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Showing posts from August, 2013

11 weeks out, day 2, deadlift and bench press

Today was heavy conventional pull day and I had 5 sets of 3 with 515 on the schedule.  Before the session, I reviewed my spreadsheet with all of my workouts from August 31, 2010 and I had never before hit 15 reps total volume with 80% of my 1 RM in a single workout.  I knew I hadn't trained the deadlift with as much focus as my squat and bench press but it was still a little surprising to see just how little volume I was doing.  Despite this, my top deadlift in competition still crept upwards 10 kgs over that period, proof that the deadlift is still my best lift.

Even though I hadn't trained the deadlift with the volume I scheduled myself to do, I knew it was well within my capacity and in the off chance it wasn't, well, that wasn't an option.  The fifth and final set was tough but not a grinder.  Afterwards, everything felt good so I'm pretty confident the foundation work I did in the 6 weeks prior was effective.  The end result of today's session is that I…

11 weeks out, Day 1, squats and bench presses

From Saturday to Monday I had either a head cold or a bad case of ragweek allergies.  I usually don't have many hayfever type issues but was informed that ragweed allergies tend to peak at the end of summer through early fall.  Ragweed levels were very high so it's possible.  We had rain yesterday and levels according to the weather network's pollen report were medium.  Whether by coincidence or not, I felt about 100% better today so any worries I had over the weekend about my training being adversely affected were mostly put to rest.  In any case, I logged the dates of my 'ragweed allergy' on my calendar and I'll keep an eye on it next year about this time.

Since I probably won't get much training in next week, I decided to increase my squat volume to 5 sets of 3 with 405.  The sets went well and almost all of the reps moved with some speed.  After squats, I did 6 sets of 3 paused benches with 245 (72% of my 1 RM) and then 4 sets of 2-board presses.  I…

12 Weeks out, Day 2, Deadlift and Bench Press

Since I'm alternating heavy pulls from the floor with necessarily lighter snatch grip stiff-legged deadlifts, last week's heavy pulls meant this week was snatch grip SLDL day.  In addition to the SLDL's, I added in a new movement which for lack of a better name, I'll call end-range hip lifts.  Basically it's a rack deadlift set up about 2" above the knees and the movement I was going after was a hip hinge with speed.  Like a super heavy, short ROM Dimel deadlift.  The point of the movement is to keep the torso rigid and to get a fast 'hip pop'.  It's a heavily loaded speed movement.

I learned of the movement from Dr. Michael Mangan, the veteran lifter I run into occasionally at the gym. He routinely does sets of 10 with 945!  I had no illusions I would come close to that kind of loading, especially the first time trying them but I thought they would be a perfect compliment to the snatch grip SLDL's since they hit the end range of the hip hinge …

Meet prep starts, 12 weeks out, day 1

I've been taking the past few weeks a little easy with only two workouts a week.  The day when I'd usually get in session #3 has been replaced with 18 holes of golf with Vivian.  Strangely, walking 18 holes and swinging a golf club 85-95 times (including putts) ends up making my back and knees more sore than the normally scheduled squat and bench press session.   In any case, I love playing golf and spending time with Vivian so I don't miss that extra workout for a second.

I'll probably have to start getting in 3 sessions a week soon though so that means, during golf season, that I'll have to fight the Monday crowds on a M/W/F schedule.  I'll think about that schedule change in a few weeks.  For now, I'm on a 2x/wk schedule until I go back to Hawaii for Grandma's funeral service.

Tonight was a squat and bench press session.  My back felt pretty good, not much tingling down the back of my glutes and legs and I was able to put in a decent effort.  Added a…

Week 8, Day 2, foundation phase

Started with deadlifts today, I planned on working up to a top set of 585.  Since I was using a belt I hoped to get a double. Everything felt pretty good up through my 545x2 set.  I ended up only doing a single with 585 because I couldn't stay tight enough on the way down.  I like to control the negative and if I can't do a tensioned pause at the bottom of the rep, I stop the set.

I was a little disappointed in not getting 585x2 but it was still a better rep than the last time I pulled it for a single prior to my last meet.  I finished up with 495x3x2 sets.  It was a bit more deadlifting volume than I've done in a long time and things felt good.  It was a good finish to 8 weeks of foundation work and I'm definitely starting my next meet prep training cycle from a much better position than anytime in the previous 5 years.

I'm going to keep the snatch grip stiff-legged deadlifts in the rotation on alternate weeks with regular deadlifts.  I feel like they're real…

Week 8, Day 1, goodbye Grandma Tanioka

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Earlier this week I received notice that my last surviving grandparent had passed away.  She had been suffering from age related dementia and the time had come where her body simply ceased to survive.  I am happy that she is at peace.  She, like others of her generation the Issei, was tough as nails and sacrificed much of her own personal dreams and passions so that her children and her children's children would have better opportunities than her.

Growing up in Southern California, my exposure to my grandparents on both sides was limited to summer visits since they were still in Hawaii, the birthplace of both of my parents.  I have fuzzy recollections of Grandma Tanioka coming home in the morning after working nights cleaning the floors at the local sugar cane plantation.  I have fond memories of spending summers at their house (after she and my grandfather had retired) with my brother while we worked a summer job at our Uncle's orchid farm.  That such a nice lady could have s…

Week 7, Day 2, foundation phase

After last week's deadlift progress check, it's time to get back to the 'lighter' day of snatch-grip stiff-legged deadlifts.  I planned on making my top set 405 lbs so I was pretty happy that my warm-up progression moved fast.  My work set of 5 with 365 moved very well so I went ahead with my plan to give 405 a ride.  I was able to get a decent triple so that's my new 3RM PR in that lift.  I'll keep 405 as my top weight and eventually progress it to a set of 5.

Now that I'm at a stage where I can start trying to push my deadlift up, I'm going to keep these SLDL's in my schedule.  I think the extra hamstring emphasis is carrying over nicely to both my squat and deadlift.  Plus the weight I'm handling is quite a bit lower so there isn't nearly as much recovery needed for my lower back.

After deadlifts, bench presses were next.  My speed triples were done with 245 (72% of my last competition 1 RM).  The percentage is slightly higher than was re…

Week 7, Day 1, foundation phase

Had a great long weekend with Vivian--we played golf a couple of times.  This time of the year I'm always more excited about playing golf than lifting weights.  It's probably why my right knee has been a little wonky the last couple of weeks.  I took it easy on the legs last week but had to get back on the program today so I got back to my leg press/squat routine.  The leg presses are still slowly improving.  Today I pushed the pace a little quicker so even though I only matched my top set from my last leg session, I got there quicker.

After leg presses, I moved to squats and I was a little apprehensive about how my knee was going to feel in the hole.  It's never a good thing to wonder if you're knee is going to hurt when you're in the hole.  Fortunately tonight, things felt pretty good and I was able to work up to a couple triples with 345.  It's a little less than I handled last time I worked my legs but my pace was quicker tonight so I'll call it a draw.

Week 6, Day 1, foundation phase

Didn't get into the gym until today, mostly a combination of feeling under the weather earlier in the week and a lack of desire.  Tried to train yesterday but the gym was shutdown due to a fire alarm.  Since I didn't want to wait an hour for them to clear the alarm, I bailed.  I probably needed the extra rest because today I actually wanted to deadlift.  I can't remember the last time I actually looked forward to a deadlift workout.

I had planned to hit some regular deadlifts to see how the snatch-grip SLDL, snatch-grip DL's and leg pressing were carrying over but I was still a bit surprised that I was craving some hard pulling.   My plan was to work up to a beltless triple with 545.  I had no real basis for using that as my top set except that everything felt good and my body seemed to want it.  In fact, I've never pulled 545 for a beltless triple before and I have to go back to October 3, 2012 in my training log to find a session where I pulled 545 for more than …