More Vanev.

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.

More of me being a jerk.

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.

Workouts Dec 26-Dec 31.

December 26, 2011

MONDAY AM

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 snatch

Light power cleans

12 reps on day 2 of strict pull-up routine 2nd cycle.

BO rows and stuff.

MONDAY PM

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.

TUESDAY AM

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.

WEDNESDAY AM

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.

WEDNESDAY PM

Didn’t get much done.  Snatched 120 a few times and it was UUGLY.

THURSDAY PM

Off.  Absolutely wrecked from front squats.

FRIDAY AM

 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.

FRIDAY PM

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.

SATURDAY AM

Clean pull/reverse pull:  Sets of 2 up to 180.

Light power snatch and clean.

12 pull-ups and some BO rows.

SUNDAY AM

Light power clean and push jerk: enough to warm up and get loose.

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.

10)  Go Outside-Cults.

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.

9) Bizness-Tune-Yards

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.

8)  Money-The Drums.

80's small.

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.

7) Generation-Liturgy.

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)”

“Oh. OK.”

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.

6) Holocene-Bon Iver.

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.

5) James Blake-Limit to Your Love.

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.

4) DIRT-WU LYF.

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.

3) Wicked Games-The Weeknd.

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.

2) Get Away-Yuck.

Homage to early 90’s alt rock/post-punk?  Yes, please.

1) Midnight City-M83.

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.

Workouts: Dec 19-24.

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.

Monday AM

B. Squat: 3×8 at 160.

Snatch HP/hang snatch: light.

Power clean and push press: worked up to 130kg.

Monday PM

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.

Tuesday AM

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.

WEDNESDAY AM

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.

WEDNESDAY PM

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.

THURSDAY AM

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.

FRIDAY AM

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.

SATURDAY AM

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.

 

 

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:

20) Need You Now-Cut/Copy. 

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.

19) Polish Girl-Neon Indian. 

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.

18)  Wasted Away-Dum Dum Girls.

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.

Push Jerk for Split Jerks?

December 6, 2011

Typically when programming for yourself or an athlete, you are going to have to schedule “light” days or days in which you force your athlete to not be able to lift as much weight.  You can do this a number of ways.  You could simply just program it so that the athlete must stay within a certain percentage.  Or you could implement partial movements or combination movements so that the athlete simply won’t be able to lift significant weights.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you’ve probably figured out that I don’t take too much stock in percentages, especially for the beginner.  So a lot of times what I do when I want people to lift lighter is program movements that do not allow for a significant overload.  Mark Bell and I were talking about this a while ago.  He calls it something like “ overloading bay underloading” (or something along those lines).

For example, today CC’s program called for power snatches, power clean+push jerks and strict presses.  She is on a 6 day a week program, 2 of which are predominantly partial movements (like power cleans) that force her to lift lighter weights but still allow her to get some practice in.  CC’s main weakness is her overhead stability while snatching or jerking.  She can pull the crap out of a 65kg snatch any day of the week but catching weights consistently in the correct position and standing up out of the hole with shaky arms continues to be a problem.  She also has trouble during the RECOVERY PHASE of a jerk.  This is either due to not driving the bar into the correct position or just general instability with the bar overhead or a combination of both.

With this in mind, I programmed a good variety of overhead movements meant to strengthen her upper body and torso as well as improve technique.  Today happened to be the first day that I’ve introduced the push jerk.  Typically, the way that I’ll coach is to introduce and reinforce the FULL movements until the athlete has developed a confident understanding along with consistent technique.  CC is at the point where she has been lifting long enough where I feel it’s important to give her variations of the classic lifts that could help her improve her technique with the full lifts.

The push jerk is interesting because it forces the athlete to drive the bar straight and with a solid dip/drive due to the lack of stability forwards and backwards.  So if you or your athlete are somebody that consistently misses jerks forward or if you simply want to program a lighter day, try making your push jerk the limiting factor for the day so you can save your anatomy for the workouts to come.

I also got kind of crazy and had her pause at the bottom of her dip drive during her first few warm-up sets as to make sure that her body was in the correct position to drive the bar straight.  Like I said, these techniques could help improve the full movement.  I’m not a fuckin’ scientist.  I just lift weights.  But it never hurts to be able to perform both the push jerk and the full split jerk, especially if you do crossfit.  The push jerk could be especially beneficial for you simply because it takes less time to perform.

The AO

December 4, 2011

What up.  Just lifted at the AO.  Didn’t do so hot.  Way off of what I wanted to end off for the year.  It’s all good though.  Anyways,  I’m going to have some food and drink to celebrate.  I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time on the plane for some real reflection and some thought as to what i want to do this year. Thank you everyone in my wonderful support system.  Whether you know it or not, every kind word (and even some unkind ones) that anyone has ever said to me has helped me continue lifting weights and drawing pretty pictures and expressing myself in general.  Yes, I didn’t have a great day today, but I still love weightlifting and I love you too.  Thanks for being part of my support system.

-Ben

Gettin’ huge and drawing pictures like my life depended on it.  Fuck yeah.