Getting Into the Rhythm

I started a more sensible, less mentally and emotionally stressful routing tonight, based on Jim Wendler’s “5/3/1 Method.” It was work, but easy work. Satisfying work. Direct work. Necessary work. Work, that will get me to my goals faster than what I was doing. And it’s less stressful work than what I had previously written out.

It kills the ego to not be able to write your own workouts, because you always over-estimate your own abilities. Hence the need for a coach. I am fortunate because I know a lot of people smarter than me who can help me see the folly of my ways. Brett Jones is one of them. Smart guy, Brett.

Anyway, I need to gain some muscle, a lot of muscle, to fill out my weight category–fifteen pounds of it to be exact. It’s the perfect job for double kettlebell work. Very little packs muscle on faster than that, but unfortunately, my hip won’t allow that stance at this point.

So I have to settle.

But in doing so, the ol’ brain was stirred up to things of the past: Rhythm Deadlifts. Or whatever they’re called. But that’s what I call them. The key is to use a light enough weight that you allow yourself to maintain your groove perfectly without succumbing to fatigue. But, there’s a caveat (there always is, isn’t there?): Once you pick the bar up, you can’t let it touch the ground–you have to stop it about an inch off the ground. 50-60% of your max is a good place to start. It allows you to focus on technique–and maintain a smooth rhythm.

So what’s the rhythm good for? Well, in my case, I was performing Snatch Grip Deadlifts. I did my “work” sets, and then backed down to 90kg and hit 5 sets of 10, resting approximately 60 seconds between sets. In my case, the rhythm was good for blowing up my upper and middle back and frying my grip. Unfortunately, I had to use my straps on the last set. (Wuss…)

Not only do I think I’m going to be really sore tomorrow, I think this will be a nice substitute for the double KB work I can’t do right now. I’m pretty sure with the right nutrition–and actually being able to absorb it finally, this type of protocol will help set me on my way. The best part is it didn’t really feel psychologically stressful, which is exactly what I need. The other best part is that all I have to do is focus on one set–the third and last set of the first exercise I perform each training session.

What’s my expectation from this program? Well, it’s a little different than the one I was on. I don’t necessarily expect to become a better weightlifter from it, since it’s not specialized–specific, but not special. But I do expect to be a bigger, stronger weightlifter, which will allow me to become a better weightlifter in the future.

So, if that part wasn’t good enough, I tossed the old 2 Hand Swing in at the end with 36kg. I haven’t been able to swing correctly because of the left hip shutdown due to the gut issue. I haven’t done any swings or any ballistic KB work since early December of last year. I played with this today just focusing on my left hip/glute and my right hamstring: On and on. Both were working well. But I can tell that I haven’t done these in awhile. I’m really gonna hammer these as long as my body will let me. It’s one of my favorite forms of conditioning. No matter what the program or the goal, KBs just seem to make everything better.

Today’s training:

A. Snatch Grip Deadlift: 3×5, 3 mins. rest

105kg/5, 120kg/5, 135kg/5; RPE: 6.5

B. Rhythm SGDL: 5×10, 60-90s rest

90kg/10 x5; RPE: 7

C. 2 Hand Swings: 5×10; 60s rest

36kg/10 x5

4 comments… add one
  • Mike T Nelson Mar 23, 2009 @ 23:15

    Thanks for the updates Geoff!

    Yep, EVERYONE needs a coach. You have to watch out for that Wendler dude though, hehehe.

    I am guessing the rationale for not touching the floor on the DL is constant tension? Any thoughts on how that my alter form?

    Good luck with the gut issue. Have you been on antibiotics within the last 1-2 years? I’ve found that they tend to wipe out any good bacteria in the gut and supplementing with a good probiotic is a great start. Z Health breathing work and hands on work can help a ton too.

    Keep us updated!
    Rock on!
    Mike T Nelson, PhD(c)

  • GEOFFN Mar 24, 2009 @ 0:45

    Mike–What’s up with Wendler?

    Regarding the DL not touching the floor–yes, constant tension is the purpose. Form will alter if the load isn’t appropriate–i.e.: too heavy. Of course, this is NOT a strategy for newbies or even intermediates. The Eastern Bloc weightlifters perform some of their pulls this way.

    Actually, I think I was on antibiotics last year–REALLY bad flu-thingy that hung on forever. I forgot all about that. I’ll get on that probiotics idea ASAP.


  • Franklin Herman Mar 24, 2009 @ 1:38

    Great post, Geoff! Glad to hear you settled on program that will meet your immediate strength and hypertrophy goals. I was unfamiliar with Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 template and will now read up more on it.

    Although I’m quite the novice with O-lifts (my six month anniversary is coming up), since I added back one day a week of kettlebell ballistics (swings and snatches) and a some TGUs a few months ago, I started making better progress with my lifts.

  • GEOFFN Mar 25, 2009 @ 1:42

    Franklin–KB ballistics DEFINITELY help out the Olympic lifts: Better conditioning, sometimes a transfer in speed, better grip endurance, and as a result, better recovery so more frequent training sessions…

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