End of the cycle

Just finished week 3 of the third cycle.

I’ll skip the deload week and start back on the normal WoDs after a rest day.

When I started my benchmark 1RMs were 165kg Back Squat, 120kg Bench Press, 210kg Deadlift and 86kg Strict Press.

My predicted 1RMs (top line) have jumped significantly and I am well above the end of cycle targets (bottom line) on 3 of the 4 exercises. I have loved the focus of the last working set and the incentive of beating your PR. Whilst I am not naïve enough to believe that all of the predicted 1RMs are achievable today, I do believe that I am much stronger now.

12 reps at 160kg deadlift in June to 14 reps at 175kg (and 8 reps with 190kg), with squats going from 10 reps at 125kg to 7 reps at 150kg, is proof enough for me.

I have ached much less and have not needed to spend ages on a warmup, so workouts are quicker – with the occasional opportunity to do a WoD at the end with the rest of the class.

Thanks to everyone who spotted me and pushed me along.

Lessons Learned

Increasing weight incrementally is the best way to allow your mind to believe that you can lift more than before. Once you believe it happens.

Make sure all sets are with good form, including the warmups and ‘Boring but Big’. I set up the same for 60kg as I did for 190kg with the deadlifts and I have never had a single back ache.

Eat well and consider a supplement or two. I added BCAAs to my usual post workout Protein Shake and I am convinced this helped me to recover and gave me more energy.

I always did an extra rep or two with some encouragement. Find an enthusiastic spotter!

Getting stronger is relatively simple but not easy. Focus and commit.

Age is not a barrier to getting stronger. It might take longer but it can be done.
Last week I was having my usual leg stretch at teabreak time at work and became aware of the slight aching across my body. My arms, chest, legs and back. It wasn’t a bad aching, it was a good aching and it made me feel strong. If felt good.

Looking forward to using my new found strength in the main classes again but I will be keeping up a couple of heavy sets per week. I’ll be discussing this with Pete and Rudds.

531 is not the only strength programme out there but it worked for me and I am sure I will come back to it. The coaches at HG3 have a wealth of knowledge and experience – so ask them!

Coming to the end

‘Deadlift Friday’ last night and pulled 8 reps with 190kg as my last working set.

Zero back ache and no ‘cat wrenching’.

Just bench press and back squats to go.

Looking forward to mixing in again with the classes but I will keep up some heavy stuff too.

Definitely enjoying it…

HG3 v2 and Kevin v2

Have done a few sessions since coming back from holidays and really enjoying it.

There is a buzz about the new location, new faces and a real air of positivity.

I have a week and a half of the 3 month 531 cycle to do and am then looking at slotting back in to the classes.

I did a couple of Saturday WoDs and found them hard but it was hot and I haven’t been training for aerobic work recently.

It was deadlifts last night and I did 10 reps with 180kg. I needed 13 reps for a new 1 rep max but ran out of breath. Could have been disappointed but then I remembered – when I started at HG3 four years ago 180kg was my 1 rep max…

Always pick out the positive!

Citius, Altius, Fortius…

Have been inspired by the Olympics 2016 in Rio – Faster, Higher, Stronger.

We were away in the Lakes and North Wales with plenty of walking and canoe activites.

Got back to the gym on Sunday for the last Sunday session before they move.

Deload week on Strict Press went well.

Took a few photos as a reminder…

August already

Had a great session of deadlifts yesterday and my wife remarked that I went home happy on a Monday!

Nice warmup then managed 14x 175kg deadlifts. Needed 12 for a PR and couldn’t stop at 13!

Thanks to Rudds for the encouragement and the tub of Amino X. Slept really well and no back ache today.

Stats (theoretical 1RMs)are looking good 

Deskbound – any good?

I short while ago I bought a copy of Kelly Starrett’s latest book – Deskbound.

I enjoyed ‘Becoming a Supple Leopard’, although I found it hard work but was intrigued to see what help I might gain from the new book, given my job (like many) entails lots of sitting down. 

Before I talk about the content I think the main difference I noted was the newer book is more ‘polished’ and much easier to read. A better font, wider margins and more consistent photos and diagrams. 

Virtually all the photos are new and amongst the only replication I spotted was this one of his lifting buddy Diane Fu, who has a good rack.

If you don’t want to buy the book, then there are 4 simple guidelines to follow:

1. Reduce optional sitting in your life.

2. For every 30 minutes that you are deskbound, move for at least 2 minutes.

3. Prioritise position and mechanics whenever you can.

4. Perform 10 to 15 minutes of daily maintenance on your body.

To be fair though, I think you need to buy the book (see the £20ish as an investment).

The terminology is much simpler than Supple Leopard (until the later chapters) and if I had neither book then I would go for Deskbound first. 

It is packed full of useful advice – 16 breaks and 14 prescriptions, plus tests for mobility.

The sections are logical and flowing, with the odd bit of humour…

I like to try manspreading in meetings but only when I am behind a table. (And I don’t smile so much)

Really simple stuff too – like how to carry a bag properly…

It is essential reading if you are serious about maintaining your body and rely on sitting down most of the day to get paid.

If I could wind back time to when I started at HG3 four years ago, I would spend much, much more time on mobility. 

There are loads of references at the back and the only thing I found missing was a reference to RomWod (which I use to get my 15 minutes of daily maintenance per day) but I guess it is competition to the paid for Mobility Wod.