Anvil or Hammer

Learning Curve Shortens

Posted in Gym Strength by Mike on January 31, 2007

Back to Dumbarton today. I opted to not do the supermax workout.

Oly squats:
3 X bar (20K)
3 X 40K
3 X 60K
3 X 100K
3 X 100K
3 X 140K
3 X 140K
3 X 160K
3 x 160K
1 X 180K
1 X 180K
I got kinda carried away with the squats. It wasn’t really intentional. I figured out something about my body positioning during these. I have traditionally tried to do these with the really boxy, power style leg positioning. I recall hearing Dan John say something about how you have to remember that your torso is suspended between your legs. I never could make sense of that but I think I finally got it right. For me, I have to almost think about trying to keep my lower legs pointed straight up while kind pushing my knees out. It’s not an accurate description of what I’m actually doing, it’s just how I have to think about it to make it work. It makes my knees not hurt and it makes me get low like you see in the iron mind videos.
I actually went for a second one on the last set of  180k, I had it in me to. Unfortunately, I got a tad off balance at the bottom. I actually managed to bring the weight back under control, unfortunately I had really buried myself at that point, I just couldn’t make it back out from under it. So I dumped it. oops.

Front Squats
60K 5 X 5
70K 3 X 5
These felt really good, I actually had them racked right. the big surprise was that my hands hurt afterward, they aren’t used to being hyperextended like that. That will take some adjustment and training.

Strict Press
185 X1 a whole bunch of times
I was just running out of gas.

Tomorrow I’m off, I had considered the tire but the weather is supposed to be horrible. Instead I checked out a DVD from the library on some varient of Tai Chi, I’ll let you know how that goes. I’ll try to comment more tomorrow on what led me to try Tai Chi and on the strongman thing.

A moment

Posted in Cardio,Dinsoaur Style,Images,Rest and Recovery by Mike on January 31, 2007

I went for the tire last evening. I wanted four laps, one estimated mile with the tire, no running, just the grind. I was lucky, I had one of those moments you can only ever achieve when you train outside. I began my walk under cloudy skies and cool temps. As I trudged and listened to music I thought about the Strongman contest coming up. I looked around about half way through my first lap and suddenly there were huge snowflakes falling slowly, silently around me. The snow was coming slow so I went on.
By the time the second lap came, the snow was getting heavier but at this point I was enjoying the whole experience too much fun to quit. The snow kept on and I made a path through it with the tire, tiny little glacier that it is. As the snow fell, I also found that my task was getting easier. By the time I was finished, I was hardly straining at all against the the friction.
I happened to have my camera in the car.

A tire in the snow

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A Deep Sense of Panic

Posted in Uncategorized by Mike on January 30, 2007

A deep sense of panic fills me as I finally look upon the upcoming strongman contest, May 12th. Observe:

Event Light Weights Heavy weights (me)
Log Clean & Press 230 lbs 280 lbs
Farmer’s Walk 50 ft 300lbs 330lbs
Stone Load 260 – 355lbs 270 – 385lbs
Fire Hydrant Carry and Chain Drag 280lbs & 580lbs 315lbs & 640lbs
Yoke Walk and Tire Flip 710 & 725 800 & 725

To recap:

A log press 35lbs over my current best
Farmers Walk 44lbs/hand over my current best
Stone Load beginning at my current best, I believe
Fire Hydrant carry 75lbs over my best carry so far
Chain Drage that I have never done
Yoke walk 115lbs over my current best
and the tire flip if I get to it.

I just keep telling myself that I have time to make it. This is why we do these things, competitions. To force ourselves to push for numbers we would have never otherwise gone for. It also makes me think that despite my desire to give this supermax workout a fair shot, that thing will have to be shelved. I need to move some iron and sand if I expect to make this. Now I just need to get my check in.

so am I overreacting?


Posted in Gym Strength by Mike on January 29, 2007

I got today off to a good start with some jump rope and then ten or fifteen front squats. I moved into Full Extension Hang cleans. These felt pretty good, I did about ten at 40 K and then started moving up 2.5 K at  time.
40K X 10
42.5K X 5
45K X 5
47.5K X 5
50K X 5
52.5K X 5
 55K X 5
I continued to push on with 57.5K but I think I was pulling more from a flat footed hang clean and getting that little cheater explosion in. I moved on to a flat footed, standing tall type hang for 57.5, 60 and 62.5. At which point I got some pointers. They were all very good, or at least I think they were. 

  1. Open my hands when I catch the bar
  2. Narrow my grip
  3. Catch the bar on the downward motion
  4. Flaring the toes is ok
  5.  Try to shoot the elbows through at the same time as or before my heels recontact the ground
  6. Don’t hang from the standing tall position, bend over just enough to get the shoulders past the bar

These are all kinda no brainers but it was nice to have someone there to remind me of some of these things. I think it helped. I got some of my best feeling cleans in tonight. I have no idea how many I did from this point on but it was a half an hour of clean, set it down and critque myself, repeat. I also finally figured out what is wearing holes in the backs of my second knuckle on my thumb, rug burn, from my shirt.

I wrapped up with a 100k 20 rep squat. I paced my breathing a little better and all in all it really wasnt nearly as painful as usual. i blame the tire for this conditioning. Just for that it will get used again tomorrow.

Don’t Tire too easily

Posted in Dinsoaur Style by Mike on January 28, 2007

I got back from DC a little early and squeezed in a workout while Laura went to Gold’s Gym.

I adjusted the harness on my tire just a little bit, the consequences were unexpected. I gave it about 3 feet more of slack, as a result the tire has better contact witht he ground and thus considerably more friction to overcome. I started out the same as last time, run one length of the field, use the rest of the lap at a walk to recover. 9 minutes on the first lap. Second lap I really started to feel that friction, same routine as before but 12 minutes this time. The third lap, as I tried to run the length I could barely pick up my legs. I had to stop. I parked the tire at the far end of the field, I decided it was time for something different.
I went to the car and got another 45lb plate and my 2″ dumbell (made from pipe so it’s hollow inside). I strung the pulling rope through the pipe and threw the extra plate on the tire. Now I was pulling a the tire facing backward using a 2″ handle. It took ten attempts to get it across the field, my hands were shot and my legs were sluggish with the pump caused by it. Want big quads, try that exercise.

I did run across one idea that I have considered before. Unfortunately I didn’t start it already. An annual or semi annual test. It would be composed of things I don’t train directly but get trained indirectly. The standing high jump, standing long jump, 40m dash, that kind of stuff. Any other ideas?

Supermax round two

Posted in Gym Strength by Mike on January 24, 2007

yup again

warmed up with 5 full ROM reps of 135, 225 and 315. I like those.

pin Name Weights used Supermax
8 Rock Bottom 315, 335, 355 355
10 Half Squat 365, 405 405
12 Quarter Squat 405, 455,495 495
14 Lockout 495,585 850

Lemme see here, no gains,a couple felt close, the rock bottom and the 1/4 felt like they wanted to move. I feel totally week in the half squat position, no doubt in my mind that this is my sticking point. Also, I need to figure out how to do some clean up on my squat form. I tend the bed over at the waist, letting the butt come out and that brings the thighs out of parallel.
I bailed early on the lockouts cause that bar just worries me, I’m gonna make some changes in this. I think i need to lose the lock out (still train it with the yoke) and work every pin rather than every other. Chris also suggested switching up the order. I would like to try this order two more times then try it his way. I think he has a good idea and some god experience to back to up but I want to at least feel like I have a frame of reference.

Overhead Press
pin Name Weights used Supermax
14 Strict Press 135, 185, 205 205
16 Half Press 135, 185 185
18 Quarter Press 135, 185, 205 205
20 Overhead Lockout 245

No gains again, no losses if I recall though either. I quit on the lockouts cause my shoulders where hurting all throughout this. Too much in the last 5 days or so I think. When I switch the squats, I will switch these too.

Rack pull from pin 6, I got up to 365 in the double overhand position. I hit 405 last time but it just wasn’t gonna happen today.

Barbell lunges 40K, One length is 3 steps with each leg, One lap as two lengths, I was going for 5 laps. At lap 2.5 one of my plates fell off so I had to put the bar back together again and collared it this time. This was the real burner of the day.

That’s it for the week, i’m off for a few days. I’ll try to think of something to schedule to post of Friday.

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What a drag

Posted in Cardio,Rest and Recovery,Strongman by Mike on January 23, 2007

My puns just get worse and worse.

This evening I took the tire, wedged a 45lb plate down inside it and went to the park. I walked all the way around the grassy part which I am choosing to guesstimate at 1/4 mile. I jogged down one side then walked the other three. I made three laps in 27 minutes, roughly. The jog was very aerobically taxing, once I slowed to a walk, the wind came easier but it was more of a challenge on my muscles.
I’m hoping that I managed to get some recovery and some cardio at the same time. I hope to do this more, I’ve only broken the tire out intermittently, and use it as a cardio, conditioning and recovry tool.

Tomorrow it’s super max, this week is very front loaded, workout wise cause I’m headed off for a short trip for fun. maybe I’ll squeeze in a workout Sunday but probably not.

Random other news, I upgraded the software that runs this site, hopefully you won’t notice much, let me know if you see anything out the ordinary. I also have access to my domain from work again, I have no idea why, the upgrade shouldn’t account for it. So I will attempt to be more timely in responding in future.

Last, congratulations to Scott Styles on his first phone book tear, that’s one more milestone down.

Still sore

Posted in Gym Strength by Mike on January 22, 2007

I had a bit of left over soreness from Saturday. I had a great workout and was still feeling it.

jump rope 1 minute on, 1 minute off for four cycles

Full Extension Hang Clean – 30 minutes, 40 reps. I used 40, 50 and 60k at idfferent times. My shoulders started to really hurt after a while and it was a real chore to finish, I decided that pushing on for another half an hour with hang cleans was not the right answer.

Lunges – 3 steps per leg is one length, two lengths was one set. 40K and 50K

Side Lunges – Bodyweight

jump rope – two cycles

I’m gonna try to brave teh cold tomorrow and spend about 30 minutes walking and jogging with the tire.

In random other news, I did some upgrades to the blog yesterday and all looked well but I am finding logging in to be a problem today. If you have an issue I apologize. I’ll try to sort it out in the immedite future.

EDIT: I fixed the login issue. I had goofed on the upgrade.

It’s ffffreezing

Posted in Strongman by Mike on January 20, 2007

I skipped climbing yesterday

Strongman today, something like 34 degrees, not quite freezing but good training weather. Also took paper to get the weights down right, feel free to check my math 🙂

245 stone to the lap, not the smartest thing I ever did. I had just showed up and wasn’t warmed up in the least.

Yoke Walk – chest height bar (5 showing)
150 (apparatus) + 4 X 45 = 330lbs 15 m
150 + 6 X 45 = 420 lbs 15m
150 + 8 X 45 = 510lbs 15m
150 + 8 X 45 + 4 x 25 = 610lbs 10m
150 + 2 x 50 + 8 x 45 + 2 X 35 + 2 X 2.5 = 685 lbs 10m

Lockouts – midchest (4 showing)
150 + 4 X 50 + 8 x 45 = 710
150 + 4 X 50 + 8 X 45 + 2 X 35 = 780
150 + 4 X 50 + 8 X 45 + 4 X 35 = 850 – this one took three attempts
Luke went on to lock out 1015 lbs, not bad for a guy weighing 200lbs year round. Not many of us can claim a 5 times bodyweight lockout. It’s taken him a lot of patients and a lot of time to get there though.

Big Red – 245lb 13+” log
clean and ummm “move overhead” X 1
This wasn’t really my intent, i have battled this thing once before and figured it would be a while. I was just gonna play with it, maybe do a carry. The clean came much easier than expected. The overhead, not so much. I tried jerking, I tried pressing, I ended up resting it on top of my head for half a second but I got it there.

680lb tire – 12 flips, at my own speed, pretty slow. Probably at least 5 minutes. Good conditioning in this. I got stuck between flip 6 and 7 and that slowed me down a bit. I had changed sides but just couldn’t get the tire going again. Also I would like to experiment with a wider handgrip. Currently I hand 3 treads between my hands, I want to go to 5. I think it will get me lower and allow me to push the tire higher.

Big Red Carry – 260 – Luke threw a few small plates on. 15 yards, I guess. Not bad.

Came home and went for a 2 mile walk.

On the diet front, I was at 265 two weeks ago, I dropped slowly and steadily to 261 and then gained slowly and steadily to 265. It took ten days. I think it’s that I didn’t do my cardio last week that got me. I’ll try hard next week.

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Tools and Toys on the web

Posted in Toys and tools by Mike on January 19, 2007

To sites I want to update you with:
First, Straight to the bar now has a wiki. If the term wiki is a weird one for you, think of wikipedia. It’s an online encylopedia. It is edited and contributed to by it’s users. That means that if you want to add an entry on Protein Shakes, you add it. If I don’t like your entry then I change it, from there we work it out. So please consider adding the the Straight to the Bar strength and conditioning wiki. It only works if people contribute and make it work.

Second, Jonathon McMillan of the Farmstrength Round Table offered a site that allows you to use a google maps like interface and map out a walked, jogged or biked route. He also came up with a new implementation of the idea. If you walk regularly, chart a different trip using the distance you walk each time. see how lon it takes to walk across the country or the pacific ocean for that matter.

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