November 28, 2006

14 responses to You’ve got mail!

  1. Theresa Says:

    No worries about new posts Kris, as I’m still trying to catch up on the archives! I surf my favorite powerlifting sites everyday to feed the addiction, but I promise not to smash down your door if there is a lull.
    Speed squat tonight with 115lbs(60% of max)
    18 sets of 1 with 20 sec rest between. I’m going to sleep well tonight!

  2. Kris Says:

    I presume the main reason for the lack of said door smashing is the fact that the air fare here to Finland is quite expensive… Good work there with the squats! Are you preparing for the Nationals using Westside or something else?

  3. Kris Says:

    Received my first e-mail digest just now, works like a charm. It actually turns the blog into a newsletter complete with images and all (if you’ve enabled html e-mail). Not bad. :-)

  4. Theresa Says:

    Ok plane fare to Finland is too steep, though I might have to. No not to smash in your door but to visit the Metal shop. Called Elite Fitness to buy a metal presser bench shirt but their sizes start at 46 and I need a 40. I’ve contacted the Finland shop via e-mail, but haven’t heard yet. Someone at the gym I lift at in NH told me tonight it’s because it’s always dark in Finland and everyone is asleep. I told him I didn’t know about the darkness but I do know they are not all sleeping, at least not all the time.
    I’m preparing for the nationals by following a power cycle written by my coach who has twenty five years of powerlifting experience. He does not use a specific protocol but tailors his cycles to the individuals needs. He’s really emphasizing speed, explosive power for my squat right now, since I’ve had problems with stopping at the bottom and (sin of all sins) letting my air out at the bottom. A few years ago we worked box squats to get that “without a doubt” depth, which worked great for getting below parallel but we think that is where I picked up the habit of stopping at the bottom. So I think the cycles he writes draws a little bit from westside.
    Subscribed to the posts and comments e-mails. Nice!

  5. Kris Says:

    I see those shirts at the Metal shop each time I’m in the gym, but usually only through the wire fence as I’m in there after hours when all staff, usually a whopping single person, has left the building. It’s one of the ironies of life that I am a RAW lifter training at the mecca of powerlifting equipment; I’ve heard of people putting over 20 kg/44 lbs on their bench just from having Ano himself tweak up the shirt for them. If you for some uncanny reason don’t get a reply, let me know and I can inquire locally. Ano’s wife Minna is known to be quite a tailoring wizard, I expect there to be no problem in speccing a shirt up to meet your size.

    It’s true that we have extreme variance of light here in Finland. According to the Meteorological Institute, the sun rose at 8:55am and set at 15:23pm today making the day 6 hours and 28 minutes long. The sun doesn’t climb very high this time of the year either, staying just above the horizon. Winter solstice occurs at December 22nd, when we will have 6 hours of sunlight. When you factor in the dusk that occurs when the sun is rising and setting, the day does feel quite short as it starts to get darker already after 2pm. This is in the very south of the country, further up north the people enjoy polar night which at it’s most extreme means that there is no sunlight at all. This darkness is offset somewhat by the presence of snow (none at the moment), but the term “winter depression” is on many lips during these dark times. On the flip side, this darkness is also often seen as a key component in shaping the stereotypical Finnish mindset (see this Washington post article for the classic stereotypical take).

    Then again, it follows that in the summer we experience the opposite when our corner of the globe is tilted towards the sun. Up north where Toffe’s Gym is located, the sun doesn’t set for more than about two hours at the height of summer. During those two hours, it doesn’t get darker than a cloudy day. At Finland’s northernmost point, the sun does not set for 73 days during summer. Non-natives often find this a tough time to fall asleep during the “night”.

    Thanks for the details about your program! I’ve heard of similar bad habits from box use before, mainly related to problems staying tight when reversing the lift especially when lifting RAW, but never thought of breathing being an issue. Yet another dimension has been opened before my eyes, will need to see how many extra breathers I enjoy while on the box next time I find myself straddling one. Since Westside encourages people to relax their hips while on the box, I suspect many of us also take this opportunity to breathe at leasure or even take the box sitting as time off (to chat with friends, tie the shoelaces, surf the internet and so on).

  6. Theresa Says:

    I am never going to complain again about our diminishing day light hours. Today we had 9 hrs and 17 mins and had very warm temps @ 65 F.
    Good news! I received an e-mail from Brad at elite fitness that the Metal shop contacted him and has a size 40. The sale will be done through Elite but Metal will ship it directly to me. I guess delivery time is about 2-4 weeks. Thanks for offering to inquire for me!
    I have a Metal deadlift suit that I love. Not sure how many pounds exactly I get from it. I train RAW and use the equip once, sometimes twice, to get accclimated to it before a meet. I don’t do single RAW maxes but based on repitition personal records without the suit I’m guessing I get an additional ten pounds.
    I do like the equipment for the support it gives, especially the knee wraps because of condramalacia in my right knee. But I really want to compete in a RAW meet sometime, hopefully the 2nd Virtualmeet. I would love to know how much me and my belt can do and promise not to whine too much if I discover the equipment putting 30-40lbs on my total.

  7. Kris Says:

    Theresa, really happy to hear that the shirt deal worked out fairly painlessly. Unless the first virtual meet shows that the idea does not fly, which I frankly doubt will happen, we will set up some more dates for meets. We’ll go based on interest from here on, so everyone can have their say on when they want to see a meet and what kind of a meet that should be. I want to provide regular full-meets, but I also see other forms of meets, such as bench only and push-pull, why not even deadlift only.

    Time to sleep, got to go have my fat percentage measured in less than six hours. Just came out from a nice hot sauna following a deadlift workout at Metal Gym. Got horse liniment all over the place…

  8. Theresa Says:

    I’d be very interested in push/pull or deadlift events!
    I’ve been working off a two inch block for my deadlift for several weeks now. 200 x 6 went very well yesterday and I’m feeling pretty good about getting 215 x 5 in two weeks (that should be a good indicator of gains I’ve made with the deadlift.
    Hot sauna and horse liniment sounding real good!

  9. Kris Says:

    Since my squat and bench are not good, I’d love a deadlift only meet myself… ;-)

    Sounds like you are on track for the Nationals so far! Do you pull sumo or conventional? If sumo, I’d be interested in hearing how heavily you think the squat affects your deadlift in a full meet. In my very limited experience, the major downside of squatting wide and then pulling sumo is that the deadlift takes a hit in a full meet (plus it’s pretty hard on the joints when peaking). I’d really like to pull conventional, but my back just isn’t there for it anymore.

  10. Theresa Says:

    My um ho hum bench is HORRIBLE. That’s why I’m searching for the magic bench shirt :)
    I pull conventional. I’ve never even tried to pull sumo, so I can’t argue conventional over sumo. I’ve heard sumo involves more precise technique and hip strength.
    I usually end up doing a good morning with one of my squat attempts, which should have a negative impact on my deadlift. I’m working on correcting this and have used the safety squat bar which I feel is very helpful. Also I use a narrower stance (just about shoulder width)for the squat.

    Has your back improved since you went sumo? Do you do good mornings and do those hurt your back?

  11. Kris Says:

    Theresa, good point there, forgot about the obligatory squat good morning. Like you, I have a tendency to shift heavy attempts towards the low-back. Getting my squat form to look less ugly is definitively a long-term goal. Please let me know of any progress you make in exorcising the good morning out of your squat. I should really get myself a SSB bar, everybody seems to rave about what it does for you.

    I am really built more for the conventional deadlift being decently tall, armed with weak legs and long arms, but there is just no way I could survive doing the conventional long-term the way my low-back behaves. Don’t know how much you’ve read about my problem, but basically I get a lateral shift of the hip if I treat it badly (photo if you dare). This includes anything from prolonged sitting to sleeping more than about 7 hours in a row. It flares up from time to time, but I’ve become pretty good at dealing and training with it. The sumo is a fairly safe lift in this regard, the real killers are too much flexion as in ab work. Another sure fire one is lifting Rufus in his pram up into the tram. I guess the total load is not more than about 30 kg/66 lbs, but the load is very much out in front and it usually never fails to kill my low back for a day or two.

    As you may know, I originally sustained my injury doing a good morning back in December 2003 after which I spent a couple of somewhat unproductive training years trying to get back on track, all of which is documented in the archives. I never do any good mornings anymore unless they are off pins, which removes the very injury prone reversal phase (here’s a good explanation of this courtesy of chiropractor Vince Scelfo). I wouldn’t go as far as not recommending people do them, but definitively exercise a LOT of caution if you do (for some past thoughts on the GM, see this entry); then again, I am obviously biased. During my diet, I did do some partial pin good mornings from the position I initiate my deadlift (bar at about upper stomach). If memory serves, I worked up to a triple at 140 kg/308 lbs, which wasn’t quite a max effort but still heavy.

  12. Theresa Says:

    The only good mornings I do are a result of a poor squat execution (which means I’ve done a ton of them). My coach has always recommended against doing good mornings, probably because of the strain it can put on your lower back. My personal favorite for lower back is the reverse hyper.
    With my squat I really have to focus on pushing back against the bar on my ascents, especially as the weight gets heavier. My work with the ssbar was helpful,unfortunately the owner of the bar took it for his home gym, so I’ll have to work without it for now.
    You’ve worked around your injury very well!
    How is your training and diet going for the virtual meet?

  13. Kris Says:

    Do you find that your squat is much slower and heavier if you try to stay upright? In my case, dumping the weight forward a bit actually gives me a lot better leverage. I suspect the only solution is to continue trying to build up the legs and core. I’ve gently requested a SSB bar for Metal Gym, but in a pinch I might buy one and bring it in myself. I’ve always found it very strange that the Finnish powerlifting mecca didn’t have that particular specialty bar. They do have a Westside camber bar, a 2″ camber bar and a fat bar.

    The training is going well, thanks for asking. Am almost through the second week of the Russian Routine. My bodyfat is down to 21% at a stable weight of 99 kg/218 lbs after finishing the ketogenic diet and regaining normal glycogen/water stores. Am eating very clean to keep it from rebounding. Am hoping I might actually lean out a bit over the next 10 weeks, 1-2 kg/2-5 lbs would be plenty, not crossing my fingers quite yet though.

  14. Theresa Says:

    I have a tendency to throw the weight forward, but I think it is detrimental even though I have better back than leg strength. The best strength and speed I’ve felt with the squat, is when I descend with moderate speed and without stopping drive up with my hips, while keeping the bar from folding me in half (save the bow for after the weight is racked).
    Congratulations on a successful completion of your diet. Sounds like you’ll be in great condition for the virtual meet.

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