T Nation

T3hPwnisher's Log


#1

Been a member here for a while and have been maintaining a training log on blogger for over a decade, but enough people have asked about how I train that I thought this might be a good idea.

Some background.

Height: 5'9
Weight: 198ish
Age: 29

Best lifts

Squat: 501 (meet) 550 (gym)
Bench: 342 (meet) 350 (gym, dead bench from chains)
Deadlift: 601 (meet) 650 (gym, strongman style, lots of hitching and ramping)

Got into powerlifting around 2011 and strongman in 2013. Just finished my 4th strongman contest yesterday, "A Very Heavy New Year 2015" and took second (SnoodgrassStrong took first). I have another one coming up in Feb that I will be training for now that is pretty similar to this one. I'm including the video and write-up I made for the contest here, and will continue to update with my daily training as I go.

?A VERY HEAVY NEW YEAR 2015? WRITE UP

Just completed my 4th strongman comp and ended up placing second. This is the first time I?ve placed in a comp, and placing this high is just amazing. Everything really seemed to come together, and it looks like a lot of the lessons I?ve learned from previous competitions/comp experience really shined through. My training paid off as well, and that?s while training at home by myself with limited equipment first thing in the morning. While some things are still fresh in my head I want to get them down.

PRESS MEDLEY

Implements for this event were a 225lb axle w/tires, 115lb circus dumbbell, 165lb keg and a ?mystery object? that turned out to be a fire hydrant. The mystery object was originally supposed to be a sandbag. I took 2 weeks of vacation before the comp to visit my in-laws and didn?t want to pack a whole bunch of gear to train with, so I threw a 150lb sandbag in my car only to find out they were cutting it out of the comp. I was pissed at the time, but I think all the time I spent training with the sandbag just got me good at cleaning and pressing awkward objects anyway, so it was a net gain.

I came into this with a gameplan of hitting the axle first, then the dumbbell, then the keg, then the fire hydrant. Thought process was that the axle was the heaviest and required the most technique, the dumbbell required technique, the keg just required me to hulk the weight up and I had a chance to train with it before the comp and the fire hydrant was a crapshoot, so I would save it for last in case I couldn?t press it. That way, I would have at least a fast 3 implement time should I fail on the 4th.

When the event started, I was actually caught off guard by how easily I cleaned the axle. Cleaning is never my strong suit, and every person before me had to continental the weight up, but I just threw it up to my shoulders. In retrospect, my ghetto axle at home is harder to work with than the comp ones because it is thicker and has no knurling at all, so I think that?s what made this so much easier. However, it ended up slowing me down a little because I was anticipating more of fight. My leg drive also fell apart as a result, but I can still press 225 strict just fine. Lesson learned here: anticipate success rather than failure.

Moved on to the circus dumbbell and made a rookie mistake: I went back to powerlifter mode and waited for a press command. It was only a second, but it did throw off my rhythm and made it that my first attempt to press the weight went flat. Gathered up my reserves and hit the second attempt just fine, but this is where things got interesting.

I can only speculate what happened psychologically, and my thought is that I got really upset with myself over missing the press command and just sort of melted down, because once I got the dumbbell over head I flew into a rage. It?s still crazy for me sitting here the next morning to think about, but I was legitimately angry about something and I still can?t quite figure out what, but it manifested in me completely abandoning the gameplan on the spot and being absolutely furious at the fire hydrant. I did not give a shit about technique, and just wanted to show dominance over it, so I grabbed it, threw it up to my shoulders and pressed in the dumbest way I probably could have. By the grace of god, the judge gave me a down command the second I lost my grip on the fire hydrant, so I just let it slip through my fingers and went to the keg.

I was still in the same state of fugue when I reached the keg, but thankfully I was realistic about my lack of coordination and trained all my keg work to be about brute strength rather than technique. I did not lap and roll the keg up, but instead just ripped it off the floor to my chest and pressed it. I threw it to the floor and really had to calm myself down, because I was still pissed off over something I couldn?t figure out, but I ended up taking 3rd out of 7, which is a great showing for me. Upon reviewing the video and hearing the jeers of my fellow competitors, I used pretty much zero leg drive the whole time, which is pretty badass, but also means I?m losing time by strict pressing. I keep training leg drive in my training, but I imagine that when the chips hit the floor, I go back to what I?m good at. Still, was feeling good after this event.

LAST MAN STANDING TIRE DEADLIFT

This event took forever, as I was warned they usually do. We did 20lb jumps from 440-520, and 40lb jumps from there. If you know me, you know this is my event, so not a whole lot to write up. I did employ some psychological warfare, and made a conscious effort to remain as calm, collected and bored as possible every time I pulled. I wanted everyone else to know that their efforts were futile, and that they should just quit because I could do this all day. A little cocky, but whatever, if you got it flaunt it.

I DID ensure to strap in for every single set. No points for style here, and I wanted to save my grip for the contest as much as I could.

In the end, it came down to me and one other competitor. We both got up to 680, which he managed with probably the most magical and gravity defying hitch I have ever seen in my life. I am nothing but jealous about it. I pulled a pretty smooth 680, but psyched myself up for it pretty hard since it was down to the wire. When 720 came around, the other guy withdrew and I thought I had a decent shot at it. However, being expended from the previous effort, I went to pull, got the weight a few inches off the ground and felt the sensation of something separating in my mid-back. It wasn?t worth slipping a disk, so I settled with sharing first place. Not exactly how I wanted it to go, but still, I got some points, and at this point I was second overall in the standings.

YOKE WALK

Did no training for this, have nothing close to the implement. Gameplan was ?be stronger than everyone else?. Amazingly, that worked, because even though it was only 550lbs, this Yoke just SUCKED. I don?t know what it was, but every second it was on my back I felt like I was being crucified. I felt like I had a ton of drops and was making no progress, but looking at the video I actually only dropped 3 or 4 times and got pretty far between drops. I think what helped me compared to other competitors was simply SOME implement experience (definitely saw a few first time yokes out there) and my willingness to endure more misery, as I would quickly get back under the bar every time it set down. I probably had the slowest time among those who completed the course, but since that was me and 2 other guys, I got 3rd again. This put me in second overall by 4.5 points, trailing first by 4 points, so pretty wide margins all around.

One thing I did take away from this is that I was very uncomfortable having weight on my neck, and I think this stems from the fact that I haven?t been hitting the safety squat bar as much as I used to. It?s a great piece of equipment and I credit the majority of my success with it, so I need to get it back into my routine. It should also help my dead climb back up.

TIRE FLIP

No training on this one, came into it cocky thinking that my deadlift strength would payoff. Looking at the video though, I was moving slow. In the future, can?t be wasting time waiting for the tire to fall. Soon as I flip it, set up for the next one. Technique sucked too, need to be able to one shot it each time. I also dropped it at the end of the event, and had I been better with my technique I would?ve closed the gap on time. I took 5th on this, getting beaten out by a 10th of a second by 4th place. Was still in second here, now at 19.5 points with third at 16.

LOADING MEDLEY

Used some new tacky on this, which seems like a dumb idea considering the last time I botched stones was because I used new equipment, but things actually worked out well. Prior to the contest I looked up what the weather was going to be like, noticed it was going to be cold, and picked up some Elite cold weather tacky. The rest of the internet seemed to dislike the stuff and prefer spider tack, but by the time stones rolled around, no one?s spider tack was working, while the elite (though incredible tough to work with) was plenty sticky. It definitely has my endorsement.

That aside, the event changed day of the contest, and instead 2 atlas stones and 2 natural stones, we were loading a 240lb atlas stone, 250lb natural stone, 275lb sandbag and 310lb atlas stone. Once again, all that time at my in-laws with a sandbag was going to pay off. Life works out funny sometimes.

First stone was no real issue. Lapped it this time instead of trying to one shot it. Natural stone I was dumb on, and tried to grab it like an atlas stone instead of considering the design of it. Grabbed it at the front instead of the back, and it fell backwards out of my hands. Regripped and one shotted it.

The sandbag had a few interesting factors. Second I was second overall, 5 other guys had a crack at it, so it was covered in tacky and actually stuck to the floor, so I had to break the grip of the tacky first. Secondly, one of the volunteer loaders was way in my space while I was trying to work with this, so I had to shove him out of the way with the sandbag to get myself some space to work with. After that though, it wasn?t as bad as I thought. Got it in my lap, inched up to the platform, used it to brace the bag, and loaded it.

The 310 stone was a disaster. When I went to pick it up, I noticed it was incredibly slipper and smooth. Then I looked at my forearms and realized that this stone was covered in dirt, and now, so were my forearms. So my tacky was pretty much worthless at this point, and I tried every way I could to get a grip on this stone. I tried getting my hands under it, my shins against it, bear hugging it, front squatting it, etc. If I could have hacky sacked it up, I would have. It just wasn?t happening. Sprained my right lat slightly toward the end and just about gave up, but figured f**k it and kept going until the whistle blew. No idea what my placing was on the event, but I did reasonable well, and enough for second overall.

I have another contest in Feb, but it has some very similar events. In all honesty, this contest was just supposed to be a tune up to get me ready for that one, but after this showing, I may just do the Feb one for fun. Either way, still a great experience.


#2

Excited to follow along!


#3

I’m in brother. There are a few technique things that I can help you with strongmanwise that will immediately help you out, when I have the time I’ll sit down and write some of them for you. You are a strong guy and there is no reason why you won’t be winning your next show.

It is also funny that you met Snodgrass. He and I met at this past year’s nationals and hung out for a lot of the time. He and his crew were a huge help to me. T-Nation has made the world a much smaller place…


#4

Looking forward to this


#5

Congratulations on your performance and placing.

I, too, am looking forward to this.


#6

Excellent. I enjoy your thoughts on lifting.


#7

Thanks for the support everyone.

Alpha: Looking forward to your comments. You were a boon for my last contest with the tips on the keg.


Chins w/45lb
24

Notes: 2 rest pauses.

Bench 210lbs
5x10

Notes: On week thirteen of Matt Kroczaleski’s bench program in his “Insane Training” book. Conveniently enough, it’s a deload week while I recover from my contest. Still got a decent pump in the chest.

Pull aparts
20 reps in between all sets of benching

Shoulder circuit
3 series

Notes: Just something I’ve been doing ever since I got an impingement in my left shoulder. 50 partial presses, 15 front raises, 15 lateral raises, all done back to back.

Grenade ball lat pulldowns 90lbs
2x10
1x15

Notes: Using a plate loaded pulldown, so it takes little weight to get intense here. Right lat still a little tweaked from that last atlas stone, so going easy.

Kroc rows 105
1x7

Notes: Normally hitting 25-30 on this, but babying the right lat for now.


#8

Love the competition write up. Looking forward to following.


#9

(15) Chain Suspended Safety Squat Bar Squats 445+chains
1x5

Notes: I’m writing a little more than usual just to clue people in on how I log my workouts. The number in parenthesis represents how many links of chain remain on a 5’ length. I suspend the chains from the top of the power rack, and then each week reduce the amount of links remaining until I hit 9 left (competition depth) before starting the cycle over again. This is the highest point I train from, which is slightly above parallel. With a comp coming up in about a month, I won’t be going through a full cycle, but I’ve been neglecting this movement so I intend to hit it hard for a few weeks at least.

Log cleans
Worked up to 205x3

Notes: Performed these in between warm-up sets for the squats. Haven’t touched the log in a while, and it’s part of a press medley coming up. This is already above competition weight and was pretty easy, so I’m not too worried, just want to not waste time by having poor technique on comp day.

Reverse hyper 320
3x12

GHR sit up w/25lb plate behind head
3x6

Carry medley (25’, 200lb sandbag, 182lb keg)
4 trips

Notes: Agility was never my thing, but I started picking up the technique as I went. The higher I get the implement on my chest, the faster I can go. Really noticed a difference when I ditched my Inzer lever belt and went with the Spud deadlifting belt. This event will range 25-50’ and have farmer’s and a yoke in it. I got the farmer’s to train with, was too lazy to load them, but no yoke. Plan is to steal a page from Dan John, and hit a set of safety squat bar squats before running to simulate the fatigue/suckiness of the yoke. Should help get some SSB squat volume in too.

Neck harness 45lbs
40 reps

General notes: Had the day off work today, so was able to train longer than normal. Will need to be able to condense this down in the future, as I normally train before work.


#10

PRESS DAY

Overhead medley (205lb log, 182lb keg, 105lb fat grip dumbbell)
-1 rep for log and keg, AMRAP for db, performed in this order, clean db one time

2 rounds

Notes: Hit 4 reps on the DB first round, 3 reps second. First round I was right underneath my garage door for the keg, so I actually cleaned it and moved out of the way for the press. Log and keg are slightly above comp weight, DB slightly below. For the comp, I will also need to clean and press a 205 axle at the start, and will work that in next week, but for today I just wanted to get a feel for things. Moving smooth, leg drive actually gets better on the second rep for the DB. Worse LOOSE wrist wraps and it seemed to help. Log moved smooth.

Slight incline DB press 105 w/reactive slingshot
10,9,6

w/unloaded DB handles, no slightshot
75

Chins
1x20
4x10

Pull aparts
5x20

Notes: Chins and pull aparts performed in between sets of DB pressing.

Grenade ball cable hammer curls 50lbs
3x9

Light band pushdowns
25
20
20

Band pull aparts
3x10

Notes: Performed as one giant set

Log push-ups
15 w/narrow handles
5 w/wide handles

Notes: Just a little finisher. Great pec movement, easier on the shoulders since the grip is neutral and the log diameter limits ROM.


#11

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Been a member here for a while and have been maintaining a training log on blogger for over a decade, but enough people have asked about how I train that I thought this might be a good idea.
[/quote]

I think everyone, regardless of their preferred training modality and goals, would do well to read your log and learn from it. Thanks for starting this. I grew up watching WSM reruns with my dad whenever we could find them, so I’m very glad to have a little portal into your training.


#12

I am not sure if you are doing it yet, (if you are, my apologies and disregard) but on the Circus DB, try to get it pretty vertical so that one of the “bells” sits right onto of your shoulder. (similar to getting the bar in a true front pack position rather that holding it in your hands on a push-press)…This way, when you drive up with your legs the DB will come off of stable bone support rather than squishy arm support. (I hope that makes sense) This way the leg drive will compete 3/4 of the press for you. When you hold any implement in your hands for an overhead event, it is like doing a vertical jump test off a mattress. Getting the weight supported my your body/bones instead of your hands/arms will help tremendously.

Hope that helps man!


#13

[quote]Alpha wrote:
I am not sure if you are doing it yet, (if you are, my apologies and disregard) but on the Circus DB, try to get it pretty vertical so that one of the “bells” sits right onto of your shoulder. (similar to getting the bar in a true front pack position rather that holding it in your hands on a push-press)…This way, when you drive up with your legs the DB will come off of stable bone support rather than squishy arm support. (I hope that makes sense) This way the leg drive will compete 3/4 of the press for you. When you hold any implement in your hands for an overhead event, it is like doing a vertical jump test off a mattress. Getting the weight supported my your body/bones instead of your hands/arms will help tremendously.

Hope that helps man![/quote]

Thanks a ton man. I train with just a normal dumbbell, and transferring it doesn’t get to address this part of it since it has such a smaller diameter. I definitely noticed it felt pretty crappy on comp day. I’ll try to give that a go.


#14

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Been a member here for a while and have been maintaining a training log on blogger for over a decade, but enough people have asked about how I train that I thought this might be a good idea.
[/quote]

I think everyone, regardless of their preferred training modality and goals, would do well to read your log and learn from it. Thanks for starting this. I grew up watching WSM reruns with my dad whenever we could find them, so I’m very glad to have a little portal into your training.[/quote]

Much thanks man. I too have always loved catching WSM whenever I could. I don’t follow a whole lot of other sports, so that’s my superbowl every year. Thankfully, my wife enjoys it too.


#15

Also, I wanted to share this, because I think I may actually be the smartest man alive. Figured this out after 1 set of pulling the DBs off the floor and figuring that there must be a better way. This is also going to be awesome when I start doing incline log pressing.


#16

Will definitely be following this.


#17

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Also, I wanted to share this, because I think I may actually be the smartest man alive. Figured this out after 1 set of pulling the DBs off the floor and figuring that there must be a better way. This is also going to be awesome when I start doing incline log pressing.[/quote]

I agree and hereby second your self-nomination as WSM (worlds smartest man). Will be using my box jump box for this purpose. Of course, I really have no excuse for not picking my paltry weights up from the ground.


#18

DEADLIFT DAY

(7) Mat Pulls 630
1x11

Notes: Allow me to explain how this works. The number in parenthesis represents the number of rubber patio tiles per side under the plates. This is the start of a cycle, with 7 mats high being about 3/4 of the way up the shin. It says “1x11”, but I don’t really have “sets” here, I just do as many reps I can with as much rest as I can until my body shuts down. Normally, I pull from a dead stop 2-3 times and pull touch and go for as many reps as I can, so you could think of it as 2-3 sets of touch and go. Today, however, I’m sick with some sort of annoying cold, so my ability to hold my breath was shot and I ended up pulling from a dead stop 4 times. Usually I can get about 6-9 reps off the first pull and then just some doubles and triples from there, but today ended up being 3 triples and a double. Next week, I take away a mat and go for as many reps as possible. Again, with another contest in less than a month, I won’t make it all the way to the floor, but this still gets me plenty strong.

Farmer’s walks, 50’
4x255 per hand
2x195 per hand

Notes: Wore straps for the sets of 255, even though the internet says that super double secret taboo for farmers. Not really worried about my grip, whereas my footwork is garbage, and this allows me to get better at moving with heavy weight. Contest weight is 240 per hand, so this should make things a little easier. 195s were strapless, really focusing on getting the feet moving.

Squats
14x405
7x405
11x315

Notes: Goal was 17 for the first set today, but this is the first time I hit farmer’s before squats, and it took a bit out of me. That and being sick really sapped my cardio, so I called it a day a little early here. Still a good workout.


#19

[quote]Captain Needa wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Also, I wanted to share this, because I think I may actually be the smartest man alive. Figured this out after 1 set of pulling the DBs off the floor and figuring that there must be a better way. This is also going to be awesome when I start doing incline log pressing.[/quote]

I agree and hereby second your self-nomination as WSM (worlds smartest man). Will be using my box jump box for this purpose. Of course, I really have no excuse for not picking my paltry weights up from the ground. [/quote]

Hey man, work smarter, not harder, haha. No point wasting energy getting set up that could be spent lifting crap.


#20

Weighted chins 45lbs
1x25

Bench Press 295
3x5

Notes: Week 14 of the program. Feeling beat up from the farmer’s, but still managed. Really focused on staying tight.

Carry Medley (182lb keg, 200lb sandbag) 55’
4 trips

Notes: Went without a belt this go round. Getting a feel for moving fast and carrying high. Losing a lot of time picking up the sandbag, but I think if it were packed better it would be a quicker pick up.

Shoulder circuit
3 sets

Pull aparts in between sets of everything