Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday Night Squat Party!

Maura and I had a special surprise at the gym, Tammy Dian and Anna White showed up to join us for training. Tammy competes in the 123's. She has the state record in the raw division for bench press. I was very happy someone finally blew my old bench press record out of the water. Anna competes in the 132's and holds all the State records in the raw division. Anna went to Raw Nationals last year with us. Both women are great lifters and it is really nice when they visit us. It is looking like the four of us are going to compete at the Twin Ports meet in Duluth this summer.

The power room at the Press was already busy. The four of us set up two racks for squatting. I always feel stronger surrounded by other strong people. Here is how it all went down for me...

Back Squat
~The set of 5 was an experiment... I wanted to see if I could do 5 reps at 215lbs. Otherwise, everything felt great.

Box Squats with Bands
Bands are about 70lbs at the top
~I wanted to show our guests my favorite squat assistance exercise. All four of us cycled through the box and band set up.

Ham-Glute Machine

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Deadlift Training

I scheduled a little deadlift lesson for my kettlebell students on Friday evening. Maura and I met up early on Friday for deadlift training. It was kind of nice lifting earlier in the day. Here is how it went down for me...

Sumo Deadlift

Conventional Deadlift

Sumo Rack Pulls
~I have really started to like this lift.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Squat Training

I got to try out my brand new squat shoes tonight. It was pretty exciting... I was joined by Maura and Aaron. Here is how it all went down for me tonight...

Back Squat




~felt great, I think it was the shoes.

Box Squats with Bands

Bands give about 70lbs at the top

~I love this lift.



Ab roll outs


Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Night Deadlift Party

Maura and I have put deadlifts back on Fridays. It's nice to be training deadlifts again. Aaron was there. Jesse and Russ joined us as well. It was a good crew tonight. Here is how it all went down for me...

Sumo Deadlifts
~I don't really like this part of the cycle. It is hard for me to feel if I am getting the set-up right if there isn't much weight on the bar. Oh well, something is better than nothing.

Conventional Deadlift
~Didn't feel too bad...

Good Mornings
~Felt it in my abs

2H KB Swing
~Blasted it to about eye level

Good work out tonight! Feels great to be back in the gym.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Squating on Monday

Monday is for squats once again. I wore my new Reband knee sleeves Ellen Stein gave me at the Arnold. When you are as good as Ellen, you can help out other lifters, you can even give them some of your equipment. I hope I will be that good one day.

I also ordered new squat shoes. The squat shoes I have been using were a gift from Mark Riefkind, they were actually his shoes. A very nice pair of Adidas weightlifting shoes. Aaron has been training over head lifting and Zurcher deadlifts. He mentioned he wanted to start doing squats. I told him he should try my shoes. The Adidas shoes I have been using actually fit his feet, I have been wearing a couple pairs of socks to make Mark's shoes fit. So, I ordered myself a new pair of Adidas weightlifting shoes. I am sad to let go of my gift from Mark (Tracy's idea), but Aaron and I are a team... what benefits him, benefits me. I am happy he has a good pair of lifting shoes to wear.

Any who... here is how it went down for me...

Back Squat
~I am doing the same program I have been doing for the past year. I know it won't work forever, but I can't see changing what is working right now. The knee sleeves felt weird and hot, but when every good lifter wears them, I should at least give them a shot.

Front Squats

Bulgarian Split Squats

Ham-Glute Machine

Training was tough. Maura and I decided that we don't really need a whole week off training. We already take a week off before the meet, another week means two weeks.

Back to Training

I made a discovery at the Arnold. I love to train. I enjoy training more than competition, that's for sure! I could have started training as soon as we got back. I sort of did, I started moving a little more weight with my kettlebell classes. I do a lot of "I go you go" style of training with my kb classes (Andrea and Tracy do the same). I finally got to pick up something heavier than a 12kg.

Sunday Maura and I started back under the bar. We got a bench press workout in. Here is how it went down...

Bench Press
~Worked on the new breathing technique Ellen Stein showed me.


OH Press

Monday, March 9, 2009

Highlight from the Arnold

Rich Edinger, me, Brad Madvig, Maura Shuttleworth, Jim Cahill

Lifting in the USAPL Raw Challenge was the reason I went to Columbus Ohio for the Arnold Sports Festival. A year ago I didn't even know what the Arnold Sports Festival was... when I was invited to lift, I didn't think I even wanted to go. Lucky for me, Brad Madvig and Maura clued me in. The Arnold is THE place to check out if you are a fan of strength training. There were a ton of celebrities from the world of strength. Best of all, my lifting partner Maura Shuttleworth qualified to go as well.

My first celebrity sighting was Lou Ferrigno. He was sitting in my airplane seat on the way to Columbus from Minneapolis; I had to ask him to move. He was a little bleary eyed having just connected flights to Columbus from California. I wanted a photo, but I was afraid the Hulk might appear. I met up with Lou again at the airport in Columbus on the way back to Minneapolis. We were on the same flight again; we exchanged a little small talk. I still wanted a photo for my collection, but Aaron wouldn't let me bug him for one. Probably the right thing to do, poor guy was hassled through the airport by loads of adoring fans. He looks great by the way.

My BFF Ellen Stein introduced me to Ed Coan, a man considered to be the best powerlifter who ever lived. He is a humble man of few words, very typical of powerlifters. He spoke a little after the powerlifting meet on Friday. He doesn't compete anymore, but is still lifting.

The Govenator, Arnold himself showed up and actually interrupted the big geared men lifting on Saturday to speak a little. He stayed for a while to watch the deadlifts. He also looked great. Ellen shamelessly trolled for a photo op, she never got a photo, but got a handshake instead. How cool is that?

We got a special treat after all the Raw powerlifting was over. Three members of the German Olympic weightlifting team showed up to give a demonstration. WOW! Amazing lifters! Two men and one woman were lifting weight that was close to their personal bests! I was feeling really tired and hungry after competing, then running numbers for both Mad and Cahill... but it was worth hanging in there to watch some truly awesome athletes lift.

Hometown boy Brad Gillingham won the Deadlift challenge on Saturday. Also competing in the Deadlift only event were Jon Krogman and Nick Tylutki from Brad Gillingham's Jackals Gym in Minnesota. We have a strong state! Two other Gillinghams were at the Arnold as well. Maura and I took the opportunity to bug them all for a photo. It's not like we couldn't get a picture back home in Minnesota. We see Brad regularly... but we have never seen all 3 Gillies (Wade, Carl and Brad) together. Lucky us!

There was traditional kettlebell Girevoy Sport going on. Aaron knows Matt from blogosphere, and cheered for him as he competed. I got to meet John Wild Buckley in person. I also met Catherine Imes, first woman to be awarded Master of Sport, a big deal in the world of kettlebell training. I also met Steve Cotter after watching him compete in the 10-minute kettlebell jerk competition. He was a very nice man, just as I expected.

Aaron, Maura and I bummed around on Sunday. We took in the Bench Press Bash, but left early because it was so boring. The big guys kept missing their lifts due to missing the grove of the bench shirt. I do not understand geared bench-pressing, so I lack interest.

I saw little tiny kids doing gymnastics. We watch some teen-agers compete in Olympic weightlifting. I ate enough protein treats in the expo hall to give me a stomachache from hell. Maura and I shopped for out-fits. I also got to meet Tazzie Colomb; body builder and powerlifter. Watch out ladies, if you lift heavy, you might bulk up!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Competing at the Arnold

Karen Poyner, Becky Rich, Me, Maura Shuttleworth, Sioux-z Hartwig-Gary, Ellen Stein, Katerine Clark

I have just competed in my fourth powerlifting meet at the Arnold Classic Sports Festival. There are thousands of people here in Columbus attending the Arnold. The festival is named for Arnold Schwarzennegger, as Columbus Ohio is his American hometown. It started out as primarily a body building event, but now it the host to; powerlifting, Olympic weight lifting, fencing, MMA, Strong Man, ping-pong, and a ton of others sports events. This was by far the biggest venue I have ever competed in. It was a huge honor just to be invited.

Here is how the meet went down for me…

Squat – First squat attempt was 220lbs, which I moved fine, but I made a beginners mistake and forgot to wait for the “Squat” command. This is a terrible way to start a meet. Luckily, I wasn’t shaken too much, I chose to go with 237lbs as a second attempt which was lower that my planned 242lbs. We each have 1 Minute to get our next attempt into the scoring table. If we fail to get our attempt in on time, the scoring table will simple assign you the next higher option... well, this is what happened to me for my third attempt. I wanted to go for 248lbs, but some how the scorer’s table didn’t get my next attempt on time. Aaron was running my numbers, and anyone who knows my husband knows he doesn’t fuck around. I have a feeling the scorers made the mistake.

~Here is my second attempt on the squat. That is Brad Madvig reminding me to wait for the commands.

Bench Press – My nemesis. Everything went as planned… 100lbs, 110lbs, and a meet pr of 115lbs. All the lifts went up great. I feel like I bench better in a meet than in the gym. I feel like this lift is going to improve a lot for me in the next few months.

Deadlift – I opened with 281lbs, which seamed like an appropriate choice. I was really hoping for a 319lb pull, but I was stuck with my second attempt, which was 308lb. My third attempt I lost tension and missed the lift. Three lift meets are exhausting, I lost mental perseverance. I need to work set-ups more.

Overall – I am content with how I did (not thrilled). My total was 667lbs (302.75 kilos), which is a pr of 42lbs. All my lifts were meet pr’s (not to be confused with gym pr’s), which is nothing to cry about. I placed 5th out of 9 lifters, solidly in the middle, which is better than I expected.

Here are some observations I made…

  • I made a plan ahead of time; I planned out all my lifts and attempts in both pounds and kilos. I even planned out my warm-ups. Only mistake, I should have planned my warm-ups in kilos too.
  • I know my biggest challenge is nerves. Shawn Friday gave me a book that has been enormously helpful regarding finding a calm state. I don’t like competing, but I know it is good for me and will make me a better trainer and coach.
  • More confidence and better focus. I got red lighted on my first squat because I didn’t wait for the “squat” command. Then, I second-guessed my second attempt. I went with 237lbs instead of my planned 242lbs. In hindsight, I should have just stuck to my original plan.
  • Find a balance between risk and contentment. Shawn Cain gave me great advice… my second attempt should be something I can live with if I miss my third. I applied that advice to the Deadlift. I am pretty disappointed I got stuck with 242lb squat. Just barely a meet pr. I have squatted 250lbs in the gym and was hoping for 253lbs in competition.
  • I need to learn the kilo system better. I already know how to convert pounds to kilos; this needs to be second nature. Thank God for Matt Gary, he did all the converting for me during warm ups.
  • My direct competition in the 123lb weight class, Katherine Clark of Seattle Washington totally kicked my ass, again. She placed second overall. We met up for the first time at Raw Nationals. It is good to have direct, stiff competition. Katherine is a very nice woman as well as an awesome lifter, I can’t cry too hard about losing to her.
  • Competing with national level lifters is a HUGE! I am at the point where it will be the little things that make a big difference in my lifting. Watching what the more experienced lifters do is EXTREMELY helpful.
  • Ellen Stein gave me some advice on breathing in the bench press. I used it for my 3rd attempt at 115lbs and the weight moved up easier that the 110lbs. She also showed me how to step back from the squat rack more efficiently. I can’t wait to start training these new techniques.