4/3/17 – 5 Days Out – World’s Strongest Boilermaker Prep

All the heavy work is completely as I pull within a week of the World’s Strongest Boilermaker. I opted to take a training day out of one of Brandon’s hypertrophy programs that he wrote for me while reducing the weight that I would normally take on the sets to get some blood to my muscles and promote recovery. The breakdown of today’s training went as follows…

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Lying Leg Curl (All sets completed with 10 partial reps after prescribed reps)
    • 100×10, 120×10, 140×10, 150×10
  • 45 Degree Leg Press (Worked up to heavy set of 10)
    • 570×10, 660×10, 750×10, 840×10, 930×10, 1020×10
  • Leg Extension
    • 100×10, 120×10, 140×10, 140×10
  • Walking Lunges – 3×12 (Each Leg)
  • Pull Throughs (Using Spud Strap) – 4×20
  • Calf Extensions – 4×10
  • Shin Raises – 4×10
  • Lying Leg Raises – 4×12

As a club, we traveled down to Force Barbell in Fishers, IN over the weekend in order to get our hands the equipment that we will be using this Saturday during the competition. videos of some of the fun we had can be found on the club’s social media sites including Instagram and Facebook. During my time at Force, I realized quickly that I need to make one final push to up my cardio capacity over the course of this week. I wasn’t gassed by any means but I would hate to lose an event simply because I was out of shape. If anything I want to lose because I’m simply not strong enough yet, that I can accept. Additionally, avoiding the urge to rush a movement will need to be avoided on many of these events. I had the tendency to hurry through a movement while I was practicing and some of my success suffered because of it. Aside from those items I feel very good going into the competition this weekend and look forward to seeing my teammates also do well.

For the remainder of this week I plan to hit an upper body day with a layout similar to the rep/sets in the session above. After that I am going to avoid touching weight but may get a couple of stretching and recovery days in which may involve some rolling and light cardio. The main goal at this point is to feel completely rested and ready to go come Saturday morning. I have not backed off nearly as aggressively as I would leading up to a powerlifting meet because of the unsanctioned nature of the event and the fact that it is my first time competing in this type of competition. After getting my hands on some strongman equipment last weekend, I am excited to see what my strengths and weaknesses are in this discipline. Until next time!

3/27/17 – Week 4, Day 1 – Max Effort Lower

I’m officially 12 days out from my first and last attempt at competing in the World’s Strongest Boilermaker strongman competition. I detailed out my approach to this meet and my goals in a recent post so I won’t go through the details again but long story short, this is my first time doing a strongman competition and I intend to learn as much as possible above all else. That being said, I am close enough to the meet that I am beginning to get into my last max effort days before I shut it down going into the comp. Today was the last of heavy deads and the session went as follows…

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Deficit Conventional Deadlift
    • 135×5, 225×5, 275×3, 315×3, 365×3, 405×3, 425×3, 455×3, (Removed Deficit) 500×1
    • 365×5, 365×5 405×3
  • Deadlift, Paused at Knee (3 count pause)
    • 275×3, 315×3, 335×3
  • Paused Front Squat
    • 135×12, 185×10, 225×8
  • Glute-Ham Raise – 4×12
  • T-Spine Raise (Using SSB)
    • 95×20, 115×20, 135×15
  • Deep Abs on GHR – 3 Sets of 21s
  • Standing Calf Raises – 3×10
  • Dumbbell Shrugs – 3×10

Everything moved today. I won’t say that it moved explosively or fast but it all moved and felt good. For some reason I was very sore coming into the gym today in my legs, especially the hamstrings, which last week I would have blamed on being on a rocking ship during vacation but this week it almost has to be a carryover from my dynamic effort day last Friday. I will keep an eye on my recovery and with a decrease an intensity going into next week, I will be 100% on competition day barring any setback.

In other news, I have begun to read. This is something that I have secretly been beating myself over for a long time but just never seemed to pick out or pick up reading material aside from textbooks. The other day my conscious finally got the better of me and I purchased “The Vault” by Dave Tate, the owner of Elitefts. It is basically a compilation of 200 pages worth of training knowledge and tips broken up into page or half page bits of writing. So far it has been perfect to sit down whenever I have 10 or 15 minutes to spare and knock out a couple segments at a time and come away with little pointers here and there. I am sure in the near future I will be involving some items that I find helpful into some logs but for now I want to spend a little more time learning than talking. Until next time!

3/22/17 – Week 3, Day 2 – Max Effort Upper

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Fat Bar Overhead Press
    • 55×5, 75×5, 95×3, 115×3, 135×3, 155×3, 165×3, 185×3
    • 165×4, 165×3
  • Close Grip Incline Bench
    • 195×10, 225×6, 195×8
  • Dumbbell Incline Press
    • 50×20, 60×17, 70×13
  • Neutral Grip Landmine Bar Row
    • 60×20, 70×20, 80×17, 90×15, 100×13
  • Reverse EZ Bar Curls – 4×12
  • Spud Strap Tricep Pushdown – 4×20
  • Wrist Curls – 4 Sets
  • Stir the Pot – 4 Sets
  • Hand-Over-Hand Rope Row – 4 Rounds

3/4/17 – Max Effort Lower – Week 2, Day 1

The Arnold Classic has come and gone once again and never disappoints. Once again a large group of Purdue Barbell made the trip to Columbus, OH to witness some of our heroes in action. Going to the Arnold together has become somewhat of a tradition within the group and having one of our own members competing in the XPC Powerlifting meet over there this past Friday made it even that much more special. Nic Edmondson, a Junior in the club, competed as an elite lifter on Friday morning at the competition and represented the club as well as anyone ever could. Nic has a great career ahead of him and we are very proud to call him our teammate. As for me, I was a spectator to the XPCs on Friday and then an attendee of the big expo on Saturday. During our time in Ohio, we were able to get into the Elitefts S4 Compound on Friday evening to train. It seemed like everyone you could every want to meet from the powerlifting community was there and the atmosphere was amazing. Ethan and I ended up jumping into deadlifts with Christian Anto and his training partner, Steven. I had never deadlifted against before and I think I fell in love. As soon as I am able to train in a gym that allows them you can bet that they will a regular part of my programming. As for the rest of the session, things broke down as follows…

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Conventional Deadlift (vs. Chains)
    • 135x2x3, 225×5, (add 40lbs chain), 315×3, 365×3, (add 80lbs chain), 405×1, 435×1+120lbs chain, 455×1 + 120lbs chain (miss)
  • Conventional Deadlift (3 second pause at knee)
    • 225×3, 275×3, 315×3
  • Belt Squat
    • 225×12, 315×12, 365×12
  • Wide Stance Hack Squat
    • 185x4x20
  • Back Attack Upper Back Extension – 3×12
  • Hanging Leg Raises – 4×10

If you listen to the video you can hear Christian yelling ques at me and I cannot thank him enough for taking time out of his own training to help me. You will never find an Elitefts athlete that is not willing to drop everything at a moments notice to epitomize their company motto: Live, Learn, Pass On. This is what makes this company such an incredible organization and why they will continue to succeed. I can only hope that I grow to show the same character traits in my own life as their athletes do.

As for my current position in training, I will in fact be competing in the World’s Strongest Boilermaker competition on April 8th. This gives me a little over a month until I have to be ready to go. To prepare for this I have had Brandon modify my programming slightly to reflect the movements that I will be doing for the events. Not much is really changing except that I am overhead pressing instead of max effort benching on the odd training weeks and hitting a lot more incline bench work than normal. This will be my first time competing in strongman and I’m honestly doing it mostly to have a good time with my teammates. That being said, I am taking this seriously and will do what I need to in order to perform well on meet day. To make this happen I will be traveling to Force Barbell a couple times so that I can practice using strongman equipment. I am feeling really good even having just competed 2 weeks ago. Spring Break 2017 is coming up this next week which will me to focus on training and recovery that much more. Having this new challenge to take down has me that much more excited for training and I look forward to trying something new for a few weeks. Until next time!

2/10/17 – Dynamic Effort Lower

As Christian Anto mentioned to me yesterday, “The last few days of training before a meet are bittersweet, aren’t they.” Winding down a meet prep cycle does in fact have a weird feeling to it. For the past 5 weeks I have been ramping up to the heaviest weight I have had on my back since at least the previous meet and then, right as you are feeling as strong as ever, the weights go from 100 to 0. That is how today was for me, everything moved very well from warm ups to my last set of abs but with the lack of work I had on the schedule today it just seemed too easy. It will all pay off next weekend when it is time to bring all of it and more to the platform but when you have been training and conditioning yourself for months to push a little harder or go a little farther, sessions like this just leave you wanting more. The session went as follows…

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Speed Squat (vs. Elitefts Pro Average Bands)
    • 275x6x2
  • Speed Deadlift (vs. Elitefts Short Average Bands)
    • 285x4x1
  • Band Leg Curl (vs. Elitefts Pro Light Band)
    • 3×20
  • Band Ab Pulldowns (vs. Elitefts Pro Light Band)
    • 3×15

On the bright side, I was able to get down to NBS Fitness in Memphis, TN to lift today. Getting to see Christian and David Allen is always a pleasure and having them around for training is a god send. I even got to take my final speed squats of meet prep out of a mono and get used to setting up correctly. These last two weeks of prep everything has fallen together nearly complete and all that is left is to rest, recover, and make weight for this meet. Yes, I have chosen to once again compete at 242 and will be starting my water cut on Sunday. A couple of diet changes has had the weight falling off by the day over the past week and so far this has been the easiest cut of my life. I have learned a lot from cutting down in the past and it is showing this time around. Keep an eye out for video and write-up coming out post meet day. My openers are set, the hotel is booked, and my teammates and I are ready to show them what we got once again. All aboard the gain train, lets do this. Until next time!

1/30/16 – Max Effort Lower – 3 Weeks Out

The last heavy squats of this meet prep are in the books and I could not be happier. This morning, Ethan Lenn, Austin Elpers, and I got up and to the corec bright and early to get into our wraps for openers, seconds, and thirds. After a shaky first attempt at my possible opener at 515, I settled into the competition groove and nailed the rest of my reps. Below are the weights which I took this morning…

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Squat
    • 45×5, 135×3, 225×3, 275×2, 315×1 (added belt), 365×1, 405×1, 445×1
    • Last Warm Up: 485×1 (added Elitefts 2.5m Krait Knee Wraps)
    • Opener: 515x2x1 (Added Elitefts 60cm Juniper Wrist Wraps)
    • Second: 535×1
    • Third (w/ Reverse Elitefts Pro Mini Bands): 555×1

There was supposed to be a few accessory exercises to be completed after squatting today but with time constraints creeping in on us to get to class, we went ahead and packed up after squats. To put it into perspective, we arrived at the rec at 7:50am and I finished the last squat at 10:05am. That is just how it goes when you have three guys squatting, two of whom are being wrapped for 5 of the reps each by one poor soul. While I’m on the topic I would like to give a huge shout-out to Austin for waking up early and coming to the gym with us primarily just to wrap our knees. Powerlifting is a team sport and do not let anyone tell you different. Ethan and I would not be able to do the things we have done and well as we have done them if not for the great members of Purdue Barbell that surround us such as Austin.

Now for a quick mid-prep update on how I feel the next three weeks will go. I have already knocked out both Max Effort days for this week which leaves me with 8 sessions to go before meet day; 2 this week, 4 next week, and 2 the final week. I am currently sitting at about 261lbs body weight meaning that I am 14 pounds underweight for the 275lb weight class and 19 pounds overweight for the 242lb weight class. I have already began cleaning up my diet but I have yet to decide whether I am going all in to make 242 one last time for my final meet with Purdue Barbell. For this week, my plan is to stick to my diet adjustments and monitor how my body responds. If the pounds fall off easily and I feel good then I will consider making the cut, if I harden up and the weight doesn’t move then I will continue my nutrition plan and go into meet day at whatever weight my body feels best at. I have one more heavy deadlifting day that I NEED to nail my reps in because of my piss pour performance last week and another heavy bench day which I am not nearly as concerned for because of my success with pressing thus far. Overall this prep has gone 90% right with just one or two hiccups but after today, I have all the confidence in the world that my PRs will fall come meet day. Thank you to everyone that has been supporting me during this prep and also to everyone that is coming out to watch Purdue Barbell compete in 3 weeks. Until next time!

1/16/17 – Max Effort Upper – 5 Weeks Out

Bench pressing continues to feel very solid as I move into week 2 of meet prep. The percentages were bumped up slightly this week with reduced rep schemes. Everything is moving fairly quickly and by that I don’t just mean the weights, I mean this prep itself! The sessions are flying by but maybe its just me getting used to this prep schedule. Either way, my bench attempts and accessory work went as follows…

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Bench Press
    • 45×10, 95×5, 135×5, 185×5, 225×2, 255×3
    • 285x2x3
    • 295x3x2
  • Dumbbell Incline Bench
    • 50×12, 60×12, 70×12
  • Chest Supported Row
    • 110×12, 120×12, 130×12, 140×12
  • Dips – 3×12
  • Band Flys – 50 Reps
  • Band Pressdowns – 50 Reps
  • Band Pull Aparts – 100 Reps
  • Band Ab Pulldowns – 4×12

I could definitely tell that the extra 10 pounds had been added to the bar when I moved to 295 for my three doubles but I set up like I have been practicing, let it sink in and moved all three sets just the way I wanted to. After having ran a volume program for 4 weeks, these training days feel like they are too short but I know I need to let myself recover more from these bigger weights. Whenever I find myself second guessing something that I am doing I just have to remind myself that I have Brandon write these programs for me for a reason. He hasn’t let me down yet and knows what he is doing. The last thing you want to do during a meet prep is to overdo it and put yourself out of a meet (e.i. train smarter not harder). There is no sense in hitting a bunch of accessory work if it does not help you move toward peaking on meet day. There is definitely a time and place for volume work to build a muscular base but during meet prep is not that time, especially a six week prep. I will be taking my first heavy squats tomorrow evening after our Spring Call-Out. Hopefully I will be able to get some videos for those. Until next time!

1/11/16 – Max Effort Lower – 6 Weeks Out

Meet prep has arrived. Today was my first of three max effort deadlift sessions during this program leading up to the RPS Mafia Mayhem meet in approx. 6 weeks. I was very happy with how my pulls moved today and was even able to get a couple of my top sets on video for once. My four week stint in hypertrophy work seems to have my joints and back feeling great. I can already tell that I am going to enjoy this prep and feel like I am set up to knock down some big numbers come February 18th. Here is how training broke down today…

  • Stretch and Warm-Up
  • Sumo Deadlift
    • 135×5, 225×3, 275×3, 315×3, 365×3, 405×2, 445×2, 475x2x2
  • Rack Pull (Below Knee)
    • 315×3, 405×3, 455×3, 495×3
  • Leg Press
    • 585×15, 635×15, 675×15
  • Glute-Ham Raise – 3×12
  • Stir the Pot – 3×15

Between max effort bench and deadlift over the last couple days all of my numbers have felt to be on point. It seems like the last month or so has been a rollercoaster of moving around and working out in new places so it feels nice to be back in the corec around the equipment I have been using the most over the past 4 years. I love being able to meet new people and train in new gyms but when it comes to meet prep I will take consistency over a lot of things. I was not able to get my second set of 475 on deads videoed today so you will just have to believe me when I say that it moved a lot faster than the first set which is shown above. Overall my body is feeling better than it has going into a prep in a long time but I have learned that when you feel the best is when you have to put the most effort into recovery techniques and warming up properly. This will be my final powerlifting meet with Purdue Barbell and I intend to go out with a bang. Two more dynamic day are left this week before we roll right along into week two of meet prep. This is gonna be a good one. Until next time!