First blog entry! So first of all, if you're here, thanks for reading! It's very much appreciated. It's been a long road rife with dead ends trying to "make it" in this industry, and alas, I'm still not even close, but I'm getting closer every day. The ironic part is that I genuinely don't give a shit about having a large "following" (quality over quantity, as they say) and I honestly abhor trying to sell people things (which is probably why I'm not very good at it). But in such a saturated market it's tough to gain that necessary traction without a lot of exposure, and it's tough to make a living without earning any money, so I find myself in a bit of a dilemma.
The only thing I know for certain is that I truly do love this shit. I've known that for years and I think that shows not only in my passion for the game, but also in the knowledge I've obtained over the years in pursuit of it. And that knowledge always came easy because I was hungry for it, and I still I am and I always will be. And sharing that knowledge with others, teaching what I've learned and seeing other people achieve things they never thought were possible for them, and getting to experience that joy alongside them is literally the coolest fucking thing in the world to me. So I want to keep being able to do that for as long as I can. That's the only thing I know for certain. So all that to say, if you're here reading this now, thank you for coming along on this ride with me and thank you for supporting me along the way. It has truly meant a lot to me and if it wasn't for you guys I honestly would have quit trying a long, long time ago.
Also, as is probably abundantly clear by now, these blog entries will be written less formally and more like a journal. I'm just going to spew my thoughts out onto the keyboard and whatever happens happens, so be prepared for plenty of scatterbrained, incoherent rambling. Anyway though! People always ask me what the heck my goals are and, to be honest, in recent history I've had a tough time answering the question. It used to be very clear to me when I first started: get stronger. The need for it was very obvious in my early years and the carryover into performance of all realms was both direct and dramatic. I used different lifts as litmus tests over the years, but the goal was pretty much always the same. Eventually that kind of led me into powerlifting for a little while where the goal there became even clearer. But, ultimately, even though I wasn't bad at it, I found it to be too narrow-scoped and not really for me. So, things have become less clear to me in recent years. Strength is still a top priority, to be sure, but the need for more and more of it is no longer as great at this stage. The cost of obtaining it is much higher than it used to be and the ROI is much lower than it used to be. Along with that, other things have begun to pop up into my field of focus as well. I don't play any competitive sports anymore and I'm not getting any younger either, so being strong, powerful, well rounded, and healthy have kind of become the general direction I want to head in as I move forward.
With that there are 3 categories of physical attributes I want to focus on in the upcoming year: power, strength, and conditioning, in that specific order (I'll explain why in a minute). For Part 1 today we'll focus on the first aspect of that series, which is power. Now before I jump too far into it some of you will say that the goals I'm going to introduce in this series conflict with the idea of being healthy. That some of them are overkill and simply too extreme to align with that ideal. But hey, I'm not dead yet and I still need to challenge myself or I'll go crazy. The difference is that 5 years ago I would have killed myself in pursuit of these goals; today I won't. Today I'm happy to accept that I went as far as I reasonably could without causing myself undue damage, and if any method of training is breaking me down too much then it's going to go out the window and that'll be that. A little bit older and just a little bit wiser.
So power. Most people get confused when this concept gets introduced but this isn't the forum for that explanation and I already can't stop my verbal diarrhea so I'll assume you're not most people. I really just have two big goals in this realm right now:
- power snatch at least 230lbs from the pocket
- tag 10'6" with a maximum vertical jump
I'll go after the snatch first and the vertical jump second. My reasoning is simple: last year I hit a 220lbs hang power snatch from the pocket, which was a big PR and the training for that really helped boost my overall explosiveness. Shortly after that I peaked my vertical jump and hit a PR touch of 10'3". I'm 31 years old now so this level of explosiveness likely won't be available too much longer, which is why I'd like to make one last run at these PR's before my explosiveness fades into the void. Now, when I was a bit younger I hit a power snatch from the floor with 220lbs. That was my best ever power snatch and I hit it by the skin of my teeth. Last year I matched it from the pocket much more convincingly.
220lbs high hang power snatch @ 155lbs
Skip to 2:50 to see the lift.
This year I want to beat it from the pocket, hence the goal of 230+. The pocket is considered to be the form of snatching that forces you to use the least weight, whereas the floor allows you to use the most weight. So to beat my old PR from the floor but now from the pocket indicates a significant increase in overall power. There is not a doubt in my mind that I can do this. The snatch grip high pulls I've started doing religiously once again are helping already. It's only been a few weeks but I can already feel the difference. I'll hit 230lbs, it's just a matter of time.
A 10 and a half foot touch may be a little more ambitious however. Hitting 10'3" last year was an all time jump PR by about 1-2 inches. I'm a little bit heavier now than I was then so that's a knock against me. But I'm more powerful now than I was last year and in my pre-test session a couple weeks ago I managed to tag 10'0.5" with a lousy, uncoordinated approach. Pretty much the same height I jumped last year during my pre-test before peaking my jump. So is it a little ambitious to hope for a gain of 5.5" from a peaking cycle when last year's cycle only yielded 3 inches and I was about 7lbs lighter? Yes. But I'm still going to shoot for the moon and we'll see where the fuck I land. This is probably going to be the last time I try to peak my vert and hit a PR on it, so I might as well aim as high as possibly can, literally and figuratively.
405lbs Zombie Front Squat @ 160lbs
Dragging on a bit now, I know, but I promised I would explain why the goals are ordered the way they're ordered. Power is first because I'm still fresh off a big lower body strength cycle. I hit a PR zombie front squat back in April I think and I held that strength on maintenance until late July. At that point I decided to segue into the power work and only in the last few weeks have I formulated the final goals I want to chase. But it makes sense to tackle power now because, for one, my leg strength is at a very high level currently, which means the ceiling for explosiveness will be very high as well once I get some more work under my belt.
And two, this break from squatting that is ultimately going to last several months is going to let my body heal up from the heavy lift pounding that lasted for months on end with no reprieve, it'll give me some time to lick my wounds (both physical and psychological), and it will leave me abso-fuckin-lutely ripe for a fresh batch of gainzzzzzzzz once I reincorporate the squat & deadlift back into my training routine early next year and start smashing heavy lifts week in and week out again. And then once that gainz train runs dry my strength levels will be peaked once again so another short break will be in order and since I will have already tackled power I might as well attack conditioning at that point. So that'll be that. Plus, the extra strength gains will be helpful for me with my conditioning goals anyway because the goal I've chosen to tackle (it's a lofty one, perhaps too lofty) is a partially strength based conditioning goal (submaximal strength obviously, but strength nonetheless). For that to be divulged, however, you will have to wait for Part 3.
In the next edition, which I should have ready to go next week, I'll cover what the main strength goals are that I want to achieve in 2020 before I move on to my conditioning goal. If you made it this far I hope you enjoyed the first entry into the old Blog! Remember to leave me some love in the comments and if you want to support the production of more content please check out my re-usable training templates and grab one for yourself if you feel so inclined. There's one for trainees of all skill levels and they can basically be used forever. My personal favorite is obviously the vertical jump manual. See you guys next time!