back in PR territory on the DL

Wednesday afternoon at the MAC, I did a very low volume workout. No wonder I’ve been getting fat! I’m down to one conditioning session per week. But it was a solid training session. I tied my previous PR in the Deadlift, which felt like quite an accomplishment to me, just about exactly 24 weeks post-broken left arm.

Warm-Up: 1 minute slow, 2 minutes 1/2 tabata on the Airdyne.

Mobility: the usual

Deadlift: 10 x 45 / 5 x 155 / 3 x 225 / 1 x 275 / 1 x 295 / 5 x 300 (PR tie). Overhand hook grip throughout. In that respect this was a true PR, since I always used to switch up to a mixed grip at weights above 275. My grip work has been working!

Shoulder Press: 5 x 45 / 5 x 55 / 3 x 5 x 75.

Snatch/OHS Bottom Position Static Holds (30 seconds or so): 25 lbs, 25 lbs, 25 lbs. About 1 minute between efforts. I just did these because they felt good. I hadn’t been in the position in a while. They allowed me (forced me) to work on: back (thoracic and lumbar) extension, knees out, engaged (packed) shoulders, weight in mid foot, etc. All at once. It is safe to say that I was the only fellow in the MAC who had put himself in that position in quite some time.

That is all.

post Christmas strong

Monday after Christmas at the MAC.

Warm Up 2 minute 1/2 Tabata on Airdyne. Good warm up! Need to Tabata more often.

Mobility: hips, shoulders, quads, hams, ankles, calves

Balance platform goblet squat: 5 x 45 lbs. Fun!

Squat: 5 x 145 / 3 x 205 / 1 x 225 / 5 x 235. Not the best or worst reps ever.

Hang Power Cleans: 5 x 20 lbs / 5 x 45 lbs. Proud of myself for keeping it close!

Power Cleans: 1 x 50 kg / 1 x 60 kg / 3 x 3 x 65 kg (143 lbs). Not too bad.

Barbell Bent Over Rows: 3 x 5 x 105 lbs.

christmas eve romp

Christmas Eve Saturday outdoor ramble with John Chun.

Down the riverfront from Overton to the Steel Bridge, with some mobility work after 5 minutes, plus jumping, scaling fences — at one point, some homeless people called out to me, while I was sitting perched on top of a chain link gate, waiting for John, who had gone the long way around, “hey Spider Man!” That was fun — scrambling on rocks, etc, then running stairs on the waterfront, west and east side, east side of river through some back lots up to the civic center, more stair sprints, box jumps, and a little la planche into some parking lot; seems like parkour heaven here; back across the broadway bridge and home to the folk’s place. As usual, this was about 45 minutes. Good sweat, good elevation of heart rate, good, intuitive HIIT.

the basics

Friday afternoon at the MAC.

Warm-Up: 1250 meter row on the C2, about 5:03

Squat: 5 x 45 / 5 x 135 / 3 x 205 / 1 x 225 / 7 x 3 x 225. This was hard. What I am doing on Fridays right now is trying to get smoother and more powerful with 225. Many of these sets had great first reps, slower second reps, and grinding third reps.

Hang Power Clean (BTK): 5 x 35 lbs / 5 x 45 lbs

Power Clean: 1 x 50 kg / 1 x 55 kg / 3 x 3 x 60 kg. I was able to muscle my way through these, but my form is not too good. Gotta work on pulling all the way into the hip, the explosive fully extended shrug, and fast elbows.

Lying Triceps Extensions, Dumbbells: 3 x 8 x 30 lbs DBs.


there’s no creative name for just another workout

Wednesday afternoon my dad took me with him to the MAC again. I love this old club for no good reason.

CrossFitters only pretend they are “eleeet” athletes. At this club they live “eleeet,” though not in an athletic sense. I think they imagine themselves the elite of Portland’s social life. The only elite level athletes in there yesterday were 19-22 year old college-level athletes home for Christmas break, most likely footballers and lacrosse players. Oh and I saw a couple of others too… there was a visiting lonely CrossFitter (tattooed arms, big and ripped, Vibram five fingers, getting ready to deadlift… had to be one, right?)… and an older, fit guy, wearing a Stanford Rowing t-shirt.

The weight room is labelled the “exercise and conditioning” room… the vast bulk of it is cardio machines of course. But they do have a lone olympic platform and ancient bumper plates, two squat racks, and a bad-ass selection of dumbbells and pre-loaded barbells; it’s an old-school club.

Anyway, I did an abbreviated, vacation version of my normal Wednesday workout. Here it is:

Warm-Up: 5 minutes on the Airdyne.

Mobility: Hips, Hams, Quads, Calves, Shoulders.

Deadlift: 10 x 45 / 5 x 135 / 3 x 225 / 1 x 260 / 1 x 275 / 5 x 280. My body put out an unbelievable quantity of adrenaline during this session. More than enough to finish my set. I did these on the Oly Platform. Which at this club has a ridiculous sign warning people not to drop weights from above the knees. All the bench press stations and their inclined and declined variants surround the oly platform. And the MAC patrons, well, the college athletes anyway, were applying thier chiseled triceps to the bench press, moving their 135s and 185s and so on. I tried to console myself that I may be doughy and old, but at least I’m moving more weight than anyone else in here. (And yes, John Duncan, I know I deadlift at the level of an infant mouse with Parkinson’s disease.)

Supersets of Squat and Press: next I went to the squat rack and set up for some light, higher volume squats. With these, I am trying to grease the groove for better form in my heavy squats. I moved quickly between the pre-loaded barbells in the free-weights area and the squat rack to super-set squats and press.

Squats: 5 x 8 x 95 lbs (cf. last Wed., 4 x 8).

Press: 5 x 45 lbs / 3 x 5 x 65 lbs (cf. last Wed. 3 x 5 x 60).

So the supersets started and ended with squat, and I pressed in-between sets.

Whew! That was almost a conditioning workout! I actually sweated.

Then, I grabbed my dad’s jumprope and set out to do an ambitious conditioning session, which I aborted after only a couple of rounds, because I hadn’t slept the night before, and yada yada yada, anyway I was already feeling spent:

3 rounds: 100 single unders, 6 push-ups.

Cool down.

At the MAC they have a very hot, thick-as-pea-soup steam-room, and an outstanding Norwegian Sauna. They also supply Osage Rub at the sinks. This stuff is marketed as an after-shave cooler; but I use it on my elbows, shoulders, and knee. It’s like liquid Icy-Hot. It starts out as nothing and then a few minutes later feels like you have a painted-on icepack. If you haven’t tried that after a workout… I recommend it. It’s a miracle.

good monday

As a guest of my father at the Multnomah Athletic Club, Monday mid-day, I did the following, bare bones workout. I am jet-lagged AND burdened with some travelers’ woe (not to share TMI) so that, in part, explains the fact that I stripped the workout down so much.

Warm Up Airdyne 5 minutes

Squat 10 x 45 / 5 x 145 / 3 x 195 / 1 x 215 / 1 x 225 / 5 x 230 / 2 x 5 x 205. The 5 x 230 felt good. What this represents is a linear increase of 2.5 lbs from last Monday’s heavy squats. But instead of doing 3 x 5 I just treated it as a “max” set of 5, then did two work sets (at about 90% of the max). This is going to be my Monday pattern, for the time being, but I’ll probably move to 5 lbs per week increase over the next few weeks, until I am up in PR territory (current PR is 242.5). Next up: light squats on Wednesday, and heavy dynamic squats on Friday.

Power Clean 3 x 3 x 55 kg (121 lbs). For the sake of brevity, I didn’t even warm these up. Which was probably a mistake. These are starting to feel a bit more challenging. I’ve got a few more sessions before I run into PR territory with the Power Cleans (current 3 rep PR is 155 lbs, set nearly a year ago on Jan 14th, 2011); at 5 kg increase per session I would hit 154 at the end of next week. At that point I’m going to rethink the LP.

Bent Over Rows 3 x 5 x 95 lbs. A 10 lb increase from last week. And not a problem.

Cool Down Airdyne 2 minutes

Anyway, I got accomplished what I needed to in order to stay on track with training, so, one day at a time. That’s the only way to pursue training when you’re traveling with family. I’ll try to get back in for deadlift, press, and squat some more.

memento mori

Saturday I got out for a 45 minute ramble through Montford, to play in the steeply sloped Montford Community Center playground, and to scramble and sprint up the hills from the bottom of the Asheville Cemetery. Heart pounding, sweat drenched, I sprinted hills, clambered over fences and walls, leaped benches, scrambled on trees, ran stairs; now walking, now running, now jogging, now sprinting, now jumping. Then stopping and standing, out of breath. There in the cemetery surrounded by the weathered stones, when I needed to remember to put in living effort, I contemplated the repose of the dead. Memento mori. That’s reason enough to work out hard right now.

Trying to play like this also confronts me with a stubborn fact: yes, compared to where I have been in the past I am now quite out of shape. True that I am stronger, but I was far more conditioned for endurance a year ago. I also weighed 20 lbs less than I do today. Hopefully, doing these more “endurance” oriented workouts once a week will begin to address my relative lack of conditioning.

I am nothing if not persistent

Persistence is the key. You can say it’s hard work. But the harder thing is to persist. You can say it is talent. But just showing up is more important. Getting in reps. I keep showing up. For some reason I keep showing up, and doing work, and slowly but surely, I’ll attain my goals.

Friday AM early, at Asheville Strength and Conditioning.

Warm-Up: some agility drills, then about 5 minutes on the Airdyne.

Mobility work: shoulders, quads, hams, calves, ankles.

Squat: 2 x 5 x 45 / 5 x 145 / 3 x 195 / 1 x 215 / inordinately long break / 1 x 215 / 9 x 2 x 225, done on 2-3 minute intervals. The emphasis here was on having a very controlled descent, finding the full depth of the bottom, and then driving out of the hole while keeping the lumbar in extension. I found I had to correct my knees on a couple of reps, and out of the 18 reps there were probably 2 where I lost back extension. But mostly, they were really great. This cheered me up a lot.

Power Clean: 2 x 3 x 25 kg / 1 x 3 x 40 kg / 3 x 3 x 50 kg (110 lbs). These are starting to be a little less ugly. I did the power cleans between sets of squats, so I had a light sweat going most of the time.

Wrist Curls: 1 x 7 x 10 lbs fat grips, pronated and supinated. I had a little bit of wrist pain from these so I decided to can them today.

Turkish Get Ups: 1 x 5 x each arm x 25 lb KB.

Kettlebell Swings: 3 x 21 x 24 kg (52.8 lbs). Why? Why do I love KB Swings? The damn KBs are growing on me, that’s for sure.

doing work on wednesday

What was different about Wednesday, Dec. 14th, 2011? I laid off the auxiliary lifts and just focused on the basics: Deadlifts, Presses, and, yes, additional (very light) volume in squats. It felt good and it was good.

Jump Rope

Hips, Hams, Quads, Calves, Ankles, Shoulders.


Deadlift. Regular Bar 5 x 145 / 3 x 205 / 1 x 245 / 5 x 260. These felt better than they had in weeks. Fat Bar 3 x 5 x 160. These are so much fun.

Press. 5 x 45 / 3 x 5 x 60. Easy. I am deliberately holding myself back. The sore right shoulder is NOT leaving me alone. Clicking and popping constantly. But strangely, sets 2 and 3 felt better.


These were done in alternating sets. They felt damn good. My lower back started to complain during the 4th set, so I stopped. Otherwise I would have done 5 sets of each. But I think the total volume of squats ended up being much better with 4 sets. The light squats were done with a mind set towards emphasizing lumbar/thoracic extension, controlled descent, and explosive hip drive.

Squat (LBBS)

4 x 8 x 95 lbs

KB Swings

4 x 12 x 24 kgs (52.8 lbs)

Then, a little bit of wrist care…

Wrist Curls, Pronated and Supinated, 3 x 7 x 10 lbs FatGripz

Mobility wrists forearms

case of mondays

Oh things were hard this morning again. Not sure what’s the deal with my lifting. It’s not going well right now. My arms, from the shoulders to the triceps to the elbows to the forearms, on both sides… they feel so screwed up. Simply put. They are sore and constantly complaining when I’m in the gym. Double epicondylitis, cracking and popping ripped up tore to shit shoulders (especially my right side). Forearms complaining. Left wrist barely functional. And my squats… they feel ugly. Form so bad. Barely able to get through them. The arms start to hurt during the squats. Then, after I’m done, I go right into the power cleans. But they feel sloppy, uncoordinated, difficult. Not sure what I’ll do about all this, but I’ll tell you, dear reader, if things don’t improve soon then I may just have to change things up very drastically.

Maybe, though, it’s just a case of the mondays.

Here’s what I did, what the hey:

Monday, Dec 12th, 2011.

Warm-up: 5 min on Airdyne.

Mobility: Hips, Hams, Quads, Calves, Ankles, Forearms, Shoulders, Wrists.


squats: 2 x 5 x 45 / 5 x 145 / 3 x 185 / 2 x 215 / 1 x 225 / 3 x 5 x 227.5. I was barely able to get through these. But I got through. Good morninging out of the hole on a lot of reps. My form is atrocious. My control is weak. It doesn’t feel like I was squatting 15 lbs more than this only a month ago. Why is that?

power clean: 3 x 25 kg / 3 x 35 kg / 3 x 3 x 45 kg (99 lbs). I could pull these off, but it seems like I’m going to run into a wall soon. This weight, and what I had to do to lift it, was quite startling to my left arm. I really haven’t worked it like this since July, and it’s noticing! Not in a good way.


wrist curls, prontated and supinated: 10 lbs DBs with FatGripz, 3 x 7. Gradually increasing volume here. These seem to help my left wrist. But I wonder.

Bent over rows: 5 x 45 / 3 x 5 x 85 lbs. These didn’t hurt as much as you might think. They were the only thing I did all morning that felt remotely easy.

I had more planned, but felt discouraged and beat down. So I decided to give it a rest. I did what I had to in order to keep after my goals. I skipped the various additional auxiliary things I had planned, including chin ups push ups curls and conditioning… Given the complaints of my elbows and shoulders I think I am just going to skip Push-Ups, Pull-Ups, and Curls entirely this week. Maybe next week too.