Sunday, September 11, 2016

Penultimate Week in Review: Bring on the Cup

KAT BECKER paid a visit to last Saturday's strongman clinic as part of her preparation for the WASM qualifier, Saturday September 24th. Kat is - and I'd say this is not really up for debate - the state's premier female strength athlete. She did not compete at last year's strongman state finals due to injury, and while I can't recall her best bench to date, her squat and deadlift are both in excess of 220 kilograms; or nearly 500 pounds apiece. Not bad for a chick who stands barely five foot five and plans to compete in the under 75 kilo division at the GPC Perth Cup (the qualifier is the week after the Cup, but Kat likes a challenge so is doing both), and in case the sarcasm was too subtle for you: yes, those numbers are fucking heavy and yes, you are correct to feel weak.

I swear this has been my most disjointed and half-assed comp prep to date. The last addition to this season's list of injuries and illnesses; last week, something in my wrist popped. I wasn't training. I was half asleep, fiddling with my CPAP mask. The one I'm using now is still kinda new; my last one I broke the hose connection to while trying to detach it so I could go take a piss in the night.

Don't ask me how I managed it, but as I finally yanked the hose free something in my wrist went pop, and for most of the next week I couldn't use that hand for very much. Rotating the wrist would make it click and pop some more, and feel generally unpleasant. But Thursday morning it finally stopped doing that, so I went and benched like I was spose to the week previous, and then did my last deadlift session the following Friday night. I trialled suicide grip while benching as it did alleviate some of the discomfort in my wrist, but it's a bit late in the game to be switching up my grip that much, and I didn't appreciate the lack of stability

Weighing 130 kilos, I worked up to a quick moving single of 320 kilos - twenty off my best ever and ten kilos heavier than my record in the under 140 division. A 320+ deadlift on Cup day is in the bag... I'd like to say 330 even. I will just have to wait and see. Admittedly I had to use straps as I grip the bar underhand with my right and my wrist was complaining a bit. Still a huge improvement on how it felt the previous week. I finished the session with some of the heaviest seated rows I've ever done, by a significant amount. 190 kilos for eight solid reps... I dunno, maybe it was just the way the Hammer Strength machine was set up that night. But 200 kilo seated rows will soon be a thing that I do.

I need one more squat session, and soon. It's going to have to be Monday night, Tuesday at the very latest. The squat is the most fatiguing of the three static lifts, and requires the longest recovery time.  I was thinking I might actually get it done at this weekend's clinic. But when no trainees presented on the day and I had a free session to do whatever I pleased... I pleased to do a little strongman events myself.

Would you believe that, in my first heavy log clean-press session in months, I hit a shaky but strict single of 110? While my best, whether log or axle, is two or three reps of this weight (and in training a quick, barely locked-out and likely No Lift 120), the simple fact I got this today was pretty invigorating. Slowly but surely I've been pushing my shoulder back into service, and while my bench press is an easy 30 kilograms under where it was about a year back, it's improving. It cannot withstand volume pressing anymore (not that high volume really worked for me) so, once warmed up, I need to reach maximal loading relatively quickly if I'm going to press heavy before the bursitis and/or tendon tears arc up enough to prevent pressing ahead.

I finished the solo session with a few yoke runs, just to remind myself what walking with the weight I plan to squat next weekend felt like. It's over a hundred kilos off what used to be considered a decent yoke walk for a nationally competitive strongman. But, again, I'm not trying to jeopardise my Perth Cup campaign (any more than I already have); I'm just cramming the sessions in while I have the time and am other wise uninhibited.

While chatting with Stefan, he remarked on how I was, apparently, looking both leaner and larger lately. It's nice when people notice this stuff as I don't pay a lot of attention to my own 'aesthetics'. It's also nice to know that, given my current anxiety levels at work are having a noticeable impact on my appetite, I'm not losing strength in the process. Leaner is good! So long as my deadlift stays heavy.

Squat deep: 250/260/270
Bench close: 150/160/170
Pull conventional: 320/330/340

Press Thursday September 8th - Ten Days Till the Cup
DB super-set supine curls & rotators
DB bench: 15 kgs x 10

Bench press (all paused):
60 kgs x 8
60 kgs x 5 w/suicide grip
90 kgs x 3
90 kgs x 3 w/suicide grip
110 kgs x 1
130 kgs x 1
150 kgs x 1

Hammer Strength shoulder press:
45 kgs p/h x 10 TPR
40 kgs x 8
35 kgs x 10

Hammer Strength chest press:
45 kgs p/h x 9 TPR
30 kgs x 2 x 10

DB front raises super-set w/Triceps pushdowns:
10 kgs x 3 x 10
Full stack x 10, 15

Pull Friday September 9th
Hips, shoulders, bands

75 kgs x 8
125 kgs x 5
175 kgs x 3
225 kgs x 2
275 kgs x 1
320 kgs x 1 PR @ 130 kilos bodyweight

Hammer Strength seated rows:
160 kgs x 10
180 kgs x 10 PR
190 kgs x 8 PR

Events Saturday September 10th

Hips, shoulders, bands

Log clean-press:
45 kgs x 6
70 kgs x 3
90 kgs x 1
100 kgs x 1
110 kgs x 1

Yoke walk:
130 kgs x 2 x 20 meters
210 kgs x 20 meters
290 kgs x 20 meters

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