Sunday, January 27, 2008

Last Bench workout

I met up with my training partner Maura for our last bench workout before the Minnesota State Open Powerlifting competition on February 2. I am very lucky to have such an awesome partner to help me with my bench press. Bench press is by far my weakest lift. I have shoulder issues. I alway thought bench pressing was something I would never excel at... I have to say, thanks to Maura Shuttleworth and my long distance coach Mark Reifkind I am benching more than I ever thought possible. I pressed 100lbs today, with commands. It is not a huge amount of weight... especially compared to my training partner, who happens to be the national 105lber Bench Press Champion! But, I found a way to bench press with out pain, and I actually feel like I can improve on this movement without risking my shoulder health. This is a huge deal for me.

Maura's friend Vicki, who is a kettlebeller, was good enough to help us video our lifts today. Maura and I are working on convincing Vicki to join us on Fridays for Deadlifting. Come on Vicki! The world could use another strong woman!

Any whoo... here is my workout;

Bench Press
~95lbs singles were all with commands, 100lbers were 2 with commands, 1 touch and go - video below

Hanging Rows
2 Sets, 5 Reps
1 Set of 5 with chains... just for fun
~I dug around The Press Gym's PL room and found some very small chains... It's hard to row when you are laughing... especially with chains. Video below for some comic relief... enjoy!

Both BW and Weighted

We finished up with some weighted pull-ups and goofing around with kettlebells. We had a great time. I hope we keep our training schedule after the meet. This experience has been so much fun!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Light Deadlifts

I met up with Maura Shuttleworth last night for our last night of deadlifts before the meet. I am looking forward to my first powerlifting competition on February 2. We kept the weight low... Shawn Friday, my brother-in-law, had one last look at my form, not that there is much I can do about it now anyway. LOL! I just want to feel I did all I could to make all the improvements I could. Maura and I finished our workout with some kettlebell swings... Here is how it all went down.


20kg, 24kg, 28kg, 32kg ladder - 10 swings each, 3 sets

Monday, January 21, 2008

Squat PR - 225lbs

Finally two wheels for me on the squat bar! I felt this coming for a while... It felt easy enough, despite a little sticky point. I feel like I finally figured out how to wedge myself under the bar (thanks for the Julia video, Mark). I really did feel pretty tight I just couldn't maintain the tension on the way up. Any whooo... Maura and I had a good time. Gary gave us a spot between deadlifts. Thanks Gary!

Back Squat

Squat 225lbs

Maura even joined my kettlebell class after our squat workout. We had fun!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bench Press Day

I met up with my lifting partner Maura for Bench pressing today. Another lifter, Fran Huston was good enough to join us today. Fran has a really good eye, and is very good at spotting form technicalities. It was nice having her there and I hope she makes more appearances in the future.

I was a little worried about how bench press would go today... I woke up this morning with a "crunchy" left shoulder. It is not painful, but tendons are rolling around and it just doesn't feel right. This is the prelude sensation I get before I get full on flame up.

The bench press movement didn't actually hurt, in fact, the movement wasn't painful at all. My left shoulder did gas out a lot quicker than my right, and I do have (what Z-Health folks would say) startle reflex at the bottom of the press when the bar is closest to my chest. We also worked on signals. Here is how it all went down...

Bench Press
~I really had a difficult time holding the bar steady to get the press signal. I didn't realize I could actually touch the bar to my chest. We all had a good laugh after I finally figured that out. LOL! I did finally get one good press out of it all.

Hanging Rows - feet on a SB
5 Reps, 3 Sets

Reverse Rows - feet on the floor
5 Reps, 2 Sets

both bw and weighted

Fun stuff!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Last Heavy Deadlift...

It was another fun night of Deadlifting at The Press Gym tonight. The usual suspect all showed up, plus Sean Schniederjan showed up for the first time tonight. This was pretty special because Aaron and I have been reading Sean's blog for a while and have never met him until tonight!

I really needed to nail 275lbs one more time before the meet. I didn't want to even think about goofing around with missing a lift so, no pr tonight. Here is how it all went down...

~I wasn't as nervous about pulling 275 this week. After the pull I had a bunch of energy to burn off so I pulled 245 for 3 just to blow off some steam. All the lifts felt great!

Deadlift 275lbs

Kettlebells Swings
32kg - 10
28kg - 10
24kg - 10
~ We all goofed around with the KB's a little. Really had nothing to do with deadlifting.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Yoga Wednesday

Yoga class with William today. We worked on forward extensions with twists. Not something I have been doing with my daily practice, but I should. With all the powerlifting and kettlebells I have been training, my low back tends to tighten up, it takes a little extra time to release. Interesting how movement is changing for me. I am collecting all these physical experiences. It's interesting how the body works, all the changes, both intentional and unintentional.

William is a Buddhist... he practices yoga asana so he can meditate more. William would advise me not to be attached to my physical experiences because attachment is bondage. That is why I consider my experiences "collections"... William would tell me my collections are an illusion. I would tell him that I know. I think that is why visualization is so powerful.

I have to confess I am attached to the outcome of my upcoming PL meet. I would like to pull 300lbs... that is 10% more than my current pr of 275. It will be interesting to see what happens. I will try not to be attached to 300lbs.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Squat Day...

Squats with Maura were wonderful, like always. I am fighting off a cold, so I went pretty easy tonight. Here is how it all went down...

Back Squats
~My focus was to really wedge myself under the bar, figure out my breathing, and drive through my traps as I stand up. Maura cued me to "drive up" which was very helpful.

Squat - 205lbs 1 of 5

Heavy Walkouts
~Maura called signals to me; Squat and Rack. Easy, I know I will be able to squat this weight some day soon. This was very helpful for learning tension and simply feeling comfortable under a lot of weight.

Bulgarian style split squats
18/18lbs - 8
12/12kg - 6
16/16kg - 5x3
~Maura and I both love this lift!

Heavy KB Swings
20, 24, 28kg X10 X 5
~The heaviest KB I have is 28kg at The Press... I will have to get a 32kg.

Good stuff! We had a great time!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bench Press

Maura Shuttleworth helped me with my bench press today. Finally, I got to bench press for real! Today is the first time in as long as I can remember I could bench with out pain in my shoulders. I have quirky, twitchy shoulders that seam to flame up for no reason, causing a pile of pain. However, today the planets aligned and I pressed pain-free! It felt great considering I don't really ever practice this movement. Maura practiced commands with me, here is how it went down...

Bench Press

Bench Press - 95lbs


KB Swings
~I am showing Maura KB swings, she is a natural! We also worked on some snatches and did back bends.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Deadlift PR - 275lbs

We had another deadlifting party at The Press Gym tonight. I was too busy to take much notice. I had my my brain wrapped around my assignment from Mark Reifkind, my long distance coach. I was nervous all week about pulling 275. My plan was 225, 255, 275. I didn't feel chatty, I just wanted to go. So, here is how it all went down...

~Now here is where I got stupid and greedy. This was not in the plan.
280 - NL
280 - NL
~When I went to pull 275 my heart was pumping, I was anxious to give it a go, but I was scared, I didn't want to miss it either. Last week 265 was easy! When I pulled 275 and it broke the floor I knew I had it. All I needed is one person to egg me on to 280...

Deadlift - 275lbs

Low Rack Pulls
~I don't really like low rack pulls. I just don't get them. I must be doing something wrong.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Miscellaneous stuff

My brother is in town visiting from Washington. He is a natural athlete, so I was eager to show him what I have been up to with the kettlebell stuff. Larkin was a wrestler all through high school, so that makes him a total scooper! LOL! I showed him a TGU, he got it right away, doing a TGU with a 20kg on his first try. We will see if I can get him into one of my classes before he goes back home.

Wednesday was yoga with William. Plus, I have been swinging and snatching with my classes. Not that working with my class is a real workout, but it is something. I think I am going to have to put my heavy snatch and swing day back in the line-up. Otherwise, I have been focusing on the PL meet February 2nd. My past two training sessions have brought me PR for both deadlift and squat.

I want to give a special thanks to Mark Reifkind who has been coaching me long distance for my upcoming meet. I am not a goal oriented person at all... so this goal is a real learning experience. I will save that for another message.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Squat Day

So, still no Maura, she will be back for Deads on Friday. Lots of others in the gym tonight, look like it should be a very nice turn out for the State Open Meet in February. Aaron helped me, which is always nice. I warmed up with my KB class. I have to confess I am looking forward to getting back to a predominantly kettlebell training schedule. Any whoo, Squats went down like this...

Back Squats
220X1 - PR
220X1 - PR
~So, Mark Reifkind had been coaching me long distance. He gave me the pyramid assignment for this week. I was only supposed to do one at 220... but I was disappointed with my attempt so I did a second. Here is my main problem now that the weight is getting so heavy. The breathing is oppressive. I am spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to get a good deep breath and stay tight before I start the squat. The breathing didn't work out the way I visualized. Here are the two attempts at 220...

220lbs 1 of 2

220lbs 2 of 2

Friday, January 4, 2008

Deadlift PR

I met up with Mike Nelson and his girlfriend Jodie tonight for deadlifts. Maura is out of town and Aaron stayed home... but we had fun without them. Here is how it all went down...

260X1 - pr
265X1X5 - pr
~I was afraid to jump 10lbs from my last pr of 255 to 265, silly I know, I just wanted to feel what 260 was like before I tried for 265. I have to say 265 felt pretty good. It was most difficult breaking the floor... but after I got it moving it sailed right up. Mike gave me plenty of good feed back.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Yoga Class

The holiday season is over... I am back on track with my classes with William. We started with a chi-gong warm up. Usually I hate it when William throws in chi-gong, however today it actually felt kind of nice.

I don't have anything against chi-gong... I am just not willing to add anything else to my training schedule. I already practice; yoga, kettlebells, Z-Health and powerlifting. If I were to add anything else to my training schedule it would be seated meditation. I just don't have the time or willingness to do that right now. I really have no interest in chi-gong right now.

This is how I work... when I find something I really like and want to participate in, I do it to death. That means I stew myself in the presents of experts, read lots of books, research the internet, read forums, etc.

Yoga class was wonderful like always despite the chi-gong. I hung upside down in the ropes instead of doing headstand. That felt great on my mid thoracic. I will continue to hang in the ropes instead of doing headstand until the meet in Feburary.

We did some backbends with partners... which was really nice. One person did a backbend, while one person looped a belt around the backbender's hips, and another person looped a belt around the shoulders, the assistants gave a little traction. The job of the backbender was to lift up away from the belts. Of course it is almost impossible to lift yourself off the belts, but it gives tactual contact in which to move away from.

This is what I learned... My friend Deb was giving me traction on my hips, she was full of directions; move your feet in, put your toes down, squeeze your knees in, etc. Her directions were micro... the corrections were subtle. I don't even remember how the exercise felt on my shoulders or hips! That is Deb, she can spot the micro, which is a gift. I was in the mood to "do" and save the refinement for another days!

Right now I am focusing on refining my powerlifts. Every little micro movement counts. When the meet is over... I will return to a more fluid practice. So, where do I find precision and fluidity? Do they fluctuate? How big is the window of perfection?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Day Squat

Met up with Maura for squats today after my KB class. It wasn't my best form, but it was a PR for me. I was hoping for 4 sets of doubles... I got stuck on the way up from my first double and needed some help up from Maura. After that I changed my plan to singles and only did 3. What went wrong... I may have been a little low on energy, I was up late last night. I do know I let the bar drift forward and that goofed things up. A friendly PLer at the gym pointed this out to me, which confirmed my suspicions. despite my efforts in my second and third attempt, I just couldn't get my hams to fire the way I wanted. I even did my Z drills. I may have psyched myself out a little trying to do doubles with a weight I have never moved before. Who knows...


215lbs 2 of 3

215lbs 3of 3

Pause Squats

Bulgarian Split Squats
18lbs/18lbs X6
12kg/12kg X6X2