Monthly Archives: March 2012

Training – Friday, March 30th 2012

Squats

315 X 5 X 3

Press

150 X 5

147.5 X 5 X 2

Deadlift

340 X 5

250 X 3

Felt good to be squatting three plates again. The first set I tried “knees out” and “knees forward”, however it didn’t seem to work as well as just “knees forward”. You can see my knees “stuttering” to get out and then they come inward on a few of the reps:

The second and third set I just focused on “knees forward”. My second set was definitely the best:

And the third wasn’t too bad:

I decided to say fuck it and just try to get as much out of the LP I can get on my Presses. My reasoning for this is so that I’ll have experience doing this if I ever train someone and we decide to milk the LP and also I’m just curious how far my genetics will take me on a novice program. Plus it’s easier to program than the TM.

Pulls were pretty good. Got my back into complete extension before each pull. Gotta work better on keeping my back extended throughout the pull but it didn’t look too bad. Backoff set looked real good

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Training – Wednesday, March 28th 2012

Squats

310 X 5 X 3

Bench Press

160 X 5 X 2 (Texas Method Recovery)

Power Snatch

Technique work

Squats felt good. Some reps were a little sloppy. Need to work on keeping the knees out (after getting them forward).

Power Snatched for the first time today. Interesting lift. Still need a lot of work

Watched a bro fucking up his knees half-squatting on the smith machine. Every rep or two he stopped and rubbed his knee. Christ, these are the people that give Squats a bad rap. There should be a rule that if you’re Squatting over three plates you can go up and correct people’s form without them getting offended.

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Training – Monday, March 26th 2012

Squats

305 X 5 X 3

Press

135 X 5 X 5

RDL

205 X 5 X 3

My first set of Squats felt a little meh until I remembered to get my knees forward. Then BOOM, Squats felt fantastic. This is exactly the issue I was facing when I was Squatting 335. I wouldn’t get my knees forward and out fast enough which meant I never created a stable bottom position to bounce. My last two sets I clearly felt the bounce. Video below, sorry for the crap angle. I can’t reproduce the same angle from Saturday without squatting into the mirror, and well fuck that.

Today was my first Volume Day Press on the Texas Method. Tom Campitelli had suggested that I micro load instead and it may turn out that he was right but I don’t see the difference between micro loading 2.5 pound increases and TM 5 pound progression. I get that TM is a more complex program but I think I can manage it.

RDLs felt good. Squeezing the lower back from the top down.

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My Consultation with Tom Campitelli (CrossFit Oakland)

Today was rainy and miserable. What better day to stay in doors and work on lifting technique. It’s always a bit refreshing walking into a gym where it’s obvious that actual work gets done. A CrossFit gym is about the farthest away you can get from the gym I lift in. Really, I’m lucky that they actually have a power rack.

When I walked in and met Tom the first thing I noticed about him was that he was a big dude. Ladies and gentleman, this is a good sign. Practice what he preaches and all that. As I began warming up with some band shoulder stretches and the pre squat hip sequence I basically started grilling him with all manner of training questions. It’s not often that I get to talk to someone legitimately stronger than me (toot toot).

When I was limber enough I talked briefly about the issues I was facing in the Squat, namely the bar tilting to the right, and then we got down to business. He could tell something was up immediately by how the bar sat on my back. He said my left side was just a bit higher than my right and that there might not be all that much we could do about it. All the same, he had me take a wider grip, I used my ring finger on the un-knurled ring, and shrug up my right shoulder while relaxing my left a bit. The bar leveled out. We took the weight higher, eventually doing two sets of five at 300. Tom made very little corrections to my form; point my left foot out a bit more, knees forward more, but he said for the most part my form was really solid. This was really exciting to hear after being so critical of my form for so long.

I had him look at my pulls next and his reaction wasn’t really surprising. I was losing extension when breaking the plates off the floor. It was helpful to have someone yelling at me while I got in extension because otherwise it can be hard to tell when I’m fully extended. I also have the tendency to drop my hips when I squeeze my chest up. I also dick around to long in that position. I just need to get up to the bar, extend, and pull. So my takeaways for this lift are to squeeze my chest up uncomfortably tight while not dropping my hips and squeezing the bar off the floor. Oh, and don’t dick around in the starting position.

Overall, I am extremely happy and impressed with my consultation with Tom. I would absolutely recommend anyone wanting to refine their form to either attend one of his Starting Strength events or just get a consultation as I did.

Mobility

Pre-Squat hip sequence

Shoulder band work

Back Squat

300 X 5 X 2

Deadlift

315 X 5

250 X 3

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Training – Wednesday, March 21st 2012

Mobility

Tack and stretch distal triceps

Foam rolled thoracic and lats

Pre-Squat hip sequence

Rack band work with extra shoulder work

Back Squat

300 X 4

275 X 3

Press

155 X 2

Deadlift

335 X 5

Decided to Squat today. Check out the video for sweet leaning action. The band work definitely made it easier to rack the bar on my shoulders.

I decided to Press 155 and see how many reps I could get since I’ll be switching to the Texas Method next week for Pressing. I only got 2.

Deadlifts felt pretty good.

I won’t be training Friday since Saturday I’ll be having a consultation with Tom Campitelli and want to be as rested as possible. I’ll keep up with mobing the rest of the week.

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Training – Monday, March 19th 2012

Mobility

Tack and stretch distal triceps

Foam rolled thoracic and lats

Pre-Squat hip sequence

Rack band work

Front Squat

185 X 3 X 2

Press

150 X 5 X 2

150 X 4

150 X 3

After attacking my distal triceps with a lacrosse ball this weekend and also doing so with a barbell before front squatting today my rack position looks a lot better. It’s not yet perfect and there’s still some missing shoulder external rotation in my left shoulder I need to work on. I did some back squats before front squats to see if this affected my leaning issue. It seems like it has made it better. I was able to bang out several reps which looked really good. This was also using the “hands off” cue I’ve used in the past which seemed to fix this issue. The lean did show up but it might be due to not concentrating on the cue. In retrospect I think I should have just squatted and will attempt to do so on Wednesday. I still intend to go through with the consultation with Tom as it’d be nice to get some eyes on my form.

I’ve decided to transition my Bench and Press to a Texas Method template. I like the idea of working on my form at lower weights with a lot of volume which the Texas Method provides in the form of a 5X5. My Press at 150 isn’t so pretty. I’ll drop my Press to 135 next week and my Bench to 160 and see if the weight is high enough to drive adaptation. I don’t know how well Texas Method will work at my gym because inevitably Sergeant Half-Squat and his sidekick will show up and get pissed that the rack is taken.

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Training – Friday, March 16th 2012

Front Squat

185 X 2 (worked up to this)

Bench Press

200 X 5 X 3

Deadlift

330 X 5

Front Squatted for the first time today. I’ve scheduled a consultation with Tom Campitelli out of CrossFit Oakland to look at my Squat so until I do that I figured I’d Front Squat. While holding the bar in the rack position I was surprised to see how less flexible my left shoulder was compared to my right. My elbows were not even close to being even. This leads me to believe that the overarching issue in my Back Squat is due to my disparity in shoulder flexibility. I did some rack mobs with a band in between sets but this didn’t seem to help. I’m going to try tacking and stretching my distal triceps and also really attacking my anterior shoulders with a lacrosse ball and continuously testing and retesting my rack. It would be fantastic if fixing my Front Squat rack would also fix my asymmetry in Back Squat.

So far I’ve been able to increase my deadlift while pulling with a hook grip. This is fantastic because now I fucking detest mixed grip. Throws off my start position.

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Training – Wednesday, March 14th 2012

Mobility

Barbell shoulder smash

Lacrosse ball to Pec Minor

External Rotation band work

Squat

180 X 5 X 7 (or 8, actually I really have no idea how many sets I did)

Press

150 X 3
150 X 4 X 2

Well I mobed and Squatted but I have nothing to show for it. My theory was that messed up internal/external rotation was causing me to tilt to the right on the descent and at the bottom. However, I saw the same damn thing when I went to squat today. Then I spent a good 45 minutes playing around with bar placement to little avail. The best position I found was when I took a really wide grip on the bar, however that made the bar a lot less stable on my back. This has convinced me I need a second opinion. I’ve contacted Tom Campitelli who trains out of CrossFit Oakland and regularly does Starting Strength seminars. Hopefully he can fit me in soon and get this shit fixed.

I’ve never really done Squats the way I did today. I did a ton of sets with very little rest in between (because I wanted to test a lot of different positions). I was drenched in sweat though it wasn’t really challenging strength wise. This is basically CrossFit, right?

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Training – Tuesday, March 13th 2012

Mobility

Barbell shoulder smash

Lacrosse ball to Pec Minor

External Rotation band work

RDLs

200 X 5 X 3

Pendlay Rows

150 X 5 X 3

Last night I attacked my shoulder with just about every relevant mobility wod. Did not have a barbell on hand so I substituted my cast iron for the barbell. Worked okay but today when I used an actual barbell it was waaay more painful. After testing, doing the wods, and re-testing my rack position was noticeably better. I’m going to do the same mobility routine every day before I lift and see if it improves the asymmetry in my squat form.

My pec minor and anterior delta are super sore from benching. I’m set to Press tomorrow, hopefully for a PR.

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Training – Monday, March 12th 2012

Squats

270 X 3 X 2

275 X 3 X 3

225 X 2

Bench Press

195 X 5 X 3

Power Clean

135 X 3 X 4

Today was, in a word, awful. I was meaning to drop the Squat and then work up in ascending sets but at 270 I was getting a consistent right-hand side tilt to the bar. This has been happening off and on for a while and first manifested itself by a sore left elbow (right side tilting jacks up the left side). I thought I had kicked this issue in the face by consciously keeping my right hand from pushing down on the bar. I’m starting to think this might be a product of a tight shoulder or more specifically poor external rotation in my right elbow. Ever since I started low-bar squatting I’ve been made aware of how tight my shoulders are. This is something I’ll have to stay on top of. In the meantime I’m going to attack both shoulders with as many relevant mobilitywod mobs as possible and see if that makes a difference.

Benching was pretty easy. There was a little instability in the bar path. This will most likely be remedied by getting really tight. I should be able to break 200 within the month.

Power Clean sucked butt. From watching my videos it appears my left elbow lags behind my right when I jam them into the rack. Might also be due to tight shoulders. I worked on my pulling with these sets, specifically lumbar extension, focusing on squeezing my chest up and getting my back uncomfortably tight. Seemed to work pretty well.

Have I mentioned how much it sucks to lift in a gym that only has one rack?

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