27 November 2009

2 x 20 kg swings:
1 min sets x 5

2 x 24 kg bumps:
40 reps x 1

2 x 24 kg overhead holds
30 seconds x 5
rest 2 minutes

I have not recovered after the last session, and everything today felt very difficult.

24 November 2009

2 x 20 kg jerks:

5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 9, 7, 5, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13

15 sets, 2 min rest

2 x 24 kg bumps:

40 reps x 3 sets, rest 3 min

2 x 20 kg overhead quarter squats:

15 x 5 sets, rest 2 min

2 x 16 kg chest bumps:

20 x 3 sets, rest 2 min

2 x 16 kg front squats:

5 x 5 sets, rest 2 min

Quite a change in training. I will explain later.

23 November 2009

The goal was three 4 minute sets with 4 minutes rest in between. However only managed

2 x 19 kg LC:
4 min x 2 @ 6 reps/min then
2 min @ 6 reps/min

FUCK! Will have to repeat the attempt next time.

Punishment for not completing the workout:

32 kg OAJ:

22 November 2009

Treadmill run:
30 minutes, 4.5 km
Did repetitions: run at increasing speed then walk.
Managed several minutes at 14 km/hour

Unfortunately was interrupted: got called to the hospital.

I forgot to enter another run on the 17th of November. The idea was to limit running time to one hour. Waving the speed up and down I managed 9.5 km. That- for me - is quite remarkable.

Both without oxygen ;)

21 November 2009 - Hyperoxia in action

You won't believe it, but I did it! I got hold of a small oxygen tank and did snatches with it. For the sake of documenting, here is the workout:

20 kg snatch:
switch every 20 reps
160 reps total

Is it easier to snatch with the oxygen mask on? I don't know, but it seems so. Not as short of breath at the end of the session. I it also seems that heart rate is lower at the end of the workout. In terms of perception of effort the effect is not that dramatic.

There are also some operational difficulties. Venturi mask is quite uncomfortable. I also think it adds to the dead space and causes slight re-breathing of carbon dioxide which, when you get over 100 reps, is not insignificant. I changed the position of the mask on my face a few times, thanks to the free hand. Another thing is the tubing: whichever way you put it it is always on the way. Eventually I placed it through the shorts at the back, so that the tubing comes from around the back.

Useful or not, this kind of experimenting is fun.

Hyperoxic training

Hypoxic training has been around for quite a while. The idea is to train and/or live in the environment with lower concentration of oxygen. This leads to the body producing more red blood cells, the effect similar to EPO doping. So when you exerciser inhaling air with normal oxygen content the performance improves. There are two basic ways to produce hypoxic environment: go to areas at high altitude or spend time in hypoxic chamber.

Reading the latest edition of the Lore of Running I came across opposite idea, training in the environment enriched with oxygen. One of the first people to try this was Roger Bannister who in the 1950-s broke 4 minute mile barrier. He was a medical student and then a research fellow at the time and spent some time in the lab studying running performance. They did a lot of interval training on the treadmill while taking blood samples for lactate concentration. Most subjects were serious athletes and were able to push themselves to the limit.

Among various factors affecting performance the researches tested the effects of inhaled oxygen concentration. Interestingly, some runners said that with oxygen mask on they could just run forever. Interesting, because it re-kindles the debate about what makes you tired during exercise. I don't remember exactly, but I believe there are three main theories of sports fatigue. One is Metabolic (proper name is different): as you exercise more and more energy production happens anaerobically, and the accumulation of lactate and the resulting acidosis severely impair the ability of the muscle cell to contract. Second, Substrate Depletion theory. According to this view, muscle cells get depleted of energy substrates: creatin phosphate, ATP, glycogen, so that there is no fuel for the muscle cell to contract.

There are some observations that contradict both of the theories above. Particularly the Substrate Depletion one. According to that theory finishing Ironman Triatlon in Hawai - 7.5 km of swimming, 180 km of cycling followed by full marathon - is a biochemical impossibility: there is just not enough energy substrate to cover this kind of activity.

Hence the third theory, that of the Central Governor. According to it is the central nervous system that limits the volume and intensity of exercise so that serious damage to the heart is avoided. What triggers the feeling of exhaustion is not clear, though it looks like the body temperature plays a role here. In any case, this theory makes most sense to me. Flexibility is limited by the nervous system, so is 1RM in lifting, so it is reasonable to suggest the same happens with endurance activities.

If the Central Governor theory is correct then the whole purpose of training is to re-set your Governor, so that it allows you to perform at higher intensity. There are various ways to fool the Governor in strength training. Plyometrics, for example. By pre-stretching the muscle before the jump Golgi apparatus is activated, and the resulting contraction of the muscle is stronger.

It looks like training in oxygen enriched environment may have similar effect on the Governor for endurance. With more oxygen in blood the physiological demands on the cardiovascular system are lower, and the brain gets fooled into believing that current intensity level is actually lower that it is. The result - you can sustain higher intensity longer, and the training effect is superior.

There is not much literature on the subject and frankly, I am a bit lazy to do comprehensive search. There is one interesting link -
http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0427.htm - that discusses a piece of research on hyperoxic training on cyclists. Not exactly randomized or controlled, it is nevertheless impressive. A group of cyclists were followed throughout their training until they plateaued. After that hyperoxic training was introduced for six weeks.

Hyperoxic training improved the athletes' performances considerably. Quote from the link: Their endurance while pedalling at 85 per cent of maximal workload (90-95 per cent of maximal heart rate) increased by 32 per cent, and heart rate during high-intensity cycling declined by around five beats per minute, a change which would make tough pedalling velocities feel easier. Since the athletes had plateaued just before the hyperoxic work began, it's likely that the high-oxygen training was responsible for these two major advances. Importantly, the athletes achieved their gains without having to spend more time training; they trained with the same frequency and duration which they had used before the six-week, hyperoxic-training period. The only change was the raising of interval intensity from 85 to 95 per cent of maximal, an increase made possible by the supplemental oxygen. End of quote. Read the whole thing, it is interesting.

The bottom line? This weekend I am on call. I am going to borrow an oxygen cylinder from the hospital and do some snatches with the oxygen mask on. That must look freaky! I will report the results.

19 November 2009

Instead of starting 4 minute sets today I decided to build some volume and intensity first. The goal today is to repeat last session - 4 x 3 min sets, but at 7 reps per minute. Let's see how it goes.

2 x 19 kg LC:
2 x 3 min @7 reps/min with 3 min rest
14 reps @6 reps/min (couldn't do more)

Untimed rest, then:
7 seconds interval - 20 reps (1 min 20 sec)
Untimed rest
6 second interval - 10 reps (1 minute)

Session total - 85 reps

I filmed the 2nd set. As always, comments will be greatly appreciated

Faster tempo definitely has its beauty. Measly 1 rep per minute increase, and I am not able to finish the third set. A little pointer at what I should work on.

When I asked for a remedy for the sloppy clean Will Bill advised to try LC at fast cadence. What a great advice! Everyone should try it, fast tempo forces you to watch the technique. There is just no time for sloppy reps when you lift fast, and knowing there is no time to re-adjust the grip or get your breath together you start concentrating very hard. As I said before, every method serves its purpose. Thanks Wild Bill!

15 November 2009

Went for a walk with my wife in the Blue Mountains today. It is amazing, just under two hours of driving from Sydney, and you are in total wilderness. Believe it or not, peole get lost and die in this region on regular basis, that's how wild it is! Pretty tiring and relaxing at the same time. Every time I come here I keep telling myself that I have to do it more often...

Decided to do a little lifting and see how it goes. Starting now.

2 x 19 kg LC:
3 min sets x 4
6 reps/min, 72 reps total

Better than yesterday...

14 November 2009

2 x 19 kg LC:
3 min sets x 2
6 reps/min
36 reps total

Very hard today for some reason.

Video feedback

I want to thank everyone who posted comments to the videos in the last post. I think that it is a good idea to film your lifting as it is very revealing. One thing is to feel the lifts, quite another to watch them from the outside.

There are several points in my LC that need addressing. I am going to briefly go through them here, so those with similar mistakes may hopefully benefit as well.

Cleans. Too high. To my defence I must mention that couple of months ago they were better. I am being very careful with the impact and probably that's why overdoing the landing on the chest. One solution suggested by Wild Bill is to try cleans at high rep per minute. This way the speed will force you to land the bells more precisely.

Another issue - very common - lockouts. I am generally paying attention to make sure to lock the elbows and hold the top position for half a second. Looks it is not enough. As mentioned by David, static holds are good for correcting this problem. Lots of Russian coaches recommend 30 seconds alternating rack/top holds. They are also great for endurance: your muscles will be buzzing.

Losing the contact of elbows with the hips during the first dip. One solution: watch it and don't do it. By the way, static holds at the bottom of the first dip are also useful for correcting this.

Thanks again for the input. I am going to move onto the 3 minute sets next session and eventually build up the volume to 6 sets. Videos to follow.

11 November 2009

Still building up volume

2 x 19 kg LC:
2 min sets x 7
6 rep/min, 84 reps total

If you count both clean and jerk then total training volume is 6552 kg - 6.5 tonnes
(I need a smiley, the one with rotating eyes)

The problem with training without a coach is that learned mistakes go unnoticed. I am going to post training videos of myself here more often. I will appreciate any comments.

The videos below are set 2 and set 4 of today's session. Pretty depressing to watch. But at least I have some ideas what to work on.

Interval training and more

Great resource: http://www.pponline.co.uk. A lot of training material. And though there is nothing on GS some principles of endurance training can be utilized in oour training. One of the articles I read recently is Interval Program Training: To make your workouts more realistic, you should aim to trim down the recoveries. I am not in the mood to make a synopsis of it, and cutting it would only spoil the material. In short - it is the variation on the theme of escalated density training. I highly recommend reading it.

8 November 2009

2 x 19 kg LC:
6 x 2 min sets/2 min rest
6 reps/min
72 reps total

For some reason the session was very hard today. Could be the second adaptation wave after Tuesday's run (by Sergeev). Or just Sunday. I am going to try and build more 2 minute sets before progressing to longer ones. Good news - no headache.

3 November 2009

14 km treadmill run
1 hour 40 minutes
Average speed 8 - 8.5 km/hour

The goal was to cover the distance, so I alternated 15-20 min runs with 3-5 min walks at various tempo. My legs are done, probably because I don't run often enough. Feels good though.

2 November 2009

2 x 19 kg LC:
5 x 2 minute sets, rest 2 min
6 reps/min, 60 reps total

The headache is not coming back. So far so good. I am going to do more 2 minute sets at the next session.

It's my Birthday today. I took a day off work, but I am working out... I need a life...