Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pulling Double Bodyweight

I have reached a milestone that eluded me for over a year. I pulled 265lbs in the trapbar Deadlift at a bodyweight of 131lbs which calculates to slightly more than 2 times my bodyweight. My grip felt good, my legs felt good, but my lower back was surely the weakest link. It's just nice to be back where I was last winter with less than 2 months of work so I can now focus on progress!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Simply put, if you are not using chalk, you probably should be. If the bar is slipping out or your hands or you are slipping of the bar chalk will help. It dries your hands and keeps them from getting sweaty and slippery. If your gym is ridiculous and disallows chalk try Rosin powder, it dries the hands and does not leave a mess.

The Misdirected War

The War on Fat and the War on Carbs are the wrong wars. Fat and Carbohydrates, along with Protein, are essential factors in a healthy diet. As with everything, these nutrients must be consumed in general proportion and not to excess. The mere presence of Fat or Carbs in a diet will NOT cause one to be unhealthy. The real enemy, when portions are the proper size is sugar. Sugar and sweeteners are everywhere. They are used for taste and for preservation and sugar can be a real problem for people that just can not seem to get rid of those last few pounds. If you take the time to look at what you are putting into your body you will notice that sugar is everywhere in packaged foods. It is in your cereal, it is on your beverages, it is in your lunch snack, your afternoon candy bar, and your nightly bowl of ice cream. I really like to focus on sodas as one of the worst offenders. A can of soda generally contains 45 grams of sugar. To put this into real world terms, 1 teaspoon is 4 grams, which means there are at least 11 teaspoons of sugar in one can of soda. Just imagine putting 11 scoops of sugar into your next cup of tea or coffee.
Think about it next time you complain about weight.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Whole Body

My hands are holding my running times back.  It is not a preposterous claim when you consider that I rode my bicycle for 6 months and did very little grip work.  My lack of grip strength is by far the weakest part of my Deadlift which means that I am not lifting enough to really promote growth and strength in my posterior chain; the posterior chain is comprised of the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves and is responsible for generating the force required to run and jump, amongst other things.  This imbalance is forcing me to focus on improving my grip strength so I can make my legs stronger.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New shoes

I bought a bright yellow pair of Saucony Cross Country flats and I like them a lot. I ran a hilly mile to see how they felt and finished in 5:50. That's is 21 seconds faster than my previous best on that course. The shoe forces a ball strike as opposed to the heel strike of most wedge shaped running shoes. It is faster, and that makes me happy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Mud Run

My favorite competition of the year rolled through on Saturday. 4.2 miles of running, jumping, climbing, swinging, slipping, and getting muddy is one of the best ways to spend a Saturday afternoon. It was, once again, a blast. Our finishing time of 48:25 was good enough for 35th overall, and I was pleased since there were 650 teams that ran the race. The only frustrating part of the Mud Run is the team aspect. It seems that every year I am on a very solid team that has one member that acts as a lead anchor. In our case, the anchor walked about 1.5 miles which was a huge detriment to our speed. It is such a painfully feeling for the rest of the team to be wanting to run and to have to walk knowing that time is slipping away and the teams you should be passing are shrinking on the horizon. The best option is to establish a team far in advance with known physical abilities, but Mark and I tried that and our teammates bailed on us.
Enough griping about the team, though. I was satisfied with my my performance considering I had only trained for 2 weeks. I felt slow over the log obstacles. I had a little trouble with one of the ropes, I could not grip the thing. Grip seems to be a recurring trouble area for me. Left hand grip, particularly, being the bane of my existence. I halted my Deadlift at 225#, killed my pullups after 10, and humiliates me on the rock wall. Grip is where I need the most work and if I want to pull 270#, 15 pullups, and climb well I need to turn my hands into vice grips. It hurts to think about it, grip work hurts the tiny muscles in the forearm and hand. I've finished a set of heavy DLs and been unable to tie my shoes afterwards, same with climbing. I guess that having a focus like this is the best to progress.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Winter Goals

I am a firm believer in the written, or at least publicly verbalized goal.  It is not enough to say that "I want to lose weight, or gain weigth, or run faster, or get stronger".  There is no way to quantify those goals, so reaching them is an exercise in futility.  To reach a goal, one must set a goal.  I am here to set a few of goals for the winter.
Dealift:  270lbs or 2x bodyweight
Squat:  200lbs
1 Mile Run: 4:59
400M run:  59 seconds
Complete Route #3 on the USC Rock Wall
Pullups:  15
12 ft Wall Run
Along with these goals I intend to log some miles on the bike to maintain muscle memory.

Transition 2

To borrow from Triathlon, a sport that I view with mild distrust because I am unsure why anyone would want to do 3 time trials in rapid succession for fun (just kidding Tri-geeks), I am about to enter into my second transition of the year.  The bicycle racing season will end in 3 weeks and with the ending comes the begining of my winter training.  This winter will be fun and a pleasant break from the bike.  I love the racing and most days I love the training, but after 7 months hardcore on the bike I am looking forward to running, lifting weights, climbing, Parkour, and whatever other stupid or ridiculous physical challenge catches my fancy.
I will be sampling the flavors of the off-season on Saturday at the Mud Run, I am looking foward to the Mud Run because it was an absolute blast last year when I ran it for the first time.  We had a finishing time of 57 minutes and 62nd overall best time.  I am intending to better both of those marks considerably, of course, it is a team event so I am hoping the rest of my guys are up for the task.  
To prepare for the Mud Run I spent the last 2 weeks in the gym, at the track, on the rock wall, and doing some Parkour.  I feel ready, and I think I gave body enough time time to remember how to run fast and long and how to move quickly when there are obstacles.  We will find out in 2 days.