Thursday, December 3, 2015

Quitter the Elf

For those who wish to participate in Holiday Festivities without the fear of instilling perfectionism in your child or normalizing a surveillance state, I offer the following letter from Quitter the Elf as an addendum:


"Hi [kid's name]!

I bet you just read a book about my old job!  I used to report to Santa about everything that kids did during December, but I quit that job this year (that's why my name is Quitter the Elf).

I wanted to build toys for kids, but Santa wanted me to join the Northpole Surveillance Agency (NSA) so he could keep a closer eye on kids.  This made me and some of my elf friends very sad!

My friend Edward posted Santa’s whole plan for the NSA on the internet so everyone could read it!  I bet that’s how someone wrote that book about all the other elves!  Well that made Santa and the NSA VERY angry!

I had another elf friend named Chelsea who sent Santa’s sled route to another elf named Julian who put it on the internet too!  That way, kids would know *exactly* when they could stop behaving!  The NSA was really, really mad now!

Well, seeing how angry everyone was getting, I just decided to quit my job with the NSA and come make a new friend during Christmas season. I don’t think the holidays are about being good just to get presents – I don’t think anyone can be on their best behavior *all* the time! 

So until Christmas, we can play with your toys, read your books, and every day we can try to be nice to our friends and family. On days when we aren’t as nice, we can say we’re sorry and try to do
better the next day.

I think we are going to have lots of fun!

P.S. Tell your dad I REALLY like his books!


Monday, May 18, 2015

Training Log: Meet Week

#1 rule of this week, rest up, nothing too strenuous, stretch, get ready for the meet and, as always, do. not. get. hurt.  I made sure to eat a lot, hydrate well, and tried to stay around between 178-183 lbs bodyweight since I signed up for the 181 weight class (though I would have lifted in 198 if I didn't make weight).

Meet day was good - weighed in @177 lbs, the meet went about as well as I hoped - for those unfamiliar with format, this was a "push/pull" meet meaning it just tested the bench press and deadlift.  You have three judges who each have the option to give you a white light for a good lift and a red light for failed lift for technical issues or failure to complete the movement (there is a light board that lights up).  You attempt each lift three times - if you have a successful lift you move up in weight for the next attempt, if you fail the lift you may either re-try it or move up in weight, you are not allowed to move down.  At the beginning of the day you tell the judge your "opener"/first lift and then have to tell them your next lifts after each attempt.  I find the bench press more challenging as it involves more judge cues (a judge sits behind you as you lower the weight to your chest, you then have to hold it still until he says "press", then when you press all the way up, finishing the movement, you wait until the judge says "rack" to put the weight back).  You can practice paused benches a lot, but it is very different going on someone else's cues.

I successfully benched on my first two attempts, but the third one stuck halfway up after the pause, so my highest successful bench press was 265 lbs.  I successfully deadlifted all three attempts for a high lift of 430 lbs.  This was a 20 pound increase on the bench press since the last meet in mid-october and a 45 lb increase in deadlift. All attempts are listed below.  It was a great meet, everyone was extremely helpful and encouraging and the folks putting it on did a great job.

I am hoping to compete in a full meet (Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift) this fall, but first I will have to navigate the powerlifting world of Paris when the family and I head across the pond for a few weeks. Stay tuned for updates on that!

video


Monday, May 11
Bench
5 x 45; 95
3 x 10 x 135

Band bench 3 x 6 with bar + monster mini bands

Cable crossovers
5 x 8

Tricep extensions
3 x 10

Tuesday, May 12
Deadlift
5 x 95
4 x 8 x 135
4 x 1 x 225 + monster mini bands

Lat pulldowns
3 x 8

Chest support TBar row

3 x 8

Friday, May 15th
~45 min of foam roll, lacrosse ball & softball massage, the stick leg rolling, and rotator cuff band exercises

Meet Day
Bench warm up:
8 x 85
6 x 135
3 x 175
2 x 205
1 x 235
Meet Lifts
1 x 250  - 3 white lights = good lift
1 x 265 - 3 white lights = good lift
1 x 275 - fail - stuck about half way up after pause

Deadlift warm up
6 x 135
3 x 225
1 x 275
1 x 315
1 x 365

Meet Lifts
1 x 395 - 3 white lights = good lift
1 x 415 - 3 white lights = good lift
1 x 430 - 3 white lights = good lift

Monday, May 11, 2015

Week 19 (De-load/Two weeks from competition)

De-load week, then an off-week before the meet (went with this: de-load without de-load ).  Feel good about where I am for the meet - last October I did a push/pull and was able to bench 245 and deadlift 385 - hoping to significantly improve on those next week - I know form has improved and I've been working more on the pause in the bench press.  After the meet, I have a lot of stuff planned for working out in Paris as I'll be spending five weeks there, so stay tuned.


Monday, May 4
De-load week
Squat
5 x 95; 135; 135; 185
3 x 230
3 x 265
3 x 300

Front-loaded band squats
5 x 45; 95 + Light Bands
5 x 6 x 135 + Light Bands

Abs
Standing cable core press x 10/overheadx10
Cable crunches x 25
Standing cable core press x 10/overheadx10
Cable crunches x 25

Tuesday, May 5
Form work
Bench Press
10 x 10 @95

Deadlift
4 x 8 @135 + Monster Mini Bands
4 x 8 @135

Wednesday, May 6
Bench
5 x 45; 95; 135; 165
3 x 195
3 x 215
3 x 250

EliteFTS Shouldersaver 2board
5 x 3 @225

Lat Pulldown 5 x 12

Cable Row 3 x 12

Thursday, May 7
Deadlift
5 x 45; 95; 135; 185; 245
3 x 290
3 x 335
3 x 395 (was supposed to be 380, but wanted to test this as opener)

Isometric deadlifts
5 x 5second hold @185lb - these are awesome.


Cable rope crunches 3 x 20

Monday, May 4, 2015

Week 18: Third week out, last heavy week before meet

This was the last heavy week before the push/pull coming up.  I was able to get a solid paused rep in at 265 on the bench and a single at 430 on deadlift.  My form broke a little bit on deadlift (upper back rounded) but the weight felt good, just need to use the next two weeks to work on form/getting my legs under me and not shooting my hips up.

Next up is a de-load week and a week off before the meet.  I am almost constantly keeping in mind the lifts that I missed in the October meet (I couldn't bench 260 and got called for a hitch on my last deadlift attempt of 405) and the lifts that I completed (245 bench and 385 deadlift) and planning to improve on these numbers in two weeks.

After that, we will be spending some time abroad - I'll keep up with training and have a few goals as I prepare for my first full powerlifting meet later this fall (squat, bench, deadlift).

Monday, April 27
Squat
5 x 45, 95, 135, 185, 225
5 x 265
3 x 300
1 x 335

Dropset
245/195/145/95/45: 10/8/8/10/10

Back extensions and cable crunches
3 x 10/20

Tuesday, April 28
Bench
5 x 45; 95; 135; 185
5 x 210
3 x 240
1 x 265 - felt great, paused, stuck about 3 inches from chest very very briefly so...

Dead bench
225 x 1
235 x 1
235 x 1
245 x 1

EFS Short Band Bench
5 x monster mini
5 x light
3 x 5 x average

Lat pull downs with straight bar, palms facing each other
5 x 8

Facepulls
3 x 20

Thursday, April 30
Deadlift
5 x 45; 95; 135; 185; 225; 275
5 x 335
3 x 385
1 x 430 - upper back rounded a bit

One arm landmine rows 
2 x 10 @25/50, 3 x 8 @75

Friday, May 1
Overhead Press
5 x 45;45; 95; 115
5 x 135
3 x 150
1 x 165
1 x 180 (fail)
12 x 135

DB bench
8 x 70; 75; 80
6 x 90
5 x 100

Lat pull downs, close grip palms facing each other
5 x 20 - fat gripz first two sets @150, 130 no fat gripz for two sets, 110+fat gripz last set

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Week 17 Training Log - 4th Week Out/1 Year on Wendler's 5/3/1

I've been keeping track of my workouts now for about a year (though I've only been posting them to the blog since New Year's).  I email my workouts to a good friend and training partner from my time in Atlanta - the email stays in my inbox...which is saying something because nothing brings me greater organizational joy than filing emails (though I have gotten to file the workout logs each time the gmail conversation hits 100).  Long story short, about a year ago I shifted from making up my own workout splits (typically something like bench/chest, squat/legs, deadlift/back) I bought Jim Wendler's Beyond 5/3/1 e-book (at the recommendation of aforementioned friend), read it, and started the program.  Since last week had been just over a year on the program, I looked at what my 3 sets of 3 week looked like last April - turns out the program works.



Add to this that my form is leaps and bounds from where it was then and you have a ringing endorsement of the program.  I would highly recommend it to anyone with a good base of strength and who is at least somewhat accustomed to heavy weight training 3-4x/week.

Those familiar with the program may note that doing the 3x3 week after the 5/3/1 week is not how the program goes...you'd be right, but the meet I'm prepping for got moved, so I had to adjust.

Here's last week's workouts:

Monday, April 20
Squats
5 x 45
5 x 95
5 x 135
5 x 185
5 x 215
Working Sets
3 x 245
3 x 280
3 x 315
1 x 340
1 x 360 (fail, but wanted to try double body weight - got it moving back up a little bit but stuck)
1 x 315

Trap Bar Deads
5 x 135
10 x 225
2 x 8 x 250
2 x 8 x 275

Superset Back extensions/cable crunches 
5 x 10/20

Tuesday, April 21
5 x 45
5 x 95
5 x 135
5 x 165
Working Sets
3 x 195
3 x 225
3 x 255
rest/pause @195 15/4/1

Shouldersaver 2 board
5 x 225
4 x 225
3 x 5 x 205

Superset Lat pulldowns/straight arm pull downs
5 x 10/10

Thursday, April 23
Deadlift
5 x 45
5 x 135
5 x 185
5 x 225
5 x 275
Working Sets
3 x 315
3 x 360
3 x 405
15 x 315

Band deadlifts
5 x 135 + monster mini
5 x 135 + light
5 x 135 + average
5 x 185 + light
1 x 225 + light
2 x 1 x 255 + light
1 x 255 + average

Friday, April 24
Overhead press
5 x 45
5 x 85
5 x 100
5 x 115
Working Sets
3 x 130
3 x 145
3 x 160
10 x 130

Dumbbell Incline Bench
8 x 60; 65; 70; 75
5 x 80

Single Arm Landmine Rows
10 x bar
10 x 25
10 x 45
2 x 7 x 70

Cable rows
5 x 20 @90lbs

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 16 - Five Week Out Max Week

The Staunton Open Bench Press/Deadlift competition is on May 16th.  In preparation for this, we took a car trip to a friend's gym in Lewisburg, WV to do sort of a mock meet - pack food, supplements, lifting stuff, drive a little bit, and then warm up and max on bench and deadlift.  It was a great day, I hit a PR deadlift of 455 (pictured) and benched 280 with a slight pause.  Squat day and overhead press day were good, but the mock meet was certainly the highlight of the week.  Should note that, at the actual meet, warm up/leadup lifts will not be nearly as intense.

Plan from here out is to do two more heavy weeks with accessories focusing solely on bench and deadlift related movements (dumbbell bench, hex bar deads, lots of lats) then a week of deload, then a week off the week before the meet to rest, stretch, and get ready.  A week later, I'll head to France to start prep for my first full powerlifting meet (hopefully) in September.  Stay tuned.

Monday, April 13
Squats
5 x 45
5 x 135
5 x 185
5 x 225
Working Sets5 x 265
3 x 295
1 x 330
10 x 265

Band squats (light bands)
5 x 135, 165
3 x 185, 205, 225

Front Squats
3 x 8 @135

Thursday, April 16th
Max Dead and Max Bench
Deadlift
5 x 45, 135, 185, 225, 275
5 x 330
3 x 375
1 x 420
1 x 455 (PR)
1 x 465 (fail)
10 x 225

Bench
5 x 45, 95, 135, 175
5 x 205
3 x 235
1 x 260
1 x 270
1 x 280
5 x 225

Saturday, April 18th
Overhead press
5 x 45; 95; 115
5 x 135
3 x 160 (was supposed to be 150 but i cant add)
1 x 175

TBar rows
5 x 20 (50lbs first set then 75 lbs for four sets - used 25 lb plates)

Cable rows
3 x 20

Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 15 Training Log (6 weeks out) "De-load"...kind of

Last week was kind of a de-load week.  Wanted to just get the main lifts in without a lot of accessories - so not a traditional deload but feel good this week.  Lifted three days after taking a couple off.  Also, this week is six weeks out from the competition on may 16th - the meet got moved, so I shifted some things around - I have a 5/3/1 week left, two more training weeks, one deload and an off week before the meet.

A lot of other stuff going on outside of the gym that I'm sure I'll get to at some point.  Overall, happy with this week, hit back/triceps hard on overhead press day as I think tricep strength is a sticking point on bench.  I also started adding a sumo rep in at the end of each set on deadlift to add some posterior chain work in.

Thursday, April 9

Squat
5 x 45
5 x 95
5 x 135
5 x 185
5 x 205
Working Sets
3 x 240
3 x 275
2 x 310, 1 x 310 (was also on the bad squat rack, so didn't push the third rep - felt like I could have gotten it, though.

Bench
5 x 45
5 x 95
5 x 135
5 x 160
Working Sets
3 x 190
3 x 220
3 x 250

Friday, April 10
Deadlifts
5 x 45
5 x 95
5 x 135
5 x 185
5 x 225 +1 Sumo
5 x 265 +1 Sumo
Working Sets
3 x 305 + 1 Sumo
3 x 350 + 1 Sumo
3 x 1 x 400 – want to get used to singles so regripped, repositioned after each rep

Saturday, April 11 
Overhead Press
5 x 45
5 x 85
5 x 105
Working Sets
3 x 125
3 x 140
3 x 155
Rest/Pause @125: 11/3/1

One-arm overhead dumbbell press +fat gripz
5 x 5 @40; 45; 45; 50; 50
Bent over rows
5 x 135
5 x 155
3 x 3 x 175

Close Grip incline bench (Smith machine)
5 x 8 plate on each side

Dips

10 x 10

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Week Fourteen Training Log - 7 weeks out

Last week was a good week - it started off as the week of 20 sets, squatting 225 twenty times and benching 180 twenty times.  Deadlift day, I attempted what I was hoping to be my meet opener (405) for three reps and nailed it.  Last October, I was called for a technical issue with pulling 405 so it was a no-lift, so I'm confident that I will get that weight and then some at the next meet.

Next week is a sort of de-load week due to meet rescheduling, but this week was an encouraging one.  Except for "landmine" squats, I don't like those very much and don't know that I'll be doing them again - will probably switch to front squats.

Monday, March 30
Squat
5 x 45; 135; 185
Working Sets
5 x 225
5 x 260
5 x 295
20 x 225

Band Squat
5 x 135 + light bands
3 x 5 x 185 + light bands

10; 8; 8; 4

Tuesday, March 31
Bench
5 x 45; 95; 135
Working Sets
5 x 180
5 x 205
5 x 235
Rest/pause @180 20/4/2

Bench Shouldersaver board press
5 x 5 @1bd/5@2bd @175

Lat pulldowns w.fat gripz 3 x 20 @140

Chest support Tbar Rows
5 x 90
3 x 3 x 115

Thursday, April 2
Deadlift
5 x 45, 95, 135, 205, 245
Working Sets
5 x 285
5 x 330
5 x 385 (was supposed to be 375 but I can't do math)
3 x 405 - wanted to get meet opener for three

Deficit deadlifts
5 x 5 x 225

Friday, April 3
Overhead Press
5 x 45; 75, 95
5 x 115
5 x 130
5 x 150
Rest/pause. @115 12/3/1
Incline bench w.fat gripz
5 x 45; 115; 135; 155
3  x 175; 195; 215
Dips 5 sets 25/18/12/8/7

Tbar rows
5 x 45; 90; 135
3 x 3 x 180

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Week 13 Training Log - Eight Weeks Out

Two more three-week cycles, one de-load week, and one rest week until the spring bench press deadlift open.  Last week was encouraging, hitting PRs on all four lifts for singles - 350 squat, 275 then 285 bench, 445 deadlift and 175 overhead press.  Excited about getting close to a double body weight squat and getting close to a body weight overhead press, hopefully these are on the horizon.  Tweaking the program a little bit over the next few weeks to focus on deadlift and bench.  Will be switching out the good mornings for a variety of other squat/deadlift variations in the next couple cycles.

Bodyweight 180-181 all week.
Monday, March 23rd
Squats
5 x 45
5 x 135
5 x 185
5 x 215
Working Sets
5 x 250
3 x 285
1 x 320
1 x 340
1 x 350 (PR)

Band Squats
5 x 135 + Light Bands
5 x 155 + Light Bands
3 x 3 x 175 + Light Bands

SS Yoke Bar Good Mornings
5 x 95
4 x 5 x 115


Tuesday, March 24th
Bench
5 x 45
5 x 135
5 x 175
Working Sets
5 x 205
3 x 225
1 x 245
1 x 265
1 x 275 (PR)
1 x 285 (PR)

EliteFTS Shoulder Saver combo (1bd/2bd)
5 x 5@1bd/5@2bd @165

Chest Support Tbar Rows
5 x 45; 70; 90
3 x 125
4 x 3 x 135

Lat Pulldown drop set
190/160/130/100: 14; 8; 6; 9


Thursday, March 26th
Deadlift
5 x 135
5 x 185
5 x 225
5 x 275
Working Sets
5 x 325
3 x 365
1 x 405
1 x 445 (PR)

Band Deadlift
3 x 3 x 135 + monster mini, light, average short bands
1 x 185 + average short bands
1 x 225 + average short bands
1 x 250 + average short bands


Friday, March 27th
Overhead Press
5 x 45
5 x 85
5 x 105
Working Sets
5 x 125
3 x 145
1 x 165
1 x 175 (PR)
1 x 185 (fail)
1 x 185 (fail)
Rest/pause @125: 12/3/2

Incline Fat Gripz Bench
5 x 115; 155
3 x 175
3 x 195
3 x 205

Dips: 5 sets
20; 15; 13; 10; 11

TBar Rows
5 x 45; 90; 135
3 x 160
3 x 170
3 x 180

Saturday, March 28
Lots of stretching, foam rolling, swiss ball abs, and seated calf raises