So over the course of the last 6 months or so, I’ve gathered a LOT of video of me failing while trying to PR my front squat.  I initially planned to have a FAIL video set to depressing or funny music.  Like THIS.  Or THIS. Possibly with some footage of me sitting all depressed and hating life or walking with my head down like Charlie Brown.  That would’ve given me many LOLz but would have required a bit more effort.  Instead I present to you THE ARTSIEST YOUTUBE WEIGHTLIFTING VIDEO EVER.  Watch. And let me pull at your heart strings.

I included some footage of some of my training partners to help reiterate the overall theme.  I love this song.

Finally.

February 28, 2012

I tried to remember when was the last time that I got a PR single front squat.  I can’t.  I’ve been lifting for almost 7 years at this point.  I think I’ve been stuck at 200kg. for at least 3.

Check out my Animal T-shirt.  So legit.

I drove home.  Ate half a pizza, 2 glasses of milk and chugged a beer.  Because lifting weights is a losing game.  You try and you fail, and fail, and fail.  And then sometimes you win.  So always remember to allow yourself to embrace the moment.  Chug a beer (if you’re 21) and then get ready to go back to work tomorrow.

Because all that will be left is achy knees and more work to be done.

Ben Claridad’s goals for 2012:

Snatch 150.  Clean and jerk 180.  Front squat 220.  Back squat 250.

Workouts: Week of 2/26

February 27, 2012

Sunday:

CC and I were unable to get a workout in on Saturday so we bumped it to Sunday.  This may or may not become a regular occurrence.

Back Squat:  5×5 at 180kg.

Push press: 3×3 at 100.

Monday AM:

Snatch from deficit:  doubles up to 120.  Missed my 2nd at 120.  Missed 130.

I tried out the new Klokov complex.  It’s pretty fun.  Up to 120 and then moved on to 2x pull, 1x clean at 130 for 2 sets.

Monday PM:

Snatch off the low blocks:  Doubles up to 120.  Missed the 2nd rep at 120.  Moved on to 130 and missed the 2nd rep as well.  Watch as Master Lee and CC offer me some encouragement.  “Everything you got!”

Cleans:  worked up to a few singles at 140.  One of the reps took me like 5 seconds to stand up with.  It was pretty funny at the time.

Later that night, I deadlifted with the 5PM class.  Last week I did a set of 3 at 220 with no belt with straps.  Tonight, I did 230 for 1 with a belt and straps.

I totally dropped the ball on posting my workouts for this week.  My bad.  Life outside the gym has been just a little bit hectic this past month or 3.

So OVER.

February 21, 2012

Here’s something to keep you busy while you’re at work.

I never wrote my reviews for my 5 favorite albums from 2011.  I actually started on a few.  But much like every other aspect of my life, they are incomplete and not worth reading.  So here’s aTOP 20 LIST from my homies over at Idle Time.  I figured I could still post what I had written, but 2011 is SO OVER, so I figured I’d spare you.

If you have a top 5 albums list for 2011, feel free to post it in the comments section, homie.

“How Much Ya’ Bench?”

February 15, 2012

So I was having a chat with Mr. Bell the other day.  I was telling him the plight of the Olympic lifter in social situations.  “Oh, you’re a weightlifter?  How much ya’ bench?”  Palm to face.  Usually this will be followed by a bicep curling gesture.  I used to get really up in arms about the whole thing.

“Well actually, I’m an OLYMPIC weightlifter.  You know, like IN THE OLYMPICS.  WE DON”T DO THAT SORT OF THING.” Then I would go on this really dorky explanation of what Olympic weightlifting is, why I feel it is superior to all other forms of weight training and why you’ve never heard of it.  About midway through my lengthy explanation is the part when the new acquaintance will lose interest and walk away.

People don’t care what you do.  People don’t care how much you snatch or what a snatch actually is or why you count in kilos.  So don’t bore them to death by educating someone who is not interested in strength training or fitness with things that don’t concern them.  “Oh, you’re a weightlifter?”  “Yes, I lift weights.”  Then move on.  As a matter of fact, avoid the question altogether.  “Hey, Ben.  You recently did some sort of wrestling or powerlifting competition the other day right?”  “Yup, what did you do this weekend?”

So back to the conversation.  I was wearing a T-shirt from a popular powerlifting website.  I told Mark that if I told people that I was a powerlifter instead of explaining that I compete in Olympic weightlifting, then I might actually score some clients.  “How much ya’ bench?”  Oh, like 505.”  And if they persist, say that you hit 526 from the high board, but didn’t really get a solid lockout.  I just lie.  But you know what?  If I benched more than like once a month I bet I could at least break 400.  So I don’t feel bad telling strangers that.  Keep in mind, they don’t actually care.  They just want confirmation that I’m stronger than the average person.

Check out what I did tonight.  I haven’t bench pressed since the time I hit 155  (As a matter of fact, I haven’t done anything outside of weightlifting except for some bodyweight strengthening at the end of my workouts).  Hows that for linear progression?  I’m going to PR every time I bench for the next 4 months.  I attribute this to Musclemilk Collegiate, the fact that I’m wearing my favorite T-shirt and the Sepultura playing in the background.

“Pounds??!! HA! HA! HA!  How pedestrian.  A weightlifter lifts only in kilos!”

Seriously, I have other T-shirts, but i just REALLY like this one.  I probably wear it 2 to 3 times a week.  In the gym.  In da club.  In da coffee shop.  I stopped caring a long time ago.  Combined with how I wear adidas warm-up pants every single day, I’m surprised my co-workers haven’t started a charity fund.

Here’s the pump up song in the background.

One Final word on DOING WORK.

February 13, 2012

I’ve been saying the phrase, “LET ME WORK” a lot lately.  Maybe a little bit too often.  It’s gotten to the point where I’m actually beginning to get annoyed at myself AS I say it.  And whenever that happens, one would have to assume that those around me have already crossed that point around 3 weeks ago.  This is kind of like the time when I couldn’t NOT say “HEAVY DUTY” while working out.  It just started to come naturally; as natural as the sweat on my brow or the yoke on my shoulders.  So I’ve decided to stop if only to spare you the eye roll as you read my (not so) witty comments.  But first, let me put this thing to rest with one last personal account on the importance of letting the lifter work.

I had been working with CC for about 6 months at this point.  Already, she was blossoming into a “fully legit mode” JR lifter and a damn good training partner.  Often, as I was resting on my bench in between sets, hating life, I would look over to the far platform only to see CC crushing weights like a god damn communist Russian/Bulgarian/Chinese/Super Saiyan monster.  She would hit a set of power snatches, each one like a stroke Michelangelo’s brush.  And I would sink a little bit deeper into that bench, remembering when I had only been lifting weights for 6 months and also remembering how it looked absolutely nothing like that.  A Padiwan learner she was not, it seemed as if she jumped straight to Jedi.  And if that were the case, that would make me Old Man Kenobi. Obi-Wan Kenobi. Except nobody would’ve called me that for years.  But I was still her coach.  And as her coach, it was my responsibility to push her just enough for us to see where her current limits were set at.  It was always at the back of my mind that despite all of her strength and skill, CC was a still fledgling lifter.  And never having coached an athlete like CC before, I too was a fledgling coach.

I never wanted her to fail.  I could coach her technically.  I planned out her workouts effectively.  I could count attempts in competition.  But I just did not like to see her fail.  It was like I wanted her to like the sport of weightlifting so bad that I only wanted her to achieve the successes of weightlifting with none of the failures.  However, we all know that weightlifting is a sport where success is built on failure.  Even in success, the lifter then must then prepare himself for the many, many failures to come.  But like I said, I was a novice and so was she.  So I would only allow her a few misses per exercise before I would urge her to move on to the next, ALWAYS with the mindset that it is better to error on the side of caution.  To a certain degree, I still (and should) do this.  But now we both have more experience underneath our belts.  It only takes a few ugly misses for an athlete to develop a healthy respect for the weights to be thrown overhead and it only takes a coach a few months of training with an athlete to begin to predict how she will handle certain weights.

Coming back to the incident in question, I had CC follow her usual snatch and clean and jerk routine by taking up her back squats to her best set of 5.  I think her best at the time was 95Kg. and we both wanted to see her break 100.  Up until that point, I’ve only see a few seasoned female lifters handle 100kg. in a full Olympic squat for reps and two of them were former coaches of mine.  CC casually starts warming up by throwing on the 20kg. plates and proceeding to crush some rock bottom squats with no belt or knee sleeves.  In my opinion, it’s best to leave out as much assistance gear as possible during the first few years of training.  I told CC that when she turns 21, she can start wearing rehbands.  She’ll add the belt at age 23.  So she’s working up to the higher numbers without any sign of slowing down.  I ask her if she needs a spot and she gracefully declines, “I’ll need a spot when I go for 105.”  Fair enough.  I continue with my morning “old man” routine.  I feel each rep in my bones as I gradually speed up to 50%.  I probably take the bar for a good 20 minutes before I hit a few close grip muscle snatches at 50kg.  OG style.  I’ll rest my aching, brittle bones on my bench as I watch the vulgar display of power on the far platform.  CC just destroyed 95kg. for a set of 5 like it was a fucking broomstick.  She loads 105 and motions me to pick up my haggard old body off of my bench and do something useful for a change and spot her.  The early 90s hip-hop is on full blast by this point.  You wouldn’t even be able to have a conversation with someone 3 feet away from you.  So I just nod at her, letting her know that, “Yes. You can do this.  Go get it.  And I’ll be right here if you need a spot.”  She grinds out the first 3 like she’s got pneumonic pistons for legs.  She takes a few breaths before diving down for her fourth.  Everyone in the gym has their eyes glued to her and their arms up in the air as if they were trying to help her force the bar up with their energy.  She wastes no time.  3 more deep breaths and she’s back down for her fifth.  The screams of everyone around her combined with the overbearing 90s hip hop seem to be the only things keeping the bar inching upward.  She’s halfway extended.  One more inch and she’ll be beyond the sticking point.  Time stalls for a good second as my old eyes have seen enough and I offer my hands up to the bar for some assistance.  Spotting the bar was like holding a handful of feathers in a helium balloon as the bar finally drifts upward, finishing the rep.

CC immediately twists around as if she’s going to flying uppercut me to oblivion.  Her eyes burned fiery red with a glance so fierce that it would’ve turned a lesser man to stone.  But thanks to my training age, my bones have already turned to rusty iron.  The only thing that keeps them mobile is motor oil, rehbands and ace bandages.  “DID YOU HELP!”  It was more of a statement than a question.  But she already knew the answer as my eyes looked to the ground in shame.  I don’t know where she got it from, but someone from the crowd must have thrown her a glass bottle which she broke against the now racked 105kg. and shanked me in the kidney.  And that’s how I died.

Moral of the story: I should have LET HER WORK.  She might have made the rep.  She might have stalled for another 5 seconds and I would’ve eventually had to spot her.  In any case, she now squats 115 for a set of 5. And I, having died 6 months ago, rose like a phoenix from the ashes only to die a little more each day like Prometheus chained to the rock as punishment for bringing fire to mankind.

Bro, Prometheus is actually pretty yoked. I wonder what he could clean.

Side note:  I dump back squats all the time.  It’s perfectly safe.  All you need to do is raise your hands upward and surrender as you realize that you won’t be able to stand up.  Surrender.  And walk out of the squat in shame.

Catch A Pump.

February 9, 2012

Let’s talk about curls for a moment.  Let me ask you a question: if you are performing a set of alternating dumbbell curls, and you’re not looking at your biceps, then how are you supposed to know that your bicep is growing?  YOU GOTTA CONCENTRATE ON YOUR CURLS!  That’s why concentration curls are such a good exercise because it forces you to look at your biceps mid-set.  So, no matter what type of curl that you’re doing, look at your bicep and watch it grow.  That’s using your mind right there.

Let him work.

Serious mode.

I was up at 4:45 this morning.  I have a client at 5:30 and an extra half hour at 6:30.  What did I do with that half hour?  I used it as an opportunity to CATCH A PUMP.  If you’ve been reading my site for a while, then you know that I am a strong proponent of the double day workout.  They’re ACTUALLY TEACHING this in my exercise science classes.  Let me shoot a piece of science at you.  You’re body begins the un-training process within 6 hours after a workout.  How do we combat this? More workouts.  Makes sense to me, right?  But what would be the benefit of catching an early morning pump for the Olympic weightlifter.  Not much.  BUT.  I don’t know about you, but when I’m tired and achy, there’s no way I’m going to bust out some snatches and cleans at 6:30 in the morning, especially with only a half hour to spare.  They would look like the equivalent of a limp handshake.  So knowing this, I do what comes naturally and get swoll.  I load up a bar with 40kg.  and perform a medley of muscle snatches, military presses, bent rows, curls, stretch out my shoulders and work out the kinks with no real goal in mind other than to catch a pump.  I hit some reps, take breaks when I need to, pace around a little bit and do it again.  I don’t even count reps.  ALL I’m doing is just moving around for 15 minutes or so, barely enough to break a sweat.  Then I go home and eat breakfast and start my day.

I’m an exercise science student, and the thing that exercise science students do best is make up possible explanations as to why things happen.

So here we go.  Magically, I will feel less sore, my mood will be elevated, my muscles will be less tight, and joints less achy.  When it actually comes time to wreck shit later in the day, it takes less time to warm up, I’m more “physiologically aroused,” and my lifts will look slightly better in general.  So why do we think that is?

In any case, I would barely classify the 15 minutes I spend on Tuesday and Thursday mornings as a workout (that’s what my Monday, Wednesday and Fridays are for), but I would encourage you to try a double day.  It doesn’t even have to be much, get in the gym, warm-up, stretch, move around with an empty barbell and then leave.  See if you feel better when it comes time to work out later in the day.

 

Cheers.

February 3, 2012

Today was the best day of training I’ve had in a long time.  It makes me remember why I do this god damn sport in the first place.  I deviated from my training plan a little bit this week, not because I wanted to but because my schedule has been pretty outrageous.  So whenever I had time to get a workout in, I got one in.

This morning represented the culmination of my frustration; not just frustration with my weightlifting, but with school and life in general.  But then, like magic, the second session brought it all together.  I don’t know what it is about the 2nd session, but it makes everything OK.  I move faster.  I think clearer.  I’m willing to work harder.  And today, it was just an all around good time.  Just like it should be.

CC ended up snatching a PR.  70kg. like a G.  Just barely missing 72 behind her afterwards.  Check it out.

I didn’t do anything spectacular, but certainly more than I’ve done in the last few months.

Cam wore short shorts and got yoked.

Good day.

Cheers to that.

 

Getaway Sticks.

February 2, 2012

If this week has been any indication of how I’m going to live for the next few months, I’d better start working on my will now.  Because I’m most likely going to end myself by March.  Just kidding.  I don’t really own anything of worth anyways.  I actually realized that about a month ago when I was once again moving into a new place.  It took me like 10 minutes to move everything I own.  In fact, my two most valuable assets are firmly attached to my body; my LEGS.

Think about it like this:  If I were to add up all the hours spent making my legs stronger and then multiply that by minimum wage, I would be sitting on 2 large sums of money.  To be specific, I would would have achieved the status of becoming hood rich.  Maybe I would’ve even been able to lease an Escalade.  Money well spent.

But instead, I’ve got 2 legs, a bed, and a sweet ass record player.

To be honest, I'd take the record player over the Escalade any day.

Not posting workouts this week.  If I do anything interesting, I’ll post video.