Showing posts from December, 2012

2012 training recap and 2013 goals

Last year's summary of 2011 included the following:
Bodyweight, started at 250, dropped to 230, gained to 240, and finished the year at 230.138 total training sessions, 3 competitions, high of 20 sessions in one month, low of 8Trained all year IPF "raw", battled a bad shoulder, converted to hook grip for deadlifts
2012 saw progress in most areas with the exception of bodyweight.
Bodyweight started at 230, ended the year at 250.124 total training sessions, 3 competitions, high of 13 sessions in one month, low of 8Trained all year IPF "raw", shoulder got better, made big improvements in squat form
With the exception of my bodyweight sliding up a bit, 2012 was a year of some very encouraging progress.  I was able to hit an all-time raw PR in the squat after making some technique improvements.  My shoulder finally started feeling better and I was able to train the bench press properly for the first time in almost 2 years.  My total at my last competition upped my raw…

last training session of 2012, bench press and deadlift assisstance

Friday's squat session and yesterday's snow shoveling left my lower back feeling less than recovered for today's deadlift assistance session.  My chest was still a little sore from Friday's dumbbell power flyes too.  On a slight digression, back in the day, the dumbbell flyes we did were what some call power flyes today.  It wasn't until internet form police pukes started bitching about "you're bending your elbows" or "your elbows aren't straight enough" that flyes became the ultra-strict abomination that you see in bad YouTube videos.

In order to avoid the inevitable keyboard warrior bitching, the flyes that actually work are now usually referred to power flyes--although I doubt Arnold would give two craps about what some internet weenie thinks about his exercise form:

Anyways, with that pet peeve out of the way, I hit the bench press with a pretty decent amount of volume based on my previous sessions and felt pretty good.  I'm pau…

Found an old fat pic from 2007

I found a letter with some pictures from a trip I made to Hawaii in 2007 to visit family.  The picture was taken from the 290+ period when I had reached the peak of my recent bout with obesity.  It's a good reminder of where I was and that any progress I've made is a big improvement over the stress and strain my former 290+ lb self was under.

Slowly increasing the volume

First training session in 7 days, 4 of them spent eating all manner of Christmas goodies and turkey.  It felt good to get a little rest in but to be honest, my back doesn't seem to hurt any less when I don't lift.  My elbows enjoyed the 7 days off though.  They had been getting a little crispy from the heavy back squatting leading up to my meet.  We had our first snow dump of the season in time for yesterday's morning drive so I spent an hour shoveling the driveway.  In addition to the unintended cardio workout, my back was pretty worn out from the winter chores.  It turned out to be a pretty good ramp to tonight's session.

My back and hips were still a little worked from the previous day's repetitive strain but they also felt ready for a higher degree of stress.  My plan for today was to hit overhead presses, squats, and if time permitted, power flyes and dumbbell rows.

Overhead presses went pretty well but it was very apparent that my stability or lack thereof w…

Deadlift and Squat videos from the 2012 O.P.A. Classic Championships

I just got copies of my squat and deadlift videos taken by fellow competitor Benjamin Butty from the recent 2012 Ontario Powerlifting Association 3 Lift Classic Championships.  Benjamin recorded them with a digital SLR so he was able to take advantage of both the zoom lens and the higher quality sensor to get some excellent videos of my lifts.

My second attempt squat with 210 kgs:
My third attempt squat with 215 kgs. From this angle it looks like I cut it right at the "no doubt" point.  Any higher and I think I'd be risking red lights from an ultra-strict judge.  As it was, it felt very strong so if I can train to that depth in the future, I think I should easily get at least 227.5 kgs in my next competition.

My opening attempt in the Deadlift was 260 kgs.  It's a weight that I can get with little to no stress.  The video shows a slight hesitation as it breaks free of the earth but from then on it's a quick ride to the top.

My second attempt with 280 kgs took lon…

bench press and deadlift assistance day

My fantasy football team is in the league finals this weekend so I'm more pre-occupied about that than my training at the moment. Any given week in a head to head league, there's a fair bit of luck involved since even the best players get shut down and marginal players go off and have career games.  I'm guaranteed $50 even if the team loses and comes in second but nobody like finishing as the first loser.  Unlike powerlifting, there's no consolation in fantasy football since the team owner has nothing to do with setting PR's.

Tonight's session was bench press and deadlift assistance work.  While I don't feel beat up or especially weak/slow, my overall work capacity for volume needs to be built back up.  Bench presses were simple sets of 5, "t-shirt press" style.  That is, they were done with a very light touch and a pause at the chest.  Five sets of five reps felt pretty good even though my pecs were still a little sore from the power fly work tw…

Back in the gym, squats and overhead presses

The great thing about competition is, even if you feel wrecked from the aftermath of limit attempts in the squat, bench press, and deadlift, usually your motivation to train is never higher.  Between the excitement of competition, the interaction with other lifters, and hopefully, some successes on the platform, competitions are a great way to top up the enthusiasm tank.  Usually, my enthusiasm to get right into the gym and start working on whatever it is that I need to work on is tempered by the physical reality that my body wants nothing to do with straining under the bar.

Tonight's workout was different than previous sessions immediately after a competition.  Instead of feeling slow and the bar feeling heavy, I felt pretty good.  I can't remember if I also felt pretty good after my meet from January 2011 when I also didn't cut any weight prior to competing but I suspect not having the added stress of cutting weight made a difference.

Since I plan to spend at least the n…

Post-meet form evaluations and plans for improvement

Two days after my competition and I'm sore but eager to get back in the gym and work on my opportunities.  Missing my third attempt bench press with 155 kgs took a bit of a toll as my lower back is very tender.  It's not nearly as bad as when I irritated it the first time back in May so I'm not worried about missing any time on the bench.  Other than my lower back being very tender in extension, my obliques and erectors are the only other areas that feel like they need some recovery time.

I had some time to upload the raw video of my squats from my phone to my computer and once I was able to see the full videos, I was able to better check my squat depth.  When I watched the videos on my phone and the relatively low quality upload on my youtube page, it appeared I was going very deep but after closer review at full-sized playback, my depth on my third attempt was not excessively deep at all.  Clearly legal depth but not low enough that I want to risk cutting them any higher…

2012 OPA Classic Provincials meet report

I started this "raw" period of my powerlifting training in August 2010 after I had finished the 2010 Niagara Open competing as an equipped lifter.  I switched to raw training for two reasons.  One, I had tweaked my shoulder pretty good from handling over-max weights in a bench shirt.  Two, I had grown disgusted with my gear because at the Niagara meet in 2010, I lifted as a 220 lb lifter.  The equipment I wore was my gear that I used when I competed as a 242 lb lifter at the Nationals earlier in the year.  One's bodyweight/body girths greatly affect how the gear works for a lifter.  The idea that I would need multiple sets of gear depending on my bodyweight was simply too much expense and complexity for me to want to manage so I decided back in August 2010 that I would train and compete raw from then on.

My first raw meet was the Ontario Powerlifting Association (OPA) Provincials in January 2011.  Since the CPU or any of its provincial affiliates had not yet adopted a ra…

meet week, some refresher squatting and benching

It's finally meet week and I can't say I've ever felt this ready to try some max attempts.  Since I've never felt this 'ready' I can't say that it'll mean good things on Sunday but as they say, if feeling this good is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Today's session was just some sets of 3's with enough weight to feel the competition groove and just enough work to knock the rust off but leave my body still chomping at the bit to hit some 100+% lifts on Sunday.  The squats felt fast and easy as they should and the bench presses, all reps paused, were nice and quick.  While I'm not cutting weight to make the lower weight class, I'm still cutting carbs this week until Friday so that I can get a bit of a bloat on for Sunday.  I want my attempts to reflect optimal conditions without the confounding factor of dealing with a cut and rehydration as happened to me last meet.

I'll take the time after the meet to finally do what I've be…

1 week out, squat and bench assistance

Tonight was my last real squat session before next Sunday's meet.  I will do some easy triples with 365-385 on Monday but tonight was the last session with any intensity.  I worked up to a comfortable single with 455 and finished with three worksets totalling 11 repetitions. All told there were 8 repetitions with 87% of my training max and 8 repetitions in the 78-83% range.  The single with 455 represented 98% of my training max.  I hit reasonable intensity levels with an easily recoverable amount of volume.

All the squats felt very solid and fast and touch wood, no aches or pains or other issues that would create doubt come meet time.  At the moment, my plan to open with 200 kgs (440 lbs) is on schedule.  Second attempt will be either 207.5 kgs or 210 kgs.  How that lift goes will dictate my plans for a third attempt.

For bench press assistance I continued Monday's work with long pause bench presses.  I cut down on the total number of repetitions I would normally do on "…

1 week out, last full bench press session

This is my last full week of training with the meet next Sunday (Dec 16th).  Cutting back on accessory work but keeping primary lift volumes at normal levels and I'll leave meet week for full recovery.  My warm ups felt slow so I decided to use exaggerated pauses on all the work sets.  With a long pause, there is no alternative but to try to push hard off the chest and force the speed.  Thinking back to my training for this meet, now that my shoulders apparently seem up to the constant volume, I'll start incorporating long pauses on a more regular basis.

Bench Press:  135x10, 185x10, 225x5, 255x3, add wrist wraps, 275x2, 295x2, 315x1, add belt, 315x1, 315x1, just wrist wraps, 285x2, 285x2, 285x2, no wraps, 255x3, 255x3

On a completely unrelated note, I still have my old sports card collection from when I was a kid and was reminded of it recently so I decided to take a picture of two of my favourite cards.

Yup, that's a Walter Payton rookie card (1976 Topps) on the left and…

2 weeks out, deadlift and bench accessory

The meet is now 15 days away and training has been going well.  Nothing hurts too much and it feels like I'll be in good shape to lift on December 16th.  This session was scheduled to be my last deadlift session with heavy singles.  Since my deadlift had felt slow and grindy on previous heavy single days, I was curious to see how it would feel today.  Fortunately the bar moved very well and my top singles with 545 moved as well as I can remember.  I originally planned to take a single with 585 but decided on a second single with 545 since the first one moved so fast.  That sounds counter-intuitive but after feeling slow the previous deadlift sessions, I didn't want to grind out a single with 585 this close to the meet  after finally regaining some speed off the floor.  I'll save it for the meet since I'll have no reason to grind out a heavy single afterwards.  The hook grip felt great for the warm up sets and the two singles with 545 as well.  I did strap up for the fi…