December 29, 2011
Why? Because No one cleans like Vanev. No one. And I haven’t been writing or drawing.
Seriously, go get this video. It is unreal.
I’m considering naming my firstborn son Zlatan. Or Galabin. He’s definitely getting a Euro mullet and will wear a windbreaker, baggy T-shirt, a singlet and Rehbands to school.
December 28, 2011
“Stress in itself is neither good nor bad, It is a mechanism built into our organism, not for the purpose of making us sick but to enable us to respond more effectively to challenges”-Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier
Camilo just gave me a copy of Ironmind: Stronger Minds, Stronger Bodies, by (you guessed it) Dr. Randall J. Strossen. Thanks Camilo. And Thank you, Dr. Strossen.
Anyways, I started reading. This for, some reason, reminded me of strategies for coping with stress, which reminded me of depression, which in turn made me pour a glass of whiskey, throw on some Radiohead and begin writing this blog in order to cope with my depression. I’m joking about one of these statements.
Depression is no joke. It’s funny, but it is no laughing manner. And despite the fact that I joke about feelings of despair, often by portraying a parodied version of myself in my writing (see above), depression, suffering and dealing with personal loss are subjects that I take very seriously. Seriously. I’ve studied those themes on a number of occasions during my (lack of an) academic career and have developed an interest, specifically after taking a class entitled “Suffering and Death.” I’m not a morbid person. But after taking that class, I became fascinated with how people (myself specifically) deal with what ails them, what is a successful death, why some people succeed in life despite great opposition and why some people crumble instead of prevail.
I’ve only made a few uneducated guesses to those questions so far.
1) Successful people (success being a completely arbitrary term) all display some level of “hardiness” or willingness to meet challenges head on whenever challenges or set-backs are presented (Pelletier).
2) These people would probably make good weightlifters.
3) A successful death is one that comes after a successful life (success being a relative term).
December 28, 2011
I haven’t posted anything in a while because I’ve been lazy. Here’s a clip of me doing some muscle-ups.
Some of the guys were doing them today and I wanted to see how many I could get in a row without really practicing them. I think the best I’ve done in a row is 12 on the rings.
For those who care, here’s how you do a kipping muscle-up:
1) Get really good at pull-ups.
2) Kick really hard and then throw yourself over the bar. Repeat.
3) (Mandatory) Post video of yourself on youtube.
4) (Optional) Tag “crossfit” and get hella hitzz. Allow comments so people can tell you that you’re not doing it right.
December 26, 2011
Back Squat: 3×6 with 190 with no belt. I was working REALLY hard for these. I had to fight for every rep and felt proud of what I had done afterwards. You’ll notice that my Monday BS days have been getting less volume, while my Wednesday FS days have been getting more volume. I may have to add in the belt at some point soon to assure that I don’t miss any reps. But I’m going to hold out for as long as I can.
Light power cleans
12 reps on day 2 of strict pull-up routine 2nd cycle.
BO rows and stuff.
Snatch: doubles up to 120. A nice single at 130.
Cleans off the blocks: triples up to 130. A single at 140.
Pull/reverse pull: No-belt. Doubles up to 170.
Spotted Sarah on some bench. She’s making some pretty good progress. I may be trying my hand at coaching for powerlifting training at some point. CC is also getting stronger. She backsquatted 100 for 5×5 the other day and also did 115 for a set of 5. Squatting volume and frequency will be decreasing for her as she is getting ready for JR Nationals at the end of January.
Light power snatch
Power clean/Push press x5: Catch a pump.
Rack walkouts: loaded up 2 hundo. Held it for 20 seconds.
Prowler workout: standard. 1 on the minute for 10 minutes. High handles. 45lb plates.
Front squats: This was my most challenging squat workout so far this time around. 5 set of 3 at 160. I warmed up and tried 170 but failed at only the 2nd rep. So I decided to start ALL the way over. 70, 110, 140, then took 160 for my 1st set of 3. I grinded out every rep. No belt. I was pleased.
Light snatch and power clean+jerk.
One Benbata set of muscle-ups.
Didn’t get much done. Snatched 120 a few times and it was UUGLY.
Off. Absolutely wrecked from front squats.
Back squat: last no belt 5×5 day. Hit 200kg. Missed the last rep on 2 sets. Still pleased.
So tired from squatting. CC clean and jerked 86 and cleaned 87 which was awesome.
Snatched 120 for 3 singles. Each one looked better than the last.
Clean and jerked 150. The most I’ve done in a while. It felt surprisingly good. Mobility is better. Legs are better. Clean is better.
Clean pull/reverse pull: Sets of 2 up to 180.
Light power snatch and clean.
12 pull-ups and some BO rows.
Light power clean and push jerk: enough to warm up and get loose.
December 21, 2011
After looking at the stats from Monday’s post, it seems as though the majority the people who visit this site listen to metal. YOB got a whopping 16 clicks followed by Curren$y who got 11. I don’t think the Antlers got any. That’s cool because this year I think I really fell back in love with metal once again (metal, for me is like the hypothetical crazy ex-girlfriend whom I keep going back to once I forget all the things I don’t like about her. Easy, now. I said hypothetical). I broadened my expectations beyond what I believe to be “heavy” or “brutal” and began looking at everything else that metal as a genre has to offer. I just happen to listen to other kinds of music more often. That’s all.
Anyways, that being said I won’t expect most of you to care about most of the other tracks I list tonight (except THIS one). But I’m thinking of doing a top 5 favorite metal releases list for this year as well. And if you don’t like it, well . . . I don’t know. I really don’t care.
And here . . . We . . . GO.
TOP 20 Favorite Tracks of the year PART II.
I enjoyed this single for exactly the same reason that I disliked the album: it’s just so goddamn happy. It makes me want to rollerblade around Midtown in an apron and pair of cut-off jorts and re-fill people’s parking meters before they expire. But seriously, there were a lot of doo wop 50’s throwback groups this year and last. Cults just did it better. The glossy production and sing-along vocals helped too. But you know me. I’m one of those undercover tortured artist types. We like hearing things that make me want drink whiskey and weep as I aimlessly gaze into the mirror while I contemplate jumping off a bridge. Believe me, if the newest Girls album, The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost had any tracks that were fun to listen to outside of listening to the entire album then it would be here.
My good friend, Sarah P first showed me this track. I was having a shitty day and then all of the sudden I wasn’t. I never got a chance to listen to the entire album but I heard it was also good.
My official theme song of 2011. If you’ve ever feverishly danced by yourself while listening to This Charming Man by The Smiths, then you will enjoy this track. And if you’re broke, then you will surely identify with it. If you’re both, then you’re probably me.
Whenever I read or heard anything about this band, it was always about whether or not the band was a bunch of overly-opinionated hipsters or whether or not they were actually a black metal band. I care about neither topic. This is clearly not a metal-head’s metal band, which if anything made me more interested in hearing it. It is way too easy to classify a metal band and throw them into a box with other’s of their sub-genre if they follow too many guidelines of what they should sound like.
“Hey, have you heard of (insert obscure metal group here)?”
“No. What do they sound like?”
“Well, they sound sort of like (lists 3-7 slightly less obscure metal bands)”
I can’t remember what I was doing at the time, but I remember listening to this track for the first time and thinking it was nothing special. “What’s all the fuss about?” Then after 5 minutes of the same chords being relentlessly hammered OVER and OVER again, I forgot about whatever it was that I was doing and returned to my stereo, wondering what the fuck I was actually listening to. It’s nothing new. You could probably learn this song. But you didn’t write it. You didn’t have the conversation with the other band mates, “Nah, I think we should just let this one roll.” And at least to me, that’s what makes it interesting. Besides that, it gets pretty damn intense. I set many-a-PR while listening to this jam, including my FIRST 245KG BACK SQUAT.
I don’t want to write too much about this one because I’m planning on writing more about the album later . . . SPOILER ALERT. I was worried about this album. I’ve been a big Justin Vernon fan since his first album, For Emma Forever Ago. I didn’t like the Blood Bank EP and I especially didn’t know what to think when he started hanging out with Kanye and started releasing hipster work-out videos (I am not fucking joking). But the song is awesome and so is the album. But more on that later.
Yes, I’m well aware this is a cover of a Feist song. I just really like the way he does it. And despite him being one of the most overly hyped artists of 2011 in my opinion, I can’t help but really enjoy this track . . .and the album. Dammit.
Here’s another one of those groups that people seemed more focused on their image (or lack of one in this case) that it seemed to overshadow the music. In the age of being able to figure out every single detail about a band in just a few clicks, this group seemed mysterious and secretive. So fucking smart. Also, I heard that they recorded the album in a church. Sold. It makes this track somehow sound even more epic.
Really, Ben? Fucking R&B? I know. Again, it’s a sign of the times we live in. Free mixtapes spread like wildfire on the internet . . . IF they’re good. And this one was good. Very good. I don’t even like R&B. But the dark imagery, the production, the debauchery, the voyeuristic qualities of this song make for a fucking JAM. “Bring your love, baby I can bring my shame. Bring the drugs, baby I can bring my pain.” You won’t be singing these lyrics to your girlfriend. But you WILL be attempting your best falsetto while you’re cruising down the block in your Toyota Yaris or after a long night of drinking 40s on a Saturday night.
Homage to early 90’s alt rock/post-punk? Yes, please.
I know. Pitchfork already chose this one as their #1. Fuck that! I was WAY more excited about this track than ANYONE. I downloaded the single before the album came out. I VOLUNTARILY subscribed to e-mail updates concerning the artist. Whatever. I guess this counts as my guilty pleasure of the year. This song contains just about as much cheesy 80’s nostalgia and synth-pop cleanliness that one could fit into 4 minutes. And yet I am not ashamed. I enjoy nostalgia. I enjoy danceable synth-pop. I enjoy saxophone solos. If that makes me less credible as a fan of popular music, then I guess you’ll have to find another weightlifter/picture sketcher’s blog to help pass the time while at work.
December 20, 2011
Back in the game! Rocky IV soundtrack commence!
Actually, I sort of started back last week. I’m putting myself on a nice, long squat program to get my legs back. If you remember, I did the same thing last year with this idiotic squat program that I made up. But despite that, I still made plenty of progress with my front squats which initially hindered my progress with the lifts but I believe helped me later into the year. There was a point mid-summer when I believe that my strength peaked due to the decreased number of squatting days but increased frequency of practicing the lifts. But unfortunately, I got in this mode of thinking that the more of the same is what I needed. As the year came to an end, my squat strength dwindled as well as with the lifts. My body can only do so much, and I feel that this year I’ll do better with being patient with my planning and worry more about what will benefit me in the long term. As of now, I’m still up in the air about the meet in march, but will lift as if I’m planning to go to that one.
Last week I squatted 3×10 at 140 on Monday, F.S. 3×1 at 140 on Wednesday and B.S. 5×5 at 160 on Friday.
B. Squat: 3×8 at 160.
Snatch HP/hang snatch: light.
Power clean and push press: worked up to 130kg.
Clean x3, jerk x1: Started at 100kg. and went up doing 5kg jumps every set. Nope, no shame here. There are too many people who are better than you at weightlifting to carry too much pride. I was just interested in getting a good amount of reps in. Made it to 130 before I failed. So in total I think that’s 21 cleans so I was satisfied.
Snatch pull with a 2 inch deficit: 3×3 at 120. So tired afterwards.
Power snatch x3: worked up to a hundo and did 3×3 there. I went into the hole for the last rep of every set. Just ain’t got no damn legs.
Power clean+push jerk: worked up to 130. I was pretty happy with that.
Prowler sprints: 1 on the minute for 10 minutes. Our track is about 20-25 yards in length so I think it’d be safe to say one trip is 40 yards. Came back on the low handles. Used 55lbs on each pin.
Front Squat: 3×3 at 140. Did I mention that I’m doing that whole “no belt” thing again?
Snatch pulls: 3×2 at 120. It felt HEAVY.
light clean and jerks to work on mobility.
I finally hit 20 strict pull-ups again. After I got back from the AO, I started doing just one set per day 2-3 days per week. I started at 8 reps and added 2 reps every day I did it. This would be followed by bent rows and lat pull-downs. I think I’ll start back over again at 10 and work up to 22.
Lots of reps for my cleans.
First I worked up to 130 from the low blocks doing doubles. Then I went back down to 100, put on a belt and worked back up to 130.
Then I did clean pulls for sets of 4 from the low blocks. I did these primarily as a way to start touching some heavy weights again. The low blocks obviously make it a lot easier so I worked up to 180 doing sets of 4.
Then I finished up with some clean, hang clean+jerk at light weight.
This day was kind of a shit show. I snatched 70kg a few times. Then push pressed 90 for a set of 5. I think I was just hurting from the day before. I finished up with my same standard prowler workout except I used the same weight as CC. She was kind enough to not make fun of me.
This was a pretty good workout. I back squatted 180kg for 5×5 with no belt. Each set felt easier then the last. Then I snatched 130 and power cleaned 130. My hip was kind of achy so I didn’t want to push it. Finished up with my same pull-up workout except I started back at 10 and then finished up with some abs and rows.
Merry Christmas Clean Pulls: 2×5 at 190.
Light power cleans
Bench: PR set of 5 at 135kg.
Prowler workout except only 5 mins instead of 10.
December 19, 2011
Year end lists seem to be a popular option for just about any asshole
who bought a domain and thinks that he has better taste
in music. And thanks to the total and complete convenience of the
internet age, any asshole can have access to the coolest, most obscure
music that nobody has heard of . . . because everybody has heard of it.
I’m too young to know this for certain, but I’m sure there was a time
when you actually had to be cool to have access to the cool music. You probably had to go to shows or had a buddy who worked in a record store who would pass you bootleg tapes. Yeah, I’m romanticizing about the pre-internet early 90’s and any decade before that. Maybe you aficionados from the slightly elder generation can confirm or deny this. Because while you were tripping balls and going on road trips to see Pavement or Sonic Youth, I was attempting to make functional wings out of cardboard and watching the Muppet Show. But I digress.
Now all you need is a laptop and a few short hours a week cruising the
indie-blogosphere, which is perfect for a gym rat like myself who
likes to keep current with new releases as they come out. What can I say? It makes me feel more connected to pop culture.
Anyways, here’s my top 20 favorite tracks from 2011 (or at least the
first 10). I may write more about a few of these artists later in the
week as I also am planning on doing a favorite albums list and most
(over) hyped list.
So heeeeerrrrreeee we . . . GO.
TOP TRACKS NUMBERS 20 THROUGH 11:
Wasn’t a big fan of the album. I guess I never actually sat down and gave it a chance. But the synth pop, chill-wave loving indie kid inside of me imagines this song being a festival ender. The steady build up pays off and is instantly gratifying after the first chorus. Now all I need is the volume turned up about 500 decibels (I have no concept of what this unit actually is) and about 500 other people to dance around with.
Speaking of chill-wave. I was wondering how Neon Indian would follow up the striped down, low-fi, borderline shitty production that made the first album such a joy to listen to. The sounds are glossier and carry more weight. I dig it.
Heartbreaking lyrics dealing with feelings of loss over upbeat, rockabillyish/sort of surf rock. As an album, I thought that the straightforward chord changes and constant tempo made it hard to listen to all at once. I liked the album much more in segments and especially liked this track.
17) Still (ft. Trademark and Young Roddy)-Curren$y. I feel that Curren$y is a standout from the rest of the DIY stoner rapper crowd (and there were a lot of them in 2011) and I like his simple, understated production. Throw on this track after a long day at the office and kick up your feet, 40oz to the lip.
16) Weekend-Smith Westerns. I guess a bunch of fucking high school kids made this track. Not that that ruins it for me, it just makes me embarrassed for all the bullshit I was creating in high school.
15) Will Do-TV on the Radio. Was NOT a fan of the new album. I still like these guys though and I really like this straight up love ballad.
14) Prepare to Ground-YOB. Oh yeah! Thundering, doomy riffs, crusty, no-bullshit production, I fucking dig it. This was the first album I’ve heard from these guys but I’m definitely going to do some investigating into their older stuff as I’m sure I’ll fucking dig that as well.
13) Belong-The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. Early 90’s influenced rock anthem. ‘Nuff Said.
12) Single Malt-Iron Witch. I’m going to remember 2011 as the year in which I developed a taste for doom, sludge, and stoner metal. This made me really excited after hearing this EP because I discovered it just as I was discovering bands like Eyehategod, Down, Sleep, and YOB (see above). It’s very interesting to me that these guys are from the UK as their sound seems heavily influenced by the southern (Nola) sludge scene of the 90’s with more of a hardcore influenced yelling into the mic type sound. If anyone in the Sacramento area plays drums and wants to start fucking around and attempting to play something of the sludgey style like this, I’ll bring the tallboys of PBR. Download the EP for FREE HERE.
11) I Don’t Want Love-The Antlers. I really liked their 2009 album, Hospice because of the utterly devastating depression felt while listening to it. Seriously, have a bad day and then listen to Kettering alone in your apartment and try not to kill yourself. So when pitchfork gave this album like a 9.5 gazillion, I figured I might as well just download it and have myself a nice little pity party. I was mildly underwhelmed. But I DID however really, really like this track . . . in that “I hate myself” type of way.
December 16, 2011
I was going to post a recipe of a really nice meal that I prepared this evening. I didn’t know what I wanted for dinner and after looking through my kitchen I came up with a pretty sweet idea: bacon (inside the) hamburgers over spinach with cinnamon and brown sugared yams.
But then I figured, anyone who reads this most likely has their shit more put together than I do and has the mental capacity to go to the food network website should they actually care to make hamburgers or yams if they didn’t already know how. So I guess this post just turned into the equivalent of me posting a picture of something I ate onto facebook and saying, “Look at me! Look at what I ate today! Isn’t that interesting!?” I guess the only interesting thing about this meal (to me) is that while I was preparing it, I re-listened to a few albums that I’m planning on reviewing for my inaugural end of the year “best of” and “most hyped” lists.
Did you prepare any dece’ meals this week? If so, what were they? And are they cheap and easy enough that a weightlifting, picture drawing deadbeat like myself could prepare them?
December 13, 2011
I’m sure everyone is anxious to hear what I’ve been up to since the American Open. Well, on top of giving myself a temporary reprieve from training (well, not really. I’ve pretty much just been conditioning and getting jacked), I’ve been doing a whole lot of this.
Give me a break. The only thought that gave me comfort while I was losing the extra 15lbs necessary to make weight was of what I was going to eat after the meet. I actually brought a loaf of bread with pre-made PB and J sandwiches with me TO the weigh-in*. Then I got pancakes. Long Live Breakfast.
*To anybody who is confused by this: You accomplish this by making a bunch of PB and J sandwiches and then put the sandwiches BACK INTO the loaf so you can carry many sandwiches at one time.
December 12, 2011
Here’s a post for all you swingers and loopers out there.
Sarah is a beginner level lifter who already has a pretty decent strength base. So far, we have pretty much been working on the FULL, classic lifts to develop some level of consistency as well as some accessory strength building exercises. A typical practice for her is to take up the full lifts to a “single” and then work back down and do some variations of the lifts, usually in the 3-5 rep range followed by squats.
As I said before, I try to get beginners to begin practicing the full versions of the lifts as soon as possible and have them practice those movements for as long as it takes them to develop some semblance of consistency. There really is no “program” or anything with percentages written on it because at this point, percentages mean absolutely nothing. The athlete is working well underneath her strength level and is in no real danger of over-reaching because the weights just aren’t significant enough when compared to her overall athletic ability. A certain comfort level with the lifts as well as with working with heavier weights must be reached before I start worrying about adding in days with variations of the lifts that force them to work lighter or segment the movements to develop a greater overall understanding of the full lifts.
Anyways, coming back to the point of this post . . .
Sarah took about a week and a half off from lifting weights and when she returned, she had developed a pretty big swing/loop when she began to practice snatches. Her arms were pretty much straight the entire duration of the lift, which sounds like a good thing, but caused the bar to loop out in front of her, forcing her to hop forward to catch it. I used this as a good opportunity to add in some variation and force her to keep the weights light, working primarily on technique with this nifty little drill: Snatch High Pull/Hang Snatch. For some reason I had her take the high pull from the knee, but I would recommend doing pulls from the floor.
This can be used either as a warm-up before the athlete continues on with heavier weights or as a standalone exercise. If you wanted, you could have the athlete snatch up to a single and then perform these at lighter weights to get some extra work in.
If you watch the video, Sarah still hops forward slightly but still manages to keep the bar a lot closer to her body by properly bending her elbows at the top of the pull.
So go ahead and get crazy by mixing in pulls with snatches. Pull/snatch/pull, pull/snatch/hang snatch, pull/2x hang snatch, go nuts.