March 31, 2011
I’m sure that everyone who writes a blog imagines him or herself to be “different” in some way that somehow grants them some sense of self-validation; or at least enough to provide the motivation necessary to continually pollute the internet with this justified “knowledge.”
“Yes, I am interesting enough for people to care.”
This website is no exception. My numbers are nothing special and if you wanted to follow somebody who had big numbers, you could easily go to websites like . . . oh say . . . donnyshankle.blogspot.com. So I can only assume that if you have been reading up to this point, it must be because I’m either a cool dude or because I’m just strange enough for you to be entertained a few minutes out of the week. That being said, I’m proud to present to you my thoughts on “being different.”
I am by nature a sensitive person. I can remember coming home from school as a kid, crying because I was constantly being picked on or harassed in some way. My mother would tell me that it was OK to cry, that it was OK to be different because it made me somehow “special.” But it wasn’t OK.
Admittedly, I really can’t blame my old classmates for giving me such a hard time. I was the type of kid who would carry with him science fiction novels and comic books. I was a fatty and parted my hair down the side until the 7th grade (and have recently started doing it again. Why fight it, right?). Recesses were spent in the library, reading mythology or sitting on a bench (a punishment for most children), drawing pictures of my favorite super-heroes. These guys were different just like me. But for them, being different was a good thing. They were cool!
There were a number of different heroes that I had categorized and identified with for various reasons. The 1st category is the “anti-hero.” These are the self-hating heroes whose differences give them just as much problems as it does solutions. I felt deeply for the anti-hero and no other hero garnered as much sympathy from me as did Ben Grimm, The Thing. This guy is the most damaged, self-hating, poor son of a bitch in the entire Marvel Universe. I mean . . . he literally has “thick skin” (symbolism much?). Often you will see him lashing out at his friends just as fiercely as he would his enemies for no other reason than because they are more normal than he is, a fact that he resents with every stone fiber in his body. Being a kid in the 4th grade, I didn’t realize this until I came back to comic books many years later as a teenager. I thought I just liked him because he was “cool” and “strong.”
There is a 2nd category of hero that I identified with as well. This was the hero that accepted his/her differences as gifts rather than handicaps. These are people of action who make no apologies for being who they are. They accept their place in the universe and “just do” without any 2nd thoughts, regrets or self loathing. Wolverine is often quoted as saying, “I’m the best at what I do . . . and what I do . . . isn’t very nice.” Thor is a fucking god who can do all the coolest shit like wield a magical hammer, fly, strike foes with lightning bolts and is strong enough to punch a bad guy into a different state. That guy is “gifted” to say the least. Naturally, I identified with the heroes who embodied “strength,” the greatest gift of all.
Can you imagine the effect that these characters must have had on an overly sensitive, isolated little goober like myself? One day I would be Captain America. I too would symbolize strength. If I had nothing else going for me, I would be strong. Now I’m 24. I’m still struggling to find my place in the world and I still read comic books. To my knowledge, I’m still not the strongest person on earth. In fact, I’m pretty sure there are 14 year olds in China who can lift more than I can. Actually, I could just look at kids like Ian Wilson if I wanted to see young kids that are stronger than me (seriously this kid is a fucking beast).
I guess the point that I’m trying to make is that I’m always going to be a little different. And I’m never going to be the strongest guy on Earth. But you can be damn sure that I’m going to train like I am because that’s the decision I made when I was just a chubby 4th grader who read too many comic books (plus it’s just good plain fun. Heavy Duty!)
Power Snatches and Cleans.
No post today.
Snatch: worked up to 130. Went back down to a hundo x3, 110 x2, 120 x1.
Clean and Jerk: 140.
Clean and Jerk: 155.
F. Squat: Worked up to a single at 190.
March 29, 2011
Yesterday, I said that art imitates life. Here is a literal example of that.
I happened to be facebookin’ it a couple weeks ago (I’ll do that from time to time to prove to myself that I still have friends) and after some time wasted, I saw the video of Donny snatching 165 posted on someone’s page.
I clicked on it. Wow. I clicked on it 5-7 more times. You could almost feel his pain as he stood up out of the hole. Now, I make my way down to Cal Strength from time to time and I see these guys throw around ridiculous weights all day, so it’s not so much the weight that made this video stand out. It’s the drive. It’s the certainty. It’s overcoming adversity.
Now I’m not going to sit here and try to write a motivational piece of fluff to a bunch of strangers who probably need no motivation, especially about somebody else’s accomplishments. That’s just not how I roll. But I will say, that Donny exudes confidence, tenacity and heartiness in the face of adversity AND he happens to be one of the best weightlifters in the country. Coincidence? I think not.
Here’s the video. I think I paused it at like 16 seconds to get that sketch.
Power snatches and cleans: Keep it light. Keep it right.
March 28, 2011
Art imitates life. So does weightlifting. Example: Earlier this week, you and your buddies decided to go hit the dance floor at your nearest indie/electro dance party this Friday night. Your training partners have since been subjected to you practicing your trademark “Wyatt Earp, mothafuckah! Six shooters blazin’ towards the sky!” dance move for the past 3 days and are fast growing tired of you slow-mo shooting your imaginary pistols at them. Friday night finally rolls around and you have just finished your obligatory pre-pump (accomplished remarkably fast, due to your knowledge of ancient Benbata techniques). You throw on the V-neck whilst checking your image in the mirror. And after seducing your mirror self with an intricate display of your six-shooter prowess, you’re out the door and on your way to your buddy’s house. Wait. Your buddy’s house? I thought you were going to da’ club!
Right you are, friend. We are going to da’ club. But first, we gather at (insert bro’s name here) house to righteously pre-party, get a designated sober driver, and collectively kick in the front door of said club, six-shooters blazing. This is my “plan” with weightlifting for the next couple weeks.
To clarify, there is a meet coming up on the 3rd in San Francisco. This is the pre-party. You go to said pre-party, get your feet wet, polish off the “ring rust” and boom . . . you are now ready to rage. A week later, I head to Louisiana for Collegiates. This is the real party. Balls to the wall. Six-shooters blazing, PARTY.
The last meet I went to was the American Open and that was way back in December. I did NOT do well (translation: I didn’t party hearty). I went 2 for 6, only making my openers. Training has been going well lately, but that is training. Competition is something that must be practiced as well or you may find yourself missing weights that you know you’re good for and have made in practice many times before. So I guess if you take anything from reading this . . . it’s: Party hard. Party often.
And speaking of parties . . .
LCD Soundsystem is playing their last show at Madison Square Garden in New York, April 2nd. The show will be webcast live through pitchfork.com. So if you find yourself Saturday night without a party to go to, open up your laptop, crack open a beer, and have a dance party with yourself and all of your friends on the internet. You can even dance naked; something that would be frowned upon by all those squares living in the real world.
The workout today was a chore to say the least. Went to abut 80% on both lifts.
March 25, 2011
It is as I have forseen . . .
Just as the soothsayer foretold the events of Julius Caesar’s assassination, I saw the events of my own destiny unfolding today. I walked in this morning completely lacking any and all physiological arousal. Nothing on my body felt good enough to even get past any “power” snatch/clean warm-ups. So I took a few sets, did some coaching, and made a general nuisance of myself for the rest of the session. I did NOT get my automobile business taken care of. It, like everything else in my life, has taken a backseat to the mere hope of progress.
Instead I stayed home and patiently waited for my body to feel better. Oh, and my new Under Armour singlet came in the mail today and it is a pleasure to wear even though it’s a little tight around the shoulders. (The manufacturer can’t be blamed for my abnormally gifted upper body). I returned that evening in my new suit of armor, ready to finally get after it.
Hit a 130 snatch, which isn’t great, but good enough considering how crappy my shoulder is feeling. I even had to take in my grip a little bit to manage it. My cleans were feeling on point. 150 went up super easy and gave me enough confidence to go straight for the throat of a 290 total. I pulled 160 off the floor with relative ease and then sat down with it for what seemed like 3 minutes. That was the hard part. (you see, if I can get a weight racked, I can stand up with it no matter what. My problem is getting it racked!) I stood up, eager to get my total. I reset my feet, took a big breath and fucking missed. Like an idiot, I added on another 5kg. only to miss again. Long story short: 280 total. But under the circumstances, It’s a total that I can easily build on once I get my shit together.
Have you heard this??
Pitchfork gave the album a 9.0. I am skeptical. They gave the new Deerhunter something like a 9.5 and Kanye a 10 (A fuckin’ tein!). Don’t get me wrong I thought both albums were awesome. I was just strongly for the new Arcade Fire, which in my opinion was better than both.
March 24, 2011
Tomorrow is Heavy Duty Friday. That being said, I may only workout once for a number of reasons. (Those 2 sentences together just don’t make sense). If I’m feeling especially heavy duty in the morning (body doesn’t hurt, technique is on point, mind is prepared), then I may just condense the two sessions into one, essentially leaving out the 1st light duty practice session. This would accomplish two things.
1) It would be time efficient. I also have to take care of automobile issues that afternoon which could take fucking days (and sitting in a folding chair in the waiting room for a few hours is NOT good for recovery.)
2) It would decrease the volume. (fucking DUH!) The time for getting stronger is over. Getting healthy is now the name of the game. I need to be as close to 100% as possible by Collegiates (also fucking DUH!) so I can put together a decent total. Decreasing the volume is a must.
If it’s just not there in the morning and I feel I need the extra practice, than it’s light duty in the morning and heavy duty by night. ’Nuff said.
March 23, 2011
Alright, enough bullshitting. Collegiates are coming up, so for the next couple weeks, I’ll be outlining my meet preparation and strategies. I think that it will help to keep me accountable and will hopefully be helpful to you, the reader if you are just starting out, without a coach, without a clue, etc. That being said, I’ve been lifting for a number of years and am basically coaching myself, so my meet preparation will look a bit differently than yours if you’re a novice lifter. Just take note of the general changes I’m making and ask yourself how that could apply to your situation.
As I stated before, this week will for the most part be a “lighter” week. That will mostly be pertaining to the volume as well as a couple of other changes. During a usual practice session, I’ll take up my lifts to a single until I start missing and then go up and down in weights until I’m satisfied with my technique. For this week and next week, I’ll be more organized with my routine. Go up to a single once only, hit a weight, and then take about 30% off and do a few more singles. This will decrease the wear and tear that my body takes and will raise the pressure of making attempts as well.
More focus will also be put into putting together a total for the day, instead of going as heavy as I can in both lifts. This shift in focus will mirror my competition mindset more closely and will again raise the pressure in making attempts. The “30kg. rule” will also be enforced. This means that I’ll have to clean and jerk 30kg. (+,-5kg.) more than I snatch in a given session. For instance, I snatched 120 (then took a few singles at 100) and then clean and jerked 150 this morning. This again will get me more towards competition mode where putting together a total is the name of the game.
The last change in training will be of my organization between the AM and PM workouts. Along with the 30kg. rule will be the 10kg. rule, which basically means that I’ll be aiming for 10kg. more in the afternoon than I do in the morning. This will force me to keep a cool head and try to make all my lifts technically sound in the morning instead of going apeshit and missing needless weights. The intensity is raised in the afternoon, when my technique is more solid and I’m more physiologically prepared to handle heavy weights.
As far as bodyweight is concerned, I stripped down and weighed myself after my AM workout; 232, right on the money. This is comforting for two reasons: 1) because now I won’t have to worry too much about dieting down the night before lift day and 2) because that lets me know that I can basically eat as much as I want and not do any cardio and still maintain a decent bodyweight. Fuck yeah.
After properly eating, ice cupping, wrapping in compression bandages, and resting after my 1st workout, I was beginning to feel more athletic coming into the gym this afternoon. Smoked a 130 snatch, hit a few singles at a hundo and moved on. Clean and jerks were feeling better as well, but (like and idiot) I decided to bump from 150 to 160 instead of taking a more strategic jump to 55 or 57. I missed 60, bumped back down to hit a few singles and called it a day. I ended the day with a meager 280kg. total, BUT 290 is around the corner, most likely Friday or Saturday.
March 22, 2011
Power snatch and clean: light weights for 2′s and 3′s, nothing exciting going on here.
On a side note, thrash metal is fun to listen to whilst writing blogs. I recently bought Warbringer-War Without End. Any other brutal suggestions?
March 21, 2011
Nowadays, everyone’s all gaga over mobility. Well, here’s how Benbata gets mobile.
I am pleased to bring you, “the rack support,” the younger, more handsome brother of the jerk support. No, this is not going to get you huge. But, if you are already at maximal yammage . . . like myself, than this exercise just may help you achieve that pretty rack position like all the skinny guys have.
Big guys, you shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed of your jacked arms and back. It’s not your fault that you have a naturally gifted upper body. The skinny lifters will accuse you of sneaking in some preacher curls and lat pull-downs while no one is watching. Pay them no mind. Haters be jealous.
Snatch: I was feeling a special brand of “shitty” this morning so I decided to substitute my lack of athleticism for more stupidity by taking larger jumps. I went 50, 70, 100, 120, 130 without a miss. Missed 135 and then took a set of 7 hang snatches at 100.
Rack supports: I could feel at 70kg that my shoulders were especially tight this morning, so I ditched the cleans and did some benbata style mobility.
Snatch and Clean & Jerk: It was this session that I decided that this week would be a lighter week. The cumulative effects of my training seem to be paying off as my technique seems to be improving more and more with every session, but there’s just no muscle behind it. On Saturday I reverted back to some old bad habits, immediately diagnosed the problem and successfully solved it . . . but with lighter weights. So really I didn’t decide on taking a lighter week, my body told me so.
March 18, 2011
Last night I took up my power snatches and power cleans as usual. I felt like I was going to die after every snatch attempt. Needless to say, I didn’t get “Heavy Duty” with my snatches.
HOWEVER, I might have gotten a new power clean PR.
Here, take a look. (Spoiler alert! I miss the jerk.)
You see, I classify a lift as “power” if the thigh goes past parallel, anything caught at parallel is good. Feel free to disagree with me. But in any case, by that definition, was this a power clean? Take another look. Try to get over the fact that I’ve got amazing legs which may trick the eye into thinking I’m lower than I actually am. They’re called hamstrings, fellas. Get some.
(Obviously I have some emotional investment in this attempt and for some reason it made me feel like I should insult your hamstrings which I’ve never seen before. My bad.)
I waited until Sunday night to update this and now I forgot what I did.
Nothing notable happened except that I missed 160 then threw a fit and power cleaned 100×10.
Snatched 130. Cleaned 145.