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Everything posted by VeganEssentials

  1. Thanks to everyone for the feedback on the pics! We realized after taking them that with it being cloudy and dark that the shutter speed was set to be open for too long, so even the slightest movement would make things blurry. This weekend we'll be trying again, so we'll see what happens! Daywalker - for the 1-arm clean and press, I've done 145 for a max single right handed and 4 reps with 135. For the left arm, I've done 135 for a single, but my left is tougher as my shoulder cocks inward making it harder to get the positioning correctly. For dumbbell work my shoulders are closer in strength, but for things like this, the right definitely has more power. Robert - I'm definitely working harder at going for getting bigger and stronger than before! If I'm going to compete more next year and hold my own I've got to add about 5-10 lbs. more weight on my frame and get a lot more strength under my belt, but that's in the works as we speak Glad that you enjoyed the shots! Richard - Glad that the pics were a bit motivating! I'm always happy to see when other people post shots as well because it make me try even harder, too. I'll try to get more up after the weekend as well! Ryan
  2. Tried to get some "action" photos today, but I had mis-set the camera a bit and all the shots my friend took came out blurry Oh well, here they are anyway... http://www.veganessentials.com/images/1armCandPFinal.jpg It was a pain to hold this one for a few shots since my shoulders were fried from yesterday, but it is a 1-arm barbell clean and press with 135 lbs. Probably the hardest to make out of the batch. http://www.veganessentials.com/images/Log1Final.jpg Just a light log lift photo with about 180 lbs. http://www.veganessentials.com/images/Stone1Final.jpg http://www.veganessentials.com/images/Stone2Final.jpg Here's a few of myself hoisting the 260 lb. stone that now resides in my backyard. These were "fun" to take because I had to hold the stone against my chest for about 8-10 seconds on a few tries to make sure that my friend could get 2 shots on each attempt. I'll figure out what went wrong with the camera tonight and get some better pics going this weekend! Ryan
  3. Will, It was definitely a lot of fun! One woman stopped dead in her lane waiting to see what I was going to do while I was setting up with the yoke - as if I was going to put that much weight on my back and sprint through the street wildly! Today was shoulders and legs, and definitely a good day despite having to go to a gym I don't usually like (equipment isn't all that great there). Started with barbell clean and press - 1x5 @ empty bar 1x5 @ 135 1x3 @ 185 1x5 @ 225 1x2 @ 255, missed 3rd rep at top of head height. Moved next to squats, goal was a handful of reps with 455 to get comfortable with a heavy weight for singles - 5x1 @ 455 1x3 @ 455 - while going for the 6th rep, I figured I'd have to try and make a double. When I made the double, I felt that I may as well go for a triple. Struggled a bit on the 3rd rep but came out clean for a good day under the bar. Next, did some moderate weight zercher lifts (bar in the crook of the elbows) from a 4/5 squat bottom position to standing upright 2x5 @ 315 Legs were sufficiently fried from this, so it was time to goof around. Moved over and set up the barbell for 1-handed power snatches - 2x1 @ 115 with each arm Once I did these, I figured I'd go for a 2-hands anyhow lift (as it was referred to long ago) where you get the bar up with one arm, drop down, grab a second weight and get it overhead as well. Did a power snatch right armed with 115 lbs., squatted down with it overhead, grabbed a 55lb dumbbell which I then curled and pressed overhead. Fun stuff! Didn't try it left handed, but that was good enough. Next, headed over to the DB rack again for some 1-arm presses - 2x8 @ 100 lbs. right handed (no push, slight side lean) 2x7 @ 100 lbs. left handed (no push first set, slight push on 2nd set) That went surprisingly well, so I just goofed with a few last things and I was off: DB alternating hammer curls 1x5 @ 55, 1x4 @ 60, 1x3 @ 70 lb. dumbbells for each arm Seated barbell wrist curl 1x8 @ 135, 1x5 @ 165 Standing barbell curl 1x5 @ 135, slight cheat after 2nd rep That was it! A free pass to a gym close to work, a good solid day of lifting and I'm quite happy. Tomorrow I have to get some photos taken for lifting, and if it stops raining long enough to get them I'll post them here! Ryan
  4. Today was stronman training day! One of the guys from the event last month has a bunch of stuff to play with at his place, so a friend and I made the 30 minute drive out to have some fun. We got there as they were in the middle of doing overhead log presses with their giant 12" diameter log - we jumped in quickly with it, and boy, was it tough to get used to! I made a few sets working up to 1x4 @ 200 lbs., but I failed at an attempt with 220. My friend made 220, but that's where we capped out for the day. Next, we set up the yoke I've had for the past year (but had never used), and loaded it up for some fun in the middle of the road. The final weight we used was about 430 lbs., doing walks back and forth for about 100 feet. Here's a few images of the yoke walking (me setting up, John in mid-walk) http://www.veganessentials.com/images/RyanYoke.jpg http://www.veganessentials.com/images/JohnYoke.jpg It was all a matter of getting used to yoke walks - 430 lbs. doesn't feel too heavy with it, but if you take off to quickly it'll swing out of control which is no good. Definitely fun, and we'll have to get to using up to 700 lbs. for next year's contests. Finally, we wrapped up with some stone lifting. A good record day for both of us by far, which made the whole trip worthwhile. I warmed up with some single loads with the 250 lb. stone, then made 2 easy loads with the 280 lb. stone that had stopped me cold in the contest. After that, I tackled the 300 lb. stone with much more ease than expected, which left only the last one at 340 lbs. to go for. I tried to get it off the ground 3 times, each attempt getting a few inches but not enough. Finally, on the last attempt I got it into my lap, and after screwing around to catch my balance for a minute I managed to get it up about a foot off my lap, but I didn't have enough left to get it on the platform. Next time it'll have to be done! My friend popped the 340 lb. stone into his lap easily enough, but couldn't get it loaded correctly. The pictures of me were too blurry so there's none to post of myself, but here's John loading the 300 lb. stone - http://www.veganessentials.com/images/JohnStone.jpg All in all, a great time and I can't wait to get back out there to train again. Best of all, they gave us a stone to take home (it has a spot that's cracking a bit and makes a mess, so they wanted to get rid of it), so now we've got a nice 260 lb. stone to mess around with here. There'll be a whole family of them in my backyard next summer, but as long as I've got something to work with now it's fantastic. Hope to get back out there next week, and if so we'll get more pics taken! Ryan
  5. Today was supposed to be shoulders and back day, but I cut my time too close to the end of the open hours at the gym and just goofed a shoulder session for 30 minutes. Stared out with clean and push presses - 1x5 @ 135 1x3 @ 185 1x1 @ 225 1x1 @ 250 1x1 @ 260 The 260 cleaned really easy and pressed even easier, so I went for 275 to try and PR. Attempted it twice, both times missing the clean by about 2-3" and that was all for them. I kept losing my concentration because one of the younger guys there kept talking to me as I was getting ready for my attempts, and although I should have told him I needed my focus I chatted a bit, throwing my efforts off a bit. I know that if I'd cleaned it I'd have pressed it no problem, so there'll just have to be a next time for that one. Next, did some 1-arm barbell clean and push presses: Right arm - 1x1 @ 135, 2x2 @ 135 Left arm - made easy cleans, couldn't get the press to lock out. What's really weird is that my right shoulder is the one that cocks out on benching and screws me up, yet it is totally stable for 1-arm overhead pressing. My left side is the stable one for benching, but if I'm cleaning the bar I can't get the proper spot and miss the press every time. Odd stuff. Ran to the DBs for some last-minute pressing with them and did the following 2 sets single-arm - 1x6 @ 120 lb. right arm (little push - getting stronger on the right!), 1x4 on the left arm 1x5 strict press with 90 lb. right arm, 1x4 strict left arm They started closing down and I was out as usual, but it was still a fun little day. Could have used an extra 35 minutes to complete my back workout, but there's always this weekend for that. May be doing some strongman stuff this weekend, will try to get some pictures if I get out to the place we're supposed to meet up. Ryan
  6. Today was leg day, but it didn't turn out as I'd thought it would... Started warmups with some light 225 lb. squats all the way to the bottom, when BAM! My shorts tore all the way from the back of the knee to the waist, exposing parts of me that best remain covered I should have rolled the legs up and looked silly rather than let them cover my knee a bit, but it was too late - I now had the most well-ventilated shorts possible and still had an entire workout to finish. Since it felt totally odd to hit deep squats with one leg blown open and one that was slightly snug when hitting bottom, I opted to bump my speed squat day up a bit and did the following: 2x5 @ 225 (blew the arse out on the 2nd set) 10x2 @ 315 - each rep was as fast up as possible, hitting a bounce on each top position to where the bar would jump an inch or two off my traps Despite the squats being light, it really does hit you hard if you focus on speed, and since so many powerlifters incorporate speed work I'll see if this makes a difference in time. Next, did some 2/3 squats with 500 lbs. to keep the comfortability and confidence up for the PR attempt in 4 weeks. Just 2x2 @ 500, going down 2/3 of the way to bottom, hit the pins, and power it back up. Next were stiff legged deadlifts, just a few quick sets before I had to pack it in when the gym closed. Did 2x10 @ 300, then 1x5 @ 300 (I was winded and could barely breathe!) - I went to get a drink and come back to finish the last 5 reps but they kicked me out at that point so it was all over. Oh yeah - in between the last squat sets I did some grippers work as follows: 1x5 with IM trainer each hand, 5 reps slammed 1x2 with PDA SOS262 each hand, 2 reps With the RB210, I did 3 sets right handed, 2 reps on the first set, 3 reps on the 2nd set, and a single with a 25 second hold closed for the 3rd set. For the left hand, I did one rep with the RB210, the dropped back to the PDA gripper and did 2 reps for one set and a single with 20 second hold on it. All in all, a good day with the grippers! Tomorrow is rest day, Thursday is shoulders and back work. Will report when it is done! Ryan
  7. Today was deadlift and chest day - Started with DLs in the power rack from bottom of kneecap height: 1x5 @ 135 1x5 @ 225 1x5 @ 315 1x5 @ 405 1x5 @ 500 1x1 @ 525 1x1 @ 565 Getting better with these, hopefully they'll work to get my deadlift strong again for next month's comp. Next, Did some half-deadlifts from floor to midpoint in the power rack (set the pins just below knee level to have a stopping point. Goal was to pull fast, and once I hit the pins, keep pulling up into them for a 3 second hold: 1x3 @ 225 2x3 @ 275 Going heavy wasn't the mission, but just to pull hard at the usual sticking point to work it a bit more. Next, did some good mornings to just a hair above parallel: 1x5 @ 225 1x3 @ 275 1x3 @ 295 1x2 @ 315 These keep getting easier, and they're helping my lower back and hamstrings quite a bit. Working to get a double for 375+ before year's end. Following this were Hise shrugs in the power rack: 1x6 @ 225 1x6 @ 315 1x5 @ 405 Not working traps hard today, but trying to get a secondary workout for them in for each week now to bring them up even more. Finally, did some close-grip speed benching for chest work. Didn't intend to go heavy, just lots of doubles done with a press as quickly as possible (after a slow descent, some sets with a 2 second pause at bottom) 10x2 @ 185, only 30-60 seconds rest between sets. All grips were between 12" and 16" wide at most to stay on the narrow side, all reps had to be pushed up without any hesitation or stalling to work speed exclusively. Wrapped up with that, am now dead tired (with 4 more hours of work to do before bedtime!) and that's it. Squats will be Tuesday, back to report afterward Ryan
  8. Jonathan, You've definitely made a lot of progress when comparing the 2 pictures (and I did notice the Montrails right away in the 2nd shot!). Congratulations on making the gains that you've managed! Yes, if you can eat 5000 calories and lose weight, you're on the fast side of metabolism. I'm not sure how much fat and protein you're getting daily, but perhaps upping the quantities on both would not be a bad thing. Since fat will slow down digestion a bit, you may want to add in a bit more, perhaps with some flaxseed oil or something, taken a few times daily such as early day, mid day and at bedtime. That way you could get in another 400 or so calories and help keep your body from digesting quite as quickly at the same time (sometimes all it takes is a little trick like that to start making more progress)! Right now I'm just a hair under 6 foot tall. I was originally expected to end up about 6 foot four, but I grew upward only until I was about 13 years old. Then I just grew outward instead! For the lifts, if you can work to eventually power clean into your presses (at least for the first rep) it will be helpful, plus the standing press will hit your core more and do a bit extra for you. Also, don't be afraid to start incorporating push presses into your routine as well - once I started doing those, my strict press went up around 50 lbs. inside of a year's time just from being used to handling more weight overhead. It is good to hear that you do overhead pressing as most people neglect it, and therefore set themselves up for limitations for their size and strength. For the squats, definitely keep form going first because you don't want to go the wrong way with them. If you're doing high-bar squats and finding it hard to keep form (getting pushed too far forward once you stary coming up) then you'll need to do more core work and learn to sit back more. If you're doing low bar squats (bar resting on the groove just below your upper traps) you'll find that you can more more weight and not get pushed forward as much. Experiment with bar positioning, foot width and such and eventually you'll find exactly what it is that works for you. I had been doing high bar squats and got stuck at 425 for some time - making a single at that weight was pure hell to manage. I'd been trying low bar squats but found them uncomfortable, but one day I just hit that groove and never looked back since. You've got a lot of progress under your belt, and you're training the way that got me the most gains in the least time, so hopefully this will push you to new limits in 2006! Ryan
  9. Quick update - 2 weeks ago I was weighing in at 258, tonight I hop on the scale and am coming in at 264! My weight hadn't budged in some time, so I assumed I was still the same but now I see that wasn't correct to assume. Not sure where this extra 6 lbs. came from since I hadn't just eaten beforehand and I'm not bloated, so I'll have to assume it came from the squats! Ryan
  10. Jonathan, I've got it faily easily in that genetically, I'm not designed to be small. I have 4 siblings, 3 of which are all very large as well, and it runs in my structure. On top of that, I gain weight VERY easily at times (not always, but usually this is the case) and I can gain on as little as 3000 calories/day. For a person my size this is very rare, but my metabolism is naturally slow so just by eating normally without stuffing myself I can keep weight the same, and all I have to do is toss in an extra meal to make sure I have enough in me to put on weight. However, most of the best gains have been through continuing to just work on compount movements with lower to moderate reps (1-8 at most, usually 3-5 reps per set), even though this often goes against what most "science" has to say about the best way to gain. If I can give any advice for most people, it is just to always remember the following points - 1. Eat more than you think you need to (unless you've got a freakishly slow metabolism like me) 2. Always do compound exercises for your main focus, leave the isolation stuff alone unless you're planning on bodybuilding. Also, if you can do a lift standing up, do it that way! (this applies particularly to overhead pressing) 3. Squat, deadlift, squat, deadlift...repeat as necessary. Once I started doing those two things I broke past being stuck at 240 and added the remainder of the weight quickly. 4. Never forget to get enough rest, and do all you can to keep stress low. That's my biggest problem now - stress is terrible for me, and it takes all I've got to feel calm on most days. If I'd been stress-free this past 2 years I'd probably have another 10 lbs. of weight on me by now! 5. If whatever you're doing for lifting has slowed down or stopped making gains for you, quit doing it and move on! People get afraid to experiment, which is the worst thing. Yes, I get stares from people wondering why I'm squatting over 700 lbs. but only moving the bar for a 6" range of motion, but that's purely because they think that if you're not benching or curling that you're not doing things right. Play around with odd lifts, start lifting anything that's not nailed down when you're out and about, and again, don't be afraid to do stuff that looks weird to everyone else because sometimes it's the odd stuff that will put you to a new level. I know that you've been doing a lot of deadlifting and overhead lifting, and keeping with those two things will definitley be what pushes you on upward in weight. I can't remember if you do a lot of squatting or not, but if you aren't definitely get on it! I swear, if someone wants to add 10 lbs. in a hurry, just chain them to the squat rack for a few weeks, feed them plenty of food and it'll all get done in a short time. Squat heavy for singles and doubles, squat moderate weight for sets of 10 or more, do squats starting from the bottom way below parallel, do 1/4 squats with 200 lbs. more than you can full squat....all these things will work to push your body into weight gain better than anything else I can think of. It isn't called the "king of all exercises" for nothing! If you squat and do different varieties and leave all you have at the rack and come away wiped out from giving it 100%, you won't regret it one bit. If you can't already tell, I love squatting I used to hate it and keep doing leg presses, but once you're humbled by squats you never turn back. It doesn't mean much if you can leg press 1300 lbs. for reps (like I once did) if you can't squat 250 lbs. for a set of 5. You've definitely made a ton of progress, Jonathan, and I think that if you keep on doing what you've been doing you're going to go a lot further. Just change things up periodically and it'll all come in time. And, with that frame of yours, I recommend getting into strongman at some point, too - height is a distinct advantage in many events, and with your size you might just find your calling! Ryan
  11. God, my weight has been everywhere this past decade - 273 lbs. and horribly fat and lazy in 1995. Got down to 230 during the summer of contant skateboarding in 1996 (out for about 4 hours every night after work) Started lifting and dieting heavily in 1996, got down to 192, the lowest my weight has been since I was 13 years old. Weight went up a bit and fluctuated between 200 and 220 for a while, settling down eventually in the low 200s for a few years. Stopped skating for the most part, kept lifting (albeit not very intelligently.) Went vegan 5 years ago at 210 lbs. and started training with more knowledge a year or two afterward (courtesy of becoming an ISSA certified fitness trainer at the time). Weight climbed up since then to my current new max at 258 lbs. as of this time, probably will land at about 262-265 by year's end, aiming to reach about 270 in late 2006. Put on about 15 lbs. of fat over the years as well (who says vegans can't get chubby?) but packed on about 30 lbs. of muscle at the same time, making things stay fairly balanced. Got a bit of flab around the belly and love handles, but when you're training for strength, it's not a big worry! To Kollision - did your back used to end up looking like this after squatting? http://www.veganessentials.com/images/SquatBack.jpg That's me back at the last days of 2004, just as soon as I started doing low bar squats. If you do them enough you'll get past it - don't give up on the world's greatest exercise just because of a little physical damage Once that skin toughens up, you won't get a mark on you after a while. I only wish I'd taken a pic of my forearms after the last strongman comp when I tore them up on the stones. Now I've gotta work to make them a little more durable for future work! Ryan
  12. Today was back and shoulders day! Started off with barbell clean and push presses: 1x6 each arm done separately with empty bar (all subsequent sets done standard push press style, 2 arm) 1x4 @ 135 1x3 @ 185 2x5 @ 225 1x4 @ 225 - missed the last rep, got it to top of head height and crapped out. Had some shorter rest periods of only about 2 minutes between sets, which is less than I usually wait on these. Gotta get all reps next week! Next were barbell rows: 1x3 @ 225 3x5 @ 255 These felt good, so I think I'll jump 10 lbs. next week to keep up with how easy these went. Moved next to Hammer Strength shoulder press machine, one of few machines I don't hate: 1x10 @ 230 1x8 @ 250 1x6 @ 250 Next, did some IronMind Eagle Loops shrugs (strap that wraps around the bar, has 4 loops on the end for using individual fingers to hold instead of a full grip). Nothing too big since the finger pain threshold is lower, so just 3x6 @ 265 and that was it. After that, I headed to the low cable row machine and put the Eagle Loops on for single-hand low rowing. Did the following: 1x10 @ 105 each arm separately 1x10 @ 120 each arm 1x6 @ 135 each arm With the loops, there's no grip fatigue so you can row as long as your back will allow it without your hands giving out, which is quite nice. Jumped to the dumbbells for a last minute or two and tossed out 2 sets of 12 reps with shrugs with 120 lb. DBs. The gym I go to now unfortunately has the big old rubber DBs that are massive, so while I like to do my DB shrugs seated, they're too damned big to manage it. Had to do 'em standing, 1 arm at a time just to make it more fun. I was gasping for air as they kicked me out (all the last 8 or so sets were only about 60 seconds rest between them as time was running low) so I headed home. Got back, pulled out the grippers for a quick bit and did 2 sets: 1x5 for a warmup on the IM Trainer 1x8 reps right hand with PDA SOS262 for a new rep PR with that hand, did 4 reps left handed I'm trying to hit the grippers twice weekly to not lose my edge with them, and so far so good! May do some outdoor strongman stuff with a friend on Saturday, otherwise, Sunday will be deadlift and bench day and I'll post here afterward! Ryan
  13. Michael, To get used to going heavier, I've done a lot of work the past year with extremely heavy squat walkouts and 1/4 squats to get the feeling down - once you've put 800 lbs. on your back, 480 feels like a feather! Give it a try sometime if you want to really push your squats up and build confidence in the feel of the weight on your back, because I know it sure helped me out a lot to not be afraid of having that much draped across my shoulders. Now I've got to work on making my hamstrings catch up with my quads - years past of doing leg presses gave me too much in the front and not as much in the back, so once the hams come up I hope that I'll be eyeing up 600 in the next year or two! Oh yeah, all squats are definitely done to parallel or below to comply with USAPL / IPF depth regulations. No point for me to squat heavy if I'll get red-lighted in every competition, so I've got to drop 'em deep to make it work. Hopefully I can keep the depth solid at the comp and not come up an inch short of making successful lifts (nerves were shot last year, but this time I'm not taking it so damned seriously and it'll all be for fun ) Hero - thanks for the congrats! I heard that you could toss out a mean squat yourself when you were at the VF Week event. Keep up the good work on your end, too, and let's get another vegan fitness trainer out there! Ryan
  14. Thanks for the support, Daywalker! The PR lift of 480 lbs. actually flew up easier than most previous singles I'd done with 25 lbs. less, so it seems that everything was working perfectly for me today. I'm keeping hope that 500 will work in the comp this November - I was actually losing interest in entering but tonight's workout got me motivated again! I'm aiming to try and hit 500 on the squat for my final lift, 530+ on the deadlift and whatever terrible bench I can squeeze out, probably less than 300 lbs. with my habit of benching once every 4 months or so As far as limitations for strength, I don't think I'm even close to where I can get with intelligent training, eating enough and trying hard to keep stress-free. I envision squatting and deadlifting much more in the future, hopefully over 700 lbs. in each someday! 396 lbs. for 10 reps is extremely good - my endurance won't let me get that many reps at that weight, so I've got something that needs work. I made 8 reps at 405 lbs. once, but that was some time ago - my body is just uited better to lower rep work, but that's no excuse for me to be lazy Take care of that knee and hopefully you'll eventually put your old squat totals to shame. Even if you don't, you look like you do well enough with your current bodybuilding work that you'll go far with that as you do it now! Ryan
  15. Thanks to all for the congratulations! I was happy to do well, which again, was a complete surprise, and it has definitely inspired me to train harder than ever from here on out. I think that this contest put into perspective how much fun lifting is and that I need to focus on it more to keep happy and feel good overall, so I'll be dedicating a lot more to this type of training for a while to see if it is my calling. I don't expect to be making it to World's Strongest Man any time soon, but hey, if I could someday place top 3 in a high-level amateur event I'd be pretty happy about it! Hey, Rob - glad to hear that I helped inspire someone to keep with going heavy with the weights. My friend's brother-in-law who recently got his BB Pro Card is trying some low-rep heavy lifting as well to help his physique out more, so I'll have to keep you posted how it works for him on his program. Sometimes defying conventional technique really can work out well! Ryan
  16. Been a bit slower to get lifting again since the contest, but today was a good squat day that set a new PR for me! Got in, started right in for the squats as follows: 1x5 @ 135 1x3 @ 225, ass to floor, 5 second pause and explode up 1x1 @ 225 for a single front squat 1x2 @ 315 paused for 2 seconds at bottom 2x1 @ 405 1x1 @ 425 1x1 @ 455 - this is where I decided to go for a PR since this went up easier than ever before 1x1 @ 480 - a new PR by 5 lbs., making it a good day! I felt so good that I may have even been able to make a double, but I wanted one more, so... Attempted 495 for a single, got about 9" out of the hole, but stuck a bit and lost it down to the rack. Still, I made it to being close to getting through the sticking point, so another month and I think I'll nail this easily. Wrapped up with 3x2 @ 315 done for speed - hit to just below parallel, pop up as fast as I can to where I toss the bar off my traps and end up on my toes at the end from exploding as fast as I can out of the hole. Every set felt tight today - everything was in perfect position, all movements in sync, no weak spots. The kind of day I wish every squat day would turn out to be! Next, did some bending after the squats for a few pieces: 1x3 pieces of 1/4" x 6" round stock 1x2 pieces of 6" G5 bolts 1 6" G8 bolt 1 piece of 1/4" x 6.5" square stock Tried an IronMind red nail (3/8" x 7" round stock) but only put about a 3 degree kink in it. That length kills me because I can't get good leverage, but someday.... Back to leg work again, I tossed in a few last sets of stiff legged deadlifts as follows: 1x10 @ 225 2x10 @ 275 I aim to keep with these for a while, adding 10 lbs. per week until I'm getting to the mid 300s. Just trying to hit those hamstrings a bit more! Wrapped up with a light speed set of 20 reps on the lying leg curl, kicking up as fast as possible to where the bar would smack me in the back of the legs with every rep. After this, I was spent and it was time to call it a day. I'm hoping to finally get to train with the local stronman competitors this weekend, so probably no lifting until then, or maybe some back and chest work on Thursday. Back to report when it is done! Ryan
  17. Thanks much for the kind words, Robert! I've been aching to finally break the 500 lb. mark on the squat for some time, and I think it is finally well within my reach. The way that 480 was smoked easily makes me think that another month of pushing forward will get me the 500 by contest time (first week in November), so as long as I keep focused I'm sure it'll get here soon enough. Besides, no better time to make that number than when the pressure's on and I get to duke it out raw against guys in suits with belts and knee wraps! If you have had some back problems in the past, I always hear people recommending finding a place to train that has a reverse hyper machine - people have come back from things like fractured vertebrea and even broken backs to squat nearly 1000 lb. again after rehabbing with one for some time. Perhaps it'll help you get that lower back in excellent shape so it doesn't cause concern for worry. Just a thought! Ryan
  18. Made my first 480 lb. raw squat today, aiming for 500 in competition next month at the Hudson Open. I got halfway up with 495 after hitting 480, so when I'm hyped for contest mode we'll see if I can pull it off. It feels good to finally hit a PR on one of the big lifts again after coming off being injured, so hopefull I can keep the streak going! Ryan
  19. Thanks to everyone for the congrats! I posted some pics in a thread on the VF board in case anyone was interested in seeing some of the events: http://www.veganfitness.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4780 It was really a lot of fun, and I'm definitely hooked on making strongman competiton my main focus for the next year. I had been planning on competing for powerlifting again this fall, but I'd rather specialize a bit and put my work into preparing for next summer's contest circuit (there will be 3 I hope to enter, maybe more). I'm still not strong enough to hang with the big boys there yet, but give me a year of training the events instead of doing gym work only and we'll see where it takes me. Again, if any of you get the chance to enter a novice-level contest it is a lot of fun! If you meet guys like the ones who held this comp, they were all super helpful (training people on events before the contest, sharing equipment and anything they could do to assist), making it a really fun atmosphere. When next summer's events start up I'll be there representing in a vegan t-shirt as usual (minus this event, since all mine were in the wash!) And, if anyone is making it up to Wisconsin next summer let me know and I'll post if there are any events going on at that time, too! Ryan
  20. Well, it may have been in the novice category, but I can't complain! I entered with only 3 days' notice and 5 hours' sleep from last night and managed to come in 1st, edging my friend out by one single point (it really was close at the end!) It went like this: First event was the log clean & press - not my strongest event, not my weakest, but it was the one I sprained my back on in my first contest this summer so I was a bit worried going in. Most of the novice weight guys were opening around 170-180, so I felt I had a chance to do fairly well. Opened at 180 and made it, then made all 3 following attempts at 200, 220 and 240 lbs. for a 5 lb. PR over my previos best log lift. I felt I could have been good for 250, but no need to ask for an extra lift to wear myself out more. My friend tied me at 240, so we were even from the start. 2nd event was the farmer's walk and tire flip medley - a true endurance tester, this one left me feeling ill for an hour afterward and gasping for air long pas the time I was done. It was a lighter weight for the novice category on the farmer's walk - 170 lbs. per hand for 50 feet, drop the weights, then flip a 650 lb. tire back to the original starting point. Everything went really smoothly - had a harder time finding hand holds on the tire on the first flip, then it was good to go from there. Can't remember my time, but I think I beat out the next closest competitor (my friend) by about 8 seconds or so. 3rd event was the Axle Deadlift for reps, with a fairly light 315 lbs. on a 2" thick bar axle. With how fried I was from the previos event I'd hoped to get 10 reps before collapsing, but the first few people to go made around 12-13 on high end so I figured I'd have to do better. Then my friend goes and slams down 22 reps in 60 seconds, nearly doubling the previous record for the event. Now, if I'd gone before him I'd have probably failed at about 15 reps, but since I wanted to whoop him good (we're extremely competitive) I managed to make 22 reps in the time limit to tie things up in the event. Another 4 seconds would have gotten me one more, but that was all it would be. Tie again for first in the event. 4th event was the arm-over-arm truck pull, done with a thick rope attached to a pick-up truck that was about 75 feet away. Did fairly well at 32 seconds (some of the guys in the next class up managed times in the mid 20s, definitely a lot faster than me!) but I managed to snag 2nd place in this one by missing the winning time by only 1 second. Finally, the 5th event was the Atlas stone loading on to a 50" platform that was about mid-chest height. I did miserable at my first contest with this event, but this time we were allowed to use tacky (a pine tar resin that's stick as hell), which keeps the stone from slipping out of your arms so easily. I made the first 4 stones with excellent speed (180, 200, 225, 250 lbs.) but the last one weighing at 280 lbs. stopped me. I lost the grip on the first attempt, applied more tacky to my hands and forearms, then got the stone in my lap and heaved it up to the ledge. Of course, I was too far away and the stone hit the edge and fell down before I could do anything to save it, and by this time I was spent. In the end, it was good enough for 3rd place and I made 2 stones heavier than I'd done before and almost a 3rd, so I was definitely pleased. My friend got 1st with a really great load time (can't remember exactly what), which was all the more impressive considering he'd never lifted round stones before. A great day, but next year I'll have to be ready to bump up to the seriously hard competition to add to the challenge. However, here are the marks for what were winning on the events for the heavyweights: Log press - won by someone with 330 lbs (he tried 360 to tie the amateur record but couldn't quite get it) Carry and flip - the farmer's walk handles were 290 lbs. each instead of 170, which I may have been able to pick up but would not have moved much with, if at all. Axle deadlift - the weight was a massive 540 lbs., which is 5 lbs. shy of my best deadlift at my prime for that lift. This is on a thick axle, making it far harder - the winner got 10 reps and stopped purely because he didn't need any more to win (probably would have gotten 14-15 easily if he'd wanted to!) Truck pull - the truck was the same, but they put 6 of us in the back gate to add some more weight and the heavies still pulled it faster than my time Stone loading - This is where I'd have gotten beat really badly as the stone weights were 250,280,300,340, and 365 lbs. I'd have made the first, the 2nd if I got lucky, and that would have been it. All others made the first 4, one guy did all 5, and from the size of the stones when you see one weighing in at 365, let me say that it is amazing that anyone can even get them off the ground! That thing is huge, and hopefully someday I'll manage to get them moving. Best of all, we met the guys who put the event on and we were invited to start training with them, so hopefully that'll start soon. So, now I start the winter cycle of training for next year's events to do better than ever! Ryan
  21. Storm knocked the power out in town last night, so the gym was closed and my house had no power for most of the evening - scratch lifting for the day as planned. Today was make-up day, but this morning I found out about a strongman event this weekend that I'll be entering so I took it a bit easy since I'm only 3 days out from getting in on it. So, today was a mild back and leg workout as follows: Barbell rows 1x5 @ 135 1x5 @ 225 1x4 @ 245 1x3 @ 265 1x3 @ 275 Felt good to go fairly heavy on these, so I'll have to keep at them and get back to getting over 300 for 2 reps as I used to manage. Next I just goofed for a few quick sets of random lifts while some teenagers in the gym were asking me about being vegan. They assumed that if you weigh around 250ish you had to be a meat eater, so they were pretty shocked when I said I'd been vegan for 5 years. They were pretty cool about it and asked a lot of questions, but of course, it all came down to the usual "I could never give up meat!" story. I told them that it's all about training yourself to like other things that are better and there are plenty of meat alternatives to help transition, but I don't think it hit home. Still, getting people to acknowledge that you can have some size and strength on a vegan diet is good anyway! Anyway, the random lifts were as follows: 1x3 power cleans @ 225, push press last rep 1x3 single-hand straddle deadlifts with barbell @ 225 1x3 snatch grip high pulls to mid-chest @ 225 After talking for a few minutes, they lost interest and started on hounding some other guy in the gym about his diet. At least they told him that it wasn't good for him to live on nothing but chicken every day as he had been for the past 3 months.... Anyway, headed for the squat rack and did some sets of Hise shrugs and 1/4 squat lockouts: 1x10 @ 315 for Hise shrugs (bar on back in squat position, shrug upward) 1x8 @ 405 Hise shrugs 1x4 @ 495 Hise shrugs 1x8 @ 495 for squat lockouts from bottom position up (8" ROM) 1x6 @ 585 for squat lockouts 1x4 @ 675 for lockouts 1x3 @ 765 for lockouts Of course, the guy who'd been eating nothing but chicken came over and said "Dude, are you wearing a belt?" When I told him I've never worn one in my life, he was pretty well amazed and couldn't grasp how my back doesn't snap with that much weight on me. Amazing what happens when you actually train your core to support weight instead of just benching and curling every day....guess I'm getting cynical in my "old age"! Next, did some shrugs, but I was fried and realized after not shrugging for a full year that I suck at them really badly. My body just doesn't feel comfortable with them, and since my double overhand grip isn't anywhere near my mixed grip for deadlifting, I can't hold on for as long as I need to. Just tossed in a few quick and disappointing sets: 1x8 @ 225 (power shrugged to pull to mid chest height) 1x6 @ 315 1x8 @ 225 I know that my traps can support more weight than they need to, but for speed and power, they have some issues that need resolving. Looks like I'll be starting to shrug weekly along with benching so as to make my largest weaknesses my strong points in the near future! Anyway, that's about it. Going to do some pinch grip and bending work tomorrow, then rest for Friday before Saturday morning's competition. We'll look to get some quality pics of the comp, so I'll post them here when done! Ryan
  22. ISSA seems to be the preferred certification with vegan lifters! I've had my certification from them since 1999, but sadly, never used it for anything and have let it lapse over time without getting the CEUs to keep it current. Oh well, maybe someday I'll carry on with it if I ever do decide to get into the training business - for now I'm just too busy with my other business! Ryan
  23. Honestly, squats below parallel don't tend to cause excessive knee damage contrary to popular belief - the major causes of injury due to squats are poor form and adding too much weight for what someone can handle. Sure, there's always such-and-such article or "study" that claims this is the case, but the truth seems to go against this quite often. Olympic deep squatting has been around since early in the century, and unless someone suffered a catastrophic injury, few people were reported to have had numerous knee injuries down the line. I haven't met too many bodybuilders that have kept training hard for multiple decades, but each summer at the olympic lifting competition here locally, you'll get to meet people who have been doing deep squats for longer than I've been alive and are still putting up more weight than people half their age. More commonly it was problems with blown elbows and the like that ended careers and plagued people long afterward (the price you pay for trying to hold on to a heavy jerk!) Think of it this way - most international olympic lifters do the deepest squats possible 5-6 days/week, sometimes 2-3 sessions in a day, doing double to triple bodyweight much of the time. No belts, no knee wraps, no suits, yet many of them have careers that span up to a decade or longer before they choose to retire. These people (men and women alike) do more squatting in a week than most of us will do in 2 years, yet they keep on going and continually get stronger. This is where the talk of deep squats being bad for you loses its base for the argument because there simply isn't any proof. You're far more likely to damage yourself on a Smith machine because it simply isn't a natural movement - I've never squatted with my feet a foot in front of me, and I've never made a squat where I couldn't lean forward to keep my weight distributed as best I can for maximum power to get back up. Take out the necessity of the stabilizer muscles to handle the load (squats aren't just about legs - you've got to have a good strong set of abs and a powerful lower back to start going heavy!) and you've got a recipe for disaster. Now, which one seems to be more dangerous? Nobody seems to know where the misconceptions regarding deep squats being bad comes from, but most likely it is from the same circle that says machines are better than free weights and that if you squat your arse will get too big. Fact is, many people don't squat deep because it is HARDER than squatting to parallel or just above - heck, if I cut my squats by about 4" in depth I can handle 50 lbs. more than I do when I go deep, but why on earth would I want to make lifting easier since it only hinders progression? Lift carefully and lift long, lift foolishly and you'll regret it quickly is the honest truth about squats and any other exercise. So as long as you develop the core strength to handle heavy poundages and deeps squats you'll be good to go. Ryan
  24. I wish I had a scanner to capture the shots that I'd put at the top of my list, but here are 3 physiques that I'd be pleased to have: http://www.veganessentials.com/images/kaz1.jpg http://www.veganessentials.com/images/joukoback_lg.jpg http://www.veganessentials.com/images/marundefinal.jpg Top one is Bill Kazmaier in his prime, 2nd one is the amazing back of Jouko Ahola, 3rd one down is Jesse Marunde. As you can see, I'm not overly concerned with looking like a bodybuilder, but having a build that allows you to move just about anything you desire Tried to get some shots of David Rigert in his prime and Dominic Filiou (anyone seen the latest Milo of him doing the farmer's walk?) but I'd need to scan those suckers in to have them to post here. Ryan
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