style in a while so apparently a big rep PR. Pausing for benching is weird as I get a lot of power off my chest. I was looking forward to doing the supports. Boy were those exhausting. Lots and lots of sets to get up to a 5rm from where I started. Good workout, going to sleep well tonight haha.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

July 06, 2012 - ME UB Deload

After I finish this deload from the Pro/Am, I'm going to be listening to the training advice of Mike Westerling. Been hearing great things from competitors and friends alike. The methods look solid and I look forward to learning and improving.

Dynamic Warm-ups

Close Grip Barbell Dead Bench Presses

Swiss Bar Strict Presses w/ IW#2's
No Bands
Add Bands (+95lbs)

Triceps Pushdowns

40 Minutes of Stretching

Comments: Heat has been exhausting on top of work, even with a day off in the middle of the week for the 4th. Really needed that. Still a bit beat from the contest. Workout was quick and easy but I stayed late to help with spotting and running the monolift for guys getting ready for the meet. Tons of stretching, I'm really sore.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 03, 2012 - DE LB Deload

Dynamic Warm-ups

18" Box Squats

Safety Squat Bar Lunges

45 Degree Hypers

36 Minutes of Stretching

Comments: Tired, really happy to have off tomorrow. Not as dead as I thought I'd be. Really sweaty but a good deload workout. Lots of stretching. Not sure where to go from here.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

June 29-30, 2012 - Europa Get Fit American Strongman Challenge

So very sore right now. Honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to write this one out because of how bad most of the contest went for me. But I feel writing it out is the best way to deal with it. Extremely frustrating and it took a lot of encouragement to stay in it and keep going. Never attempted to compete at a pro card show before. I’ve tried aiming for one in the last year or so but either due to injury or just not coming close, I abstained. I made up my mind to do this one regardless of the events. Humbling to say the least. I took off work to make it up for the first day. Nice to have employment now that I get leave time now. Hartford is really nice looking city, granted I can only really compare it to Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. I don’t care for cities but Hartford actually looked like a place I wouldn’t mind moving to in the future.

Checked in at 2:30 (weighed in at a light 264lbs) and walked around to explore the city since the contest wasn’t starting until 4:00. I haven’t been at a sports expo in a while either and people were just handing out free stuff. I didn’t want any but my dad accepted everything. He loves free stuff, which is why he usually gets horrible movies at Redbox. But yeah, it had the usual expo feel with added stuff like a couple of moon bounces and some futuristic looking version of Richard Simmons Sweating to the Oldies thing going on. That went on all day both days. It was weird. Our venue was shoved way in the back corner. Took my usual photos and got to meet some new faces. They called everyone out to introduce us to the expo (while playing O’Fortuna) and I felt like I wasn’t supposed to be there. I was the lightest guy there besides the two LW Pros and I was skinny and wearing a do-rag. I was also smiling and laughing because I’m thinking about how I look to the crowd with the music playing. Anyways, on to the contest.

The first event of the day was last man standing log press. Opening weight was 300lbs, going up 20lbs each round. Everyone had to take every attempt. Training overhead leading to this show was bad. I did something to my shoulder after Viking Fest and it took me about a month to find a way to work around it. I felt awful in warm-ups and knew I would be lucky to get the opener. Surprise-surprise, I missed it fantastically. So say I was disappointed would not accurately describe my anger and despair. Really negative thoughts in my head and it took a lot to pull myself out of my self-loathing mind set. I was the only heavy weight to miss the opener, so I had to sit and watch as they kept going and going. No points for me and starting the day off in last place.

Up next was a yoke frame medley. 50’ for each implement with a 60 second time limit. The listed weights for the contest were a 900lbs yoke and a 680lbs frame. The frame was light so I had been focusing on bringing up my yoking. Turns out I wasn’t ready. The yoke was bumped up to 973lbs and the frame to 730lbs. The LW were using I wasn’t looking forward to that yoke because of two reasons. One was that if I didn’t finish the yoke, I’d get a zero for the event. The other reason was that my chiropractor and I had just figured out that the thing that has been bothering my midback was a rib head that was out of place and because of my back muscles; it has been very hard to get it back in to place. Actually had an adjustment just the day before the contest. I was still bummed about the log debacle and then Derek Poundstone walked over and asked me how I was doing as he hadn’t seen me since Jenkins’ wedding. I admit it; I complained a little about the increased weight and not getting any warm-ups (going from 473 to 973 is no fun). He told me this is strongman and that I’ll be plenty warmed up after about five steps with the yoke. That definitely snapped me back into the right mindset and sobered me up. So thanks Mr. Poundstone. I got under the yoke and took baby steps. So far so good. Had my first drop and I took a breath and got back under it. My rib head went and I gasped for air out of pain. Dione was yelling loudly in my ear so I kept on going. Walked a little, drop, walk a little, drop. I kept going and finished with literally seconds to spare. Had not time for the frame. I showed heart and Dione said it was the most impressive performance of the night so I felt some pride at that. My effort was good enough to tie me for seventh out of twelve. End of day one and I was beat.

Took a taxi (I don’t think I’ve ever been in one before) and ate a late dinner at Max’s Downtown. The food was fantastic. Had a 22oz steak and the best swordfish I’ve ever had. Expensive place but well worth it. My thoughts were a mixture of disappointment and happiness with my performance. My hope was to make up points the next day. I knew I had no shot at the top spots but I could at least show that I wasn’t in the wrong sport. Went to bed with the thing being that there was a heat advisory for the next three days and that Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise were getting divorced. Neither news item was a shocker. Woke up, showered, ate waffles and watched Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu, which made absolutely no sense and walked back over to the convention center for day two.

First event of the day was the axle deadlift for reps. 600lbs with a 60 second time limit. Leading up to the contest, I had been training the event from boxes as it was supposed to be on tires at roughly 17” and without straps. Turns out it was made to being from the floor and with straps. I hadn’t done any pulls from the floor since like January I think so I was SOOL with this. All advantages for this event were gone for me. They allowed straps because axles were too slick. I felt fine in warm-ups and decided to go without straps as I can get better leg drive doing a grip and rip style. I get set and pull and barely get it past mid shin. I yell and try again with no success and call it there. So angry and embarrassed. Guess my back was too dead from the yoke beating. I was back in my dark place after that. Unlike the log, I’ve hit that weight before in the gym. The thought I’d bomb it never occurred to me. Another zero for me and I’m back in last place.

The next event was the circus dumbbell for reps. 200lbs with a 60 second time limit. I was not looking forward to this as I have been having issues with it. Injured my right thumb back in April and it hurts to hold a thick handle so I had to stick with just my left arm for pressing and that side always has issues with stabilizing the lockout. Add to that in training, I was always either on a slanted drive way or small raised platform and this was the shoulder that had been bothering me since Viking Fest, I didn’t try to hold the lockouts. Leg drive felt good but I couldn’t hold the lockouts on my warm-ups without feeling my rib. First two attempts, I can’t get my arm locked out. I then punched my right wrist to dull the pain and managed to clean it to that side. Unfortunately, since I haven’t trained that side, I got nothing. Time is running out so I got for the left side once more. This time get my arm locked out but can’t bring my legs together so it doesn’t count. Time expires and I once again bomb an event. The negative thoughs are beating me down at this point. Seriously thinking about calling it here so I can go home. More than half the field bombed this event and if I had gotten a single rep, I would have picked up six points. Another zero for me and I’m back in last place.

My two best events to come, I’m feeling down and I’m in last place with only five and a half points after four events. Pathetic. Next was the husafell stone carry. 400lbs with turns at 50’. The field dropped to eleven at this point as someone withdrew due to injury so I had to go solo, which is never fun when going for max distance. Being the first to go, I set the pace.Unlike everything else this contest, this felt good. I was aiming for 200’ but fell a bit short of that with 175’1”. This was a PR for me, as I never got this far in training. Surprisingly, this distance held up. Good enough for second. Finally, an event goes well for me. The points I had gained from the husafell put me into tenth place (which is deceptive as another person had withdrawn due to injury, so I was ahead of two guys no longer competing) and just one point behind the guys tied for eighth.

The final event was the event I’ve been looking forward to all this time; the wheelbarrow medley. 60 seconds to load three objects in the wheelbarrow and finish the 50’ course. I’m good at this kind of thing and only had the chance to train it once. The setup was load a 235lbs dumbbell, carry the wheelbarrow 10’, load a 300lbs sandbag, carry the wheelbarrow 10’, load a 300lbs husafell stone and then finish the remaining 30’. The wheelbarrow was loaded up with 675lbs of plates right at the handles to start. I did a pick and it felt light. I threw the dumbbell in and went to work. The sandbag folded over in the middle so it was like carrying a really large and lazy dog and plopped it over into the barrow. The husafell stone was easy but it fell towards the front so the last 30’ was a bit tough but I finished with a good time and held the handles at the end rather than dropping/sliding it. I didn’t want any sliding penalties as the floor was slick. That was the most fun I had this weekend. My time of 37.82 seconds was enough for fourth place, behind the eventual top three.

Despite bombing half the events, I did well enough in the other three to get seventh place out of twelve competitors. Picked up my dumbbell I bought from Johnny and went home. A two day contest is brutal. I really have a lot of things that need work, particularly deadlift and overhead. I don’t want to be embarrassed next time. Going to rest this week and see how I feel. Probably going to wait until Nationals for me next competition.