Last week marked the first proper week of training for my competition on April 26, but first let’s talk about my good news… I had my final eye check-up on Wednesday, and the good news is my retina has completely re-attached itself 13 months after my operation! It is actually extremely rare for the retina to re-attach, and the chance of it happening again is close to zero.
For those that don’t remember, when I suffered a retinal detachment as a result of my bike accident last year, I was initially told that I would not be able to lift weights again. This is because the chance of a detachment reoccurring is very high, and you shouldn’t do anything that rapidly increases blood pressure to the head (doing 1RM lifts, sky-diving, etc). I sought a second opinion and was told that I would be okay so long as I eased my way back into lifting. Not only did I return to lifting weights but I took up strongman training, which I credit to fully healing my eye 😉
The appointment itself involved three hours of nasty tests, the best part of which involved a metal spatula type instrument being used to hold back my eyelid. Gag. Thank god that it’s all over now! As you can probably imagine, I am ecstatic. I will continue to experience occasional flashing lights, a general feeling of heaviness in the eye and scarring, but I finally feel free from this horrible accident. And don’t worry, I have every intention of continuing to lift carefully.
Anyway, let’s talk training! Once I officially signed up for this comp at the end of the month, it was time to scale back the workouts and focus more on quality rather than quantity. As I mentioned in my last workout recap, living across the road from the gym has meant that I’ve been training almost every day purely out of convenience, but most times I feel like I’m dicking around and not actually accomplishing anything. This week it was time to settle down with a solid training plan as I only have three weeks of training to prepare for my comp!
Monday – Squats
Back squats: 20kg x 10, 10, 40kg x 5, 50kg x 5, 5, 60kg x 5, 5
Straight leg barbell deadlift: 40kg x 15, 60kg x 10-12 x 5
Back extensions holding 10kg plate: 12 x 4
Cable pull-throughs: 45kg x 12, 50kg x 12, 12
I had a big session with my trainer planned for Wednesday, so I wanted to just get in and do something light. I felt okay on Tuesday, but I had crazy DOMS on Wednesday. It seriously affected my deadlifts so I learnt from my mistake. On Wednesday, I also felt pain/fatigue in my glute for the first time in three weeks. My coach has asked me to keep a note of how my glute feels after every workout. I’ve noticed that any time I do isolated glute work (back extensions, pull-throughs, hip thrusts, etc) I always feel it (in a bad way!) the next day.
Wednesday – Session with trainer
Deadlifts: 50kg x 8, 70kg x 5, 90kg x 5, 100kg x 1, 110kg x 2, 1
Narrow log press: 30kg x 5, 5, 35kg x 5, 40kg x 3, 45kg x 3, 5
Wide log press: 40kg x 3, 3, 3, 7 (max reps in 60 seconds)
Bent over barbell row: 40kg x 15, 50kg x 10, 10, 55kg x 8, 10
Barbell cleans: 40kg x 5, 45kg x 5, 50kg x 3, 3, 3
Lat pulldowns: 40kg x 15, 50kg x 10, 10, 10
I did deadlifts and log pressing with my trainer, and then punished myself by staying at the gym for another 45 minutes to destroy my back. The 110kg deadlifts felt so heavy. I was trying not to be too down on myself (and thank goodness my coach was there), as it’s the first time I’ve lifted that much weight in almost three months. I have two more training sessions to practice 110kg, so a target of five reps on the day isn’t completely unreasonable. Mike wanted to do an all-out max rep attempt at 100kg, but I decided against it as my glute was cramping quite bad.
We worked a little bit on pressing technique, but didn’t want to change too much this close to a comp. I was pretty happy with five reps at 45kg. I was also really happy to be cleaning 50kg for sets of three, given I couldn’t even clean that weight once back at my October comp.
Mike also called me a pussy for using such little weight for my bent over rows, as he thinks it’s preventing me from getting stronger at lifting stones. I didn’t think I was lifting that light but he said I should be rowing more like 65-70kg. Gone are the days when I used to row the empty bar!
Friday – Pressing
Barbell push press: 20kg x 10, 10, 30kg x 5, 35kg x 5, 5, 40kg x 5, 5, 42.5kg x 3, 45kg x 2
Lock outs: 30kg x 5, 35kg x 5, 5, 37.5kg x 4
Chin-ups with a little jump for assistance: 5, 5, 1 (with negative hold), 1 (with negative hold)
Band-assisted dips: 8 x 3
Standing ab crunches: 15 x 4
What I am calling lock-outs are where you set the pins high and complete only the second half of the overhead press motion. Using a slightly narrower grip, it isolates the triceps – my weakness during pressing. I had taken a nap right before going to the gym, which in hindsight wasn’t the best idea as I just wanted to stay under the covers and eat ice cream. The promise of post-workout GBK lured me out.
Sunday – Pressing
Narrow log press: 30kg x 5, 5, 35kg x 5, 5, 40kg x 5, 5, 45kg x 2, 1, 40kg x 5
Band-resisted push press: 20kg x 8, 25kg x 5, 27.5kg x 5, 5
Face pulls: 40kg x 15, 15, 45kg x 12, 12
Rope pushdowns: 30kg x 15, 35kg x 10, 10, 10
I was a waste of space during this workout. I had very little sleep the previous night and yet again all I could think about was eating. I very nearly threw a tantrum when I couldn’t press 45kg for more than one rep, considering I had done a set of five just a few days earlier.
My traps are still hurting from events training last Saturday! My final events training session will be this Saturday, so I have two full weeks to recover (and get a massage!) before the comp. My tentative plan for the next two weeks is to do four sessions per week, with one – maybe two, if I’m being optimistic – conditioning sessions in between or tacked on to the end. I would like to do a small amount of sprint work so I’m not completely taken by surprise on competition day. Bring it on!
Do you ever use food as an incentive to stick out a tough training session?