Thursday, August 29, 2013

40 days stronger

I just finished my 40 days challenge and I'm very satisfied with the results. I had some free time in the summer and I thought I would consider that like athletes off season. The whole idea is simple enough and goes as follow :
-Pick 5 lifts: 1 big posterior chain movement (deadlift is the right answer), 1 big upper body push, 1 big upper body pull, 1 explosive movement, 1 anterior chain movement.
-Max 5 reps per set (big lifts)
-Around 10 reps total (big lifts)
-Between 10 and 20 reps for the explosive move.
-5 reps total for the anterior move.
-3-5 min rest in between sets
-Never train to failure
-It should feel easy! At the end of a workout, you should feel ready to do some swing outs on a fast tempo!
Here's a list of my moves, previous best attempt and goals:
-Conventional deadlift 350lbs ~ 405 lbs
-Bench press 165lbs ~ 225 lbs
-Bent row 115lbs (hypothetical, never done it) ~ ?
-Power snatch ? Lbs (I learned it and could not do it at first!) ~ ?
-Torture twist (as instructed by Barry Ross) ~ N/A
Yesterday, after 3 days of rest after my last session, but not enough sleep due to previous night partying, I accomplished this :
Observations
-It sounds like little effort,  but it very time consuming since you must show up to the gym every day.
-Keeping it easy is harder than you might think. I never bring my ego to the gym and I have never been so close to get hurt during a program, for you never completely recover. I would recommend it only for intermediate / Advance lifters.
-It really changes your views from a workout to a practice.
-The first time you do it, it's basically a lead of faith. You make quick progress at first, then it's harder to notice them until you take a break.
-I put on about 9-10 lbs
-I failed 1 deadlift at 395lbs in my 6th week.
-I set unreachable goals for the deadlift and bench press and I'm surprised that I reached 1 of them. I couldn't believe it when I actually pulled those 4 plates off the ground. I wished I would have push more on the bench press. I really thought my problem was the lack of practice and that it would explode with that kind of protocol. Well +40lbs is not that bad, but I still bench like a little girl!
Next steps
I'm getting closer to my basic strength standards (or Pavel's):
-Bench press 1.5 x bodyweight
-Squat 2 x bodyweight
-Deadlift 2.5 bodyweight
My goal would be in the next 6-12 month to reach those results with the bench and the deadlift and as long as my squatting pattern in functional, I would be pretty happy.
First, I'm going to change my routine and get back to my kettlebells for the next 12 weeks at least with the RKC challenge and add some dumbbells pressing and front squatting once or twice a week. The only advice I haven't listened to improve my bench is to build some more muscle. I don't feel like giving up just yet!
Fred