Friday 24 December 2010

Friday's fitness buff

This video is far more important than anything I have to say:

I do have a few things to discuss unfortunately, so here it goes:

My week's training has been refreshing, tough and very, very enjoyable. I had a wonderful Christmas Eve workout with Zag and few of our dedicated ECB members. We all trained well and Stephen Kinsella hit a huge pb in the Clean and Jerk; the more impressive part is that he got it after failing twice. Awesome. Zag also trained well and it is great to see him getting his training back on track. Aco is another new member in ECB and the man has an awful lot of potential, as does young Josh who is a beast of a 16 year old. I wish I had trained like that when I was 16.

As for my own training, today I Snatched 94kg for twenty singles in twenty minutes, lifting on every minute, giving me around 40 seconds of recovery. Again, my technique got better every lift and I really enjoyed the challenge. I Clean and Jerked straight after and did my 20 singles with 114kg in twenty minutes, giving me around 35 seconds of recovery between each lift. I followed this up with a max set of 5 reps with 140kg in the box squat. Yes, this is embarrassingly small, but it is better than last week and there is more there. I am aiming to push it more in week three and four.

As for my new program, there are a few points I neglected to make in my previous post. I chose the Box Squat over the regular Back Squat for the following reasons:

1. I am awful at the movement because I have a weak posterior chain and poor--but improving--hip mobility. My first day of doing 5x5 in the Box Squat had my hamstrings about to pop off the bone.

2. Both John Broz, David Spitz, Max Aita and Glenn Pendlay all told me the Box Squat would help me immensely for the above reasons. As well as that, Broz gave out to me in length about how I was Back Squatting like I should Front Squat and that basically, it was embarrassing. The idea is that performing the Box Squat for a few months will help me regroove a proper Back Squat and allow me to focus on a physical imbalance. When I get up to hitting 160 for five reps, I will drop down from a 14 inch box to a 12 inch box and build my numbers up again. Once I get stronger at this height, I know the proper movement pattern will be ingrained and some of my physical areas to work will have been strengthened.

3. I am choosing to do the twenty lifts in twenty minutes for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I got the idea from Glenn Pendlay who has used the program with his beginners with great success. The amount of repetitions helps lifters get a high amount of reps in to learn the movements; but more importantly for me: because there is very little recovery between lifts, rhythm, tempo and technique determine success and it is far more difficult to muscle up weights, which is something I have been very guilty of for a long time. My twentieth rep today with 94kg was far better than my twentieth rep with 90kg a week and a half ago. I was hitting the positions I want to hit far better after all the reps. Usually I would hit higher weights regardless of positioning and go on ingraining negative movement patterns.

Also, the lack of recovery time means that I dwell less on technique and simply focus on controlling my breathing, getting set and lifting the weight overhead. Basically, it gets me to shut up and lift. Another reason I chose this style of training because it is great for off season sport specific conditioning. It is very demanding on the heart and lungs, particularly the Clean and Jerk.

And finally, I actually enjoy the challenge of lifting this way. I have never done anything like it and it is my short term aim to hit twenty reps in twenty minutes with 100/120 within the next four weeks. I know I can do it.

I am really enjoying training again and this makes me happy. The most simple squatting system in the world is making me stronger and I am getting lots of reps in improving weights.

For all of you who love X-Factor, Christmas and comedy:

For people who love to laugh:

Everyone knows weightlifting is the same as bodybuilding, right?

Last one to make you smile. If it doesn't, I never liked you anyway:

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Tuesday's tap it in the hole moment--tappity tapperoo!

I have found my weightlifting mojo again and it feels great. To start off today's post, here is a video of a British sprinter Power Cleaning 170kg weighing around 88kg:

I love watching raw power and passionate lifters.

As for my own training, I am effectively in an off season and I needed to do something different to get my mojo back. Here is the reality of my situation over the last few months:

1. I was not getting stronger.
2. I was not lifting more weight in the classical lifts.
3. My positioning was not improving.
4. Running a gym alongside a full time job pretty much sapped my physical and mental energy.
5. Putting myself under pressure to lift certain weights by a certain time actually made the problems worse because the more wound up I got the worse I lifted.

So, these are the main priorites for my lifting in the next two months:

1. Get stronger: I will focus on the Box Squat and the RDL.
2. Lift only three days a week so that I can recover adequately to work both jobs and lift at the same time. The idea of not recovering as a weightlifter in order to force adaptation does not wash with me in my current life situation.
3. Get lots of reps in with the classical lifts.
4. Chill out and enjoy training again.

So here is my program for the next month. I am a week in and I really love it because I know I will make progress and it is completely different to anything I have done before. I am basically lifting using some of Glenn Pendlay's coaching methods for beginners and it is great for improving strength, rhythm and tempo in the classical lifts, and sport specific weightlifting conditioning. Here it is:

Day One:

Snatch: Work up to a top weight and Snatch it twenty times in twenty minutes; you lift every minute and this generally adds up to around 35 to 40 seconds of recovery. Today I lifted 93kg for 20 singles and I am finding so far that my last ten are the smoothest and fluid lifts.

RDL: Work up to 3x3 with a top set. Each week I will increase the weight slightly and improve the range of movement.

Box Squat (14 inch box): I am following the Texas Squat Method and it is delightfully simple. Day one is the volume day and you work up to 5 sets of 5.

Core work: I neglected this too much in the last two years. Laziness.

Day Two:

Hang Snatch: I work up to 5 triples with a modest weight. This is as much positional reinfocement as it is a warm up for the main act that is the focus as follows:

Clean and Jerk: Work up to 20 singles in 20 minutes. I have only done this once so far and it is tiring, but like the Clean and Jerk, it is doing wonders for my timing and overall feel of the lift. Because there is so little recovery, I cannot muscle up the weights like I have been guilty of in the past. Technique and rhythm and tempo improve as the lifts mount up.

Front Squat: Work up to a medium weight for 3x3. This is effectively a squat recovery.

Pressing and Pendlay rows: I need to get stronger and mentally, I need the variety for something different.

Core work

Day Three:

Snatch : 20 singles in twenty minutes.

Clean and Jerk: 20 in 20.

Box Squat: Intensity day of Texas method. Work up to a max set of 5 in the squat. If I cannot progress in this basic squat program, I deserve to be shot. I have every faith in it though. This is my second week and it feels great already.

Core work and fexibility. I will have to stretch every day or else my hips will tighten up and get painful and restrict my movement very negatively. I have been far too lazy with my stretching and doing it two or three times a week is simply not good enough for me. I need to stretch my hips out every day if I am to improve and get my flexibility to any kind of standard for weightlifting. It is currently awful and holding me back; I simply have not worked hard at it enough.

Let me know what you think of the program. I will monitor my progress closely and it it helps me out and I gain from it, it will obviously affect what my following program will look like. 4 weeks on and 1 week download. Let's see how it goes then!

Here is a brilliant lifting video to leave you with:

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Wednesday's whippets

I found missing out on London quite deflating and the anti-climax has temporarily killed my training mojo. I will get it back. Last week I trained once and this week I will get three sessions in. Listen to this song as you read this post because it is beautiful:

Because I have very little to report on my own training, here are some interesting links to cool things to read and watch:

This is directly taken from Vern Gambetta's blog and strikes home:
Knowing & Learning Stuff

There is stuff you know.

There is stuff you think you know.

There is stuff you know you don’t know.

Then there is stuff you don’t know, you don’t know.

It seems to me one of the biggest challenges is moving stuff from the category of you don’t know you don’t know it, to knowing you don’t know it. I know, as I get older I realize that the stuff I know and the stuff I think I know pales in significance in relation to the stuff I know I don’t know. I just want to keep learning, challenging myself and exploring the mysteries of human movement and performance by getting more stuff into the category of stuff I know. I do know it is a process.

This makes me think about the training errors I have made and how I need to evolve.

Next up is an interview with Donny Shankle from my new friend Cedric's website. He is a cool guy and we are bringing Glenn Pendlay over in March next year to perform a weightlifting workshop in both Edinburgh and in Ireland.

Donny also reveals an extract from his new book in this blog post.

Here is an interesting post from a blog I like; it has interesting ideas about how to learn and develop talent.

Here is a video with David Rigert in it. Enough said:

Three lighthearted entries:

Sunday 5 December 2010

Sunday's snickering

Firstly, here is a great video to start the post with:

As for weightlifting, sadly the competition was not able to go ahead because of the weather and it has been postponed till January 8th. A little part of me died inside when David Woodhouse kindly texted me to say the London Open was not going on. We had a fun training session yesterday in ECB, but it was not the same. I have been focusing on this competition for a long time and my next competition will be in February for the UL Open. It gives me more time to train for my 272kg total, so all is not in vain. Gillian, Zag and Dee lifted really well yesterday and it was great seeing each of them improve.

Here is another mood booster:

And one more for good luck:

I am going to have two fun training weeks and see how it goes. I hope everyone is training hard and enjoying it.