Saturday 28 May 2011

Saturday's staple: call a spade a spade...

Life has taken over this week, so I had to adapt my training accordingly. I still trained three times this week, but my classical lifts were down. The upside to this is that my squats were a lot better this week and I was able to match my Front Squat double and triple pb's for the first time in a year and a half.

On Monday, I Snatched up to 100 and I did Clean doubles up to 130. I tried for 134, but I could only get the first rep in on two attempts; my mind won over and I did not even go under the second attempts. It was very frustrating because I wanted to get it badly. My training was affected quite a bit by a gash in my left leg that has been very slow to heal, but it affected my Snatch a lot more. I Front Squatted afterwards, and worked up to a double with 150 and then I hit a double with 155kg which matched my pb from 18 months ago. Embarrassing, yes, but I was happy to get it. I had a four second sticking point to get through, but it was worth it.

On Wednesday, I Power Snatched up to 95 for two singles and one No Man's Landed Snatch 98kg. I was unable to Clean and Jerk at all and ended up missing 130. Very strange and very frustrating. It has been a long time since I have missed that weight. Anyway, I had to accept it and move on to the Back Squat. Last week I was unable to hit 167. This week I hit 160 and 165 for a triple. I then hit 170kg for a double, which I was happy with because I think that was a first. I was pleasantly surprised, because I felt so empty in my lifting and devoid of any momentum.

Today, I was knackered again and I was happy to hit 108/134. Not impressive weights at all, but a year ago I would not have been able to hit them when I had been this drained. I then worked up to a single with 160 in the Front Squat and then I hit 150kg for a triple. Harry Leech was training a few lads in Santry gym and I was able to get out there for a session. it was great training with him again and he also gave me a Chinese-style weightlifter's massage where the coach walks up and down the lifter's back and legs.

I finished off with some shoulder mobility drills also and I felt tired, but happy.

So, I finally bit the bullet and I started following Kelly Starrett's MWOD. I was taking bits and pieces, but I decided to actually follow someone who knows far far more than me. I went all the way back to day one and I am now finished day 30. Generally, I do two mobility of the day workouts and I am really enjoying them. I thought my shoulders were flexible, but I was wrong. It takes around ten or twelve minutes for each MWOD, so sometimes I do two, sometimes three. I am following Starrett's direction for general health as much as for weightlifting. One thing I know for certain is that I am getting more flexible generally and I am also enjoying the process.

Here is an awesome old school Bulgarian weightlifting video:

Here is an outrageously impressive physical performance of a different kind:

And lastly, Ray Lewis's speech to a team before kick off is probably up there with Jim Telfer's 1997 Lions' pre-games' speeches:

Which do you prefer?

Monday 16 May 2011

Monday's moonshine

What do you do when you are down? Get back up and start working harder. So that's what I am doing.

On Monday, I was determined to get a better Front Squat and a Clean double pb. The previous Monday I hit 150 for two doubles in the Front Squat and then last Monday I hit 150 and 152.5 for a double. Once I get a small bit better, my pathetic squats will get slightly less pathetic. Each week, I either get an extra rep or I get 2.5kg more. Taaaappppp it in. Just taaaaaaaappp in in Happy.

So, this is what I am trying to do. Sleep more and get more every session. This sounds very familiar of course, but I am trying to arrange it so that every time I train, I am fully prepared in every facet that I can control. Being busy is not an excuse. Being tired is not an excuse. Being someone of little fortitude is also no excuse. It's funny because my mind kept trying to screw me over on Monday and that nagging little voice that says you can't do it was insistent. On the fourth go, I hit a Clean double with 133 which is again, embarrassing, but it is 1kg less embarrassing than it was before.

Here is another cool old school video. Maybe I need some of their rage. All I know is that they have nothing on Klokov:

Here is a weightlifting video that I really like because you can tell Lapikov is tired from training and is not competition fresh and fast:

Sometimes I get frustrated that I have been training like this guy:

Aside from this hilarity, all I am trying to do at the moment is to do my last training program properly. I am currently on a download week, but I will squat heavy. I need to get stronger and I need to consistently lift bigger weights in training. Does this sound familiar anyone?

Sunday 8 May 2011

Nationals' nightmare

Yep, I had a shocker. I wanted 122/150. I got 118/143. Embarrassing and gutting, but there are a few lessons to learn here. I weighed in at 94.3kg and I cut almost two and a half kilos, just missing the 94kg bodyweight. Hindsight being as it is, this said a lot about the day.

The most important thing was that the competition was a resounding success. There were 43 lifters which is the biggest competition Irish weightlifting has had since the 60's. Most people lifted really well and I think it is safe to say the Jordanstown University is the best competition venue in the country. Irish weightlifting is really improving and our overall standard is gradually going progressing.

On to my report. I arrived for the weigh in at around 10.30am and I lifted at around 5pm. It was a long wait, but the 94kg and upwards lifters all had to wait the same amount. I did a quick warm up session to wake myself up after waiting around for so long. I did two doubles with 50 and then did Power Snatch singles with 70, 80, 90 and 100kg. Maybe 30 or 35 minutes later I started my proper warm up. I did a few doubles with 50 and 70kg. I then did singles with 80, 90, 100, 105 and 110kg. I felt the strongest I have ever felt pre competition and I was 100% confident that I would hit 122.

Wayne had me open with 114kg and it was a joke. I went on to smoke 118 and actually pulled back on it slightly, which made the recovery tricky because the bar was pretty far back. It felt stupidly light though and I was ready for why I was there in the first place. I gave 122 everything I had but the bar was out front and I missed it. The bar was high enough and I was low enough, but I could not fix her overhead. I was genuinely surprised I missed it.

I then chilled out for 15 minutes and refuelled. I did a bit of bar work and did a few doubles with 70. I then warmed up with singles with 90, 100, 110 and I power cleaned 120 and 130 before I jerked it. In hindsight this was a mistake, but I wanted to really finish the pull and use my hips. I then hit 137 as my last warm up and Wayne had me open with 143kg. I was feeling a bit light headed but I knew what I had to do. I cleaned it easier than I have ever Cleaned 143 and somehow contrived to miss the Jerk. This very very rarely happens and I simply just took the Jerk for granted. Stupid is as stupid does. I then hit it again and got the lift, but the Jerk was tough. Wayne bumped me up to 148 and I pulled too far back on the Clean and ended up not even being able to rack it. I felt heartbroken and extremely disappointed. I went upstairs and finally got that Front squat with 160 after missing it the last four times I went for it.

Lessons learned:

1. I did not prepare properly: I don't actually need to go back to the drawing board, I simply needed to give the original drawing board a proper go. I put the effort into the training, but it was in the preparation outside of the actual training itself where I let myself down. My training has not been as productive as it should have been because of general fatigue. I am fatigued because I am not sleeping enough to recover from my demanding lifestyle. I am only training three times a week, so I am not tired from training. It is life outside training that causes fatigue and I am not sleeping enough because I am idling what spare time I have away online. The perfect embodiment of my lack of preparation was in how I did not make weight. In and of itself, this is not important but it speaks volumes on how I was not organising myself accordingly. My behaviours are simply not matching my goals and this has to change. If I want to qualify for the European Championships, and I am so staggeringly close already, I simply need to sleep far more.

2. Conservation of energy: I need to be more disciplined about internalising my energy, particularly when I am waiting so long to lift. I made an effort to contain my enthusiasm, but the simple thing to do is to organise somewhere else to go. I went to Tesco for an hour with German and Oleg, but walking around a supermarket is not an ideal resting place during a seven hour wait. Doing something else not only conserves my energy, but also keeps me from brooding on what is to come. This allows me to stay more relaxed and conserve more physical and mental energy.

3. The Ulster Open in June is going to be awesome: Myself and Byrdie have some unfinished business with Jordanstown and this will occur on June 11th. I will be more prepared and I will have my squats and training lifts at a higher intensity. Weightlifting is simple but it sure isn't easy.