Just the Facts

warm-up:

overhead squats

with dowel x 12

35 lbs x 8, 55 lbs x 8

1a. skater squats

x 12 each leg to 2 mats, x 10 each leg to 1 mat, x 7 each leg to the floor, x 5 each leg to the floor

1b. standing single arm dumbbell presses

25 lbs x 8 each strict

29 lbs x 5 each with push

seated x 4 each @ 29 lbs

seated x 8 each @ 25 lbs

2a. front squats-flat shoes

93 lbs x 8, 118 lbs x 8, 128 lbs x 5, 113 lbs x 8

2b. chin ups with small green band, neutral grip

x 6, x 5, x 5, x 4

3. every minute on the minute x 6 rounds

10 kettlebell swings @ 20kg

3 push up walkouts

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A Nap or Coffee?

Training for a powerlifting competition is vastly different than the training I am doing right now. The change is good, but it is also hard work. It is only mid-morning and I am desperately wishing for a nap, except I am seldom able to nap and I have to work in a couple of hours. A one hour training session has utterly wiped me out. I might need some coffee before work to make it through my closing shift.

warm up:

overhead squats with 35 lb bar-2 sets of 10

narrow stance windmills-bodyweight x 8 each, with 10kg kettlebell x 8 each

1a. skater squats with 5 lb dumbbells

to 3 folds of the mat x 12 each leg

to 2 folds of the mat x 10 each leg

1b. single arm dumbbell push press

20 lbs x 8 each, 25 lbs x 8 each

2a. front squats-flat shoes

43 lbs x 10, 93 x 8, 113 x 6, 113 x 6

2b. chin ups-neutral grip, with small green band

x 7, x 6, x 6, x 3

3. a 12 minute circuit of:

-dumbbell curls with 15 lbs x 15, x 13, x 10

-kettlebell triceps extensions with 10kg x 15, x 10, x 6

-ab wheel x 15, x 11, x 10

-skipping 1 minute x 3 rounds

Maybe I can try closing my eyes for 15-20 minutes…

Wednesday Wiped Out

It is 7:00 in the evening as I am finally able to sit down to blog. I finished work a half hour ago. A great portion of my shift was chaotic, and so my body is feeling exhausted and beat up. I am looking forward to crawling into bed…after I blog, eat, gather my gym gear for tomorrow, assemble my stuff for work in the morning, and decompress a bit…as quickly as possible since my alarm will go off before 5AM.

1a. overhead squats

43 lbs x 6, 63 x 8, 70 x 8

2a. skater squats, holding 5 lb dumbbells

with 2 mats x 10 each leg, with 1 mat x 10 each leg

Ironically, the left leg was stronger and more stable.

2b. bottoms up kettlebell presses

8kg x 10 each, 10kg x 3 left + 4 right + 8kg x 4 each

And predictably the left arm was weaker.

3a. deadlifts with mini red bands

95 lbs x 8, 135 x 8, 165 x 8, 185 x 7

The purpose here, I think, was to work at bringing my hips to the bar, because that is something that I am not so great at doing apparently. You can see a video of my final set at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBFshqQSIeo  (for some reason wordpress isn’t letting me create hyperlinks)

3b. dips

with blue band: x 8, x 8, x 3 + 5 with red band

with red band: x 5

4a. good mornings with a small green band at hip height

45 lbs x 15, 85 lbs x 14

4b. chin ups (how did those get in there?)

large green band x 10

purple band x 7

4c. lying dumbbell extensions

15 lbs x 10, 20 lbs x 8? + 15 lbs x 2

Surprisingly, the right arm was lagging behind during the final set.

The banded good mornings were to work one of my weaknesses. I’m pretty sure that it has to do with getting my hips to the bar quickly. I didn’t mind the banded good mornings, but Michael made a point of saying that we could drop them and do something else if they weren’t working for me. Hmmmm. I made sure to tell him that chin ups don’t seem to be working for me either, so we can drop them. While I’m sure he laughed, I am equally sure that chin ups will still be in my program next week.

 

 

 

Gutted by a Glute

My work schedule was a bit different this week, so I had today off and was able to do my training in the morning. Despite a restless night filled with dreams of being trapped in an apartment complex full of zombies, my mind and body were in good spirits as I headed to the gym. It was deadlift day…my other favourite training day! Except when the deadlifts suck.

1a. skater squats

10 reps per side to a mat roughly 2-3″ thick

10 reps per side to a gardener’s knee pad roughly 1″ thick

Surprisingly, at least to me, my left leg felt much stronger and more stable than the right leg even during the second set, but then again what do I really know! I’ve got some tingling/numbness going on again in my right foot and, while my chiropractor doesn’t believe that it is related to the previous disc issue, perhaps whatever is going on there is affecting my leg. I don’t know.

2a. sumo deadlifts

95 lbs x 8, 145 x 8

with straps 185 x 6, 205 x 3

I was supposed to do more than 3 reps at 205 pounds, but I stopped. As I began the second rep, I felt a bit of a pop in the lower part of my left glute. It was a weird feeling, but I didn’t feel like it was anything too serious. There wasn’t any burning pain or anything like that, and the third rep wasn’t too bad. However, I could feel some discomfort at the beginning of the third rep and again as I prepared for the fourth rep, and that was when I shut that set down. Michael had me try to find the spot with a foam roller and then a lacrosse ball. It wasn’t super easy to find, but I think I did find it eventually where the glute and the hamstrings meet. Again, not majorly painful but definitely not comfortable. Drop the weight to see how it feels…

185 x 0

I’m sure I could have done it. I know I could have done it, but there was enough discomfort in the simple act of settling into the sumo position that I don’t think I even really made a serious attempt. There are always ways to work around a problem, so Michael had me try a conventional stance.

185 x 5

from a deficit 185 x 8

The conventional stance presented much less discomfort, although I wouldn’t say that it was entirely eliminated and I think the discomfort started creeping in as the number of reps increased.

2b. Savickas press

47 lbs x 8, 52 x 8, 57 x 7, 57 x 6, 57 x 6

These weren’t too bad for only my second time doing these. I added 7 pounds and an extra set.

3a. reverse hypers

90 lbs x 15, x 15, x 13, x 10

I was really supposed to do glute-ham raises today, but Michael changed it up due to the current state of my glute. The first set was awful, but I think that was mostly a result of being set up in a most uncomfortable position. The following sets were an improvement, yet the low back felt quite fatigued by the third set.

3b. barbell rows

95 lbs x 10 + another 5 so Michael could see my technique

Then he changed it to Pendlay rows.

95 lbs x 5

I know Michael would have wanted more reps, but I had to stop at five. The glute was not too happy in that position, and the entire movement felt very tough. So another change to chest-supported rows.

90 lbs x 2 (yes only 2) + 4

drop the weight and change grip: 55 lbs x 10, 55 x 9

I have been instructed to use a lacrosse ball on that trouble spot over the weekend. That should be just another level of fun added to the foam rolling that I need to do on the right leg. Actually I have four spots on the right leg to work every day. I need to use voodoo floss on the ankle and just below the knee. I need to foam roll the hip and the inside of the leg right above the knee, and let me tell you that rolling that inner leg spot has got to be the most painful spot to roll ever! It’s actually a very simple movement, but the agony is intense. I’m pretty sure I cannot breathe while doing it, and my family must think that a wild animal is devouring me alive. It hurts! A lot. But I’ll keep doing it as long as I need to.

Training didn’t go as planned today, not according to what Michael had laid out and not according to how I envisioned the session. That’s moderately frustrating, and yet I realize that I still worked hard. I was still moving and sweating and using my muscles. Any little perceived set-back, injury or tweak is certain to invoke a measure of frustration, yet I am not stuck in the mire over it. This is minor and tough days will come and go.

 

Training, Wine & Work

Instead of training this afternoon, I trained early yesterday morning, as in early enough that I would be finished in time to head out for some wine touring with some girlfriends for the day. Since I was out all day, not back home until past my ‘night before work’ bedtime and had to work at 5:00 this morning, I simply did not blog yesterday. So here I am today to talk about yesterday’s training session…hoping I can remember the details beyond the numbers in my notebook.

With this week being my first week of non-competition prep training, I had no idea what was in store for me. Being the end of my training week, I kind of expected some sort of deadlift variation, and I had basically been warned that arms would figure into every day. Really, I just knew that I was going to be worked hard and would feel the effects for days. My expectations were definitely met.

1a. skater squats

I’ve said this frequently this week, but it has been a long time since I’ve done this exercise! I guess that’s what happens when you have 3 consecutive competitions and can basically only focus on the main lifts and a tiny bit of accessory work. Skater squats can be challenging, but I think I actually don’t mind them. Balance always seems to be my biggest challenge though. We used a tri-fold mat for me to squat down to and started with the mat completely folded (or at its maximum thickness).

x 8 each leg with 3 layers of mat

x 10 with 2 layers of mat

x 8 with 1 layer

Leg strength wasn’t an issue! Balance was definitely shakier on the first set, better on the second, and, for the final set, the right leg seemed shakier. The balance also seems to become an issue near the top of the squat and not at the bottom. I was quite impressed with how decent the final set felt. In fact, as I was in the midst of that final set, I had the thought that I was going to add ‘doing a pistol squat’ to my little book of goals. Isn’t it funny how the taste of success in one thing can make you feel hopeful or confident about being successful with something else.

1b. incline dumbbell presses

20 lbs x 10, 25 lbs x 10, 34 lbs x 8

2a. snatch grip deadlifts with a slower eccentric, with straps after the first set

95 lbs x 8, 135 x 8, 155 x 8, 165 x 8, 165 x 8

Obviously I haven’t done snatch grip deadlifts very much lately either! I do like them, but they are most definitely taxing on the upper back, especially with the higher reps.

2b. hammer curls

20 lbs x 10 x 2 sets

Gotta admit that the dumbbells felt heavy when I first picked them up, but then most of the muscles in my upper body are so stiff and sore…

3a. Hmmm…not sure what to call this? dip bar leg raise hold?

Michael wanted me to do leg raises using the dip bar; I think I sort of managed two before jumping down. My arms and shoulders were so shaky and unstable. Have I mentioned how sore my arms are this week? So, he took pity on me and had me use the dip bar for a hold with my knees brought up as high as I could get them. I have no idea how long the holds were. I stayed up there, shaking like a leaf in a storm until Michael told me to stop, but I doubt that it was actually more than 30 seconds, even if it felt like forever. I did 2 holds.

3b. flat bench lying leg raises…sort of

x 8 with a foam roller held under my knees

That variation was actually rather easy. The hardest part was keeping the foam roller in place.

x 3 the same as the first set until Michael realized just how easy it was for me

x 3 without the foam roller, knees bent as I rolled up and legs extended on the eccentric…sooooo much harder, hence why I only managed 3 reps before quitting!

Yesterday was also the final day of my little competition vacation. It wasn’t intentionally planned, but spending the day wine-touring with friends was a wonderful way to wind up my vacation. It also wasn’t planned that I would work 2 days, have a day off, work 2 more days and then have another week off, and yet that is what my schedule looks like. Of course, these 4 days of work are my last days at my current job, and that week off will be my gap before starting my new job on September 6. Today was my last Friday shift. Tomorrow is my last Saturday shift, and I can say the same thing about my shifts on Monday and Tuesday next week! Each of those days/shifts is unique in the people I work with, the feel & flow of the shift, and my responsibilities & roles, which means that each of my remaining days of work is laced with landmines of emotion that threaten me with every step. Tomorrow is going to be a tough one, I think, because my Saturday shifts are my favourite. Unless I am mistaken, tomorrow will be my first final shift with several co-workers and just thinking about that is making me tear up. Monday will be my last bake shift. Tuesday will be the absolute final shift…how can I not get emotional that day?! I am extremely excited about my new job, but saying good-bye to my Tim Hortons family is going to be hard. Three days left…

 

 

All About a Knee

My right knee has been bothering me off and on throughout the weekend, so Michael put the brakes on front squats today before I even began. He had me start with a couple of sets of goblet squats before changing his mind and putting box squats on the agenda instead. Do you know what that meant? I got to put a barbell on my back for the first time in 4 weeks!

1a. goblet squats

12 kg x 6, 12 kg x 6, 20 kg x 6

box squats-high bar, knee sleeves

95 x 8, 115 x 6, 135 x 6, 155 x 6, 175 x 6

It did feel a little weird to have the bar on my back again. I might have been slightly off-centre for one set, so Michael checked my set-up for the next set and made sure I was properly centred.

1b. incline bench press

45 x 10, 65 x 8, 70 x 8, 70 x 8, 70 x 8 PR, 65 x 8

I think these improved this week, and I am quite certain that I hit a PR for volume at 70 pounds for incline.

1c. two types of band pull-aparts with orange band

6 sets of 8 of each type

2a. skater squats with 5 lb dumbbells

x 10 each leg x 3 sets

The right leg was more challenging today due to the right knee. The knee wasn’t a problem with every rep, but it bothered me enough. I had my sleeves on for the first set but pulled them down for the last two sets.

2b. alternating flat dumbbell presses

25 x 10 each, 29 x 10 each, 29 x 9 each

I think I could have finished off the final reps in that final set, but I didn’t have a spotter and was instructed not to go to failure. I think that was sound advice, so I chose to listen to it and leave a rep in the tank.

 

Monday.

So yesterday I blogged about feeling more nervous about registering for a competition than actually competing in one, and today reinforced the truth of that statement. I arrived at work to discover that the shift was not going to go as expected and I was suddenly the only manager on hand for the entire shift. Since I like to be organized and plan ahead, I get momentarily flustered by unexpected changes like that, but I am usually able to adapt and adjust fairly well. Today was no exception, except that I was already carrying a load of tension about registering. I had to keep checking the computer in the office to see when registration would go live, even as work got a little busy. Then the link wouldn’t open on the office computer. I couldn’t access the appropriate website on the computer. Thank goodness for smart phones! I was able to access the link and website through my phone, but it sure wasn’t fun filling out the registration form on such a small screen. The competition filled up in roughly an hour and a half, but I was registered. Once I submitted my registration, I felt instantly relieved and ready for whatever the rest of the day wanted to throw at me. It no longer mattered that a wrench had been thrown into the day. It didn’t matter that someone else called in sick for the afternoon. My head was in a better place and I could roll with the punches. Yes, I was definitely more nervous and stressed out prior to registering than I am before stepping on the platform!

1a. handstand push-up practice

x 4, x 4, x 6

I can’t recall if I’ve mentioned what exactly I am doing for the hspu practice. There is a mat, maybe 3-4 inches thick, with an ab mat on top. I get into the handstand position against the wall with the mats under my head, and I lower myself just enough for my head to touch the top of the mats and push myself back up. The last set was the best today, and the first several reps were fast and smooth. I am definitely seeing some improvement with these. My form and technique getting up into the position has improved greatly! I am much more confident about getting into position than I was even a week ago.

1b. front squats with knee sleeves

without shoes: 45 x 7, 75 x 6, 95 x 6

with shoes: 125 x 6, 145 x 8, 155 x 6

The first sets were done without shoes, because they were alternated with the handstand push-ups and Michael doesn’t want shoes marking up his wall. 😉 I don’t really have a problem doing them without my squat shoes, although it is a bit more difficult to unrack the bar due to the difference in my height. That isn’t too big of a problem with the lighter weights, but I’m definitely glad to be able to put my shoes back on before the weight gets too heavy. That said, the last three sets did feel a bit more challenging today. I’m sure we could have pushed it more, but there really isn’t a need to do that. So says Michael and I believe him!

1c. incline bench press-slightly wider grip

45 x 8, 65 x 8, 65 x 8 this was the best set I think, 67 x 6 plus 6 singles with a 10 second rest between reps

My biggest issue with the incline seems to be bar positioning. The third set was the best. The fourth was probably the ugliest. I think I had a couple of good reps, but then my positioning was all over the place…too high, too low and it was only all the more difficult.

2a. alternating flat dumbbell presses

29 lbs x 10 each x 3 sets

My memory is hazy, but I think these felt more challenging today. I do know that the left arm was weaker last week, however, the right arm was the weaker one today. What can I say? Sometimes my arms like to take turns being strong!

2b. skater squats with 5 pound dumbbells

x 10 each leg x 3 sets

Single leg work isn’t a favourite, but I think each set was better than the previous one.

3a. close grip bench press, no pausing!

65 x 12, 75 x 11

I tried for a twelfth rep on the last set…kind of stalled out about two inches off of my chest.

3b. single arm lat pulldowns

30 lbs x 12 each, 35 lbs x 11 each

I asked Michael which arm to start with and he left that decision up to me. I started with the right arm since that one seemed weaker. That was a good call on my part! The left arm definitely had an easier time.

3c. rear laterals

8 lb dumbbells x 17, x 15

All I am going to say is that I do not enjoy these. So not a favourite.

3d. weighted plank

45 lbs x 25 seconds, 45 pounds x 37 seconds

And now I am exhausted, drained, depleted, just done. It’s been a very long day. Every Monday is a long day for me. Getting up at 3:45 kind of makes for a long day; however, it wasn’t all that bad. Tomorrow is my Friday, and I am looking forward to finishing work and breathing deeply. I mean that figuratively, of course, because I always breathe deeply! Just ask my coach and chiropractor. 😉