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Showing posts from September, 2011

Deadlift assistance day

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This week I've been tuning into the live feed of the 2011 IPF World Masters Powerlifting Championships taking place in St. Catherines.  It has been truly inspirational to see friends and training partners lifting for their country and taking home medals.  As with the Junior/Sub-Junior Worlds that took place last month, I was struck at how many lifters at the World Championship level pull their deadlifts sumo style.
A video from 2008 of me doing a 495lb sumo deadlift in training.  I was about 270 (roughly 40 lbs heavier than I am now) in this video.
That 495 lb sumo deadlift was my high-water mark for the sumo style deadlift.  I've always been a comparatively poor squatter so the sumo deadlift was never the ideal format for me.  Still, after seeing so many top lifters using the style, I thought today I'd give it a shot.  If nothing else, the training variation would be beneficial and the reduced load would give my back a rest.

My sumo sets went like this:  135X5, 225X5, 315…

Setting goals and making plans

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The week after a meet is usually a week that's easy to take off under the premise of restoring one's batteries after a stressful pre-meet training cycle and the heightened CNS output at the meet itself.  In my case, one doesn't have to twist my arm quite that hard.  Simply put, with no competition in the immediate future, it's really easy for me to blow off a week of training.   I stayed on my diet strategy for the most part so the week wasn't a total write off.  That being said (a phrase I used far too often but after Vivian made fun of me for using "evidently" all the time, I had to find some other space-killer to over-use) I got back in the gym today and started thinking about next year's schedule.

The training session today was mediocre but to be expected after taking a week off.   I had planned on squatting for high reps but all I could do was two sets of 10 with 315.  My knees were sore and I didn't have the endurance to do the 15's I th…

Powerlifting nostalgia

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When I started my powerlifting return--I originally wrote 'comeback' but it's not really a comeback if you never got anywhere the first time--in 2008, I lifted in USAPL meets in Ohio.  I chose those meets for a couple of reasons.  One, I was familiar with the USAPL or at least its earlier version the ADFPA. Two, they had started offering a "raw" division.  Since I wanted to know where I stood relative to my competition, the drug-tested USAPL's "raw" category seemed the most appropriate.  It was at that time that I scanned the USAPL's lifter database to find out who the other lifters in my age and weight class were.  One name I remember reading was Phillip Wylie.  In the three years since, Mr. Wylie has gotten stronger and stronger to the point where he is a top open class competitor and a top master (40-49) lifter, finishing 5th in the open 110kg class and 1st in the (45-49) age division at the recent 2011 USAPL Raw Nationals.  And lest anyone t…

100% Raw Easterns, squat videos

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After having a chance to review video of my squat attempts from this past weekend's 100% Raw Powerlifting Eastern Nationals, I'm surprised because they actually look worse than they felt.

My opening attempt looked fine but considering it was a weight I was handling easily in training, should've moved alot faster.
200 kg (440 lbs) opening attempt--that didn't look like a weight I could do for reps
While I was squatting it, my second attempt with 207.5 kgs (457 lbs) felt like a near miss.  I let the bar get forward and I didn't have the back strength to good morning it up.  After watching the video, it looked as if the weight was 10 kg too heavy--which doesn't make much sense since I just lifted a weight that was only 7.5 kgs less heavy.
207.5 kg (457 lbs) second attempt--getting pinned sucks.
My third attempt, a re-try with 207.5 kgs, went much better.  Before the meet started, I thought a squat of 212.5 kgs (468 lbs) was in the bag since I had done a couple of …

100% Raw Easterns meet report

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Before the meet I had the following checklist:
new raw squat PRmaintain bench press levelssuccessfully use hook grip in competition My training had gone well enough to suggest 1 and 2 were attainable and, aside from a comical fall last week, 3 was sure to happen, the only thing I didn't know was how heavy it would let me go.

I ended up weighing in at 107 kgs, comfortably under the 110 kg limit but significantly far from the next lower weight class at 100 kg.  A few weeks ago when I woke up at a surprisingly light 231.5 lbs (105 kgs), I thought there might be a chance I could cut a few pounds and lift at 100 kgs.  Alas, it was not to be as a few cheeseburgers and pizzas soon got me up to my then normal weight of 240-245 lbs.  After that fiasco of gluttony, I decided to implement the "slow-carb diet" as a strategy to gain control over my crazy tendency to over-eat.  So far it has seemed to work as my weight was hovering around 234-235 prior to meet weigh-in this morning.  I…

Gym renovations are bad news for the Jersey Shore crowd

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The gym renovations at the Oakville YMCA are done and I was very excited and a bit nervous to see what they had done.  They call the gym the "wellness centre" and part of me feared it would be transformed into one big yoga studio with a few small dumbbells and a smith machine.

As Vivian and I drove into the parking lot, it was already evident through the windows that there was at least one additional power rack.  Good news so far...

When I got to the 'wellness centre', I was immediately shocked and amazed.  Somehow, somewhere, some equipment salesman/woman had convinced the Oakville YMCA to create a 'wellness centre' in the style of a training facility.  No, there weren't any sleds or tractor tires but what they had done was get rid of all the stand alone bench press, decline press, and incline press stations and instead install 6 (SIX!) power stations. Each station is equipped with two chinning grips, bar dip attachments and an adjustable bench.
While t…

Deadlift Fail, a first for everything!

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So, on saturday, I went to Toronto Rex headquarters at the House of Boyle for what was planned to be a workout to deadlift and bench press openers.  Everything felt very good and I was looking forward to another session to practice the hook grip.

We started with bench presses because Ulrike Kruger, a teamate training for the upcoming IPF Masters World Championships, was also bench pressing and I figured, you bench and then you deadlift in the meet, might as well practice the same way.

Bench presses went very well and my planned opening and second attempts of 297 and 308 were confirmed with some relatively pain-free lifts.  I even finished up with a successful touch and go attempt with 315.  A little over a year ago I was doing sets of 2 or 3 reps with 315 but shoulder pain has kept the landmark three wheel bench press out of reach for quite a while.  It was good to press it again.  Hopefully this is a sign I'll get some bench press power back.

After bench presses, it was on to dea…

Last hard squat workout before the competition

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Today is eleven days out from my next competition on the 18th.  It was scheduled to be my last heavy single squat day and my goal was to continue to feel comfortable with sets of "one and done".   Still training at the Burlington YMCA because the Oakville YMCA's renovations aren't complete, I ended up sharing the power rack with the one guy I usually have to share with at Oakville.  I don't know if Burlington works their legs less than Oakville but it seems strange that the solitary power rack both nights was occupied by two Oakville members.

Anyways, my squat workout went reasonably well and I ended up with the following singles:
445, 455, 455, 435, 435 I then finished with two pause squat sets with 365x3 reps.  365 is the most I've used for pause squats so far and they felt fast.  I believe they are helping with my heavy singles.  The singles with 455 and 435 all required some grinding yet still moved well with little form breakdown.  Sitting here typing up…

Great squat/leg day and my current diet strategy

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This week my home gym, the Oakville YMCA, is closed for renovations.  This should be a good thing as they are getting at least one power rack and new bench presses.  While waiting to see if the new 'wellness centre' will be conducive to smashing weights, I traveled down the QEW to the Burlington YMCA.

The Burlington YMCA is a little older and alot less chichi than the Oakville YMCA.  Maybe that's not good news for Oakville soccer moms looking for new age fitness (a workout without sweat or effort) but for a lifter, it means an old-school power rack and those familiar, old, metal, clangly plates.  Not quite dungeony but about as good as one would get south of the QEW and miles from the border of the Hammer.

Today was scheduled to be my volume leg day or the day where I pre-exhaust the quads prior to doing my work sets in the squat.  The Burlington Y has an old Nautilus branded leg press.  I'm not familiar with the lines of  equipment Nautilus made after their classic c…

Hook grip speed singles

Two deadlift workouts before the next competition--not enough time to get the deadlift up to previous standards but still a chance to get the hook grip dialed in enough to at least hit a 550-575 lb deadlift.

The workout yesterday was scheduled to be a 'light' day, perfect for trying some speed singles in an effort to gain more confidence in the security of my newly adopted hook grip.  The plan was to do singles with 485 lbs (80% of my 1 rep max) with 1 minute rest.  Each repetition would use the hook grip and my goal was to try to rip them off the floor.  I hoped that I'd be able to gain confidence in the hook grip so I wouldn't waste a second thought on it.

I ended up doing 5 singles and with the relatively short rest period between reps, still ended up feeling fairly tired. I stopped after 5 singles because my thumbs started feeling really beat up.  I actually have a small blister on my right thumb from the abuse.  On the positive side, the grip was secure and I didn…

Singles night and bench press desperation

16 days and 5 workouts (including today) left until the 100% Raw Eastern National Championships.  On the schedule today were heavy squat singles.  As with all of my scheduled 'heavy' days, the goal is to single up until a training max (9 RPE) but with the competition so close, instead of following up the training max single with 3-5 sets of 2-3 reps, I would do singles with 90%+ to practice the competition squat.

I've been watching the live feed of the IPF Sub Junior and Junior Worlds and it has been inspiring to watch those kids move some monstrous weights.  I hoped this inspiration would lead to some smashed weights and a training PR.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen but I was able to get in some very good work.

Warm-up sets:  145X10, 235X10, 325X3, 375X2
Singles:  415X1, 450X1, 450X1, 450X1, 425X1X4 sets

I had hoped my training max would be higher than 450 but my first single felt very slow so I decided to stay there.  After the third single, I dropped the weight …