TUESDAY'S TRAINING 12/3/13
20 minute walk with 40 lb weight vest
OK, so our puppy is a little over 7 months. The little guy is becoming a big guy. He's been great with the exception of some silly puppy stuff. He does do one odd thing however, he urinates all over his own paws.
It's not so bad when he's just lazy and doesn't lift a leg. The stream just kind of splits the uprights and goes between his front legs. When he lifts one leg, BAM, he nails a front leg/paw. We call it pee pee paw. Yeah, he doesn't seem to care at all. This happens often enough where we have wipes at the side door to keep him from dragging his essence into the house.
Anyone else have this problem? I mean with your dog by the way, you filthy animals. Also, if you meet him, don't mention I wrote this. I wouldn't want him to get a complex.
WEDNESDAY'S TRAINING 12/4/13
Suit case carry 100 lbs 4x75
115 atlas stone to shoulder 2x1, 1x5
A little pseudo strongman training. I got the suitcase carries from Brian Carroll. These are good for the back and abs. You really have to stabilize when only carrying on one side. Plus it was a nice short burst of intensity. Kind of like that strongman thing.
We also have a baby atlas stone. I honestly don't know how we got it. I'm sure I liberated it from Murph at some point. It's 80 lbs lighter than the show, but I got to practice a little. The hardest part for me is bending over to get to it. If I drop anything less than a $20 bill on the ground it's a toss up whether I'll even bend over to pick it up. Now I'm bending over to pick up stones that will most likely jack my back up. I'm a dumb dumb.
30 Minute walk with 40 lb weight vest
After the walk I had to bring the garbage cans in and I also had to drag the lawn and leaf barrels to the curb from the backyard. I left the weight vest on for this funtastic activity. Anyway, while trudging back and forth with the barrels, by the way, when did leaves get so heavy, I started feeling pretty good about myself. A bunch of years ago I was so poorly conditioned that I would have to take a break doing this activity and that was without a weight vest.
The point is, I can be pretty hard on myself. It was nice to take a moment to appreciate where I am presently. I know in a matter of a few hours I will go back to being unsatisfied with either my training, eating, conditioning, recovery, etc, but it was nice to just feel good about myself. I hope you all take the time to do that yourselves.
FRIDAY'S TRAINING 12/6/12
Foam roll upper and lower
Blast strap circuit warm up
Low back, pec, shoulder, and hip dynamic stretches
Swiss Rev Grip bar floor press 95/135/225/275/315/365/405x3 455/475/485/490x1
Log press 90/110/200/200x1, 200x5
JM press 135 2x15 w/Rev Grip Bar rev bench 135 2x15
Pulldowns to belly (no rest between sets) 110/120/130/140/150/160 x 10
Floor press with the Rev Grip bar was awesome. If you notice from my vid, I keep the weight pretty high on my chest relative to my regular bench. Floor pressing low jacks up my pec/shoulder/biceps tendon. Having that extra stretch in the bottom from the increased ROM without the arch is no bueno for me. However, keeping it more in my shoulders/traps than my lats, plus the angle of the handle on the Rev bar makes a huge difference.
Each set actually got better. My last lift was my best lift. I wanted to go more, but Brian thought I should stop there. I had 4 lifts in the 90% range so the work was done. Plus I was going to do some log presses for the strongman next weekend, so walking away there made sense.
This was only my second time really training on the log. I know 200 is not heavy, but so much of it is technique. I have to also mention, my body does not function like most others. So it's hard to teach me form that my body is incapable of doing. Anyway, from critiquing the video I could easily see a change in grip really helped on reps 3-5. I also see that I really don't need to rest too much with the log on my knees. I just need to thrust my hips and make sure to press the weight over to behind my head instead of straight up above my shoulders. Momentum seems to go a long way in this lift.
Was a good session all in all. The crew is working like a well oiled machine. Training has been, hard, focused, and fun. Good times.
SATURDAY'S TRAINING 12/7/13
20 minute walk with 40 lb weight vest
The 40 lbs is starting to get easier. Although, the way it sits it still feels like a heart attack. Just assuming, fortunately I have no frame of reference. I hope I can continue with these. I have a habit of getting to a good place then stopping. I'm actually thinking of hitting up Santa for an x-vest that goes to 85 lbs. I think they distribute the weight better and I can change the weight as I go.
If there are any bear benefactors out there, I do accept gifts. You get a complimentary shirtless pic of Rhodes with every gift to me.
Log press looked like fun!
Vin the sad thing is they could go directly to Rhodes and he'd willingly send them out for free.
Doing it once is fun. More than once, not so much.
Originally Posted by Tim K
He'd probably even pay the postage.
Originally Posted by Mark!
SUNDAY'S TRAINING 12/8/13
Foam roll upper and lower
Blast strap circuit
Dynamic stretch hips, back, and shoulders
Deadlift 135/185/225/275/315x1 dbl overhand 365/405/455/405/455x1 w/straps
Dbl biceps curls 25 3x10
McGill situps 2x10
Still getting ready for this strongman next weekend. I get to use straps, but my pull is still pathetic. Anyway, I was so upset after the first 455 I decided I had to do something. I adjusted my belt and my form. went back down to 405 and that felt much better. The 455 felt much better than the previous 455 as well.
Honestly, I will be happy to pull in the low 5's. My best conventional pull, when I wasn't even training dl was 675. Man, I have really allowed myself to get weak in the lower body. I will rectify this. It's just going to take some time.
No warm up
Dbl Key presses 35/45/55/65/75x15
Tate presses 35 3x15
Fat man pullups 3x10 various grips
Close grip underhand pulldowns (for biceps) 50 3x12
Just some upper body work to keep busy. Taking it slow this week for the strongman.
Foam roll upper and lower
Great what you said about taking a moment to be content with accomplishment, especially when you have that drive that says enough is never enough. Also great that it was about something that improves quality of life.
Thx so much. I keep getting guys trying to drag me back up to the shw. That was a great experience that I don't regret, but that time has passed. New challenges and an improved quality of life are what I am striving for.
...you're doing a bodybuidling show? :omg:
Originally Posted by Tim K
Quick strongman show update
I lived, kind of. Popped my hamstring on the deadlift which was the second event. Finished anyway. Wasn't first, but didn't finish last either. I'll have a write up in a day or two when my hands aren't so sore.
Sucks about the hamstring, but how did the bicep fare?
If you took your shirt off at anytime during the event, it counts as bodybuilding. :D
Originally Posted by vdizenzo
Good luck rehabbing your hamstring. Looking forward to the write-up.
Bicep held up much better than anticipated, thank you. It also helps that Jess did the lion's share of the stone lifting. She tagged me and I only lifted mine twice. She yelled at me and said she was ready to go again. Thank God for the wifey.
Originally Posted by ljosaitis
Felt like a bag of smashed s$$holes from the strongman the day before. From the MD I just received by surfing the net, I feel pretty confident it is just a grade 1 hamstring strain (boy it sure scared me when it popped though). I spent Saturday night and all of Sunday icing, elevating, and compressing. I am not going to sit around and just hope it gets better. Thanks to my man Brian Holloway for the quick advice on treatment.
You'll be back at it in no time.
Standing band flyes
Pulldowns to belly
Band face Pulls
Airdyne 20 minutes liss
Moist heat 3x20 minutes on hamstring
I guess you could say I am semi back at it. I really am quite beat up from the strongman so I am going to back off a bit this week. I don't know how long the hamstring will keep the lower body out of commission, but I will start my meet training for upper body either Friday or Monday. That is even if I have to train bench with my legs up for a while. I have done this before with good success.
STRONGMAN CONTEST WRITE UP WITH VIDEO
While I have done a few non-traditional strongman competitions, I have never competed in a North American Strongman (NAS) event. Now, it certainly was not a lack of desire. While training for a few in the past I have reinjured my back, ruptured a hernia, and partially tore a biceps. So I took a different approach this time, I didn't "train" for it.
Matt Mills of Lightning Fitness in Windsor, CT (an awesome gym by the way) put on his second Lightning Fitness Couples Strong(wo)man Competition. These couples competitions they hold have been for a local animal shelter. I'm actually really pi$$ed at myself for not taking any pictures of the giant mounds of food and toys raised for the animals, not to mention the money.
The idea of competing with my wife Jessica was probably the greatest impetus for participating. I mentioned it last year and she loved the idea. Unfortunately I partially tore a biceps on the log while just starting to train for it. So this year the plan was not to train. We just planned on going to Lightning Fitness and having someone take us through each event sometime prior to the contest. So we did that with Matt LaCroix a lightweight strongman and trainer at the gym. He was a great help. The two most important lessons were that Jessica could pull me on the sled, and I learned you need to deadlift the log off the ground as opposed to pulling it up with your arms.
The day of the competition we were getting a snowstorm up here in the northeast. A lot of competitors were concerned about it. There was even a thread on the old book of face in that regard. That said, nothing was holding Jessica and I back this time. Fortunately for us, I obviously overcompensate by owning a pretty big truck. This thing laughs at snow.
We got there without incident and I have to tell you, I had butterflies. It was also weird not really knowing what to do and where to go. Just like showing up at a powerlifting meet for the first time. I was a novice and had a lot to learn. So, we checked in and started getting ready.
Much like powerlifting, there is a fair amount of hurry up and wait. Don't confuse this with a poorly run contest. There were close to 100 competitors. After 5 events we were done right around 5pm. That beats most powerlifting events by hours. Anyway, it was only around 55 degrees in the gym so I made sure to get pretty warm before we started. Jessica even kept her hat on, but I think it was for intimidation.
The first event was the log press. My log was 200 lbs and Jessica's was 90. I was really surprised how easy this was for me. I got a couple of suggestions from the internet on form and it really helped. The game plan we came up with was to pace ourselves. The rule was one competitor lifts and then the other competitor can start once the down command was given. I decided before hand to wait until her log actually hit the ground before I'd start. We did 16 reps in 90 seconds. In retrospect, we could have done a lot more. I could have gone faster. My conditioning was much better than I had anticipated. We ended up 4th out of 25 couples.
A quick note, it is really difficult to know where you stand in strongman. They don't announce scores. Plus, when doing reps under timed conditions you don't count your own much less anyone else's. And unlike powerlifting, the order of lifting does not change based on what you did last (at least at this one).
The deadlift was next. Ugghhh, my deadlift has really suffered from a lack of lower body training. Although these numbers don't set the world on fire I have pulled 800 lbs on the trap bar in a competition. I have also pulled 675 conventionally in the gym after not training the deadlift for over a decade. Albeit I completely ruptured my left biceps doing that (a different story for a different time). I deadlifted a few times at home and I honestly struggled with 455. I am so embarrassed to admit that, but it's true. I did have some hope however, I figured out a real form flaw the week before the competition. So my bar started with 365 and Jessica's was 185. It was a last man standing format. The jumps were to be around 25 for the women and 50 for the men. Again, weights weren't announced and they had some of those full sized in diameter rubber plates, with differing weights, so I really had no idea what I was lifting. Surprisingly, the weights felt light. I thought I'd be good for around 600 that day. Again, not great, but better than I expected. However, it was not to be. It turned out I popped my right hamstring when finishing 515 (you can see the obligatory hamstring grab on the video). Jess finished up with 285. She was a little disappointed in her performance as well. We ended up around 13th out of 25 on this event.
Now comes the interesting part. I told Jessica about my hamstring. The weight felt so easy that I wanted to go again. Meanwhile Jessica wanted us to pack it in. Most likely the smartest option. For those who don't know, Jessica is the brains, beauty, and the brawn of this partnership. She gave me the look and a few stern words. It got a little tense for a few minutes there. So I proposed I pass on the deadlift and see how I feel for the next event. Not completely smart, but not completely stupid either. In other words, I'm making progress.
I knew I did not completely tear the hamstring because after rupturing my biceps I know exactly what a complete tear feels and sounds like. This was a definitive pop. Also, I could bear weight on it, but it felt suspect. I scattered around my non powerlifting competitors looking for a knee wrap so I could compress the hamstring. The hope is it would hold it together. Fortunately I found Wesley Inman. Wes is a strong dude and a fixture in the CT strength community. He was able to hook me up with a knee wrap, thanks Wes. I gave it a trial wrap and felt I could get through the next event.
So, I wrapped up tightly for the farmers carry to drag. I would have 225 in each hand and Jessica would have to drag my big a$$ on a prowler. I kept the strides pretty short and was able to get through it pretty well. Unfortunately a few minutes after the finish an announcement was made that we must repeat the event because of a judging error (they had Jess start in the wrong spot which gave us a couple of feet of an advantage). Needless to say I was fuming. It's bad enough that we were the only group of the day who had to repeat an event, we didn't cause the error, and to top it off, I was injured. So after throwing one of my famous tantrums, I took myself through some deep breathing and got my head right to go again.
Now while wrapping the hamstring helped, it left my right leg completely numb. Once started I was moving along fine, but I think my strides were getting away from me. As I approached the line it felt like my hamstring was giving out. So I just dropped the handles and they went flying. I didn't care if I passed the line. I would have packed it up had I not. Dave Tate's advice rang in my head "Don't get hurt!" Now, I was already hurt, but trying desperately to compete, but not hurt myself further. As luck would have it, I passed the line and jumped on the sled. Jess chugged through like a champ. As it turns out, we beat our original time. So Aristotle is right "Anger is a gift." Shockingly we finished 4th out of 25 here.
On to the atlas stones. It was reps to the shoulder. The men's was 200 and the women's was 110. By the way, I found out the weights and times they claim on strongman entries are not always the same that are in the actual contest, something to remember. I grabbed a light stone and practiced one rep. Loading weight and securing it in my lap was no bueno on the hamstring. So the plan was for Jess to do as many as she could and then to tag me. I would do one to give here a break. She struggled at first because we had never used tacky before. The stone was sticking to her arms so much that it held back her momentum from getting them to her shoulder. Anyway, she powered through like a champ. She stopped and tagged me for a quick break. With the leg wrapped tightly, I carefully did one rep and the hamstring was jacked up, but I felt really bad for Jess having to carry us. So I did another. The hamstring pulled really badly and I knew immediately if I hadn't just hurt myself much more I was lucky. I tagged her and she finished our time without stopping. A true beast of a competitor. We took another hit here and finished 13th with 12 reps.
We finished with the Husafelt carry. At this point my hamstring was pretty shot. I was tired, cold, and beaten. My stone was 225 and hers was 125. I wrapped the leg for what I was grateful was the last time. I picked up the stone and felt awful. My leg now had the interesting sensation of being achy and numb. I also tried a different hold on the stone than I had the one time I practiced it and it was not a good fit. The thing that sucked most was I could not move fast. This was an untimed event and strength will only last so long. I tired pretty quickly and tried to regrip the Husafelt. With my hamstring I could not throw my hips to get the stone up high enough. So I could either drop it or hold. In this event it's a combined distance until one stone was dropped. I tried desperately to hold it until Jess bailed. Meanwhile she just wanted me to drop it so she could drop it. Yeah, we're pretty competitive. I finally let go and I felt like I was going to drop. My leg was completely numb. Despite doing the lion's share of the work, Jess still came to my rescue and helped me over to a seat. This turned out to be a disappointing 15th place.
Well, I finally finished my first NAS strongman. We didn't really know what to expect, but that was a goal. We ended up 9th out of 25. With the injury and not really training for the competition that's not too bad, but we know we can do better. The whole way home during our scenic and snowy drive, we talked about how we could not wait to do it again next year and how we'll train for it. We were really invigorated by competing. We both do mostly local powerlifting meets now and with all the divisions neither of us really are competing against anyone but ourselves. There were only lightweights, heavyweights, and novices at the strongman. There was no discussion of age, police, fire, crossfit, gear, no gear, ped's. etc. It was just plain old compete and I'll tell you, that made it a lot more fun than I have had at any powerlifting meet in a long time.
What I take away for next year is, my conditioning is better than I thought. Don't hold back. Pacing yourself is the difference between placing or just doing ok. Train the events, but learn from someone who really knows them (hmmm, I do believe I preach that to powerlifters). Brute strength will end up hurting you in the long run if not combined with technique especially when combined with fatigue. Although my form might not necessarily be the best, it will be what's best for me in both strength and safety. Lastly, get my weak a$$ lower posterior chain strong again.
Thanks to the hospitality of everyone at the contest. People were really nice and supportive especially when it's a couple of powerlifters interloping on their turf. If you have ever thought of doing a strongman, I highly recommend it. Now I just need to get a highland games under my belt.
Very cool write up. Competing with the wife as a teammate sounds like a fun experience. And one that helped your team out tremendously... not that anyone is calling you a slacker. :D You and Jessica will be much harder to beat next year!
You were flying on the Farmer's Walk! If you hadn't said anything, there was no way I could tell you were injured. The last event looked painful though... showing some true grit there Vincent!
Unbelievable that you not only pushed through the rest of the competition, but through events like atlas stones with your hamstring jenked up. Also blows my mind how easy that log looks. Seems weird the hamstring popped on that deadlift as it looked easy enough and you didn't have any super bad positions.