Anvil or Hammer

‘06 in review

Posted in Rant by Mike on December 29, 2006

What a year.  I have been busy in life and in lifting.

I started by looking back at my goals for the year. Many of them were missed, my lifting goals though where made easily this year.  From last years post:

Two hand pinch two 45’s
one hand pinch four 10’s
Strict lever my ten from the end with my left hand and get a bigger hammer.
Overhead squat the bar
Flip the big tire, Luke has ta big tire from the strongman events. I can’t flip it yet but I will.
Wrist curl 185 – this is a hard goal but I can get it.

Yup, done.

The real value of this year has been the education.

Strongman – began training this last December. Throughout the year, with the help of Luke, Dan and Graham, I leanred more than I even realized I didn’t know. I am by no means and expert but I have learned a ton. I also competed once and helped with a contest. That was also my first competitive venture into strength sports.

Grip – I started this about a year and a half ago but I feel like this year I have learned a lot about how tough it is, how patient I need to be and what feats I care about.

Gym lifts – These have gone up overall, but I learned a lot about the difference between gym lifts and strength and there is a difference. I also begin to dabble in the Olympic lifts. As you can tell from teh conversations I am not much of an Olympic lifter but am working on it. I hope to continue that this year and get some weight over my head that weighs more than I do.

Kettlebells – I had one of these at this time last year but hadn’t even begun to use it. I use them in fits and spurts but am learning the value and the simplcity of the bells.

Dinosaur Training – I read the book, but that was the least of it. I got out a tire for dragging, something I like a lot. More than that, I started sandbag training. Something I seem to really like. I hope to continue with sandbag training this year.

Climbing – I began this year. It’s place in my world is still very up in that air, but it is there. I do enjoy it.

This year I got more value out of my exposure to a lot of different aspects of training than anything else. I hope that this year I can continue to expose myself to even more but I’m also starting to get to maximum saturation. I’d like to get some time in with all the stuff I have learned about. This year seems like it will be more about finding my pace than anything else.

Holiday Travels Part 5: Change of Plans

Posted in Gym Strength by Mike on December 28, 2006

Due to a stomach bug at my families house we spent another day with m in-laws. Back to the YMCA for another round

Bottom Position Squat
I was helping my brother-in-law learn these. We started a little above parallel, maybe 6 inches and worked up to 315. Dropped 3 inches, could be argued to be parallel, could be argued not. Back up to 315. Dropped 3 inches again, definitely, at least, parallel. Worked with 225.
There were so many people staring at the squat rack, I thought we were holding up a bunch of peoples squat workouts. As it turns out, once we left the rack, no one cared about the rack.

Worked up to 315. I remember why I quit doing those. They make my shoulders hurt.

Just taking advantage of some free coaching, trying to improve my form. I don’t think I’m getting any better. I’d kinda like to get a video of myself to see if I am doing what I think I am doing.

Beginner grip routine
We did this with no chalk today, mostly just showing my brother-in-law the motions
2 hand pinch 2 fourty-fives
1 hand pinch 4 tens
wrist and finger curls with 85 lbs

Concept II
level 7, rowed five minutes, trying to hang around 30 strokes per minute. I had more trouble staying there today than yesterday.

Rope Jumping
225 bunny hop style, 50 jogging style

We played around with a 12 pound medicine ball. I did ten pushups where your hand is on the ball, you switch hands while coming off the ground, and then do another rep. Did some tosses

Tomorrow, I really am on the road all day. I’m trying to throw together a post to have show up tomorrow but I’m not sure it’ll get done. I’m running out of planned posts at this point so I’m not sure I will be able to come up with stuff to read. I hadn’t expected that I would actually get to workout as much as I have, it has been nice. Also I won’t have the 24/7 internet access there, that I have here. So posting may get sparse. If it does, know I’ll be back in a week, posting up a storm.

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100 X 40

Posted in Rant by Mike on December 28, 2006

This is a list I am working on of 100 goals/feats/milestones. It is loosely based on the infamous 60/60 of Chris Rice. He’s got 60+ goals he has set for himself to achieve by the time he reachs 60, and appears to be well on his way. This list is more of just a list of potenianl goals. I set 40 as the guideline for when I want them achieved. This list is more for my reference and will be added to over time. It may even change in structure. The only rule I will make about it is that I can’t take away from it. If I don’t make a goal, then I don’t make it. It sits on the list as a lesson. I probably won’t employ Chris’s selection method either, a dart board. For me, and my early stage in the game, it’s more of a progression. You can also see, I’m not done yet. I’m still trying to come up with the last 30 or so goals. That’s ok by me too. Feel free to browse, comment even offer a suggestion to add to it.

  1. Develop 100 goals
  2. Squat 700
  3. Squat 2.5 X bodweight
  4. Deadlift 700
  5. Deadlift 2.5 X bodyweight
  6. Clean and Jerk 250
  7. Clean and Jerk 1.5 X Bodyweight
  8. Standing Press 250
  9. Standing Press Bodyweight
  10. Snatch 200
  11. Snatch 75% bodyweight
  12. Overhead Squat 200
  13. Overhead Squat 75% Bodyweight
  14. Press the Beast
  15. Pistol the Beast
  16. Pull up the Beast
  17. Snatch the Beast
  18. The Beast Challenge
  19. SS Kettlebell Challenge
  20. 10K Sledge Lever
  21. Lift the Blob
  22. Tear a phonebook
  23. Tear a deck of cards
  24. 250 KB snatches in 10 minutes
  25. pistol
  26. one arm pullup
  27. one arm push up
  28. 100 pushups consecutively
  29. 2 10lb sledge hammer deadlift (one hand)
  30. Bend a horseshoe
  31. roll a frying pan
  32. One arm barbell snatch 100K
  33. 2″Dumbell snatch 100K
  34. One arm babell deadlift 300lbs
  35. Double overhand deadlift 600lbs
  36. 2″ barbell deadlift 600lbs
  37. 2″ barbell double overhand deadlift 400lbs
  38. 2″ dumbell deadlift 250lbs
  39. 3″ dumbell deadlift 100lbs
  40. run 6 minute mile
  41. run 10 K under 45 minutes
  42. bike 100 miles in one day
  43. Bend the Red
  44. Bend the Bastard
  45. Pinch Deadlift 5 tens
  46. Pinch Deadlift 3 twenty – fives
  47. Pinch Deadlift 2 forty – fives
  48. Lift a bodyweight stone to my back
  49. Place a 300lb stone on a platform belly height or higher
  50. Lap a stone >= 350lbs
  51. Squat Lock out 1000lbs
  52. Hand and thigh lift 1200
  53. Deadlift Lock Out 1000lbs
  54. Powerlifting total of 1500 lbs
  55. Olympic total of 2.5X Bodyweight
  56. Farmer deadlift 800lbs
  57. Farmer Walk 50′ 600lbs
  58. Yoke Walk 50′ 900lbs
  59. Sandbag deadlift 400lbs
  60. Sandbag Clean 350
  61. Sandbag Clean and Press 300lbs
  62. Front Carry 50′ 600lbs
  63. Front Squat 500lbs
  64. Towel pull up
  65. Rafter Pull up
  66. Steinborn lift 315
  67. 2″ Dumbell Clean and Jerk 150lbs

Holiday Travels Part 4: In The Navy

Posted in Gym Strength by Mike on December 28, 2006

I used YMCA yesterday but that’s where I went again today so I needed a new title.

Squats: worked up to 405, Oly style no problems

Overhead Press: 135 5×5

jump rope: 100, 80

Concept II: resistance of 7, tried to keep the SPM at or above 30, 5 minutes. Trying to keep it aerobic this time. I was pretty worn out by then.

I travel tomorrow so no workouts.

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Holiday Travels Part 3: Y-M-C-A

Posted in Gym Strength by Mike on December 26, 2006

I went for a two mile run this morning, or so I thought. At about 1.5 miles my calves and lower back had had it. I alternated walking and running the rest of the way home. kind of disappointing


This afternoon we went to the YMCA. I don’t recall all the reps, it was largely a goof off session with my Brother-in-law but we got a good workout in too.

135, 225, 315, 405, 495, 500

135 a whole bunch of times. He tried to help me with my clean form. He’s pretty good at them, he trains with Kevin Fulton. I have a long way to go.

135, just playing

one arm snatch
65, not much

2″ Dumbell Snatch – some

2″ Dumbell Deadlift – I worked up to 120

Concept II – I got on one of these, the first time in a very long time. The counter in the top right, RPMs or some such, was at about 40 for the first minute and dropped toward 30 in the second minute. I was totally anaerobic when I was done. I’m gonna get me one of these. I’m researching them on the web. It looks like $850 to commit but Laura likes them as much or more than me so I think we can swing it. We’ll just fight over who gets it each night 😉

Now off to eat more, and more, and more :-D. It’s all good, things will change when I get home, I’m just enjoying the holidays. I hope you all are too.

2007 Goals

Posted in Rant by Mike on December 26, 2006

Well, the hunt for goals has begun. I have seen it on other sites, so I too am beginning to think about them. As they develop, I will place them here.

  1. Bodyweight 235 – I’ve agonized many hours over this one. I was running about 255 most of this fall but since Thanksgiving, it has really gotten away from me, I’m back up in the mid 260’s.
  2. 2X bodyweight deadlift – I’m not there right now. The goal was originally designed that I wanted to add 20 or so pounds to my pull to get there. Now it’s more of an issue of maintaining mydeadlift so that it stays high enough, hoefully around 500, that I can claim a 2X bodyweight pull.

Targets of opportunity – these are things I had originally come up with but I think conflict to some degree with my primary goal on the year. So they are points of interest but I’m not going to hold myself real accountable for them.

  1. 2X Bodyweight squat – this means that even with making I weight loss goal, I would have to tack on 20 or so lbs to my max squat.
  2. Bodyweight Clean and Press – Even with the lost weight I would need an extra 15 lbs on my personal best.
  3. Bodyweight Sandbag Clean and Jerk – So far 200 is my max. I’m hoping to begin playing with a 250 lb bag this spring. Even with my weight loss goals, I think this is the most doable of these three.


The Basic Scheme
Goals are nothing without a plan to achieve them. The basic plan on the primary goal of the year is more cardio. I don’t think it will be reasonable for me to cardio daily but I’m gonna try to do what I can. I’ll include running as before. I’m bring the kettlebells out again. I’m serious considering a Concept II rower. I’ve been thinking about one for a while but they are not cheap and I have some other expensive needs coming up. I’m also gonna try to get more jumping of rope in the mix for that short blast of cardio. I’m also going to go back to controlling my diet better. That has been the biggest factor in my recent gain. I plan to try and be more strict. Less allowing myself to go by some piece of junk just because I’m a little hungry. I also need to reduce my caffiene intake because I take in a lot of calories with my caffiene.
The pulls should take care of themselves. As long as I pull occasionallhy in the gym, it shouldn’t go too far. The Squats will take more. When I go on my sandbag training run, I’m going to need to keep myself in the gym once a week or some just to squat. I believe I ca do the clean and press. It will mostly be a matter of spending time with the clean. If I’m not improving by summer, I may pay for some coachings. I believe I can do the sandbag just by spending time with it.
Some of this runs contrary to different thoughts I have had throughout the year. Some of it goes against guidance I have recieved from good and intelligent people. None of it is meant as an insult. I feel like the first goal is the most important. I’ve wished and waffled and wavered on it but it keeps coming back to me. In the grand scheme of things, squatting 500 or a sandbag pull of 300 means very little if I’m not healthy. I feel like my weight is absolutely above any kind of healthy standard. So that is why it goes number one. The others are less of an issue, just a part of the natural progression of things.

Holiday Travels Part 2: Christmas Eve Kettlebells

Posted in Kettlebells by Mike on December 25, 2006

I got in two kettlebell workout yesterday

10:30 am
my goal was 20 reps (10 per hand) per minute for fivce minutes with the 24K kettle bells. I didn’t make it. After three minutes I was smoked. I took one minute rest, did another 20, another minute rest, did my final 20. I was done. The back was tight and I was tired. Still I’m going to keep that in the workout. I could really see some benefit to a sprint like that. I made up a long term goal of 250 reps ( 125 per hand) in 10 minutes.

I had promised my brother-in-law a kettlebell workout for the day and he was ready for it. So I we got out the 16K kettlebell. Doing ten reps per hand then the other person goes, we were going for ten sets. He wasa champ, his calusses started to come off at about set 4. At set 6 they were really coming off. I made him quit, I think he would have driven right on through 10 sets if I hadn’t. He ended up with two calusses half gone and two blood blisters for his trouble. So I think Kettle bells are out, at least for a couple days, for him.

Today is Christmas, no training today. Just rest, relaxation and family. Good stuff

Tomorrow, I’m thinking about a 2 mile run in the morning. I want to finally get to the YMCA to do some pulling in the afternoon.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all. Best wishes for a strong, safe and healthy new year,

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Holiday Travels Part 1

Posted in Kettlebells by Mike on December 24, 2006

I’m stayng with my in-laws for almost a week. It’s quite a while but a nice place to stay. My Brother-in-law (who has been known to read this) is here as well which is always fun. He does a fair bit of training of his own and is always interested in whatever new junk I show up with.

So, after riding in a car for two straight days and attempting to workout in a hotel gym that is junk (I wishthey would realize that a good rack of dumbells costs the same as one of those broken Total Gyms they buy). I finally got a bit in yesterday. We walked 2 miles, I played on the onkey bars a bit, cause I’m a child at heart. I was surprised by how difficult it was to swing across the bars. Did some pull ups. We came home and I got out the kettlebells. These seem to always go over well with the families. I did a lot of windmills witht he 24K, I’m getting pretty good at these. I also worked in the 2 hand anyhow. It was a basic covering of all the stuff Icould think of to do. My wife got my Mother-in-law swinging one of the light ones. I did a little juggling of the 24K and some snatches, of which Iplan to do more in just a bit. We also broke out the block weight to play. I’ve got that 35 pound weight pretty much down. I need to consider a 37.5 because that 40 is just beating me.

Beyond that, it’s the usual holiday stuff. Lots of good food. Being in Americas heartland I am eating good farm food. Carbs, PRotein, Fat in every meal. It’s the food I was raised on and I love it. I also caught the entire season of Worlds Strongest Man last night. I felt bad, I really wasn’t trying to make everyone watch it but they all wanted to see Phil win. It was pretty exciting. I think I have used up my TV credit for the stay though.

Anyway, off to do more kettlebell and more holiday stuff. Best wishes and happy holidays to you all.

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Freshman Sandbag Training

Posted in Dinsoaur Style by Mike on December 23, 2006

This is the first of several posts/articles I hope to do over the years.

**EDIT**Ths is the first part of an article I hopeto creat over the years, as I become more versed with the practical aspects of sandbag training. I’m posting this short little bit for now just tohave in writing somewhere. Feel free to offer suggestions, corrections ofr questions. It is my desire to someday come upwith a useful document that people who want to try sandbag training can refer to that will carry them from the initial decision to start all the waythrough their first few sessions****

I’ve been doing a pretty fair bit of sandbag training lately. I am using the ironmind bags. For me, it has been nice. I can’t train in my apartment so I go down to the park several times a week. I take the outer bag and several smaller bags so I can adjust the weight of the overall bag. I may only be able to do my longest bearhug walk with 100lbs but I may want to work on cleaning 200lbs. No problem, I chuck in a pair of extra bags in between. The sandbag seems to start to get stressed at about 200lbs. I haven’t yet gone for 250 but I suspect that I will have to use more packed bags than I currently am and that may change the nature of the training overall.
Most people that I have read about using the duffle bags are using fixed weight bags. I don’t have the space to have four or five bags 100lb – 250lb laying in the back of my car. You don’t have to use the duffel that way, you could keep it flexible like I am doing right now. I could be wrong but I think military duffles are a little smaller, volume wise than the Ironmind bag, so the bag may tighten and become inflexible at 175 or 200lbs instead of 250.
I have considered the military duffle. You have to admit they are dirt cheap. I suspect with all they can take more drops and more damage than the Ironmind bag can. The metal lock on most of them would be a mixed blessing, it would be nice to have the added security but if you did it wrong, you could take pieces out of yourself easily.
If you want an easy, all in one package, buy the Ironmind bags. If you want the cheapest and probably most durable route, go with the military bags and buy regular sandbags at Lowes, McMaster Carr or wherever.
No matter what you buy from the tenets of sandbag training remain. Keep the sand loose so it can move on you. Secure your bag very well when it is full. Use liner bags. If you use flexible, loadable bags like me, that means large ziplocks or small trash bags in each laodable, inner bag. If you use one large, fixed weight bag, use several heavy duty trash bags, preferably going opposite directions inside your bag.

good luck and happy training.

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Another ‘nother way to log

Posted in Toys and tools by Mike on December 21, 2006

I kinda liked the post I did a while ago about another way to log so I thought I would do another. Today I’m thinking back to when I first started back to lifting and I found a website called (surprisingly, it’s still there and hasn’t changed). It doesn’t really suit what I do these days but it has a lot of potential. This website appears to be designed for bodybuilders by bodybuilders but whoever is responsible left some flexibility in it.

The bare bones, basics of it is that you build a program made of of trainig days or splits. Then within the split you build your standard list of exercises. They have a fairly extensive list of bodybuilder exercises to draw on but they also leave room for you to add your own (Steinborn lift, farmers carry, bottom position squats, kettlebells).

When you get ready to go to the gym for the day, you can just print off a quick little sheet that is preloaded with your workout for the day as you built it in your program. When you get home, enter your numbers back in and save. You can look back at your past workouts easily enough. Select the month and year and it will show you a month-at-a-glance view with the days color coded based on which workout you did that day.

This Website has some pretty good features for tracking body composition goals too. You have a vital statistics page that helps in calculating your BMI and max heart rate. They have a seven cicuferance measurement that is also trackable. That leads to one of the greatest strengths of the site, reportability. The whole site is built around the idea that you may want to track trends and even print a chart of your progress.

Example: These are screenshots taken from my account dating back to September of 2004, don’t laugh too hard.

  • Home – This is how a users homepage looks, the calendar is a convient reference to what you have done so far this month. It is clickable to see how your numbers worked out.
  • Exercises – The site does have a decent repository of exercises, 80 at a glance.
  • Measurements – I did kinda like the 7 point mesasurement as a determinatin of progress, it seems comprehensive.
  • Graphing – this is of my bodyweight over the time I used this site but you can do the same with your exercises.
  • Schedule – Being based on a Weider Split makes this website geared toward bodyduilders but it’s got room for growth
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