Anvil or Hammer

Time to catch up

Posted in Rant,Rest and Recovery by Mike on April 30, 2007

The family is gone. I guess that means vacation time is over. I put on roughly half a pound per day but that comes from eating so incredibly far off my usual diet that it’s not funny. No worries there it’ll come back down. I know it’s purely psychological but there are times where I would swear I can feel it.

Tonight will be walkies with the dog, not so bad there. She may hate me though because I think a longer than usual walk is in order. Tomorrow I will get in and do double kettlebells, we’ll see where it goes from there. I have just under two weeks before the strongman contest. I probably should have passed on this spring one like I had considered. I have not prepared myself. I’ll go and do what I can a so be it.

After the contest I’m taking about 6 months to try and lose this other 15 lbs for the year. I’ll get some heavy lifting and stuff in there but I need to shed the weight. There will be outside stuff, kettlebells, sandbags and tire and some heavy inside stuff.

I didn’t have a lot of spare time during the vacation but I did learn a thing or two about RSS feeds, I think they are largely misunderstood. I’ll leave it at that until I know more. I’m also trying to work up a dynamic blogroll for the trainingsyndicate members, something I can update that will auto update down to all the sites.

I’m several hundred blog posts behind on my reading. Please don’t be offended if I miss something you were talking about. I may have to just mark them all as read and move on. I’m thinking about making a page that just shows what I’m reading and putting it out there.

With all that, I have an assignment due in 36 hours that I found out about during vacation but didn’t have time to work on and 124 126 work emails to take care of.

In short, I’m back but I won’t be around a whole lot for at least a couple days.


Posted in Cardio,Kettlebells by Mike on April 27, 2007

My brother-in-law and I hit the park for a quick workout before my wife’s Bday dinner.

2 min – Juggle – anything you want, just keep it moving
30 sec rest
2 min – H2H/DARC swings
30 sec rest
2 min Tactical Lunge
30 sec rest
2 min Slingshot
30 sec rest
2 min Flip(high pull) squat
30 sec res
2 min Standing Press
90 sec rest
2 min juggle
60 sec rest
2 min DARC/H2H
60 sec rest
2 min Walking Lunges (there was a ten second rest period in the middle of these, this is were it was getting really hard to keep going)
60 sec rest
2 min Around the World
60 sec rest
2 min rack squat (squat with the bell racked like a clean)
60 seconds rest
2 min swings, anyway you like
I used the 16K bell, this we very tough.

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Technique Day

Posted in Gym Strength by Mike on April 26, 2007

My brother-in-law and I managed to squeeze in a small hour of lifting. We headed to Dumbarton and worked the Olympic lifts a bit. It was more of a techique round table if you will

“Watch me for triple extension”
“Should I bend my arms here?
…so on…

We both learned a thing or two from each other. My traps are sore today. I found that my primary issues of the moment are
A) Triple Extension, I get the hips and the shoulders but as it gets hard I don’t get the ankles as much
B) The catch, I have been told this before and am aware of it to some degree. I was doing really good at 60K but once we started to go up, I start to slip into my bad habits of catching out front and not letting the bar just lay on my fingers. at 80K I can muscle it in place and then let it slip into the proper position but I’m not actually catching it correctly. At 100K I can almost muscle it in place but that is a hard weight to hold in a reverse curl position.

I think I also have mental block with the 100K weight, it has beat me for a year now. I think that when I pull it, I almos don’t want to finish the lift, I just bail out of habit more than need.

Couple techniques questions for anyone.
A) On the snatch, it seems most people keep their arms straight throughout. I alwasy disagreed with this and saw a Tommy Kono lecture recently where he did too. What do you all think?
B) On the clean, I see a lot of people who hip check it on the way up. I even tried it a little. Typically you read that this is based on girth with seems like ajoke, fat people hit things with their bellies not hips. I think it is wasted energy throwing the bar away from you. What have you all seen/heard?

Vacation is going good. I’m seeing family and eating too much but my weight is holding at 250. Probably the extra walking. I have also found that any salad at any restaraunt is probably food enough for me and I enjoy it. They pile those things so high, it’s as good as any other entree. Today will be tons of walking so that’ll be cool and Ben and I will try to get in in at least a kettlebell workout this week.

The site is running slow now. I tried to clean it up the other day but didn’t have any real progress. I’m getting spammed like crazy. I have almost 4000 spams this month and 14000 since I started it. These seem to come in waves and the wave is definitely cresting.

I haven’t been keeping up with Diggs and stuff on TS, I probably won’t until vacation is over.

I’m not gonna get as much posting in as I should for a few more days, bear with me.

Principles of Effective Action

Posted in Technical Update by Mike on April 23, 2007

Stephen’s blog is live. He’s got a few posts up and it promises to be enlightening. Head over and check it out.

This is the first person to blog under The test case. I think it has gone well so far.

EDIT: Working on Stephen’s blog has inspired me, I’ll try to clean up and tune up AoH tomorrow.

btw, Scott Styles, someone is googling you, you the search hit here

Weekend strong

Posted in Rest and Recovery by Mike on April 22, 2007

Lotsa recovery this weekend, I have found it’s about impossible for me to sleep a full eight hours after the last couple years of less. I got 5-6 miles of walking in with the dog, she’s exhausted 🙂 . Preparing for visiting realtives is going very well.

I look forward to a couple more days off before the event. Some chores to do but not a lot. Some good food to be eaten, good recovery and a workout or two.

Also, Stephen’s site is coming along. The technical stuff is done. I need to adjust some things. Also I got the first chunk of a document done that I will convert to HTML at some point as refernce to all new trainingsyndicate bloggers.

oh, anyone know any reasonably priced computer video editing software? Just cuts, fades and maybe text.


Posted in Gym Strength,Technical Update by Mike on April 21, 2007

Paid Time Off – yup

Hit the gym last night for my two Hall Monitor session. I figured I’d do what training I could, knowing full well that it wouldn’t be a full, Full session.

Trapbar deads, work up to 610 once. I went for two but I didn’t have it in me.
True Power squat, just cause, worked up to 405
Olympic squat 405
Walkouts 595 – not really a lot of weight just doing stuff here

snatches 60K a bunch
DARC swings – 100 16K
30lb dumbell curls  12
dips – 13 (since I missed it last time)
DARC swings 2 minutes (uknown count)
Situps 16Kkb 20

throw in some jumping rope, 3 X 2minutes and a some general playing with weights and you have it all.  i’m still tired. The weather is beautiful so I’ll get some walks in but no much else on the training front, at least until Monday.

and yes, I will enjoy my vacation.

oh, and stephens blog is is well under construction. All the pieces are there (or uploading as I type). There will be some tweaking to match the look he wants (he picked some really nice themes. It makes me want to look for a new theme) and his comfort and style for using the computer. I’ll keep everyone posted.

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Posted in Kettlebells,Rest and Recovery,Technical Update by Mike on April 20, 2007

Well it was another beautiful Thursday morning yesterday. I wanted to get out and play. Unfortunately it was another beautiful Thursday just toying with my fragile emotions. Little drizzle here, little menacing cloud there. So I did Providence.

I was surprised. I expected to totally own it this time with the 16K bell. I didn’t I was slacking on the lunges and forget about the triple crush and abs rounds. I didn’t quit or anything, I just have no doubt that I sucked. I don’t know if it was poor recovery from Tuesday or what.

I have gym duty tonight. I’m gonna try and hit it pretty hard but I don’t expect to pull off the double workouts I have been doing. We’ll just see what happens. I’m thinking about shooting for high, high volume. I somehow banged my wrist up last night, I don’t think it will hold me back though.

Things are looking good on the trainingsyndicate front. It looks like some people are getting minorly increased traffic and it is helping. It looks like Stephen is gonna be the first ever trainingsyndicate blogger. I will get him set up this weekend and whenever he feels comfortable next week, I’ll advertise his adress here. It wasn’t a one time deal. That’s a standing offer to others too.

This week I wrap I wrap up a very ugly week at work, 12 hour days. Next week I have my first family visitors since I moved to Baltimore (roughly a year and a half ago). You can bet it’s a big deal. That means my training and posting will probably be a little off from the usual. Still I will get some gym outings in. I want to show off my training areas to my brother-in-law, another weightlifter.

The UB has a Wii?

Posted in Cardio,Kettlebells by Mike on April 18, 2007

Aparently the university gym I go to on Tuesdays has a Wii available. I’m gonna try it sometime. Weird.

Let’s see if I can remember it all
Kettlebells 2minutes on 1 minute off

  1. double alternating snatch 12K
  2. tactical lunge  24K
  3. double clean and jerk 16K
  4. Flip Squat 16K
  5. DARC swings 16K
  6. figure 8 – sling shot 16K
  7. Sumo deadlift 24K
  8. double snatch (simultaneous) 24K

I gotta say, trying to write my own circuits is hard. It gives me respect for folks like Anthony of AoS who develop the ones for the masses. I think it would be a hard thing to get right for people you have never met.
Bag work
1 minute on 30 seconds off, 5 rounds

Oh and over at asecondchance blog, he’s looking for salad making advice. Lend a hand.


Posted in Goals by Mike on April 16, 2007

I’ve put some stuff in writing but not a ton. I’ll try to be fairly complete here. Comments are welcome

Guidelines – These are vague ideas that drive my goals but are not really quantifiable.

  1. Live a normal life – I have no interest in being on such a strict diet or training schedule that I can’t take my wife to the movies and have some popcorn with her or go camping with friends and have a beer.
  2. Remain active into old age – even older than Chris Rice 🙂
  3. Make myself healthier – rather than gain a lot of weight and go for max weight ever, lose some weight but still train to the things I like.



By age 40 (2019) – see my 100 X 40 list, this idea is stolen directly and with permissions from Chris Rice. These will become refined with time


By age 30 (2009) –

  1. Bodyweight of 225
  2. Waist (thickest area between hips and ribs) < 40″
  3. 10 consecutive pull ups
  4. 32K 10 minute snatch test >100
  5. Deadlift 600lbs
  6. Squat 500lbs
  7. Sandbag clean and press 300lbs
  8. 20 reps squat 315

This year (2007) –

  1. Bodyweight 235
  2. Sandbag clean and press 250lbs
  3. Standing press 250lbs
  4. 5 X 5 squat 350
  5. 5 consecutive pullups
  6. 32K 10 minute snatch test > 80
  7. 24K 10 minute snatch test > 125

Those actually came much easier than I expected. Although when I look at them I realize that I am not really doing a great job of pushing certain ones. For the time being I am trying to do what I can in preparation for the May strongman contest. That means that I want to do sandbags and low rep stuff in the immediate term. After that it is my intent to focus on losing this weight. 

To answer Stephen’s question precisely. I’m trying to lose weight to get healthier. It’s something I have needed to do for a long time but I was resistant to the idea I was/am fat. It wasn’t until I trained with Dan and Luke and saw myself on video that I realized how fat I was. I remember, a year and a half earlier, arguing with my nutrition professor that my BMI of 41.8 didn’t necessarily mean I was unhealthy and I believed that, despite my 42″ waist pants starting to be a little too tight. I had finally given up on the idea of getting back in the 30’s of inches because I didn’t think it was all that important. I threw out the old pairs of size 38 pants when I moved from Colorado.

I remember reading that guys with waists over 40″ were, correlatively, more ill than guys with less than that. I remember being able to grab a big old love handle on either side of my belly without trying. I did all this believing, completely, that I was big but healthy. The video pointed it out to me that I was wrong. I also realized when my dad was dealing with his cancer that his body wasn’t any different than mine, both short and stout. His body fat was a drag on his body and health too. It didn’t kill him, being fat, but there certainly seems to be a correlation between low general health and cancer. 

With losing my father to cancer and losing my aunt to cardiovascular disease all in a year I am realizing that I have to get more fit. That stuff will kill you. I have an advantage though. I like to workout. Unfortunately I like to go heavy. I’m trying to take advantage of my desire to lift heavy and get strong and steer it toward my need to lose some weight. So, were I kinda mumbled and grumbled about bodyweight in the past, I’m serious about it now. I don’t post it as much because I am intentionally going about it the slow way. I weigh myself almost every day. I initially thought that if I got down to 235 I would be a fit as could be. I’m now realizing that I was fooling myself. 225 is a nice number and it does drop me into a lower weight class in strongman so I’ll take advantage of that. So I’m shooting for 225. It’s a debate to me as to whether that is enough. I figure I’ll never know if I don’t go there and then decided. I was about 200 – 205 coming out of high school and wearing 34″ jean. So I doubt I’ll get below 200 anytime in the near future. It’s not my goal to get abs or look good with my shirt off or anything. 

Beyond the weight answer, you pretty much had me pegged. I don’t have the mental fortitude to do this for the rest of my life if I don’t enjoy it. Challenges are fun and they make you own up to your own weaknesses so I think they are a powerful tool in the arsenal of training. Competition is the same. I’m never gonna be a professional athlete, I’m not committed enough but I can have fun training for amateur competitions, there will always be another competitor training to push me. Chris Rice suggested on the Farm Strength boards that we should all compete twice a year and I think that is a great idea.

I also think that if you need 6 months to a year to get ready for a competition you are doing something wrong. Why are you training week after week if, when someone says they are having a competition next month, you can’t show up and at least perform? No you won’t be at your absolute peak but most of us miss our peak when it comes to planned competition.

While I’m at it

Goals of

  1. Post no less than 5 times a week
  2. Achieve 50 individual readers
  3. Become a resource to someone


2007 Goals of

  1. >200 individual readers
  2. >10 in house bloggers
  3. >20 fed blogs
  4. <250,000 technocrati rating
  5. Using affiliations and ads to pay for itself and anvilorhammer (pay out of my pocket for all this)

 So lads, lemme have it.

For those of you slackers such as myself, I expect to see it in writing, this week, send me a link if you it.:-)



A different kind of burn

Posted in Rest and Recovery by Mike on April 15, 2007

I could feel a bit of the burn yesterday and even today. I felt a different kind of burn and a different kind of exhaustion than I have for a while. This reminded me more of high school sports more than heavy lifting. I think that is a good thing. I think it means that I am getting into some of the kind of training that can be done with increased frequency and can lead to good fat loss. I managed to go from 185 to 140 in a couple years with a major body composition change and a whoel ton of calories back then. Then again, time do change. We’ll see I’ll play with this kind of workout more after the competition. So far, I am enamoured.

I still hope to squeeze Providence in today.

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