Friday, May 27, 2011

An awesome PR

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I've been declining into sissification and un-epicness for some time now, and most of it has been a result of a few injuries and aches that have kept me from training hard, namely achey AC joints from doing some high volume pressing that my body wasn't ready for and straining my hamstrings while stretching a few months back.  As former Senior RKC Rob Lawrence would say "It's all your fault."  Can't argue with that. 

As a result, I've had to shy away from all the stuff I love, like heavy swings and squats and overhead work while I've let myself heal up and done correctives to speed the process.  The only thing that's remained constant in my training lately has been grip work.  Lots and lots of grip work.  I figured, I've always wanted a stronger grip, now's probably the time to get started on it.  So for the past month, that's pretty much all I've done.  I stuck with exercises I had read about and a few that I thought up and wanted to try.  I mostly did:

* plate pinches for time
* bottoms-up cleans with a 53 lb kettlebell
* worked with my CoC trainer and # 1 grippers
* farmers carries with levered sledgehammers (8 lbs) for distance
* and extensor work with a bucket of sand or a heavy rubber band.

That, correctives, and the occasional squat, swing, press, and snatch whenever my body felt like it could handle it, is it, folks. 

So imagine my surprise (and juvenile giddiness) when, while at a friend's house, I casually pressed one of his 32 kg kettlebells for three solid reps on my right side and two on my left!  My previous best was two reps each side with a 32 kg, and that was two years ago after months of the Rite of Passage (prior to a previous shoulder injury that kept me from pressing for a while).  I was stoked, to say the least.  The next day I figured I'd try my hand at one of my other favorite exercises - the pullup.  I knocked off 9 consecutive pullups - another PR!  Neither of these PRs are feats of strength, but they're not bad for not having been able to train them seriously or often for several months. 

It's official: I'm addicted to grip training.  I've been given the okay by my physical therapist to do overhead work, so I'm going to slowly work TGUs, presses, pullups, snatches, etc. into my daily diet of activities as well as continue with correctives to help out my hams and put me on the right track toward badassery again. 

To anyone reading this, if you're not including grip strength into your training, I really think you're missing out on potentially making some awesome gains.  I'm not exactly a physical specimen (I'm about 5'8" and weight 155 soaking wet), so anything that can help me lift heavier and pull more has my undying allegiance. 

More updates to come.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chasing progress

It's easy to "let yourself go" after making great progress.  Once you've achieved an awesome goal, if you don't have another lofty goal waiting to get conquered like your last one, you're just asking to get sucker punched by a backslide into mediocrity.  It'd be nice to say "don't worry about it, because it happens to everybody from time to time," but unless your goal is to be just like everyone else, you shouldn't take something like this sitting down.  The backslide into mediocrity doesn't stop once you hit "mediocre".  It runs much deeper than that. 

I write this because it needs to be written, and more specifically, I write this to call someone out.  Someone who oughta know better; someone who oughta be better at practicing what he preaches.  That someone is me. 

That's right, I've climbed high, but I've let myself fall low.  I achieved my RKC certification seven months ago, and I began a slow, steady decline in my physical abilities shortly thereafter.  There are a lot of things I could try to blame (being busy with school and work, etc.), but after a long time of thinking hard about this, I've narrowed the culprit down to two things:  1) Not setting big goals followed by smaller ones to achieve along the way, and 2) not prioritizing.

It's that simple. 

So this blog, among other things, will be a chronicle of my return to badassery.  It will contain not only my routine for returning to and surpassing my previous achievements, but also my thoughts on various things relating to healing the injuries I've accrued, reaching new heights in strength and conditioning, and thoughts on various topics relating to these things.  Enjoy, and feel free to comment.