AFTER the last comp my mind was focussed on the next. The road was clear and obvious; I would write up and execute a fourteen week training program carrying me, non-stop, from the GPC push/pull I'd just done through to Pro Raw at the Arnolds, March 2018. Coz oh yeah. I'm going to the Arnolds next year. The national sub-masters deadlift record I set qualified me for the pull only section of Pro Raw. Apparently there's even a certificate in the mail... but I digress.
My mind was on the next comp, and not at all interested in the pain that my body was feeling after the last one. Powerlifting, while not nearly as demanding as Strongman, still takes its toll. Assuming that I'd be able to manage the program I wrote without burning out a month or so into it was sheer naivety. As usual, my body found occasion to remind me that I am mortal and I needed to take a proper break.
A fortnight passed. I came in for a Saturday afternoon clinic to find I was the only one there. As I am a creature of habit I decided to deadlift; I was going to try for another new 1RM while the getting was ostensibly still good. It was not. I pulled a muscle in my lower back on a warmup set. I foam-rolled it and tried to work through it, but to no avail. I went home and booked a physio appointment.
For some weeks before sustaining this minor injury - how many I could not honestly tell you - a pain in my T1 had been growing progressively worse. One afternoon a couple of days before xmas, I was sitting in my office and the pain was now accompanied by mild numbness and a tingling sensation running down my left arm, ending at the tip of my little finger. I went home and sorted an earlier physio appointment.
I am very glad that I could compete for the portion of 2017 that I did, and that this complaint stayed at bay over that time. And my quest to find a sooner appointment was also serendipitous, as it brought me back into contact with Ceri, who I first met several years ago at WA's mecca of joint and muscle management, Body Genius. It was there that Ceri learned how to needle big brutes like me, and I was extremely grateful for the pain she visited on me last week. What I'd pegged as a bulging disc may be something less serious, as the pain and numbness have subsided completely.
So I amended my grandiose three and a half month template and returned to training this week. I walked in to PTC and no sooner had I put my bag down than I was approached by a seven foot tall youngster who already knew my name.
"Hi. You don't know me, but you are Abaddon, correct?"
I answered in the affirmative.
"Darwin sent me. I want to get into Strongman and he said you were the man to see. Also he said you could help me with my deadlift."
Bradley, this kid's name was. I spoke with Bradley for several minutes and got an idea of his training background. Then I had him show me his deadlift form. One or two adjustments and he was pulling better within minutes. Seeing that happen is always very satisfying for me, so I was surprised when he offered me fifty bucks for the maybe fifteen minutes total I'd spent with him.
Later during my session, Richard asked me why I wasn't doing GPC states next year.
"Strongman, buddy. After the Arnolds in March I will be focussing on strongman."
I guess he's feeling the relative lack of competition in the heavier weight classes. But considering 2018's state championships is so big it needs a third day to accommodate all the entrants, I'm certain the under 140s won't be a cake walk. In fact I'm pretty sure Craig will prove to be stiff competition for Richard. I will have just returned from the Arnolds and will be in the crowd, keen to see them both lift their best.
But it's strongman for me in 2018. My days of competing in the sport that changed my life are far from over.
PRESS+ Wednesday December 27th
Bench press (paused):
bar x 10
60 kgs x 5
100 kgs x 2
122.5 kgs x 9 TPR
Axle OHP (strict):
30 kgs x 10
50 kgs x 10
70 kgs x 10
60 kgs x 4 x 10
EZ bar skull crushers:
40 kgs x 3 x 8
super-set w/DB front raises (p/h):
10 kgs x 4 x 10
HS chest press (p/h):
45 kgs x 10
40 kgs x 3 x 8
super-set w/HS bicep curls (l&r):
17.5 kgs x 4 x 10
assault bike 5 mins @ +50 rpm