the spaz of fitness has arrived

Post-Vacation Assessment

In Training on June 12, 2012 at 8:49 pm

I’ve encountered an unanticipated setback in returning to my training. I spent all this time worrying about sliding back on my lifts, but I didn’t consider what would happen to my bodyweight movements. Much to my relief, my actual lifts seem relatively close to where I left off. After a week and a half of easing back into weights, my deadlift, squat, and  bench numbers are at least back to where I was on my 70’s Big programming. However, my bodyweight movements are pathetic these days. On Sunday, after the squat and bench, I tried ring dips and couldn’t manage a single one. I was up to sets of 6 or 5 ish before I left town, but I could not get back up on Sunday. Worse yet, I moved to the dip station and managed only to eek out 6 before falling off. I’d finished three sets of 10 before I moved on to ring dips before my vacation. Monday, I managed all right on my deadlifts (not too thrilled with my form on the last couple reps, though), but my pull ups were a travesty. I’d reached 8 strict before I left town, and could only manage on the first set today. Regardless, I’m going to keep pushing forward and just hope the bodyweight movements catch back up. My least-generous reading of this phenomenon is just that I’ve gained useless (read: non-lean) mass during my vacation, as expected, and my body’s not used to moving the extra weight. That said, I’m just glad I didn’t seem to lose any of my actual functional mass. My body seems to enjoy cannibalizing muscle for shits and giggles.

Today (Tuesday) was a skill day. Whereas before the vacation, I was content playing around with my skill days (usually participating in the programmed WOD), I think I’m going to have a bit more discipline now. I’m dedicating these days to my O-lifts. Recently, I discovered this article by The Iron Samurai on combining CrossFit with Olympic Weightlifting. I don’t know much about the author, but I enjoy the thought he puts into his training, the dedication he has to Olympic lifting, and his attempt at understanding the CrossFit mentality– acknowledging that he’s approaching it from a vastly divergent mindset. Since I’m doing the 70’s Big program, I obviously don’t have time and space to do his two days of O-lifts a week, but I’m structuring my skill day somewhat close to his prescription. I warm up according to the progressions I followed at Performance One, and then I work first on the snatch and then the clean and jerk. I figure my cleans get another day on “power clean” day (which I’ve decided to do as full squat cleans for the sake of embedding the form in my muscle memory), so Tuesdays will be snatch-centric. I start light and add weight until it’s comfortably difficult. I don’t go to my absolute max because these days are more about skill and technique than developing strength. At any rate, I’m enough of a novice that technique by far is my limiting factor rather than strength. I also like how intuitive this training method is… I add weight when I feel like it… if I miss the lift, I drop back down and climb back up to try again. It feels significantly more “chill” than CrossFit workouts– which is a nice reprieve towards the end of my training week (remember, Wednesdays are prescribed rest).

I also enjoy what The Iron Samurai pinpoints as the principle distinction between lifting and CrossFit: the pacing. I’ve come to appreciate the minutes between lifts. There’s a quiet to it that I find necessary between WOD days :). I probably haven’t mentioned this before, but one of my favorite dog breeds is the whippet. Beyond the fact that it’s endearingly funny-looking, I love that this dog breed has two modes: 30mph and 0. It’s either sprinting or playing potato. Now, I do have the occasional masochistic urge for a good chipper (ideally… 1x week, maybe once every two?) but for general working out, I prefer short, all-out bursts. By bursts, I mean sprints or just that push from the bottom of the squat to the top– at a heavy* weight, none of this high-rep, low-weight nonsense…

Anyway, regardless of unexpected speed bumps, I’m happy to be back in the gym and moving again. I’m not so concerned about the destination as much as the journey… I’m a long way from being a Regionals competitor, let alone the Games, so… I’m going to apply myself, give all I can, and enjoy the adventure.

*”heavy” here is relative to my limited capabilities…

 

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