February 29, 2012
So over the course of the last 6 months or so, I’ve gathered a LOT of video of me failing while trying to PR my front squat. I initially planned to have a FAIL video set to depressing or funny music. Like THIS. Or THIS. Possibly with some footage of me sitting all depressed and hating life or walking with my head down like Charlie Brown. That would’ve given me many LOLz but would have required a bit more effort. Instead I present to you THE ARTSIEST YOUTUBE WEIGHTLIFTING VIDEO EVER. Watch. And let me pull at your heart strings.
I included some footage of some of my training partners to help reiterate the overall theme. I love this song.
February 28, 2012
I tried to remember when was the last time that I got a PR single front squat. I can’t. I’ve been lifting for almost 7 years at this point. I think I’ve been stuck at 200kg. for at least 3.
Check out my Animal T-shirt. So legit.
I drove home. Ate half a pizza, 2 glasses of milk and chugged a beer. Because lifting weights is a losing game. You try and you fail, and fail, and fail. And then sometimes you win. So always remember to allow yourself to embrace the moment. Chug a beer (if you’re 21) and then get ready to go back to work tomorrow.
Because all that will be left is achy knees and more work to be done.
Ben Claridad’s goals for 2012:
Snatch 150. Clean and jerk 180. Front squat 220. Back squat 250.
February 27, 2012
CC and I were unable to get a workout in on Saturday so we bumped it to Sunday. This may or may not become a regular occurrence.
Back Squat: 5×5 at 180kg.
Push press: 3×3 at 100.
Snatch from deficit: doubles up to 120. Missed my 2nd at 120. Missed 130.
I tried out the new Klokov complex. It’s pretty fun. Up to 120 and then moved on to 2x pull, 1x clean at 130 for 2 sets.
Snatch off the low blocks: Doubles up to 120. Missed the 2nd rep at 120. Moved on to 130 and missed the 2nd rep as well. Watch as Master Lee and CC offer me some encouragement. ”Everything you got!”
Cleans: worked up to a few singles at 140. One of the reps took me like 5 seconds to stand up with. It was pretty funny at the time.
Later that night, I deadlifted with the 5PM class. Last week I did a set of 3 at 220 with no belt with straps. Tonight, I did 230 for 1 with a belt and straps.
I totally dropped the ball on posting my workouts for this week. My bad. Life outside the gym has been just a little bit hectic this past month or 3.
February 23, 2012
Lately, a lot of people have been asking me if I’ve given up on my dream of becoming a bad ass weightlifter. Nah. Fuck that. I’m still gettin’ after it pretty hard; as much as I can while I’m trying to finish up with school and working and stuff. I finally got a front squat PR tonight. 190 for a triple. I’m pretty happy with that, since my all time PR is only 2 hundo. I attribute this PR to the 8 weeks of squatting my face off with no belt.
I was still feeling ansty in the pantsy afterwards, so I decided to try and standing press 120. I reviewed the video afterwards and had a hearty laugh.
I’ve adjusted my training over the past 2 weeks, trying to figure out what will realistically work best for the rest of the semester. I think I’ve found something that works for me. I’m moving my Squat days to Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for the time being. Eventually, It’ll just be 2 days a week as I get closer to Collegiate Nationals. Yes, I realize that I’ll probably be the only 25 year old at collegiates. Shut up. If anybody asks, I’ll say I’m working on my masters. I’ll begin posting workouts again starting next week. I think I’ve found a schedule that fits.
Check THIS out!
How much does this dude look like me? It’s from an ad for an acting class. TWO people have come up to me so far, asking if this was me. Unfortunately, I gave up on my acting career after Jason Mamoa was cast as Conan.
February 21, 2012
Here’s something to keep you busy while you’re at work.
I never wrote my reviews for my 5 favorite albums from 2011. I actually started on a few. But much like every other aspect of my life, they are incomplete and not worth reading. So here’s aTOP 20 LIST from my homies over at Idle Time. I figured I could still post what I had written, but 2011 is SO OVER, so I figured I’d spare you.
If you have a top 5 albums list for 2011, feel free to post it in the comments section, homie.
February 20, 2012
Well I didn’t clean 180 on Friday. Big surprise. As a matter of fact, we (my crew) all had “off” days. Everybody except for Master lee.
I actually passed out during the morning session. I hit the deck hard. And I probably would’ve lost some teeth by falling face first into a squat rack if honorary Midtown Coach, Don W not saved me. I can’t be certain because I wasn’t conscious at the time, but I’m pretty sure he dove (as in all limbs leaving the ground) like a mother bear saving her cub, tackled me mid-fall and saved my very important brain from possible harm. That’s lucky for you. Otherwise this post might have looked like this, “n;s.navk.n;oavs.rss./lsk’;prsjovsihDnj/ew.”
Cameron and I got hella jakked off of some neutral grip bicep curl strip sets. I did mine with 10kg. plates. HEAVY DUTY.
I’m never drinking again. I’m going to lift weights and live a pure life.
February 15, 2012
So I was having a chat with Mr. Bell the other day. I was telling him the plight of the Olympic lifter in social situations. ”Oh, you’re a weightlifter? How much ya’ bench?” Palm to face. Usually this will be followed by a bicep curling gesture. I used to get really up in arms about the whole thing.
“Well actually, I’m an OLYMPIC weightlifter. You know, like IN THE OLYMPICS. WE DON”T DO THAT SORT OF THING.” Then I would go on this really dorky explanation of what Olympic weightlifting is, why I feel it is superior to all other forms of weight training and why you’ve never heard of it. About midway through my lengthy explanation is the part when the new acquaintance will lose interest and walk away.
People don’t care what you do. People don’t care how much you snatch or what a snatch actually is or why you count in kilos. So don’t bore them to death by educating someone who is not interested in strength training or fitness with things that don’t concern them. ”Oh, you’re a weightlifter?” ”Yes, I lift weights.” Then move on. As a matter of fact, avoid the question altogether. ”Hey, Ben. You recently did some sort of wrestling or powerlifting competition the other day right?” ”Yup, what did you do this weekend?”
So back to the conversation. I was wearing a T-shirt from a popular powerlifting website. I told Mark that if I told people that I was a powerlifter instead of explaining that I compete in Olympic weightlifting, then I might actually score some clients. ”How much ya’ bench?” Oh, like 505.” And if they persist, say that you hit 526 from the high board, but didn’t really get a solid lockout. I just lie. But you know what? If I benched more than like once a month I bet I could at least break 400. So I don’t feel bad telling strangers that. Keep in mind, they don’t actually care. They just want confirmation that I’m stronger than the average person.
Check out what I did tonight. I haven’t bench pressed since the time I hit 155 (As a matter of fact, I haven’t done anything outside of weightlifting except for some bodyweight strengthening at the end of my workouts). Hows that for linear progression? I’m going to PR every time I bench for the next 4 months. I attribute this to Musclemilk Collegiate, the fact that I’m wearing my favorite T-shirt and the Sepultura playing in the background.
“Pounds??!! HA! HA! HA! How pedestrian. A weightlifter lifts only in kilos!”
Seriously, I have other T-shirts, but i just REALLY like this one. I probably wear it 2 to 3 times a week. In the gym. In da club. In da coffee shop. I stopped caring a long time ago. Combined with how I wear adidas warm-up pants every single day, I’m surprised my co-workers haven’t started a charity fund.
Here’s the pump up song in the background.
February 13, 2012
Sometimes, it pays to lift like an asshole. But most of the time it doesn’t. Today, after a very productive snatch session I took up my clean + 1 jerk from the front, 1 from the back. A pretty fun exercise. I hit a really solid one fiddy. Loaded 160 and missed it. Fuck that. Loaded 165 and crushed it. Not Bad for a Monday. Decided to try and hit a 170. Miss.
It felt good to finally start touching some big boy weights again. It would be a really nice birthday present if I clean and jerked 180 on Friday. And if I do, I promise you, I will get “more drunker” and dance harder than anyone who’s ever clean and jerked 180 before.
February 13, 2012
I’ve been saying the phrase, “LET ME WORK” a lot lately. Maybe a little bit too often. It’s gotten to the point where I’m actually beginning to get annoyed at myself AS I say it. And whenever that happens, one would have to assume that those around me have already crossed that point around 3 weeks ago. This is kind of like the time when I couldn’t NOT say “HEAVY DUTY” while working out. It just started to come naturally; as natural as the sweat on my brow or the yoke on my shoulders. So I’ve decided to stop if only to spare you the eye roll as you read my (not so) witty comments. But first, let me put this thing to rest with one last personal account on the importance of letting the lifter work.
I had been working with CC for about 6 months at this point. Already, she was blossoming into a “fully legit mode” JR lifter and a damn good training partner. Often, as I was resting on my bench in between sets, hating life, I would look over to the far platform only to see CC crushing weights like a god damn communist Russian/Bulgarian/Chinese/Super Saiyan monster. She would hit a set of power snatches, each one like a stroke Michelangelo’s brush. And I would sink a little bit deeper into that bench, remembering when I had only been lifting weights for 6 months and also remembering how it looked absolutely nothing like that. A Padiwan learner she was not, it seemed as if she jumped straight to Jedi. And if that were the case, that would make me Old Man Kenobi. Obi-Wan Kenobi. Except nobody would’ve called me that for years. But I was still her coach. And as her coach, it was my responsibility to push her just enough for us to see where her current limits were set at. It was always at the back of my mind that despite all of her strength and skill, CC was a still fledgling lifter. And never having coached an athlete like CC before, I too was a fledgling coach.
I never wanted her to fail. I could coach her technically. I planned out her workouts effectively. I could count attempts in competition. But I just did not like to see her fail. It was like I wanted her to like the sport of weightlifting so bad that I only wanted her to achieve the successes of weightlifting with none of the failures. However, we all know that weightlifting is a sport where success is built on failure. Even in success, the lifter then must then prepare himself for the many, many failures to come. But like I said, I was a novice and so was she. So I would only allow her a few misses per exercise before I would urge her to move on to the next, ALWAYS with the mindset that it is better to error on the side of caution. To a certain degree, I still (and should) do this. But now we both have more experience underneath our belts. It only takes a few ugly misses for an athlete to develop a healthy respect for the weights to be thrown overhead and it only takes a coach a few months of training with an athlete to begin to predict how she will handle certain weights.
Coming back to the incident in question, I had CC follow her usual snatch and clean and jerk routine by taking up her back squats to her best set of 5. I think her best at the time was 95Kg. and we both wanted to see her break 100. Up until that point, I’ve only see a few seasoned female lifters handle 100kg. in a full Olympic squat for reps and two of them were former coaches of mine. CC casually starts warming up by throwing on the 20kg. plates and proceeding to crush some rock bottom squats with no belt or knee sleeves. In my opinion, it’s best to leave out as much assistance gear as possible during the first few years of training. I told CC that when she turns 21, she can start wearing rehbands. She’ll add the belt at age 23. So she’s working up to the higher numbers without any sign of slowing down. I ask her if she needs a spot and she gracefully declines, “I’ll need a spot when I go for 105.” Fair enough. I continue with my morning “old man” routine. I feel each rep in my bones as I gradually speed up to 50%. I probably take the bar for a good 20 minutes before I hit a few close grip muscle snatches at 50kg. OG style. I’ll rest my aching, brittle bones on my bench as I watch the vulgar display of power on the far platform. CC just destroyed 95kg. for a set of 5 like it was a fucking broomstick. She loads 105 and motions me to pick up my haggard old body off of my bench and do something useful for a change and spot her. The early 90s hip-hop is on full blast by this point. You wouldn’t even be able to have a conversation with someone 3 feet away from you. So I just nod at her, letting her know that, “Yes. You can do this. Go get it. And I’ll be right here if you need a spot.” She grinds out the first 3 like she’s got pneumonic pistons for legs. She takes a few breaths before diving down for her fourth. Everyone in the gym has their eyes glued to her and their arms up in the air as if they were trying to help her force the bar up with their energy. She wastes no time. 3 more deep breaths and she’s back down for her fifth. The screams of everyone around her combined with the overbearing 90s hip hop seem to be the only things keeping the bar inching upward. She’s halfway extended. One more inch and she’ll be beyond the sticking point. Time stalls for a good second as my old eyes have seen enough and I offer my hands up to the bar for some assistance. Spotting the bar was like holding a handful of feathers in a helium balloon as the bar finally drifts upward, finishing the rep.
CC immediately twists around as if she’s going to flying uppercut me to oblivion. Her eyes burned fiery red with a glance so fierce that it would’ve turned a lesser man to stone. But thanks to my training age, my bones have already turned to rusty iron. The only thing that keeps them mobile is motor oil, rehbands and ace bandages. “DID YOU HELP!” It was more of a statement than a question. But she already knew the answer as my eyes looked to the ground in shame. I don’t know where she got it from, but someone from the crowd must have thrown her a glass bottle which she broke against the now racked 105kg. and shanked me in the kidney. And that’s how I died.
Moral of the story: I should have LET HER WORK. She might have made the rep. She might have stalled for another 5 seconds and I would’ve eventually had to spot her. In any case, she now squats 115 for a set of 5. And I, having died 6 months ago, rose like a phoenix from the ashes only to die a little more each day like Prometheus chained to the rock as punishment for bringing fire to mankind.
Side note: I dump back squats all the time. It’s perfectly safe. All you need to do is raise your hands upward and surrender as you realize that you won’t be able to stand up. Surrender. And walk out of the squat in shame.
February 9, 2012
See what I did there?
So I power cleaned 152 tonight. Well, at least I’d classify it as a power clean (if you don’t think it’s a power clean, I wouldn’t be offended). But this beats what I’ve been doing the past few months on my full clean days, so I’ll take it. I took a rep at 155 after this, caught it above parallel, but couldn’t keep myself from sinking down into the hole. I’d call tonight a small victory. I needed this.
Power snatch: rook it up to 110 for 2 reps. The first one I sunk down. The 2nd was pretty solid.
Power clean and jerk: Took it up to 140 and hit it pretty solid. Decided to take it back down to 110 and start over, just to get more reps in. 140 again solid. Now we’re in business. 152 (in video). 155. Caught it above but sunk into the hole.
My PR before this was 150. This is only 152. But you know what? I DON’T CARE. I NEED THIS. Even if you’d call this a full clean. I DON’T CARE. I NEED THIS.