I finished week 1 of Smolov Jr. approach to bench last week. The first week is referred to as the “in-phase” or as I like to think of it: induction. Basically the first 2 weeks are setting you up for when the real work starts. Most of the work in the first week sat between 50% and 75% 1RM in a reverse pyramid fashion. This allowed me to have some of the cleanest bench form I have ever had. I did every rep with a slight pause at the bottom and concentrated on good clean form.
This week is only 3 days of lifting but it’s all higher wait with mid volume. I have 1 set per day and only 5 reps at about 75-85% 1RM. This is really the calm before the storm. In weeks 3 – 5 I enter a much higher volume phase called the “Base Cyle” utilizing 4 x 9, 5 x 7, 7 x 5 and 10 x 3 at a 10-12 pound increase. Week 6 is 2 days of rest and 2 days of 1 x 1 @ MAX. Later in week 6 I’ll do a new max and recalculate the entire program and enter the switching phase for weeks 7 & 8 basically doing speed work for triples at 50% – 60% 1RM. When I reach week 8 I’ll talk about week 9 – 13.
Diet is a bit spotty this last week so I need to buckle down a bit and clean things up. I found some aminos that are okay for keto that I’m going to add in Jan 2017. Historically I respond very well to BCAAs in general and really don’t like training without them. There are different schools of thought about BCAAs with LOTS of anecdotal evidence as to their efficacy. Personally I have much better recovery and sustainability when supplementing BCAAs. At the end of the day you have to do what works for your body because you know it best.
I‘m always open to changing up my program and growing both physically and mentally. I noticed a few of my friends we’re doing Smolov Jr for dead and squat so I figured I’d give the Smolov Jr bench a try. It’s looks like this will be a fairly brutal 13 weeks of training and I can’t wait. For the last 4 years I’ve avoided heavy bench due to some shoulder issues I have from a car accident I was in where I dislocated my left shoulder and nearly my right. I also tore the Labrum in my left shoulder. Thanks to my friend Rob Monroe I was able to rehab the shoulders and now feel very confident in their strength and stability.
I’m starting off with a calculated bench of 251lbs. My pre-accident bench max was 405 so I’ve got a lot of ground to make up. I wasn’t going to share my 1RM because well, I’m embarrassed by it. It’ll be very interesting to see where it is after 13 weeks!
On a side note I got my blood work back this week and I have almost NO SIGN of Diabetes! My lipid panel was out of tolerance but in 3 months I’ll draw again and I think I’ll be back in normal ranges. My protein/saturated fat intake was MUCH higher than normal for the last 3 months as I shifted into the ketogenic lifestyle.
Well today I turned 45. I don’t really feel any different from 44. What I am is surrounded by people who truly love me. A while back I decided to take this week off for vacation. It was a great idea because no one else at my company was taking time off so it was easy to schedule. I’ve seen a couple of movies so far this week: Dr. Strange and Arrival. I enjoyed both films very much.
The best part of this week (and possibly the most challenging) was my wife was able to take time off as well. The kids still had school so the wife and I got the opportunity to spend time together and actually talk without being interrupted. The challenging part of this is that since my wife and I get so little time together we kind of got on each others nerves…lol.
What’s in store for 2017 and my 46th year of existence? Career-wise I expect to have another great year with Iconixx and hope to help grow the business by doing the best job I can helping run the IT Operations side of the business. 3 months ago I started my transformation journey towards leaning out to < 200lbs and raising my power, explosiveness and conditioning to never before seen levels. I plan on completing that journey in 2017. I want to live around 195 pounds and enjoy the arthritis relief the lower weight will afford me.
Another great part of my birthday week has been lots of time with all four of my kids. I’ve worked really hard to be the best Dad I can be but I have always felt like I could do better. This week my kids really let me know how much I mean to them and how good a job I’ve done as their Dad over the years. I really love being a Dad and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
On a side note, living a Ketogenic lifestyle is both very easy and very difficult. Food prep and actual feeding are really easy but maintaining the lifestyle while living with people who do not is challenging. I have 1 re-feed day a month but allowed my birthday week as some time off from a strict dietary approach. EVERY time, without exception, that I allow myself to eat not so clean food I get VERY ill. This just solidifies my decision to live the K-life. My first re-feed day a couple of months ago went okay but my second day last month and then this week have literally just made me sick. The issue is eating quality carbs but mentally I just wanted to eat some stuff that I missed. Turns out this was a great idea because it made me very ill and really hammered good quality dietary practices into my head.
Last but certainly not least I’d like to thank all the wonderful people who have wished me a happy birthday! THANK YOU!
Reflections on 2016:
As I look back at 2016 I’m quite proud of finishing top 3 of every game I competed in and top 10 (7th) in the world for highland games. I managed to throw shot put, weight throw and super weight throw in one track meet where I came in dead last except for shot put where I came in next to last. To be fair I had NEVER thrown either weight throws in competition and I learned them the week before the meet. I hadn’t thrown shot put in competition since the Jr. Olympics back in 1989 (yeah, I’m old).
From a highland games perspective I was consistent all year long and managed a weight over bar PR of 16′! I also had 2 HUGE weight for distance PRs of 42′ 4″ with the HWFD and 62′ 7″ for LWFD. All three of these PRs came VERY early in the season (the first 2 games) and I spent the rest of the year chasing them. Braemar and Open Stone have been annoying me as I have worked them both VERY hard. I’m clearing 40′ in practice on the OS but haven’t put that together in a game. I still struggle immensely with finding “handles” on the various stones. There are a few games that use my “Sweet 16” open stone that weighs 16.2lbs and is also my practice stone and I STILL haven’t PR‘ed even using my own stone!
Hammers. Hammers have been the bane of my existence since starting highland games. During my second season I set the PRs that still stand at the end of this my 4th season of highland games. During the end of my 3rd season my hammers took a dip for the worse and starting out this season went totally to shit. After a lot of practice with my friend and 4 time world champion Mike Dickens my hammers have slowly started to come back. I believe part of my issue is mobility. To date I have cut 20lbs and now my mobility has increased to the point where I can really move with the weight. Totally cold I took one throw at the FOG Games where I was judging and landed 4′ off of my PR from 2 years ago. Go me!
What’s in store for 2017?
I will be taking a major step back in 2017 and working on becoming more explosive and generally fit. I’m taking the entire year off from highland games with the exception of announcing at Kerr County Celtic Festival and running the Baton Rouge Highland Games. Buzz word for 2017 will be “conditioning“. I’m also going to tackle 2 – 3 track meets (discus/shot only) and 1 or 2 Obstacle Course Races. That’s right, I will NOT be competing in highland games in 2017! I also intend to compete as a lightweight master in 1 or 2 strongman competitions.
- Cut down to < 200lbs (You read that right, my goal is to become a light weight)
- Perfect my hammer form
- break 40′ on shot put in a meet
For the 4th quarter of 2016 I have switched to a ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet approach is great for me because of the fact that I am a diet controlled Type II Diabetic. Cutting down to < 200lbs is key to managing the arthritis in my hips, knees and feet from my time in the military. I was also born with femoral anteversion (out turned feet) and had my feet broken and braced to correct the deformity. This has caused foot problems for me across my entire life. By cutting down under 200 I should be able to see a huge reduction in pain/inflammation across the board. When I started the ketogenic approach I was 271 and now I’m roughly 250. By June of 2017 I should be near or under 200lbs, at least that’s the goal. Mainly I just eat meat and veggies. I keep my protein mid-range, saturated fat high and fiber high.
My training is going to remain throw-centric in terms of the training goals. Mainly I’ll do a dynamic warmup + main movement + accessory. For the working sets I’m doing triples concentrating on clean form, negative resistance and explosive positive movement.
I’m doing a 4 day split:
- Sunday: Pulls
- Monday: Squats
- Tuesday: HIIT
- Wednesday: Presses
- Thursday: HIIT
- Friday: Double up on a weak movement (ex. Squats)
For Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri I’ll use throwing drills and actual throws as accessories. The HIIT is meant to help with leaning out and also with conditioning. I will likely alternate HIIT and actual running to help prepare for OCR. I will also add stone loading and carrying to the mix at some point to help prep for strongman.
Administrative Side of Sports:
Over the past 4 years I have become entrenched in the administrative side of sports and it has left little time for training and family. In 2017 I’m pulling out of all administrative functions and concentrating on family and training. Although I deeply enjoy organizing and running events I really need to make my family my priority.