Friday, September 22, 2017

September 21, 2017 – Week 6, Day 2

5 Minutes Percor AMT

Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15

One Leg Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15/15

Regular Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Sumo Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Squat Therapy (16” Box)
BWx15

Hip Airplanes (supported)
BWx7/7

Band Rows w/Biceps Stretch
MMBx20/20 seconds
MMBx20/20 seconds

16” Box Squats
45x10
95x5
135x3
185x3
225x3
275x3
315x3
365x3
415x3
465x3

Weighted Plank
BW+100x30 seconds
BW+153x30 seconds

Side Plank
BWx60/60 seconds

Stretching

Comments: Some SI joint aching acting up but still tolerable. Better than it was last week. Feels like it is getting better again. It worries me when it flairs up, like it may lead to being sidelined again. Work related stress this week adding up. Traffic getting to the gym was bad so my normal 20 minute commute ended up being closer to 45 minutes. Really needed to lift something when I got there haha. Warmed up on the AMT. Heart rate 147bpm so that was good. Calf raise work after that. A bit harder for the uninjured side but I didn’t feel like my hip was tight like some sessions where it is tougher. Box touches with both styles felt good. Good stretch in hamstrings. On to squat therapy. Knees were achy but not as bad as I was expecting. Hip airplanes were good. Have had a good few sessions in a row where these have felt good on the hips. Band rows and biceps stretch combo after that. Rows felt alright. Shoulders only really felt tight on the first set of stretching. On to the weights. Plan for today was to work up to a conservative set of three on box squat, going up in sets of three. A little hard to gauge things. Last two sessions weren’t the best with how the weight felt and with my hips rising first off the box. I really wanted to work up to a post injury PR but I also knew that might not happen. The top triple so far was 460lbs and that was not with it being sets of three up to that weight. Those workouts the previous cycle had been with just enough to be ready to hit a top set. But it was still the goal, just have to see how things went working up in weight. Thankfully, unracking the weight felt better this session. I was expecting my right knee to be on fire with how it has been acting since Saturday. Left side of my lower back started to feel tight and stiff after two plates a side but not pain so kept going. After that weight mark, I adjusted my stance slightly as my right knee was starting to act up when I was overly exaggerating the “knees out” cue in my head. That seemed to fix things. Hard belt on after hitting three plates a side. Felt slow but video suggests they were moving pretty well. Second to last set was just 10lbs under last time and that went better than I expected so another big jump for the top set for a slight increase on my 3rm. Same as I have been doing with the top sets; taking a deep breath between reps. Got a little forward on the last rep but still got it up. Would have been ugly going for anymore reps. Not stupid easy but definitely some left in the tank. On to abdominal work. Weighted planks followed by unweighted side planks. Same weights and sets and times as last session. These felt harder on every set for some reason. Maybe I wasn’t thinking of them as a hard exercise and more of an afterthought after the heavy box squats. Or maybe I’m getting better and I’m able to contract all the muscles harder. Home to stretch and eat recovery burritos.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

September 19, 2017 – Week 6, Day 1


5 Minutes Percor AMT

Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15

One Leg Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15/15

Regular Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Sumo Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Squat Therapy (16” Box)
BWx15

Hip Airplanes (supported)
BWx7/7

Band Rows w/Biceps Stretch
MMBx20/20 seconds
MMBx20/20 seconds

Push-ups
BWx15

Bench Presses
45x10
95x7
135x5
185x5
225x5
275x1
290x5
315x5
Narrow Grip
280x5

Chest Supported Rows (1 second holds)
100x8
150x8
190x8
240x8
280x8

Circus Dumbbell Clean and Presses
Plate Loaded Dumbbell with Fat Gripz Extreme
(2 stage 1 second pauses)
40x1/1
70x1/1
90x1/1
110x1/1
Circus Dumbbell
130x1/1
150x1/1
150x1/1
150x1/1
150x1/1
150x1/1
150x1/1
150x1/1
150x1/1
150x1/1
150x1/1

Band Triceps Pressdowns
SBx30
SBx30

Stretching

Comments: SI joint had been aching the past few days. Just everything was aching the last two days. Bruise on my left hand, knees aching and still tight lump in the left forearm. No amount of sleep seemed to be helping to ease the aches. But didn’t want to take ibuprofen. Doing the McKenzie press-ups seems to be helping though. But stuff felt good today. Warmed up on the AMT. Topped out at 152bpm. Calf raise work after that. Felt alright, no real issues. Box touches were alright. Knees ached a bit on the squat therapy at the start but better than I was expecting with how achy things have been since last event day. Hip airplanes were good. They felt good on the hips. Band rows and biceps stretch after that. Stretch still feeling good and band rows felt easy compared to how they felt on Saturday. A set of push-ups to finish off the light stuff. More effort than I would like but still good. Started things off with bench press. Bench that was adjustable downstairs was in use so I went upstairs. Initially, the goal for this workout had been to work to a 5rm. That got changed since I didn’t go as planned last bench session. Bringing bench grip back to what I feel comfortable with and set reps and weights up to what I felt would be a strong and powerful set of five. Normal bench grip is pretty much what I was doing for narrow grip. Things felt smooth today. The single with 275lbs felt like a speed rep. The expected weight for my set of five was 290lbs. It went easier than expected. Spotter said it looked easy. I wasn’t expecting it to be that easy. Now the question was if that was where I stopped things. I felt compelled to do three plates again for redemption. I didn’t want to do something that would cause me to overdo it. But I went for it. So much easier this time. Little slow down at the end but definitely good for more reps. Really pleased with that. Just would have been nice if I had figured this out last time. Then to finish up a set of narrow grip bench. So this was even closer grip. Just a little more than last time and it went pretty well. On to static hold chest supported rows. 8rm for this time. I wanted to make the easy quarter-plate jumps and figured I’d be good for about 20lbs more from last time here too. Much the same as last session in that it gets tough after the first three sets. I knew I was going to get the top weight I had in mind after the second to last set. Then on to circus dumbbell press. Same as last time with ten sets EMOM style but a little more weight on the working sets. Cleans to the right side felt off. I might have been rushing things since I didn’t have to pause right at the shoulders. No ugly stuff during the actual EMOM dumbbell heavy stuff like last week. Definitely tougher on the right side. The reps went up easy and smooth with my left side. I wore a hard belt this time as I didn’t want to over stress the SI joint. Finished up with band triceps. Felt pretty good. Home to stretch and eat.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

September 16, 2017 – Week 5, Day 3


5 Minutes Concept 2 Rower

Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15

One Leg Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15/15

Regular Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Sumo Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Squat Therapy (16” Box)
BWx15

Hip Airplanes (supported)
BWx7/7

Band Rows w/Biceps Stretch
MMBx20/20 seconds
MMBx20/20 seconds

Push-ups
BWx15

I-Beam Frame Deadlifts
Trap Bar (12”)
80x10
Trap Bar (13”)
170x5
Frame
260x3
350x3
440x3
530x3
Added Straps
620x3
710x0

Stone of Steel Over Bar (57”)
138x1
176x1
201x1
225x1
260x1
310x7

Vehicle Push
2,693lbs + 1 person + 227lbs in trunkx260’7” in 70 seconds

Stretching

Comments: This week has been rough with the SI joint stuff flaring up. Massage, icing, ibuprofen, Icy Hot and sleep have been put to use. Started doing the McKenzie press-ups with some greater frequency. Nothing yesterday to see if I’m actually feeling better as opposed to just masking the pain. Not able to sleep in today as the gym was going to close early so I woke up at my usual time like I would for work. Strongman section was a ghost town when I got there. Warmed up on the rower. Actually didn’t feel bad on the SI joint stuff. Felt good and my legs didn’t feel heavy like last week. Calf work was the best it has been this week but it has been tough all this week so not really saying much. Box touches were pretty good. Right knee was bothering me on the squat therapy. Not sure what that was about. I figured it would go away as I did more. Hip airplanes felt great. Band rows and stretching followed. My back felt like it was fatiguing more than usual on rows. Stretching was pretty good. Set of push-ups to finish things up. These are starting to get to the level of effort I want them at. First item of the day was frame deadlift. Plan being a top set of three but not a max. Warmed up with an elevated trap bar for higher reps before starting with the empty frame. Still doing big jumps with these. Frame was a rod connector and the I-beam farmer’s walk handles. Pretty much the closest I can get to contest specs without buying the setup. But still not perfect. Bottom of the I-beam goes the full length of the implement so not able to get my feet to push out as much as something with “feet” on the ends. Really humid in the gym today. Keeping an eye on the SI joint as I did this stuff. I got the weight I wanted without straps and then setup with straps for a heavier set. Get the form down. The full weight in hand is quicker compared to my setup in the garage with the plates. I felt even here I had another two reps there. I’m not sure what I was thinking with throwing another pair of plates on it. I guess my thinking was that I would either get my form to work with even more weight better or that if I outright missed it, it wouldn’t kill me. Barely came off the ground. I think that when I felt that much of a struggle, that I shut it down (I gave it two attempts to make sure it was good and stuck) as perhaps I could grind out an ugly single, it would set me back in my training. I so want to get my deadlifting strength up to par with my peers (same with log). I got to keep things in perspective that this is technically the most I’ve lifted off the ground for reps since my injury. But still a stark reminder of how far I still have to go. Then on to stone of steel. I missed event and kind of dread it. I wasn’t looking forward to how things would go with the sweaty forearms. Goal for the session was similar to last time I did this exercise. Work up to a comfortable single without any grip aids with more than last time to start. However, the top set was little different in that it was a set weight for a rep range. Goal this week to be 300lbs for 5-10 reps. Pretty much the bread and butter from last training cycle. Lower back was feeling a little tight from frame deadlifts. I forgot to bring my scale in my rush this morning (also forgot a weight gain shake for afterwards). So I already knew some weight combinations for the appropriate jumps but not what I had to do the last single or get the working weight set. Rather error on the heavy side. My first shirt was already soaked thru with sweat so I changed into another shirt to start with a blank slate. Definitely noticed on my last single that the stone of steel wanted to slip down on my shirt. I think that wearing the rehband belt is going to be the best thing to keep the fabric taut so that minimizes slippage. I noticed the spot in my forearm that feels hard noticed the pressure with squeezing the stone of steel. No pain, just noticing it. After every set, I had to wipe down my arms, face, neck and legs with a towel to keep dry. Nervous on the top set but not as much. I had biffed 300lbs in training leading up to the contest but crushed it at the show. The mystery weight would technically be the most I’ve ever lifted on the stone of steel if it was over 300lbs. Usually I am aiming for that ten reps but today, five would be enough. Gloves didn’t slip like it felt like they did in the past on heavier weights. Managed five in a good clip and then had to take long breathers for the next two reps. I could do more but I had so much trouble with that last one on the pick with the thing spinning that I shut it down after that rep as I didn’t want to invoke the iron snake’s wraith. I really wanted to know how much it was so I scoured the gym for a scale. The one wasn’t working right over 300lbs and another was out of juice. I found one that was working and got the loaded stone of steel on there. 310lbs so a bit more than planned but it is all good. The gym was closing an hour earlier than I expected so I had to finish up the last thing at home. Similar to last week with a long timed set of moving stuff. Last week was a drag, this time it was a push. Much easier to just put stuff in a car and push it since my dad was around. My car’s tank was a little on the low side so I but more weights in the trunk than I usually do. Felt good on this until I hit the minute mark. It was like the wind went out of my sails and the last ten seconds was just agonizing. Breathing heavy and sweating profusely as I put the weights away and went inside to stretch.

Friday, September 15, 2017

September 13, 2017 – Week 5, Day 2


5 Minutes Percor AMT

Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15

One Leg Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15/15

Regular Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Sumo Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Squat Therapy (16” Box)
BWx15

Hip Airplanes (supported)
BWx7/7

Band Rows w/Biceps Stretch
MMBx20/20 seconds
MMBx20/20 seconds

16” Front Box Squats
45x10
95x5
135x3
185x1
225x3
225x3
225x3
225x3
225x3

Crunches
BWx30

Leg Raises
BWx30

One Arm Barbell Holds
(R)185x40.53 PR+2.8 seconds
(L)185x33.42
(R)185x36.55
(L)185x36.23

Stretching

Comments: Had to adjust when I did this workout this week due to a rescheduled dentist appointment. This was the only week where adjusting workouts was probably going to work since the intensity of Day 2 has been lowered with the increased focus on event work. Doing my best to combat symptoms of the SI joint issues flaring up. Massage, ice, ibuprofen and Icy Hot. It is annoying. Warmed up on the AMT. Heart rate got up to 149bpm so back down from the higher result from the day before. Calf raise work after that. Tougher than I would have liked. One legged stuff was noticeable tougher. Box touches with both styles felt good. Just feeling the SI joint stuff but not getting any worse. On to squat therapy. Pretty good on the knees. Like the day before, just noticing the SI stuff. Hip airplanes were pretty good too on both sides. Was hoping these would alleviate some of the symptoms. Band rows and biceps stretch combo after that. This felt good. For weights today, starting things off the front box squats. Still lighter fare with speed being the name of the game. 20lbs more and two more sets on to last time for five triples (I did EOMOM for the rest). SI stuff felt somewhat better doing these. As what seems to be the case, felt better as far as form and speed as I went. No frame deadlifts today so light abs that felt good before going home to train in the garage. I could have done the grip stuff at the Y but I wanted to get home to start prepping dinner so I didn’t have a late night (that still ended up happening). Used the same weight as last time for the barbell holds with the plan being two sets a side. My right side improved to just over 40 seconds on that first set so I felt things would go well. My left side had other plans. About 12 seconds short of my best on that side the first set. Not sure what that was about. Perhaps the bruising in the forearm from back to back husafell stone training sessions had something to do with it. It is usually my stronger grip side so surprised my time went down on that first set and it was behind my right side on all sets. But at least I did better on the second set with the left side. Finished up with a light massage and stretching. Two days of rest before event work will hopefully let the niggling issues calm down.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

September 12, 2017 – Week 5, Day 1


5 Minutes Percor AMT

Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15

One Leg Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15/15

Regular Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Sumo Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Squat Therapy (16” Box)
BWx15

Hip Airplanes (supported)
BWx7/7

Band Rows w/Biceps Stretch
MMBx20/20 seconds
MMBx20/20 seconds

Push-ups
BWx15

12” Log Clean Strict Press + Jerks
90x1+1
90x1+1
90x1+1
134x1+1
156x1+1
178x1+1
200x1+1
220x1+1
240x1
Clean and Jerks
240x1
260x1
280x1
305x1

Chest Supported Rows
150x8
200x8
250x8
300x8
350x8

Band Resisted Push-ups
No Bands
BWx15
Add Bands
ABx10
SBx18 PR+1 rep
SBx12

Band Triceps Pressdowns
SBx30
SBx30

Stretching

Comments: Body is feeling beat. SI joint area is acting up a lot. Enough that it is annoying and sometimes painful. But not enough to prevent me from doing any activities so far. Aches in the left hip at times but the most present is tender spot. Either the nerve is irritated from inflammation or the muscles are not recovered from the heavy work of back to back event sessions. I figured this was a possibility with the difficulty of last week’s sessions. I also had to modify this week due to a rescheduled appointment. I was going to do this workout a day early but I was feeling beat up so I took my normal rest and will just do two in a row instead. Warmed up on the AMT. Heart rate got up to 160bpm. It went up pretty quick right after the second minute and stayed steady before going up again on the last minute. Calf raise work after that. These were ok. Form felt off a little. Not sure how to explain it, like I was too far forward. Box touches felt good both styles. I was expecting pain or ache with the SI joint acting up but not issues. Squat therapy didn’t bother my knees this time but definitely notice the SI joint. Didn’t make things worse, just noticed it. Hip air planes were ok. I felt good on them and had hoped they would provide some relief but no dice. Band rows felt good. Shoulders and biceps surprisingly didn’t feel that tight. Push-ups to finish off the stuff before the weights. Easiest these have felt so far. On to log work. Bit of a change from the EMOM stuff. Log clean into strict press and then followed by a jerk to start. I did three warm-ups with the log to get the form down before moving on. I decided to use the bumper plates to get used to what will probably be used at Nats. Went up in kilos until the 25kgs plates and then back to pounds. Strict pressing didn’t feel so bad. Just can be tricky going from rigid for the strict press to dynamic for the jerk. Plan being to work up to 90-95% of what I felt I could get on the strict press before changing things up. 240lbs went up easier than expected but it was within the limits so that was where I stopped. Five minute rest before going for the jerk with this one. Cleans felt off today. Slow to get that last roll to the chest. I feel like previous sessions I was able to get the weight up almost violently. Banging my chin on the jerk with 240lbs wasn’t a good sign haha. The next single felt better. The next not so much. I felt like my timing was off or something as I got under the log and it felt stuck after the leg drive and I had to press it out. Plan had been to go up to a conservative max on these today. Probably should have called it there but I wanted at least 300lbs. So I went a little more than that. This was ugly. I’m really not sure how I got this one. My lower body and upper body were not working together. Like two different plans. Felt some vertebrae moving on this one. While it is the most weight on log since my injury, it still not a conservative max and it was the ugliest log jerk I’ve ever done (that was successful). Thankfully my stupidity didn’t exacerbate my issues. Quickly moved on to chest supported rows to take my mind off of it. Plan being over five sets of eight to work up to an 8rm. Went up in 50lbs to a top weight. Lighter weights felt good and easy. Didn’t feel like I had any weights until the second to last set. Definitely had to put in the work to get the reps on that last set though. So this went well thankfully. Band push-ups after that. Warm-ups went well. Again, two top sets with goal on the first set to try and beat last sessions reps. Conscious of trying to keep a neutral head position so nothing got strained in my neck like last time. I feel I did better in that regard. Got an extra rep this time. I think what really surprised me was the second set though. Last time, I got a measly five reps. More than doubled that this time. I guess I’m recovering from these better. Ended the day with band pressdowns. I gripped the band higher right from the start, making these the toughest they’ve been so far. Arms felt inflated for a good 30 minutes afterwards. Home to stretch, eat recovery burritos and sleep. Hopefully my issues in my SI area heal back up soon.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

September 9, 2017 – Week 4, Day 3


5 Minutes Concept 2 Rower

Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15

One Leg Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15/15

Regular Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Sumo Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Squat Therapy (16” Box)
BWx15

Hip Airplanes (supported)
BWx7/7

Band Rows w/Biceps Stretch
MMBx20/20 seconds
MMBx20/20 seconds

Push-ups
BWx15

Yoke/I-Beam Farmer’s Walk Medleys
y-300x100’ in 11.16 seconds
400x30’/125x30’ in 11.13 seconds
500x30’/200x30’ in 12.51 seconds
600x30’/250x30’ in 13.62 seconds
700x60’/300x60’ in 26.27 seconds

Sandbag Rows
100x10
175x8
255x6 PR+5lbs & 1 rep

H-Stone Carry (off platform, turns at 60’)
300x327’9” PR+23’7”
350x267’6” PR+23’2”
400x214’ PR+19’

Sled Drags
355x204’3” in 70 seconds

Stretching

Comments: My butt was dragging this week. Even with it only being a four day work week it was exhausting and I was tired. I really had no idea what to expect this final session for the week since I was essentially doing a remake of last week to get training to line up for the rest of this cycle to hopefully maximize recovery and consolidate stressors. Had quite a few aches and pains from this week. Like everywhere. Leery about stuff in the SI joint area on the injured side. But the weather was nice out so that meant I didn’t have to worry about rain. A guy I’ve only known from social media, Brandon Sanders, showed up at the gym. His enthusiasm is contagious so I hope he starts training out here regularly. Warmed up on the rower. Felt a little tougher than usual but that was fine. I think it was more so with my legs being sore. Calf work was okay and the box touches for both styles were good. Squat therapy was really good. Wasn’t expecting that with the aches. Hip airplanes were pretty good as well. Band rows and stretching followed. Easy and not nearly as much tightness in the shoulders. Set of push-ups to finish things up. Easiest they have felt so far but still not at the level of effort I think they should be at yet. First item of the day was yoke and farmer’s walk medleys. This was going to be real interesting since I just did heavy yoke work last week. First set was with just the yoke and it was for a long run. Not bad. Then on to using the farmer’s handles in the mix. Medley for Nats is going to be 60’ each way but no need to beat myself up with doing the full distance in my warming up sets to the big set. So half the distance to get good at accelerating and working on the transition between the implements. The transition is tricky trying to get out from under the yoke to the farmer’s handles. The best method for the yoke dismount for me is to “shove it” forward and duck under the yoke as it slides forward so that I can just turn to the side to get to the farmer’s handles rather than have to walk around when the yoke stops. I felt good with yoke warming up and the farmer’s didn’t feel like anything until the second to last set and that was only the pick as the weight felt like nothing in my hands. The last set was not fun. Full course length with a little over 80% contest weight on the yoke and 90% of the farmer’s weight. For whatever reason, the yoke pick didn’t feel right, like the weight was too far out in front of me. I took me three attempts to get it to feel good enough to actually break it off the ground and go. Perhaps this weight is too heavy for me to go right from the start into a run. I know I noticed this last cycle when I was using 550lbs for short runs as part of the EOMOM workouts. I may have to stand up fully and then go with this kind of weight. I felt slow on that run down with the yoke. Like one leg was behind the other playing catch-up. But I finished with no drops and on to the farmer’s handles. This is the most I’ve used on the I-beam ones. I felt good at the start but as I went, I was getting fatiguing the handles were bumping into my thighs. I ended up slowing down to keep from knocking the weight out of my hands. Finished with no drops. This was tough but I feel the contest weights will be doable in a few weeks as long as I continue to recover from session to session. Sandbag rows after that. I took my time with these as my lower body was smoked from the medley work. Wasn’t sure what to expect since I just did these last week. I dropped the weights I was going to use for the working up sets as I didn’t want to be taking away from the top set which was to be an attempt to beat my best from last time. Light set was light and medium set was a little harder than I would have liked. So color me surprised when the heavy set reps felt smooth and better than last week. I honestly had to check to make sure I was using the right sandbag after that set. So halfway through this tough workout. Then there has halt to all activities as someone going for a PR single on front squats had their leg go. Such a loud popping sound. I and another person helped him get to his car and his lady friend drove him to the hospital. So that happened. But I had to do more stuff. Husafel stone again. I was legitimately dreading this. I hate failing and not beating previous bests and I had not yet healed from all the bruising from last week’s session. Outside with it this time since it was nice. First run I was surprised how well I was moving with it and how light it felt (once I got it secured). And I ended up beating my distance from last week by a good margin. Not as much of an increase from session one to session two but still a bit jump. Big bruise already forming on my arm. Second run was much the same. Almost the same increasing in distance from last time with this weight. Blood is seeping from my arm after that set. Got one more set. This didn’t feel as nightmarishly heavy in my lap as it did last time. Again another improvement. Last week’s distance on the top set would have placed my 12th at Nats last year whereas this week’s would be 6th. So this will be a good event for me if this keeps up. But now I got some more bruises. Last item of the day was a max distance sled drag. Weight didn’t matter, just needed to work the entire time limit of 70 seconds. While the weight didn’t matter, I needed to have enough weight where I didn’t go too far into the neighboring parking lot. I got the weight just right I think. I was going a little slow at the start but tried moving faster. Near the end, my glutes and legs were not willing to work with me but I kept moving the entire time. That was a gut buster. Put away stuff and drove home to stretch and then go out for good food. Sleep came to me quick after getting home and taking some ibuprofen.

Friday, September 8, 2017

September 7, 2017 – Week 4, Day 2

5 Minutes Percor AMT

Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15

One Leg Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15/15

Regular Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Sumo Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Squat Therapy (16” Box)
BWx15

Hip Airplanes (supported)
BWx7/7

Band Rows w/Biceps Stretch
MMBx20/20 seconds
MMBx20/20 seconds

16” Box Squats
45x10
95x5
145x5
195x5
245x5
295x5
345x5
385x5
425x5

Weighted Plank
BW+100x30 seconds
BW+153x30 seconds

Side Plank
BWx60/60 seconds

Stretching

Comments: Feeling beat. Yawning all day. I may not have gotten enough sleep after the last workout but I felt like I did the night before this one. Some SI joint aching acting up but still tolerable. Just got to watch it and monitor it as I have been. Had some massage done the day before to try and help with recovery in my legs and upper body with the workouts coming up and the possible schedule change for next week. Warmed up on the AMT. Heart rate 149bpm so same as previous workout this week. Calf raise work after that. Little harder for the uninjured side but I didn’t feel like my hip was so tight like last session so much better. Box touches with both styles felt good. On to squat therapy. Knees were achy. Hip airplanes were good. Balance was a little wonky sometimes but again stayed stable. Band rows and biceps stretch combo after that. Rows felt a little tougher than usual. Shoulders felt really tight on the stretch. Then the lifting. Not much for today as this workout’s workload is reducing with the increased effort for Day 3. So leading things off with box squats. Plan being a top set of five but not a max. All my joints ached and the bar felt heavy. Left glute was sore and right side of lower back was tight. This was going to be a tough one. Warming up I didn’t feel like my unrack was how I like it. I did change the jumps and the plate arrangements but that shouldn’t have made that much of a difference. With how it was going, I wasn’t sure that I would even match last session’s effort for a top set and that had been with reps in the tank. Things felt better when I got to putting on my hard belt. Top set was 20lbs more than last time and I knew I would have to treat each rep like a single (squat take a big breath and then squat again). Got a little forward on the last rep but still got it up. Would have been ugly going for anymore reps. I was beat so thankfully that was it for barbell work today. On to abdominal work. Weighted planks like last time. Two sets of 20-30 seconds. I did the first set with 100lbs plate and while that was tough, I was feeling adventurous. So I had kettlebell added on top for the second set. Didn’t feel as tough for some reason. May try doing this next time again. Then to end things was side planks with bodyweight. Goal being 30-60 seconds again. Just did both sides with no rest right into the next one. Injured side still harder to do. Home to stretch and eat. Got to get some good sleep in to keep being able to perform well.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

September 5, 2017 – Week 4, Day 1

5 Minutes Percor AMT

Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15

One Leg Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15/15

Regular Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Sumo Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Squat Therapy (16” Box)
BWx15

Hip Airplanes (supported)
BWx7/7

Band Rows w/Biceps Stretch
MMBx20/20 seconds
MMBx20/20 seconds

Push-ups
BWx15

Bench Presses
45x10
95x5
135x5
185x5
225x5
275x5
315x4
Narrow Grip
275x5

Chest Supported Rows (1 second holds)
80x10
130x10
170x10
220x10
260x10

Circus Dumbbell Clean and Presses
Plate Loaded Dumbbell with Fat Gripz Extreme
(2 stage 1 second pauses)
40x1/1
70x1/1
90x1/1
110x1/1
Circus Dumbbell
130x1/1
145x1/1
145x1/1
145x1/1
145x1/1
145x1/1
145x1/1
145x1/1
145x1/1
145x1/1
145x1/1

Band Triceps Pressdowns
SBx30
SBx30

Stretching

Comments: Tried to catch up and get some quality sleep. Definitely needed a day off. So many bruises from h-stone training Saturday. Event work the end of this week is going to be something else but I need to keep focus on the workouts as they come as each are important and shouldn’t be overlooked. Warmed up on the AMT. Topped out at 149bpm so better range as far as how I felt. Calf raise work after that. Uninjured side was tight and had a tougher time. Again, I think from h-stone but it wasn’t as bad/noticeable this time around. Box touches were alright. Knees ached a bit on the squat therapy at the start. I changed my shoes to see if that did anything (as I was noticing the first day seems to be the roughest with the last day being a breeze). No change, just something my body does I guess. Hip airplanes were good. Little balance issue on the good side but no lost balance. Band rows and biceps stretch after that. Stretch still feeling good, right shoulder feels tighter. A set of push-ups to finish off the light stuff. More effort than I would like still but it is getting there. Started things off with bench press. Goal being to work up in sets of five to a near top set of five. I took the same weights up until I got to two plates a side. I was doing quarter, plate, quarter jumps and I had decide on what to do from here. My original plan was do the same weight as last time and then add 40lbs for the top set but with how I was feeling, I thought that might be too light so I kept on going with the jumps I was doing to have the top set be three plates. While the set before was a little tougher than I expected, I didn’t feel like the next jump was out my grasp. I got amped up and went for it. First rep I misgrooved and it was a struggle to get that one back on track. I got three more reps before I stalled on the fifth and had to have the spotter take it. My butt came up on that last one as I really didn’t want to fail. Sucks to miss a rep but still coming back to regular benching after a long break from it. Strength is there and I didn’t have my back and butt cramp up with just the empty bar this time. Plan had been to do 10% drop for close grip but since I failed to get five, I dropped it back to the weight I got five at for the set. Felt alright. Chest and triceps feeling that benching. But that missed rep is still going to bug me but onward. Moving on. Next exercise being static hold chest supported rows. This time aiming for a somewhat true 10rm on this exercise. I wanted to make the easy quarter-plate jumps and figured I’d be good for about 20lbs more from last time. First two sets pretty easy and then getting to the working stuff from there. I was worried I lost count on that last set but I got my ten. Felt good after the benching. Powerful pulls and controlled lowering each rep. Then on to circus dumbbell press. Same as last time with ten sets EMOM style but a little more weight on the working sets. Warm-ups felt good until I got to the big bell for my right hand. Definitely needed the wrist wrap for that side to support the thumb. Things didn’t start out well as I missed the first rep at lockout and had to re-rack it and go again. Made rest a little short for the second set haha. No issues after that other than sweaty hands and shoulders. No hard belt on this again. Hoping to keep pushing that. Finished up with band triceps. First set was easier than the second. I consciously grabbed the band higher on the second set as the first set had been too easy. Wanted to increase the tension since this is my biggest band and multiple bands gets tricky. Home to stretch and eat recovery burritos.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

September 2, 2017 – Week 3, Day 3

5 Minutes Concept 2 Rower

Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15

One Leg Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15/15

Regular Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Sumo Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Squat Therapy (16” Box)
BWx15

Hip Airplanes (supported)
BWx7/7

Band Rows w/Biceps Stretch
MMBx20/20 seconds
MMBx20/20 seconds

Push-ups
BWx15

Yoke (drops at 60’)
185x120’ in 16.48 seconds
300x60’ in 6.84 seconds
400x60’ in 7.40 seconds
500x60’ in 8.03 seconds
650x120’ in 23.76 seconds

Sandbag Rows
150x5
200x5
250x5

H-Stone Carry (off platform, turns at 60’)
300x304’2” PR+53’4”
350x244’4” PR+47’
400x195’

Stretching

Comments: Last work before I turn 32. Out to Lancaster to train event stuff. Raining off and on so could make things tricky to. An old man named Jeff visited the gym and recognized me from my training clips I posted on Youtube. He tried out different stuff at the gym and I gave him technique advice on the implements when he asked. Hopefully he sticks around. Warmed up on the rower. Felt good, no issues. Calf work easy and the box touches for both styles were good. Squat therapy was the best it has been this cycle so far. Hip airplanes were good as well. Balance on point. Band rows and stretching followed. Easy and not nearly as much tightness in the shoulders. Rows definitely felt good on the upper back. Set of push-ups to finish things up. Getting better with these taking less effort. Still can improve. First item of the day was yoke. Rain had essentially stopped so I took it outside as it would be very difficult to setup the runs instead for the course length without inconveniencing the rest of the gym. Same as last time, working up to a top set of 120’ with a drop at 60’ to come back. Much like with stone of steel last week, I wore a slicker shirt in case the contest shirt ends up like it was when I last competed. Required to wear the shirt and I want to see how this would effect the event with the implement on the back. The first warm-up was with the empty yoke for full distance. Didn’t feel as long like it did last time but I definitely noticed I didn’t feel comfortable with the yoke repick on the turnaround. Kept on working up in weight and finishing the runs with no issues but I felt like I was slower than last time. It wasn’t until I got home to review the videos that I saw I was slightly faster on the working up sets from last session. Then on to the working heavy set. Was definitely anxious going into this. I hadn’t been when thinking about it during the workout but I felt some soreness in my injured area a few minutes after the run with 500lbs so I was on guard. Ended up getting psyched up for the long run and got to moving. First leg felt good. Some hesitation on the repick but got it up and going again. Felt much the same as last time with that second leg feeling tougher and having a hard time accelerating. But it was 50lbs more and I ended up only a little over .2 seconds behind last sessions time. Inside then for sandbag rows. A bit of a change in that I wasn’t given a set weight to do and I could do a heavy set. Most I’ve done has been 220lbs on these rows but I already knew I wanted to do the 250lbs bag. Biceps had felt a little tender this week with the log work and then the barbell grip holds so I kept an eye on them with these. Didn’t want to be pulling with the arms. Work up sets were good so I knew I had it. Only rep that felt tough was the last one as I didn’t have the best hold with my left hand (this size bag is unwieldy haha). Happy with that, and I feel good for more. Rain was pouring and even if it stopped it wouldn’t be a good idea to do the h-stone stuff outside. Had to make my own course to insure 60’ lengths for the carry. Last week’s session with this had been familiarization so I had hoped I could improve on that session. But hard to say as this event can be very grip dependent with how I hold it. Not as humid so I didn’t need to use the athletic tape (still got 32 rolls haha). This session, I was to do three runs, with the first two being the same as last time and then the last run being my choice of either 375lbs or 400lbs. Of course, all for max distance. The start of each set was a little tougher as I didn’t have the space to grab from the side. This meant I had to set it up and then do a 180 to start. First set wasn’t bad, I was surprised that I kept on going. I managed to get a little over five lengths for a big improvement from last session. I really didn’t want to do anymore sets after that but I go to. Bruising already showing up on my left forearm from supporting the implement. Slowly got ready for the next set. That initial turn around at the start is rough. I felt like I wouldn’t get a full length with how it felt. But my grip held and I managed a little over four lengths for another big improvement. I was really not expecting this much from two weeks just coming back to this after five years from even approaching this kind of weight. But I had another set. A little bit more weight or go for contest weight. I went with contest weight. Ended up adding chains to get the weight. It was horrendous on the pick up when I got the thing in my lap when the chains shifted. While not the heaviest thing I’ve lifted since coming back from injury, this felt the heaviest if that makes sense haha. Much like the previous run, I didn’t think I’d survive the first length. But I did and I kept going. I ended up going a little over three lengths before I felt like my skin on my wrist on the right side was going to tear. I think this result surprised me the most of this session. This is the first time I’ve trained h-stone off a platform but this is the furthest I’ve ever carried this kind of weight. I was expecting this distance in my final weeks of training for Nationals, not a fourth of the way in. Very happy about this. Spirit is willing but the body is spongy and bruised. So many scrapes and bruises from this implement. Stretched and then home for steaks and then a long sleep.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 31, 2017 – Week 3, Day 2

5 Minutes Percor AMT

Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15

One Leg Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15/15

Regular Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Sumo Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Squat Therapy (16” Box)
BWx15

Hip Airplanes (supported)
BWx7/7

Band Rows w/Biceps Stretch
MMBx20/20 seconds
MMBx20/20 seconds

16” Front Box Squats
45x10
95x5
135x3
175x1
205x3
205x3
205x3

Makeshift Frame Deadlifts
11” Pick Height
122x9
15” Pick Height
212x5
302x5
392x5
482x5
Added Straps
572x5

Crunches
BWx30

Leg Raises
BWx30

One Arm Barbell Holds
(R)185x37.73 PR+8.35 seconds
(L)185x45.25 PR+13.44 seconds
(R)185x31.22
(L)185x31.15

Stretching

Comments: Work has been hectic this week. Hardly had a second to think some days haha. Warmed up on the AMT. Heart rate got up to 156bpm. Only saw a big jump from the first minute to the second this time. Calf raise work after that. Good and easy. Almost lost count on the two leg style with how distracted and easy they were. No real issues with the one leg style. Box touches with both styles felt good. Not sure why but I was expecting my hip to be aching on these but thankfully nothing. On to squat therapy. Knee issue wasn’t nearly as much of an issue this time. Really trying to think of sitting back to get the movement right. Hip airplanes were pretty good too on both sides. Band rows and biceps stretch combo after that. This felt good. I had to check to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything before the weights as it went by way too easy. Good sign I’d say. For weights today, starting things off the front box squats. Still light, going for speed. I felt I would do better this time compared to last time as far as breathing and moving with the weight. Plan being about 55% of what I think I could do. Adding 20lbs to last time made the most sense. I felt I had better control this time. Three triples (I did EOMOM for the rest) and I got better as they went. Then home to train in the garage. Humid but not as bad as last time thankfully. Frame deadlift work again. Goal this time being a top set of five but not a max. Big jumps so can be a little tricky getting it right. Took a big gamble and added 50lbs to my empty setup and went from there. I’d either fail spectacular or pull off a big improvement. Altered my hand placement every three reps to just get used to the possible changes. After that, centered grip on the handles working up. I knew how screwy the setup is with odd plates so I made sure it was balanced after I got to a plate added to each side (going to have that one wonky set with one pair haha). I’ll be honest, it didn’t feel like the top set was going to happen as the set before was tougher than I would have liked. But I got really psyched and got my foot placement down and got the straps in the right spot. I was shocked how easy it went up that first rep. Almost chuckled to myself. I think this can work getting to contest weight. The forward grip go get the back tilt coupled with the figure-8 straps (let me hold the handles in my fingers) seem to be a winning combo. Contest weight doesn’t seem so far out of reach. Very happy about this. Light ab stuff (crunches and leg raises) after the frame work. Felt good after that heavy stuff. Then it was time to finish up with grip stuff. My cinder block setup didn’t survive last workout so I got heavy duty sawhorses so that I wouldn’t have an issue this time. Same idea this time but two sets each side. I kept the weight the same as I feel this is just right and I want to work on building up the time so that I’m solidly over 30 seconds on both sets. Good improvement in both sides that first set. Right has a harder time going longer but left side doesn’t recover as well. Hands sore after these. Going to keep the hands healthy with the calluses so I don’t end up with any tears. Put the weights away and stretched before eating pot roast.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August 29, 2017 – Week 3, Day 1

5 Minutes Percor AMT

Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15

One Leg Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15/15

Regular Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Sumo Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Squat Therapy (16” Box)
BWx15

Hip Airplanes (supported)
BWx7/7

Band Rows w/Biceps Stretch
MMBx20/20 seconds
MMBx20/20 seconds

Push-ups
BWx15

12” Log Clean and Jerks
90x3 (one clean)
115x1
140x1
165x1
190x1
215x1
240x1
240x1
240x1
240x1
240x1
240x1
240x1
240x1
240x1
240x1

Chest Supported Rows
120x10
170x10
220x10
270x10
320x10

Band Resisted Push-ups
No Bands
BWx15
Add Bands
ABx10
SBx17 PR+3 reps
SBx5

Band Triceps Pressdowns
SBx30
SBx30

Stretching

Comments: Last week was pretty tough I guess recovery wise as I slept about 14hrs the night after Saturday event work. Hard to get consistent sleep night to night. On to this week. Warmed up on the AMT. Heart rate got up to 159bpm. Still checking on the minute for heart rate. Big jump from 1st to 2nd minute and then another from 4th to 5th minute. Calf raise work after that. Not the hardest (talking one leg stuff) but not the easiest these have felt. At this point, just checking the difficult disparity between the two legs. Box touches felt good both styles. Squat therapy felt off at the start with my knees aching but got better as I did them. Noticing that 1st day of the week these make the knees ache more and gets better as the week goes on. Perhaps footwear makes the difference. I’ll test this next week. Hip air planes were tough balance wise. I’d say closest this cycle so far in regards to losing balance. But I didn’t and got the reps without needing to do extra. Band rows felt good. Definitely needed the stretch for the arms and shoulders. Push-ups to finish off the stuff before the weights. Still harder than I would like but getting better and less taxing. Then the lifting. Log clean and jerks like last time for 10x1 EMOM style but more weight. I only had to do one set with the empty log to warm-up before taking singles up to the working weight. My first rep was a little off but the other two reps were good. I figured that would be the case this time. I was debating adding my wrist wraps and hard belt for the working weight but felt that I wanted to see how it went. I also lowered the height I raised the log off the floor as contest will be from the floor from plates. Figured it was best to get used to that so position doesn’t feel off come show time. First rep with working weight, I knew I could do the workout without additional support gear. Unlike last time, I was able to get my coordination right in the leg drive to make these all solidly jerks and no balance issues. Sweaty hands still an issue as the sets went on. I definitely noticed on the lapping of the log that the movement felt exactly like the chest supported row machine. Felt my right biceps a little too much on the penultimate single with the lap so I was a little cautious about it the rest of the workout. Felt pleased that this didn’t feel any tougher than two weeks ago. Chest supported rows after that. Same as last time, sets of ten up to a top set but goal being a max effort set. I was initially only going for about 20lbs more than last time but I felt compelled to do more. I think it was feeling the “click” on the form with the log lap that I wanted to aim to do my top set with the log contest weight (320) at the show. Took 50lbs jumps up to that weight. I knew it was happening when the set before which was just 10lbs less than last time felt like a joke. I was watching the biceps but no issues and felt good. I knew it was good with my lats cramping slightly between sets haha. Then on to band push-ups. I knew what to expect this time. Same as last time but another set with the heaviest band tension. The main goal being to beat the reps from last time in the first set. Probably the best strategy as I’m not sure I can add more band tension without the anchoring dumbbells lifting. Upper body was feeling pretty toasty from log so I wasn’t sure how this would play out. First set with the strong band felt tough but I kept focus and managed to improve on my reps. That last rep was a grinder haha. I rested a good bit (my neck had gotten really tense on the right side after the first set) and tried another set. Managed only five before my chest stopped. Hard to recover from these band push-ups to put in another all-out effort but still putting in more reps than last time in total so still making progress. I can definite see these helping my pressing. Ended the day with band pressdowns. First set easier than the second. Thought these might be tougher this time after all the banded push-ups. Home to stretch, eat and sleep.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

August 26, 2017 – Week 2, Day 3

5 Minutes Concept 2 Rower

Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15

One Leg Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15/15

Regular Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Sumo Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Squat Therapy (16” Box)
BWx15

Hip Airplanes (supported)
BWx7/7

Band Rows w/Biceps Stretch
MMBx20/20 seconds
MMBx20/20 seconds

Push-ups
BWx15

I-Beam Farmer’s Walk (drops at 60’)
125x120’ in 16.79 seconds
200x120’ in 18.61 seconds
270x120’ in 23.37 seconds

Stone of Steel Over Bar (57”)
138x1
176x1
201x1
225x1
249x1
275.5x10

Sled Drags/Prowler Pushes
75x100’/75x100’
125x100’/125x100’
175x100’/175x100’
225x100’/225x100’
275x100’/275x100’

Comments: Another event training session and driving out to Lancaster. I slept in a little more than I planned on doing because I also stayed up later than I planned on doing. Still got bruises from last week. Warmed up on the rower. No issues with my arms or upper back. Calf work easy and the box touches for both styles were good. Squat therapy was the best it has been all week much like last week. Hip airplanes felt great too. Band rows and stretching followed. Easy and not nearly as much tightness in the shoulders but that could just be because I can’t setup a higher thing to grip for the stretch like I can at the Y. Set of push-ups to finish things up. Tougher than I would like still but the easiest they have been since I added these back in. First item of the day was farmer’s walk. Alternating with the yoke for right now. Lot less working sets but going 120’ on all sets. Still low volume approach that seemed to work well leading up to last contest. Using the I-beam farmer’s walks for this training cycle, especially since doing the drops wouldn’t go so well with the other handles haha. A bit trickier to do the repick compared to yoke since I have to expend a bit more of myself to get the implements up and going. First two sets weren’t bad, only about 2 second difference between the two with the increased weight. I put the smaller plates on the bottom for the top set as I didn’t want any weights popping off the pins if I wasn’t able to control the drop. 270lbs definitely felt like something on the pick haha. I had hoped it would go up easier and I hesitated slightly on the second pick as I didn’t want to rush it and have my grip slip. I think I stepped on the bottom of the left handle so I had a bit of resistance trying to pick it up on that fast turnaround. Despite that, it ended up being just a hair faster than my yoke run from last week so not bad. On to stone of steel. I was nervous. You’d think I shouldn’t be with how things panned out at the contest. Nats is not allowing grip shirts and I’ve done maybe one session since I returned to training without one and that was just it empty. And the sweating. So much. Enough that I ended up buying an unnecessary amount of athletic tape. Sweaty arms on the stone of steel leads to unhappiness. Goal for the session was to work up to a comfortable single without any grip aids (chalk, gloves, tacky towel) and then put on whatever (minus grip shirt) for a set of ten at about 90-95% of what I feel I could get in a minute. But not limiting myself to a minute. Hard to say really as pretty much all training last cycle was me doing this solo with getting the stone of steel back eating some time. But I felt that I could put in a good effort with someone rolling the thing back to me. So I went with the singles and I kept going up in weight and didn’t need to use the tape. It wasn’t rainforest kind of humidity today. I felt good for more without anything but knew to just stop there as the goal was “comfortable” and not a max. But still nervous for the top set as I wasn’t sure where my “conditioning” was. I could have severely overestimated myself. But even with that, I felt like I was going to do well. Put on the gloves and tacky toweled my hands and arms and took a few breaths to focus and got to work. Other than some adjusting before picking the stone up, these were solid and fast. Not overdoing the lift getting it over smooth so that the thing could get returned quickly. I only felt some fatigue on the last two reps. This was one of my best sets. I turned to get the camera it had turned off. Same thing that happened last time. I guess it doesn’t like the tacky towel. Really pissed off about ti as I wanted to have that for reference and I also wanted to see if the reps were all in a minute. Despite that, it was good and I feel confident with this event going into Nats. Last thing for the day was a leg burner; more medley work on the prowler. Sled drag into prowler push. No set rests just keep increasing the weight. Haven’t done these at Lancaster before so I wasn’t sure how the course would feel. I used a tow strap for the first two light sets but realized it wasn’t going to work as the single strap made the pull uneven where I anchored it and it got in the way on the push portion. Lucky there were two tow straps so I changed the setup. Much better. I noticed the push portion was much tougher than the drag. Made that last set a toughie. Glad to be done and finished up with stretching.

Friday, August 25, 2017

August 24, 2017 – Week 2, Day 2

5 Minutes Percor AMT

Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15

One Leg Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15/15

Regular Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Sumo Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Squat Therapy (16” Box)
BWx15

Hip Airplanes (supported)
BWx7/7

Band Rows w/Biceps Stretch
MMBx20/20 seconds
MMBx20/20 seconds

16” Box Squats
45x10
95x5
135x5
185x5
225x5
275x5
315x5
365x5
405x5

Deadlifts
45x10 (bar on bumper plates)
95x5
135x3
185x2
225x1
275x1
315x1
350x1
350x1
350x1
350x1
350x1

Weighted Plank
BW+100x30 seconds
BW+100x30 seconds

Side Plank
BWx60/60 seconds

Stretching

Comments: Feeling alright after the last workout. Some SI joint aching acting up but still tolerable. Just got to watch it and monitor it. Warmed up on the AMT. Heart rate got up to 155bpm. Seemed to be more consistent with the checking every minute this time. Calf raise work after that. Little harder for the uninjured side but I didn’t feel like my hip was so tight like last session so much better. Box touches with both styles felt good. I was anticipating some SI joint aches but never materialized. On to squat therapy. Trying to think hips back and then knees to keep knees from getting achy. I feel this will be work in progress for some time. Hip airplanes were good. Balance felt tough but again, no lapses. Band rows and biceps stretch combo after that. Then the lifting. Box squats with the goal being similar to the frame deadlifts from last week. Work up in 5’s to a decent top set that feels about 90% of what I could do for a 5rm. Jumps were up to me and I felt that doing quarter-plate-quarter jumps was the way to go. Wanted to get in the volume as I know my legs need to be strong for the medley work and frame deadlift. Goal was four plates but I had to see how things felt. Feeling pretty good on these. 365lbs felt too easy to end on so on to four plates. Definitely getting tough there but I knew it was going to be finished, just a matter of how many I felt I had in the tank and if my form felt like it was breaking. Did feel a little forward on the last two reps but I feel I could have grinded out another three if needed. Then on to deadlifts. Goal to do what I felt was 60% of my current 1rm for five singles done EMOM style. Heaviest pull from the floor since the injury was been 345lbs so hard to gauge that since the heaviest stuff has been elevated pulls or on a car deadlift frame. I figured that 315lbs to 350lbs felt about right comparing past deadlift sessions. Just a matter of how much the squats took out of me. I started really light as I like the bar drill for these. Once I got to singles, it was just seeing how bar speed felt. Three plates felt easy so I moved up to 350lbs. Still feeling good at this weight. It felt fast. Video looks a little slower than it felt to me. But I felt strong. Definitely slow coming off the floor but accelerating to lockout. Then on to abdominal work. Bit different in that it was static holds. PT had me doing these during my rehab and they tried to have me get a neutral spine. I had the hardest time then getting that right as I thought I was in neutral spine but I was in flexion. Fast-forward to today. Up first was the standard plank. Goal being 20-30 seconds for two sets and contracting as hard as possible in the glutes and abs. I knew that bodyweight was going to be too easy so I had someone place a 100lbs plate on the small of my back. First set I had it too low and slid down to my hamstrings and had to be moved back haha. Second set was just right. Then to end things was side planks with bodyweight. Goal being 30-60 seconds. I figured it would be easier to just go from one side right into the other. Much harder on my injured side to hold. Interesting. Felt good to be done. Felt like I was going to puke a little from contracting my abdominals so hard haha. Home to stretch and eat. I figure my legs and lower back will be sore in about a day or so from the squats and pulls.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

August 22, 2017 – Week 2, Day 1


5 Minutes Percor AMT

Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15

One Leg Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15/15

Regular Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Sumo Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Squat Therapy (16” Box)
BWx15

Hip Airplanes (supported)
BWx7/7

Band Rows w/Biceps Stretch
MMBx20/20 seconds
MMBx20/20 seconds

Push-ups
BWx15

Bench Presses
45x9 (miscounted)
95x5
145x5
185x5
225x5
265x5
Narrow Grip
240x5

Chest Supported Rows (1 second holds)
60x10
100x10
150x10
190x10
240x10

Circus Dumbbell Clean and Presses
Plate Loaded Dumbbell with Fat Gripz Extreme
(2 stage 1 second pauses)
40x1/1
70x1/1
90x1/1
110x1/1
Circus Dumbbell
130x1/1
140x1/1
140x1/1
140x1/1
140x1/1
140x1/1
140x1/1
140x1/1
140x1/1
140x1/1
140x1/1

Band Triceps Pressdowns
SBx30
SBx30

Stretching

Comments: Second week of the Nats cycle. Last week started out rough but ended strong. Hoping to keep that going. Warmed up on the AMT. Checked HR at the start and on the minute. Seemed to be going well but jumped up 10bpm that last minute to 159bpm. Not sure what that was about. Calf raise work after that. Uninjured side was tight and had a tougher time. I think it is because that hip had the h-stone on it Saturday for those sets (got lots of bruises from that). I notice a little bit of SI joint aching but barely even enough to report. Like a thousandth of went I’ve felt at my worst in the last training cycle. Box touches felt really good on the hamstrings. Knees ached a bit on the squat therapy but not as bad as the first session last week. Little harder to balance on the hip airplanes but got the reps and no do-overs. Band rows and biceps stretch after that. Stretch still feeling good. Higher band tension can make finding a good anchoring point tough haha. A set of push-ups to finish off the light stuff. Still tougher than I would like but I’m sure it will improve. I went upstairs to start things off as someone was using a few stations downstairs for their workout and the plan wasn’t to go heavy on the bench press. Plan being to work up in fives to a set that if push comes to shove, I could get for ten. Work on getting used to full ROM for the shoulders and pectorals again. While I’ve been doing incline and floor stuff to protect back, time to bring this variation back. I had a weight in mind at the start but had to see how things felt. Lower back and butt cheek on the left side immediately cramped up with just the bar haha. Lost count and did just nine. Maybe it was to try and get the cramp to calm down. Other than that area being tight, the rest went well. Didn’t want to get greedy and hit the weight I had as planned. Then about 10% for a set with closer grip. I’m usually more comfortable with a closer grip. Then back downstairs for chest supported rows. Static hold variation this week. Same as last week with regular style, work up over five sets of ten reps to a decent set of ten. I took big jumps to try and hit the weight I wanted. First set was way too light. Felt like nothing. I think a plate to start each side is the minimum I should use now. Not a max set of ten, I knew I could do this as I’ve done sets of eight with it before. Then on to circus dumbbell press. Wasn’t expecting to see this pop up again after the end of the contest cycle. Work up to 75% of my best from last cycle to do ten sets EMOM style. A little different in that I was to a rep each arm to count as a set. Also modified in that these were pause and hold style but these were for shorter times and one of the pauses was removed. Right side thumb gets irritated after I get up in weight so I had wrist wraps but no hard belt. Bigger jumps to get to the working weight. These felt pretty good. I think I was more worried about my hands slipping from sweat than anything else. This wasn’t too bad, just back of my hands that got sweaty. Last thing for the day was some more band work for the triceps. Same as last week. I of course forgot to bring my strong band so I had to rush home to do these in my garage. So humid. Felt good. Think the triceps needed that from all the circus dumbbell work. Stretched and ate.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

August 19, 2017 – Week 1, Day 3

5 Minutes Concept 2 Rower

Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15

One Leg Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15/15

Regular Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Sumo Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Squat Therapy (16” Box)
BWx15

Hip Airplanes (supported)
BWx7/7

Band Rows w/Biceps Stretch
MMBx20/20 seconds
MMBx20/20 seconds

Push-ups
BWx15

Yoke (drops at 60’)
185x120’ in 16.86 seconds
300x60’ in 7.22 seconds
400x60’ in 7.87 seconds
500x60’ in 8.57 seconds
600x120’ in 23.53 seconds

Sandbag Rows
150x5
175x5
200x5

H-Stone Carry (off 24” box, turns at 60’)
300x250’10”
350x197’4”

Stretching

Comments: First event workout of this cycle. Didn’t look so bad on paper but that was before I had started this week of training. It had been humid this week and I was to train in Lancaster so I packed a towel and three shirts to be on the safe side. Lower back was a little tense but I think it was just from sitting in the car as it went away as soon as I walked in the gym. It was humid and I was worrying that one towel wasn’t going to be enough haha. Warmed up on the rower. No issues with my arms or upper back. Calf work easy and the box touches for both styles were good. Squat therapy was the best it has been all week. Hip airplanes felt great and this was the best I felt them for the hips on the stronger side so far. Band rows and stretching followed. Easy and not nearly as much tightness in the shoulders. Set of push-ups to finish things up. Again, tougher than I would like but it will improve. First item of the day was yoke. Goal being to work up to a run of 120’ with a drop at 60’. Idea being to work the medley while not working the medley for now. I did the empty yoke for the distance and thought “oh screw this”. It felt further than 60’ each way haha. Working up sets went well with speed and how the weight felt on my back both feeling good. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect with the slight break and the planned top weight being the second to last weight I hit during last training cycle. I think my biggest worry was that I would mess up my breathing and drop yoke from blacking out. That did not happen. The yoke was sliding quite a bit on the straight runs so I had to anticipate things for the longer set with the drop. Yoke felt comfortable and I felt in control the whole time. Still need to add a bit of weight to this but it is a good start. Up next was sandbag rows. These seemed to help me last training cycle so good to see that they are hanging around. Plan was just to do two sets with a light set and a medium set. These ok. I ended up doing an extra set as I thought I had the 200lbs sandbag for that second set but it wasn’t. Too light to end on as after that first set, it felt easier than the light set did. This lead to the last thing for the session; h-stone carry. I’m generally pretty good at this one. I’ve placed second at the two shows this has been contested since I’ve been competing and I was 9th at Nationals in 2012. I feel this is a strong one for me but I wasn’t sure as I haven’t trained it seriously in about five years. Sweat was not my friend today. I ended up switching my shirt and wrapping athletic tape on my forearms to keep from slipping. I forgot how the tape can make hands swell if it is too tight. With this humidity, I’m probably going to have to use tape to keep the training sessions progressing. This was going to be the first time I’ve used receiver gloves and tape on this so it was going to be something. First set felt a little awkward at the pick as I like to adjust the thing sideways to get a staggered grip. Bottom hand is always the one to go first. Not bad. Next set with more weight was a bit tougher. I got about what I expected, surviving three turns and just shy of 200’. This is a good start here. If I can keep up the distance with the weight, this will be good. I may have to adjust things for next time as I believe the implement we will be using is shorter than the one I used today. Took my time putting weights away and stretching. Noticed I was bleeding from my leg from the h-stone. Just a nick, no issues there.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

August 17, 2017 – Week 1, Day 2

5 Minutes Percor AMT

Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15

One Leg Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15/15

Regular Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Sumo Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Squat Therapy (16” Box)
BWx15

Hip Airplanes (supported)
BWx7/7

Band Rows w/Biceps Stretch
MMBx20/20 seconds
MMBx20/20 seconds

16” Front Box Squats
45x10
95x5
135x2
185x3
185x3
185x3

Makeshift Frame Deadlifts
11” Pick Height
72x15
15” Pick Height
162x5
252x5
342x5
432x5
Added Straps
522x5

Leg Raises
BWx25

Crunches
BWx25

One Arm Barbell Holds
(L)185x31.81
(R)185x29.38

Stretching

Comments: Hot and humid out today. Body sore from the previous workout but not as much as the day before after a good walk. Warmed up on the AMT. Heart rate got up to 157bpm. I checked my heart rate every minute just to pass the time and see how that worked. Might do it from now on. Calf raise work after that. Good and easy. Didn’t notice any issues between the sides so that is good. Box touches with both styles felt good. Got the order right this time haha. On to squat therapy. Quads were feeling quite sore doing these. Surprising how much soreness can happen from just taking a little time off to peak and recover. Knee issue wasn’t nearly as much of an issue this time. Maybe I was sitting back better. Hip airplanes were good on my injured side. Not as confident on the uninjured side but was able to keep my balance so no do-overs needed. Band rows and biceps stretch combo after that. This felt good. Then the lifting. A bit different in that with the previous cycles coming back from injury, most of the weights and jumps were preset. Now I have about the same freedom as upper body stuff. However, goal was to do light front box squats and pick a weight that I felt was about 50% of what I could hit today. Front box squat can be tricky to gauge. I was debating between 175lbs and 185lbs and just went with the heavier weight. Quads were definitely feeling even the light warm-up stuff. Three triples (I did EOMOM for the rest) and trying to control the eccentric and explode up on the concentric. First set was a little slow feeling to me but the other two sets were just right. Then I had to beat feet home to do the big exercise of the day. Originally, the plan was to do trap bar pulls off blocks but that was when the pick height for the frame for Nats was 19”. But with the change to 16”, that meant I had to add a lot more to my pull to get even a single at the contest weight of 820lbs. So makeshift frame attachments made in haste so that I can play around with a frame during the week and figure out the best way to put myself in the best leverages. I forgot how miserable outside training can be after work. So humid, just sweating through my shirt and constantly having to chalk my hands and use a towel. Setup is a bit unstable but it will have to do. Plan being to take plate jumps up to a set of five that feels about 90% of what I could do for these reps. I started out with my empty setup for a higher rep set, altering hand position every five reps. I’ve done in the center and towards the back before but never towards the front. I saw someone using that style and figured I’d try it out. The though had never occurred to me to try as I usually look into how I can move with the weight when it comes to frame and farmer’s walk. Things got awkward when I had an odd number of plates so I will have to balance the sides out to keep the frame rigid. I got up to the weight I wanted to hit but as always, I wish it felt easier so that I could keep going. First three reps felt pretty easy but got tough for those last two reps. As before, pulling explosively and then taking a big breath and lowering under control (when I remember to haha). I was pretty beat from the frame stuff so inside to do a light ab work before heading back out to do a grip and core exercise. Leg raises (wrong order, oops) were tough after the break. Feeling them stretching my lower back and SI joint. Crunches were super easy. Now the next exercise was a new one for me. Supposed to do these in a power rack but I don’t have one at home and it didn’t make sense to drive back out to the gym. I figured the cinder blocks were pretty high and sturdy so I used that to pick the weight off of. I had too much weight at first so I lowered it. Goal was to get between 30-60 seconds. Weight I picked, I barely got over 30 seconds with my left hand. I ended up smashing one of the cinder blocks trying to gently put the barbell down. I had to improvise for the other side. I didn’t feel like my grip was giving but the one end kept going down as time went on so I ended to stop it short. Really surprised how tough this was when I’ve done holds with over 125lbs more for longer times on farmer’s handles. Put away the weights and inside to stretch and eat. Got to keep putting the work in.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

August 15, 2017 – Week 1, Day 1


5 Minutes Percor AMT

Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15

One Leg Leaning Calf Raises
BWx15/15

Regular Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Squat Therapy (16” Box)
BWx15

Sumo Box Touches (12” Box)
BWx15

Hip Airplanes (supported)
BWx7/7

Band Rows w/Biceps Stretch
MMBx20/20 seconds
MMBx20/20 seconds

Push-ups
BWx15

12” Log Clean and Jerks
90x5 (one clean)
90x5 (one clean)
125x1
150x1
175x1
200x1
225x1
225x1
225x1
225x1
225x1
225x1
225x1
225x1
225x1
225x1

Chest Supported Rows
100x10
150x10
190x10
240x10
280x10

Band Resisted Push-ups
No Bands
BWx15
Add Bands
ABx10
SBx14

Band Triceps Pressdowns
SBx30
SBx30

Stretching

Comments: I’m apparently still recovering from the contest. Every day since I got back I’ve been going on a 2 mile walk with some light hamstring mobility stretches. Last three cycles I had dubbed Operation: Don’t Call it a Comeback I was Never There but leading into a possible Nationals bid in Las Vegas, this training will be Operation: Road to Lost Wages. This workout showed I was still pretty out of it. Warmed up on the AMT. Heart rate got up to 166bpm but dropped to 157bpm. Usually only this high if I’m stressed in some way. Calf raise work after that. Good, pretty easy. Glad that didn’t feel tough. No circuit like previous weeks. Box touches for some reps (felt good) and I was supposed to go right into a second set with wide stance but went on to squat therapy instead. Knees ached on these. I messed up the first rep as I thought I was deep enough to the box but I wasn’t so I reset and made sure I was good each rep. Not sure if it was my form or just knees beat from hard lifting and then the rest and coming back to it again. Hip airplanes were good. Felt good. No missed reps due to balance issues here. Slight change with the band rows and biceps stretch. Lower reps but I accidently grabbed a higher tension band but it felt good so I will stick with it. Longer stretches for the biceps. Definitely needed that for the arms and shoulders. A set of push-ups to finish off the light stuff. Harder than I was expected to be honest. But I haven’t been doing full ROM on bench stuff besides incline so it is a bit of a shock. Different but same principle. I figure this will help with log with getting the chest muscle back into it. Then the lifting. Log clean and jerks with the plan being 10x1 with 75% of my best single last cycle done EMOM style. On my own for the warm-ups. First set with the empty log was garbage. I felt lightheaded and off balance. So I did another set and that felt better. Worked up in singles to the working weight. Had some balance issues. Not sure if it is from being so used to having a sturdy base to press from for viper presses and push presses vs the jerks or if I’m still beat. I was getting quite a sweat from these. I was lapping some of the log lifts higher than usual and I had to get comfortable with being lower so that I could get the log to roll up the body well. No issues with the clean to the shoulders. Some reps definitely felt like they weren’t jerks and were more push presses. Hopefully with more practice I will get better consistency. Again, balance just felt off sometimes. Chest supported rows after that. Plan being to work up over five sets of ten reps to a decent set of ten. Started with a plate on each side and just kept going up quarter, plate, quarter. Only really felt like work on the last set so I knew that was a good one to stop on. Glad this didn’t irritate my biceps. Think my upper back appreciated the reps. A new one for me after the rows. Push-ups with bands. Another set of 15 with no resistance as a warm-up. I’ve done band push-ups but those were with a band in my hands and wrapped around my back. These were with dumbbells and a power rack to anchor the bands. No band pegs and not bolted down so I used the heaviest dumbbells to make sure it didn’t lift them up. Band placed behind my neck and started for a set of ten with an average band. Not bad, felt both chest and triceps (mostly triceps) working. I felt I was good for a decent set of reps with a strong band so I anchored that down. Got a few pretty quick then started to grind. Stopped at 14. Feel good but boy is it awkward to get under the band or out from under it haha. Last thing for the day was some more band work for the triceps. Band pressdowns with the rep range of 20-30. I tested the strong band and it felt good so I used that. Got 30 both times but it was much harder the second set. Home to stretch. Got to get my legs under me quick to get back on track to compete again at a higher level.

Monday, August 7, 2017

August 5, 2017 – Refuge Barbell Strongman

I’m really not sure where to start. I generally have a good idea on what I want to talk about after a contest with my write-ups. I feel like talking purely about the contest without context of the preceding events won’t adequately illustrate my mindset and feelings. This one had a lot more riding on it comparatively with any other contest or competition (across all activities I’ve participated in) and I don’t mean in a monetary sense. My last competition was almost 18 months ago. I had ended that competition on a high note and was looking forward to the rest of the year. This was going to be my best year. But two months later, following stupid programming, I ended up injuring my back with light weight in my garage. I’ve had injuries before like this and usually a month would be needed for me to get back to normal. But it wasn’t getting better. It impacted my life to where all I could do was go to work, watch tv, eat and sleep. It hurt to stand for a few minutes. If something fell on the floor, I had to decide if it was important enough to pick up. I was able to read a lot of books and watch a lot of tv shows. This is not to say I didn’t try to come back to training in some capacity. But my attempts seemed to reinjure, even when it was upper body work only. My lack of progress resulted in my previous strength coach dropping me without warning. Medications to reduce the swelling in my spine (along with nerve medication) only provided temporary relief. The nerve medication made me sleepy but provided no relief. I got misinformation with my MRI. I was told it would be available within 24hrs. That ended up being about 3 weeks with daily calls. I was initially told there was no issue and that it might be in my head (over the phone) and then I got to see the doctor and was told it was bulged disc. I was told there was nothing but rest and I may not be back to normal in a year or so. I cried in the office (as they shooed me out for the next patient) and got depressed (more so than usual). Had a lot of dark thoughts. Listening to the same song on repeat for days at a time. Falling into destructive habits to try and grasp some kind of control of my life. Really thinking about what was important. Standing at my brother’s wedding as one of the groomsman was one of the most painful experiences I’ve had. Just standing hurt me. I couldn’t hold my 18 month old nephew or pick up our cat. I had to have family do my yard work for me. I got two injections in my spine and that did help a little but not fully. I finally got a second opinion and was given an injection in my shoulder (I had ended up doing something from my attempts to come back plus my inactivity) and prescribed physical therapy (no one before would approve it). This seemed to help a lot. But it wasn’t without pitfalls as I relapsed once. Then the insurance wouldn’t cover it and the PT didn’t want me to be released until I was completely pain free. I saw the doctor one more time and he approved me to go back to training light. This lead me to get back to training that finally lead up the contest. Over 33 weeks of training to get back. Makes sense when you consider it was almost 7 months of nothing before that.

So why this show? Why Kentucky? It just lined up with everything. It was announced well in advance. I was honestly looking at every contest east of the Mississippi River. Talking it over with my folks and looking at each contest with pros and cons. For my first contest back, I probably would have preferred something more local but that wasn’t an issue for me. Two weeks out, I was playing the events over in my head when I went for a walk and right before I went to sleep. Every ache gave me pause. One false move mindset was there as I knew I wasn’t invulnerable and pushing it could lead to something giving. I was finding inspiration and motivation in ordinary things to keep going. Read something in the news and see a new way of thinking about an issue. Even watching television and movies (from House of Cards to Cars 3) I was thinking about how to rethink my outlook. Trying to get it so that I wasn’t overly nervous and anxious leading up to the contest. The biggest help/distraction was reading a manga called “Hajime no Ippo” which is about boxing. It was enough to get my mind right and I didn’t feel stressed out like I usually do leading up a contest. Left work Thursday with my dad and the long trip to Kentucky began. Lots of interesting folks at the few stops made along the way.

Showed up the day before at the venue to weigh-in. Derek Stone, the promoter was setting things up and I talked his ear off. Had seen him in person since he won his LW pro card. I weighed in at 284lbs. Definitely the most I’ve weighed for a contest. This was after about five fish filets, mac and cheese, grits and vegetables so I’m probably a little lighter on an empty stomach. I walked around the venue and looked at the equipment and asked my usual questions. I was told there were to be at least five heavyweights competing so that meant top two would qualify for Nats. I had been worried when the number had dropped and then no one was signing up. It didn’t matter how many showed up, I was still going to put in my best effort. Hung out at the hotel a bit when my nephew video called me. He wanted to know if I would pull a truck tomorrow. I told him no, that I would hopefully be lifting one. He then showed me how to pull a truck with a toy dump truck. He didn’t have a harness so it wasn’t really moving anywhere so he eventually sat on it and pushed with his legs. That is certainly one way to do it. Definitely helped me relax a bit. At BBQ and went to bed.

Time zone difference was a little disorientating. Kept my watch at EST. Felt like I was a time traveler. Managed to get my breakfast down without dry heaving which is a PR for me day of contest haha. Contest venue was buzzing. As the place was essentially a metal box, no cell reception inside so you had to go outside to update. Real time scoring was going to be posted throughout the day. They also advised they would be moving quick, expecting things to be done in less than five hours. Three lanes going at a time. Did some measuring of equipment (I have a problem) and tested out the lanes to see how my traction would be. Walked around the building at brisk pace for 5 minutes to warm-up and then did a few of the mobility drills to get warm. Rules were explained for the events and short prayer was given before the event. Six heavyweights in total for this show. Time to put up or shut up.

The first event was a loading race. 75 seconds to carry and load three implements. Had a 250lbs keg, 250lbs power keg and a 250lbs stone of steel. All had to be carried 40’ and loaded over a 48” bar. Most shows start with a press event but the promoter wanted to have things start with a medley like WSM usually does. I had only practiced the medley twice but had been building the parts up slowly over the training cycle. I had no doubts I would finish this one and I was expecting to be pushing for first. I had been working on my footwork and transitions after seeing how sluggish I looked at my last contest on the medley. While waiting to go, another heavy weight competitor asked me if I was a heavy weight. Guess I’m not as imposing a figure as I thought. I ended up being second to last to go and I saw quite a few guys fly with them. I was getting nervous. Pressure was on. Horn went and I pulled the keg up explosively. My rehband belt came undone and I bolted with the keg too far out in front of me. And down it went. While it only lasted a second or two, it didn’t feel like it to me. It felt like 33 weeks. Had to shove all those doubts back in and get that keg back up. It felt three times heavier now with my momentum gone. My breathing was off and I felt like I was going to pass out by the time I chucked it over the bar. I ran back to the next implement. I never had a chance to mess around with the power keg before. I figured it was a keg so it wouldn’t be tricky. Maybe it was the drop but it felt tougher than I would have liked picking it up off the ground into my arms. Just felt off, like thinking you’re about to bite into an apple and it turns out it is a potato. But once in my arms, it felt fine and I ran with it and tossed it over. Last one, stone of steel. This was the one giving some people trouble. With how the scoring was, no distance was being given, you had to finish the implements to get time (split times given). I was a little shook from the first keg still so I was little hesitant grabbing a hold of the stone of steel. But I got it secure and “power walked” (no other way to describe it) and loaded that over the bar. Judge told me I was in second with 36.00 seconds. That time held up. I was about 3.5 seconds slower than first place but .10 seconds faster than third. Definitely thinking about how things could have been different. But I have to say the guys ahead of me pressured me to gun it. But off to a good start with a second place.

Up next was the circus dumbbell clean and press. 180lbs implement and a 60 second time limit. I had been training this and working on getting my issues that cost me points last time (feet not in line). I was expecting five going into this from training but I had doubts. My legs were still shaking from the medley as I warmed up. I had also been expecting these to be longer dumbbells but they ended up being shorted with big bells. I did singles to warm-up with the lighter dumbbells and did the pause and hold style like I’ve been doing. Last warm-up was the contest weight for a single clean to the shoulder to get the feel. Felt off but pressable. Getting 2nd in the loading race, I got to see a couple people go. When it was my turn, five was the number to beat. The commands were given and I went to work. I popped the first one up quick and just about beat the down signal for a warning. It was more from jitters than anything. Went touch and go for the next rep and it felt a little off but still went up. Another touch and go and it just felt off again and I ended up launching it too far out from my center of gravity and had to bail. After that, I just calmed down and did singles. I had thought I only had four when I finished but I was told I got five. I didn’t believe them and asked for the camera to review. I didn’t want that one that I didn’t have any control of to count. But the call was right, I had made six attempts and got five lifts. So that meant I had equaled first with the other two. Also a PR by one rep. The guy that got first on the medley had some issues on the dumbbell and managed only four. If I hadn’t kept forcing the touch and go, I think I could have gotten six for the outright win. The judge stated he was very impressed with my performance as he wasn’t expecting what I did with how long my arms are. This placing had me in first, which was not a spot I was expecting to be in today.

The third event was the car deadlift. 12” pick height on a front bar attachment with a 60 second time limit. I doubted I needed the full minute to get what I could. Hard to figure what the weight is going to be at contests so I always have to error on the side of heavy for me. This was going to be the event that I felt would sink me. It was already a weakness before the injury and I’m still coming back to my former strength on deadlifts and squats. I thankfully had the opportunity to train this so that I could get used to the lift and know what I could grind out. The car we lifted was a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. I wanted to get some warm-up in. People were using the lightest setup as seats (ATV) so I went for the next one over, the large pick-up truck. No hard belt on, that felt hard. Enough that I knew I didn’t want to attempt budging our car until it was time to go. The Chevy was the same weight for the 175lbs on up and thankfully no more weight was added. I couldn’t afford to bomb an event. I went last since I was in first so I knew what to expect. I had no illusions of getting first (13 reps) or second (9 reps). My goal was to get more than 0. I got set and pulled. It moved but I wasn’t in the right groove. I readjusted my stance and got up a hard rep. One down. Goal achieved. But I had another one in me. Another rep and another loud grunt/bark. I took a longer rest and put everything into on more pull. This one was a grinder. Loud grunt to lockout. Eye sight was like pinholes, just waiting for the down command. I was done and I had to kind of collapse to try and get the straps off. Someone told me to go for four for points and I shouted back that four would put me in the hospital. Turns out it was Derek and he said that wouldn’t be a good idea as it isn’t a very good one. My effort was enough to tie for 3rd and keep me a float. Weakest event out of the way and only off 2nd place by .5pts. Had to have my traps massaged immediately afterwards to get them to relax for the next event.

The next event for the day was farmer’s walk. 335bs for 65’ with a 60 second time limit. I had been confident in this one leading up to the show. That was until my testing day where I failed to complete the course. I just had to get over it by telling myself it was from the cumulative fatigue from the hard training and from the extreme heat and humidity that day. I can usually hold on to anything once I get it off the ground. But the specter of doubt was still very much present. Pick wasn’t as low as the handles I was training on but with how much the deadlift took out of me, it was possible that this was going to be a struggle to even get the weights off the ground. I had two light warm-ups (tried to simulate training) to get ready for the run. The guy who bombed the car deadlift finished the course in about the time that I would do it. I figured that would happen. The next two couldn’t get the handles off the ground. Not a good sign. These handles were solid pieces of metal so you felt the full weight, no flex or nothing. It was a slow pick and I started moving. I wasn’t certain my grip would hold until I was about half way down the course and once I knew I was good, I was able to pick up speed. And as I usually do, I held the handles for a few seconds at the finish and lowered them slowly to the ground. Ended up getting 13.25 seconds. Most bigger shows have had higher pick farmer’s so this was actually a PR over my training times from the lower pick heights. Another nod of approval from the judge as he was surprised with my footwork for my build. First place blistered the course in 9.28 seconds. Another second place for me and back in second place.

The final event was the stone of steel. 300lbs over 50” with a time limit of 60 seconds. I started with the empty stone of steel and worked my way up from there during my recovery. This is actually the exercise I was doing in my garage that my back went on all those months ago so I had to prove a point. I’d been beating this thing up in training regularly. Only time I had doubts was when it came to that darn testing day where I was a sweaty mess and got just four lifts with the contest weight. I was beat by this point. Still willing to do what needed to be done. Midsection and lower back wanted to cramp up so I kept my rehband belt on to keep them warm. There was cushioned chair that was out in the competitor’s area and I just sat in it until it was close to go time. Like a boxer waiting in the corner, waiting for the final round to start. Waiting for the bell. I got to see everyone but 1st place go before me. When I was up, the number to beat was six. It didn’t matter if the number to beat was one, I was going all in. Conditions were perfect and I had no issues lifting it. Just the right amount of effort used so that I could control it up and over for the helper to return it quickly. I doubt I could really extend much higher with the fatigue. I got eight reps to beat the number my training partner had gotten at his contest earlier this year. The rep had bobbled a little so I really slowed it down to get one more for nine. I definitely could have gone up another gear if needed. Lettering on the stone of steel peeled off on my arms and looked like it was saying “FU”. Guy in first, Nick, managed to get eight for second. This was a big PR as he had never gotten that weight before in contest for one. A first place for me.

With my consistency, I was able to get 2nd place. Too many mistakes for first and I need to keep working on my deadlift strength. I got what I wanted out of this contest and more. I completed the show with no injuries and no return of pain. I grinded out heavy deadlifts and farmer’s walk without form breaking. I lifted a weight on the stone of steel that was almost 60lbs heavier than the weight that I injured myself for nine reps with some in the tank. I put in the effort and qualified for Nationals. That was something I wasn’t expecting. I was hoping it would be the case but you never know. Some rust still needs to come off and I will be on top of my game. I think as long as I still can “make excuses” for why I’m not done or reached my peak, I still have the drive to keep going forward. I also got to compete again and it is a different feeling. I missed it. But now, I need to get some rest. A week off will do me some good.