Saturday, April 25, 2015

Fri night deadlift focus work...

Had a great turnout of lifters tonight for Friday night training. We had two separate groups going - Fred and Dennis did Bench work, while Tyler, Brian, and myself did our Deadlift focus work.

Bench work consisted of flat benching, swiss bar work, incline dumbbell presses, and some band tricep push downs.

We're about 3 weeks into our deadlift focus work, and I can already feel my hamstrings/posterior chain getting stronger... we're at 510 GHR reps MTD (Working our way to 600 reps for the month).. we've also been alternating reverse sled pulling with forward sled pulling.

Safety Squat Bar box squats w/conv DL stance-

Romanian deadlifts w/no lockout-

1 arm T-bar Kroc rows-

60 reps

Conventional Sled pulls-
4 trips, worked up to 6 plates

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Some updates on GHR/Hamstring Work...

It's well known throughout the powerlifting world that GHRs are one of the best training exercises for building bullet-proof hamstrings... but up until about 4 weeks ago, we didn't have access to a GHR because good ones are over $1000.. if you've been following along, you know I scored a great deal on a used heavy-duty model for a reasonable price, and I wanted to update everyone on what I've found.

First week we did them, they were torture. I mean this was obviously a weak point for me. I BARELY got 10 reps. Probably more like 7 or 8 clean, and my hamstring tie-in near the knee was sore as can be for a few days.. but I stuck with them.. using them as finishing accessory work on all my lower body days.. slowly they got better.

After about a week,  I could get 10 reps clean.. After about 2 weeks, I was getting to 12 reps, but they were "feeling" much better. I could feel them working the hamstrings the way they should.. my speed was improving..

Now about 4 weeks later, I'm up to 20-25-30 reps per set and my hamstrings just "feel strong." When I get on the GHR I can crank out the first 10 reps with a ton of power.. I am very curious to see how this carries over to my heavy squatting and deadlifting this cycle. I've made a personal goal to really focus on the deadlift which I have been "babying" since my back muscle strain in 2012. I don't like to post "what I am going to do, etc etc" but my personal goal is get a 600lb pull in competition by October.

We've setup a monthly training goal of 600 GHR Reps per month... in fact we are all pushing each other to see who can get to 600 reps first. I have a strange feeling that goal is going to be moving up to 800 reps and 1000 reps per month shortly hahahhahha...

According to my friend Andy Vale over at Strength & Health Gym in Smithfield, RI and the old Soviet Training manuals.. 600 reps.. thats just "maintenance work" for them. Ha.

If and when you feel you have built up a strong set of hamstrings, check out this Youtube video below showing a GHR Variation called "Welsh Dragon Curls." One of our team members, Brian Custodio showed me this video the other day, and no - I can't do them.. but I figured I'd share them.. because they are the ultimate Hamstring Destroyer lol..

Monday, April 13, 2015

Heading into Week 2 of Volume work

I really looked forward to this 5 week volume cycle as nice change up from the usual heavy 3-5 rep stuff. Getting under some lighter weights and training somewhat like a bodybuilder (eek) gives my CNS (central nervous system)time to recover from all the heavy meet lifts, but still exhaust my muscles and build strength.

Everything last week was 12 reps.. this week is 15 reps.. and DOMS/Soreness is definitely kicking in with all this volume work.. quite a bit more than I usually feel with the low rep heavy stuff.

We're also doing a ton of GHRs.. trying to work up to 600 reps per month. 

Yesterday we did some 15 rep squats, then some pause work while one of our new team members worked on establishing his 1RM baseline Squat of 500lbs raw no-wraps. Great job! Finished up with some wide stance Good Mornings w/SSB, Leg Extensions against Bands, and Sled Drags (Nice weather!!!).

Thursday will be some 12-15 rep benching, incline work, and then deadlift specialty work on Friday. Like I said in an earlier post I really want to work on my deadlift this cycle and get a meet pull over 600lbs. I've been following George Leeman's "Best Deadlift Assistance" work on Fridays, as outlined in his video below.

He's one of the best pullers in the world, and its worth checking it out. Below is the video, and how I worked it into my training:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

New addition to the Gym.. and Plans for this off-season/next competition

A couple of updates here.. first, I was real excited to pickup our latest addition to our gym, an Iron Wolfe Squat Bar. A dedicated squat bar is good for a few reasons - first we don't have to rotate the Texas Power Bar through the stations, it can stay on the bench.. and if one group wants to bench while the other squats, we can do that too. But most importantly is the quality of the bar for squatting. The Iron Wolfe squat bar weighs 65lbs and is about an 1 1/2" thick with super-aggressive knurlings to really grip your back, and a center alignment ring to make sure the bar is centered on your back.. its also about a foot longer than a normal power bar, allowing for more plates to be used as well as a better grip for side spotters. This bar is rated to over 1400lbs (more than we will ever need lol) and we loaded it down tonight with 500lbs and it barely bends. When we would load our Power Bar to 500/600lbs it would have a noticable bend to it.

Lastly, its what we use when we compete on the platform - so the idea is to train exactly how you compete to eliminate as many variables as you can on the platform - and there is definitely a difference squatting with a thinner bar vs a thicker bar.. the thicker bar must be held in a slightly different spot on the back (A bit higher), and it has a completely different feel. Enough to throw you off on a max-effort lift on the platform.

I'm deloading (Resting) this week after my meet, but Fred decided to give the bar a test and he hit a real nice 500lb squat PR to legal depth, with straps up and knee wraps... If you are wondering why the "odd number" of plates on the bar its because the Iron Wolfe squat bar weighs 65lbs instead of the normal 45lbs.

Upcoming plans:

  • Fred and Tyler are going to compete at the RPS Southern Mass Blast II push-pull (Bench/Deadlift) meet this August
  • Myself, Fred, Tyler, and Dennis Montembault are going to enter as a team and compete in this October's RPS NE Power Challenge.
There are about 15 weeks until the August meet, and about 25 weeks until the October meet.
We will run about 10 weeks of off-season work, split half into volume work, and the other half into low-rep work, then 5 weeks of prep work for Fred and Tyler for the August meet, while I use some of that time to do some more Gear work and add in my squat briefs.. Then run a 10 week or so meet prep cycle into October.

With the upcoming Easter Holiday, we plan to resume our normal Sunday/Wed/Friday training next week (4/6)... if you are interested in training with us just shoot us an email or inbox us on facebook.