Anvil or Hammer


100 X 40: Intermission

Posted in Goals by Mike on December 12, 2007

Intermission, that’s what I’m calling this half month in December that is not part of a month for the purposes of my goal setting. So I have spent two months with this new goal thing. It has so wrinkles to iron out but it’s a good concept.

I don’t think the whole random thing is working like I would like it to. A month is too short to make progress on many of the various goals. I still want to avoid getting bogged down with some of the really serious goals. I could very easily get a list of: Squat 700, Clean and Jerk 1.5 X Bodyweight, 2″ Dumbbell Snatch 100K, Lap a 350lb stone. With that list, I would be stuck for months, years really.  So I think when I start back up in January, I’m going to do more to try a pick what I work on at a given time. In the case of a lot of the big goals. I may make up and interim goal and work that. For example, I think I’m gonna set a goal of a 500lb squat and deadlift. That’s something to work for a bit, it doesn’t actually achieve one of my goals but it moves me in that direction.

I’m going to still keep the David Seah schedule of checking in on my goals every month. I think that is a good plan. It’s a chance to evaluate the goals I am currently working. I’ll still use the day of the month that matches the month (1/1,2/2…). I’ll also still keep December goal less.

For this December, that starts today (for goal purposes). I have decided to go light. Yep, for the next 19 days, I’m not going heavy. I’m gonna do some yoga. I’m gonna do some easy bodyweight stuff. I’ll still row at least one day a week, probably two, I’ll still work the gym on Fridays but I think I’m gonna stay out of the gym for the most part beyond that.

The start of my January month will be delayed a few days because I have family in town for those first couple days but more on that later.

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100 X 40: Month Two Conclusion

Posted in Goals by Mike on December 12, 2007

 76. 50 Ring Dips
12. Overhead Squat 200
88. 10 dips with 100 additional pounds
50. Lap a stone >= 350lbs
77. 75 Ring Pushups

50 Ring Dips
I got my poor man rings made, that was a big step. I actually attempted the ring dips for the first time in a long time last night. I am a loooong way for 50, I got 3X3.

Overhead Squat 200
I worked the overhead squat during this period. I actually did 60K snatches to and overhead squat, not too bad, for me. I also worked the Overhead squat from a bottom position, doing 80K from here. I think I’m not too far from hitting this one.

10 dips with 100 additional pounds
I did dips with 25 additional pounds, but for reps. Still a ways to go.

Lap a stone >= 350lbs
I would say I made no progress here.

75 Ring Pushups
Again, I got my rings made, that’s huge. I worked the ring pushup a bit and it went pretty well. I don’t think I am so far off from this one.

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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.

Book Report

Posted in Diet and Bodyweight by Mike on December 11, 2007

1210071210.jpg
That is Whiteout on Moleskin, gawdy I know. That is my diet journal. I wrote down every bit of food I ate yesterday in it. I’ve done so today as well. I’m primarily just trying to use it to make myself aware of what I am eating once again, after that week of garbage. I don’t imagine I’ll keep it for more than a week. I can whip it out again whenever I need to tool again. Which brings me to my next topic, in a round about way.

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I’ve been itching to read this book. I eyeballed it at the bookstore for a while but couldn’t convince myself to buy it. I looked for it at the library a couple times but it was never there. Finally, I put a reserve on it. I got the email early last week that it was in and I had 5 days to pick it up. I figured by the time I went last night it would be gone but there it was.

I only go through about half of the forward last night. If the rest of the book is as entertaining, I’m going to enjoy this a lot, but I imagine it will dry out pretty bad at times. Basically this is Stephen of Speedstudio’s approach to eating, but this book covers the basis for that approach. It’s very similar to John Berardi’s Precision Nutrition as well. So far, the basic concept is that the low starch/carb diet was in acceptance long before the low calorie/fat diet. It was effective too. It wasn’t until some bad science crept in that we went all low fat and it has been a seesaw ever since. This book is here to cheer lead for a return to the low carb/starch approach.

I’m considering trying the Good Calories/Bad Calories / Speedstudio diet in February, but no commitment yet. In that vein:
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What you see here is my food for the day. Two spinach salads, some fruit, some walnuts (I have raisins and almonds already at work), a casein protein shake made with frozen berries, and a liter of water. Oh, and I said I expected to drop 2 -3 pounds the first couple days back due to water weight. I hit 235.2 this morning. I believe I will lose a little more in the next 24 – 36 hours.

Events for next year

Posted in Uncategorized by Mike on December 11, 2007

I’m not gonna be doing all of these but I just thought it might be interesting to share. I’ll post links at the bottom so folks can look for events in their area.

March 7 – 9
Virtual Powerlifting meet
April 5
2008 Mid-Atlantic Strongman

May 16 – 18
Virtual Bench/ Virtual Military Bench meet

June 14
2008 Maryland’s Strongest Man

July 25 – 27
Virtual Powerlifting Meet

September 5 – 7
Virtual Deadlifting meet

October 3 – 5
Virtual Weightlifting Meet

November 7 – 9
Virtual Bench/ Virtual Military Meet

December 5 – 7
Virtual Powerlifting Meet

Grip Contests
Strongman Contests
Virtual Meet

Someone let me know if you know of some others in the mid Atlantic region.

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Gripmas 2007

Posted in Grip by Mike on December 10, 2007

The short version

The long version:
I have to say that after 5 days on the road, I was ready to go home. I missed Gripmas last year and I would have felt awful to miss it again. Considering the techs’ contract talks are due next year, it’ll probably be out for then as well. So I decided to tough it out.

picked up Scott Styles at the Columbus airport on Friday afternoon. He represents himself well in his blog.  I was not at all surprised by who I met. He’s a nice, quiet, intelligent guy. We did a fair bit of chatting, I think I may have dominated the conversation which I tend to do once I get rolling. It’s more habit that an attempt to be the center of attention.

He is pretty skinny these days which seems to suit his frame very well. He’s a vegetarian but is more cool than most about it which is good. We grabbed TGIFridays for dinner, I had a really great chicken breast and Italian salad, probably the best thing I ate all week.  We were staying at the Super 8 on the interstate which wasn’t the greatest, posh-est resort in town but I slept well and that’s all I really needed it for.

We met our first gripboard member, Josh Dale, at breakfast the next morning. A nice guy, a nutritionist and one of the higher placers out of the group. A whole different class of gripster from myself. We met up with Stew, Nick, Doc, David Thornton and Eric Milfield  (all names that almost any gripboard member would recognize) at a nearby park and ride and headed off to Chris Rice’s home for the contest/ get together. We arrive to Chris’s little shed (probably wide enough for two cars+ and deep enough for 1 1/2+ cars) to find a whole mess of guys milling about.

We were there for probably an hour while grippers were calibrated and we met all kinds of people. We drew lots for the order on grippers. The grippers were set in chokers which means they had a type of clamp around them to keep them from opening any wider from parallel. So you are just closing the last 10 – 20% of the gripper. They were all calibrated for pounds to close and laid out in order. I opened with a #2 that closed very easily. I skipped up two for my next close and got stuck. So I came down one and close the gripper I had skipped for my third attempt. After the contest, I played with my hand position and closed the one I missed as well as the one after it.

The second event was the Europinch. Think of the classic plate pinch, two plates turned face together, pinch from the top. This is basically that but to remove variation from plate set to plate set and to allow more fine loading, the plates themselves weight almost nothing and a pipe is run through the center hole and the plates are loaded in front and behind of where you actually pinch. I’ve never done this or anything really like it so I had to gamble a bit. I started a bit later than maybe I should have but I also didn’t want to miss the opportunity to make as many pounds as I could It worked out great. I hist 170lbs and missed my third attempt at 180, so I appear to have hit my max just right.

The third event was double overhand Axle deadlift. I have this on my 100 X 40 list with a goal of 400lbs as I recall. I haven’t tested this to see what my current max is so this was a perfect chance. I’m a lot more familiar with the axel than I am with the Europinch but I still had to gamble a bit. Again it worked out really well. I hit 256lbs easily so I skipped up to 275 for my second. I barely got that one and everyone knew it. I had to chase the axle down to keep from missing the lift. For whatever reason, the stars aligned and I hit a solid pull on 286. 286 is nothing special but just to show what a good crew this was, they recognized that I had done something surprising to myself and gave me a little applause, that a feel good moment. I attempted 297, the next jump, there was no chance. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have even pulled that off fresh. I would like to point out that when I started on gripboard about three years ago, it was because I was having trouble with the same weight, with a mixed grip, on an olympic barbell. I’m not progressing fast but I’m progressing.

Chris put  together a medley that had 21 different event, I couldn’t have even thought of them all without his having put it together. There were: double sledge lever, wrist rotation in, wrist rotation out, one finger lift, bomb lift, pinch lift, key pinch, rectangle block weight, very narrow v bar, strap hold lift one, strap hold lift two, blob, light blob (40 lbs), 2″ dumbell, 3″ dumbell, anvil, fake blob and fake blob by the face (I only count 18 there so I missed a couple). I managed to hit 9 of these, several of which were event I had never done. It was fun.

Reverse bending was the next event. I had to borrow wraps from Chris, he had nice set of leather wraps, I see why people use these. There is no pain so you can focus on bending. I manged to bend a 7″ X 1/4 CRS pretty easy so I skipped to 6″ X 1/4 CRS for another bend. That one was also pretty easy but not quite as easy. I took a shot at 7″ X 5/16  HRS for my final attempt. I kinked it but it was no where neat the required 40 degrees. I dunno, I might be able to do that fresh, but maybe not.

The final event was a face to face, stare down, 100lb plate hold for time. This was a great idea, the placed the guys nearest each other in the standings looking right at each other holding for time. The competition was close enough that this changed a lot of positions. My time was pretty pathetic at a mere 31 seconds. I have 100s at Dumbarton and plan to play with this bad boy. I may never see it as an even again but I like it as a training tool.

I came in 18 out of 22 on the events and it was a great time. I got to try all kinds of stuff I had never seen before. Then the real fun started. We had a feast for supper and all the blobs and inch replicas came out. I played a bit but was wearing down pretty bad by this point. I’m not really capable of playing with the big boys on pinch grip type stuff. I did get to play with Chris’s sandbags and stone. That stone is really nice to pick up, that was a great buy on his part. It’s a good stone to learn stones on too, not so light as to not make you learn technique but not so heavy as to be impossible on the first go.

All in all, it was a great experience. I found it really motivational. I really enjoy meeting guys who are out there, in their garage or back yard training, alone, just like most of us. Many of these guys are incredibly disciplined and doing great things. It shows me how much I can do if I decide to do.

Thanks Chris.

Monday Morning Weigh in: 237.0

Posted in Diet and Bodyweight by Mike on December 10, 2007

That is not a typo. As I mentioned, I’m up a good 5 pounds from where I was about 9 or 10 days ago. I figure 2 to 3 pounds will come off by the end of the week as water weight.  I’m going to use a food diary as a tool to get myself back on nutritional track, at least for a couple weeks.

With holidays, the end of school and family coming to visit I don’t expect progress in the next month but I do think I can bring it back down to 230, my low. So for the next month, all I’m going to do is try to get my head straight for the beginning of ’08. Get my nutrition straight for the final push. Get my training straight to do some damage next year. They aren’t lofty goals but I think they are valuable. I’ll post more on all of those as they shape up. I do intend to continue posting Monday morning weights all through ’08 and possibly longer.

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He’s up, He’s down

Posted in Diet and Bodyweight by Mike on December 9, 2007

I thought about calling it “Back in the Saddle Again” and embedding a you tube clip, but that cover is so awful, I couldn’t force that on you guys.

Anyway, I’m back from my adventure to the west. I’m up nearly five pounds from seven day of garbage food. I’ll be totally honest. I took a bad food situation and made it much worse by making garbage choices from the few I had.

Anyway, back at it. I’ll post more tomorrow on my plans.

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Death in the family

Posted in Rant by Mike on December 2, 2007

Well, I’ve had another death in the family. So I’m hoping in my car an hauling back to the midwest, again. It looks like I’ll still be coming through Gripmas, just from the other direction. I’ll be out of touch and out of the gym for pretty much the entire week.

Lunge for it

Posted in Gym Strength by Mike on December 1, 2007

Overhead Squat 20, 40, 60K
Bottom Position OHS 60, 70, 80K
Military Bench 135 X 10, 185 X 8, 225 X 4, 3, 2, 1
Front Squat 80K 5 X 5
Lunge 60K X 10/10
Out Lunge 5K Ball 10/10
Back Lung 5K 10/10
Across 5K 10/10
Seated Row 150lbs 3 X 8
Deadlift Lockout 405 X 1, 365 3 X 5

I always forget what a great exercise the lunge is. I really need to incorporate it more in my workout. 10 reps with 60K is always more than enough to make me want to quit for the day and to make sure I will feel it tomorrow.

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