backing off

This Wednesday I went back to easy weight on the bench, about 60%. The session was really short, just light bech press with my feet up, going slow for two sets of 12, three sets of 20 dips and some cable push-downs. And my shoulder feels good.

Santa Maria: day 2

If you weigh 195 lbs and your name isn’t John Dunne, don’t get trashed the night before going climbing in Santa Maria. Hard Boiled, the most miserable 40 ft of rock ever touched by a Hilti, makes me want to find a new sport. And oddly, this overhanging pile of misery feels no better when I’m hung over. What… ever.

I watched King Lines. Its totally rad. Its the best climbing movie I’ve seen in years.

damn it

Shoulder felt a little tight yesterday. I did the same workout as last week but this time my friggin right shoulder was getting a little uncomfortable after two flat-bench press sets. Whatever – I finished the workout and I’ll probably go extra light for a couple weeks to be safe.

In other news, I tried Controlled Lab’s White Flood, a pre-workout N.O. supplement, for the first time yesterday. RIPPED MY FACE OFF. The stuff was making me all shaky and generally cracked-out. I’m definitely integrating it into my permanent routine.

back to Hell

Saturday was our first day back to Santa Maria. Phil, Paul and I went to Mr. Lee’s and we all got on Hard Boiled. I passionately hate this route. My right hand is completely maimed from it. While enjoying the crux on my second go up this masterpiece I punctured a pad on my middle finger and put a blood blister on my pinkie. It now hurts to brush my teeth. Fortunately, I think I put enough blood in the first right-hand two-finger pocket to make next weekend extra fun.

back in the game

My shoulder finally feels strong enough to get back in to heavy benching. I went through a full routine yesterday, one typical of the first session of a 12-week cycle, to feel how everything holds up. And stuff feels good. As usual, lifts on this first day are done with a manageable weight (~70% max.), with the focus on developing an explosive concentric movement.

9/14/2007 – chest routine at GVAC
flat bench press 2 x 10-12 @ 205 lbs
close-grip bench press 2 x 10 @ 180 lbs
incline bench press 2 x 10 @ 160 lbs

My bench press still sucks but that’s not new. All this time off has swung my focus back to climbing though. I’m not sure now if I will persue big numbers on the bench this season. Climbing comes to me much more easily so, although I’ve found an effective method for developing strength in my lifts, the argument can be made that I’m wasting my time in the weight room. But wasting time is my specialty…

climbing with nuggets

So, I went climbing yesterday with Paul and he brought Laura Griffiths and Sus├ínica Tam. This was my first time meeting either of them – both very cool nuggets. Had I known this would turn in to a six hour photo shoot at the Playground I probably would not have had as much to drink the night before. That’s not really true. Regardless, Santa Barbara + bouldering + nuggets = rad. Laura talks a lot about clothes. I’m not really in to clothes.
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movement

I’ve been climbing a long time and I always struggle with movement. Possibly because, as I evolve in the sport, the way I move inadvertantly changes. Nevertheless, my mind has to catch up. To visualize upcoming moves you must know what to expect from your body. I climb slow. Guys who climb slow think I climb slow. When I go to the Santa Barbara Zoo I love to watch the three-toed sloth. He makes me wish I could take 10 minutes to do a move, stop, think about stuff, do another move, stop, look around at stuff, do a move… But unfortunately I am human (technically) and maybe I climb too slow sometimes. The argument can be made that some moves are done much more efficiently with momentum. I try to remember, on my strongest climbing days, how I feel while I’m moving. Last week I had such a day. Everything felt easier. I felt lighter. Tension was effortless. Most importantly, slow, deliberate movements felt natural. To maximize such days would be huge. I believe training in a slow, deliberate way is more effective than slapping at holds. Try telling Mr. Sloth to pick up the pace. Exactly.

feeling better every day

Last night I went through a complete chest routine, typical of my in-cycle sessions: gradual warm up (12 reps at 135 lbs, 12 reps at 155 lbs, 10 reps at 185 lbs), 2 sets of 12 at 195 lbs on the flat bench, 2 sets of 12 at 175 lbs close-grip, then 2 sets of 12 at 145 lbs incline bench. My idea was to lift in the 60% intensity range for sets of 12 and give my right shoulder a feel the next day. Feels good. However, both shoulders, particularly my left, felt unstable yesterday evening, like my chest and front deltoids were contracted and pulling my shoulders forward unnaturally. So, before bed I did my rotator cuff excercises with more weight than usual, 10 lbs, for sets of 10 – 15. Both shoulders felt better immediately. Things feel a little loose today, some extra popping, but no pain.

Another thing I would like to work on is the pace at which I lift. For sets of 12, like what I was doing yesterday, I usually try to go real slow. And usually I end up almost flailing on the last few reps. Lately I’ve found that if I pick up the pace a bit I can sometimes find a momentum. I feel unstoppable when this happens, like this set has just become a foregone conclusion. A couple slow reps in the beginning, with pauses at the bottom, then gradually increasing the pace could be good for high rep sets.