Wednesday 28 January 2009

Wednesday's wet blankets

My friend told me that there is a recurring theme in how I open my posts saying I am tired or fatigued. Tonight, I still can not break that trend as this whole volume increase is as intense as it should be and as I want it to be. During training this evening I had as much gas in my tank as one of the old ladas that you see propped up on crumbling concrete blocks in the midst of the charred remains of a forlorn and abandoned campsite. Hans and Gill seemed to be in a similar predicament, but they were able to push through it better than me. Tonight was supposed to be a very light technical session and here is what I did:

Jerk skill work the bar
Overhead Squats--6x3
Drop Snatch--1x3@bar, 40, 50 1x2@60 1x1@70, 75, 80--I missed 80. I was just too slow. Nothing was sharp at all tonight, even in the warm up.
Jerk skill with 60
Jerk from rack--1x1@60, 80, 90, 100 for four singles. These were better once I focused my mind on the task at hand rather than on my physical condition.
Front Squats--1x3@100, 110, 120--I left it there because my right calf was at me. The tip Roy gave me about filling and expanding my upper rib cage really helps with the front squats also.
Elevated knees to chest ab exercise--3x20

I went for a sauna and steam room after a quick stretch in the pool also. The limbs definitely felt the better for it afterwards.

It is funny how I find myself to be far more tired for the lighter sessions than the heavier ones. This could be the after effects of the heavier sessions or it could also be a psychological weakness in not preparing for the session properly from a mental point of view. It could possibly be both, let me know if you have any experience on the matter.

On a separate and lighter note, I laughed out loud repeatedly when I came across this cracker:


CathalByrd said...

Hey Baz. I too sometimes find lighter sessions tough. I think it's because when you plan to stop at 80%, for example, it can feel a lot more challenging than when you train to max, simply because on lighter days this 80% psychologically kind of becomes 100% (if that makes any sense!). Whereas when you go heavy, you just by-pass 80%, 85%, 90% etc like it's nothing, just a routine path in order to get to your max. It's just a matter of approaching these lighter % seriously and really trying to be as quick, sharp and technically sound as possible.

For example, yesterday was a light day for me. I went up to 80%/1x5 in the lifts, which for me is 90/115. I made all the lifts but they were not as easy as they should have been. Then today was a heavy day, and I ended up doing 107.5/135, by-passing 90/115 without even a second thought.

So, to finish, you're not alone! I think most people feel like this on lighter days. It's harder to motivate yourself on these days but nonetheless these days have to be done in order to keep things ticking over without falling into the dreaded over-training state. To get the most out of them you just have to try to be in the right state of mind.

Anonymous said...

Hi Barry,

I would find your posts more informative & earier to follow if you could post the percentage 1RM for each lift in addition to the actual weight lifted.



Barry said...

An interesting comment Cathal, I simply need to change my mindset for the lighter technique based sessions. Simple is not easy, but I will work on it.

Thanks for your thoughts Trevor. My coach tells me what to do and how heavy to go and I have never thought of percentages too much. I will, however, start to think about how the program is tailored percentage wise and put it up.

Laura Nolan said...

Also it was your third day training in a row. Monday and Tuesday were pretty intense for you, and back squatting to failure probably didn't help - missed squats are pretty tough on the body.

Hugh said...

How about you just quit wingeing when you are "tired" and man up. You have the same propensity to moan as a new-born kitten who was spun in the tumble dryer before being dropped in the middle of a room covered in loaded mouse traps.

Seriously though, simile aside. My view is this:
Bemoaning to all makes it acceptable to have one's concentration at less than 100%. You are indicating a weakness (be it fatigue, injury etc.) before you even begin and this serves as the pre-excuse for a failure, sloppy technique or low work-rate.

It is very difficult to continually work to a maximum physical effort. Indeed, over time, one will break down. Training has lighter days ingrained to allow the body recover from full physical exertion. The brain gets no such breaks on these days, however. An 80% physical effort still takes 100% mental effort. If the mental effort (concentration, attitude etc.) is allowed slip to 80% then the lift is now approaching a full effort for the body and mind - 80% exertion @ 80% concentration.

It is in this scenario that we feel lethargic, the lift is much harder than it was yesterday or will be tomorrow and we make more errors than we would on another day. As a result, confidence can be knocked and we go away without the sharp/fast feeling that should have come from the lighter lifts if we'd attacked them.

Two issues arising:

The mind is stronger than the body and while it can be difficult, we can prepare mentally to attack those lighter sessions. Confidence is high, the speed is there and we come away feeling invigorated.

Is it a good idea to give the mind a day off in the gym?

DISCLAIMER: I have limited experience with weightlifting, yet have gone through the things I have discussed in the context of the sport. I find the principles apply equally to other gym work (at which I would be experienced) conditioning sessions and even competition.

Barry said...

Touche Hughie, well done sir. Excellent reply and interesting thoughts that I agree wholeheartedly with. I love the mental effort and physical exertion equation and as you said, it is as relevant to weightlifting as it is to rugby or any other athletic endeavor.

Post a Comment