Category Archives: lifting

Lifting PR: Manta Ray Squats 365×5

Manta Ray Squats: 365×5

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What I Think I Learned About Training- January 2015

1) Shoulder are the worst joints ever

– What a shitty, shitty joint. It is too mobile, it isn’t made to bear weight, it is controlled by your cervicothoracic spine which gets murdered in modern life (computers, cell phones, driving, sitting, sitting, sitting), they get murdered by sleeping on your side… FUCK.

I have had issues with both of mine… the right one got so bad I almost quit lifting years ago (but is pretty good now). Now it is my right ones turn. It has gotten a lot better but still reminds me everyone once in a while how shitty the joint is.

2) Sometimes, you just have to back the fuck off injury wise

– When I hurt my left shoulder, it hurt it pretty good, although it just seems like annoying tendinitis/capsulitis and not anything “labrum” scary. So, I did what any good doctor/lifting/interneter did… started rehabbing it immediately!

Graston, Rock Tape, massage, stretching, mobility, stability… I did it all! All it managed to do is keep it really pissed the fuck off.

Some injuries are simply overuse and to get them to calm down you need to under-use them. AFTER the initial acute pain is gone, then it is time to start treating the dysfunction causing the pain. Especially with really shitty joints like shoulders are.

It wasn’t until I just fucking stop did my shoulder start to feel good-ish. Then I focused on upper back mobility only because I am beginning to believe that stretching shoulder, the most mobile joint in the body, is really fucking stupid.

3) My upper back is/was holding back my bench

– Since I well, couldn’t do any pressing with my shoulder (or could only do very very little) I focused a ton on my upper back and external rotators. Poliquin says your DB ER for the shoulders should be a certain percentage of your bench so… sure why not I couldn’t do anything else.

Lo and behold… I think it is what got my bench stronger/maintained strength despite… not training bench. I recently hit 315×1 with a pause @9. Just did 275×4 with a 3ct pause which ties a PR… but I did 275x3x2 right before. The weight has not felt heavy despite not lifting heavy, which is odd for me.

My upper back stuff has centered around tried and true shit too… rear delt flyes with DB’s, band pull aparts for high rep rest pause sets, ditto for band face pulls, RJorg curls (look them up), hammer curls, band upright rows to shoulder ER, and seated DB shoulder ext rotations. Nothing fancy. Just making myself do it 3 times a week. And I feel it really helped.

My favorite workout finishers, every day, are upper back rest paused movements with bands. Band Pull Aparts, Band Face Pulls, Band Upright Rows to ER. I rest pause those things for a required rep (50-100 usually).

Hat tip to Scott (www.thetraininggrind.com) for the rest pause tip… I think I saw him post about it before.

 

2015 Weight Training Goals

Simple and too the point goals this year

Squats

500 in a belt and knee sleeves

500 in a belt and knee sleeves at a bodyweight of 190

Bench Press

385 touch and go

365 competition paused

Deadlift

585 with or without straps I don’t really care

3x bodyweight deadlift (so 575 ish at around 190)

Other Lifts

Dips: +180×3

Pull Ups: BWx30

Other Stuff:

Consistent 188 body weight by the end of 2015

Complete elimination of artificial sugar 6 days a week

 

2014 Weight Training In Review

Competitions

I did only one competition– RAW United Record Breakers Meet in January– and it went rather poorly for me. Only managed a small 5lb PR in squats, my bench took a dump, and I had to pull conventional (my weaker stance) due to deadlift issues in training. I did make my biggest weight cut to date if that means anything.

Although my performance was utterly crap, a lot of that could be due to the fact I went through some major life stuff during my meet cycle. This included losing a child, graduating for chiropractic school, finding a job, relocating four hours, my wife finding a job… all within less than two months. Not the ideal time to try and focus and train for a meet.

I tried to do one other meet this year. It is harder to find meets worth driving to from Tallahassee but I found one, started training for it and… more life stuff, injury, and other crap got in the way and I scrapped those plans.

Squats

My squats took WAY off this year… finally giving me hope that I will reach 500 raw at under 200lbs sooner rather than later. I hit a super hard, 100% max 420 in training in January and hit 425 at my meet (and missing 435). Less than a month ago, I hit 475 and it wasn’t even a 100% super max. 50+ lbs on my squat 1RM in a year at this point in my life is awesome progress for me.

Bench Press

This was a great, great year for bench press for me. I hit an ugly, competition style paused 325 in training in January and then missed it twice at my meet. A couple months ago, I was able to manage a TnG 365… FINALLY hitting the mystical 3 and a quarter milestone again for the first time in a long time and at my smallest bodyweight. I also managed to hit some rep PR’s (that I can’t remember off the top of my head) as well. Although I was comparing paused vs TnG bench there… my tng bench and paused bench are very, very close to each other by the end of a meet cycle. All that pause work focused takes away from my tng ability. But who cares anyway… 365!

I was also able to bring my hand spacing out a bit this year… which seemed to help my strength on bench but may have contributed to my junk left shoulder.

Deadlift

Deadlifts have always been a trouble lift for me. I am not very good at it, I tend to get injured doing it, and due to gym issues in the past I have a hard time doing it period without getting in trouble. Last year, by best pull was 525 in competition but after that competition my pull took a dump big time. I think it had more to do with training at Anytime Fitness than anything.

I had two good “periods” of deadlifting training this year, both coinciding with finding a gym that actually allowed deadlifts. After training at the FSU Muscle Lab during the spring, I hit a 545 sumo pull in late spring or early summer. Then I was stuck in Gold’s full time and couldn’t pull.

After heading to Legacy Fitness, I managed at 555 pull in the last fall/winter. This was also the heaviest I had pulled without straps every. And this was done on a day where I wasn’t feeling like a super saiyan.

Injuries

Compared to previous years… this one wasn’t that bad!

I didn’t have any catastrophic low back injuries which have plagued me for years. Part of that is just knowing more about the low back (stunning!), part of it is better form, and part of it is simply… I don’t train as hard (and stupid) as I used too. I only had some flair ups that tended to back off pretty quickly here and there. Success in that regard.

I pulled the shit out of my left hamstring shortly after pulling 545 in the spring. This injury was frustrating as hell. After a week or two I was able to squat ok… but every single time I pulled sumo it would come right back. It took months for this thing to allow me to pull without thinking I was going to tear it to pieces.

In the fall, I did something to my left knee to the point where it really hurt to walk. It ached for a bit, then I got up from my chair at work and BAM… couldn’t straighten the stupid thing. This one scared me a bit but I let it heal, focused on deadlift instead… and it is 100% now (and I hit a squat PR soon after getting back to it). Not really sure what that is about…

My biggest injury concerned just happened recently. I seemed to have FUBAR’d my left shoulder. I have had bad shoulder injuries with the right shoulder before, but this is the first for the left and it really came out of no where. I am hoping it is just some bad tendinitis and nothing more serious than that but it is really lingering at the moment and I am still unable to push upper body lifting right now. Shoulder injuries are kind of scary for me due to the fact my right shoulder injury halted my progress for a long, long time and I really need my shoulder to work.

Squat PR 475×1

Just wanted to hit a max squat before the New Year begins.

I have made some damn good progress on my squat this year. I did 425 at my last meet in January while missing 435, so to hit a pretty comfortable 475 is good stuff from me. No complaints here… especially considering my squat training the last month or two has not been 100% due to my focus on deadlifts and then hurting my knee.

Onward to 500 raw in 2015!

Sumo Deadlift PR 555×1

This is the most I have ever done without straps and the most I have deadlifted in years.

I haven’t pulled with a mix grip in a long time, hence the helicopter wobble at the top but I can’t really complain.

Just wanted to hit a max because I have been pissed at myself lately for my lack of effort with deads. I seem to get pissed and give up on them too easy instead of getting pissed and SFW.

There is more there if I ever learn to pull properly and pull often enough to not suck at the lift while not getting hurt. But, this is the first year in a long time I have been able to consistently pull without injury so I am not complaining.

Bench Press PR: 365×1

I do not make many lifting posts anymore because well… because I do not want to. But I am still lifting, plugging away through injuries and such.

Anyway, hit a pretty big bench for me… 365×1. This is the first time I have been able to hit 3 & a 1/4 since 2010 and this is easily the lightest I have hit this bench (last time I did it I was in the mid 230s. This time, 203). My all time bench press is 370×1 done in like 2008 at around 230ish (but that was with benching on toes, not flat but whatever).

I was doing RTS style stuff to get up to 350×1 and recently been doing a 5×5 hybrid that put the next 15 on in the last 6 weeks. So all in all… my bench press has made damn good progress this year. No complaints there.

I never thought I would get back here after fucking up my shoulder bad years ago and it has taken years but… finally made it back. Next up, trying to break an All Time PR on Bench Press.

Your Gym Supplies Shouldn’t Cost More Than You Can Total

This shit is kind of getting out of hand.

You have these dudes come into the gym. Maybe 170 lbs and it isn’t a hard 170lbs. Usually can barely tell they can lift.

They walk up to the squat rack. Pull out there 13mm lever belt. Pull out there slingshot wrist wraps. Put on their $250 Olympic lifting adidas shoes. Bust out their SBD knee sleeves. Wearing their Elitefts shirt. Set up their Iphone to record their warm ups (why do people do this no one gives a shit) and their top set of squats, which is a whopping…

275×3.

Da fuck?

It just strikes me as odd. Now I know people online will start screaming, “why should he lift with shitty equipment!” or “well, Dan Green probably thinks you are stupid lifting with all that gear for a mid 4’s squat!” And there is some truth to those statements.

But fuck man, this is getting stupid. The internet has made people fucking stupid.

My first piece of lifting equipment was a $20 belt from Walmart. I squatted over 400 in that damn thing before I knew what a “powerlifting belt” was. My first wraps were flimsy $20 inzer things that are, honestly horrid. Benched mid 300 with those. My brother still uses them and benches over 300. My first “expensive” shoes were just bought in 2013. And they only cost $89 which is stupid cheap for oly shoes because they have a foamy-ish heal that the internet says “may compress” under heavy squats (give me a fucking break, if I ever get strong enough to compress it i’ll buy new shoes). Before that… I squatted 555 in chucks. I have squatted 505 in $20 Fila running shoes.

Or you have my brother. Lifts in only hand me down equipment from me if anything. No belt. Uses the 10 year old wrist wraps I mentioned above. Uses $20 knee sleeves that literally add NOTHING (unlike the Rheband and SDP sleeves which people pretend add nothing). He squats over 4 plates, pulls over 4 plates, and benches over 300. But… he doesn’t get on the internet all the time and hear all the equipment he “needs.”

Powerlifting isn’t the only sport doing this though. Running is probably far worse. Fat fucks spending $200 on special shoes, special compression pants, hydration systems… to walk 1 mile a day 3x a week.

“Kids these days” are simply skipping the, “figure it out by yourself and just lift” stage of lifting. And that is including the equipment you wear. It is getting to the point wear it is just fucking ridiculous. People needing special bars to bench 225. People buying their own damn Texas Power Bar and dragging it to gyms… to squat 315. Use some god damn common sense and stop being such a powerlifting sheep. There is a difference between using stuff for injury protection and being a fucking powerlifting faggot.

It is like people are hunting for excuses to why they suck at lifting and thinking this “magic” equipment will be their salvation. And it fucking won’t me. You may get an initial boost from everything (especially the belt) but after that… you will still be the same, skinny, wannabe lifter you were before. Their are no short cuts. You wanna be big and strong? Then be prepared for work your ass off in the gym and at the dinner table for YEARS.

Good Bye Gold’s Gym, May You Burn to the Ground

I may be a little hard on Gold’s Gyms in general but they piss me off. Mostly because they pretend to be this hardcore place like the good ol’ days with the roided up bodybuilder as their mascot.

But really, in terms of rules and atmosphere, they are really no better than Anytime Fitness. At least with Anytime Fitness you can show up after hours and do stuff without getting yelled out.

At a glance, the Gold’s I have been to are decent. They at least have iron instead of rubber plates. A plethora of benches and hammer strength. Generally pretty cheap, although with sign up fees and a pain in the ass to cancel it isn’t as cheap as it seems. Most of them have at least one real squat rack and sometimes they have some equipment that surprises you (GHR, trap bars, SSB).

But, they are defined by what they don’t offer, especially the ones in this town. No deadlifting unless you put the bar down nice and gentle. No movable benches so good luck doing concentric benches, rack lockouts, or benching in a safety rack. All of the bars are bent to shit because the gym caters to gym faggots who do ‘shrugs’ with 500lbs and drop the bar. No dumbells over 75 which is ludicrous considering even Anytime Fitness has DB’s to 100.

There are some good Gold’s Gyms out there but sadly, they followed the money like most good businesses and it has cost them my business. Not like they give a shit… for every 1 powerlifter/real bodybuilder/strength athlete… there are a 1000 soccer moms who hate them.

So, see ya later Gold’s Hello gym I can actually deadlift in.

Training Update: Took Recent 1RM, Making Progress

– In March, I competed in my third powerlifting meet and did rather horrible. Ended up hitting 425/295/515 with was 25lbs worse than the meet before that. In addition to that crap, I had a horrid training cycle with my deadlift. Like, fail 405 with sumo bad so I switched to conventional at the last second so I wouldn’t completely embarrass myself.

Since that time, I have changed how I trained big time. I looked into Mike Tuscherer’s Reactive Training Systems, got the manual and read it like 15 times (it is rather confusing in parts).

My template has changed throughout the time since my meet due to many things (mostly time and shitty gym situations lately) but I have kept with what I think are the core philosophies of the program:

— Higher frequency. Through the last 3 months, I have squatted 2-4 times a week. I was a once a week squatter due to my fear of getting hurt, but I quickly adapted and now I don’t think I could go back to 1x a week. I also bench 2-4 times a week and that has gone AWESOME. My form for both lifts have never felt better and more consistent. Deadlifting has still been hit or miss training wise due to my shit gym and pulling my hamstring.
— Training to Fatigue and Stopping. I hit my targeted reps for the day, and do more sets until I fatigue. AND THAT IS IT. I do not keep dropping weight, I do not keep doings sets as my form deteriates around me. Hit my goal for the day, drop to my desired fatigue range, and do sets until I reach that fatigue.
— RPE. Everything is based on my Rate of Perceived Effort. No percentages. No guessing. My default mode is go for the PR, but if I am working up and things feel shitty? I drop my top set weight accordingly to fit the RPE and rep range of the day.

Another thing that has helped recently is adding in 3ct pauses to both squats and bench press.

– I have recently somewhat complete an intensity block where I worked up to one rep maxes for some of the lifts. Unfortunately, I started throwing up right in the middle of it was was sick for four days, so who knows if that effected me or not. I also took some 1RM during the cycle here and there for some lifts. But anyway, here were the results…

After the Jump because this post is getting long…

Continue reading Training Update: Took Recent 1RM, Making Progress