Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week 3 - Flag: Injury Strikes!

The first two days back in Flagstaff were busy enough that I delayed working out. So, naturally, on day three I attmpted to do to much. After five heavy (70kg) clean & jerks and fifteen light (40kg) snatches, I tried to find my 1RM thruster. 60kg was no problem; 64kg stopped in front of my nose. I guess I fought it too long, since my back siezed up a couple hours later and didn't stop yelling at me for a couple days.

I rested, hit my back with contrast showers, and rested some more. By day six I got it to the point where I could enjoy some neighborhood cross-country skiing with my lady.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Week 2 - Canyon (Feb 8-15)

This week was mostly backcountry time - which meant limited facilities and food. I hiked for five of the eight days, and only got two mediocre workouts in. On day four I worked on one-leg-squat negatives and assisted one-leg-squats in a doorway. On day seven I did four rounds of alternating L-holds and back-extension holds, then five sets of handstand holds. All the holds were for 30 second each, with 30 seconds of rest in between.

The hiking was fun, especially on days seven and eight, when I got to scramble around some side canyons and help with a litter carry-out back on the Bright Angel trail. The above pic is Soap Creek - definitely Jawa country. Below is the first ram I've seen in the park - he's just about dead-center, but hard to spot.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Week 1 - Flagstaff

This week was as much about feeling out my recovery ability as anything else. I've shamelessly stolen the daily conditioning workouts from CrossFit Football's excellent site. After reading a comment by one of the regulars, I decided to try the conditioning before the heavy lifting. I like it. Five minutes after the hellish CFFB workout I'm completely warmed up and fired-up enough to tackle heavy weights.

Day 1 - Having never done the Floor Press before, I decided to figure that out on day one. My best results came from loading the bar on top of two plates to get it just shy of the bottom position for the lift. The range of motion is less than a bench press - it's the same at the top, but the bottom of the lift is much different. My triceps came into full contact with the floor while the bar was still a couple inches above my chest. It leaves me curious how using the floor press will affect my bench press 1RM.

Day 2 -
For Time: 50 Ball Slams (20#), 50 Double-Unders, 10 Ball Slams = 4:54
Back Squat 94kg x 5 reps x 3 sets
Press 40kg x 5 reps x 3 sets

Day 3 -
For Time: 10 Rounds [3 Wt Pullups (+8kg), 3 Box Jumps (28"), 10m Sprint, :40 Rest] = 10:02
Snatch 50kg x 1 x 5
Power Snatch 52kg x 1, 54kg x 1

I ran out of mental energy for the full snatches. I just wasn't aggressive enough at getting myself all the way under the bar quickly. It was probably exacerbated by working out in a cluttered garage, worrying where the bar would land if I bailed.

Day 4 - Cleaned up the garage to give myself room to drop heavy weights. I think it'll do wonders for my peace of mind. Also, I finished assembly on my light weight for distance - my first Highland Games practice implement. Just to show off, here's a pic:
Garage Gym, Pullup bar (with 2" rolly-grip) & barbell rack, Rings & various heavy things.
I capped this night off with a paleo meat feast among friends.

Day 5 - AMRAP 9 min: [7 KB snatch Left, 7KB Snatch Rt, 3 Box Jumps] =10+
Clean & Jerk: 20kg x 3, 40kg x 3, 50 kg, 60kg
Power Clean & Jerk: 64kg, 70kg, 80kg(F), 74kg, 76kg

Clean Grip Power Snatch: 40kg x 3

Throwing Practice - 16# Hammer (43 ft), 28# WFD (24 ft)

Day 6 -2 Rounds:[50 L Hammer Swings, 40kg Suitcase carry R, Suitcase carry L, 50 R Hammer Swings], Rest 2 min b/t rounds = 4:15, 4:15

Back Squat 5RM: 100kg
Floor Press 5RM: 66kg

Deadlift 5RM: 140kg

Deadlift 1RM: 160kg (PR! Also, at 77.2kg, this was my first double-bodyweight deadlift!)

I was relying on a faulty memory to order the days of lifting. Next time, I'll more closely follow the exercise order in a program from 70s Big. I think I'll have more success with the oly lifts if I put them the day before the squatting. At least I got the deadlift in the right place.

Who Invented the Week, Anyway?

All the lifting programs I've looked at assume one thing: that I'm on a weekly schedule. Most assume that I have access to a barbell at least 3 days a week. Since this is definitely not true for me, I'm looking at making a hybrid heavy lifting & gymnastics program. In the vein of a deadlift & burpee Tabata mash-up I'm hoping that I can alternate each week of barbell work with a week of gymnastics work.

Since I've been away from consistent barbell work for a while, I'm going to begin with something approximating a novice progression on my home weeks. I figure I have the recovery ability to squat heavy twice a week, press once, floor press once, and deadlift once. So I'll do a squat and a press variant toward the beginning and end of my home week, deadlift at the end, and do some olympic lifts in the middle - along with one active recovery day. Since I'm signed up to compete at the Prescott Highland Games in May, my active recovery will be skill practice with throwing implements. Or possibly ultimate frisbee.

In the field, I'll be doing gymnastic progressions for one-leg-squats and planches; adding levers when I'm near a pullup bar and handstand pushups when I'm near a wall. I've been browsing the excellent tutorials at BeastSkills.com and a site called Gymnastic Bodies. I'm sure that increased balance, spinal stabilization, and body awareness will aid my barbell lifting. My hope is that the planches and one-leg-squats will be difficult enough to contribute to my lifting strength as well.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Challenge

Since going work in Grand Canyon, my strength training has become challenging. It's hard to get a squat rack down here. It's hard to get enough weight together in one place for a significant deadlift. I'm not supposed to drag big rocks around - some of them are important culturally, and others hold up the cayon walls. I'm down here for a week at a time. Sometimes I carry my food, which means getting enough protien is difficult. To top it all, I'm trying to keep up with my wife, and she's tough.

So I'm going to have to experiment with different methods. I need to lift enough and recover enough when I'm home. I need to find ways of increasing strength, or at least not losing too much during the weeks I'm hiking in the canyon.

I'm not sure what my program will end up looking like, but I know this: I will have to lift heavy. I will have to lift heavy more frequently than I have in the past. I will have to eat like a Viking, and I will have to embrace naptime. During my weeks in the canyon, I will have to accept every opportunity for strength training, no matter how silly or odd. Of course, I will have to keep my mind open to suggestions from you. Let me know what you think I should do next.