Training Week in Review 2: The Sequel

We all know it to be true: the sequel is never* as good as the original. And in the case of my training this past week this is doubly true. While I hit a new deadlift PR (340 pounds, thank you very much) my bench and squats really paid the price. It was as if I forgot how to do a bench press and what squat depth meant.

I’m not telling you this to elicit a pity response but rather to show you how I’m continuing to  redefine failure for myself. You see, it’s easy for me to be discouraged and want to crawl under a rock and feel sorry for myself and think that I’m not good enough and that my goals are WAY out of reach when weeks like this happen. But I’m not going to do that this week.

You may be asking why? and I’ll tell you: because the only thing I did was not hit a couple of training lifts that I wanted to hit. It doesn’t mean everything that I’ve done up to this point is null and void. It doesn’t mean that I am suddenly less than I was last week or that I’m a bad person. It just means that this week there were factors that prevented me from performing like a I did last week. And that’s life.

What happened during the week? Life and it’s stressors, I suppose. Number one is that my work schedule has been incredibly hectic and my sleep schedule hasn’t caught up. Getting up at 4:45 am and working from 6:15 am until 4:30 0r 5:30 pm isn’t as conducive to recovery as one would think. Plus, all those meetings! Sitting and thinking and making decisions all day leaves a person drained by the time they walk through the gym doors at 5 or 6 pm. And then again, the previous week was so stellar that I’m sure there was some residual tiredness (plus, did I mention 340 pound deadlifts – for 5 sets of 2?).

What’s my plan going forward? Since work isn’t going to change soon I really need to step up  my recovery for the next two weeks (YIKES! It’s less than two weeks until Twin Ports Raw Open!). Eating better, getting more sleep (I’m gonna feel like an old person going to be bed at 9 pm), making better decisions at home, work AND the gym. It’s only two weeks – I can handle it.

And in the long run I’ll figure out how to manage my work commitments (I’m hiring some people so that’s a step in the right direction), take more breaks from work (hello vacation time), and learn more effective recovery techniques. I’m sure there’s someone out there who can help…

* I know there are exceptions, but I am using this for dramatic purposes so let’s just go with it, ok?

Training week in review – beginning of the end

This week marks the beginning of my last 4-week training cycle for the Twin Ports Raw Open meet on June 11th. I must admit it didn’t begin well – I got a head cold and decided NOT to train Monday and Tuesday to recover my body and begin my final training cycle training refreshed. This meant I had to figure out how to get my training in Wednesday through Saturday, knowing I had a graduation to attend Friday night. So training on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday it was.

Day 1: Deadlifts

Lovely Wednesday Deadlifts. We all know I love deadlifts. And that I have a pretty specific goal in mind (400 pounds). I have had some ups and downs during this training cycle but I’m going out on a limb to say it’s picking up for the better now.

My session this week ROCKED! I don’t know if it was the extra time between training sessions (Saturday to Wednesday) or the extra sleep I’ve been allowing myself but I was able to confidently pull 330 pounds for 5 sets of 2. And after that I did some rack pulls (deadlifts with a raised bar) at 365 pounds so I could practice my lock out and feel that weight in my hands. It was heavy but I was confident.

I’d say I’m coming along nicely for my next meet even if I don’t reach the 400 pound mark quite yet.

Day 2: Bench

Thursday was Bench day. What can I say about my bench press? Being positive I can say that I haven’t lost anything for the upcoming meet even though I’ve been battling a shoulder twinge for much of this training cycle.

This week I was able to press 155 pounds – not the best but not the worst. The presses themselves looked pretty good so my plan is to keep working technique and pushing the bar up. I should be able to beat my meet PR (160 pounds) and I’ll be happy with that. I’ll pick up more specific bench training for October to help improve that number but for now I’ll be happy not back sliding.

Day 3: Squats

Saturday SQUATS! I’m excited about my squat progress so far and this week I hit a new gym PR: 295 pounds! Not far from my goal of 300, so who knows – I may go for a big PR at the meet.

Training was working up to 9 RPE (meaning I could probably crank out one more rep if I had to) and that took forever! Forty minutes. And I still had the 3×3 at 265 pounds that I had to get through to call my primary lifting complete. PLUS the accessory movements that help me get stronger (remember those Anderson Squats? I got to do more of those as well as some other fun stuff). Saturday open hours at the gym are 10am – 11am. I was able to convince one of the coaches to let me come in at 9:30 and I finally left at 11:30. The coaches are pretty awesome to let me overstay open hours (plus the yoga class enjoyed some of my heckling).

So overall the beginning of the end is going well. I’m proud of the consistency I’ve put in at the gym and the progress I’ve made. To some it may seem like small potatoes but to me it’s just the beginning.

Next up: picking my lift attempt weights. I’ve already had a dream where I was at the meet and hadn’t done it yet and had no idea what to lift. I think this is the powerlifting version of the “being unprepared for a major test” dream.

Into the fray

Westside, Conjugate, Wendler, 5/3/1. Bulking, cutting, de-load. Peaking, volume, periodization. Seriously, WTF?

With all these words flying around the powerlifting world I finally realized I have jump into the deep end and figure things out for myself.

I’ve been powerlifting competitively for a year now (OMG! I’m a competitive powerlifter!). I know I’m strong. But now I have to learn what it takes for me to stay strong, be healthy, and become the master of my universe I think I am (I’m in the Masters division so I decided to rename it the Masters of the Universe division).

For the last year I’ve followed the lead of my trainers and have been training successfully, continuing to make gains. They provide me with most excellent training, keep me healthy and help me get stronger. Now I want to learn what they know. Understand why they recommend one exercise over the another. Take charge of my training (even if it is continuing to have them program it for me) and really understand what I am doing. So I have to jump into the fray.

There is a wealth of information on the internet about powerlifting and strength training. So much I don’t even want to look. It exhausts me just thinking about it – especially after a long week of work. Who are the best resources, how do I know what is right for me?

If you’ve ever wondered entering the term “powerlifting training” into a google search returns about 630,000 records. 630,000. That’s a lot. Too many for me. So what am I going to do?

Listen to my Movement Minneapolis trainers of course!

JVB (Jennifer Vogelgesang Blake) is half of the Barbells & Bone Broth podcast AND she wrote the Unapologetically Powerful powerlifting program. David Dellanave wrote the book on deadlifts and Jen Sinkler is a phenomenal trainer with a wealth of knowledge and little gems like the Lift Weights Faster programs. And I would be remiss if didn’t mention Mark Schneider and Martin Rittenberry because they are seriously great trainers. I’m surrounded by incredible people with great knowledge – I just have to listen to them when they talk about the people they look look up to and respect.

So now it’s my turn to delve into the vastness of powerlifting and training information out there and understand what I’ve been told. I’ve got my reading assignments – and I’m going to start at the very beginning (which I hear is a very good place to start). Someday I hope to have a fraction of the knowledge of my trainers.