Thursday, December 1, 2016


It’s been a long time since competing.  My last competition before this was 10 Oct 2015.  It was at that competition that I ruptured my ACL, tore my lateral meniscus and partially fractured where my patella and tibia meet during a sloppy 775lb yoke pick-up.  I received ACL reconstructive surgery on 10 Nov (they weren’t able to repair the meniscus, so they trimmed it out as best they could), and since that time have been healing and recovering.  In true fashion, I was training the entire time between injury and surgery, and then resumed training 2 days post-op, but it was 5 months and 22 days post op that I was cleared to train the injured leg for real, and it was about another 2-3 months before I got my strength levels back to about 90% of where they were.  I found out about this contest about 3 months ahead of time, and rapidly transitioned from recover/off-season work to in season prep and training.  The week OF the show, the contest lost it's sanction, got canceled, and then a new venue picked it up, so it was going to be interesting to see if any of the training paid off.  Listed below is how I trained for what the events were supposed to be.


This show was something of a mixed blessing, as none of the events were my strong ones, so my ego couldn’t get in the way.

Event 1: Last man standing max axle clean and press (Wessels rules)

Up until this point, I was purely strict pressing, as I didn’t want to cause any knee trauma by dipping for the leg drive.  I was using 5/3/1 and focusing on getting my axle strict press numbers high.  Once I found out about the show, I had to relearn how to push-press, but I didn’t want to give up all the progress I had made on strict press, so I stuck with hitting the bare minimum reps for 5/3/1 sets before transitioning to push pressing out of the rack.  This would fatigue me for push pressing, but that was by design, because it meant limiting how much weight I put on the knee.

The bigger obstacle to overcome was the continental.  At my last show, I moved up a weight class, had to continental 245lbs, and couldn’t get it to my chest.  It was an eye opener, and prior to my injury something I was going to dedicate myself to.  Now, I had 3 months to figure it out and get it good.  I LIVED the continental the whole time.  For the first month, I would continental all of my push press sets on my press day, and then I’d rotate in a max weight continental on my squat day AND I would perform a weekly 10 minute EMOM workout of continentals, starting with triples and working my weight up until I could on my manage doubles or singles as weeks went on.  In the second to third months, I’d cut out the continental on the press day, but kept everything else the same.  This went a LONG way toward establishing my proficiency with the movement.

I also performed all continentals elevated from mats, because we would be performing the press with tires, so I wanted to get used to that movement.

By the time I was done training for the show, my leg drive had gotten better, but was still lacking.  Never ended up locking out 255, which was going to be my second attempt.

Event 2: Deadlift medley: barbell, frame, axle with tires and farmer’s handles (progressively heavier)

Weights were 405, 455, 465 and 525. Like all deadlift events, I didn’t train specifically for this one.  I had been doing axle ROM progression work because the axle forced me to use lighter weight than a deadlift bar would, so I stuck with that.  I would do more warm-ups with a mixed grip versus straps to help train myself for the axle portion of the medley, but otherwise I figured I’d show up strong and try to be fast, as was usual for me.

Event 3: Yoke 80’

Comp weight was 525lbs.  This was baby weight for me in the past, but my first day back to the yoke, 320 felt like a million pounds, and I was SLOW.  All my time spent learning footspeed had vanished, and I was starting over from scratch.  I would alternate weekly between yoke work and key carry medleys (event 5), with a reverse prowler drag finisher for each day to help bring up conditioning.  For the yoke, I would not move up on weight until I was certain I could maintain the footspeed I had with lighter weights.  I finally got smarter on moving events, and learned that it’s better to be fast with light weights than slow with heavy.  With a month out from the show, I managed to finally work up to comp weight and feel confident with it.  It was a lot of sweat work and eating humble pie.

Event 4: Hercules hold

Initially, I had planned to rig up some ghetto solution to simulate this, but everyone I talked to said that grip strength was the limiting factor beyond anything else, so I just decided to hammer that rather than spend my training time simulating.  I was already cranking grip hard with all the continentals and mixed grip axle work, but I also brought back timed DOH holds using the axle on my deadlift days.  I ALSO brought back timed crushes with the Captains of Crush grippers.  I would warm-up, and then just do 2 sets per hand holding in the squeezed position for max time.  I figured the axle was getting the thumb, and this was getting the fingers, and with all that I’d be covered.

By the time the show rolled around, I could hold a CoC #2 closed for a minute per hand.

Event 5: 3 Keg Carry Medley (75’, 50’, 25’) followed by backwards sled drag (75’)

Weights were 175, 200, 225 and 365 respectively.  I had a 100lb keg, a 182lb keg, and a 200lb sandbag at my disposal.  I had been doing some carry medleys prior to this, but once again, I wanted to learn how to be fast and light before I got slow and heavy.  First few runs, I’d double up with the 100lb keg and then end with the 182, and eventually I worked my way up to using the 182 for all 3 runs.  I was using a distance of 50-60’ the whole time rather than trying to figure it out, and I’d do suicides back and forth to help simulate fatigue.  For the sled drag, I used a prowler, and would load the kegs onto it at first before transitioning to loading it with 2 100lb plates or more.  I really tried to learn how to dig deep, drive hard, and learn back with all my weight to really get the sled moving.  There was a 90 second limit on this event, and having seen other shows, I figured that, even if I couldn’t be fast enough, if I could be tougher than everyone else, I could still place high simply by finishing the event.  I knew it was going to absolutely suck, but I ran some intense medleys in practice to prepare me for it.


I'll be competing on Saturday and will post the results, no matter what they are.