Sunday 29 August 2010

Sunday's snag list

This week has been a frustrating one, but more importantly than this, it has brought another change in perspective that is needed for me to continue improving in the art of weightlifting.

As Einstein said: “We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Another favourite quote is: “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

So, it comes down to this: I did not follow my program properly despite this being the main intention before I started. Emotion and ambition got in the way and even though they were not as prevalent as last time, I still allowed them to kick my ass. Embarrassing. The program was there to help me improve my ability to tolerate a greater work load. As David pointed out in a previous comment, I also increased intensity along with the significant increase in volume. I got away with a slight hip injury that reoccured from the original injury from playing rugby in my last season. Hindsight is always 20/20, but this is another lesson learned along the path of me qualifying for the European Championships. I got an amazing amount of work done in five and a half weeks, but I could have gotten more done in the 8 weeks that were scheduled. I know my training will stick to me, but I also know I should have gotten more out of it. Wayne kept telling me and I kept listening to the emotion and ambition in each session.

I read some of Glenn Pendlay's comments on a forum and I kept thinking of how they related to me and my own training. There are several aspects to training that are mainly ignored when discussing weightlifting and I called Glenn in order to discuss some of his ideas. Most of the 15 readers of this blog are weekend warriors like myself and are in a similar situation, so I thought to myself, why not talk about things that are relevant to us more than professional lifters? Here is the conversation and very many apologies for my fat head being in the picture; I could not edit it out. As always, if you have feedback, leave a comment.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Wednesday's whittling away

I took off training for five days to rest and come back stronger and better than ever. My ankle got better and my hip also had more time to recover and I came back feeling pretty good and raring to go, so I trained on Monday. I worked my way back into the Snatches and my Cleans felt the best they have ever felt. I kept visualising Pablo Lara and him staying tight and getting under the Clean lightening fast. My Clean and Jerks were light and I stayed with 110 for six doubles. When I went to Front squat my hips had tightened up considerably and I thought the squatting would loosen them out which happens sometimes. It didn't.

After my fourth triple, I said to myself, lower the weight because I am not getting into the correct position. The weight was fine but my hips were not opening up properly. Then I said, no no, these are the tough sets you have to get through. March on and toughen up. Why did I not listen to my body? In the fifth set and on the last rep, at the bottom of the squat I felt a very tight pinch in my right hip, the one I hurt two weeks earlier. It pinches when I internally or externally rotate and it wraps right around my hip. I know this is a minor set back, but it is frustrating none the less.

I think that I will be able to keep training the classical lifts light but I will have to warm up carefully and take my time. Not sure about what kind of squatting I can do yet, but I will try and see what I can do. Either way, this is a minor road block and I know with patience and time I will come back stronger with a lesson learned (again!) to help protect me in the future.

Have a look at Byrdie's class new video:

Friday 20 August 2010

Friday's frying pan contents: my cns

This has been a download week and boy did I need it. Burning the candle in more ends than I knew were there can be exhausting. Starting up ECB aside, Wayne pointed out to me that I was being too aggressive with my program. Instead of doing the eight weeks continually working off my regular training max--a safe 110--I kept trying to push and inch the weights up week in and week out. Instead, the idea is to get through the program and strengthen all my tendons and ligaments; sharpen my consistency with the lifts and shore up on my physical weaknesses. My response was that there are worse things than being too ambitious; however, the reality is that I let my ego take over a bit and I have gotten a slap on the wrist from my cns.

On Thursday morning, I went to bed feeling fine and I woke up with a swollen ankle. How this happened is a mystery to me, but it happened. This has forced me to take a few days off training as it is swollen just on the outside of where the foot meets the ankle. I am already looking forward to next week and how fresh I am going to feel. I have two weeks left in my program and they need to be as productive as possible, so I will leave my ego at the door and follow the dictates of the program. I have said before--you'd think I would have learned-- that for me to succeed in weightlifting, I need an objective voice beside me because I can get wildly optimistic about what I can do. I would rather have this atribute than not, but one workout is part of a cycle and this is the skill I am learning at the moment. One workout should not take precedence over a week. Please leave any comments if you have experienced anything like this before so we can learn from each other.

Have a look at this video and see how it applies to you. I know it struck me as an essential truth when I watch it.

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Tuesday's trip down (short term) memory lane

It has been a manic last few days, but all is well. On Saturday morning we had Blackrock rugby club come and do their testing in ECB before the Irish weightlifting squad had its two day training camp. Here are some of the highlights of the week's training:

The Saturday session turned out to be good fun and very productive for everyone. The ball started rolling with some vertical jump testing and this was followed by a quick session where we Snatched up to 85% or so and then Back Squatted up to 80% for a double. Maybe two hours later the second session started where we Snatched to a max of the day and did the same with the Clean and Jerk and Front Squat.

There were several great lifts, but none more so than Wayne Healy hitting his 230 total to qualify for the World Championships as a 62kg lifter. Even though one or two lifts were slightly out of place, Wayne had the experience and composure to settle into the lift and grind it out. Murph hit an awesome 102 Snatch and Cathal Twaddle nailed 96 like it was not even there. James Small did really well with his 95 Snatch and pulled off a gravity defying save when it looked like the bar would go anywhere but overhead. Matthew McCoy, Aaron Small and Neil Doogan all lifted really well also and Zag was Snatching in defiance of the last few month's training limitations. Kris Greene continues to improve and if ever a man was built for weightlifting, it is Kris. Paudie Roche hit an outstanding 94kg in the Clean and Jerk and looking at the lift, it is clear there is far more in the tank. Byrdie hit 113/145 in a convincing manner also. Thanks to all the coaches for their help and to Wayne Healy who did the majority of the organising.

As for my own lifting, I hit 113kg in the Snatch and 142.5kg in the Clean and Jerk on the Saturday. I was disappointed to hit this little, but it was up from 112.5/140 from the week earlier and each Saturday session keeps trickling up. On the Sunday session, all the lifters did remarkably well considering the team bonding session on the Saturday night in Bray. We are all an awesome wolf pack. None of us were feeling fresh in any sense of the word, but this is where team spirit comes into the equation! Zag hit 98kg in the Snatch and I hit 110, while Byrdie hit 111. He needed a bit of this treatment and it spiced up his lifting. He hit 146kg in the Clean and Jerk which again, defied more than I can comprehend. I hit 137.5kg in the Clean and Jerk. It felt hideous, but I needed to get the lift just to get one over on the part of my mind that was screaming at me to call it a day and leave it there.

I have another two weeks in my current training phase. It is very hard, but as I was told on Saturday night: " Shut up and get on with it!"

Thursday 12 August 2010

Thursday's tail wind.

The Irish National weightlifting squad is having a training camp this weekend and it will be hosted by East Coast Barbell. I had a bit of a mad weekend and this ended up not allowing me to recover from a tough week's training. I ended up training ok on Monday, but on Tuesday I hit the wall and I got a sore hip, which I think came about from all the flexiility work I was doing coupled with all the driving after the weekend.

So, it's no big deal: all I am doing is backing off a few days and training very light active recovery sessions to keep the blood flowing. I think I may have needed a lighter few days anyway, but the weekend I had made this a necessity. I know I will be fine for Saturday's session and I am looking forward to Saturday and Sunday immensely. I am predicting some big lifts from the guys coming down.

I would also like to mention that the Irish women's rugby team are leaving for their World Cup on Monday and that I know they will play their hearts out and kick ass. They have worked so hard for this and they are an inspiration to be around. Sinead Ryan hit a 55kg Snatch last night and it was possibly the bravest lift I have ever seen.

Here is a video that could change your life:

Monday 9 August 2010

Monday's mediocre puching in the clock training session

There was an awesome atmosphere in East Coast Barbell on Saturday and our session turned out to be a good one. Here is a link to our website by the way. Here is a video showing some of the action:

I ended up having a decent day despite feeling like a broken spinning wheel. Byrdie hit 140, despite being a shadow of himself, so he should be raring to go next weekend. Thank God for the competitive spirit and guarana.... I worked up 10 singles with 100, 105, 110 and I got 112.5kg on my third attempt. Because I was tired I was slinging the bar up any way I could. I hit 140kg in the Clean and Jerk and this was the first time I have hit this number since May. The Clean was ugly but I got it. Again, the increase in lifting volume is draining, but I can feel myself adapting and getting more skillfull in the lifts. Every week, my numbers on the Saturday sessions have been steadily increasing to where they were when I was fresher. Next week, the Irish weightlifting squad will be having a two day training camp in ECB, so I want to get my numbers up again for that. Step by step.

Today's session was very hard and I was tired from a hectic weekend. Tom Turner came in to train with myself and Zag, so it was nice to have someone different to train with. My legs feel like they are about to fall off, but I still feel happy with my training. I am improving and I WILL qualify for the European Championships. Tomorrow I have six doubles with 100 in the Snatch and 122.5 in the Clean and Jerk. Love it.

Thursday 5 August 2010

Thursday's thought process

I am through the hardest part of the training week now and it is still going well. Last week it was my legs that were sore from the higher volume of squatting, and now it is the joints that are a little sore. I was talking to Glenn Pendlay and telling him how my training is going and he made the basic point that you should be continuosly adapting in different ways because you should be always striving to train harder and get the body to lift more than ever before.

This is what is happening to me and it is very interesting to say the least. First it was my back which was fighting to get me to stop what I was doing. Then it was my legs. Now it is my hands and hamstrings. I am genuinely interested to know what it will be next. Glenn has told me a few times that my posterior strength is shambolic, so that is why I work on it after every session, building up the weight and reps of my exercises slowly but surely. I can feel the benefits already and coupled with my program that is already improving my consistency with the lifts, I know I am improving. I can feel it and when I adapt to the volume more my lifts on the max sessions will steadily rise. Every week I go up a kilo or two in one of the lifts and I will get my training lifts up to where they are in a rested state. I always lift more in competition, so then I will be in a good place to go further than I have before.

This is my grand masterplan to rule the universe and actually make a decent lifter out of myself. I have glaring weaknesses, but I am stubborn enough to continue learning and evolve as a lifter and person. I have a lot more in me to come out on the platform and once I get consisent in my technique and far stronger in my weak areas, my numbers will go up. Patience is what I have learned in this training program and I will not let a few days of letting my ego run riot ruin my progress over the last five weeks.

Have a look at this incredible video. This is a not so subtle metaphor for how I was training...