Saturday, June 4, 2011

Squats, swings and hard drives

I started a new squat cycle last week Wednesday. Did 280# today for 5 reps and 255# for 5 reps. Did T-handle swings on Tuesday, Thursday and today of this week. Also did my ladders for military presses and pullups during the week, heavy, light and medium days. I was only able to do deadlift walks on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I was only able to do squats and presses and this is the reason why.

On Tuesday, I saw a blue screen of death on my laptop with the error "UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME". Which was really crappy because I was supposed to back up my data on my hard drive, but didn't. Also, I had some presentations saved on the HDD that I was to email the next day. Pressure. So on Wednesday, I was trying to find how can I fix my disk and get data from it. About fixing the disk, I found out that I need to do a 'CHKDSK' operation to fix the error, which required a Windows XP CD, which I couldn't find. If the error could not be fixed, it would indicate a hardware problem relating to my disk. With regards to recovering data from the disk, I researched all kinds of methods and software to recover data. My primary concern was to recover the presentations so I could send them. Eventually, I did recover them, by downloading an OS on my USB called Puppy Linux (I'm currently using it to write this) and mounted the HDD to recover the presentations. I emailed them, and then got down to the business of trying to fix the disk

On Wednesday night, I found the Windows XP CD. I loaded it and ran the CHKDSK operation. It confirmed my worst fears; the disk was definitely damaged. Also, apparently the CHKDSK operation did something to the disk, so that now it is not even being recognized by the BIOS and is giving a clicking sound. Now, not even using Puppy Linux can help. Now to find out what is wrong with the disk, I now have to open the disk to see if the problem is with the actuator etc, or with the PCB board. I would have done it, if I had the correct screwdriver. Unfortunately I don't. Also to possibly save the hard drive and get my data, I'll have to get parts from an identical hard drive. Hopefully, I can get a cheap one.

So nowadays, I'm using a USB drive with Puppy linux, to watch DVDs, go on the internet and edit my documents. Not ideal, but not too bad. However, I learnt the hard way to always backup data, especially data that is important.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New squat PR and workout log

Got a max squat lift today of 370# (+10# PR). Thought it will have been higher but I'll keep on plugging away at the squat. An increase of 120# from since I had a knee injury. I'll start a new squat cycle tomorrow.

Workout for 23rd May 2011

4 ladders of 3 rungs 60# MP and 50# loaded pullups

105# loaded T-handle swings 30:30 for 12 mins

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ladies, listen again Thank God I'm not the only one who believes this. Ladies, please, get off the treadmill and take up the weights if you want to lose the weight and look good in your clothes (or bikini, whatever you prefer).

I said it before, and I'll say it again. If you don't believe me, take it from someone else who has been training women longer than me.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I think I'm ranting tonight

Ok, I hate to sound like somebody's miserable, quarrelsome mother looking to pick a fight with the world, but since my chronicles as a gym instructor began in June 2010, I've seen the really, really good and the really really horrible in strength training, health and fitness. And I have heard people tell me of advice which other trainers have given them and some of them I've had to shake my head at. I really don't have time to go through all of the mess but I'll take some time in this blog to give my opinions on them.


Now, anyone who has trained under my guidance for any period of time knows that I put a great deal of emphasis of doing the lift safely. From my own experience, injuries are not nice to deal with, so the safer one does a lift, the likelihood of an injury happening is reduced. Now, burn this in the back of your minds: NO TRAINING METHOD IS 100% SAFE!!However, this is no excuse to not do strength training. The only time when you are totally safe is when you are in heaven. Food for thought.

However, there are certain things that one can do to make an activity safer. In my limited knowledge of strength training, one of the tips that I give to clients whenever I am teaching them a compound lift (squat, deadlift, bench press, military press etc.) is to keep your weight on your heels i.e. drive your feet into the ground through your heels. This establishes a firm base for whatever lift you are doing. Which is why I'll NEVER tell you to do this:

Now seriously...(SMH). All I'll say is that if your personal trainer is telling you to do this...I'll seriously advise you to get another personal trainer. How much of your life do you spend on an unstable surface like a swiss ball or a bosu ball? I rest my case.

Long and short is that while no training method is 100% safe, it is dumb to put yourself at risk by doing stuff that is dangerous. This is why whenever you are training, you SHOULD get guidance from someone who is knowledgeable about training. And if you in the unfortunate case of someone who is supposed to be knowledgeable is actually putting you at a greater risk, don't be afraid to ask questions or get a second opinion, because at the end of the day, it's YOU who will get injured, not your personal trainer. True, you may sue or whatever, but YOUR life will be hampered by the injury. Your personal trainer will just train other people and go home with the $$$.

So to all who are reading this, keep safety in mind, both in training and in life.

Training 20-05-11

4 singles of 60# presses and 50# loaded pullups

3 sets of 70# double press walks for 35 yards to and back

T handle swings 30s:30s for 12 mins

Friday, May 20, 2011

My training update and some thoughts about the goblet squat


4 singles of 360# failed on the 5th rep

Ab wheel rollouts


370# FAIL. End of squat cycle. New squat cycle will start either Monday or Tuesday

4 ladders of 3 rungs, 60# military press and 50# loaded pullups

T handle swings 30:30 for 12 mins

Deadlift walks, 230#, 35 yards to and back 2 times

4 ladders of 2 rungs, 60# military press and 50# loaded pullups

Deadlift walks, 230#, 35 yards to and back 2 times

T handle swings 30:30 for 6 mins (had 2 cut it short due to rainy weather)

Saxon side bends 30# 2 sets of 4 reps

In the gym today, I taught a few people goblet squats. Here's a video of what it looks like:

I was quite surprised at how easy it was for me to teach it to most people considering how difficult it was for me in the past to teach squatting. Thank you Dan John...again! From the looks on the faces of most of my clients, especially when they are 'down in the hole', it's clear that they have not squatted that deep in a long while. So I have a new weapon in my arsenal...goblet squats

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Training for the past 3 days


320# x 5
290# x 5

Military presses
4 ladders of 3 rungs (couldn't make the last rep of the final rung)

Chin - ups with 50#
4 ladders of 3 rungs

105# T-handle swings 30 sec swings/ 30 sec rest 6 times


330# x 5
300# x 5

Press walks with 2 70# dumbbells
6 x 35 yds (I have 2 get a camcorder. This camera ain't making no sense)

105# T-handle swings 30 sec swings/ 30 sec rest 12 times

Ab wheel rollouts
2 x 5


340# x 5
310# x 5

Military presses
4 singles

Chin - ups with 50#
4 singles

230# loaded barbell deadlift walks
6 x 35 yds

50# loaded barbell suitcase walks
2 x 35 yds left hand
2 x 35 yds right hand

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The local Olympic Lifting experience

Over time, I've done quite a bit of research on various methods to improve strength. From the research, I can say that there are methods which are very legit, such as barbell squats, deadlifts, presses etc. However, there are some methods which from my experience are downright nonsense, and I have no time for that:

Ok back to point. One of the methods which I've been interested in for quite a while is the Olympic Lifts. I quickly realized that this is not a popular sport nor training method in Trinidad & Tobago (which is a shame). Quite a surprise, since this training is used by high school, college and professional athletes in the USA, UK, Europe and other parts of the world. No wonder their athletes are light years ahead of our athletes.

As a matter of fact, Trinidad only has 1 (one) athlete representing us in Olympic Lifting. The athlete's name is Denise Ramsay-Overall. About three weeks ago, she hosted an Olympic Lifting exhibition, which I was glad to be a part of, and learned quite a bit of stuff. Here are some pics and a video of it:

So after that expo, my interest in the Olympic Lifts peaked so I started to try it out. Here is a vid of me trying the hang snatch:

What I've been up to these days

On some days I've looking to improve my conditioning with KB snatches and T-handle swings. Here is a video of me starting a set of snatches:

Also I've been using T-handle swings. Anybody wants to know what a T-handle is, here is a link from Dave Draper's website on how to construct one.

Since the weights I use are weights for Olympic bars, I had to adjust mine a little bit. I used 1 1/2" pieces for the loadable part and a 1 1/4" piece for the handle. I felt that a 1 1/2" nipple will be a little challenging on the grip. Here's a pic of it

One of the advantages of this device is that it can be loaded with some heavy weights, thereby deriving the benefits of heavy swings. Heavy swings are some the hardest "cardio" I've ever experienced. The only thing I've done that comes close to it are sprints carrying a concrete block. Here is a pic of it loaded with a 105#, which is the weight I'm using these days:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Workout for 16/2/11

3 singles of 90# loaded barbell MP

3 singles of 25# weighted pullups

1 x 5 200# (Starting over a new squat cycle)
1 x 5 180#


120 snatches in 6 mins

Deadlift walks

180# x ~30 yards

I'm back

OK, I've been off the grid for quite a few months now, due to studies, exams,yada yada...but I'm back. I've been training very hard still, and I'm making progress with my training as well.

Over the past 3 months or so, I've been using a training protocol for my presses called the 'RKC ladder', which is a simple protocol to follow for improving the presses. It is made up of 'ladders' and 'rungs'. To explain what I mean, let's say we were doing 3 ladders of 3 rungs of presses. This would be

(1 rep, rest, 2 reps, rest, 3 reps) done 3 times

4 ladders of 3 rungs:

(1 rep, rest, 2 reps, rest, 3 reps) done 4 times

5 ladders of 5 rungs:

(1 rep, rest, 2 reps, rest, 3 reps, rest, 4 reps, rest, 5 reps) done 5 times

For more info on this you can purchase Pavel's book Enter the Kettlebell

Currently, I'm doing them with a 90# loaded barbell. Just made 3 ladders of 3 rungs on Monday. Will do 3 singles on Wednesday and 3 ladders of 2 rungs on either Thursday or Friday.

Before this week I was failing on the 3rd rung of the 2nd and 3rd ladders. However, I watched a 3 part Dan John DVD, with one of the titles being 'Carried Away', from

An exercise which caught my eye was the 'Overhead Walk':

I didn't do it with KBs like the people in the video. I did it with 2 50# dumbbells 2 times last week, and this week, I got through all my 3 ladders. Dan knew what he was talking about in that video. He also mentions them in this article. Feel free to take a read.

Also, I've been doing squats PTTP style, (2 sets of 5, lots of tension, not to failure). I'm now doing squats with more weight (100#+) than what I did before I got the knee injury. And I'm not using any knee wraps and any belt. As I said before, I don't know where I would have been today without PTTP. One of the best strength training books ever written.

I made a PR of 360# in the back squat yesterday. Before my knee injury my max lift was 250#.

My workout yesterday consisted of:

250# x 3
300# x 2
325# x 1
350# x 1
360# x 1

Overhead walks
8 x ~30 yds

Ab wheel rollouts
1 x 5 (standing)
1 x 2(standing)
1 x 3 (on knees)

50# loaded T-bar swings
30 sec swings/30 sec rest 6 times