Anvil or Hammer

A Free Education

Posted in Gym Strength by Mike on December 11, 2007

I headed to Dumbarton today and tried to get my head around some new workout principles I wanted to consider. That part didn’t go so well but I still have a bountiful trip.

The plan was to hit some clean and jerks for a warmup, working up to 100K for one and then move on to some squats. Henry was there, he’s a guy about Chris Rice’s age, a life long Olympic weightlifter. He doesn’t pull what he once did but he can probably pull about as much as I can when he really settles in to work. I had it in my head to try and actually squat clean today. He basically talked me out of it.
It was fairly obvious that the weight I was pulling (60K at the time) was far too light for me to squat clean, I was practically flinging it over my head. So he got me to squat “just enough”. As I continued to move the weight up, I continued to squat “just enough”. I was pulling 100K with an ease I never had. He had a few more tweaks for me. Bring my feet closer, stop pulling with my arms, slower off the floor then explode, and make sure to suck it in at the hips rather than swing out. I dropped back to 80K so I could work on all his tips without exhausting myself. Before long, an hour had passed and I was sweating. Even after all this, I managed to clean 100K several more times as I moved onto squats.

Squats didn’t go so well. Ever since I dinged my back deadlifting a month or so ago, every time I go to squat, I get some really odd pressures in my back. It feels like a shearing force in my lumbar. At first I thought the stretching or foam roller had loosened something. Then I thought maybe it was the weight loss. Then I finally realized that is was probably just the nagging part of the back injury. Which means, I should probably limit squatting to sub 300 weight for the next month or so. That’s a shame because I have been salivating to get back on the squatting train and try to push for 500 by the end of ’08.

To actually document my workout:
Squat: 150K 3,3,1
Ring Dips: 3,3,3
Ring Pullups: 3,3,3
Military Bench: 230lbs 1,1,1
Seated Row: 150lbs 8,8,8

I didn’t get as much done as I would like but the squats left my low back hurting so I decided a wise man would live to fight another day. Tomorrow I hope to hit some 2″ Dumbell, Axle Deadlifts (475lbs) are in April’s Strongman. I believe I can train up to it.

7 Responses to 'A Free Education'

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  1. towson dude said,

    I randomly came across your log and since I live in the towson area when I am home from college, I was wondering about the dumbarton gym.

    Where can I find out info about it?

  2. Mike said,

    Dumbarton Gym is in the basement of Dumbarton Middle School. Go south on York from Towson and you will cross a street called Dumbarton. At that street turn right. Take the first right after that(Heathfield). As soon as you make that turn, look to your left and you will see an alley, it leads to the teachers parking lot behind the school. Go over there an park (you will also see the tennis courts from there). When you park, if you you park facing the school, you will basically be facing the door the the gym. It’s in the corner, the door is actually below ground level but you can see the top of it from in front of the hedges at the parking lot. If you are having trouble seeing it, follow the windows that are to your right (spanning from about 2 o’clock to about 4 o’clock). When you get to the end of them, you will be at some stairs going down with a blue door. That’s the gym. It’s 7 bucks a month (as cheap as they come) but it’s only open from (if I recall) 3pm – 9pm weekdays and 9am – 1pm Saturday. I am currently training Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5:00 or 5:30 and Fridays from 5 – 7. If you’d like to meet up with me, shoot me an email at and we can meet in the parking lot there and I can show you the door to the gym from there.

    Check out my youtube channel for any video of me NOT outside or in a racquetball court to get an idea of what it looks like inside.

  3. Ben said,

    Sounds like you had a good day oly style lifting, which is very cool. It was only in the last month through some posting at t-nation that I discovered I was basically doing a deadlift into a squat clean. I too used my arms way too much up to that point. Now I visualize that I do not have an upper body whatsoever and that my arms are just hangning on to the weight not actually doing anything. I need to front squat more as I think my Power clean is higher than my squat clean which is backwards I believe. Sucks about your back, some owies are a pain in the butt.

  4. brent said,

    this must have been a lot of fun – very excited for your future as a cleaner

  5. Mike said,

    It was a very good oly day and is very exciting for my clean. I’m psyched.
    I’ve always heard to imagine your arms as ropes, just there to hold the weight, but it has never worked. Then he had me snatch a couple and pointed out that since I really couldn’t pull with my arms, I was doing everything right in that respect. That gave me an idea how it should feel. He said, I still jerk it off the floor too much.

    The back thing annoys me. I rushed myself last night as well as in terms of getting back in the gym after last week (a week in a car will mess you up) and in terms of the back injury from a month ago. Today I am aching to pay the price.

  6. towson dude said,

    Is that gym open during mid december through beginning of january?

    Sounds like a good deal. I vaguely do powerlifting type stuff (westside).


  7. Mike said,

    Towson Dude,

    Dumbarton will be open except for the 24th, 25th, 31st and January 1st, officially anyway. It’s not uncommon for someone to open up on a “closed” day as well.

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