Anvil or Hammer

Putting the mental in experimental

Posted in Kettlebells,Rest and Recovery by Mike on October 14, 2008

Two workouts today, yes two

Experiment number 1 – morning workout
12K Kettelbell (yes, 12K)
2H swing X 10
1H swing X 5/5
Snatch X 5/5
Clean + Bottom up press X 5/5
3 circuits
This is as best I can recall, that was hours ago.
This is really light and I know it. I still have major reservations about training heavy in the morning. On top of that, this ins’t meant to be a hard workout. I just want to get some blood flowing, to get that nice feeling you get with morning training and because I’ve been feeling a real impulse to get a little more movement in my day.

Experiment two – Anthony DiLuglio workout
warmup – DFD2 2 rounds 16K
Unless I otherwise indicate, all of the following is with a 24K kettlebell. 30 seconds training, 30 seconds rest
One Arm Press, Left – 8
One Arm Press, Right – 8
1/2 Snatch, Left – 8
1/2 Snatch, Right – 8
Double Squat (2 24K kbs) X 6
Barbell Getup Situp (no weight) X 3
Figure 8 to Hold (16K kb) X 7/8
Should Width Push Up X 13
rest (total 1:30 rest)
One Arm Push Press, Left X 9
One Arm Push Press, Right X 9
Snatch, Left X 9
Snatch, Right X 9
H2H Sum Deadlift X 20
Side Bend, Left X 12
Side Bend, Right X 14
Alternating Clean (Dip and Switch) X 5/6
Wide Pushup X 15
Double Clean and Jerk (2 24K kbs) X 5
Double C&J X 5
1/2 Snatch, L X 7
1/2 Snatch, R X 8
Behind the neck squat X 12
Windmill X 2/1
Double C&J X 5
Staggered Pushup X 8 (singles, 1/2s)
High Plank (sets of 5 seconds)
This is the first workout from Punch Gym’s new eBook, Strength in Motion. I recommend it highly. I’m torn between my desire to post my workouts in the public domain and my desire to not theive anyone’s intellectual property. For me, posting workouts wins. All I can say is, I like Anthony’s book, I recommend Anthony’s book, you could attempt to rebuild his book based on some workouts I will be doing but you will be missing things. So if you want to try it, go get a copy.
There are some movements in here that I have never done before, fortunately Anthony posted an FAQ video which is helpful.

Strength in Motion Q&A from art of strength on Vimeo.

This workout was tough. It was tough because it was new, because I was using a relatively heavy bell for me, 24K and because I made some mistakes. The big mistake was doing two double clean and jerks where I should have done single long cycles. That about put me down. I spent that last set fighting to keep going and to not let my body get carried away with itself.
I know the workout was tough for a couple reasons. First, I felt it, I was worn out and my shirt was soaked. Second, people reactions. I got some funny double takes on my back to the locker room, still dripping. I’m corgial as I travel, I say hi to folks, whether I know them or not. I walked past one guy I see ever week, we said our “how’s it going” and he started to say something about did I have a good workout, then turned and looked and said “I know you had a good workout”. A good workout it was.

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Hello Old Friend

Posted in Rest and Recovery by Mike on August 3, 2008

I’m a week short of a full month since my last post. I’m just a day over a month since my last written workout, which means my workout yesterday represents one full month of doing nothing. I think we visited the Chrome and Fern a couple times in there but it’s hard for me to take that too seriously. Don’t get me wrong. I can get a sweat going. The cardio is good for me, I need more cardio but it lacks a certain something as well. There’s just not the same pleasure nor the same effort as when you do something with weights.

I have gained some insight into the plight of the common man, in terms of training. I wouldn’t train consistently either if all I had was some cardio and dumbbells. It’s not much fun and unless you have some understanding of how they will interact to help or hinder one another, it’s gonna feel like you’re spinning your wheels. Besides, those machines that tell you that you will magically burn fat at this heart rate and become cardiovascularly fit at that rate, they lie.

I’ve also gained a good bit of weight in a bad bit of a way. I’m up to, just short of, 245.  Some of it was inevitable, about 5 pounds of it. The other 10, all me. I’d like to say I regret it or some such but I can’t say I have any real emotion attached to it. It is weird to me though that I have been 20 and even 30lbs heavier. I can’t say I can fathom it at this point. I can’t say, either, that I feel like I know the difference. It all happens so slowly and I’m here for all of it so from one day to the next I get used to it.

My back is doing a lot better. The only time I notice anything is every great once in a while, not even daily, usually when getting up from a seated position. For just a moment I will feel a slight burning sensation in my left arch and my left glute will feel like it doesn’t want to work. It goes away almost as soon as I recognize it. I am still more cautious than before but it’s more fear than real injury at this point. My therapy is all but over as well. I need to set up a final check up appointment and get a bill of clean health. It’ll be nice to save the $50/week and to not have to try to make up the time at work or burn the PTO.

Since I’m feeling better. It’s time to make some decisions and some things. First, training doesn’t end. Injuries, owwies, boo boos, set backs, issues and all kinds of other nastiness may occur, but training is good for me in a lot of ways. Second, training changes. I’m just not interested in doing exactly what I was doing before. For one, it led to my injury. Also, some of it was starting to wear on me anyway. I’m still working out a lot of it in my head but powerlifting and strongman aren’t really going to be my focus, nothing about 1RM is really gonna be my focus.

I think that brings everyone, more or less, up to date. I’ve got a lot more stuff to write but I’m not quite sure where to being or where to end. A lot of it will be thinking out loud, so I can get things straight in my head. I will start my weekly weight log tomorrow, expect something about 243-245.  There will also be a food log, but more on that in my next long, rambling post.

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Fruit Roll Up

Posted in Diet and Bodyweight,Gym Strength,Rest and Recovery by Mike on July 1, 2008

I haven’t blogged in over a week, so it’s time to catch up and get back on a schedule.

Last week I hit MAC on Tuesday
30mins biking on cardio
Overhead Squat – just the bar X 10
Pushup X 10
Medicine Ball Raises (front and each side) X 10
5 Circuits

The OHS were a bad idea, I won’t be messing with those in a bit

Friday – Dumbarton
I don’t recall it all
15 minutes on the elliptical
Bench ladder 10 ->1(alternating 225, 185 for each weight)
Rows 135lbs 5 X 12
leg Extensions 5 X 12 80lbs
Leg Curls 5 X12 60lbs
Calf Raises 3 X 20 50lbs
I think that was most of it. I felt really good coming out of this and I think that making my legs do something besides atrophy was a very good thing.

Monday Morning Weigh-In: 236.6
I got a big old FAIL on eating clean for the first half of last week. I did okay 70%ish for the second half. This week has been very good so far. I’ve had some chocolate covered espresso bean (and not many) but that’s about it.
Really, all I have to do is eat clean but that means planning, scheduling and being prepared and that is where I am struggling.

No ibuprofen since Saturday. Laura was out of town and I didn’t have anything pressing so I thought I’d just see what would happen. I was surprised that I made it all day. So I stayed off the drugs through Sunday but figured with work on Monday I would have to go back. Monday went just fine without. Now it’s Tuesday and still none. I’m very happy. I can take some if I need to but I haven’t felt that need.

Up Slope

Posted in Rest and Recovery by Mike on June 15, 2008

I went to the MAC, a bit of recumbent bike on the cardio program, felt really good. I was itching to lift weights so I did some pull ups and medicine ball on a wobble board. I did 5 of each of the three grips on the pull ups. Those kinda proved my point to myself about over exciting my nerves too much causing pain in my sciatica. In my vim and vigor to do something hard I over exerted myself a bit and ended up sore and uncomfortable by the end of my pull ups. I did my wobble board stuff, some stretching then a little light cardio. The good news is that cardio always provides a bit of relief. The other good news is that the discomfort didn’t carry on beyond the gym.

Dumbarton, for as warm and humid as it was, was really busy. I kept to my program from the week before. 30 minutes of walking on the treadmill then some stretching. After that I got on their cheap elliptical. After the elliptical I did 5 sets of 12 on the bench with 125 and 5 sets of 12 with 90 on the chest supported row. I tried to alter my grip as much as I could on each one. I did a bit more light cardio then I went and did rope tricep pushdowns and cable curls using 40 and 20 lbs respectively. Finally, I brought in a blockweight that was half of a 70 so call is 30ish pounds. I got that out and did some cleans and a lot of just picking it up and playing with it. I encouraged other guys there to do it. Many of them missed the first try but I think they all got it before I went home. Next week I’ll bring in my half of an 80.

I continue with biweekly PT. At this point they basically have me warm up on a bike and then do whatever exercises I can until the actual therapist is ready. Once she is ready, she does her “Hands on” which seems to be their term for any combination of massage and evaluation. Once that is over, into traction I go. As they strap me in they typically say something to the effect of, when you’re done someone will unhook you, just do whatever stretches you haven’t done today and we’ll see you next time.
The traction takes some getting used to, after you settle into it though, the rhythmic nature is almost relaxing. As long as it’s helping my disc draw back, I’m all for it. It does seem to excite the nervous system a bit, which makes sense. I’ve found z-health to be a nice way to mitigate that.

As i just mentioned it’s really good for calming an angry sciatic nerve as I need to. If I reach a point that could be described as pain, even just uncomfortable, it’s not terribly effective. If I catch it when the nerve is first getting irritated, it seems to help a lot. I’m booking a second session with Mike this week.

Other Disc stuff
I’ve dropped my ibuprofen dosing from 2 tablets four times a day to 2 tablets three times a day. On Friday I took one additional supplementary tablet to get by, it helped. I hope to not need any more supplementary tablets this week. It’s still gonna be a bit before I’m done but I’m working on it.

I give myself a 5 out of 10 this week on eating. I didn’t calculate my calories or anything, just tried to eat clean. Monday was so-so, I didn’t take enough food so I grabbed a sushi roll to supplement. Tuesday I did poorly, I grabbed a burger for lunch. Wednesday through today have been pretty good as far as planned meals. The big weakness in my diet has been that in my slackerly time I allowed myself to go back to the old habit of grazing the garbage my coworkers keep handy. I need to break myself of that habit. I also ran out of decaf coffee at work, unwilling to drink caffinated coffee I have been drinking hot chocolate.
This week, I’ll work on the grazing habit, I’m planning on taking pretty much the same food, two largish romain salads and two protein dishes, last week it was turkey burgers, this week I will probably make chicken strips.
On Tuesday of Wednesday I was surprised when I stepped on the scale and saw 232.4. I don’t think i tacked on a bunch of water weight. I think I underestimated the fat gain in my last post, I said 2-3 lbs of fat and water each from the last good weigh in. I’m gonna bump that to 4-5 and 2-3 lbs of fat and water respectively. I don’t exactly know how fast muscle atrophies but I wouldn’t think I lost a full 10 lbs of muscle over the course of 6 weeks.

Gimpin’ on a Friday Night

Posted in Gym Strength,Rest and Recovery by Mike on May 3, 2008

I’ve been doing all my stretches and going to PT and taking my ibuprofen all week. I’ve begun the process of backing down dosing. It’s a very good thing. No training happened until Friday, even then I knew there were huge limitations.

Jump Rope 5:00

Some T-bar row
90, 135, 225 (minus apparatus) X 5
Nothing heavy here, I was just taking it easy and warming up slowly.

Military Bench
135 X 5
225 X 4
275 X 3
300 X 1
225 X 8, 8
My leg was starting to bother me and I just didn’t have the drive to do a third set. It was a decent set of benches for me. An hour had passed.

3:00 Jump rop

From this point on I spent a fair amount of time working on the heavy bag, I didn’t time it, I wasn’t doing anything in particular. I also did my stretches while I was at the gym, this is the first time they gave relief rather than causing more pain.

My appetite is coming back and I’m fighting hard but I fear I am losing. I weighed myself a few days ago at 230, I’ve got to be 231 by now. so things go. I’m injured, I have plenty of time to come back, it’s important I do this right.

Totally unrelated, I’m thinking about migrating my blog back to my own hosting account…..more later.


Posted in Rest and Recovery by Mike on April 27, 2008

Well, I’m getting better, not super quickly, but I am getting better. I’m sitting in a normal chair to write this, that’s a huge improvement. I still get sore every few hours before my next dose is due but I have also been throttling back my ibuprofen dosing. Hopefully I can start hitting cardio towards the end of next week. I don’t see myself doing anything over 50 pounds for another week and nothing heavy for a minimum of three weeks. I think this may help with my squat depth issues and whatnot.

Pain, no gain

Posted in Rest and Recovery by Mike on April 23, 2008

Things get better before they get worse. I’ve been home all week. I endured some lovely muscle spasms that reminded me that I’m a big baby when it comes to pain. Fortunately, I am able to work from home, in fact, I get more done. So injury has boosted productivity.

The reason the muscle shortened so bad is not fully known and since this PT did not see me when I was initially injured, she doesn’t want to guess. My assumption is that this muscle started to compensate for the originally damaged muscle. The other issue seems to be nerve inflammation. As this muscle got tight and applied pressure to the nerve, i did nothing about it, i just went on figuring it would sort itself out. I worked myself into this situation.

No training at all this week, just PT. I’m going to have to drop out of june strongman, I don’t feel like putting myself up against those loads with any uncertainty in my mind.


Posted in Rest and Recovery by Mike on April 20, 2008

Headed to Dumbarton on Friday. I thought I might get some lifting in, hardly. I did a small amount of deadlifting, nothing worth mentioning. Then I did some military bench. That went decent. I hit a very solid 295. I went ahead and signed up for the Military bench contest in May on virtualmeet.  I’m not planning on doing a bunch of specialized training for it but a low 300’s seem respectable to me.

Charles the Elder wrangled some bending steel for me. It was about 8 – 10 feet and probably 6/16″ of an inch thick. As I took it too my car, I thought I’d see if I could bend it in half to make it fit better. I gave it a little push and realized it was hot rolled. So it got scrolled. I’ve never done that before and with hot rolled it is obviously much easier but it’s kind of fun and playful, I see why people like it.

Rehab has been going pretty well. The stretches make my hip sore but they seem to be doing their job too. I’ve taken to popping an ibuprofen right before I do them so that I only hurt for 15 minutes or so after, hopefully, a hot bath for 30 minutes seems to help too. I go back in on Tuesday and Thursday for the hot ultrasound and so on. I seem to be having fewer problems during the day. Then again, I sit less on weekends.

Next week, I think I may just do light rowing on Monday and Wednesday.

Change of plan

Posted in Rest and Recovery by Mike on April 17, 2008

The plan for Wednesday, Dumbarton 80K cleans for about 45 minutes, go home.

Unfortunately, over the last two weeks my hip has really started to bother me. To the point that it was getting hard to work. Yesterday was nearly impossible. So I left work early, skipped the gym and went home. I also made a physical therapist appointment. The guy I saw before, he could see me a week from Monday. That was a little far off and I didn’t really like him so I kept looking. I found a different place that could take me Monday. Well, great, that screws up Friday’s workout, probably, but it’s a whole lot better than what I had gotten so far. I booked it, then I got the call that they had a last minute cancellation and I could come in this morning. Awesome!

So with some trepidation based on past experiences, I headed in for my appointment today. I’m sure this PT got a more fair opportunity because I had very precise complaints and I had spent enough time with the pain that I could give a pretty detailed history. I went through the whole description, the original injury, how that seemed to have healed then a new set of symptoms presented, then how that had progressed. She put me through some basic movements and tests, for weakness, tightness and pain. In the end, she agreed, it was sciatic nerve pain and it was probably caused by some other muscle injury. She did some more work and found/decided it was my Piriformis muscle, it was probably not a part of the original injury but through compensation or something similar, it got tightened up pretty bad. It was applying pressure to the sciatic nerve, giving me pain and making it more sensitive.

The prognosis, is good. She did not try to stop me from training in anyway. There were a few things that may be associated with increased pain the next day that we talked through, but she seemed understanding of my view on the world and I was of hers. She used the ultrasound heat jelly stuff. That was awesome, it seemed to take away even the soreness I had woken up with. Then it was stretch time. She kept it simple, three stretches, count to ten do each leg 3 to 5 times. Do that twice daily. Finally they did electro-stimulus and ice to try and inhibit inflammation. Honestly, that made it hurt again. I may ask for us to not do that in future but I’ll give it a few tries before I condemn it.

I’m extremely glad I made that appointment.

In other news, my nutrition for the week is crap. I don’t expect to lose, in fact, I won’t be surprised by a pound gain next week. I’m not losing my mind and going all piggy piggy but with only two training days, a night out with a friend (which I enjoyed and would do again, regardless of calories) and a couple unplanned days that were my own mistake. That said, I’m keeping it reasonable, so I don’t think it will get to far away from me.

Last, Kris over at is looking for folks who are willing to help him with chores relating to the website and what they do over there. I offered my name because I’m a fan of what he is doing and believe in it. If you have participated or want to or even just enjoyed his videos, stop by the website and let him know or tell me and I’ll pass the word.

On Call

Posted in Grip,Rest and Recovery by Mike on March 23, 2008

I’m still wrapping up and On Call week at work, Tuesday to Tuesday. I was very fortunate the first part of the week. The weekend has been ugly. I had hoped to make it to the park but I’m pretty much tethered to the computer.  So I’ve done some light yoga, some static stretches and some of the Magnificent Mobility stuff. Today I did a little tiny bit more.

2″ Dumbbell Deadlift
100lbs 1/1
120lbs 1/1
100lbs 5/5

Outer Limit Loops
5 lbs 3 X 10/10

A little more stretching etc later.

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