Sunday, July 6, 2014

Strongman Training

I was just gonna do a random facebook status, but realized I could go into much more detail here....

As most of you know, I entered a strongman(woman?) competition.  I kind of did it on a whim.  Some of my coworkers and I were talking about a powerlifting competition held each year at SportsFest.  While I was researching that, I discovered that a strongman comp is also held each year at SportsFest.  I figured a strongman comp would be tons more fun to train for.  If I suck at the comp, I'll suck.....at least I'd be giving it a shot.

I've been going about my business at WarriorFit.  Lifting with my trainer, and trying to gear things towards this strongman thing.  But when you don't have a log to press, or a Conan's Wheel to practice on, well.....you can only do so much.

So last week, when I got a confirmation email about the strongman comp, and was told that we could join in a strongman workout at South Mountain Crossfit, I jumped on the chance.  I would at least have an idea if I was in completely over my head.

I got there today and was truly terrified.  What if the people were douches?  What if I sucked?  I mean, really....I haven't been training at any of the true competition weights at all.  I was super happy that one other girl showed up.  She's also in the novice category, but after watching her, she could easily move up to the women's open.  She was a beast!

I sucked.

I don't know if going today was a good thing or a bad thing.  I guess good, because Heather (the other chick) and Paul (one of the non-douchey guys there) took me under their wings and really helped me out.

Here's what I did today, in order.  (The first paragraph of each section explains what will be required of us in the actual competition.)

Max Log Press:
30 second time limit, Wessles Rule: must make an attempt to get another, max 3 attempts, miss any attempt and you are done.  10lb jumps for women.  (Log press video.  I have no clue who this is, but the video shows you what the log press is.)

The gals have a pretty pink log to work with.  It weighs 80#.  My new friend was able to get 130# easy.  That just added to my terror.  I can't overhead push press that.  Sheesh.  My max is like 115ish with a straight bar.

I tried it out empty, just to get the feel of it.  It's just really different to work with, when you're used to working with a straight bar.  The width of it throws off your balance a bit, and you have a neutral grip with it.  I got the 80# easy.  The 90# was a struggle, so I took a little break and then hit 90# easy.  100# was simply not happening.

So now I have to work on strategy.  I could start with 80#, b/c I know I can get that easy.  But then I could only max out at 100# (if I'm lucky).  Or, I could start out at 90# and hope I get it.  But if I don't get it on that first try, I'm done.  I do have to take into account the fact that I did lift yesterday, and we did a ton of overhead work.  Plus, I played four games of softball.  I'll have to mull it over in my head a bit, but I do think I'm leaning towards opening with the 90#.  On the bright side, I'm 5 out of 7 entrants in the novice division, so four will be lifting ahead of me.

Farmer's Carry:
60 second time limit, no straps, unlimited drops, 50 feet straight, no turns.  Women's novice: 135#.  (Another video of people I don't know.  But you get the idea.)

I thought I had this one in the bag.  I've done more than 135# for a farmer's carry before, but usually with a trap bar.  But damn, the implements we used today were awkward.  I'm pretty confident I'll be able to get the carry in within the minute time limit, but I'll probably have to put it down once or twice to re-set my grip.  (And we were warned to mind our toes!)

Tire Flip:
Max reps in 60 seconds.  Women's novice: 450#.  (I'm not gonna post a video.  Just imagine someone flipping a ginormously huge tire.)

I was only mildly apprehensive about this one.  I've flipped tires before.  I just didn't know how heavy they were.

Heather attempted it, but couldn't get her hands under it.  We both wanted to approach the tire in the same manner.....a sumo squat, get the hands under it, and then lift it up, get a knee under it, and flip it.  But we couldn't get our hands under it.

One of the dudes told us to dig our shoulders in, grab the treads, and use our shoulders to muscle it up.  I gave it a go.  It was a battle, but I flipped it!  I rested a bit, and then tried it again.  I got it over twice, and decided that was good enough.  (Plus, I had tweaked something in my low back on the last flip, and knew I still had Conan's Wheel coming up.....which is supposed to be brutal, plus the atlas stones.)

Conan's Wheel:
Two foot buffer, max distance.  Women's novice: 230#.  (Another video sample.  Again, I don't know who this is....but at least you get the idea.)

I could really die with this one.  The most I've done to replicate this were Zercher carries at 115#.  Yes.  That is HALF the amount for the wheel.  (I'm fucking crazy.)

For the sake of simplicity, we had a total of 250# on the wheel.  (The wheel itself weighs 50, and we had two 100# plates loaded.)  My friend Heather jacks it up and walks it around once, no sweat.  Me, I can't even pick the freaking thing up.  Mind you, this was my first attempt at this.  Ever.

So we strip it down, and I go at it with 140#.  I walked around three times, no prob.  We take a break, and I give it another go at the 250.  It wasn't pretty, but I got around once.  I need to try and get it higher up on my chest next time....my whole carry was pretty low, and my forearms are gonna be all kinds of shades of purple over the next couple of days.

Even though I got one rotation in, I'm still really nervous about this one.  Because it was such a struggle, it really could go either way.  I do know that I will NOT be wearing a tech-style shirt.  I think the material is too slippery and may be a hindrance.

Atlas Stone Over 48-inch Bar:
60 second time limit.  Women's novice: 110#.  (Another video of someone I don't know.)

I was kind of excited to try this one.  I've never lifted a 110# stone before....the most I've carried was 84#.  But considering I could walk some decent distances with that 84# stone, I thought I'd do ok-ish.

Well.....I certainly had a bunch to learn.  The dudes were all wrapping their forearms in duct tape.  I was like, wtf?  Some had these lace-up leather forearm sleeve things.  And they used this stuff called tacky.  Paul explained to me that you wrap your forearms with duct tape with the sticky side facing out to help grip the atlas stone.  The tacky helps with the grips as well.  So he got some duct tape, wrapped up my arms, and I went at it.

Once I figured out my plan of attack, I got the stone over the bar quite a few times.  I wasn't counting, and I have no clue how long it took me, but I just wanted to get a feel for it.  Once I was done, Paul told me to try standing closer to the bar.  That way, I wouldn't have to change my grip and step to push it over the bar.  I'd be able to get it up and basically dump it.  I'm hoping to be able to try this technique at death gym before the actual comp, as I was pretty well taxed by this time.

We helped put the weights away, and brought some of the equipment out to load up the trailer.  Everything is now packed away for SportsFest in two weeks!  

Heather told me I could drop in at CrossFit Advanced next Sunday, which is where she trains.  Her and a couple others entered in the novice category have been doing strongman training on Sundays.  (If those girls can lift like her, I'll be in dead last!)  If I can get back from volunteering at Quadzilla in time, I just may go.  If not, well, I'll just have to give it my best on the 20th.

I may die.

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