Geared and Confused

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JasonC
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Geared and Confused

Post by JasonC » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:42 pm

BACKGROUND

I’m almost forty, 180#, best raw meet lifts are SQ 365(?), BP 265, DL 495. Never used more than some powerpants and wraps and a slingshot.

For the last year I’ve used the Rogozhnikov “WPC Russia” template from PTP Pro, though the book made some important mistakes in the way it presented the program and I didn’t figure that out til I started looking on Russian boards about 4 months ago.

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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by JasonC » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:44 pm

Jan. 30: Squat

Tried new Titan Spartan suit with powerpants under it (which SPF considers a single-ply combination) and wraps, and it was fucking hard. After warm-ups it looked like this:

335*1 to high box (2.5” above parallel). In powerpants. Sheer delight.
385*1 to high box in powerpants and wraps. Hate those fucking wraps.
425*1 to high box in powerpants and wraps AND suit, straps up. Couldn’t get bellyful of air, couldn’t set up wide enough, felt like my head was being crushed by the blood pressure. (Hell, just getting under the bar was a little tricky.) Completely lost my arch but finished the lift without any real danger of missing it.
445*1 to high box. Pressure in head out of control. I doubt I touched the box, but all I was really aware of was the pressure in my head.

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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by JasonC » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:46 pm

Jan. 27: Bench

The bench part of this has been a shit-show too. Starting with a HPHD Blast, I got it on by myself using Tuscherer’s YouTube videos as a guide, but Louie Simmons himself couldn’t have adjusted that thing so that it would crease my upper tris to the point that it might have cut flesh off if I had tried to lower a loaded bar to my chest in it. I tried slitting the back, first partway and then all the way, in hopes of making the armpits and neck easier to move around me, but the problem was in that constriction on the upper tris, and nothing was going to make that go away except altering the sleeves to widen them. Maybe if I ever shrink back down a weight class it might fit.

To save the workout I just put on a slingshot and did 245*6, 250*6, 260*4, followed by assistance (easy French presses, bent rows, and curls).

Right now I'm in limbo on the shirt business. I found a good deal on an open-backed single-ply denim shirt (the basic Inzer one), and if Gorilla Jesus wills it, when it comes I’ll learn it fast enough to use in the meet. If that goes sideways, I could just go raw or through a little more good money after bad and get a loosish basic Blast, since everyone says it’s little more than a tight spandex t-shirt.

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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by JasonC » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:49 pm

Feb. 2: Light bench day

At this point in the pre-contest cycle Rogozhnikov calls for light shirt work. With no shirt just now, I put on the slingshot:

comp bench: 225 for six easy doubles.
assistance: easy French presses (ended after first set because my right elbow was irritated), bent rows, db curls and reverse curls.

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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by powerlifter54 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:36 am

JasonC wrote:Jan. 30: Squat

Tried new Titan Spartan suit with powerpants under it (which SPF considers a single-ply combination) and wraps, and it was fucking hard. After warm-ups it looked like this:

335*1 to high box (2.5” above parallel). In powerpants. Sheer delight.
385*1 to high box in powerpants and wraps. Hate those fucking wraps.
425*1 to high box in powerpants and wraps AND suit, straps up. Couldn’t get bellyful of air, couldn’t set up wide enough, felt like my head was being crushed by the blood pressure. (Hell, just getting under the bar was a little tricky.) Completely lost my arch but finished the lift without any real danger of missing it.
445*1 to high box. Pressure in head out of control. I doubt I touched the box, but all I was really aware of was the pressure in my head.
Oh yeah, wrap very loosely starting at 425.


Repeat this straps down to one inc lower level lower box if possible, if not same box. Your belt can be 1 notch looser. Do not wash the suit UFN. YOU MUST SIT BACK. Take a smuch time as you need to get this done. It will happen, trust the dark side Jason.
Last edited by powerlifter54 on Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by powerlifter54 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:38 am

JasonC wrote:Jan. 27: Bench

The bench part of this has been a shit-show too. Starting with a HPHD Blast, I got it on by myself using Tuscherer’s YouTube videos as a guide, but Louie Simmons himself couldn’t have adjusted that thing so that it would crease my upper tris to the point that it might have cut flesh off if I had tried to lower a loaded bar to my chest in it. I tried slitting the back, first partway and then all the way, in hopes of making the armpits and neck easier to move around me, but the problem was in that constriction on the upper tris, and nothing was going to make that go away except altering the sleeves to widen them. Maybe if I ever shrink back down a weight class it might fit.

To save the workout I just put on a slingshot and did 245*6, 250*6, 260*4, followed by assistance (easy French presses, bent rows, and curls).

Right now I'm in limbo on the shirt business. I found a good deal on an open-backed single-ply denim shirt (the basic Inzer one), and if Gorilla Jesus wills it, when it comes I’ll learn it fast enough to use in the meet. If that goes sideways, I could just go raw or through a little more good money after bad and get a loosish basic Blast, since everyone says it’s little more than a tight spandex t-shirt.
Upper arm and chest measurement? Do you have anybody near you who is a bench shirt experienced guy. Where are you? PM me if you don't want it public.
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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by powerlifter54 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:32 pm

bump
"Start slowly, then ease off". Tortuga Golden Striders Running Club, Pensacola 1984.

"But even snake wrestling beats life in the cube, for me at least. In measured doses."-Lex

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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:09 pm

On that BP, tell me you are going to boards or sumsuch with adequate spotters right off the bat. Shirted benching is the devil's bidness.
"He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that." JS Mill

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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by JasonC » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:49 am

powerlifter54 wrote:
Upper arm and chest measurement? Do you have anybody near you who is a bench shirt experienced guy. Where are you? PM me if you don't want it public.
No shame here, humility pays in the long run. Chest 43" relaxed, arms 15 1/2". I live a couple hours from Supertraining, which (having no kids) means that I could spend two or three months there during the summer. But in the time I have before this meet, I'm solo.

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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by JasonC » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:56 am

Blaidd Drwg wrote:On that BP, tell me you are going to boards or sumsuch with adequate spotters right off the bat. Shirted benching is the devil's bidness.
So "no" is the wrong answer? #-o No spotters, just me in a rack I can trust and have experience missing singles in. I've considered the possibility that if/when I start learning The Great Denim Hope I might lose it back toward my face and tested it out: I arch so high that my pins are set well above my face. But if it's still a stupid idea, let me have it.

EDIT: And I haven't brought out any boards yet. Right now I'm still making do with the slingshot; not that I know anything about this stuff, but I've been figuring that I don't need to worry about boards until I know something about the shirt I'll be using and its groove.
Last edited by JasonC on Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by Holland Oates » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:13 am

JasonC wrote:
Blaidd Drwg wrote:On that BP, tell me you are going to boards or sumsuch with adequate spotters right off the bat. Shirted benching is the devil's bidness.
So "no" is the wrong answer. #-o No spotters, just me in a rack I can trust and have experience missing singles in. I've considered the possibility that if/when I start learning The Great Denim Hope I might lose it back toward my face and tested it out: I arch so high that my pins are set well above my face. But if it's still a stupid idea, let me have it.
Safest set up for whats going on. Similar to what I do when I use my slingshot.
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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by JasonC » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:57 am

Feb. 5: Light SQ/DL

Much better. BD and Jack were right--this suit will do, it just took a long warmup with straps down to get the feel. Blood pressure not a big deal anymore and less uncomfortable than watching Steve Gutenberg on rollerskates in Can't Stop the Music.

SQ to parallel. Rogozhnikov calls for easy singles today.
--straps up but no powerpants 365, 1; 405, 1. Still a little awkward but not hard. Just a little effort needed to reverse out of hole.
--adding loose loose wraps 405, 1/5. Getting into hole just takes sitting back--thanks PL54 and BD--and a little extra time. Next I should probably learn to pull myself down actively.
Conclusions First, I'm foregoing the power pants for this meet. I'm doing enough new shit for one cycle, and at the moment, no amount of sitting back can get me deep enough in two layers. Even with 405, my ass just hangs out there cantilevered in the air. I get the Louie thing about it taking almost your opener to get you there, but I'm thinking that in order to avoid bombing out 405 should be my opener. (Second opinions?) Second, in the suit, feet straight ahead seems to work better than my usual large turnout. Third, Jack's advice to let the belt out an inch helped my arch a lot.

DL from floor Rogozhnikov calls for 4-5 singles in gear at 85-90%. I pull conventional.
Experimented with suit+briefs, just suit, and raw, and raw wins. The suit keeps me too far from the bar for my usual setup (hips high, get grip, tighten lats to take slack out, big air and pack the neck, lower hips fast and drive through heels).
--415, (1) Fuck all. This is maybe 82% of my best meet lift, but I haven't gone below six reps in months and this is the predictable result.
--down to 365,1. Feels like balls.
--375, 1. Better.
--385, 1. Feels better still.
--395, 1. I still feel slow in the bottom 6". I don't think I was doing my trusty "falling backwards" maneuver.
Conclusions First, whatever else I later decide about Rogozhnikov (it's still too early), pin pulls were a stupid idea given that I'm going to pull raw after all. Second, the real Rogozhnikov (who's different from the way he's written up in PTTP Pro) encourages gym maxes every six weeks, and after this cycle I'd better make it my business to go heavy off the floor. I don't truly believe that I've lost much strength in the bottom of the lift, but I'm out of practice and low on coordination and speed. Third, there's probably good advice out there on how to set up to pull when you've got a suit keeping your hips from bending, but here again, I can stand to wait til next cycle to learn.

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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:04 am

JasonC wrote:
Blaidd Drwg wrote:On that BP, tell me you are going to boards or sumsuch with adequate spotters right off the bat. Shirted benching is the devil's bidness.
So "no" is the wrong answer. #-o No spotters, just me in a rack I can trust and have experience missing singles in. I've considered the possibility that if/when I start learning The Great Denim Hope I might lose it back toward my face and tested it out: I arch so high that my pins are set well above my face. But if it's still a stupid idea, let me have it.
It's pretty stupid but..you a grown man, if your pins are set up right, you can dump and live. The right hand off and board work will put pounds...many of them, on your total. But fuck it. Mike T hits pr's in his laundry room in the same style as you so...be careful is all. and try to get with soem shirted benchers, you will learn so much in the first session, you'll be kicking yourself.

Hard to say at this point where your opener should really be. A video would go a long way if you can't get some experienced eyes on you..What part of the world are you in?
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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by JasonC » Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:16 am

I'm in way north California, not the part that wants to secede but close. I went down to Supertraining once when I was getting started and Mark Bell was very, very kind and helpful. Til that happens again, I'll work on getting video. I'd appreciate the input.
Blaidd Drwg wrote:It's pretty stupid but..you a grown man, if your pins are set up right, you can dump and live. The right hand off and board work will put pounds...many of them, on your total. But fuck it. Mike T hits pr's in his laundry room in the same style as you so...be careful is all.
Is there a worse worst-case scenario that I haven't considered than the pins failing or the rack coming down?

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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:26 am

Mark Bell is about the best bench advice you could hope for. You've planned for worst case. It's not ideal but you're not the first or last to have to trust the set up.

I'll dig around and see if I can identify any PL crews up near Eureka to Yreka
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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by JasonC » Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:39 am

Blaidd Drwg wrote:I'll dig around and see if I can identify any PL crews up near Eureka to Yreka
Much appreciated. South to Sacramento or Davis, north to Redding and beyond are all in range for me. (No kids was the best decision I ever made. :supz: )

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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by powerlifter54 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:51 pm

Jason,

Nice on the squats. Keep sitting back, pulling yourself down is raw/PTTP stuff that has no place on the dark side. Understand that the more gear you wear the more it becomes a good morning, unless you are in the "convincingly deep" clutches of the USAPL. So stick your butt back and when you get to depth drive your traps upwards through the bar DO NOT push your feet down thru the floor. It is like using gear, you gotta do it and feel it to understand it.

DLing in gear is weird and different sumo vs comventional. Since you are conventional you have the choice of so tight you have a problem getting down (like in the inzer deadlift suits), but this works only if you are very long limbed. i used a very loose, old, and broken in Inzer Champion to DL. It is actually the suit i speed squat in, just enough tightness to feel it in my hips and upper hams but not pushing my upper body out of position. No matter what you choose, with the heavy squatting you are doing in gear some light raw squats on this day and singles from floor is all you need. If you pull your opener crisply in a single workout you are on track.

My advice is the Titan shirts are the way to go but getting them on solo, unless open backed, is not gonna happen. You need to work down from 3 to 2 to 1 boards. This is the way to learn the shirt and it's adjustments. A quick shirt tutorial. Shirts work because the chest plate and shirt collar act like HGH to a Latino baseball player, they make you better a lot faster in every way. If you can learn to milk the shirt like A-Rod milks the Yankees you too can appear to be great and really only just be above average. You just won't get paid or roll with Maddona, but Shape or Fat Cat will roll with you. i suggest Fat because at least you will wake up with your dignity intact.

Anyway the ways to tweak the shirt to get more oomph are moving the collar down, rotating the sleeve seems inward (from your elbow over your forearm toward your bicep), and flaring your elbows. So if you want less weight to touch or to get a weight lower that won't touch is let shirt ride up higher, move sleeves outward back toward elbow, or tuck your elbows at the bottom. You have to pick your setup then lock it in with the belt. Now i have set up and locked the shirt in, then relaxed my abs a bit to let the shirt slide up as the weight hovered an inch above my chest. This is what you get to learn and practice when training with some of the best benchers in the world. Which i am not. In denim you can also wet the shirt to help the weight touch, and sleeve adjustments are different as the denim shirt grabs and sets on the forearm differently. What you should do go to around your opener or slightly less, then set up with sleeves straight, collar about where it rides when you put shirt on, then set it with the belt and take it to a three board, feeling the shirt resist the bar descent and trying to feel the "bubble", where the shirt provides the most help. Adjust the shirt collar lower(toward your belly), then try it again. Then go to a 2 board. Get the feel, then go to a 1 board. For most people 2 different board heights is plenty for most people in a workout but in your case it is not yet a factor. Sometimes being new to something has benefits! Figure out what tweaks you need to get your opener to a 1 board. (BTW, warm up raw to about 85% of your raw max and do 2 reps, then put on shirt for one warm up rep with belt loose before starting the heavy singles. Finish up after shirt work with 3 or 4 board raw benches for 2-3 sets of 5. RPE around 9.) You only need to touch your opener once in the whole training cycle. Once i had the shirt down i never did in training, but late in my career i started using a really loose shirt for speed work and would touch in that shirt. That shirt had no help at top but let me do speed work with straight weight, or maybe a chain or two. i looked in my cauldron and all my smaller shirts are already given away. So if you go denim good luck. But try to master the shirt. Meet PL in gear is a skill. Benching is the most complicated. Let me know if you have questions.
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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by JasonC » Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:40 am

PL54 and BD, ongoing thanks, my dark lords. Your help is helping.
powerlifter54 wrote:pulling yourself down is raw/PTTP stuff that has no place on the dark side. Understand that the more gear you wear the more it becomes a good morning... So stick your butt back and when you get to depth drive your traps upwards through the bar DO NOT push your feet down thru the floor.
Shee-it, I'm glad you told me. I could have been lost in that rabbit hole for a long time.

Feb. 8: Heavy bench day

For a "shirted" board workout with no shirt available, today was awesome. The denim is not here yet, so I made do with slingshot and 2x4" banded to my chest over it. Other than not have a fucking shirt, I followed Rogozhnikov to the letter (just used an inch or two less board than he prescribes) and had a blast. Brought out Pavel's "push press" technique, which is easier on my elbow and works great for me when I do it right. (Just have to raise head some to get real spring off the chest and then focus on keeping my butt on the bench.

235, 2; 255, 1; 275, 1; 295, 1; 315, (1); 305, 1/2; finisher 225, 9RM. light pumping for tris, lats, biceps

295 flew up like Gorilla Jesus was lifting it, and though 315 didn't happen (this time), 305 was a thrill because I doubt I've ever pressed more than 275 in any fashion. The first single was maybe a 9.5 RPE, and only the second one felt like a challenge.
powerlifter54 wrote:Shirts work because the chest plate and shirt collar act like HGH to a Latino baseball player, they make you better a lot faster in every way.
And I like it! Like other stuff I've heard people say about geared lifting, I started to understand the thing about needing strong lats to control the bar at arm's length.

Reluctantly changed tricep assistance to kickbacks(!) and bands because everything else is irritating my elbow so much that it's been hurting from one bench workout to the next, and it feels so much better I can't believe I didn't do this before.

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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by Holland Oates » Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:19 am

Band curls and pushdowns are magic mana for my elbows.

Nice work.
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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by powerlifter54 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:38 am

Ed Zachary wrote:Band curls and pushdowns are magic mana for my elbows.

Nice work.

Word. Cable extensions, dips, or db extensions were elbow death when shirt benching. Put the band behind your neck and do two sets of 25 band tricep extensions.

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Push your limits. When the weight in your hands or on your back scares you, you are there.
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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:41 am

Pleased to see it all working for you.

PL has you dialed on the shirt bit, my only advice is make friends with grip freaks, they can be huge help in getting the shirt on and dialed. Thing two...really start looking at the bench as a full body lift. Like all good full body lifts, the base of power is hips and back.
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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by powerlifter54 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:52 am

Blaidd Drwg wrote:Pleased to see it all working for you.

PL has you dialed on the shirt bit, my only advice is make friends with grip freaks, they can be huge help in getting the shirt on and dialed. Thing two...really start looking at the bench as a full body lift. Like all good full body lifts, the base of power is hips and back.

+1. You said you are board benching and learning to feel your lats as they control the bar descent in the lower groove. Like BD says, the leg drive is key, since it is the counterpoint to the lats. Think of it like this, the lats are trying to bend the bar as you lower it towards your legs, the leg drive force towards your head balances the lats. The bar descends on "the bubble' balanced by the lats on one side and the leg drive on the other. Keep your scaps together in the shirt, not easy in a closed back but only a tad easie rin an open back. This is very important in your set up. Then as you get on the bench push your belly and sternum up towards the bar, do not try to arch your lower back. It fatigues your erectors and after squatting can be unpleasant. squeeze your glutes and dig your feet in. i bench flat foot as mainly an IPF/USAPL guy, but on your toes there is a bit of a vertical vector but you still have to drive your feet along the floor not just down into it.
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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by Holland Oates » Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:50 pm

I get more hamstring drive out of benching on my toes but it kills my left hip flexor. I'm stealing the "don't actively arch" advice. I think this is what's killing my low back.

Sorry to clutter up your log JC.

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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by JasonC » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:20 am

Ed Zachary wrote:I get more hamstring drive out of benching on my toes but it kills my left hip flexor. ... Sorry to clutter up your log JC.
It got me thinking: I get this gamy right hip sometimes I bench with a big arch and a wide stance, and I was thinking it was in the joint, but I watched the twinges today and sho nuff, they feel they might be in the hip flexor. God I hope so; I hate tennis-ball rolling it, but I'd much rather it be that. For the last year I've just tried to avoid the problem by favoring floor presses.

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Re: Geared and Confused

Post by JasonC » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:16 am

Feb. 11: SQ/DL

Last week I accidentally did a heavy day workout on what should have been a light day, so I freestyled this today and used weights on the light side of heavy, for a very few reps, and just treated it as "gear familiarization day."

SQ in suit: 275, 1; 315, 1; 335, 1; 375, 1. Easy stuff, gear did all the work, but I cut it off here just the same.
Conclusions: -Good chance to calmly meditate on inner meaning of Darth Jack's advice to sit back and make it a GM. Kept finding more subtleties in there. Like I learned the true meaning of arching mid- and upper back very actively. And for that matter low back too. Feels great and every joint knows what job it's supposed to do in the descent now, which I can't say when I'm squatting raw except for Oly squats. My hips just don't feel truly at ease trying to do a raw PL squat unless there's a box under me.
-Also, once I got in the spirit of really arching, I tried loosening my belt another inch and got better stability. (Curious to see if that's still true under really heavy weights though. Thank God for monolifts, at least. I see what people mean about walkouts being the worst part of a geared squat. My inner PL politician says, requiring walkouts must be one more piece of USAPL killjoy-ism like banning beanies on the platform and t-shirts from other feds' meets.)

DL in suit: As an experiment kept suit on and worked up in pretty wide sumo stance instead of my usual conventional. Wanted to see how much the suit changed the equation:
sumo in Spartan suit 315, 1; 365, 1; 405, 1. Not hard. In fact, pretty easy.
conventional in powerpants 315, 1; 365, 1 Clearly not as good.
sumo in suit and powerpants 365, 1 wide; 365, 1 super-wide. Not enough hip mobility.

Conclusions: For whatever reason, my conventional is still slow and weak-feeling at 4-6" off floor. Maybe it's just because I didn't train off the floor enough, or also because the geared squat is using up more of my lower back strength. If so, it's like the squat and pull have traded places: the squat has become more back-dominant and I'm compensating with a more quad-y kind of deadlift. Anyway, sumo feels like the way to go this time. In fact it feels awesome. Again, I just hope that's not one of those things that only starts to feel like a huge change once you get up to 95%.
--Also put on used Z Suit that I got cheap to see how it might change my conventional pull. How it changed it was by being so fucking tight in my hamstrings that I almost couldn't touch the bar. Who the fuck has thighs that thin?! If anyone coaches a girl's cross-country team, I'll sell you the Z Suit for $20.

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