Monday, March 30, 2015

Meet day write-up.. Great day 8-for-8.. 1680 PR total

Meet day went great. Need to appreciate it, and enjoy it when it happens.. because there are plenty of times it doesn't. Everything clicked well and I made every attempt. Now its time to take a few days off and recover before heading into off-season to attack my weaknesses and grow for October.


Squat: 550, 600 (PR), 630 (PR)

Bench: 460, 480, 500 (PR)

Deadlift: 510, 550 (PR), pass


Getting a hotel room close by was such a big help. Got to sleep by 9:30, woke up at 6 refreshed, grabbed breakfast and headed over. No rush.

Usually I make a 1 hour drive on meet day and it really kicks the shit out of you.

Also had a bunch of guys I train with show up and handle. This was key as well. Not just wrapping and stuff, but also helping make smart decisions and keep me on track and reminding me to rest and such.

Huge thanks to my training partners Fred Mackinnon and Tyler Linster. I can honestly say I wouldn't have had this success without them.

Smartest thing I did was open here with a true "last warm-up".. 550 was a joke and really got me feeling good to attack the 600 and 630 pr lifts.

My setup was totally comfortable here. we've been training on a monolift since moving to my garage gym, and it was key to having my setup perfect.

3 big things i needed to remember today was knees out, arch hard, and make sure my first move out of the hole was into the bar, and not rising with my hips and throwing me forward.

Maybe had another 20lbs here to 650 or so, but I'm happy. This was without briefs, and the suit is kinda big since i sized it to work with briefs.

Real surprise here. My pre-meet bench touches went shitty quite honestly. Only 3 successful touches in the meet prep cycle.

What did I focus on?
Bend the bar, keeping it on my lats, being patient on the way down and letting it touch instead of forcing it, and I also kept my head planted. I didn't lift my head. I think that helped keep the shoulders set. All 3 lifts flew up, and I think this lift has the greatest opportunity for gain in the coming month. Finished up with 500, but I think 520/530 is in the near future.

Like Brian Carroll always told me, you gotta know yourself and pull for a total. Here's the deal. I'm 43 years old. I'm a 2 deadlift guy. I just don't have 3 heavy pulls in me right now.

I opened with a light 510 just to get in a total, then went to 550 which was a 5lb pr over last meet. 570 would've given me 1700 but it wasn't there today. I knew it. why risk injury and ruin a good day. 8 for 8.

Here's something strange that happened on deadlift:

In training, I never, ever have a problem with my deadlifts getting out in front of me. I drag that shit up my shins and drive my chest back...

On BOTH deadlifts (the opener 510 more than the 550 because I realized it and tried to fix it).. not sure why..but about mid-shin the bar drifted out front.. I'm wondering if something was pre-exhausted from the squats/benches and causing a weakness somewhere and making me go forward on my pulls.. anyhow.. its something for me to work on.

In the coming off-season I want to really hammer my deadlift, especially now that we have a GHR at the gym. Also, I think I am going to try geared sumo pulls and see how I do. Right now I still pull raw conventional.

October we are chasing 1700/1800 ...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

3 days out.. boring week

Just a few more days til the RPS NE Revolution in Sterling, CT on 3/28-3/29.. I spent this week resting up and eating well. Usually I pretty much take the week before a meet completely off except for some mobility work.. this cycle I did a little super light training on sunday and wednesday.. nothing heavy.. some floor presses 3x6 with 135lbs just to stay loose, then some 80lb dumbbells for sets of 20 .. some band flyes and band tricep pressdowns for sets of 100.

Tomorrow I do some mobility work and foam rolling.

Yep.. this is kinda boring stuff. Stay tuned for Sunday night/Monday morning meet write up! If all goes well, I'll have everything up sunday night.. If the meet goes bad.. well.. monday or tuesday hahahahaha!

I feel good .. attempts are planned and reasonable.. right now looking like:




See y'all on the flip side!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

First reverse sled pulls of the spring season! 7 days out

Todays training session is 7 days out of meet for me, so its was some really light stuff just to stay in the game.

Safety Squat Bar: (to give shoulders a rest)
185 x 3 sets of  6

315 x 3 sets of 3

40 Reps

Reverse Sled Pulls:
4 x 100 Yards

With the sunshine and 30 degree weather, we decided to break out the sled and get some reverse sled drags in.. first time we've been able to do this due to weather since mid-December..  Sled work hits in ways that nothing else really can.. so between the new GHR and being able to sled drags again, I'm excited for the upcoming off-season after this meet.. I'm looking to make some good progress both in raw strength and technique in my new multiply Metal gear.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Our new GHR machine.. The latest equipment addition to "The Dungeon" ...

I've been keeping my eye open for a used Glute Ham Raise machine for our gym since we opened.. its a key training tool in any powerlifting gym. Westside Barbell in Columbus, Ohio has been promoting its use for years.. you don't see many of these in the commercial "Globo Gyms" as most people aren't that dedicated to building their posterior chain and hamstrings in particular. Working hamstrings kinda sucks, is painful, and not real glamorous... but GHRs work.

We plan on including the GHR as after-training accessory work in nearly every squat and deadlift session. Nothing builds your posterior chain and a strong squat and deadlift like a GHR!

To quote Louie Simmons, "600 reps per month on a GHR is just maintenance work".. Here's a photo below, as well as a couple of videos from Westside Barbell and Elite FTS explaining how they work..

10 days out.. Last heavy bench day before 3/29 meet

Like I said in an earlier post, this new Metal Jack gear is taking longer to learn/break in than I originally thought. 10 weeks just isn't enough for meet prep and learning the gear. At this point, this is only my 3rd successful touch in the new shirt, and I've adjusted my opening weight down to something 99% reliable - 460lbs. My planned attempts will be 460-480-500. There is so much more for me to learn in the shirt and technique to refine.. theres a lot more weight to come for october, but its going to take a lot of trial and error and getting better in this shirt. Right now I'm keeping the collar really high so I don't get handcuffed in the shirt, but I may pull it down just a little bit as I move for the final 500lb attempt. We will see how things go on meet day.

Bar x 5
95 x 5
135 x 5
185 x 5
225 x 3
275 x 1
315 x 1
405 x 1 (Shirt, 1 bd)
455 x 1 (Shirt touch)

Flat Dumbbell Press:
80s x 4 sets of 10

Band Flyes : 100 Reps
Band Tricep Push downs: 100 Reps

Fred Mackinnon is not doing this upcoming meet, so he did some reverse band rep work with 405 to build his tricep lockout and condition his CNS for working with the heavier weights.

Monday, March 16, 2015

2 Weeks out - Last heavy squat/DL session

Had a great turnout today of lifters today.. some of us worked on our heavy squats and pulls, while others worked on some close stance squats and good mornings to hit some weaknesses.

Fred hit some nice PRs with some solid Reverse Band squats up to 585.. depth was really good and squats were stable and fast!

I Worked up to last warmups/light openers on Squat and DL. Last heavy session before meet.

315x1 (Straps down)
405x1 (Straps down)
500x1 (Straps up)
550x1 (Straps up, knee wraps)


Friday, March 13, 2015

2 1/2 wks out - Last warmups / light openers

Worked up to last warm ups on both the Squat (550lbs) and Bench (455lbs) tonight. This was the first clean touch and press in my new Metal Jack shirt, so I'm happy with that. Squat was a tad high, but I didn't have anyone to call depth so I came up too soon. I feel good about these weights as confident openers/last warmups for upcoming meet on 3/29.

I was having trouble touching and pressing in the Metal Jack bench shirt.. something seriously different/wrong was going on between the 1 board and the touch... looking back, I was trying to belly up too excessively that last 1 inch or so, and that was unhooking my shoulders and throwing me out of press position. Also, I was trying to touch too high on this particular shirt.. so for this set, I focused on the "Bend the bar" cue to activate my lats and keep that bar out front, and on my lats.. then as I lowered it, I kept riding the bar path towards my feet, and instead of bellying up excessively, I just locked my belly up at the un-rack and rode it patiently down to the touch. I'm real happy with this 455. Felt in control and fast.

My plan at this point is:

This coming Sunday:

  • Squat to 550 again - make sure I have depth
  • Go to 600lbs (2nd attempt) reverse band to feel the weight
  • Deadlift to 500/510 opener

Next wednesday: (Last heavy day before meet)

  • 455lbs again to a touch
  • Take another run at 500lbs if 455 feels good
Then rest up and stay sharp for the next 10 days into the meet.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Some updates and tweaks in meet prep plans.. 3 weeks out...

One thing I've learned over the last few years is to listen to my body and make smart decisions.. that being said here's my self observations-

  1. Making the switch from the single ply Titan Katana/Super Centurion I used for 3 years to this multiply Metal Jack bench shirt and squat suit is going to take a LOT more than 6 or 7 weeks that i've been in it so far.
  2. I've made some good raw strength gains over the last 10/20 cycle
  3. I've hit some decent PRs in the suit and shirt, but they definitely aren't in the "Reliable" range yet. I just don't know my gear enough yet.
  4. My single ply PRs from last year are:  570/485  (talking strictly squat and bench here because i pull raw)
  5. This coming meet, I don't see huge PRs in my future. Not because of strength, but just knowing my gear setup well enough to duplicate it EVERY time. 
  6. I've decided to dial back my openers to real "last warmups" at this point. I'm going to use this meet as "get in the game meet" and really go after it in October.
  7. On a good day, I'm hitting 675 on the squat, but its hit or miss with depth. I've went as high as 540 off a 1 board in the shirt. The 1bd-to-touch transition is giving me trouble
  8. I modified my pre-meet program slightly - I substituted my "2nd and 3rd attempts" for more repeated opener attempts ....    because at this point I'm not chasing big gains, I'm more concerned with making my openers reliable to get in the meet, then go from there.

Here's what I did:
Last squat day, we didn't go past 600, actually did 8 singles between 550-600 just working my depth. I wanted to stay at a weight of about 80% so I could get some volume in.
Doing one or two squats wasn't going to be enough to let me sort out depth..
Here's a video to the last 2 sets of that day:  (I'm feeling good that we got the depth thing sorted out now)
The last set of 600 was my 9th heavy set so it looks like shit, but I was fucking cooked and exhausted. I feel good about this for a 2nd attempt all day long.

Two bench sessions ago, I was following my pre-meet plan... but weights that were flying up off a 1 board were now getting all fucked up off the touch.

One of my multiply partners said I was getting "Handcuffed" by the shirt because the collar was too low on my shoulders.. we changed that up for next session.

Shitty bench session:

Made some tweaks for next bench session, I actually got a touch at 455 which is my last  warmup. I'm considering opening here just to get in the meet. Its 30lbs below my single ply PR but whatever. Its not where you start but where you finish. I'm thinking 500 for 2nd attempt. Anyhow, we raised the collar up a bit and made sure the shirt was pulled back on my tris/delts. Better results here below... I didn't hold it at the end. I know that. But I'll fix it next session. I'm only 2 touches into the shirt so far, and I was just like "Whoa what the fuck get this bar off me"  hahaha

Better bench session w/touch at 455:

Wheres my thinking next 3 weeks of training?
Squat: I just have to make sure I'm attacking the weight and locking that arch in and driving knees out and I'm confident I'll be ok.
Bench: making progress, but I think i've noticed something that fucks me up at the touch ... that last inch I'm trying to belly up "even more" and I think its throwing my setup/shoulder rotation off. I think I just need to lock in my belly up, and just be patient down to the touch then do my thing. Also when I was in my single ply shirt, it was kind of like "belly-belly-belly-straight down into the bubble." .. this metal jack is more like "Belly-belly-belly" all the way down without a "straight down to touch"...

Here's my plan as of now:

Prior single ply PRS
570/485/545 (raw)

Planned 1st and 2nd attempts:
Squat :   550/600/ ???
Bench :  460/500/???
Deadlift: I'll kind of decide where i'm at come meet day. Somewhere around 510/550/???

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Depth work in the Metal Jack squat suit.. 4 wks out

4 weeks out.. squat depth work. I wasn't happy with last weeks Squat session even though we went up to 675lbs. If I can't nail my opener reliably to depth, there will never be a 2nd or 3rd attempt. I am fortunate enough to have a great crew of teammates who came out to help handle and coach me tonight for a long session of 8 sets above 500lbs, working up to 600lbs. Big thanks to my crew for coming out in the cold to help even though they weren't training themselves! (And my wife for running the monolift after a days work!)

All in all, I am really happy with tonights work - and I even surprised myself by working smart. Like every lifter I'm always tempted to go heavy, and push the training envelope... what I needed tonight was to stay light and work the depth.. We spent 6 sets doing 500lbs x 1 rep, just focusing on my main squatting cues - sitting back, staying upright, setting my arch.. and most importantly hitting depth. What good is it if I am training to hit 675lbs if I can't get my opener past the judging?

By the end of tonights session (8 sets over 500lbs).. I was smoked.. but I was rewarded with hitting 600lbs to a good depth.. even though it felt heavy as shit hahaha

I also experimented tonight with taking my stance a bit wider.. I like it.

Squat cues:

  • Grip Floor / Set feet
  • Set Arch hard
  • Elbows forward and back locked in
  • Begin squat with Hip Hinge first
  • Drive Knees out
  • Arch hard/Chest up
  • Dip at depth

Bar x 3
135 x 3
225 x 3
315 x 1 (Straps Down)
405 x 1 (Straps Down)
405 x 1 (Straps Down)
500 x 1 (Straps Up) x 6 Sets
550 x 1 (Straps Up)
600 x 1 (Straps Up)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Trying to touch in Metal Jack bench shirt...

Needless to say, didn't go completely as planned haha!
It is definitely a mile between a 1 board (520lb pr) and a touch.. I figured 500lbs was a safe number to run with.. but not when you screw up your setup. Additionally, since this is the first time I've tried to touch in this shirt, it hasn't been stretched at all.. I literally felt my ribs separate on the way down.. more on that later..

What did I do wrong tonight that kept me from a clean bench? Just about everything..

  • Collar was set too low on shirt on my chest and delts, causing me to get handcuffed by the shirt and unable to rotate my elbows out to lockout
  • I tried to touch too high
  • Lost my tightness
  • Didn't keep the bar over my wrists
  • Lost my arch a bit on the press
  • Overflared at lockout

Bar x 5
95 x 5
135 x 5
225 x 3
275 x 1
315 x 1
405 x 1 (Shirt, 2 bd)
455 x 1 (Shirt, 1 bd)
500 x 1 (Shirt, Touch) x 3 Sets

Reverse Band 3 Board Bench raw:
375 x 3 x 3 Sets

Dumbbell Presses:
80 lbs x 10 reps x 3 sets

Band Flyes:
100 Reps

Band Tricep Pressdowns:
100 Reps