Programming, Training

First Week of New Program/ Feb 20-26

Behind on Training Logs, so here’s a update for the week of February 20-26. This was my first week attempting to develop my own training program. Week 2 felt much better after some fine-tuning, and I’m looking forward to starting Week 3 tomorrow.

Mon Feb 20

  • Seated Barbell Military Press
    • 60 kg x 5 (3)
    • 65 kg x 5 (2)
  • Z Press
    • 50 kg x 4
    • 40 kg x 8 (2)
  • Superset Hammer Curls/EZ Bar French Press
  • Face Pulls
    • 20 x 3
  • Shoulder Flys
    • 12 kg x 12 (3)

Tue Feb 21

  • Front Squat
    • 40 kg x 5
    • 60 kg x 3
    • 80 kg x 3
    • 85 kg x 3 (3)
  • High Bar Back Squat
    • 90 kg x 8
    • 80 kg x 8
    • 60 kg x 8
  • Split Leg Squats
    • BW x 10
  • Superset Ab Roller Crunches/Hip Thrusters
    • 10/20 x 3
  • Back Crunches
    • 15 x 3

Struggling with squat depth, and I’ve started filming my lifts in order to police my form a little more rigorously. I have been stretching every night to try and open up my hip flexibility, and it is helping. Slowly but surely.

Thu Feb 23

  • Incline Bench
    • 40 kg x 5
    • 60 kg x 5
    • 70 kg x 8 (5)
  • Inverted Rows
    • 12 x 3
  • Lat Pulldowns
    • 15 x 3
  • Superset Hammer Curls/Tricep Ext.
    • 15/15 x 2
  • Plank 1 min x 2

Sat Feb 25

  • Farmers Walk (weight per hand, 25 m course, 2 lengths)
    • 57.5 kg x 2
    • 67.5 kg x 2
    • 77.5 x 2
      • dropset: 57.5 kg x 2
  • Farmers Pickups
    • 87.5 kg
    • 87.5 kg + 10 second hold
  • Log Press (32.5 kg log)
    • 52.5 kg x 3 (2)
    • 62.5 kg x 2
    • 72.5 kg x 1
    • 82.5 kg x 1
    • 72.5 kg x 1 (3)
  • Floor Press
    • 50 kg x 10
    • 80 kg x 5

Weighed in at 110 kg for my event day, which is a little more than I’d like to be. So I am focusing on incorporating more cardio into my active recovery, as well as increasing the intensity and volume of my training session. But besides being a little heavier, everything is feeling good.

Sat Feb 26

  • Conventional Deadlift (15 kg light bar)
    • 65 kg x5
    • 115 kg x 3 (5)
    • 120 kg x 1 (5)
  • Snatch Grip
    • 95 kg x 3 (4)
  • Stiff Leg
    • 65 kg x 5 (2)

Meant to do my deadlifts after I finished with Event training, but I was absolutely gassed, so I went back and did them the day after.

Programming, Training, Update

New Training Program in Development

I sat down over the weekend after a long period of thought and wrote out a rough first draft of my new training routine. It’s a little ambitious, and I’m currently testing it to see how well-balanced and functional it is.

The program is based on a three week rotation, with two cycles of the heavier Week A, followed by one of the lighter, more hypertrophy and bodyweight-focused Week B. Due to the circumstances surrounding my access to training facilities, the program is based around basic gym equipment for general strength-building, with an event session to be rotated in every three weeks. This is not going to be an effective program for developing strongman techniques and event conditioning, but it is suited to my current needs.

Today is Day 2, Week A. Day 1 was a overall quite good, but requires some changes.

For anyone interested, once I have finished a three-week rotation and spent time editing and refining the program, I’ll be looking for people willing to help me test it. If you might be interested in testing my developmental program, or have any questions about training, please leave a comment below, message me on IG, or shoot me an email.

More to come.

Cheers,

The Bear.

Recovery, Thoughts

Recovery Focus: Sleep

To me, training consists of 3 parts: training, recovery, and nutrition. All are equally important, and one cannot outpace the other two, if you want to progress in your training.

This will be the first post in a series of articles on Recovery. I am going to focus on Sleep.

At the outset of this post, I’d just like to say that I have no background in exercise science, nor any formal coaching experience. As a result, all of my knowledge about the more technical aspects of training and recovery come from research or personal experience. This post will be largely anecdotal, but I hope I can at least provide a frame work to approach your own rest and recovery.

Recovery can take many forms, and there are many ways you can improve your recovery, either physically or mentally. Primarily, recovery takes the form of sleep, and I don’t believe anything will hurt your recovery more than failing to get sufficient sleep.

Personally, if I get less than 7-7.5 hours of sleep the night after a workout, I feel truly wretched the next day.

Ensuring you get enough sleep is the most basic way to help boost your physical and mental recovery.

I am a restless sleeper. I usually wake up 2-3 times during the night, and I have great difficulty falling asleep in the first place. I struggled with sleep for a long time, and when preparing for my first Strongman contest, my sleep suffered, and, as a result, my recovery suffered.

There are a few key practices I had adopted  that have helped improve the quality and ease of my sleep.

  1. Blue Light Filter – firstly, I try to shut down the major electronics and take some time to switch off before bed. Usually 20-30 minutes before bed I’ll shut off the laptop and TV. These are the major sources of blue light, which keeps me very stimulated and using my laptop until bed make sit hard to fall asleep. Secondly, I downloaded a blue light filter for my phone. The one I use is called Twilight, and it programs itself to the daylight hours, and gradually decreases the amount of blue light your phone screen gives off as night falls. This has been a huge help in falling asleep, and has the added bonus of not scorching your eyes if you check your phone in the middle of the night.
  2. Caffeine – I’m a bit of a coffee hound. I used to drink quite a bit, but my sensitivity to caffeine remained fairly high. To help sleep, I avoid any caffeine after 5 pm. This one is purely personal, as my sensitivity to caffeine is fairly high. No afternoon coffee = better sleep.
  3. Stretching Before Bed – Every night, I devote 15-20 minutes to a simple circuit of basic yoga poses and stretches. While daily stretching is a key part of active recovery, this has the added benefit of helping me unwind from the day. When I lay down to sleep after my stretching routine, I spend far less time tossing and turning to get comfortable.

These three, very small things, have helped me improve the quality of my sleep. I feel much better rested in the morning, even if I get fewer hours of shut eye. I hope this can help you, even in some small way, improve your recovery.

Cheers,

The Bear.

Thoughts, Training

Feeling Strong This Week; Training Logs: Feb 16-18

Making solid progress this week. Everything is feeling more solid and dialed in. I’ve been eating better, and I believe it’s going to pay off in the long run. I’m working on my conditioning and my athleticism in an effort to become more competitive in my weight class.

Thursday Feb 16

  • Deadlift (Conventional)
    • 70 kg x 5
    • 100 kg x 5
    • 120 kg x 5
    • 140 kg x 5
    • 150 kg x 3
    • 110 kg x 5
  • Snatch Grip Deadlift
    • 100 kg x 5 (3)
  • Front Squat
    • 70 kg x 3
    • 60 kg x 5 (3)
  • Inverted Rows
    • 15, 12 x 2

Deadlifts felt pretty terrible today. My back started to round, and my form collapsed when I moved the weight up to 150 kg. I’ve added more upper back work to help keep tightness across my back when I deadlift, and prevent my shoulders from dragging me down out of position.

Friday Feb 17

  • Seated Smith Machine Military Press
    • 30 kg x 8
    • 40 kg x 5
    • 50 kg x 3
    • 60 kg x 3
      • I’m not sure if the bar on the machine weighs anything, so the weights listed are just the weight I added.
  • Seated Barbell Military Press
    • 40 kg x 12
    • 50 kg x 8
    • 60 kg x 3
  • Incline Bench Press (Steep)
    • 70 kg x 5
    • 60 kg x 8 (3)
  • Superset: Hammer Curls/ 3-Direction Shoulder Flys

I finished with some accesory work, trying to improve my core strength and add a little variety into my training. Finished with a pair of AMRAP sets of EZ bar curls and EZ bar french press.

Saturday Feb 18

  • Front Squats
    • 50 kg x 5
    • 60 kg x 3
    • 70 kg x 3
    • 80 kg x 3 (3)
  • High Bar Back Squats
    • 85 kg x 8
    • 90 kg x 8
    • 95 kg x 8
  • Barbell Lunge Squats
    • 50 kg x 10
    • 40 kg x 10
  • Superset: Ab Roller Crunches (3 x 5)/Hip Thrusters (3 x 20) – 3 Variations.

Saturdays workout felt the best this week. My deadlifts were a bit disappointing, but they’ve always been a weak point of mine. I’m going to be working them more regularly from now on. But my high bar squats felt solid, more than they have in a long time. I think squatting regularly is paying off.

All in all, it has been a good week. I’ve set some goals, both fitness and personal, and now I feel like I’m working toward something, instead of just working. I hope to be able to compete when I visit home in the summer, but that’s still up to scheduling.I’m feeling stronger every week, and I can’t wait to get back into competition and see how far I’ve come.

In the meantime, I’m trying to keep my focus, and keep my discipline.

Cheers,

The Bear.

Training

Training Logs: Feb 6 – Feb 11

Monday February 6th

  • Deadlifts (Conventional)
    • 70 kg x 8
    • 100 kg x 8
    • 110 kg x 5
    • 120 kg x 5
    • 150 kg x 3
    • 160 kg x 2
    • 150 kg x 3
  • Zercher Squats from Sumo Deadlift Pickup
    • 110 kg x 5 min EMOM

My deadlifts are very much my weakest point. I have been working my upper and lower back more, since I have a nasty tendency to round my back when the weights get heavy. Everything still feels heavy and horrible. I wish I was seeing the kind of improvement I have been seeing with my squat.

 

Tuesday February 7

  • Seated Military Press
    • 40 kg x 15
    • 50 kg x 10
    • 60 kg x 5
    • 70 kg x 5
    • 80 kg x 2
    • 75 kg x 3
  • Superset: Inverted Rows x Explosive Pushups
    • 12 x 3
  • 1 Arm DB Rows
    • 26 kg x 12 (3)
  • 1 Arm DB Press (Strict)
    • 11 kg x 10
    • 16 kg x 8 (2)

Finished this workout by running the long way home, through the university campus. That sucked. This workout was a bit of a shake-up to liven up my routine and incorporate more dynamic movements into my training. And, again, it sucked.

Saturday February 11

  • DB deadlift (weight per hand)
    • 30 kg x 8 (3)
  • Low Bar Squat
    • 65 kg x 8
    • 85 kg x 5
    • 105 kg x 3
    • 115 kg x 3
    • 125 kg x 2
    • 105 kg x 3 (2)
  • High Bar Squat
    • 65 kg x 15
  • Hip Thrusters – 3 Variations
    • 20 x 3

Legs felt underpowered this week. Everything felt off, and my strength just didn’t seem to be there. All in all, not an inspiring week.

 

Not much of a high note to end on, I’m afraid. Think I’m getting sick. That’s all for now.

Cheers,

The Bear.

New PR, Training

Feb 1, New Squat Pr!

Had a quick but rewarding workout. I decided to take most of Chinese New Year off of training since my last workout before the break was cut short by what felt like a small strain in my bicep.

My concentration just wasn’t there, my body was sore, and I tried to push through it without a proper warmup. Midway through my workout, I felt something twinge in my left bicep and immediately stopped. Tried to stretch it out and work the tightness away, but it just left a bad burning in the center of the muscle. So I decided to call it for the day, and that a long weekend off would do me some good.

And it turns out it did, since I went in the following Wednesday for a leg day. Started with a good, long warmup, testing the bicep. It felt fine, so I got to squatting. Started with Low Bar, and managed:

  • 110 kg x 5
  • 130 kg x 3
  • 135 kg x 2 – New PR/ 297 lbs

This is the first 300-level squat I’ve done since the summer of 2016, and it felt amazing. Hit depth, and felt like I could have maybe done a third rep. This is very, very encouraging, to see that my training is paying off. My knees feel excellent, and even after this heavy session I had no pain whatsoever. Very excited to continue with my training in Taiwan, and I’m already excited for my next competition.

Cheers,

The Bear.

Training

Training Log, Jan 22

Had a killer day at Formosa Fitness, and set a new PR in the Log Press! This was a huge moment for me, since I’ve been struggling with the log since I started strongman training. This was a hugely encouraging session, everything felt good, and the weights felt light.

  • Low Bar Back Squats
    • 110 kg x 4
  • Farmer’s Carry (weight per hand, 20 m run)
    • 47.5 kg x 1
    • 67.5 kg x 1
    • 87.5 kg x 1
  • Yoke Walk (including 54 kg yoke)
    • 194 kg x 1
    • 216 kg x 2
  • Log Clean and Press
    • 62.5 kg x 3
    • 72.5 kg x 1
    • 77. 5 kg x 1
    • 82. 5 kg x 1 – New PR (182 lbs)

More to come!

Cheers,

The Bear