European soccer has a lot of tournaments, but the big one is the Champions League. Liverpool played in the final last year and it was very exciting. The new Champions League season started this week and this stoppage-time goal from Bobby Firminho was a tremendous capper to a great match.
Here’s a 90%-of-contest-weight axle clean and press. That 2-step move to get the axle to my shoulders is called a continental clean. It’s uncomfortable. The contest event is a 225 lb. axle that I have to press for the maximum number of reps in a minute. I’m not the strongest presser so I’m shooting for 3 reps on contest day. I’m a lot better than I was thanks to all of the Olympic lifting I’ve done in the last year. I’ll get another session of heavy work before the contest.
So much of strongman looks like brute strength (and it def. helps to be strong) but damn if there isn’t a ton of technique involved.
I’ve got a strongman contest coming up on Spetember 8th and I’ve reached the part of the story where we get into training the specific events. The first bit of the video is with theDeadsled, a new-ish implement that plays the role of the trap bar in this contest. We have to rep as many lifts at 440 lbs. as we can in one minute. I’ll be very happy with 5 reps. That quick double was at 430 lbs. I’ll get heavier as we get closer to contest day. You can see that my left hand grip broke down right at the start of the video. I had to take an extra couple of seconds to reset and get my hand a little further under the handle.
The second half of the video is a 50-foot carry of a keg followed by a 50-foot, hand-under-hand pull of a loaded sled. The keg and the sled were both just 160 lbs. On contest day, the keg to carry will be 200 lbs. I’m training light to get re-acclimated with the movement. The rope pull is to teach the hand-under-hand movement which will get used in the truck pull event at the contest. Here’s a video to show what we’re looking for. While most of the power is coming from your legs, you can get a little extra help from the pulling the rope. The underhand pulling keeps the movement efficient and in the correct direction. I’m especially excited about truck pull practice on 9/1. Gonna be awesome.
Chain squats help you work on speed. At the top of the movement you have all of the weight and then as you squat, the chain collects on the floor making the total weight lighter. We pause at the bottom of the movement on the box to help train correct depth and to learn to get comfortable “in the hole”. After the pause, you come up fast but under control. It’s about building the neural paths to get to and come out of the bottom of the squat with confidence.
I also got this sick tattoo.
The Weight Room is a special place to me. I’ve gone through some fun sports phases in my adult life: basketball, softball, cycling, running, triathlons, and now lifting. More than any of the others, the place where I lift has been as special as the lifting. I feel fortunate that I found The Weight Room.
(Been a jam-packed couple of weeks, with lots of travel and fun stuff that I’ve been doing instead of posting. And it’s not over, so posts will be a little scattershot through the end of the summer.)
Had a great bench test the other week. I’m slowly getting climbing to my goal of 315. I was able to get 300 for a good rep, but failed 315 twice. Jumping that much was a bit of hubris, I admit, and I am very happy with my 5-pound lifetime PR. It’s also the most I’ve benched in over 2 years, so I’m very-very happy. I didn’t have the foresight to record it, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
I did record these deadlifts, though. I’m okay with them. The last one is sloppy, but that’s just fine. I need to keep at it. I’m less than 4 weeks out from a contest and my training has been tough to fit in with all of the life.
Heavy overhead double. I banged up my shoulder a couple of years ago doing some strongman stuff and it’s been a long trip back to healthy. Counter-intuitively, it has been lots of lifting overhead that has “healed” my shoulder trouble. Last year’s Olympic lifting experiment laid in a solid foundation of shoulder strength that has been a huge benefit to my return to powerlifting.
I should say “to my short-lived return to powerlifting“, because I’m going to go to a strongman contest in September. It’s just a local, level 1 contest so the weights aren’t crazy. I’ve also got a lot of family travel coming up between now and then so there are a bunch of training conflicts. Still, I find it easier to train when I have a contest or meet on the calendar. It’s just more fun.
Couple things I recorded here. First are my feet for squat setup. It’s important to keep the number of steps to a minimum when you’ve got big weight on your back, and the only way I will learn to keep it minimal is to repeat the efficient setup even when the weight isn’t that big (like in this video).
The next bit of the recording is an actual squat set. I’m happy again with the efficient foot setup. I’m not as happy with the depth. My, er, significant power belly makes it a little hard to determine full depth from this camera angle. I see some box squats in my future. I also forgot my knee sleeves, like a mook. It’s important to bring all of your equipment when you’re training.
The last segment is some more of that sweet gravity therapy from last week. Once I was upside down and relaxed it took about 5 seconds for my spine to click back into place. It’s a great feeling.
My family and life schedules have kept me from my normal lifting routine but I have added a Sunday morning session to the mix with some success. There are some OG members who have off-hours access and I’ve been coat-tailing with them in a 7:30-9am window. It’s good for me to get up and moving.
I’ve been using Sunday morning to get accessory work done along with a little cardio. “Little Cardio” has meant these moderate weight sled pulls in the video above. It’s not a ton of weight, but the tackiness of the track makes it a little challenging, eventually. As long as I keep the breaks between sets short (and my heart rate up) it’s good exercise.
I do miss Sunday Rides but I just can’t get myself in the mode to fix my bikes and get riding.
I also use the Sunday window for mobility work. I’ve been using the Big Ray Strap and Godzilla Band the last couple of weekends. It provides a little gravity traction and it feels suuuuuper-good. This isn’t me, but this is how I use it:
Breaking apart the compound movement can help you focus on an area of weakness. Floor presses with boards help you train all but the bottom of the bench press.
The floor press also limits the range of motion of your arms at the bottom of the lift. I’ve also a 2-layer (two 1×6 pine boards) board stack under my shirt. By making the lift more shallow, you can work on building strength on different parts of the bar path.
285 lbs. is ten more pounds than my current 1-rep max. I’m looking forward to the next test week so I can see how far my bench has come since my move back to powerlifting. It’s the only lift that matters, after all.