Sunday, September 29, 2013

Got some video and a write-up about my strongman comp experience

Didn’t cut weight for this, because it was my first time competing and I didn’t want to mess around with extra variables.  Weighed in at 197lbs.  Ate a light breakfast of 4 cherry poptarts, a McDonald’s sausage biscuit and a large diet coke.  Was sipping on half Gatorade/half water throughout the day to stay hydrated, and the comp was right across the street from a Costco, so I was able to have pizza for lunch, which is always a good day.
I did practically no warming up for events.  One reason for this was because there was a pretty big turn out for the comp (9 people alone in the 200lb division, and probably about 25 people total), so getting access to the implements was tough.  The other reason was because I simply don’t spend much time warming up in general.  Never really felt a need to.  While other people were foam rolling and stretching, I was sitting on the floor drinking Gatorade.

First event was the 200lb axel clean and press for reps.  Clean each rep.  This was the event I was the most worried about, mainly because up until a month ago I had never done a clean in my life.  I made an axel to train with in my garage, and the very first time I attempted to clean, I sprained the holy hell out of my left wrist.  Since I only had a month to get good at events, I kept training with the injury and went through 100 motrin tablets in a month, but the most worrisome thing was that whenever I sprained my wrist, my grip was shot in my left hand.  I knew that if I re-aggravated the injury, my grip would be done for the rest of the comp.  Also, since cleaning injured my wrist, I was never able to train very heavy for high reps.  I could either go heavy, or light for high reps.

Amazingly, everything came together for the event.  I thought for sure I was going to need to continental clean after the 3rd rep, but I was able to get the weight up with a double overhand for 7 reps.  My biggest problem was overcoming my body’s natural instincts to set up for a deadlift instead of a clean.  You can see it in the video where I go to do the first pull and roll the bar too close.  Once I got out of my own head, I could move the weight.  Also, after watching most of the other competitors, I realized I was one of the strongest, if not THE strongest guys in the 200lb weight class (in terms of actual static, 1rm strength), and wanted to make a point by strict pressing the first rep.  It was a dumb thing to do, but it made an impression on the other competitors.  It didn’t really matter much anyway, as my leg drive was purely cosmetic whenever I did try.  I had managed to get decent at it in the gym, but fell back into old habits on comp day.  7 reps put me in 4th, with 1st doing 10, second doing 9, and third doing 8.

Next event was the 500lb yoke walk/300lb sled drag medley.  I was able to practice the sled, but had never even seen a yoke in person before.  There was a chance to warm up with the implement, but I turned it down, mainly because after the first event I knew my cardio was crap and I basically had to save every ounce of energy I had for each event.  I wore my elitefts SHD knee sleeves for this, and was thankful I had them, because the support went a long way.

Just like on the clean and press, I set up for the yoke like it was a squat, which was a big mistake.  The bar was too low on my back and made it impossible to control.  I could get a few steps before my hips shot out from under me and my legs went wonky.  I did this a few more times before the judge told me to put the bar higher on my neck.  This made a huge difference, and I was able to walk much further with the implement.  I was also holding my breath the entire time, trying to use the valsalva maneuver, which was a mistake that the judge told me to quit doing, and that helped as well.  I still wasn’t comfortable with the implement by the time I got it to the finish line, but I at least managed.

Grabbing the sled was an entirely different problem.  I had trained up an incline with a wide sled with long straps, so I was used to putting a LOT of force into my backwards drag.  This was a rogue sled with two skis on a level surface with a short chain, which meant that as soon as I grabbed the v handle, it went flying.  I ended up losing my footing and falling backwards from walking too fast with it, and actually had to move slower because I couldn’t coordinate my feet with the rate of the sled.  I barely made it to the finish line before the event ended, having to fall backwards and row the sled the last few inches to make it in time.  In general, I knew footspeed was going to be my weakness for this comp, and it’s something I need to work on.

Farmer’s walks with 180lb per hand for 40 meters with a turn at the mid point was next for me, and since my wrist was feeling good I wasn’t too worried about this.  I knew my footspeed would be mediocre, and I posted a pretty average time of about 39 seconds.  Amazingly, it was my right hand that lost its grip rather than my left.  I think I may have set up the right poorly at the start, because it started to slip before I made the turn, and once I had made the turn the implements bumped into each other and it forced me to drop.  Otherwise, pretty uneventful, my training with the implements helped out.

Next event was a deadlift medley with a 500lb 18” pull, 405lb trap bar, 315lb barbell and 365lb axel.  I had pulled 600 in a powerlifting comp at 181 a year before and 620 for a double with straps a few months prior to this, so I came in confident.  Only thing I was sweating was the axel pull, just because I had issues with it in training because of my wrist, so I chose that as my first pull.  I hit up a smelling salt beforehand, because I’m still a powerlifter, and blitzed through the course.  Only thing I could’ve done to do this event faster was move quicker between the implements, because I managed this in under 15 seconds.

Final event was 220lb atlas stone over a 40” bar.  I had built a stone trained out of 2 45lb bumper plates, but was only able to work technique with that.  This was my first time with a real stone, and at a real weight.  Also my first time using tacky.  When the event started, I lapped the stone first thing just to get a feel for the weight and the technique.  I did this for 2 more reps before I realized I was strong enough to just move the stone form the floor to the bar in one movement, which saved a lot of time.  I used a deadlift technique of getting the stone rolling toward me before the pickup so that I could use it’s momentum to roll back onto my heels, which really helped me move fast.  Sometimes, the judges would deadstop the stone, which would kill my strategy.  I managed to get 12 reps with this, and knowing what I do now, I’m sure I could’ve got another 2 reps in.

All in all, I had a blast, and am really proud of my showing.  I’m going to continue to build my static strength, because I love powerlifting and I’m good at being strong, but I’m going to ensure that I work an event into my training at least once a week to improve my conditioning and technique.  My cardio and footspeed were my weaknesses coming in, along with just my general inexperience, and I think I can definitely improve those come next go-round.  I would love to see a contest with a max rep or weight deadlift and a log press next time, and will keep my eyes peeled for what is available to me.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Training Log: Entry 1516

Pull ups/dips
175 total

Notes: Light work until comp day.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Training Log: Entry 1515

(6) Mat Pulls 585

Notes: Was really explosive on the warm ups here, and hips just shot forward on each rep.  As much as I'd hate to admit it, I think the axel cleans may be helping out here.

Reverse hyper 140

SSB Squats 245

Notes:  Hitting these after reverse hypers was intense

Ab and neck work

Notes: Once my strongman comp is over, I'm going to need to restructure my training a bit.  I'm serving too many masters, and as a result neglecting my ab work.  Plan is to recommit my training to powerlifting and use strongman work on my conditioning days.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Training Log: Entry 1514

(5) Bench Press 305

Axel push press 200

Notes: Really getting a feel for the movement now.

215 total

Meadows row 75

Axel press 135

Arm stuff

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Training Log: Entry 1513

(11) Chain Suspended Squats 545

Notes: Starting from the top at this height.  Things just felt off today, couldn't get a decent leg wrap and warm ups were heavy.

Front squats 225

Notes: Rest paused between sets.  Shut it down after this, things just weren't going well.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Training Log: Entry 1512

(23) Chain Suspended Seated Shoulder Press 185

Notes: Hit my nose on the way up trying for a 10th.  Pain wasn't too bad, but nose got in the way of the bar path and shut down the lift.


260 total

Axel incline press 185

Axel curls 75

Notes: Really liking these.  Think they might become a part of my program after this is all said and done.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Training Log: Entry 1511

(7) Mat Pulls 585

Notes: First time ever that I went up on both reps and weight between mat pull cycles.  Definitely a positive sign.  I think my double rest pause idea for the lower pulls might be paying off, but it could also be all the extra/different strongman work I have been doing.  I am thinking I will be good for 8 off the floor at a minimum.

295lb sled drags, 20 meters
6 trips

Notes: 3 up incline, 3 down.  I really need to keep this going after the comp.

Reverse hyper 100

Glute ham raise

SSB Squats 155

Notes: Just wanted to get in some life sucks training here.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Training Log: Entry 1510

(6) Chain Suspended Bench 305

Notes: Figured out a much better set up for these.  Lowered the weight so I could get in some more quality reps.  Wore my wrist wraps as well, felt "right" for this movement.  Much more confidence now.

Axel Push press 200

215 total

FG meadows row 65

Axel press 125

Notes: Weight feels super light on these.

Arm work

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Training Log: Entry 1509

(12) CSS 545

Notes: Broke in my new knee wraps.  Felt great, but misaligned a bit on the start which made every rep suck.

Front squats 225

Reverse hyper 90

Worked up to 205 axel clean

Monday, September 9, 2013

Training Log: Entry 1508

(24) Seated overhead press 185

Notes: Getting a better feel for the movement.  Like squats, I need to swing it into place to get set up.

225 total

Axel incline press 185


Notes: Kept hitting the uprights.  Still a tricky movement.

Axel curls 75


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Training Log: Entry 1507

Farmer's Walks 20 meters w/turn

Notes: Wrist is finally healed enough to do this again.  Good to be around comp weights.  The turn is a killer.

SSB squats 245+chains

Notes: Rest pause between all sets

Reverse hyper 90

GHR sit ups

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Training Log: Entry 1506

(22) Chain Suspended bench 315

Notes: Put the pins in the 28 hole and hang from there.  Still getting a feel for this, may go lighter on weight.

Axel push press 200

210 total

Meadows row 60

Axel press 120
1x10+10 push press

Arm stuff

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Training Log: Entry 1505

4 mile run

Notes: First mile was up a steep hill, and the last mile or so was through sand.  Real bitch of a run.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Training Log: Entry 1504

(13) CSS 545

Notes: Kept hitting the left side before the right.  Been feeling run down past 2 weeks, and this about killed me, but still calling it a victory.

Axel cleans
worked up to 210x1

Notes: Got 225 to my shoulders but missed the rack.  Technique is coming along.

Front squats 185

Notes: Rest pause between all "sets".  Just going for a quad pump.

GHR sit ups

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Training Log: Entry 1503

(25) Seated chain suspended overhead press

Notes: Not having my legs under me really limits my drive here.  Going to keep this light and focus on really hammering my shoulders.

Axel press 200

Notes: Next time, make this a push press.  I'm going to be dead after the overhead presses.

220 total

Axel incline 180

Notes: Right side kept feeling heavier than left, not sure why.

Axel curls 75

Shoulder stuff

Monday, September 2, 2013

Training Log: Entry 1502

Deadlifts 565

Notes: Took 2 rest pauses on this.  It seems that pulling off mats is my strength builder, while pulling off the floor is more the balls builder.  I'm ok with that.

Axel cleans 110

Notes: Working on technique here while letting wirst continue to heal.

SSB squats 250+chains

Notes: Thinking of adding a rep to the final set each time.


Reverse hyper 90

Neck harness