Friday, August 31, 2007

08/30/07 ME Bench

2 Board Press w/Chains 135x5, 185x5, 225x3, 275x3, 315x2x3, 335x3
Tate Presses 40x3x15
Ano Rows 120x3x8

Not too bad a night considering I rearranged my gym before lifting, so I was quite a sweaty mess starting out. That and the friggin shoulder was tweakin for some reason.

The 2 board press with chains was done a bit differently for this mini cycle. I have them set up so they are totally off the ground at lockout and barely deloaded at the bottom. This made stabilizing the bar quite a task. Definitely hits the supporting musculature like a mother. Reps were pretty good, definitely fellt like I worked, will up the weight and volume next week in preparation for a new PR in the third week of this movement.

Tate Presses good, got the blood flowing, but the shoulder got tweaked a bit doing these, hence the lack of direct shoulder work to round out the evening. Ano rows were quite nice as well. Thats about it folks, nothing too fancy....

Keep it Dark, Keep it Heavy...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Powerlifting and A.D.D.

Powerlifting and A.D.D.

Okay, so I was sitting there at work the other and came up with a theory. I think for the most part, people starting out in powerlifting have A.D.D. I mean think about it, how many times has a beginner/intermediate lifter to the sport gone to the various forums looking for the holy grail? The ultimate program that is gonna pack on muscle and pack on pounds to the total, only to come back a week later and say "program so-and-so sucks, it doesnt work", "this style of training is only for people on the juice", etc....At least 5-10 times a week I bet, and thats quite a conservative number.

I know personally, it wasnt until I said "Screw it, I am gonna pick one powerlifting program and give it a good year of effort and see what turns up" that I started garnering the results I was after. And guess what happened? "

-My total went up
-The muscle mass got packed on
-I am stronger now than I was back in the days of 3 sets of 10, sipping energy drinks on the leg curl machine, all the while pondering the secrets of the powerlifting universe.

Now the program I use is based on the Westside Barbell style of training. This style has worked for me and keeps the iron game refreshing and new as the methodolgy is constantly changing and open for experimentation. That is not to say westside is the end all be all of powerlifting programs, its just that it has worked for me. There are other great programs out there such as Sheiko, Smolov, Coan/Phillipi programs, etc...the key is to seek them out, study them and make an honest judgement as to whether or not you think you can mold it to your needs.

Now back to the A.D.D side of things. A.D.D stand for Attention Deficit Disorder, and yes I have it. Whoop-dee doo, dont we all. A.D.D. is a term commonly used to describe the neurological disorder attention-deficit disorder (See, I picked up that I repeated myself, could it be A.D.D? Who knows, who cares, this is a Powerlifting article right?)

Below are some of the symptoms:

-Often does not pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in day to day activities
-Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks (daydreams)
-Often does not follow instructions and fails to finish projects and tasks (whoa, look at this new program, I think I'll give it a go!!)
-Often has trouble organizing activities (How many sets and reps do I need to do?)
-Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn't want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as following a powerlifting program to completion).
-Is often easily distracted (and goes with the flavor of the week)

Now this is not an end-all be-all list of symptoms, but they are definitely characteristics of alot of people starting this sport, and others for that matter. Some blame their low totals, strength, and lack of follow through on "paralysis by analysis", but which came first? The chicken or the Egg? Are you too scatterbrained to concentrate on one program at once? Or, do you read a ton of articles, get paralyzed, implement pieces of 5 programs into one crappy routine, then blame them all for your poor performance? Who knows?

So now the question is this, what can you do to get around this powerlifting A.D.D. thing? Well, there are many ways to address this. For myself, it was just having a long talk with myself on what it is that I want to accomplish, and deciding to quit using excuses for my pathetic strength levels. I quit saying that the only way to get strong is to go on the juice. I quit saying I need a group of people to train with to get strong (I train alone btw), and a whole host of other issues whereby I was placing the blame on external forces and not owning the responsibility.

The bottom line is this, powerlifting is about being honest with yourself and testing yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally (I often cry when I miss a weight, just kidding). If you try and kid yourself or place the responsibility on someone else you are either gonna get pancaked under a pathetic squat, get choked by a dropped bench press, or move to the head of the line of the geriatric look-a-like contest because you chose to ignore the finer points of deadlifting and now have a "crick-in-yer-back" look to you. Congratulations, the universe succeeded in its master plan of sabotaging your powerlifting dreams by not providing you with the holy grail that only elite lifters know the whereabouts of. Good for you.

Pick a program, give it time, and as Dave Tate states in his book "Under the Bar" have indicators in place to help you determine if you picked a winner of a program, or just picked a stinker. Keep your focus and maybe try and get a partner or person to hold you to your goals and wont let you pussyfoot around. The simple act of having somebody consistently ask you how your training is going will help to keep you honest. Well, thats about it from my neck of the woods, so until I submerge again....Keep it Dark, Keep it Heavy!!!

Chris Smith is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, powerlifting for just under 2 years, Aerospace Technician, Internet Marketer, Father of 2, Husband of one, and hell bent on getting strong. If you would like to read more from him or just give him a hard time, you can visit his blog where he logs his training and analyzes them at powerlifting Etc.

08/29/07 DE Squat/DL

SSB DE Box Squat 275x8x2
DE High Pull Off Blocks 225x1 Set of 3 singles, 205x3 Sets of 3 singles
Pull Thrus 130x3x10
Ab/Obliques Pulldown 100x3x8

Safety Squat Bar Dynamic Effort Squat is a true powerlifting gem and I highly recommend these to anyone that can get their hands on one. Again, I went with a higher percentage on my speed work and my lower back paid for it. By the 4th set it was so pumped I felt like crying like a wee little girl. But alas, I held back the tears, pulled up my panties, and pressed on.

Ahhh....Dynamic Effort High Pulls, the trap killers!!! I ended up dropping the weight a bit to really work on the explosiveness of the movement. I took my time on set up, took out all slack and really popped the weight up, definitely in line with the true nature of the dynamic effort...the powerlifting gods would have been proud.

Pull throughs and pulldowns were hard for some reason, I think it may have something to do with the slight head cold I am working my way through at the moment. My breathing was like that of Oprah Winfrey eyeballing a Ho-Ho....deep and pathetic. Again, rather than quit, I hiked up my skidded knickers and trudged on. (who the hell uses the word trudge anymore besides me? I think I have used it at least 20 times in the last month, I will work on this minor character flaw, dont worry)


Keep it Dark, Keep it Heavy...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

08/27/07 DE Bench

Speed Bench 225x9x3
4 Board Press 405x6, 435x6, 455x5
One Arm Row 100x12, 120x2x10
Monster Mini Pull Apart 3x12

Well this new approach to Dynamic Effort Speed Bench ought to push my RAW strength up a bit. Thinking about it my volume will be exponentially higher thus more work will be performed, end result....Chris gets stronger. Couple this with the submaximal nature of the weight my speed strength will increase as well. Gee powerlifting is fun.

The 4 board press surprised me, lately I have been pushing the board work and the results are coming along quite nicely. Now get a decent shirt on me and 500 is there. Am curious to see how that is coming along, havent been in the shirt for a long time...guess I got me an action item.

Not much else to write so have a great day all you powerlifters!!!

Get it? Powerlifters? Yuk Yuk Yuk

Keep it Dark, Keep it Heavy.....

Monday, August 27, 2007

08/26/07 DE Squat/DL - End Deload

DE Box Squat 315x4x2, 385x1, 405x1, 425x1, 435x1, 435x6
Band Assisted Speed Pulls 385x9x1
Ab Wheel 3x12

Troy came over to get some work in his Canvas Ginny Squat suit, so I stuck to my deload week protocol and took it easy. I have decided going forward to up the percentages I am using on DE Day, I will start using weights that approximate 65-70% of my 1 RM max for any given lift. If I feel this approach is too taxing I will back down. Troy said my speed on all sets was fast and explosive, (up to and including 435) which leads me to believe I should up the weight a bit. I figure if I am moving 315 up to 405 the same speed as 250-300lbs, then its time to push it up a bit right? Damn, Powerliftng is fun!!!

Well, thats all from my neck of the powerlifting until next time...

Keep it Cheesy!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

08/23/07 DE Squat - Inadvertant RAW PR

RAW Squat 135x5, 185x3, 225x2, 315x2, 365x2, 405x2, 455x2, 505x1PR
High Pulls Off Blocks 225x4x3

Well, I had it set in my mind that I would work up to 505 to see if I still got it, and I do, plus some. Possibly 25-30. I wasnt the most motivated today for some reason.

I didnt realize this was a PR until I looked at my Dry-Erase board and tried to find the date I did 505 on, so I went to my paper journal I keep as well and found it was 500 I squatted, not 505. To boot I had a note saying it was a tough one, so cool, I inadvertanly hit a PR, (a mere 5 lbs of course)but I definitely have more. I did good and stuck to my plan of deload with a main movement and one accessory for recovery, and with lack of motivation being the motivation, I ended there.

The high pulls are a movement I stole from Marc Batrley's bag of tricks, (hope he heals up from the Powerstation Pro, good luck Marc if you ever stumble upon this powerlifting blog). I like it needless to say, so it will stick around for another couple weeks. Well thats it from the land of the lost.....


Not Shocker......

Keep it Dark, Keep it Heavy...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

09/20/07 De-load Bench

Bench Press 135x8, 185x3, 225x3, 275x3, 300x3, 325x4x4
Tate Presses 40x4x12
Seated Rope Rows 85x4x10
Plate Complex (Lying Pullover, Front Raise, Overhead Extensions, Front Press

Gtta love deloads, no pressure, just get in and get it done....Next up is Deload Squats.....

Funny Video...

Keep It Dark, Keep it Heavy....

Friday, August 17, 2007

08/16/07 ME Bench

3 Board Press 210x5, 245x3, 300x3, 345x3, 385x3, 405x3, 435x1, 405x3, 405x1
Tricep Ext w/chains 65x3x8
D-Handle BB Row 135x4x8
Rear Delts 20x3x16

Not the best night, but it was to be expected after yesterday. My back was cramping up like a mother on the pressing due to yesterdays PR deadlift!!! Anyway, next week is a deload and I am looking forward to it. Not sure what I'm gonna do, but I am going to do some GPP shit for sure....thats it for today....l8r

Thursday, August 16, 2007

08/16/07 DE Squat/Deadlift - 15lb PR

SSB Speed Squats 285x8x2
Deadlift Singles 315x1, 405x1, 505x1, 570x1PR, 500x3x1
Monster Mini Leg Curls 3x12
Side Bends 75x3x10

Ever have one of those days when you feel stronger than normal? YOu just know you can hit a PR in a lift for some unknown reason? Well I had one today. I was driving home from work and was scheduled to lift after I had dinner. But something inside me told me to lift when I got home, I had tons of energy for some reason. So, though it pissed the old lady off who had made Tacos, (I love Tacos!!!) I informed her I was going to lift first, eat later.

Now, It was a scheduled Dynamic Effort Squat night, so rather than just go for the Deadlift (which by the way was the lift I planned on PR'ing in) I figured I would stick to the template and do the speed work as planned. Then, onto to Deadlifts, or deficit pulls as I have come to call them, this due to my plates not being of regulation diameter, Hey Rick, those plates still for sale?

Anyway, all warm up weights flew to lockout so I knew something good should happen. Last time I went heavy on Deadlift I missed 560 due to grip I believe, gotta check the archives....anyway, 505 was fast and smoothe and I contemplated hitting 525 on the way up, something told me to pass and load all the weight I have on there, so 570 it was. I set up originally but the song I had playing just ended and the silence caused a lack of focus, so I stopped and took minute to reset. Rewinded the tune and started over, set up was mediocre and I didnt take all the slack out so the start was ugly, but by mid shin I generated enough speed to get it to lockout. I held on at lockout for a bit longer to see how the grip would fare. It held up, but I need more grip work for sure.


All in all I am quite happy, and with next week being a De-Load I figured it wouldnt hurt to have a go. I left the DE stuff in there to give myself an excuse in case I missed the pull, stupid psychology. But here's what I see I got to do to get this lift up over 600. Technique, Grip, and confidence. I believe i have the strength to pull 600, but the mechanics just arent in place. I know my grip is a weak link, with out the feeling of security there, the lack of confidence jsut spreads to the other portions of the lift and all the little things combined add up to sub par lifts. But, at least I know under suboptimal psychological conditions I can hit this, now I just gotta go put in the extra effort right? I know I know, shut Chris, you got your friggin PR now go back to work and shut I will....

Keep it Dark, Keep it Heavy!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

08/12 ME Squat & 8/13 DE Bench

Speed Bench w/Monster Minis 165x9x3
#9 Pin Presses 315x5, 385x5, 405x5
Justin Harris Seated Rope Rows 75x3x12
Complex for shoulder with 35lb plate

Monster Mini's Blow, how's that for a rant?

Pin presses blew up the triceps, I will adjust the weight up next week as I havent done these in so long, I opened light.

Im not sure sure how many of you subscribe to the ELiteFTS newsletter, but Justin Harris described a movement that hits your lats like nobodies business. They are basically Seated Rows with the Tricep Pushdown rope, but you lean as far forward as you can and pull to your belly. When you are in the forward position you must really concentrate on letting the scapula extend out. Man, the first set I thought it was a chump exercise, but by the end of the third set I felt otherwise. Anybody interested in doing these ought to check out the Q&A on Elite, thats where he addressed these.

To close out I did some complexes for the shoulder with a 35lb plate, I started by laying on the bench and doing an exaggerated pullover, then I sat up and did a seated front raise, then into shoulder pressing. these were all one giant set with no rest between movement. I lost track of the reps, but they were high is all I know. Something popped in the shoulder and I felt a tremendous relief of the normally painful area. Kinda weird, but I'll keep an eye on it...until next time....

Keep it Dark, Keep it Golden.....

Tell Me You Dont Think Bea Arthur Is Hot...

Oh yeah, here's the squatting from the other day.....

Low Box Squat w/Chains 240x5, 285x3, 335x2, 385x1, 435x3,2,3
Single Arm KB Swing Thru 53x4x10
Ab wheeel 4x12
DBL AvG Band GM's

Alright night, wasnt too into it. On the 435 I was supposed to get 3x3, but I lost my breath on the second set, third rep. Almost passed out on the third set third rep, good stuff. This weight represented 90% of my last max on this movement. Not sure what I will do next week, play it by feel. I may hit a new PR or get some volume in, undecided at the moment.

Friday, August 10, 2007

08/09/07 ME Bench - 30lbs PR

3 Board Press 185x5, 225x3, 275x2, 305x1, 345x1, 385x1, 405x1, 435x1PR, 455x1PR
3 Board Press (Downset to comply with 90% Volume) 405x3
Lying Tricep Extensions w/Chains 65x8,6,5,4
D-Handle BB Row 135x4x6
Rear Delt Raise 20x3x15

Well, needless to say I was quite happy with tonight. The 3 Board Press was a 30 pound personal record over my last try. Guess I will have to look over my records and see what could have attributed to this. Wasnt sure how the night was gonna go, I was lifting alone again and was unsure about the unracking by myself aspect, its hard to do and screws with the set up a bit...oh well.

Anyhow, my original plan was to go to 385 and get some volume work in. But I hit the 385 with such speed and power I could feel a PR in my bones, so like all meatheads do I said "screw your original plan and lift something heavy sucka!" Last week I missed a triple at 405 (just got 2), I think it was due in part to getting a hand off, lifting with a new partner etc.. kind of screwed with my head, so concentration was a factor. Tonight however everything just felt light.

405 flew to lockout, as did 435 for a PR, Previous 3 board press personal record was 425, and quite sloppy as I recollect. But tonight 435 was smooth as butter on Bea Arthur's dimply ass....ugh, refocus.....

455 wasnt too bad to unrack, got set nicely went down and hit the board, paused longer than I anticipated but who gives a rats ass. On the way up things got interesting. I press out of my power rack, so the uprights can get in the way if you are positioned too far back. Well guess what happend? Yup, I hit the uprights and thought I was done, I couldnt figure out why the bar stopped as it got to this point rather fast. I looked up and saw the bar under the pins, I lowered it just enough to get around them, locked it out, held on for a bit, then racked the bitch. Phew...was contemplating going for another but decided on dropping down to a triple at 90% of my new PR. Success!!

Gonna get back to basics on tricep work. On days I do Board work, my tricep work will consist of extensions, puchdowns, and the ultimate tricep builder.....da-duh-da-duh.....Triceps Kickback, the secret weapon in todays top notch powerlifting routines!!! Just kidding, about the kickbacks. When a Full range movement is my primary movement of the day, my tricep work will consist of board work....

Thats about it for now, most people dont give a steamer about the accesory work so I will leave it at that.....,

Keep it Dark, Keep it Heavy!!!

08/06/07 DE Squat/DL

DE SSB Box Squat 275x8x2
Speed Pulls 275x12x1
Monster Mini Leg Curls 4x12
SSB Calf Raises 245x4x12
Side Cable Pulls 80x4x12


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

08/06/07 DE Squat/DL

DE Bench w/Monster Mini's 155x9x3
Monster Mini Seated Tricep Pushdowns 3x12
Chest Supported Cable Rows 80x4x12
Side Delts 10x3x15

Monster Mini's on Dynamic Effort Bench killed. By the end my triceps were burning. Got two more weeks with these, will look to move up 10-15 lbs unless speed suffers. But again, if you got monster mini's chuck them into a cycle and see for yourself, quite a bit different than regular mini's.

Monster Mini Seated Tricep Pushdowns were done with the bands choked over the top of my rack and the D-Handles attached, I then laid down on an angled bench and pressed down over the front of me. These had the triceps burning badly. I adjusted tension by sliding further down the bench thus creting more tension on the bands. Brutal, and did I mention I really hate rep work?

The rest was what it was, rep worked that I really hate, end of story. Next up is DE Squat/DL day with the Safety Squat Bar, woo hoo!!!!

What Kind of Carry Over Do You Think I Get Out Of This Suit?

Keep It Dark, Keep It Heavy....

Friday, August 03, 2007

08/02/2007 DE Squat/DL

DE SSB Box Squat 255x8x2
Block Pulls (Mid/Lower Shin) 455x3, 505x3, 525x4,3

Whoa, the lower back was pumped uber-bad after Safety Squat Bar Speed Box Squats...Actually felt like pussing out on the block pulls. The Speed was good and there was minimal pain in the abs, mostly leftover lactic acid from the ab work earlier this week. Felt the from was on and sitting back better than in the past.

Block pulls destroyed me. I did these with around 1.5 mnutes rest between them, so my lungs and lower back were working overtime. This workout only took just under 30 minutes. I was so beat after the pulling I called off the accessory work and will do it today as Active Recovery.

Not much else to report other than i feel the fire building. I have been in a sort of a slump with minor nagging injuries and such. Hopefully the corner has been turned and the numbers will continue to rise. Wish me luck!!!

For the peeps...

Keep it Dark, Keep it Heavy!!!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

08/01/2007 ME Bench - A New Partner?

3 Board Press 225x5, 275x3, 315x3, 365x3, 385x3, 405x2
Beakers 185x10, 225x8
D-Handle Barbell Row 135x12, 160x10, 195x8, 220x8
Rear Delts 20x3x15

Had decent night for not having benched in about two weeks. A potential lifting partner by the name of Troy has moved to the area from Bangor Maine, close to my old stomping grounds growing up. He comes from a gym where there were about 25-30 lifters. I told him he was spoiled.

One of the guys he used to lift with goes by the name Greg Panora, just a slightly strong dude if you happen to follow the sport of Powerlifting and the boys at Westside Barbell where he know resides. So the good thing is Troy seems to know what he's doing in the gym, what a relief. So over the next couple of weeks we are going to work our schedules out to hopefully get some good sessions in and train for the October Bench Meet here in Manchester, from there I must find a Full power meet, update my gear and go hit some huge numbers....sounds like a plan eh?

Anyway, having always lifted alone it was alot different having a lift off and spotter there. The first lift off I was thinking in my head "what the hell is this guy doing standing over me?" then I realized he was lifting off and spotting, what a novel idea!!! I ended up working up to a 405 double, tried a triple but I believe mental focus was the issue more so than anything. With that I stopped, the shoulder was a bit twingy and I did not want to push it...

Beakers were new and something Troy had done up in Maine, so I figured why not try something new, that is where the game is, ever expanding your context to achieve your next level of strength right? While these werent necessarily taxing muscle wise, I learned quick that me and reps on the bench suck, I kept forgetting to breath after the first coupole of reps. Geez, think I neglect my rep work much? Well, Last time I checked there aint no bench for reps contest at any reputable meets...that would be like the Tandem Deadlift, completely and utterly useless....

The D-Handle Barbell Rows were born out of necessity. It was recommended we ought to do bent rows with one of those V-Handle contraptions people use for pulldowns and seated rows. Well I dont have one, so my innovative mind kicked in and I rigged up my D-Handles with a nylon strap and wrapped it around the bar, the result was a new movement that I instantly loved and will use over the next 3 weeks on accessory work.

Rear delts smear delts, this post is long enough, next up on the plate is DE Squat and Deadlift...

Keep it Dark, Keep it Heavy!!!