Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Some updates, thoughts, and reflections lol prep coming up...

Just some updates and "reflections" lol.. July 15th puts most of our team about 14 weeks out of the RPS New England Power Challenge October 16th/17th.. two of our members are doing a local RPS push-pull (Squat/Deadlift) meet on August 23rd.. so they are about 6 weeks out.

For those who have been following along, I opened my own garage-based powerlifting gym back in November 2014, leaving the YMCA after 5 years.. honestly, I questioned myself occasionally before doing it.. there WERE some positives to training at the Y - such as having other people around for spotting, conversation, etc.. I mean lets face it.. I was unsure how motivating it would be training in a two car garage without anyone else to talk to or look at .. etc.. etc..

Here we are 9 months later, and I can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did for my training.
Most importantly, I consider myself EXTREMELY fortunate to have put together an AWESOME crew of training partners all with similar dedication and training goals. Looking back over the last 9 months, and forward to more growth - I can say without doubt that if it wasn't for the team I am lucky enough to train with, I wouldn't have made the strides I have the last 9 months... now its almost time to hopefully put it all together on the platform.

Looking back over the last 6 months of training, I spent the first 2 months of 2015 in meet prep for my March RPS Power Challenge meet where I was able to put together an 8-for-8 day and a PR total. After that meet I decided I was done "babying" my deadlift.. basically just pulling super small deadlift PRs in fear of my back injury in 2012... but I made up my mind to train smart.

Using George Leeman's information, I put together a 6 week deadlift cycle built around the best deadlift accessories to build my pull. The core lift was a Safety Squat Bar box squat using a narrow conventional deadlift stance to a slightly high box for 3 sets of 10 reps. Then we rotated in 3.5" and 7" block pulls in weekly rotations for 3 sets of 5...each time trying to best the prior same-lift PR from a few weeks back.
For accessory work, we rotated bent-knee Romanian deadlifts with no lockout, Yates Rows, and a shitload of rows.. t-bars close/wide.. kroc rows..

GHRs (600-700 reps per month) and Sled pulling became a staple of every deadlift day. We rarely if ever pulled from the floor.

I'm not one of the people who rave about bullshit that doesn't work or overly optimistic PRs or goals (Hey everyone look at me! I'm going to pull 700 next meet.. haven't cracked 600 yet.. but I'm gonna get 700! Yay!!).... BUT... I gotta say.. we did two 6-week cycles of this deadlift work over the last 3 months.. I actually felt the progress. I literally FELT the pulls getting stronger and faster.

Before I started the deadlift accessory work, I was pulling 500lbs for triples off the 3.5" blocks. After 12 weeks, I was pulling 515 for 5 reps off the 3.5" blocks, and 565 for 5 reps off the 7" blocks. When I started with the SSB box squats/Conv DL stance I was using 295lbs for 10 reps.. 12 weeks later, I finished up with 365lbs for 10 reps/3 sets off a lower box. It really was/is quite motivating to see the actual gains happen. Especially after "plateauing" for so many years. Regarding deadlift, what am I looking to do in October? probably open with 520 then go to 560 for a meet PR, then if all goes well chase that 600 number. But who the fuck knows lol. Its all good in theory. What did Mike Tyson say? Oh yea ... "Everyone's got a plan til they get punched in the mouth."

For our Squat and Bench cycles, we ran (3) 5-week cycles for a total of 15 weeks..
first cycle was high volume work - squatting and benching for 15 reps...
next cycle was low volume work in the 3-5 rep range..
then for the last cycle (wrapping up now) we added in Accomodating Resistance (Bands and Chains) for 8-10 sets of 2 reps each. It was a good variety of work, and I feel we all got stronger, which should translate to PR's on the platform.

Time will tell... In closing.. I'm not just excited about my own progress.. but also its been awesome watching all our team members progress around me.. not just in numbers.. but form and speed improving as well.. As a group we should have at least 6 of us competing in Aug/October.. and it will be great to get some meet PRs on the board!

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