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Old Novice - Russ Campbell

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The Hulk View Drop Down
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    Posted: 9/18/20 at 8:14pm
I hope to inspire people. No throwing background. Late 2018 was intro to HG. I am currently on week 2 of a pre-comp period - 2x2 week mesocycles. In 3 weeks I'll do a practice comp.
A little background:
40 years ago - 480 back sguat, 550 deadlift, 330 bench; 365 hang power clean, 405 rack clean, 405 jerk
20 years ago - 375 front squat, 265x3 power clean, 292 clean, 305 jerk
Now - turning 65 in 2021! Hoping to be competitive. - 175x3 power clean, 120x3 push press, 220x5 Zercher squats
Best throws from 2019: BS 22, OS 25, LWD 30, HWD 22, LH 60, HH 48, WOB 11, Sheaf 16, Caber 17-70

I've spent 4 weeks doing lifting to build up strength, this week was focusing more on power. 2x throwing (stones, hammers, weights for distance) and 2x lifting (power snatch, power clean, pulls, squats, push press). Next week I will be 3x lifting and 2-3x throwing. We'll see if my fitness level holds up.


Edited by The Hulk - 9/22/20 at 4:02pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheJeff696 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 9/21/20 at 2:10pm
Welcome back to NASGA!!
Jeff Kaste



"I think there's a Squatch in these woods..."
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Thanks Jeff. So after doing a lot of pulls and squats the last 4 weeks, Monday's weight session never got above 80% and only 1-2 reps per set. And no I didn't  have any reps in reserve. I was just tired. Basically a light day of push press, power snatch from blocks, clean pull and zercher squat. 
Tuesday was throwing. It's been a while but my strength work makes my throwing feel better even if the distances aren't great. I kept it simple to start, Braemar, fooling around with a step back and modified SA for open stone, 1 and two turn LWD, and 1 - 3 turns of heavy hammer. Transferring strength from Olympic lifts, and continuing to work on throws technique is my focus for the next few weeks.Then I'll take a couple weeks off to reset and set some strength goals for year end.
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So that was a rough week for me. Three days of lifting - 80-90% with an emphasis on speed, 1-2 reps. Then two days throwing, messing around with a variety of techniques. But I could tell by my sleep that my nervous system was being fried. So after that big week I am hoping that supercompensation kicks in over the next two weeks before I do a solo mock competition. Next week will be 2 days lifting - fast, no more pulls - just hang snatch & clean, push press, squat & 2-3 days of throwing. The last few weeks I have added 1 set of squat jumps to the end of my squat workout with 20% of 1RM. It makes feel like I can fly. While this week took a lot out of me, my Friday lifting workout was the best of the three. Another surprise was my morning aches and hip/groin injuries seemed to fade away. To me success is making progress, injury free. Hitting my marks will be the goal in 2 weeks.


Edited by The Hulk - 9/26/20 at 10:25am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/02/20 at 11:52am
So after a tiring week last week, I decided to take last weekend completely off - I sat around doing nothing. What a mistake! After feeling loose and healthy despite being a little over-trained, my hip flexors seized up and I had a few other aches and pains. I have to take days off more seriously - i.e. train lightly, move around a bit. So the first few days this week were painful. Despite this I had 2 very good, fast, 80-90% weightlifting workouts. I had planned only 2 or 3 days of throwing but I find that light throws help me heal so I threw 3 days this week and I plan to throw this weekend as well. Another reason for the increased emphasis on throws is that I haven't fully made the transformation from weightlifting strength to throwing strength and my technique is very rusty with the lack of competitions this year. I'm also experimenting with a wide variety of throwing techniques - partly for fitness, partly for fun and partly to see what feels most comfortable and has the most upside for me. Next week will be programmed like a competition week with just 1 day of weights and light throwing every day. I have managed to keep up my strength so that should carry me over. So we'll see where we are at the end of this week. Then I'm going to take 2 weeks "off". Not really. No heavy weights & no full throws but I've got a lot of things that I'll play around with.
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As I work through this pre-“competition” week, my thoughts are already turning towards my goals for the rest of this year. I’ll then use the next two weeks to transition to a program to help me to move forward.

First, my goals are two-fold. Throwing goals and weightlifting goals. My throwing goals are based on three benchmarks. The qualifying standards for the World Masters, the 10th best result by an athlete in my category in 2019 and the best result in my category. My strengths and weaknesses relative to these benchmarks are pretty clear. I then divide the throws into two categories that I call strength throws and technical throws. So if I’m relatively poor in sheaf, WOB and Braemar I know that I need to improve my strength with weights. Since I’m awful in almost everything, my first priority is actually WFD and Hammer. Sheaf and WOB are just behind.

My weightlifting goals are similarly based on three benchmarks. In this case I use the qualifying standard for my class for the World Masters Weightlifting Championships, the winner of my age/weight class in 2019 and the record holder in my age/weight class. Using ratios and percentages I can figure out what my goals are for a variety of lifts. For example, if the winner had a 210 pound clean & jerk, his 1RM back squat is estimated to be 295. A triple would then be estimated at 265. That would be one of my benchmarks. My weakest lifts are actually the speed lifts – snatch & push press. So while pulls and squats will be 50% of my training through year end, in the new year power will have to be emphasized. I am hoping that more muscle in the coming months will translate into more power later.

So for the next two weeks my priorities will be active rest and physical prep for the program for the rest of the year which will emphasize heavy strength work. General fitness activities will include tennis, basketball, and the elliptical. I am going to try a variety of squat variations – back, front, overhead, zercher, Jefferson, frog all with an effort to develop my legs in different ways and get greater depth in the squat. Finally I’ll spend more time on mobility and flexibility. As always my priorities are to minimize injury, allow for only modest overtraining (I am especially vulnerable to working out too hard), and staying focused on my weaknesses.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/09/20 at 1:32pm
So I had my little personal test competition on Friday. I am very happy with my prep with one major exception. My strength & speed felt good, I had supercompensated so I had the endurance to do all the throws, and my little injuries were not noticeable after warming up. I did a weightlifting workout on Wednesday and my last throws were on Monday. I think this paid off in freshness. My WFD throws were awful though. I knew that was going to happen because my workouts over the last few weeks in this throw were terrible. I think that not throwing WFD in competition & therefore in training this year has been my biggest setback. So I'm generally happy where I am at this point - close to all-time bests. As mentioned, the next two weeks will focus on squat variations, some athletic stuff & mobility. I've already programmed my weights and a little throwing through year end with another test competition in mid-December. 
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I have been thinking about my prep for competition day last week. I think I know where I went wrong with my WFD. My pulls weeks ago were going well ie. they were getting stronger with good form (I do snatch & clean pulls as an alternative to deadlifts). In fact I felt that my pulls were improving too quickly compared to other lifts. Also my hang clean has always been very good. So I backed off pulls and 80%+ hang cleans too soon in retrospect. It's really hard to keep the balance right between throwing and weights and also between emphasizing particular throws or particular weightlifting exercises. While focusing on weaknesses is definitely a priority, it can't be the only priority. Everything else has to be kept up.
So in December when I prepare for another mock competition day, I am going to keep pulls in the program longer but probably only in the 90-100% of my 1RM clean range so that I sustain power without losing my hard - earned strength from previous weeks. Hang cleans will also get a little more attention with low volume but higher intensity than the last go around. The other change I'll make is to my throwing schedule. I felt like my throwing didn't come together quickly enough. 3-4 weeks out I was only throwing 2-3 times a week. As a relative novice, the throwing patterns aren't instinctual for me (Also research says that older athletes have more difficulty with acquiring and maintaining skills). 1-2 weeks out I do throw almost every day. But I'm going to try adding throwing every day to my program 3-4 weeks out from a competition. Now I know what you are thinking. I'm adding more volume to my weights and throws in the competition period and risking fatigue. As I mentioned before I know that I am vulnerable to over-training (whether it's because of age, too aggressive goals, poor conditioning, or an inability to recover). But keeping the volume of pulls and hang cleans and throws on the low end should help to mitigate the effects of fatigue. Volume is usually considered to be a bigger contributor to fatigue than intensity. And I am not adding anything to competition week so that should also help to supercompensate and be fresh and rested for competition day. I am much more patient than I used to be. A bad workout used to be very upsetting to me. Now I realize that small & medium workouts - even if unplanned - are essential to recovery, injury prevention and progress. These days bad workouts on one day are often followed by good workouts on the next day! And more importantly long term progress is unaffected by a so-called bad day. I would never have believed this was possible in my younger days.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/17/20 at 5:17pm
Spending a lot of time thinking about the next phase of my training. I am enjoying light squatting and other physical activities for another week but I've also been re-reading a lot of material on strength building. One of the major challenges with this sport, it seems to me, is that max strength & power are obviously critical but it is difficult to spend enough time on building strength because of the complexity of the throwing challenge.
Building strength & power is usually relatively straight forward. Squats, pulls, presses are fundamental. Then transitioning to power can be accomplished with the Olympic lifts, squat jumps and specialty exercises. Many athletes in our sport follow what hammer/discus/shot put throwers do. But I am throwing heavier weights than what the hammer/discus/shot put throwers contend with. And since they spend 50% of their time, I'm told, lifting weights, I need to lift weights even more than that. I need to be relatively stronger than them. OK so my program of lifting and throwing should in theory tilt towards more lifting.
What throws a wrench in this model is that we have so many events. Even if we collapse stones, WFD & Hammer into 3 events there is still WOB, Sheaf and Caber to contend with. So there are 6 events at least. And max strength & power won't necessarily translate to throwing further. So it seems that I have to add more specific strength exercises - as many of you do. But that's a trade-off that erodes core strength & power. For example, football players have to run around the field for a whole game. But if they spend too much time training for running, their strength will be compromised. If a lineman has to block a powerful defensive tackle, he wants to be in tip-top strength condition at that moment. So my conclusion is that I too want max strength & power not specific strength in small muscles. As I transition towards a competition, I will add more throwing - even overweight implements for specific strength. (Ask me about my 28 lb shot).
To summarize, I only have so much time & energy to train & recover, I need to overly emphasize lifting, I have to achieve some undefinable minimum standard of strength and power to be able to optimally execute the technique needed to throw, and when I transition to sport specific strength I'll throw overweight stuff.
So my weight training for the next 6 weeks after this next week of slacking will be focused on lifting with only occasional throwing. I like doing small workouts more frequently - 5 days a week with variations of snatch, snatch pull, clean, clean pull, squat, press each performed 2x a week. I'll stick mainly to 5 reps for squats and pulls and 3 reps for Olympic lifts. Heavy days will be 90% of 1RM, Light days/weeks no lower than 60%, averaging around 80%. My goal is to hit lifting goals as I described in an earlier post.      


Edited by The Hulk - 10/25/20 at 12:16pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/22/20 at 12:24pm
I fooled around with some different squats over the last two weeks but the big news for me was returning to depth jumps. I haven't done them in a long time and they are risky for big/old guys. After squats, I used a modest 8" block to step off. I felt it afterwards. I am going to add these in to my program later on when I am in a power-building phase. This is an advanced exercise so my sets/reps will be low and I'll pair squat to get the post-activation potentiation with the depth jumps.
So back to serious lifting next week. I know that this first week will start slowly after 2 weeks "off". I'll follow a two week program, followed by a deloading week. The standard mesocycle is 3 weeks on/1 off but I get bored easily and 2/1 suits me better. Monday - 80% objective-snatch-3 reps, clean pulls-5 reps. (My percentages are based on my perceived best for the day. Example - if 200 is my recent 1RM snatch , that would imply 3 reps of 160 is 80%. So 160 is my theoretical 3RM best. That is my goal and upper limit for the day. I won't go beyond 160 even if feeling good. And if 150x3 is all I can do, I stop there. I keep reps in reserve). Tuesday-90% objective-Press-5 reps, Squat-5 reps, Wednesday-80% objective-Olympic only-snatch-3 reps, Clean-3-reps, Thursday-80% objective-Push Press-3 reps, Snatch pull-5 reps, Friday-90% objective-Clean-3 reps, Squat-5 reps. The following week will have the same exercises but with slightly higher intensity/lower volume.
Generally I target 3-5 working sets per exercise.  


Edited by The Hulk - 10/29/20 at 1:40pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/27/20 at 12:04pm
It's interesting (to me). Two weeks off plus a week prior of tapering & yet my strength is within 5% of recent highs. I know in theory that strength persists longer than other qualities like speed but it's still nice to know that it is also true for me.
I seem to be settling into the rule of two. I do two 90%+ days per week, I train each major exercise twice a week, I do two weeks on/1 week deload.
Just read an academic article that showed that performance after tapering with either light or heavy weight training for two weeks showed no difference. There was some impact from heavy training on important variables like strength, power and RFD but these didn't translate into better performance on competition day. The study looked at throwers. Again, I think that using our heavier HG implements would accentuate the gains shown and if tapered properly would result in better performance. The key part I think is making that transition from strength & power training into specific strength for throwing our implements & then speed - call it RFD, impulse, explosiveness - whatever. This transition probably takes a little more than 2 weeks. In December, I'll lift heavy weights up until 1 week out (High intensity but low volume) & I'll start overweight throws 6 weeks out to translate power to specific strength.


Edited by The Hulk - 10/27/20 at 3:05pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/30/20 at 10:59am
So I finished my lifting loading week with next week being a "performance" week which means a lot of 2-3 rep sets across all exercises. I scheduled 2-90% days this week and 3-80% days this week. This high level of intensity caught up with me Thursday night and resulted in a poor night's sleep. So Friday's workout was more like an 80% day than a 90% day. I always use my perceived best for the day to calculate percentages (like the Bulgarians did) and I know if I'm on track based on my reps in reserve. So if I'm targeting an 80% day, which generally means 3 reps in snatch/clean & 5 reps in pulls/squats, I can tell if what 1RM for today is if I fall short on reps. If I squat 4 reps at 80% & it's tough that's it for this so-called medium day. 80% based on daily 1RM with reps in reserve is supposed to be a recovery day. Someone once said that one workout won't make you a success but one workout can ruin it.
One of the reasons that I keep volume in the 2-5 reps range and intensity in the 80-90% range is that more recent research suggests that results are better if there isn't too large of an inverse relation between volume & intensity. The traditional way of thinking was that as you move through the phases of training, volume starts high/intensity starts low and volume gets reduced as intensity goes up over time. I admit that my way of calculating percentages of 1RM mean that intensity argueably dips below 80% on medium/easy days & deloading weeks but I never want it to dip below 60%. 60% or less results in detraining. I know I need recovery days/weeks but I also know that consistent/persistent effort at 80%+ is what enables progress.
Recently read a book on timing in which it suggested that your workout should be at the same time each day and don't take weekends off. I'm good with the same time every day but after training 5 days, I feel like I need a break. Ideally, I should move my Friday workout to Saturday but I probably won't! What I have learned the hard way recently though is that doing nothing on weekends makes me tighten up and really doesn't help recovery. So I have to do something. For me, the elliptical is convenient and keeps things moving.
Further confirmation of my plan to develop specific strength later this year is that apparently Brian Oldfield was a believer in overweight implement throwing. More core, then specific strength is important first for me in order to have a base for strength-speed/power with the competition implements.


Edited by The Hulk - 10/30/20 at 2:11pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/20 at 1:18pm
Just read an e-book called Thrower's Guide to Strength Training by Louie Simmons. Definitely worthwhile checking out if you aren't already familiar with the Westside Barbell approach to lifting and throwing. His training ideas were built on weightlifting and track & field programs & modified for powerlifting. The science is based on the same research that I am familiar with. And since the roots are w/l & t/f, it's not hard to reverse engineer his recommendations back to suit my needs. I found that the programs I've created for myself to date are easily "transmuted" into his world. So after my 5 day performance week and a deload week over the next 2 weeks, I'm going to try a cycle that echoes the Westside approach. What I like especially is that the program seamlessly integrates strength, power & throwing together & by slightly varying exercises avoids accommodation & staleness/injury. I've got some adjustments to make to accommodate my age, experience & so on. But it's not a big leap from 5 days to 4 days with 2 max & 2 dynamic days. I'll start this 2-3 week program in mid-November & slide right into a pre-comp phase. 
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I am going to complete this week, but I am going to change up my previous plan for next week. I am not going to do a deload week next week. Instead I'm going to move directly to a 4 day week with 2 max & 2 dynamic days. I think that I've gotten stale and I want to shake things up. I am pretty much injury free so its time to push - not harder exactly, but differently. I'll think about what goes into the max & dynamic buckets a little more and post my plan for the next 2-3 weeks. To preview - squats, pulls and presses are in my max bucket while snatch, clean & push press are in my dynamic buckets. But there are some elements that I still want to work out.
The more I read the more I realize that there are a million ways to structure training. And for most people almost everything works! The very elite are in a different category - but that's not me. For me, I don't want to meander all over the place. I have a whole life to live and it's not just training. I want to follow the most efficient path to success. For example, I could do 1 set of 20 reps of 10 different random exercises once a week and I will get get fitter & stronger. But the research says that multiple sets, less than 6 reps, specific exercises for strength & power and 3+ days a week lead to better results in strength & power. So I am on a quest for the optimal program that is not perfect but at least stays within the guardrails of what thousands of years of practice, sports science and really smart, experienced, successful coaches suggest works.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Larry Satchwell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/05/20 at 6:48am
Russ, I understand what you’re saying about sticking to a routine and not jumping all over the place.  I think it’s great that you’re looking at different programs. But as you read these philosophies take note what age group they’re talking about. For us older guys, you’re 64, I’ll be 69 in January, recovery is a lot longer than those young bucks.  So don’t get discouraged if what you’re doing doesn’t go as fast as those programs/ articles say they should.  Keep grinding and listening to what your body is telling you. Just my 2 cents worth.  
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I agree with you 100% - and thanks for commenting! I need some feedback and there is no right answer. I am old and weak as you mention (!) and so I am trying to be deliberate about how I approach this. You have probably noticed that my program cuts a lot of exercises and volume (especially). But now I think I need to broaden my exercise portfolio somewhat to avoid getting used to things and  stalling out (accommodation). But I also want to keep getting stronger in the core exercises (squat, pull and press) and also more powerful (snatch, Clean, push press). In order to keep my workouts shorter (less than 45 minutes) I have been training 5 days a week. I think that that is either a little too much or maybe I am organizing the workouts wrong. For example I did try push days and pull days and that was a killer for me. I can't do power clean, clean, clean pull and squat on the same day! (Extreme example). But I still think that I can tweak the organization of my workouts. The objective once again is to get stronger, then more powerful, then fast while merging in specific throwing strength & technique - all while staying just slightly over-trained & most importantly injury free.
So I am moving from 5 days to 4 days without increasing volume so I am reducing total weekly volume by 20%. However I am moving to 2 maximum days - which means 100% single in 2 exercises over two days. This is a step-up in intensity. And then there will be a supporting exercise on those two days as well. Example - If the max day is 100% squat then pulls for reps may be second exercise of the day. The last two days of the week are dynamic - typically up to 3-5 reps at 80% in exercises like snatch. The other major change is to add more variety but all within the same category. So for example, I'll do Zercher squat one day, front squat the next within the same week. One of these will be a maximum and the other day lighter for reps.
So the idea is to transition and not leap from program to program while staying in tune with what is working and what isn't. My current staleness was a wake-up call to me that something needed changing.
I appreciate you comment about doing what I can and not expecting the results that younger lifters get. In one of my previous posts I mention how I set weightlifting and throwing goals so I know where I am going and what others my age achieve. Small improvements are acknowledged and welcomed by me! Making progress, staying healthy and feeling like an athlete are my real goals. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/05/20 at 3:07pm
OK So here is my program for the next 3 weeks. 4 days a week, 2 maximum days, 2 power days, 2 throwing sessions on the max days. This isn't intended to be perfect & I may need to make adjustments as I go through. My objective is to strengthen squats&pulls, keep up power, & start building specific throwing strength. The specific squats vary from workout to workout & the height of various pulls & cleans also varies to introduce some variation.
Week 1 - M-Throw overweight WFD, Squat, Pull;T-Throw overweight Hammer, Clean&press, Shrugs; Th-Front squat, depth jumps; F-Push press, Pull
Week 2 - M-Throw overweight WFD, Squat, Shrug; T-Throw overweight hammer, Press, Pull; Th-Power Clean&Front squat, depth jumps; F-Close grip snatch, Press
Week 3 - M-Throw overweight WFD, Squat, Pull; T-Throw overweight hammer, muscle snatch, Press; Th-Deadlift&power clean, depth jumps; F-Power snatch, power clean & push press
So that's it - Max squat&max press 1x a week & reps for everything else.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/10/20 at 12:12pm
So my first two days of the week have gone well. I am out of practice of going for max singles but I was happy with my squat and press. The pulls and shrugs were easy and so I pushed them a little harder for triples with close to maximum. The overweight WFD and hammer were a shock to my system. I am not in throwing shape and my rotational muscles are weak. But that is the point of doing overweight stuff. For the next three weeks I'll use overweight implements on my max strength days. I keep the throwing reps low because I am trying to build strength and just ease back into throwing. And the truth is that I'm focusing on drills with the overweight implements, not full throws at this stage. I've also decided that it makes sense to add light throwing implements to my dynamic/power workouts on Thursday and Friday. That adds two days of throwing and is consistent with the effort to add power.
Again, I keep volumes low, intensity high and my recovery ability seems to be much better compared to my previous program. Of course the proof will be in my throwing results but for now I'm happy to balance building strength & power with both the weights and the implements.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/14/20 at 4:04pm
So moving to 2 max strength days and 2 dynamic/power days plus 4 days of throwing (!) - 2 overweight, 2 light weight WFD/hammer, should have wiped me out. But surprisingly this turned out to be a pretty good week from a recovery/sustainability perspective. In fact I was feeling too good on Thursday so I ended up doing a lot/too much throwing and this undermined my Friday workout. So Friday I just focused on hang clean and push press to 80% and then threw the light hammer. The integration of strength/power/throwing generally worked. The throws are just another exercise on the day, not a separate thing. Of course I wonder if this program is too complex but I'll know in a few weeks if I'm trying to accomplish too much at once by hitting strength, power and technique all at once. There is no doubt that I'm not optimizing everything but we'll see. I think that I can still tweak the organization of exercises and I'll continue to introduce variation. I am going to try to find and focus on weaknesses without allowing my strengths to diminish. So I'm not trying to set records but just bring everything up to a similar standard. Overall, my attitude is that if I can get the work in, recover and avoid injury, and keep everything moving forward together it should translate into results.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/16/20 at 2:05pm
This was a tough day. It was a maximum strength lower body day. And I upped the ante by having 2 exercises where I strove for a max single. So I did rack half squat singles until it was basically an isometric push against the bar. Then I did power clean singles from a box with a wide grip. I finished off the weights with some triples of good mornings because I feel that my pulls are not progressing. I haven't done any of these exercises for a while so the maxes were nothing great.
I am adding variation but every exercise has to be related to fundamental strength & power so the exercises are always standing, closed chain, low reps. Further variation is added by varying grip distances, leg stance, & height of starting position.
After a short break I went out and did a few turns with an overweight WFD which was in keeping with the max strength focus of the day.
My mindset is that there is no such thing as a bad day. I do my best even if my max single on the day is just 80%. Every workout contributes to either recovery or building a base for the future.
Tomorrow is another max day but this time for upper body. So I'll do presses from the rack to a max single, muscle snatch to a max single and then triceps extensions with a barbell for triples-probably not too heavy. I am adding in triceps extensions because I feel that I'm getting a little stale with press and I want to push it to a higher level. Finally, I'll do some overweight hammer turns.


Edited by The Hulk - 11/17/20 at 11:47am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/17/20 at 5:16pm
When setting up my 4 day program I had Monday as a Max lower body day, Tuesday as a Max upper body day, Thursday as a Dynamic/power lower body day and Friday as a Dynamic/power upper body day. Didn't work. I was rested but not ready for 100% squats and pulls on Monday and too tired for Friday upper body after a power day on Thursday. My thinking initially was that strength would be early in the week and power later in the week. But as I mentioned in a previous post, I'm not good with only push or pull days and this sequence felt similar. Strength two days in a row and power two days in a row wasn't for me. So next week, I will move the days around to help with recovery. Monday will be upper body power, Tuesday lower body strength, Thursday upper body strength and Friday lower body power. Upper body Monday/Thursday, lower body Tuesday/Friday, strength is Tuesday/Thursday and power is Monday/Friday. The only part that seems off is strength but the one day break should help. We'll see.
So Thursday this week I'll do speed clean pull, & a combo of front squat + depth jumps plus light WFD. Friday will be close grip snatch & push press with light hammer.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/20/20 at 1:31pm
So what have I learned so far based on my weightlifting  experience, the science of strength & power development, insights from other strength sports and my limited experience with Highland throwing. In summary, this sport has lots of little wrinkles that differentiate it from other strength sports in terms of preparation before we even get to technique. So, my preliminary conclusions that inform my training include: 1. This sport is conducted entirely standing on your feet so all core exercises should probably be also standing up with power coming from the feet on up. Accessory/supplementary exercises - eg single joint exercises for triceps can also be used afterwards. 2. Strength is the key to power. We have to be stronger than Olympic throwers because of the weight of the implements - so more strength work is necessary. And we need strength for rotation too. So I use overweight implements in combination with my strength days. 3. Strength & power means low reps - 1-3 reps in all of the core exercises. Some argue for higher reps for assistance exercises but I can't see the justification. I can build muscle (hypertrophy) without higher reps. The evidence supporting the benefits of hypertrophy in building strength & power seems to be pretty thin. In the long run it helps, supposedly. 4. But strength is only the beginning. I then need to translate that strength into power like a weightlifter can generate. And since we are throwing lighter implements than what weightlifters lift, I also need explosive strength which I can get from doing exercises like power snatch, push press and depth jumps. 5. Here is another very tentative conclusion. Everything I've read says that technical exercises like throwing should be done when you are fresh - so before a weights workout, at a much different time of day or even on a different day. But at least outside of competition prep periods this timing doesn't make sense to me. If I have to throw a heavy WFD, Hammer or WOB at 3pm, I am not fresh as a daisy! My strength and technique have to be dialed in all competition day long so I need mental and physical endurance. So to prepare for the burden of the competition I incorporate overweight or light implements at the end of every weightlifting workout. Its not ideal from a technique and speed perspective but this preparation reflects the reality of this sport that drains your energy over a full day. As an Olympic-style weightlifter it was easy for me to rationalize doing snatch at the beginning of a workout because the snatch was not only technical and requiring speed, it was also always the first event on competition day. In Highland Games I don't have this certainty.
So next week, I will lift and throw 4 days. Monday is a power day - muscle snatch, clean & push press both for triples with triceps work to supplement. I'll also throw a light hammer. Tuesday is a strength day with singles in Zercher squat and a clean pull variation. Good mornings will supplement and I'll also do drills with an overweight WFD. Thursday is also a strength day but upper body. So press and upright rows for singles, bent over rows for triples and an overweight hammer. Friday is a power day with snatch pull, power clean & front squat for doubles/triples and depth jumps, finishing off with a lite WFD.


Edited by The Hulk - 11/22/20 at 4:50pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/24/20 at 12:18pm
Good workout today. It was a good choice to move my max strength/singles day to Tuesday and use Monday for power & reps. It was almost like Monday was a warmup for Tuesday. So I set new PRs in both squat and clean pulls for singles today. It is not my primary objective to set records in any one exercise because I want everything moving higher together. Strength, power and explosive potential. I also mix up exercises, grip & stance width, and pin heights on the rack to avoid staleness or injury and so this makes hitting new records more difficult. Everything is always different. But because everything is closely related, every exercise continues to edge up. More specifically, I've added good mornings which I think are the reason for the bump higher in squat and pull. Perhaps surprisingly, my fatigue levels have improved. I sleep better at night these days. And yet I am training 4 days a week with 2 max single days and 2 power days plus throwing. I also pay close attention to how I am feeling each training day. I watch the speed of each lift which is an early warning sign. If I start slowing down, I am approaching my maximum for the day. I also try to keep reps in reserve so I don't exhaust myself one day and then can't train for days. I'll follow this routine for a couple more weeks and then I'll shift into a pre-competition period for 3 weeks. Then I'll be able to test if all of the stuff I've been doing has a real effect. But I'm very pleased with how I feel - feel good-train good-perform good is my hope. And I'm having fun!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/24/20 at 3:05pm
Here is some more things that I think I "know". 1. I can't train at 100% all the time. That was my standard approach for most of my career which hindered progress. But de-loading can also be a trap. Under 60% of 1RM or taking time off is counter-productive. In just one week, speed/power and coordination start deteriorating. And then I'd have to work like a maniac to get back to where I just was! So the compromise is never stop training but add lots of variety within the bounds of the needs of the sport. 2. Avoid adding exercises that are counter-productive. A friend of mine was a world-class weightlifter who late in his career added running to his program. This was counter-productive. 3. It's my weaknesses that are holding me back. Some probably can't be overcome to my satisfaction - e.g age, lack of mobility, lack of work capacity - but that doesn't mean I have to give up. And while I'm constantly re-calibrating what needs to be done to overcome relative weaknesses I have to maintain what I've got that is good. 4. Stay open-minded. What has worked so far won't always work for me. How will I transition from the best program for me right now to the best program for me in the next period of time. But just because I'm open-minded doesn't mean I should be empty-headed. I see lots of programs out there that have no rational basis or proof for why they work. And lots of exercises that are fun or cool to do that would just erode the limited energy I have. If I have only so much time and energy I need to spend it on the things that are most likely to contribute to performance & longevity in sport.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/27/20 at 4:26pm
So it was an interesting week. Before I moved to this 4 day a week program, you may recall that I felt exhausted, slept poorly and felt that I was sliding backwards. Now the balance is much better although I still need recovery and medium days to make it through. Now the tiredness feels likes it is more functional as opposed to dysfunctional. I am tired because my body is re-building from workouts that are productive. As they say, I am leaving it all out on the field/in the weight room. The end of my workouts is the end. If I was younger I might try to build more workout capacity but at my age that probably isn't the best idea. I am trying to find the optimal amount of training that enables both performance and long term health. I have picked up one tiny injury that I'll have to work around - a slightly sprained wrist. But it doesn't affect my stone throwing so it isn't a big deal.
I purchased a rebounder which will be delivered next week. It's like a mini-trampoline except you don't jump as high. It's meant to develop explosive strength from jumping by building both eccentric as you settle and isometric strength as you wait for the rebounder to return energy to jump, with low impact on the knees and ankles. There is research to support the use for athletes to develop vertical jump and also balance. I think that it will be a good complement to my steady diet of squats & Olympic lifts to translate the strength and power into a faster impulse after landing.
Next week as usual Monday is upper body power - Close grip snatch, push press, triceps all for sets of 3 plus lite hammer. Tuesday is lower body strength - back squat, block snatch pull - all for singles, good mornings for triples & overweight WFD. Thursday will be upper body strength - clean & press, muscle snatch - both for singles, upright rows for reps and overweight Hammer. Finally Friday is a lower body power day with hang pulls, zercher squats & depth jumps with lite WFD to finish.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 12:40pm
An unplanned rest this week. I mentioned that I've been feeling a little tired and I assumed/hoped that it was functional over-reaching that could be reversed quickly. So I had an unexpected test of my assumption. The first two workouts this week were nothing to write home about. I did the movements and struggled to get over 80%. Then I had a shingles shot. It knocked me out for 36 hours with chills and fever. But I felt better on Friday and trained and had a great workout. So my over-trained state was temporary, reversible and means that I continue to build capacity for the future. So as it turns out, I had an unplanned de-load 1/2 week. It's nice to have theory about over-reaching reflected in how my body actually responds.
So next week I am going to change the focus just a little. I am going to do mainly exercises that are a close complement to Olympic lifting. The idea is to re-build lifting technique and power and speed in the groove. I'll still do max strength and max power days. But a max strength day will have power clean instead of slow pulls. And for back strength I'll add in good mornings. So Monday will be an upper body power day with muscle snatch, close grip snatch and triceps along with lite hammer. Tuesday will be max strength with power clean, front squat and good mornings and overweight WFD. Thursday will be max strength upper body with push press, power snatch, upright rows and overweight hammer. Friday will be lower body power for reps with back squat, clean pull & bent over rows with lite WFD.
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