Tuesday, March 27, 2012

3/25- 405x1, 425x1 Bench w/Shirt

My butt slides around a bit in the sweat pants on the vinyl bench, but I made sure it didn't come up. I think the 2nd lift was more stable set-up than the first even though tougher to press.

Monday, March 26, 2012

3/26 Squat Opener test..

Today Dan wanted to check his depth and test his squat opener plans.. So I met him at the gym for a second set of eyes..

He hit 365 with confidence, then 385.

It took us only 1 or 2 squats to get him to competition depth, but he always maintained good bar speed and kept his chest up at all times.. Great job Dan!

I took this opportunity to do a little back work myself, just to test the waters and see how it felt squatting, now nearly 3 weeks after my lower back Deadlift injury.. Good news.. No pain... I was able to work up to 275 for 2 or 3 sets of 3 reps.. Felt good and strong, and towards the end I felt confident I was actually hitting the bar with near maximal speed and power..and the lower back held together. I decided to end it at 275 on a good note, and save 315 for a new day!

Lifting Plans after the Meet.. Looking forward to April - Oct 2012..

Hopefully everyone is excited and prepared for the upcoming meet on March 31st.

Success is where Preparation meets Opportunity. You have prepared, now is your opportunity to perform.

I have prepared a 6 month plan for after the meet, if anyone wants to follow along you are more than welcome. Below are the highlights of the plan:

a.      The first 3 months leading into Summer will be a “Repetition Cycle,” as practiced by Louie Simmons and Westside Barbell. What this means is that we will be substituting our Dynamic lifts at 50% for Repetition work. The difference between the two is that Dynamic work is performed at 50%-60% for 8-10 sets of 2-3 reps – whereas Repetition work is performed for 4 sets (after warmup), taking each set to failure with a minimum of 12-15 reps per set. The basis of this cycle is to build Muscle Mass and Cut weight for “General Physical Preparedness” as Louie calls it.. I just call it “Looking good for the summer.”

In addition, Westside firmly believes that not all “Big Muscle” people are strong, however if you want to be strong – you must have “Big Muscle” .. this is why we are cycling in the repetition method. Our Max effort days and Accessory work will stay mostly the same, but I will be mixing in some different exercises to keep things fresh.

b.      The second 3 months we will revert back to “Strength-Speed Cycle,” utilizing the Dynamic Days that we have been used to for the last 4-5 months. This will build optimum power and strength on top of the lean muscle mass we have built the last 3 months.

We will be scheduling in De-Load weeks roughly every 6-8 Weeks, as you should as well. I realize this is not a perfect world, and not everyone can follow the schedule to the “T” .. I will be posting the workouts on www.LakevillePowerlifting.com for each month, so you can follow along, but feel free to modify and move the de-load weeks around as you or your family see fit.

Bottom line – Have fun, cut up for the summer, build some strength, and STAY STRONG.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

3/25 - Last Bench Day before 3/31 Meet

Today's plan was to work up to our openers for reliability and form under full bench-press-rack commands, and then see where it goes from there. Since we adjusted Justin's leg setup, he is a lot stronger and stable.

We are still working on perfecting Fred's shirt setup.. Ed isn't competing in the upcoming meet, so he just did some raw presses and 1 boards.. I am working on ironing out my stability and heel pressure. I am almost there... I actually think during my 425 lift, I had better stability than my 405, even though it was maximal weight.... watch for yourself and decide..

With Dan's strong upper body, he is showing great stability and upper body strength with his raw benching..

Justin 225x1
Dan 285, 305x1
Ed 315x1, 365x1 - 1 bd
Fred 385x1
Nick 405x1, 425x1

Saturday, March 24, 2012

3/22 - 10 Days out of the 3/31 Meet

As we get closer to meet day, we are tapering down our training so we are in full strength for the meet. There is no accessory work at this time, and we are picking one or two items for each lifter to work on based upon their strengths, weaknesses, and type of lifting.

For the raw lifters, we worked on weights about 90% of the 1RM Max but for 3-5 Reps with a minimum of 1 forced rep. At this point, working 1RM max to a single failure isn't going to do much, so dropping down a bit to work on the form at 90% and going to failure was our plan.

We also worked with Justin adjusting his foot setup ever so slightly, he had went from a fully tucked arch to a feet-out-front setup, and I felt he wasn't getting sufficient leg drive.. we tucked his feet slightly back, and he was able to get much more leg drive into his bench.

Justin did 4 sets of 205 for 3-5 Reps, and Kellie did 4 set of 115 for 3-5 Reps.. Kellie also made a nice lift at 120lbs for a strong single.

Since I am lifting shirted, I elected to do some close-grip bench pressing to really work the tri's as I am going to do my heavy shirted opener on Sunday.. I did 4 sets of 345 for sets of 4 off assorted boards with close grip.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

3/20 - Nick visits an Orthopedic Dr. with some good news!

Today, my back was feeling near 100% better, but so I could devise a rehab plan, I needed a professional opinion as to the direction of the injury - Nerve related or Muscular/Soft Tissue. Through a referral of a friend, I sought out Dr. Harry Von Ertfelda of New Bedford MA.. and I want to say Dr. Von Ertfelda is a class act with 40+ years of experience I would refer to anyone. He and I had a good in-depth consultation/conversation surrounding the injury, then he performed some physical tests, wrapping up with an X-Ray of the spine...which he said was in damn good shape for a 39 year old!

Based upon his professional diagnosis, and I tend to agree based upon my limited research, it is a muscular injury.. this is great news, as rehabilitating a muscular injury is immensely easier than disc/nerve related. My plan is to still do only a Bench-Only at the upcoming meet, unless there is some sort of divine intervention ;) - then spend 4-8 weeks rehabbing with some light weights for high reps, and some good supportive accessory work for the lower back such as Good Mornings for reps and Reverse Back Raises. During this time, my plan is to keep my Abs real strong with Weighted Raises and Situps, and keep the Hamstrings strong with High-Rep Glute Ham Raises.. With the Lord's help and some blood and sweat, I should be ready to set some new Records come the next RPS Powerlifting Meet at Boston Barbell this coming October.. Hey, its a long time away, but maybe we will just forget all about any 500lb Squats by that time, and just blast through the 600lb Barrier!

3/19 Deadlift Day

Today, Kellie and Justin tried out their new Chuck Taylors while working Deadlift...

Kellie pulled up to an easy 255, after doing some rep work with 225.
Justin worked some reps up to 315..

Their pulls looked awesome.. they switched between pulling conventional and sumo to work the muscles from different angles.

I just did some stretching with deep, body weight squats only, then did some floor presses and JM presses.. if I do this thing Bench-Only, I want to make sure I am at my best..

Floor Press:  135x3, 225x3, 275x3, 315x2, 315x2, 315x2, burnout dropdown set: 315x2, 275x4, 225x6, 135x8

JM Presses: 4 sets of strict form 115lbs for sets of 10.

Back is feeling better.. but I'm still not keen on any pulling..

3/18 Shirted work - no boards

Today, Fred worked up to 385 with no boards, using full pause and commands. He did great here. We have video of his 365 which was smooth, but his 385 was just as flawless. It seems his shirt is breaking in well, and he is learning the groove.

I did some reverse-grip benching for 4 sets of 225 x 10 reps and did not shirt up. Taking it easy getting back into it..

Ed did some 2 board work with 315 for 4 sets of 5.

We dropped Justin down to 215 and he worked from 3-4 reps working to blow thru the 225 plateau.

Good job to everyone!

3/15 .. I tried to deadlift.. not good

I will keep today's entry short.. my back was feeling better, so I wanted to see how just lifting anything felt.. I pulled 135 and all seemed ok.. went to 225 and I was brought to my knees with the back pain.. 1 step backwards here.. back on the Aleve for the next few days.. I'm not touching any DLs at all. At this point, I'm thinking Bench-Only at the upcoming meet.

3/14 Max Shirted Bench Day

Wed, 3/14 we worked on taking our openers and testing bench maxes with minimal accessory work. I was very concerned about how my bench would go with my back injury monday. It is feeling a bit better.. but its still there..

Things ended up ok :

Nick : 315x2bd, 365x2bd, 385x2bd, 405x1bd, 425x1bd
Fred: 315x2bd, 365x2bd, 385x,2bd, 405x1bd
Kellie: 120x1
Justin: 225x1

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

3/12 Max Deadlift Test Day!

Kellie & Justin started the day out in the AM Crew with some strong pulls.. Kellie set a PR with a 255 pull, and Justin hit 335. Great job guys! Video below.. Kellie.. Knees don't let that right knee fold in!! ;)

I went to the gym at about 5pm and all was going strong.. I was feeling good and the weight was feeling light.. pulled 135/225/315/405/495/545 and a new PR of 565.. then it all went bad... I went for 585 (6 plates).. took a big breath, pulled fast.. and WHAM .. I felt like I got stabbed in the back with a knife. Lift over. The weight came about 3 inches off the ground and went back down.. in retrospect, I know what happened.. Psyching myself up for the big pull, I took such a big breath, I didn't get fully down to the bar, and the weight rolled out in front of me instead of coming up my shins and it became a back pull off the ground.

I've got 3 weeks till the meet.. and hopefully plenty of time to heal! I am going to lay off any heavy D/Ls and Squats til then.. maybe do a little speed work after 7 days or so.

Fred finished up by working up to his 500lb opener which went up with ease.

Great job all!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

3/11- Dynamic Bench @ 60%

Today, Laura Rinke, a friend we met at the last meet and member of the Lakeville Powerlifting Team joined us at our gym! She was recovering from some minor knee surgery and is now back in action.. Lakeville Powerlifting is proud to have the 2 strongest females in town!!!

We finished up the 3rd cycle of Dynamic Benching at 60%, and really focused on sorting out some form issues.. I have been working real hard on my setup, and making sure I keep heel pressure during my benches so I stay stable and get good drive.. Laura was excited to be joining us and experiment with various other tools of torture and tried our boards and chains as she doesn't usually have them included in her home gym.

8 Sets of 205 x 3 Reps

8 Sets of 155 x 3 Reps

Kellie & Laura:
8 Sets of 75 x 3 Reps

Below is a video of me(Nick) setup for my Dynamic bench.. I really am trying to focus on good, stable leg setup and heel drive. Its 3 reps at 205.. if you watch it, the first rep was ok, but I really applied the heal pressure and drove back onto my back/lats for reps 2 and 3.. now need to keep that for the 405+ attempts!

Kellie & Laura had some fun experimenting with the 3 and 5 boards and threw some chains in too! Real proud of them.. they worked up to 155 and 175 off the 3 Board! Then up to 145 with 40lbs of Chains.

As far as accessory work, we are beginning to really dial it back as we are about 2 weeks out of the meet.. we broke off into 2 groups based upon what we needed to work on.. I worked some heavy Barbell Rows up to 265 for 4 sets of 8.. Fred, Ed, Justin, Kellie, and Laura did some Heavy JM Presses and Tricep work.

Great job everyone! Big day tomorrow with Max Deadlift coming up!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

3/9 - Dynamic Squatting w/Bands in the AM and another field trip to Boston Barbell in the PM!

Kellie, Nick, and Justin finished up wave 3 of Dynamic Box Squatting at 60% with bands in the am..

Nick : 265x 8 Sets x 2
Kellie: 135x 8 Sets x 2
Justin: 155x8 Sets x 2

All sets + Heavy blue bands

Accessory work:

Weighted Glute Ham Raises..
10lb Plate - 4 Sets of 10-12 Reps Each

Weighted Situps..
45lb Plate - 2 Sets of 10-12 Reps Each

Banded Situps:
2 Sets of 10-12 Reps Each

Then we mixed it up and attached bands to bottom of Incline Situp Board, and Wrapped the other set of Bands over our Shoulders like a Back Pack.. totally hit the Abs in a different place!

The weighted situps with Plates tend to hit your abs most when you begin your situp at the low point of the situp.. where using the bands put the most tension at the top part, or crunch-part of the situp! Ouch!

Then at 7:30 Nick, Kellie, and Friend headed over for a field trip to see the guys at Boston Barbell and get a bit more Monolift squatting in..

I(Nick) didn't really squat much as I had squatted heavy Monday, and was pretty tired from the AM workout.. I did 3 or 4 sets raw of 315 for 2 or 3 reps just to reinforce good Monolift form..  then I basically helped everyone with Spotting and working the Monolift...

The guys over at Boston Barbell were great for letting us work in with them.. and they were putting up some pretty impressive weights! Dennis was Squatted over 700lbs last night at age 57! STRONG! Mark Rioux had some great advice for all and is a great guy to lift  with..

Kellie nailed a nice 225 PR with knee wraps.. first time on a non-walk out Monolift..

Fred was sorting out some form issues and worked up to 515 for his first time not walking-out a squat on a Monolift.. his plan is to drop down to about 80% and really focus on sitting back in his squats and powering out those knees. The 515 went up with nice speed, but just need to work on getting down and back.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

ME Bench Shirted Board Presses 3/7

As we get closer to the meet, worked down from a Shirted 3 board to a 2 board with near maximal weights.. Justin experimented trying out Fred's old blast shirt (which was Ed's..) and Kellie did some raw 3 boards. Ed worked up to a strong, full-range 335 Raw Bench Press. Fred continues to break in his Titan Super Katana and is consistently improving with it.. his 425 board press was real smooth and tight. (see video) Note how we are starting to dial back the accessory work as we get closer to the meet. We are down to 2 accessory lifts per day this week, next week we will drop to 1, and the week after zero..

Kellie - 135
Nick & Fred-
315 x 3, 365 x 2, 385x1, 405x1, 425x1, 435x1

Accessory work:
Smith close grip Tricep Presses:
105x15, 165x15, 205x15, 205x10

Lat Pull downs to the front/wide grip:
120x15, 145x10, 145x10, 150x10

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

3/5 - Monolift Squatting at Boston Barbell

Tonight, Justin and I (Nick) took a field trip to Mark Rioux Jr.'s gym, Boston Barbell in Attleboro for some squatting.. Boston Barbell is a super-equipped powerlifting gym with tons of specialized equipment not found at many gyms, including a Monolift Squat Rack.

Pic of a monolift:

A Monolift Squat rack is a huge Rack which allows a squatter to squat the weight without "Walking it out".. once the lifter gets under the bar, and squats the weight up, the spotters pull a handle which allows the hooks holding the bar to move forward.. the lifter now squats down and up, and the hooks move back into place.. this keeps the lifters feet planted and setup up properly without any danger of taking 1-2 steps backwards with 5/600++ lbs on his or her back!

But along with this, comes a slightly new technique that must be learned and with the meet 4 weeks out, we wanted to work on this.. We started off light, working with bottoms only up to about 425lbs.. trying to work the bugs out and get the right bar height, setup, and achieve a balanced lift-off.. the first few squats were kind of dicey! After 4 or 5 lifts, we sorted out the form and proceeded to move up to 515 and 545 which was a new full-depth PR for me..

Everyone at Boston Barbell was real supportive of everyone else and it was an awesome atmosphere.. even though it was our first day there, and really didn't know anyone.. everyone  was willing to pitch in to spot us and work the monolift!

We look forward to heading back over Boston Barbell in 2 weeks for the last monolift training before the meet and taking my squat to failure so I have an idea where I'll be come meet time. Based upon today's lifts, I think I have a shot a 565/575 if all goes well.. STAY TUNED!

Monday, March 5, 2012

3/4 Dynamic Bench @55%

Today was dynamic bench day.. Bar loaded with straight weight at 55%.. We followed up with heavy 5 board presses and dumbbell rows. We have our accessory work dialed down to only 2 accessories per workout as we get closer to the meet.. Dan Berlin one of our original lifters who moved to Norwood joined us.. Although Dan hasnt been training with us.. He's been staying strong! Dan is quite the accomplished gymnast.. his upper body strength is just awesome.. at 182lbs, he is benching well over 300lbs.. which is nearly twice bodyweight!

Justin: 135x 8 sets of 3
Dan: 155x 8 sets of 3
Nick & Fred: 195x 8 sets of 3
Ed: 205x 8 sets of 3

5 board:
Justin: worked up to 315
Dan: worked up to 405
Ed : worked up to 495
Nick & Fred: 315x3 365x3 385x2 405x1 425x1 455x1 465 (fail)

 Dumbbell rows: 120x 4 sets of 15-20

Friday, March 2, 2012

3/2 Dynamic Squat Day w/Bands

Today we working Dynamic speed squats at approximately 55% with about 100lbs of Band Tension.. this worked out to about 40% of max on the bar, plus 100lbsof bands..

All weights + 100lbs bands

225x2, 245x2, 265x2 (x6), 245x2

135x2 x 8

Accessory Work:
Weighted Glute Ham Raises
20lbs x 4 sets of 8 reps

Pull throughs:
56x15, 65x20, 80x20, 95x20

Weighted Ab Leg Raises
15lb dumbbell, 4 sets of 15-20