Saturday, October 5, 2013

Holy crap

I did my first Strongman workout today. Like I mentioned earlier, the dudes (and one lady) I'm training with are legit, training for nationals in 2 weeks. There were 6 of us in total, with me being the smallest guy (at 225 lol).

We started out with axle-bar jerks (ground to shoulder, then shoulder to overhead). The axle bar is much fatter than a regular barbel, more like a length of 2" pipe than a barbell, really. Also, the ends don't spin like an Olympic barbell, so it's harder to get from ground to shoulder. I worked up to about 190 for a triple (one clean, three jerks), which was fine. My overhead strength is my best aspect, and I could've gone heavier no problem.

Then I played around with another axle bar, but this one actually had truck tires on it, so it started from higher off the ground (which makes it a bit easier) but was also heavier and more unwieldy due to it's size. I learned how to get it up using a Continental (wearing a belt, you lift the bar up onto your belly, the pop your knees fast and move the bar to your shoulder), and did a single overhead with 220, which I was pretty happy about. I could've gotten more, but I knew there was a lot more stuff to be done, so I left it at that.

Next up was farmer carries. I warmed up with about 135 in each hand for 50 yards (25 and back), then moved up to about 205 in each hand for 25 yards, which was tough but doable. Then came the hardest thing of the day: a medley of kegs and farmer's carry. A yoke was set up really low, so we could throw the kegs over it. Then 3 kegs were set up 25 feet apart, the one furthest from the yoke being the lightest, closest the heaviest. You start at the far end, carry the lightest keg 75 feet, throw it over the yoke, grab the middle one, go 50 feet, throw it over, then the heaviest, 25 feet and over. Then grab the farmer's implement (still loaded with 205 on each side) and walk for 75 feet. This was one of the most heinous things I've ever done, physically. The kegs were heavy as hell, with the heaviest weighing in over 300 pounds, IIRC. The first one was fine, second one I started slowing down, and the third one I ended up dropping a couple of times because I literally could not fire my quad muscles any more. I finally got it over, then moved on to the farmer's implement. I was so smoked and sucking so much wind at this point that I couldn't even pick the damn thing up, but a couple dudes helped me and screamed at me the whole way. I dropped it a couple times because my grip failed, and tore a small chunk of skin off (not bad, though), but I did finish. It took me 3 1/2 minutes, even though the real time limit in competition would be 90 seconds. Oh, also, the humidity is in the single digits today, with gusty winds up to 50 mph, so the air was so dry I literally couldn't swallow afterward until I got some water, and then I couldn't stop breathing hard for about 20 minutes. Started coughing up phlegm all over the place too lol, just because I was camping last weekend and was around a lot of smoke and dust.

This *wrecked* me. I can think of maybe one or two Crossfit workouts I've done that might compare, but it's definitely up there in terms of hard shit I've done. I know where I can make some changes, though. My keg technique was crap, and my conditioning is really bad right now. Once I get it back up things like this will be not quite so gnarly. I also know now where I need to focus my training: grip, legs, and wind. And I need to get me a keg full of sand to practice on.

After that I kinda just hung out for a while as the other people did their version of this medley (of course with heavier weights and way faster) and recovered a bit, at least to the point where I could walk and talk again. The last thing we did was deadlift a car for reps. No joke; they have a welded steel rig that you park the back wheels of a car onto, and it has handles on the ends, and you lift it for reps. You can adjust the handles to make it easier or harder (basically lengthen or shorten the lever arm), but I couldn't even do one rep on the easiest (the guy who was closest to my ability there did it for an easy 10).

The girl who was training with us (who was strong as hell) couldn't do the car either (even though it was her car) so they removed it and placed a tire instead, which I think weighed 500+. She repped that for 10 with a 230+ lb. dude sitting on the tire, then it was my turn. Of course, I couldn't do the same weight as a girl and maintain my dignity, so they had another dude who had to weight at least 325 sit on it along with the other dude for me. I hit 5 reps before failing, then the lighter dude got up and I repped it with just the big dude for another 5 reps. After that I was doneskies.

All in all it was an eye opening experience. I've never really done stuff that heavy before, and it really highlighted my weaknesses. Right now I'm sore and tight, but no damage was done, but I'll probably walk like a cripple tomorrow. I committed to come back next week, so now I have a reason to train hard and smart in the gym this week: so I don't look like such a weakling next week. I need to continue working on my grip strength, but I also need to learn how to use my legs again, because I kept defaulting to using my lower back for a lot of stuff, and that's just no good, both in terms of exerting force and for orthopedic health.

I can tell my metabolism was cranked to the max, because afterward I was ravenous, and I destroyed an El Pollo Loco ultimate double chicken bowl, which is a lot of food, and then 3 hours later downed a half pound of salmon, a bunch of rice with butter, and some buttered almonds, and I could still go for some dessert. Feels good to gorge on healthy protein after a hard sesh.

That's it for now, I'll keep you posted as my training continues.

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