Wednesday, May 7, 2008

sumo dead-lift off the block

A great nights sleep and it showed as I was high energy all day. Weight: 177 7/8 lbs. Nice to be under 178 again.

When I injured my elbows last summer, I had to give up practicing classical guitar. I had participated in a June classical guitar workshop in Portland, Oregon and performed in its master class. But a result of the injury, I lost track with all my musician friends as I focused on other things. Well last night I was extremely pleased to get a call from Karla, a good friend and fine classical guitarist I hadn't spoken to since last August. She resides in Portland and to my surprise I found out she had gotten very serious about her health and has since been training with a local personal trainer since October. With a functional lift oriented approach, they focus primarily on Olympic lifts ( deads, squats and many assist lifts). She has since lost about 20 lbs and put on some serious muscle. When I asked her about kettlebells, she said they have them at her Bally's gym and she thought they were just a passing fad. Given her great progress with her current program, I left it at that.

( Of note is when I went I later went to the DD instructor's page for Oregon, I found out that Portland has none, and that she is about three hours from from the nearest RKC. )

We also discussed injuries and she told me she had been recovering from a bad case of tennis elbow in her right arm (lateral epiconditis). I commiserated with her when I confessed I still had it in both arms but that it was no longer debilitating but still rather annoying. She told me about some success she has had with acupuncture. Of greater immediate significance to me is she correlated a suggestion from an email correspondence with James Smith "Smitty" of DieselCrew. Namely, to start working the extensors EVEN if it hurts!

Smitty's particular program (he eventually intends to publish an e-book on this topic) recommends using a 10 lb shotput and using one arm at time, hold the shotput while performing up and down full range wrist extensions while the elbow is locked and arm is extended out in front. I tried this with my 9 lb kettlebell by grabbing it around the non-handle ball portion and it was just too heavy for me. Instead I put a few discarded power supplies into a large tin canister with a 5" diameter. This weighs around 5 lbs and I can handle about 8 to 10 reps with it. Smitty made it very clear in that it would hurt like hell for several days but to stick with it. Well, gosh darn, it does hurt like hell! But I'm going to stick with it. I will still use Z drills to provide relief but I'm now convinced I have to build up my weak extensors to rid myself of this injury.

Sumo DL 10 Day Linear PTTP Cycle: (lbs)
Cycle 2: Day 3: 185 x 1 x 5, 165 x 1 x 5

These weren't too bad although my pulled upper back muscle complained a bit. Following this I put on 190 to set up in advance for my next session on Friday.

I then recalled watching and learning how Rif had been coaching Fawn to train deads on her blog, I decided to try some "off the block". I had recently gone to the local lumber yard and had them saw up a 6" x 6" x 10' into four pieces. Although 6" inches is a bit high for my first time I went ahead anyway given that the 1/2" clearance over my bear feet was probably okay.

Sumo DL off 6" blocks:
190 x 5 x 1

I did five singles before I realized I was using 190 and forgot to set it back to a lower weight! They didn't seem any more difficult than a regular Sumo .. very weird .. huh?

At work today, a co-worker I had introduced to kettlebells brought in his 16kg bell. I was pleasantly surprised to see that his form had immensely improved especially his new found hip snap. After removing our shoes, we took alternate turns swinging .. I forgot what an amazing workout you can get with high rep low weight. He managed a decent 125 swings over 7 sets, here's what I was able to do:

16kg x 2 x 50l/50r One-hand swings
16kg x 1 x 30l/30r One-hand swings
16kg x 1 x 40 Two-hand swings
16kg x 4 x 10l/10r/10b/20t Combo of One-hand, Two-hand and one hand transfers
Total reps: 500

16kg x 1 x 2 Sots press on right
16kg x 1 x 3 BUP on right

Following a suggestion of Aaron's, I decided to check out a BW + 10lb pull-up to see how much easier than BW + 12kg I did the other night for one rep:

Neutral Grip Fighter Pull-ups:
(BW + 10lbs) x 1 x 4
(BW + 12kg) x 1 x 2

After doing four solids ones with the 10lb, I tried again with 12kg and knocked off two good ones .. something to be said for being well rested!


Diet and Nutrition Log

1 bowl of Kitchari with sweet potato and green gram curry
2 cups of coffee with tbs of 1/2 and 1/2
2 dates

Morning Snack:
6 dates
6 oz Kefir

1 large bowl of Chana Dal with sweet potato and green gram curry
4 dates
1 tangerine

Afternoon snack:
8 dates
4 oz Kefir

1 small bowl of pan-fried salmon
1 small bowl of Sichuan shrimp with veggies
1 piece of pie
2 scoops of ice cream


Martin Schap said...

Will you be adding weighted pull-ups as a regular part of your programming? Strong work. I may need to try that extensor work you referenced.

Franklin B. Herman said...


Thanks! I was surprised at getting the 12kg double so soon ... GTG with the 10 lb really did the job.

Yes I do plan on adding the weighted pull-ups as part of my pull-up training .. BW volume started to get too high .. weighted pull-ups is a great way to reduce it and trick my body into progressing.

As predicted my right elbow is pretty sore today but I am still forging ahead with the extensor work. I'll post more details tonight.

Howie Brewer said...

Very nice training Franklin. I am going to perform some 'surgery' on my pullup tower, removing the backrest, to see if it allows for better body position, so that I can start them again.

From personal physical therapy experience, I was instructed to always stop movement before entering the pain territory. To work on strength and volume within the pain-free range and over time, increase the ROM ever so slightly until full ROM was achieved again without pain. That's still how I work through injuries and personally wouldn't intentionally work into a painful ROM. These forearms of mine have taught me well as of late. But just my own opinion and experience.

Also LOVE those high rep swings!!

Katie, KettlebellKate said...

finally a blog entry I could get through! You often post what foods you are eating and preparing so I have to click to something "iron-only." Great training though and it is interesting to read of your musical talent!

Franklin B. Herman said...

Howie, no doubt this new approach to tennis elbow is VERY controversial. When Smitty first suggested it I thought he was nutso. Then again I kept reminding myself that Ssgt Adam Glass swears the guy is an absolute genius in devising new evil exercises and therapies. Then when my friend Karla recommended something very similiar I decided to go for it.

Franklin B. Herman said...

Hi Katie!

Thanks! I am so honored to have you stop by!

Also due to constructive feedback, I now stick all the diet and nutrition stuff at the bottom of the post so that it can be quickly skipped over.

As soon as these elbows get a bit better I will be allocation time to get back to playing again .. I do miss it immensely.

fawn said...

I have had great results with pull-ups + added weight... good call!
Holy Cow 6" blocks... that is pretty tall! I have never done that before!

Franklin B. Herman said...

Hi Fawn,

Thanks .. I'm really enjoying pulling off the blocks. Originally, I bought those to do one one-hand KB sumos but they have worked well with the barbell.

Glad to hear you made great progress with weighted pull-ups .. I hope to follow in your footsteps!