Overhead squat – the last exercise at the regional and the first at the games.
Preparing for the Games
Last week I was asked a question on Facebook about how I’m preparing for the games. I just wanted to share my response with those folks that aren’t on FB and anyone else that follows the blog. There’s nothing too intense here…just my basic approach. But, hopefully it resonates with some of you that are training for your own events.
So, I could probably write 10 pages on all the thinking I have about my training…but, I’ll just point out the highlights. First off, I have been preparing my body for the amount of volume we’ll encounter at the games. The games is a minimum of 4 days of testing with multiple workouts per day. Additionally, there is the stress of travel, eating out, not having a set schedule, heat, and boredom (time between events) that all has to be taken into account in addition to the actual workouts. So, over the past 6 months, I have steadily built up my capacity to handle multiple workouts per day with minimal recovery. I try as much as possible to break my sessions up daily…meaning, hit a session earlier in the day, then take a couple hour break, then hit another session. That allows my body to cool down and have to restart it again for my second session. But, the majority of the time, I am forced to work out for 4-6 hours straight and get it all done in the same LONG session. Either way though, it’s just conditioning the body to get used to getting a lot of work done daily. My heavier days have included 8-10 different workouts/lifts. My lighter days are 3-4 different workouts or lifts. I will begin scaling down to more lighter days as we approach our final weeks.
Second, I am attacking weaknesses as much as I can while still holding on to my strengths. For me, that means I am swimming 3-4x week, working on my weaker barbell lifts (squats and Oly lifts) 3-4x week, and at the same time trying to keep my strengths like running and conditioning as high as possible. So, I’ll often start my day off with squatting or swimming, attacking that first. Then, I’ll finish my session with stuff that I’m stronger at. That ensures that I spend the majority of time on stuff I need help on, and if I have the time, I’ll finish with the stuff I’m already pretty decent at. Right now my shitlist includes swimming longer than 25 meters, handstand walking, pistols, back/front/overhead squat, snatch, clean and jerk, triple unders, short sprints, and I’ll throw deadlifts in there too. It’s not necessarily that I’m horrible at any of those, but that I think i can make significant improvement and I want to spend more time on them before the games. The stuff I feel pretty confident on right now is running long distances, bodyweight movements like air squats, pushups, pullups, lunges, light weight squats and oly movements, wall balls, and muscle ups. I’m sure I share similar strengths/weaknesses with a lot of my competitors, so it really comes down to who is working on their weaknesses more/better…
As far as nutrition and sleep goes, I think I’m doing well. I am super thankful for my wife and that she is familiar with how much work needs to go into this. She helps with everything at home…she even mows the lawn with our daughter on her back. Some days when I get home from training, the last thing I can think of doing is walking around another 45 min pushing a mower. So, I gotta give her some credit for handling a lot of chores at home and making that bit easier on me. Also, I’m getting a ton of help from our coaches and staff at MBS…it really is a team effort to making it work. I’m coaching a pretty light schedule. When you account for 4-6 hours of training, another 2-3 hours of mobility, food prep, and other recovery stuff, there isn’t a whole lot left in the day. I will usually spend as much as the remaining time/energy with my wife and daughter because that keeps me balanced. This year I’m not being super strict on diet…I’m not weighing or measuring anything. I’m just making sure I’m eating a good 3-4 meals a day of meat, lots of veggies and fruit, and a lot of healthy fat. Last year I was messing around with high carbs and carb loading and I learned how you can quickly gain 25 lbs! I take the basic supps daily – multivitamins, fish oil, glutamine, and BCAA’s…all of which are the Nutriforce supps in our store at the gym. I’ve been cycling creatine also for the past 6 months, one month on, one month off.
I guess the last thing to cover is building the mindset. Yes of course I would have to bring that up…the thing is, all 45 athletes that I’ll be competing against know all the stuff that I wrote above…they are all practicing the same things to varying degrees. I think the difference that you’ll see on competition day will be a direct look at the degree to which the athletes put effort into it. Everyone trained hard…but, who trained hard on the days they didn’t want to train hard? Who was mentally tough enough to do that? Everyone knew to work on their weaknesses, but who worked on them every day regardless? Those who did will shine through. Everyone tried to eat clean and healthy, but who did it more consistently and treated their bodies better during training? Those who are and were mentally strong during training – meaning, they worked when they were tired, ate clean when they wanted to eat a cheeseburger, got 8 hours of sleep when they were invited to party all night, they will go into competition knowing the sacrifices they made…they will know that they’ve worked hard…maybe as hard as they possibly could. All of those sacrifices are tests of will power, call them will power workouts or mental workouts, and they will have strengthened that individual’s mind to be sharp and strong on competition day. During the past 6 months, there have been MANY days that I’ve got under a bar while my legs were way too sore…said goodbye to Payton and Janelle when all I wanted to do was stay at home and hangout…and started the clock for a workout that I wish I didn’t have to do. I have made a ton of sacrifices and stayed committed to the decision to push forward…I think that mental edge is what is going to play the biggest factor in Carson.
Workout of the Day
Spend 15 minutes building up in weight and practicing the sled, DB snatch, and high box jumps. Do at least 3 rotations on each exercise before beginning workout.
In a team of 3, AMRAP 12:
P1 – 50 yd sled pull shuttle (25 out/back), 4/3 plates
P2 – Single-arm DB snatch 55/35 lb. (reps)
P3 – Box jump 32/24″ (reps)
Rotate on completion of sled pull. Post team’s total reps of DB snatch and BJ’s combined.
Practice ring support and dips for 10 minutes. Accumulate 50 reps.
Post your scores to the whiteboard.