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 :
-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!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wisdom from Pavel

‘’Someone has made an observation that lawyers tend to be a lot more successful in strength sports than artists. Because the former can deal with the boredom of repetitive but necessary tasks.’’,Pavel Tsatsouline, Enter the Kettlebell p.136

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

On deadlifting

Many coaches in a variety of disciplines will swear almost soly by deadlifts as long as strength is concerned. I love that quote!

Elliott Hulse:  Deadlifts.  If there's only one thing that everyone does, it's deadlifts.  When you deadlift, you're using every single muscle in your body, and you have to use every single muscle properly in order to perform the deadlift.  Deadlifts are not one of those exercises where you can fake it for very long.  The minute you get down to put your hands on that bar, you don't even have to lift it, I know where you're screwed up.  I can tell if your ankles are tight, if your low back is weak, or if your neck is tense and tight.  I can tell you anything you need to know about your body the minute you bend down to touch that bar to pick it up.  And once you can get your deadlift looking good—and it doesn't even need to be heavy—and when you can move in a proper pattern, then everything is where it needs to be and the sky is the limit. 

Read the full article here.