Saturday, January 31, 2015

Training Log: Entry 1789

(5) Mat Pull 630

Notes: Had a helluva time with this today. First pick up was incredibly smooth and fast for 4, and then I tried twice to break the weight off the mats. Both times I managed to break the inertia and move a few feet up before having to bail. Was using a lot of lower back. Regrouped and came back for 2 more successful attempts, for 3 and 1 respectively. Looking at videos from my comp, it looks like my feet are getting further apart, which would explain the issues. Will have to focus on this in the future.

Farmer's walks 245 per hand, 50'ish
6 trips

Notes: Focusing on combining the pick up and the first few steps, letting the momentum of the implements carry me forward. Toward the end, I was really picking up my speed. Excited about actually getting decent at this.

Squats 405

Notes: Called it at this. Still not fully recovered from the SSB stupidity, and after a good day of farmer's I was ok to rest a bit here.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Training Log: Entry 1788

Got off work early, managed to grab an afternoon workout, and even got to video it.

Overhead press Medley (200lb axle, 200lb log, 182lb keg, 105 fat grip dumbbell)
3 rounds
-DB reps 8,4,3 (I think, may have to look at the video for sure)

Notes: What a difference having a few meals in me and not training first thing in the morning/with enough space makes. Weights flew up. Really tried to focus on reducing the time between the clean and the press, which in turn made me strict press everything. Not really sure which is the better way to go. Very pleased with the dumbbell press. Did some sets with the left arm to even it out, just not part of the medley. I don't think I'll move fast enough where I'll have enough time to press with the left arm after the right arm dies, but just in case I'd like to be prepared.

Carry medley (205lb sandbag, 182lb keg, 50'ish)
4 rounds

Notes: Felt something pop in my left wrist on the second round, but seems like I'm ok. This got brutal toward the end. Felt like my left hip was about to slide out of the socket carrying the keg. Working on more of a controlled fall than a run at this point. Rebuilt my sandbag to be more compressed, so now it has a samurai top knot and is far easier to pick up.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Training Log: Entry 1787

(13) Safety Squat Bar squats 445+chains

Notes: Heavy just wasn't happening today. 3 days of training in a row, kind of predictable. I fixed this later in my training.

Keg cleans 182

Notes: Hit these in between my warm-ups for the squats. Second set was smooth, every other set had issue getting my left hand full rotated. Need to work on my set-up/speed.

GHR sit ups w/25lb plate behind head

Safety Squat Bar Squats

superset w/

Reverse hyper 370

Notes: Due to my body's refusal to move heavy weight, I decided to punish it by stripping a plate and doubling reps each set for some light squats. Supersetting this with the reverse hyper gave me the nastiest lower back pump I've had in a while. Part of my ongoing approach to teach my body to fear my mind and realize that asking for unscheduled time off is going to result in a Faustian deal.

Basically, this is the conversation I have whenever I'm having a bad gym day (With Joe Pesci playing the part of my mind)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Training Log: Entry 1786

Chins w/45lbs

Bench 315

Notes: Week 15 of the program. Ran into some mechanical issues on set 1 and 3, specifically hitting the j-hooks on the second rep of each set. Had to re-rack before the final rep. Consequence of training at home w/no lift off. Second set was beautiful though, really dialed in the set-up. The tighter I get, the lighter the weight. Probably the biggest thing this program did for me was get me more focused on set-up.

3 way shoulder circuit

superset w/chins

20 Pull aparts in between sets of everything

General notes: Had to cut this workout a little short due to minor family crisis in the morning. Generally like to get more back work in, but with the comp looming, I'm willing to cut it out.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Training Log: Entry 1785

Carry medley (245lb per hand farmers, 182lb keg, 200lb sandbag) 55-60'
4 trips

Superset with

Dry heaving

Notes: In retrospect, eating a footlong sub and drinking a rockstar 10 minutes before this wasn't the best idea. 80 degrees outside, which doesn't sound like much, but I'm so used to -30 that my heat tolerance is shot. Feet weren't moving too fast on the farmers (too flat), but I take solace in the fact that I was able to run with each implement on the first round. After that, it was pretty slow.

Getting better at the sandbag pickup as well.


Notes: Getting back to my old (non-fatigued) numbers. Good sign.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Training Log: Entry 1784

(6) Mat Pulls 630

Notes: Have to work on Saturday, so parting out my workout.  Hit this today after work, and will hit the farmers and squats on Sunday.  Considering the less than ideal condition, very pleased with this.  Hit 4 reps on the first pull, and went 3, 2, 1 after that.  Really pleased with how many dead stop pulls I've been managing with this weight, should pay off for my last man standing deadlift.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Training Log: Entry 1783

Press Medley (200lb log, 200lb axle, 182lb keg, 105lb fat grip DB)
2 rounds

Notes: Hit the DB for 2 reps each time, clean the DB between reps. Tried out that technique Alpha talked about. I can see how it will work for the implement, but my dumbbell is pretty compact so it sits a little awkward on the shoulder. When I got it to work though, it moved real smooth.

Biggest limitation on this was space. Training in my garage with my wife running on the treadmill at 0500, so didn't want to make a lot of noise or move around a lot. Under these conditions, had a helluva time cleaning the keg, but still made it through and pretty pleased with that. For the second round, focused on cutting down time between the clean and the press on each implement, as that seems to be where I am losing a lot of time. Leg drive is still garbage, but I can live with that.

Slight incline dumbbell press w/reactive slingshot 105
50 w/unloaded DB handles, no slingshot

Superset w/ chins

Notes: Pressing felt smoother. Right shoulder still clicks on every rep.

GB hammer cable curls 50

superset w/Band pressdowns

superset w/Band dislocations

Keg push-ups

Notes: Just another little finisher. These are pretty nifty. Neutral grip, shorter ROM, unstable implement, hits the chest pretty well.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Training Log: Entry 1782

(14) Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Squat 445+chains

Notes: Great strain on this. Had to fight for every inch on the first rep just to break the weight off the chains. Back to training at 0500 with 2 pop tarts in my belly, and still feel like I've been hit by a bus with the extra workload I've been employing with my time off.

Axle cleans
Worked up to a single of 205

Notes: Did sets of these in between my warm-ups for the squats. Wasn't quite feeling like I had the "pop" I needed this morning, so kept the weight light. This is above contest weight, so I'm feeling pretty good. Hitting these off of a 7 mat, so zero momentum.

GHR sit ups w/25lb plate behind head

Reverse hyper 320

Intended to hit a drop sets of SSB squats, but left hamstring felt like it was about to snap so called it a day. May come back later for more.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Training Log: Entry 1781

Weighted chins 45lbs

Bench Press 295

Notes: Week 14 of the program. Feeling beat up from the farmer's, but still managed. Really focused on staying tight.

Carry Medley (182lb keg, 200lb sandbag) 55'
4 trips

Notes: Went without a belt this go round. Getting a feel for moving fast and carrying high. Losing a lot of time picking up the sandbag, but I think if it were packed better it would be a quicker pick up.

Shoulder circuit
3 sets

Pull aparts in between sets of everything

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Training Log: Entry 1780

(7) Mat Pulls 630

Notes: Got an annoying cold.  Impacted my ability to hold my breath.  Ended up breaking off the floor 4 times to get this, which is still pretty cool in and of itself.  Broke a ton of blood vessels in my upperback and chest.

Farmer's walks 50'

Notes: Sets of 255 done with straps.  Focus is more on moving my feet quickly.  Comp weight is 240, so it'll be good to get used to this.  Sets of 195 without straps, really focusing on getting the feet moving.


Notes: Between being sick and the farmer's I was toast.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Training Log: Entry 1779


Overhead medley (205lb log, 182lb keg, 105lb fat grip dumbbell)
-1 rep for log and keg, AMRAP for db, performed in this order, clean db one time

2 rounds

Notes: Hit 4 reps on the DB first round, 3 reps second.  First round I was right underneath my garage door for the keg, so I actually cleaned it and moved out of the way for the press.  Log and keg are slightly above comp weight, DB slightly below.  For the comp, I will also need to clean and press a 205 axle at the start, and will work that in next week, but for today I just wanted to get a feel for things.  Moving smooth, leg drive actually gets better on the second rep for the DB.  Worse LOOSE wrist wraps and it seemed to help.  Log moved smooth.

Slight incline DB press 105 w/reactive slingshot

w/unloaded DB handles, no slightshot

Notes: As you can see from the attached image, I'm probably the smartest man alive, because I figured out a way to make this exercise easier using my keg.  It took me the first set to realize there was a better way, but now that I have this figured out, this should make the exercise far more enjoyable.  This will be good in the future when I do incline log pressing as well.


Pull aparts

Notes: Chins and pull aparts performed in between sets of DB pressing.

Grenade ball cable hammer curls 50lbs

Light band pushdowns

Band pull aparts

Notes: Performed as one giant set

Log push-ups
15 w/narrow handles
5 w/wide handles

Notes: Just a little finisher.  Great pec movement, easier on the shoulders since the grip is neutral and the log diameter limits ROM.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Training Log: Entry 1778

(15) Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Squats 445+chains

Notes: Been neglecting this movement for too long.  Good to bring it back.

Log cleans
Worked up to 205x3

Notes: Performed these in between warm-up sets for the squats. Haven't touched the log in a while, and it's part of a press medley coming up.  This is already above competition weight and was pretty easy, so I'm not too worried, just want to not waste time by having poor technique on comp day.

Reverse hyper 320

GHR sit up w/25lb plate behind head

Carry medley (25', 200lb sandbag, 182lb keg)
4 trips

Notes: Agility was never my thing, but I started picking up the technique as I went.  The higher I get the implement on my chest, the faster I can go.  Really noticed a difference when I ditched my Inzer lever belt and went with the Spud deadlifting belt.  This event will range 25-50' and have farmer's and a yoke in it.  I got the farmer's to train with, was too lazy to load them, but no yoke.  Plan is to steal a page from Dan John, and hit a set of safety squat bar squats before running to simulate the fatigue/suckiness of the yoke.  Should help get some SSB squat volume in too.

Neck harness 45lbs
40 reps

General notes: Had the day off work today, so was able to train longer than normal.  Will need to be able to condense this down in the future, as I normally train before work.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Training Log: Entry 1777

Chins w/45lb

Notes: 2 rest pauses.

Bench 210lbs

Notes: On week thirteen of Matt Kroczaleski's bench program in his "Insane Training" book. Conveniently enough, it's a deload week while I recover from my contest. Still got a decent pump in the chest.

Pull aparts
20 reps in between all sets of benching

Shoulder circuit
3 series

Notes: Just something I've been doing ever since I got an impingement in my left shoulder. 50 partial presses, 15 front raises, 15 lateral raises, all done back to back.

Grenade ball lat pulldowns 90lbs

Notes: Using a plate loaded pulldown, so it takes little weight to get intense here. Right lat still a little tweaked from that last atlas stone, so going easy.

Kroc rows 105

Notes: Normally hitting 25-30 on this, but babying the right lat for now.

Sunday, January 11, 2015



Just completed my 4th strongman comp and ended up placing second.  This is the first time I’ve placed in a comp, and placing this high is just amazing.  Everything really seemed to come together, and it looks like a lot of the lessons I’ve learned from previous competitions/comp experience really shined through.  My training paid off as well, and that’s while training at home by myself with limited equipment first thing in the morning.  While some things are still fresh in my head I want to get them down.


Implements for this event were a 225lb axle w/tires, 115lb circus dumbbell, 165lb keg and a “mystery object” that turned out to be a fire hydrant.  The mystery object was originally supposed to be a sandbag.  I took 2 weeks of vacation before the comp to visit my in-laws and didn’t want to pack a whole bunch of gear to train with, so I threw a 150lb sandbag in my car only to find out they were cutting it out of the comp.  I was pissed at the time, but I think all the time I spent training with the sandbag just got me good at cleaning and pressing awkward objects anyway, so it was a net gain.

I came into this with a gameplan of hitting the axle first, then the dumbbell, then the keg, then the fire hydrant.  Thought process was that the axle was the heaviest and required the most technique, the dumbbell required technique, the keg just required me to hulk the weight up and I had a chance to train with it before the comp and the fire hydrant was a crapshoot, so I would save it for last in case I couldn’t press it.  That way, I would have at least a fast 3 implement time should I fail on the 4th.

When the event started, I was actually caught off guard by how easily I cleaned the axle.  Cleaning is never my strong suit, and every person before me had to continental the weight up, but I just threw it up to my shoulders.  In retrospect, my ghetto axle at home is harder to work with than the comp ones because it is thicker and has no knurling at all, so I think that’s what made this so much easier.  However, it ended up slowing me down a little because I was anticipating more of fight.  My leg drive also fell apart as a result, but I can still press 225 strict just fine.  Lesson learned here: anticipate success rather than failure.

Moved on to the circus dumbbell and made a rookie mistake: I went back to powerlifter mode and waited for a press command.  It was only a second, but it did throw off my rhythm and made it that my first attempt to press the weight went flat.  Gathered up my reserves and hit the second attempt just fine, but this is where things got interesting.

 I can only speculate what happened psychologically, and my thought is that I got really upset with myself over missing the press command and just sort of melted down, because once I got the dumbbell over head I flew into a rage.  It’s still crazy for me sitting here the next morning to think about, but I was legitimately angry about something and I still can’t quite figure out what, but it manifested in me completely abandoning the gameplan on the spot and being absolutely furious at the fire hydrant.  I did not give a shit about technique, and just wanted to show dominance over it, so I grabbed it, threw it up to my shoulders and pressed in the dumbest way I probably could have.  By the grace of god, the judge gave me a down command the second I lost my grip on the fire hydrant, so I just let it slip through my fingers and went to the keg.

I was still in the same state of fugue when I reached the keg, but thankfully I was realistic about my lack of coordination and trained all my keg work to be about brute strength rather than technique.  I did not lap and roll the keg up, but instead just ripped it off the floor to my chest and pressed it.  I threw it to the floor and really had to calm myself down, because I was still pissed off over something I couldn’t figure out, but I ended up taking 3rd out of 7, which is a great showing for me.  Upon reviewing the video and hearing the jeers of my fellow competitors, I used pretty much zero leg drive the whole time, which is pretty badass, but also means I’m losing time by strict pressing.  I keep training leg drive in my training, but I imagine that when the chips hit the floor, I go back to what I’m good at.  Still, was feeling good after this event.


This event took forever, as I was warned they usually do.  We did 20lb jumps from 440-520, and 40lb jumps from there.  If you know me, you know this is my event, so not a whole lot to write up.  I did employ some psychological warfare, and made a conscious effort to remain as calm, collected and bored as possible every time I pulled.  I wanted everyone else to know that their efforts were futile, and that they should just quit because I could do this all day.  A little cocky, but whatever, if you got it flaunt it.

I DID ensure to strap in for every single set.  No points for style here, and I wanted to save my grip for the contest as much as I could.

In the end, it came down to me and one other competitor.  We both got up to 680, which he managed with probably the most magical and gravity defying hitch I have ever seen in my life.  I am nothing but jealous about it.  I pulled a pretty smooth 680, but psyched myself up for it pretty hard since it was down to the wire.  When 720 came around, the other guy withdrew and I thought I had a decent shot at it.  However, being expended from the previous effort, I went to pull, got the weight a few inches off the ground and felt the sensation of something separating in my mid-back.  It wasn’t worth slipping a disk, so I settled with sharing first place.  Not exactly how I wanted it to go, but still, I got some points, and at this point I was second overall in the standings.


Did no training for this, have nothing close to the implement.  Gameplan was “be stronger than everyone else”.  Amazingly, that worked, because even though it was only 550lbs, this Yoke just SUCKED.  I don’t know what it was, but every second it was on my back I felt like I was being crucified.  I felt like I had a ton of drops and was making no progress, but looking at the video I actually only dropped 3 or 4 times and got pretty far between drops.  I think what helped me compared to other competitors was simply SOME implement experience (definitely saw a few first time yokes out there) and my willingness to endure more misery, as I would quickly get back under the bar every time it set down.  I probably had the slowest time among those who completed the course, but since that was me and 2 other guys, I got 3rd again.  This put me in second overall by 4.5 points, trailing first by 4 points, so pretty wide margins all around.

One thing I did take away from this is that I was very uncomfortable having weight on my neck, and I think this stems from the fact that I haven’t been hitting the safety squat bar as much as I used to.  It’s a great piece of equipment and I credit the majority of my success with it, so I need to get it back into my routine.  It should also help my dead climb back up.


No training on this one, came into it cocky thinking that my deadlift strength would payoff.  Looking at the video though, I was moving slow.  In the future, can’t be wasting time waiting for the tire to fall.  Soon as I flip it, set up for the next one.  Technique sucked too, need to be able to one shot it each time.  I also dropped it at the end of the event, and had I been better with my technique I would’ve closed the gap on time.  I took 5th on this, getting beaten out by a 10th of a second by 4th place.  Was still in second here, now at 19.5 points with third at 16.


Used some new tacky on this, which seems like a dumb idea considering the last time I botched stones was because I used new equipment, but things actually worked out well.  Prior to the contest I looked up what the weather was going to be like, noticed it was going to be cold, and picked up some Elite cold weather tacky.  The rest of the internet seemed to dislike the stuff and prefer spider tack, but by the time stones rolled around, no one’s spider tack was working, while the elite (though incredible tough to work with) was plenty sticky.  It definitely has my endorsement.

That aside, the event changed day of the contest, and instead 2 atlas stones and 2 natural stones, we were loading a 240lb atlas stone, 250lb natural stone, 275lb sandbag and 310lb atlas stone.  Once again, all that time at my in-laws with a sandbag was going to pay off.  Life works out funny sometimes.

First stone was no real issue.  Lapped it this time instead of trying to one shot it.  Natural stone I was dumb on, and tried to grab it like an atlas stone instead of considering the design of it.  Grabbed it at the front instead of the back, and it fell backwards out of my hands.  Regripped and one shotted it.

The sandbag had a few interesting factors.  Second I was second overall, 5 other guys had a crack at it, so it was covered in tacky and actually stuck to the floor, so I had to break the grip of the tacky first.  Secondly, one of the volunteer loaders was way in my space while I was trying to work with this, so I had to shove him out of the way with the sandbag to get myself some space to work with.  After that though, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Got it in my lap, inched up to the platform, used it to brace the bag, and loaded it.

The 310 stone was a disaster.  When I went to pick it up, I noticed it was incredibly slipper and smooth.  Then I looked at my forearms and realized that this stone was covered in dirt, and now, so were my forearms.  So my tacky was pretty much worthless at this point, and I tried every way I could to get a grip on this stone.  I tried getting my hands under it, my shins against it, bear hugging it, front squatting it, etc.  If I could have hacky sacked it up, I would have.  It just wasn’t happening.  Sprained my right lat slightly toward the end and just about gave up, but figured f**k it and kept going until the whistle blew.  No idea what my placing was on the event, but I did reasonable well, and enough for second overall.

I have another contest in Feb, but it has some very similar events.  In all honesty, this contest was just supposed to be a tune up to get me ready for that one, but after this showing, I may just do the Feb one for fun.  Either way, still a great experience.    

Monday, January 5, 2015

Training Log: Entry 1776

Bench 315

Notes: Right shoulder was saying "no", so I shut it down early.  Been pushing hard prepping for the contest, and don't want to dork it up this close to gameday.

Keg clean and press

FG DB clean and press 105

Feeling ready.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Training Log: Entry 1775

Axle clean and press
Worked up to 2x1x225

Notes: Tried out the continental clean for warm-ups, and though I got a handle on the technique, I couldn't get 210 off my belly.  Decided to go for broke and just clean the damn thing, and it went up fast and smooth.  I tried again to see if it was just a fluke, and still no issues.  Feeling good about comp day.  Been training this off of a 7 mat height to simulate the tires, biggest takeaway that I can't really build momentum off the floor.  The press was super easy as well.

Keg clean and press
Worked up to a set of 3

Notes: Got the technique figures out again.  Was overthining it before.  Biggest takeaway is to get both hands as far away from me as possible at the start to get the keg rotated up my chest.  If I set up right. it's super easy.

Squats 405

Notes: Was going for 20, but the 19th took everything out of me.  Last heavy squat workout before the comp.  Will go back to my current working protocol when I get back to training.

Back from 2 weeks of vacation and weight is no worse for wear.  Should be good for weigh in day.