Thursday, 11 February 2016

Moving Metal

No, not that sort of metal, although you can't beat a good bit of Bolt Thrower for motivation, so here is some:

Instead DO YOU EVEN LIFT BRO. I do a bit of lifting at the gym, because I have to go to the gym a fair bit due to the meticulously and precisely awful weather and the restricted exercise options I have. I lift weights very unseriously - it's just one part of general gymwork including warming up, doing climbing complementary exercises (pull-ups, lying body weight rows, inverted sit-ups, leg raises, leg presses), antagonistic exercises (ring press-ups, tricep presses, dips), stretching, shoulder stabilising (arm cycling), CV (recumbent cycling, rowing), and general conditioning (light compound lifts, renegade rows). I'm training for climbing and general strength fitness, not to be Eddie Hall. On the other hand pushing really hard for short bursts is much more fun than the rest of the gym bollox and provides more motivation to keep going.

Current PBs:

160kg deadlift (2xBW) - done with wrist-straps last winter, done with liquid chalk this winter. That's the only two times, and it's hard enough. Can do 140kg without chalk, just.

100kg squat - done a few years ago and I thought it was going to snap me in half. Now quite regular and almost comfortable, but 100 is such a neat number I'm loathe to try any more.

80kg benchpress (BW) - a recent PB and really happy with this cos it's BW and a neat number. I felt I'd plateaued on 75 for a while, 77.5 seemed intangible and 80 unfeasible so it's nice to get it.

45kg bar shoulder press - possibly rubbish due to chronic shoulder impingement? Not really tried it much, will aim for 50 next.

20kg/arm military shoulder press - quite happy with this.

20kg/arm bicep curl - happy with this too, done it both simultaneously and alternate arms.

18 pull-ups - up from 17 last year and done with only barely passable style but at least not Crossfit pussy-up non-style. Now this is an interesting one as it's the most climbing-related and also the only one which is clearly worse than in previous decades - albeit with good reason. When I was at my lightest in 2006/7, I could do 20 pull-ups reasonably regularly. The current 18 felt like it's only going to be sporadically repeatable, but I reckon 16 would be reasonably regular. So now I'm nearly 20% heavier and can do 20% less pull-ups. Hmmmm. I guess I can take that as a draw??

I do need to add a few things to this:
Max weighted pull-ups - cos that's what it's all about!
Max weighted dips - another neat bw + x one to try.

Now you might be saying "this is why you're pushing 80kg Fiend, it's too much muscle mass". Except I actually do very little of these weights, going for heavier lifts once or twice a week, and I don't do much of similar exercises in a session. They're are done in small set/rep combos of 5, 5, 5/3, 3, 2/1. I.e. warming up generally with 2x5, then heavier with 2x3-ish, then going for a 1 or 2 rep max. This is in accordance with the general wisdom (from gym staff, many sites online, UKB advice from regular lifters) to do small sessions of high weights and low reps to train pure strength with less muscle gain, compared to 10-15 rep sets for muscle gain (conversely I've watched a few bodybuilder training videos to confirm I'm doing the opposite of bodybuilding). Finally I really doubt that having 2" extra around my waist and 1" extra around my thighs according to my indoor climbing harness is due to massive muscle gains from 40 heavy squats / 30 deadlifts + 60 leg raises per week. Having said that, if anyone can provide any wisdom to show how I could tweak my sessions to avoid muscle mass gain / encourage fat loss, I'd be interested.

In the meantime I'm off to find a way to see how I can add at least 20kg for pull-ups...

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