March 29, 2012
Real quick because class is about to start.
Here’s the video with some footage of me from last Friday. I think I only made that clean because Jon said “You can’t beat me, Ben.” So true. But I did clean the shit outta that weight.
Well, I don’t know if I cleaned the shit out of that 177, but I DID clean it. And No, my hand doesn’t still hurt from punching the wall. Thanks to Gregor for giving me a heads up on the video.
THIS happened last night.
110kg. Like nobody’s business. I told CC when I first started coaching her, “When you turn 21, you get knee sleeves. When you turn 25, you get to use a belt.”
I didn’t say anything about pink pants.
March 27, 2012
I rarely deadlift. I wouldn’t recommend including them often as a part of your routine if you are focusing on your Olympic lifts UNLESS #1) you are new to lifting and are trying to build up your general strength base, #2) like deadlifts. I personally could take em’ or leave em’. But a co-worker was talking shit to me the other day (OK, WE were talking shit to each other) about the upcoming tactical strength challenge being held at my work in a few weeks. So I decided to do it. I figured, it takes place after Collegiates and it could be nice for a little change of pace and to totally stick it to my co-worker.
Here’s a video of me hittin’ some deads after my workout yesterday. I’m pretty sure this is the most I’ve ever done and I should be good for a little more if I add a belt.
I feel like a big guy like myself should at least be able to hit 6 hundo. I might take these up once more before the competition to see what I got, but I’m still not too concerned about it.
Here’s some footage tonight.
That’s 2 hundred kilos, friend. I’m really motivated to try and get that for a triple just so I can totally bury that landmark that I was stuck at for so long.
More pin-ups on the way. I declare next week to be National Pin-Up Drawing Week. I’m going to try and post one a day M-F (I may have to dig through the ol’ vault to see if I have some older pieces). If you have any, feel free to e-mail them or post them to the comments section.
March 25, 2012
So I know I have a blog and all that, but I don’t know anything about computers. Or technology in general. Proof? Here’s a picture of my phone:
The running joke at my gym is to see who can talk the most shit about my phone. I mean, REALLY? It’s like I’m the asshole because I don’t have a smart phone. I personally could find a lot more things about myself that would be better to poke fun at for the LOLZ; like the fact that I’m still working on my bachelors at 25.
Speaking of which.
I was at school the other day and took advantage of the free scanners that they have on campus (mine is broken along with my laptop) to upload some of my drawings that I’ve done lately. But like I stated earlier, I know precisely ZERO about computers, so I had to have my photographer/artist friend, Kiny help me with the computer stuff. Thanks, Kiny.
Anyway’s here’s a pin-up that I sketched the other day.
I’ve always been fascinated with pin-up art. I mean, what’s not to like? I did a little “research” and googled images of pin-up models or women that consider to be retro-beautiful and this is what I came up with. I think I’ll call her, Persephone.
I received an e-mail the other day, asking why I only upload black and white images and if I’m experienced in any other mediums. The short answer is this: because I’m lazy and because I’m broke.
My medium of choice is inkwash sometimes combined with watercolor. But this requires time and money; two things that are always in short supply for me. Also, I have no way of scanning anything I do in color and having it look halfway decent. Pens are cheap. Paper is cheap. And pen and ink work can be done swiftly and on the go. Scanning my work in black and white simplifies the process even more because black ink on white paper looks the best when you see only the absolute blacks against the pure white background.
Are you an artist on the go as well? If so, how do you deal with your time/money constraints? Do you use pens or ink? Do you invest in fancy pens or prefer cheaper alternatives?
ArtWOD: Imagine a pose. Sketch the outline once in one minute, once again but in 5 minutes, and then finally a 3rd time but in pen with unlimited time. See what you get.
March 23, 2012
What? Too cool for a U2 reference? I totally just lost hipster points, huh?
So if you happened to tune into the Cal Strength live feed today, then you saw that I finally managed to make the trip to get swoll with their team. Totally worth the trip. The atmosphere in that gym is electric. Intensity is always high and it’s a great way to measure progress. Sometimes, you gotta swim with the sharks to see if you’re just a minnow. Just sayin.
Anyways, I made a 140 snatch and missed 45 a few times. Honestly, I attribute that to a lack of mental toughness. I just wasn’t mentally ready to get 145 again. But I’ll get it net time.
Clean and jerks felt awesome. Took it all the way up to 160 with no troubles. The 170 that was giving me such a hard time a week before went up and in a hurry. PR time. 177. I already had the number in my head. I knew I was good for it. Pulled it with everything I had. Racked it. Bounce. Bounce. GRIND. I stood up with it. But by the time I went for the jerk there was nothing left. I missed it a few more times just to be sure. I had a great time though.
I feel competitive again. And I owe it all to my training partners. Without you guys I would’ve given up a long time ago. Thank you to Tara and Camilo for giving me a wonderful workplace and place to train. And finally, thanks to you for reading. I feel like it somehow holds me accountable, which is good I guess. Thanks to everyone who came up to me and gave me some words of encouragement last weekend. It was cool.
Anyways, if video gets posted from today, I’ll post it here. (As if the Cal Strength youtube channel isn’t already on your subscription list.)
Also, I have some more sketches to post. I just haven’t figured out how to convert the images to the correct kind. Fucking technology.
March 22, 2012
March 21, 2012
We’ve been gettin’ after it pretty hard this week. Here’s some footage from today. Also, a turkey.
Too dunzo to write anything. I need to drag my old bones to bed. I’ll revise this post later when I have some time.
March 20, 2012
My co-worker, Bryan is going to Swinden, England for a few weeks and is looking for a place to train. I know I get at least a few hits from England everyday. Any of you guys know of a good place to train?
March 19, 2012
CC and I traveled to Fullerton this weekend to catch a “yoke sesh” at a local weightlifting meet held at CSU Fullerton. We checked the schedule on our local weightlifting committee’s website about a month or so back and thought it would be a fun to get out of town and see what local meets were like outside of NorCal. Also, CC is currently preparing for The Collegiate Nationals held at LSU Shreveport. This meet happened to be in synch with our current lifting schedule and would give us some time to re-evaluate our training and make adjustments if we need to. As far as myself is concerned, I’ve been away from the platform for a long time and have had a rough few months of training. Working (as full-time as I can) and going to school (full fucking time) with a varying sleep schedule is not what I would call conducive for making gains in the gym, but more than that I lost a lot of confidence in myself. After Americans, I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to do this anymore but continued to train regardless. I gained some momentum from my PR front squats a while back and have been working my way back up slowly ever since. This weekend was the first heavy day that I felt like myself on the platform again. My bar was fuckin’ movin! Brown Thunder!
I had been to a few smaller So-Cal meets in the past, so I expected to see around 30 lifters max. WRONG. This place was packed. I’m talking like 50 dudes in one session and 15 more in the women’s session. CC stole the show by finishing out the snatch session. Well, it was pretty much a duel between her and another much more experienced 69kg lifter, Evelyn Hernandez. Both wrote on their cards that they were going to open at 65/85 and both knew that they were going to bump up. It was just a question of how much. I’m not sure if those of you who are new to the sport are savvy with the warm-up process in a meet situation, but the coach actually plays a large role in properly warming a lifter up and strategically choosing attempts based on what you think your lifter can do and what you think her competition can do. In the end, it doesn’t really matter because it’s a local meet and we were just there to PR, but CC had a great opportunity to go back and forth with an experienced lifter and I had fun choosing her attempts. It feels kind of like gambling. (I don’t actually know anything about gambling. If I were to go to Vegas, I would go to drink and dance.) Anyways, CC went 3 for 3 on her snatches (66, 69, 72 Meet PR). Her clean and jerks were more of a battle. CC opened at 86; Evelyn at 87. CC took 90, cleaned it but missed the jerk. Evelyn took the same 90 and made it. The thing about CC, is when she’s in competition mode, she ALWAYS gets motivated after a miss by loading a few more kg’s on the bar. Had this been a national meet, I would’ve had her stay at 90, but we came to make some meet PR’s and a 164kg total would be huge. So we asked for 92. She grinded out the clean like a champ but missed the jerk. I knew she would be bummed about missing, but I still couldn’t be more proud. She handled a high pressure situation like a champ and I know she’ll be able to do it again when it really counts.
Here’s another look at her 72kg. snatch courtesy of our new friend, WILMAR
That got me all fired up. But now it was time to take my coach’s hat off and get into the lifting mindset. No problem. Throughout the day, I got a chance to meet a bunch of new homies; all of which were friendly, supportive bro’s with whom I formed instant bro-ships with. That got me even more fired up to lift. There was just one problem: our flight was scheduled to take off at 6:55 and it was already 12:30 by the time the men’s session got started with 50+ lifters. No biggie. I’m not the type that likes to stress out. I decided I would just snatch. And if there was time left to clean, great. If not, I wasn’t going to worry about it. I’d probably just take them up really quickly in the warm-up area then bounce.
My snatch warm-ups went great. I felt like I was brand new. My knees felt great, my bar was moving and I felt so fast, the devil must’ve filled my legs with heavy metal and bad intentions. I put down 130 as my opener and planned to take it in the back and bump up if it felt good. I crushed it. “Fuck it. CC, let em’ know I want 134.” I used this as an opportunity to teach CC how to count cards. During my session, she and I would walk up to the card table and each of us would get an approximate count and then compare what we got afterwards. “10 out . . . I think.” Sounds good to me. I waited a few more and took a135 before I took my chair and sat in the gymnasium underneath the bleachers. Her count was right. By the time I sat down I was 3 out. 134, make. 138, miss. Fuck it, gimmie 140. MISS!
I was slightly angry. I knew I was good for it, I just didn’t believe in myself. I hadn’t walked 10 feet off the platform before CC runs up to me and asks (basically demands) that I take 140 again in the warm-up area. The old Ben was back; the one full of piss and vinegar. Her and I marched over to a warm-up platform that everyone was avoiding because of the absurdly shitty training bar sitting empty on it. We loaded 140 and 5 seconds later it was over my ears. It wasn’t pretty but I was happy. This was the first 140 I’ve made in months.
By this time, there was about 20 minutes left before we had to leave. So I decided to take up my clean and jerks (hurry-up style. Load it and lift it.) 70, 90, 110, 130, 140, 150, 160. I decided to go for it and get the 170. 3 misses later, CC and I exited the gym with new friendships and smiles on our faces. On the plane ride home, we excitedly discussed what we think has been most beneficial in our training, what we need to individually work on and our plan for the next 4 weeks leading up to Collegiates.
March 17, 2012
CC and I just got back from our So-Cal adventure. We had a great time and met HELLA homies. Full write-up and videos to be posted later. Now it is time to drink.
March 14, 2012
Here’s a little anecdote for you.
I was having a conversation with Sarah, one of my lifters, while we were training one day. This was the first day that she had seen Derek lift, who’s been coming in for about a month at this point.
“Wow, he’s really strong!”
“Yeah, he’s kind of undercover yoked.”
About 10 minutes passed and as we all took our turns sitting on the bench to watch each other lift (very important), Sarah had already noticed a few technical issues.
“He seems to be a little stiff.”
“Yeah, he’s got a few mobility issues and has some trouble locking out with the bar overhead. Today is actually the first day I’ve actually talked to him about the proper positioning with the bar overhead.”
30 seconds of silence.
“You know, I don’t think you’ve EVER talked about proper overhead positioning with me!”
“Yep. And I’m not going to.”
What I’m getting at is the issue of feedback; when to give it, what issues to address, and when is it appropriate to say nothing at all. I travel around to gyms all over the place for coaching jobs and just to get workouts in different environments. If you’ve been lifting for a while, I’d recommend it because A) it’s fun. And B) You get to meet new, interesting people. But often times, when new lifters ask me to check out their technique, they’ll do one rep and then look at me expecting me to say something.
COACHES, PLEASE. Make it easy on me and DO NOT GIVE FEEDBACK AFTER EVERY LIFT. This creates an environment of OVER-ANALYSIS and people do not get stronger in that type of environment.
It drives me crazy when I see lifters walking back and forth to their coaches in between every single rep. The coaches are doing slow motion analysis on their ipads offering super secret ques or a belting out overly wordy explanations that they read on an online forum or the comments section on youtube. The job of a coach is easy. Give the athlete the framework. Show them how it’s supposed to be done. Sit back and watch them figure it out as they DO IT. When it really counts or they need a little extra help, say a few simple ques and offer them some encouragement. Then from there, it’s just problem solving. What is my athlete worst at? What is within the range of what is considered “normal?” And what are his/her strengths? The gym is not an online forum. The gym is where adaptation begins. Making the athlete second guess herself/himself will only slow down the process.