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mark williams
07-22-2009, 03:13 PM
I have had a journal over at crossfit.com for a few months, charting my return to activity following an ACL reconstruction in December 08.
I've decided to move over here as my goals have become more specific and this seems to be a place where crossfit is seen as a tool rather than the tool. As a result a wider range of opinions are available.

A quick rundown of my old journal then: I was always active - although a bit inconsistent since leaving university, which led to a pretty significant weight gain taking me to around 200lbs which on a 5'3" fella is not a good look! I dropped weight playing Judo, messing about with crossfit and got to a more reasonable 185lbs, although still off my "fighting weight" of around 170lbs. A completely blown out ACL while playing American Football and nearly 18 months of denial before going to a surgeon led to shameful levels of inacitivity and a wobbling Welshman weighing in at 210lbs.

After the initial reconstruction, I dropped back to 192lbs and had great momentum but complications with my knee again hindered my training which led to a second surgery - this time to tidy up the cartilage - which was done on June 4th and was a resounding success - my pain pretty much went and ROM was better that same evening than it had been in months.
The 2 months of heavily reduced training and flagging optimism, and the month following the second op took its toll and I'm currently at 198.5lbs, but free to do almost any sort of training.

Goals
-To simultaneously drop bodyfat and increase rugby-specific conditioning ready for a planned return to contact training in September and matches in October. Weight-wise, the aim is to drop to 185lbs by the end of September.
-Speed/acceleration/agility performance to get back to (and beyond) levels I enjoyed 4/5 years ago.
-Complete my recovery and get back to playing regular rugby.

Plan
Crossfit certainly helped me get back to my current level of conditioning, and would undoubtedly take me further, but I need to get more specific.

-Strength and power training will be restricted to some core lifts which I will alternate at various points, but to begin with will consist of deadlifts, power cleans, hang cleans, squats, bench and pull-ups.

-Agility training to be undertaken (for the first time ever) and progressed as my knee allows.

-Speed work to be done (again, for the first time), with focus on short sprints (5m-30m) and acceleration.

-Conditioning to be very much interval based. The position I am hoping to return to - centre - is more about repeated sprints and anaerobic work than dogging it for 80 minutes (plus, long runs bore the shit out of me).

Overall program will need to be adapted as club training and matches are introduced but will maintain same basic shape (although very open to suggestions from you guys!

Epic first post over, next one will give yesterday and todays workout.

Cheers

mark williams
07-22-2009, 03:35 PM
Tuesday 21st July

Agility
5-dot drill

Lifts
Power Clean
1x3 @ 50kg
1x3 @ 60kg
1x3 @ 70kg
1x1 @ 80kg
1x1 @ 85kg - PR
1x1 @ 80kg

Bench Press
1x8 @ 60kg
1x8 @ 80kg
3x8 @ 90kg

Conditioning/Speed
10 x rolling sprint intervals (15m jog, 15m sprint, walk-back and repeat immediately)
Rest 2 mins
3 x rolling sprint intervals

Straight-leg-deadlift
1x5 @ 50kg
1x5 @ 60kg
3x5 @ 80kg

Alternating Leg Press
1x5 @ 40kg
1x5 @ 70kg
3x5 @ 80kg

Notes
-Agility drill took about 5 minutes to do because I don't really know the sequence yet and there was a lot of resetting after reps.
-strength work was ok, PR in power clean but looking to get to 100kg+ 1RM so not particularly excited by 85kg. First time benching for a loooong time but reps were solid, although last rep was a major effort.
-conditioning work was meant to be 2x10 but knee tendon started to ache a bit so stopped early. Was out of breath which was the idea, and enjoyed the increased coordination and footspeed (although drive still poor). i have basically had to re-learn how to run, having not so much as jogged since the injury! Very weird, but coming back slowly.
-SLDL's were easy enough, but first real go at them so held back on the weight, while the leg presses were very difficult. The last set was murder, which shows how weak my legs have become. I want to get this to regular squatting asap, but will only do when I can do around .75 bodyweight on one leg.

Overall, good workout and was sore in the morning. Structure of the workout was all over the place because I was trying to fit in the work I was meant to do on Monday (gym had false fire alarm so couldn't train Monday).

mark williams
07-22-2009, 03:44 PM
Agility
5-dot drill

Lifts
Deadlift
1x5 @ 80kg
1x5 @ 100kg
1x5 @ 120kg
1x5 @ 130kg - PR
1x3 @ 120kg

Pull-ups
2x8
1x6
2x5

Conditioning
5 x Powerbag Clean Litvi Sprints (cleans x 8; 35m sprints, walk back, repeat immediately)

Notes
-definite improvement in 5-dot drill already, but a long way to go before I can really say I'm agile! Will keep learning it this week and start timing next week,
-Pleased with deadlift: all reps had real snap in them, grip was the limiting factor.
-Pull-ups also had 'snap' chin to bar reps... they felt almost powerful which is a weird thing for me on pull-ups as I'm normally dragging myself up rather than flinging.
-Litvi Sprints rock. Fact. Managed the 5 sets before I felt sick! These will be a staple as I think they really mirror playing centre in rugby very well.

Knee tendon feeling pretty tender now, so sat here with an ice-pack but footspeed again improving. On the sprints could really feel the difference in drive strength between my left (rehabbing) and right legs...

Taking tomorrow off, then a speed session Friday (after a physiotherapy appointment). Might do the 5-dot drill a couple of times in the evening to keep the co-ordination going.

Derek Weaver
07-22-2009, 10:47 PM
Looks like you're off to a good start. When I was still playing I had shoulder and towards the end neck issues so goals were different.

As the season gets closer you may want to experiment a bit with Bulgarian Bag training. That's down the road though.

I'll be keeping an eye on this one.

What kind of frequency are you training with and are you incorporating any skill work or just injury proofing the body for now?

mark williams
07-23-2009, 10:38 AM
Hi Derek - rugby beats up all of you, doesn't it?!

I'll look into Bulgarian Bag training... no idea what it is but I like the sound of it!

Skill work will only really kick off when I start club training again. My plan is to ease in to practices slowly, joining in with all ball skill drills and doing more and more of the sessions as the weeks go by until I'm all-in and covered in mud.
I still have a hard time imagining being able to take a tackle or throw a side-step at full speed - think the mental/confidence could be an issue. Hopefully small but positive steps will get me back to hurtling into contact with reckless abandon before long:)

In terms of frequency, my program plan looks like this from next week (although will be playing by ear as body/injury allows):

Monday (speed focus)
-5-dot drill
-depth jumps
-10m starts
-Leg press (building to squats asap); SLDL
-Core work

Tuesday (conditioning focus)
-5-dot drill
-Power clean; Bench press
-Litvi Sprints

Wednesday (conditioning focus)
-5-dot drill
-Deadlift; Pull-ups
-Litvi Sprints

Thursday
OFF

Friday (speed focus)
-5-dot drill
-drop jumps
-rolling sprints
-Lighter leg press; lighter SLDL
-Core

Saturday (conditioning focus)
-5-dot drill
-Hang clean; Jammer extension
-Litvi Sprints

Sunday
OFF

I'll see how this feels - 2 consecutive Litvi sprint workouts might be a bit much but I'll soon find out. I would welcome any feedback/suggestions though!

A day off today - knee was stiff this morning but not the same discomfort I usually get for the first few hours the morning after sprints/runs... could this be progress?

mark williams
07-24-2009, 02:11 PM
Agility
-5 dot drill

Speed
-Drop Jumps
2x10

-6 x rolling sprints (10m jog, 20m sprint, full recovery)

Lifts
-Leg Press
1x5 @ 50kg
1x5 @ 60kg
3x5 @ 80kg

-Belgian Split Squats
2x5 @ no weight
3x5 @ 20kg

-SLDL
1x5 @ 50kg
1x5 @ 60kg
3x5 @ 85kg

Notes
-getting better at the dot drill. Start timing from next week,
-drop jumps were from about 1.5 feet, focus was on slight softness in the knees on landing and really sticking the land.
-sprints were half-decent, which was a nice surprise... by which I mean they felt faster than previous attempts, but still a fair way off where I want them,
-Leg press felt a lot easier than it did on Tuesday and will up weights next time out.
-The split squats were a nice surprise: I'd tried to them a few weeks before my last surgery and couldn't even do them with no weight added. These reps were strong and quite snappy. Will up to 20kg for first 2 sets and 30kg for the last 3 next time.
-SLDL were pretty easy again. Taking this slow, but should up to 90kg on Monday. Need to get these hams and glutes up to speed!

A good session, and looking forward to the Litvi's tomorrow

mark williams
07-25-2009, 08:41 AM
wt - 197

Agility
5-dot drill

Lifts
Hang Cleans
1x5 @ 40kg
1x5 @ 50kg
3x3 @ 70kg

Jammer Extensions
1x5 @ 40kg
1x5 @ 50kg
3x5 @ 80kg

Conditioning
5 x Powerbag Clean Squats Litvi Sprints 8 x clean squats, 35m sprints

Notes
- dot-drill continues to improve but the left leg complex is understandably progressing slower than the other movements.
- hang clean was very explosive, and should have 2.5kg next week.
- jammer extensions are not for me. I'm too short to have any real leg involvement, plus the carry over to rugby isn't as great as to A Football so will drop and replace - not sure with what yet.
-Litvi's were bastards. The clean squat is a more involved movement than the power clean and really noticed an effect on the sprints... my legs felt lighter and got some foot speed up quicker I felt. Will use these, and other leg based mvmts for Litvi's from here on in.

Overall, good workout, and again blown away by how systematically shattered I am after the Litvis. Once the sick feeling subsides, I am hit by how I am immediately hungry and sleepy!! By their nature they won't get easier because it's all about maximal intensity but really enjoy them.

Rest day tomorrow, knee tendon could probably use it, although it seems to be recovering quicker nowadays, and warming up a bit quicker.

BBQ'ing a quartered chicken now which I will eat over the course of the rest of the day.

Derek Weaver
07-25-2009, 05:54 PM
Nice call on the dot drill and Litvi sprints.

Here's a good video for Bulgarian Bags. I figured the rotational strength and bodyweight plus bag resistance exercises that can be done may make a good tool for maintenance/improvement of sport specific attributes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il8rU0H-9ps

Keep up the good work.

mark williams
07-26-2009, 02:24 AM
Hi Derek,

Thanks for the link: after your mentioning the bulgarian bags the other day I did some googling and immediately felt it would be great to add... then I saw the price of them and thought I'd have to write it off. This video is great, I've priced it up at a little over 10 including all materials so well over 190% discount! I'll have a nose around today and see if I can find shops that are open that sell inner tubes, and maybe make a start today.

While we're on it Derek, the general idea on my non-speed days is to include a couple of lifts that are functional and may have carry-over to rugby. What do you think of my selection and do you have any suggestions about others I might incorporate?

mark williams
07-26-2009, 08:06 AM
Was going to be a rest day but am re-jigging weekly schedule slightly - mainly because the gym in general, but the track in particular, is really busy on a Monday so I'd rather not train that day.
Also, wanted to see if I can squat yet...

Wt - 196lbs
Lifts
Squats
1x5 @ 40kg
1x5 @ 50kg
3x5 @ 70kg

Belgian Split Squats
1x5 @ BW
1x5 @ 20kg
3x5 @ 40kg

SLDL
1x5 @ 60kg
1x5 @ 70kg
3x5 @ 95kg

Core
Lying draw-ins
10x10 second holds

Explosive Sit-ups (feet anchored, knees bent)
1x5 @ BW
1x5 @ 5kg
3x5 @ 8kg

Explosive Jammer Twists (planted foot in line with the handle)
2x5 @ 15kg
3x5 @ 25kg

Swiss Ball Back Bridges
2x10 second holds

Swiss Ball Back Bridges, alternating leg raises
3x5

Planks
2x10 seconds @ BW
3X10seconds @ 10kg

Notes
-Squats were very very light but I did them!! First set was stiff but soon loosened up. Reps were ATG and controlled. Up to 75kg on Tuesday .
-BSS were good, needed to concentrate a lot to do them but form was good and mvmt was solid. Keep this weight for next week.
-SLDL was a cock-up! Meant to do 90kg but mis-read my notes, and did 95kg... reps were solid though so will keep moving on up.
-core work was interesting, not paid much attention to it before but been reading up that it is what makes you able to transmit your power into the opposition in the contact so decided I'd better get on it. Amazed at how the draw-ins hit bits that I didn't know I had!

Looking forward to my day off tomorrow, but have really enjoyed this training week.

mark williams
07-29-2009, 03:02 PM
ended up taking a couple days extra due to working late but had a good workout today. I read through Barry Ross's Underground... book and am going to give it a go for 6 weeks and see how I feel. It seems to divide people a bit, but it makes sense to me and it also fits with someone who doesn't have the time to do 2-a-days and hours of drills etc... best case scenario is it really is the holy grail of speed training, worst case is it isn't the best but gives good bang for buck.

Here was my first attempt...

Warm-up/Agility
-bosu ball work
-5-dot agility drill warm-up; time: 2.50

Push
-Bench Press
1x5 @ 100kg
1x4 @ 105kg
1x3@ 110kg
1x3 @ 115kg
1x2 @ 120kg

Deadlift with plyo
-Deadlift (superset with 1 rd of 4-side box plyo) 5 min rest between sets
1x5 @ 120kg
1x4 @ 125kg
1x1 @ 135kg
1x2 @ 135kg
1xf @ 140kg

Extras
-Belgian Split Squats
1x5 @ BW
1x5 @ 20kg
3x5 @ 40kg

Core
Ab45's
3x5x5seconds

Ob45's
1x3x5seconds

Notes
-5-dot drill was very slow (3x slower than I want to get to within the next couple months) but about twice as quick as first few attempts. Miles better on each portion, but left leg still lagging. Think it's as much confidence as anything.
-Bench press was ok, there was a bit more in there I think but no spotter so a bit hesitant to over-do it.
-Deadlift was strong, went for 140kg because the pull on 135kg was pretty strong, but only got halfway up. Grip was an issue. Left knee tendon felt the ploy jumps but from the 3rd set it loosened up nicely. I like the combo. Was very strange waiting 5 minutes between sets though.
-Split squats felt very strong but will keep at this weight for this week.
-Core work was pathetic! First couple of reps on both the Abs and Obs were easy but suddenly the strength went and it hurt!!


I'm due to start rugby training on Tuesdays from next week. I will pick and choose the drills etc that I do in training, and look at throwing some intervals in at the end if possible.

The routine that is forming in my head having read Ross's book and now that I need to lose a day for rugby practice is looking like this:

Mondays - off
Tuesdays - rugby practice (+Litvi's or intervals to finish)
Wednesdays - DL protocol with BSS as extras and core work.
Thursdays - DL protocol with jammer extensions as extras and Litvi's to finish
Friday - off
Saturday - DL protocol with BSS as extras and core work.
Sunday - DL protocol with jammer extension as extras and Litvi's to finish.

Comments, feedback - particularly from those with experience of Ross's program for sports speed - is, as always, very welcome.

mark williams
07-30-2009, 02:33 PM
Agility
-bosu ball work
-5-dot drill; time: 2.44 (PR)

Push
-Bench Press
122.5kg x 2
120kg x 2
117.5kg x 3
117.5kg x 3

Deadlift with plyos
-Deadlift (superset with 1 rd of 4-side box plyo) 5 min rest between sets
140kg x 3
140kg x 2
135kg x 1
130kg x 2

Litvi's
-Powerbag Clean Squats Litvi Sprints 8 x clean squats, 35m sprints, walk back repeat...
5 rounds; time: 6.16

Notes
-5-dot improved again, best time which I think was mainly due to the left leg portion improving after the first rep.
-There's more in the bench, probably an extra rep on most sets, but lack of spotter means I have to hold off.
-Deadlift was a great surprise! Turns out I cocked up by pyramiding up to the top weight, so started in reverse and 140kg flew up! 142.5kg next time out.
-Plyos felt sharper too compared to yesterday. Still plenty of room for improvement though and tendon feeling it now.
-Litvi's... what can I say. I love and hate them in equal measure. I'm timing to make sure I don't slack on the walk back (it's a purposeful march after the first round... a purposeful stagger by the last). Footspeed felt great, almost too fast for the rest of me? That's the sensation but I'm pretty sure it's just my co-ordination not quite being there yet.

Overall, great session. Rest day tomorrow, then hitting it hard on Saturday. I would like to have rested sprints at some point included but hard to pack it all in. Schedule is still a work in progress but really enjoy this routine.

Derek Weaver
07-30-2009, 08:02 PM
How often are you going to schedule deloads and back offs?

The dot drill is getting pretty slick.

I remember seeing an article, I think in this forum after the olympics about sprinting and how international coaches have their runners run just a few all out sprints per year. There's something to be said for sub maximal training in all forms. Worth a look as you progress. I'll see if I can find it and link it for you.

Things are looking good.

mark williams
07-31-2009, 09:44 AM
Hi Derek,

not sure on the deloads, haven't given it much thought! When I hit a wall on max's I'll back off to 85-90% ranges and ramp it back up after a week or so, but I don't know much about deloading. The link would be cool if you do find it.

5-Dot is still slow but definitely improving. Seriously need to dial in my diet though. I want to drop 15lbs before playing and the diet is letting me down.

Derek Weaver
07-31-2009, 07:10 PM
You may want to look at Wendler's 5/3/1 as well in terms of sub maximal training. Working 90-100% is sure to cause you more problems than you'll want.

There's a training max and then there's a blow yourself out all the time max...

mark williams
08-01-2009, 07:15 AM
I'll have to look into that, Derek - I was wondering how to cycle back and take another run-up in a methodical way.

Today knee was feeling good and it struck me how just a few weeks ago, sprints or even agility work would leave me uncomfortable walking for a day or so, and unable to do another leg based session for 3 or 4 days. Now, sprints and agility might make my knee a bit uncomfortable for the morning after, but I can work 2 days in a row, take one off and be fine to hit it again. The sweet, sweet smell of progress.:)

Agility
Bosu work
5-dot drill; time: 2.17 (PR)

Push
-Bench Press (superset with clapping push-ups) 5 minute rests.
125kg x 3 + 5 push-ups
120kg x 3 + 5 push-ups
120kg x 3 + 5 push-ups


Deadlift with plyo
-Deadlift (superset with 1 rd of 4-side box plyo) 5 min rest between sets
145kg x 1
145kg x 1
135kg x 2
135kg x 2

Extras
-Belgian Split Squats
1x5 @ BW
1x5 @ 20kg
3x5 @ 42.5kg

Core
Ab45's
3x5x5seconds

Ob45's
1x5x5seconds

Notes
-smashed my PR on the dot-drill which was great but still a long way to go.
-125kg on bench felt easy, go to 127.5kg tomorrow.
-Deadlift is being restricted by my grip. The 145kg pull was pretty good and I felt I had another one but grip gave out. Considering getting wraps because I'm looking to develop my posterior chain, not my grip. (sacrilege, I know!)
-BSS was fine, keep at 42.5kg for all of next week though.
-Core work is a bitch.

Diet was clean, looking for circa 1800kcals, with a 40/40/30 P/C/F give or take and then fine tune in a couple weeks. Need to get back into the habit of eating clean again.

mark williams
08-02-2009, 08:51 AM
Agility
5-dot drill; time: 1.59 (PR)

Speed
Sprint Pyramid
6x10m
4x20m
2x30m
4x20m
6x10m
30 seconds between reps, 2 minutes between sets

Lift
SLDL with lateral box jumps
100kg x 4 + 4 jumps each side
110kg x 3 + 4 jumps each side
110kg x 3 + 4 jumps each side

Notes
-improvements on the 5-dot again... thought it would have been slower because I was focussing more on accuracy so was a nice surprise.
-sprints were ok, took a few minutes to warm my knees up but once they were loosened up a bit they didn't give me any bother until the last rep or two. Rests were a bit hap-hazard in practice as there was a kids class going on and I didn't want to plough into any of them!
-the SLDL with plyo combo was a bit of a mess around, but really liked it. Will work on incorporating it somehow as want to make sure my hams and glutes catch up to my quads. Couldn't give it everything after the sprints but liked it.

Weight was 199lbs today, which is no more than I deserve after such a terrible few weeks diet. Clean yesterday and today - will weigh on Wednesday and see where I am then.

mark williams
08-04-2009, 04:13 PM
Big day for me today... final physio session and am now discharged and officially fixed!

Had the green light to go rugby training tonight, but not full contact for another 4 weeks so went along this evening and... knee held out fine:cool:

I will admit I was nervous and was too aware of foot placement and where my knee was while going through ruck and maul drills, but I hope this will lessen and disappear over the coming weeks - I can't be thinking about anything but smashing the other guy when I start full contact again or I will get hurt.

Looking back at the session, my fitness was good enough for training but not for matches (expected) and running on grass and at various angles and paces was more demanding than the straight line stuff I've been doing at the gym but the twisting, turning and cutting I was doing (albeit at 70-80% pace) would have been impossible without my new ACL so I've got to "believe" I'm pretty much healed up.

I will be sore tomorrow, not just on my knee - but I am expecting the tendon to be stiff as the shearing forces of stopping and starting were more extreme than I've been used to. Overall, though, I'm very pleased and looking forward to going again on Thursday (if I've loosened up enough) or next Tuesday if not.

I will have to alter my training schedule to incorporate once or twice a week club training, but will stick with the Ross training system for speed, and the Litvi's for that "able-to-sprint-while-shagged-out" fitness.

Current thinking for the training schedule is as follows...

Monday - Off
Tuesday - club practice + Litvi
Wednesday - Ross session + core
Thursday - club practice + Litvi
Friday - Off
Saturday - sprint session (sprint pyramid)
Sunday - Ross Session + Litvi

This would effectively mean, 3 lots of conditioning; 1 pure speed workout; 2 lifting workouts and 2 off-days. I'm looking at making a Bulgarian Bag for Litvi's after rugby practice and would like to move the sprint pyramid out of the gym and onto a field when the weather suits. I would have liked 3 lifting days but 2 club sessions a week knocks that on the head - I think 2 rest days will be necessary.

Nick Hunter
08-04-2009, 06:09 PM
Replied to your post on my log.

Are you really 5'3"? What are you doing in the centers? What league/division do you play in? You're a halfback in disguise!

With regards to your question about rugby specific lifting, when I was training in New Zealand my coach (a former Commonwealth Games competitor) put it succinctly: "Rugby players need to put weight overhead." He was not a fan of bench press, and thought overhead movements were better both for the specific demands of shoulder and arm strength for rugby, and for the health of the shoulder girdle. He also advocated front squats as the main squatting movement. His reasoning was this: balance is important, but the power and strength required in most rugby situations comes off the balls of the feet and moves weight that is forward of the body. Thus, not only were the olympic lifts, front squats, and overhead presses better when grouped for creating success regarding each movement, but they were tailor-made for rugby. Heavy deadlifts were not nearly as important to him as heavy cleans, because the deadlift was a slow, dragging movement done off the heels, whereas the clean was a lightning fast extension from the balls of the feet. Etc...

mark williams
08-05-2009, 03:53 PM
Thanks for the feedback Nick. Half-back in disguise is about right! I ended up playing centre at my last club because the scrum half there was excellent (and the captain!) and I had enough speed and strength for the crash ball, but not the bulk for hooker. Giving some thought to the scrum half situation though (but I'd miss crash ball too much!)

I hear you on the cleans etc... having sat down this evening and gone through last night's training session and felt my bodies feedback (ie; aches), I've started to remember the specific demands of rugby and will come up with a program that reflects this. I think cleans and front squats will have a role in that.

The heavy deadlifts are part of a speed-training program (Barry Ross) and are something I will be keeping, if not for the speed element, then at least because a self-respecting rugby player should have a good lower back! I also like the combining of strength movements with plyo's.

My main concern is to get the fitness and speed back asap. By dropping some of the pork that has accumulated while being laid up (25lbs over 'fighting weight' at the moment) I'll be serving both... my speed will increase because my power:weight ratio will improve and fitness will improve as I'll be carrying less around the pitch with me. I might start throwing in some steady state cardio to help increase this process and then drop it as soon as the weight becomes acceptable.

I went for a short run this evening to shake the aches off after last night, and should be ok for another session tomorrow with the club. I'm away for a few days after that and will start the next chapter in my return from Monday.

I also did some deadlifts, and pulled 145kg for a double so improvement on last time out.

Nick Hunter
08-05-2009, 04:59 PM
Sounds like good training, Mark. I don't know how you mix plyo stuff with deadlifts. When I was deadlifting it was like the only focus for about 45 minutes! I would take 6-7 minutes rest between each set. I got a big deadlift pretty quick, but probably could have used that time more wisely...

Other rugby specific training I've been aware of:

Jammer holding medicine ball.
I don't know if you have access to a jammer (the machine AM. Football players use to train line-of-scrimmage power) but doing them one handed with the med ball is great for building a proper fend.

Heavy dumbbell work.
Higher level rugby programs I've seen love unilateral work or non-barbell pressing to hit shoulder stabilizers as much as possible.

High rep training.
A lot of the time we get into strength training and forget that we have to maintain a good portion of whatever strength we possess for 80 minutes. Indeed, I'd hate to be 250lbs of 12-rep muscle and immediately gas with no real power, but I'd also hate to be a solid 215, diesel in the tackle with a huge squat, but not be able to repeat it in the mauls or ruck after ruck.

I don't remember if you were even looking for any of this or if it's helpful. I just have a lot of time right now!

Cheers Mark.

mark williams
08-06-2009, 03:57 PM
:) Thanks Nick. I think you hit the nail on the head... rugby is a sport that (no matter what your position in the modern game) you need to be strong and fast and fit and co-ordinated for the full 80 minutes. Training needs to reflect this.

Survived another session with the club today. Again, no contact but while I was just happy to make it through on Tuesday, this evening I was very frustrated with myself.. I was always pretty well co-ordinated and quick on my feet, but now I have to almost plan my movements, which means reaching for an awkwardly bouncing ball or even moving to get under a high ball is difficult and cumbersome. Also, driving off my left leg, especially if it's sudden, isn't easy. I can't put the power through it properly. Walking is automatic. Imagine having to plan and conciously move your legs and you're not a million miles away from what I'm feeling right now.

My guess/hope is that it's a time thing and muscle memory etc will save the day with enough repetitions, but it did get me down a bit. Still, I've got a couple of months before I'll be trying to play a match... time is on my side, but only just.

Off for a long weekend and then back on Monday to make a real start on this home straight of my rehab.

mark williams
08-11-2009, 04:53 PM
great weekend off with my brother and dad, riding motorbikes in deepest, darkest North Wales. Some seriously good scenery, roads, eating and even a run-in with the law to top off a brilliant boys weekend.

Back to rugby this evening and I felt a lot more positive than on Thursday where my lack of sharpness was getting to me. Still a long way to go but felt genuine improvements on movement and speed so much happier.

Most of tonight was running through backline moves so a good interval-type workout, plus one of the coaches has a 'thing' for press-ups so lots of them!

The ultimate shape of my schedule is still being formed but should have a direction ready for tomorrow. Diet slowly coming together and hoping for some progress on losing the power-belly by end of the week... I start a physiotherapy degree in 7 weeks and my aim is to be 180-185lbs by then (about 2lb a week should cover it).

mark williams
08-12-2009, 10:44 AM
Hammerstrength Bench Press with clapping push-ups
120kg x 4 + 5
130kg x 3 + 5
130kg x 2 + 5

Deadlift with Power Clean
135kg x 4 + 60kg x 5
140kg x 2 + 65kg x 5
135kg x 1 + 65kg x 5

Hammerstrength Row
80kg x 12
80kg x 12
80kg x 9

Notes
- knee felt good after yesterday, still sore on the tendon but joint-line itself was fine. Loosened up nicely over the day.
- have gone from free-weight bench to hammerstrength, lack of spotter is restricting me. Focused on pushing as hard and as fast as possible.
- deadlift is a bitch. 135kg felt way easier than I was expecting, and probably had 2 or even 3 more reps in the first set but held back and upped weight next set. First pull was easy again, then suddenly my grip becomes the limiting factor in a big way. As soon as I can I'm getting wraps. I know it's not ideal but when I'm benching almost as much as I'm deadlifting something is wrong. Cleans were easy, but again grip on last set made me have to check the speed.
- Just wanted to hit back a bit more so threw some rows on the end.

Rugby again tomorrow, think it will be mainly drills. Starting to be able to imagine taking contact again which is a step forward from last week. Still... easy does it, I have 6 weeks before games start and there's no law that says I have to play straight off.

Nick Hunter
08-13-2009, 11:50 PM
Nice training man. Are you using opposing grip for the deadlift? Also, grip will become extremely difficult if you're doing multi-rep sets of power cleans in between them, and if you are doing anything else before the deadlifts. I am continually confused by your need to shove taxing exercises between deadlift sets! Welshmen...

From your last log it would seem more efficient to do:

Power Clean 3x5
Deadlift 3x3
Bench Press 3x3
Clapping Pushups 3x5
Rows 3x12

Then again, I don't know what you're going for... as you are a welsh mystery...

mark williams
08-14-2009, 10:02 AM
Hi Nick - Welsh mystery? I like it!

Believe it or not, the mixing plyo/explosive lift with a heavy mvmt I found in an English book - The RFU Guide for Coaches: Fitness and Conditioning.

It's called contrast training and the idea goes that the combining of a heavy compound lift with a plyo or explosive lift will increase the RFD (rate of force development) which, as I understand it, equates to more carry-over of strength into power/speed. This is also the basis for Barry Ross's speed program and a couple of others. I don't know if it works yet but I do know I like it and it makes sense to me! The Welsh mystery is solved... by an English book.:)

I am using a split-grip for the deadlift and getting very frustrated. I'm deadlifting later on but have decided to avoid the straps for another month. If there's no improvement I'm getting the straps involved.

I will also be breaking with my usual attitude of steady state cardio being crap today because while I am too sore to do Litvi's or sprints, I do need to step up the fat-loss so will be tacking on an extra 40 minutes of x-trainer after lifting.

mark williams
08-14-2009, 01:03 PM
Yesterday was rugby again, went well - felt a little less sharp than Tuesday but that was because of training a couple of days before.

Knee was fine today, just the usual ache and stiffness in the tendon which loosened enough for training today....

Hammerstrength Bench with clapping push ups
135kg x 3 + 5
130kg x 4 + 5
130kg x 3 + 5

Deadlift with powerclean
140kg x 2 + 70kg x 5
140kg x 1 + 70kg x 5
130kg x 2 + 70kg x 5

Chins
2x7
2x6

X-Trainer
40 mins, hill program, lvl 12

Notes
- bench felt strong, up to 132.5kg next week, clapping push-ups seemed to have more drive too.
- deadlift was, as usual, frustrating. My posterior chain could probably hammer out 5 of the 140kg reps at the moment but my grip allows only 2. Power cleans were fine though. Keep weight here for a while to maintain the speed of the movement.
- Chins were pretty explosive and chin to bar for most of reps, nose to chin for the rest.

Have been eating clean since Tuesday so hoping to be 198lbs tomorrow. Sprints and a bit of fitness tomorrow, legs on Sunday and then rest, glorious rest, on Monday.

mark williams
08-15-2009, 02:10 PM
Weighed in at 199lbs today and also had confirmation of my place on a physiotherapy course starting September 28th... you can bet your sweet ass I'm not looking like this when I get there!

I've been looking around for a while and the feedback on Lyle McDonalds RFL program looks like the balls. It's not going to help me with my training for my long term goals of getting quicker, stronger and fitter but I'm going to use it as a shot in the arm to get my body composition nearer where it needs to be. Plus, being 15-20lbs lighter will make me quicker by default!

So, for the next 6 weeks I'll do this before moving onto something more supportive of my performance goals. Training is still going to be 2 rugby sessions, 2 lifting days and 1 short sprint workout a week. I'll tag on an extra 20-40 minutes of low intensity cardio.

Took today off because I had too many errands to run, then the world championship athletics came on the tv.

mark williams
08-16-2009, 07:50 AM
RFL Day 1
199.2lbs
40" waist
16.75" arm
26% BF (accumeasure)

Diet
976kcals
17g f
25g c
183g p

Training
Alternating Leg Press with Vertical Jumps
65kg(x2) x 4 + 3 jumps
65kg(x2) x 5 + 3 jumps
70kg(x2) x 4 + 3 jumps

SLDL with 20" Box Jumps
120kg x 5 + 5 jumps
130kg x 3 + 5 jumps
130kg x 3 + 5 jumps

X-trainer
40 mins, lvl 12, hill program

Notes
-the leg press was interesting because the first set I thought I'd over-estimated the weight I could lift - the first reps were very slow and uncomfortable on my left leg - but then it was like my leg 'woke up' and, while still uncomfortable, I could push more. Maybe I'm starting to overcome that muscular inhibition thing.
-SLDL was same story as normal deadlift, grip becomes such an issue that I focus us much on that as on form - wraps have been ordered and should be here ready for next session. Box jumps were fun - only a low box but first time trying it.
-x-trainer was boring but fine

mark williams
08-17-2009, 11:30 AM
197lbs (-2lbs)
1,115kcals
20.7g fat
19.7g carbs
211.9g protein

No training today, legs feel surprisingly fresh after yesterday but not tempted to hit the gym.

Diet was ok today, felt hungry this evening and ended up succumbing to 50g or so more extra lean mince than planned so fat and protein were higher than yesterday - will be bringing back down tomorrow.

2lbs loss is obviously water but nice to see the numbers moving anyway.

Tomorrow is rugby practice and knee is feeling stronger again, less discomfort in the tendon following training etc so looking forward to progressing more this week.

Overview for this week

Monday - off
Tuesday - rugby
Wednesday - Strength (BP/PU; DL/PC) + easy cardio
Thursday - rugby
Friday - Strength (BP/PU; DL/PC) + easy cardio
Saturday - Speed (pyramid sprints) + easy cardio
Sunday - Legs (LP/VJ; RDL/BOXJ) + easy cardio

I'm supplementing with a multi-vitamin, the omega 3/glucosamine/chondroitin tabs and Creatine E2 (to help fuel my brief strength and sprint workouts). I need to re-read the RFL plan to see what the recommendation is for fuelling the slightly longer workouts (rugby mainly) - 5g or so of carbs pre-workout rings a bell but I could be wrong.
This diet is not ideal for improving performance in the short term but I think long-term, this relatively brief declaration of all-out war on the blubber is the way to go.

mark williams
08-18-2009, 12:50 PM
195.4lbs (-3.6lbs)

1,065kcals
18.5g fat
36.2g carbs (15g immediately pre-workout)
186.5 protein


-Took a sports drink (about 15g carbs) just before rugby this evening and seemed to hold up well enough.
-Feel fine but when I get hungry I get REALLY hungry! Just had last meal and feeling a bit peckish so loading up on water (have widdled A LOT today).
-Another 1.6lbs lost, I won't know how much is fat for a while yet but quick water loss is to be expected. I have a free meal scheduled for tomorrow evening after working out. Not sure what I'll have but looking forward to it already!

Straps have arrived so deadlift tomorrow will (finally) be a delve into heavier weights.

Cheers

mark williams
08-19-2009, 02:59 PM
193lbs (-6.2lbs)
Free Meal today:)

Training

Hammerstrength Bench Press with Clapping Push-Ups
137.5kg x 4 + 5 push-ups PR
137.5kg x 2 + 5 push-ups
135kg x 3 + 5 push-ups

Deadlift with Hang Cleans
150kg x 4 + 60kg x 5 PR
150kg x 4 + 60kg x 5
150kg x 4 + 60kg x 5

Hammerstrength Row
3x12 @ 80kg

Cross-Trainer
40 minutes, lvl 12, hill program

Notes
- Was in two minds whether to have a free meal this evening after the gym because I started to feel really good this morning and energy was good and constant all day, plus hit some PR's which I didn't expect:) . Was concerned I'd have to go through the whole getting used to not eating much and chugging back tuna and chicken again but enjoyed it thoroughly and am looking forward to getting back on it tomorrow.
- Don't know exact nutritional breakdown but know I got >200g p and <100g carbs (just).
-PR's on bench and deadlift, will up bench to 140kg and deadlift to 155kg.

Overall, a good day and also have noticed my quad tendon doesn't give me any problems or soreness the day after rugby which means..... PROGRESS!!






Notes

mark williams
08-20-2009, 03:16 PM
1,054kcals
25.7g fat
33.2g carbs
169.3g protein

Quite literally moments after writing yesterdays entry and banging on about the delicious free meal, I got major hot flushes and felt nauseous until I fell asleep at about 1.30am! Woke up this morning feeling hung-over, so much so that I backed out of rugby when I was half-way to the field!

Not sure what happened but a power nap after work and lots of water seems to have done the trick. Didn't weigh because it took me so long to drag my bloated ass out of bed that I didn't even have time to shower before work - not sure I would have wanted to anyway!

Got my macros wrong today - too many carbs because I necked a 15g carb sports drink to fuel the rugby session that didn't happen and not enough protein because my appettite deserted me until late this evening.

So, unexpected day off but raring to go tomorrow.

Steven Low
08-20-2009, 03:40 PM
Dude, that's waaaaaaaaay too little cals. You should probably be on around 2000 at least given your weight. You're aiming for 1 lbs of weight loss a week... not 1 lbs a day.

mark williams
08-21-2009, 09:13 AM
Hi Steven - it's a short-term diet (will be doing 6 weeks max), Lyle McDonalds Rapid Fat Loss, which I'm using as a shot in the arm to kickstart the fat-loss. It's not aimed for optimal health or performance in the short term but it is effective at getting the blubber to shift.

Energy is feeling fine, although I'm under no illusions I'm not going to set the world on fire in the gym - a free meal and a brief refeed once a week to try and minimise metabolism slow-down but you're absolutely right it is far too few calories and is by no means a long or even medium-term way of eating.

mark williams
08-21-2009, 11:09 AM
193.6lbs (-5.6lbs)
978kcals
18.0g fat
15.8g carbs
186.2g protein

Weight was better than I was expecting! Trousers felt looser today too which was nice.

No training this evening so 2 days off in a row. Energy feels fine but I am wary of overtraining on this diet and sacrificing more muscle than necessary. Tomorrow I will train or I'll go nuts!

May well take a waddle down to the local athletics club - training is cheap and while I'm not tall enough to be great, I'd love to give discus a go (unashamedly inspired by the World Championships in Berlin just now!)

mark williams
08-22-2009, 01:53 PM
193.6lbs (-5.6lbs)
986kcals
20.3g fat
10.3g carbs
189.1g protein

-no mvmt on the weight today but feeling leaner.
-didn't train as some jobs that were meant to take the morning ended up taking the whole day! Will hit it hard tomorrow, then day off Monday, another session on Tuesday and then flying to Switzerland to visit family on Wednesday. I'll be there a few days and will allow for a free meal on Wednesday and again on Sunday. My goal is to get to <190lbs by the time I leave and be the same weight when I return on the 31st. No weight training while I'm away but will have daily access to a pool and x-trainer.

Derek Weaver
08-22-2009, 06:05 PM
Dude. Eat more. RFL is meant to be used with 2-3 weight training sessions/week.

mark williams
08-23-2009, 02:13 AM
Hi Derek - that's pretty much what I've done: 2 weight sessions and a rugby practice (pretty low intensity practice too!)

Having said that measurements taken this morning suggest that only about 1.5lbs of the 5.6lbs lost was actually fat (rest was water) and this is a hard way to lose 1.5lbs!

mark williams
08-23-2009, 07:24 AM
193.6lbs (-5.6lbs)
waist - 39" (-1")
arm - 16 5/8" (-1/8")

Workout

Overhead Squat
1x5 @ 20kg
1x5 @ 30kg
3x5 @ 40kg

Hammerstrength Bench with clapping push-ups
130kg x 5 + 5 push-ups
130kg x 3 + 5 push-ups

Deadlift with dumbbell swings
150kg x 5 + 30kg x 5
150kg x 5 + 30kg x 5

Alternating Leg Press with box jumps
70kg(x2) x 5 + 5
70kg(x2) x 5 + 5

Medicine Ball Hammer-Style Throws
7kg 3 x 8 (each side)


Notes
-as per my previous post, only an inch off the lurve handles despite 5.6lbs, along with bf% (accumeasure calipers) dropping less than 1%... I knew that with rapid weight loss there would be accompanying water loss, but if it's only 1.5lbs of actual fat that's gone, then there are easier ways of achieving that!
-Having said that, I'll stick it out a couple more days and see where I am on Tuesday.

Workout went well, ohead squats were more of about remembering the movement and getting my confidence back with my knee than putting up earth shattering weights... which is just as well because 40kg felt like enough for now!
Was aiming for 2x5 on all other lifts today and got weights slightly wrong on the bench - maybe 127.5kg would have been better. Deadlift felt strong and swings were good. Felt shattered and was breathing hard after them!
Leg press was easier second set than first - a lot of that is to do with 'convincing' my left leg it can do the work. The jumps were easy and will stick some plates under the bench next time to increase it by a couple of inches.
Med ball hammer swings felt good and obliques glowing now.

Will play tomorrow by ear but looking like a day off just now.

Nick Hunter
08-24-2009, 02:45 PM
Good luck losing the pounds, Mark!

My surgery is tomorrow. Patella graft. I'll let you know how it goes.

mark williams
08-25-2009, 03:53 PM
Cheers Nick.

Shit, that came around quick! Best of luck mate - don't be a hero, take as much morphine as they'll give you. The night following my surgery (I came round at about 5.30pm) was long and miserable but, bugger me, they had me walking around on crutches the next day - stairs and all!

Mark

mark williams
08-25-2009, 03:56 PM
192lbs (-7.2lbs)

Finally! Have been stuck at 193.lbs for a few days but have felt leaner - I think I read somewhere that for every pound of fat burnt there is a pound and a half of water that takes a while to shift... or I may have made that up!

Either way, a bit of mvmt at last. Took a free meal tonight and no major reaction like last week. Tomorrow I travel to Switzerland til Monday - I'll have a free meal the last night I'm there, and do 40 mins of x-trainer a day to offset any small naughties that may worm their way into my diet.

No training today because I got lost looking for the athletics track. Google Earth revealed I had been in the correct car park no less than 3 freakin times, but had been pointing in the wrong direction. If I'd gotten out and looked around the side of the huge building I would have seen a massive track and hammer-cage, not a couple of football pitches. Still, it'll be there when I get back.

Peace,

Nick Hunter
08-26-2009, 08:03 AM
Thanks, Mark. I'll let you know how everything goes.

mark williams
09-05-2009, 09:17 AM
Well - a lot loonger break than I'd planned but there's been a lot going on! I got a bit disillusioned with RFL: I lost loads of weight but, after taking some carbs in on a free meal, I'd put all but a couple of pounds back on. There are far easier ways of losing 2lbs a week!

Today was first day back

Overhead Squats
1x5 @ 20kg
1x5 @ 30kg
3x5 @ 40kg

Hammerstrength Bench with Bondarchuk Press
125kg x 5 + 25kg x 8
125kg x 5 + 25kg x 8

Deadlift with dumbbell swings
120kg x 5 + 30kg x 5
120kg x 5 + 30kg x 5

Alt Leg Press with box jump
72.5kg x 5 + 5 jumps
72.5kg x 5 + 5 jumps

Chins
1 x 10
1 x 8
1 x 6

Swiss ball russian twist with hammer style med ball throws
15kg x 5 (each side) + 9kg x 5 (each side)

Cross-trainer
30 mins lvl 10

Notes
- had to drop the weight on deadlift because I forgot my straps so felt pretty easy.
- stuck a 25kg plate under the bench for box jumps so a bit higher than last time.

Nick Hunter
09-10-2009, 07:33 AM
Nice to see you still at it Mark! Sometimes I check your log when I get mad that I look like a disco dancer in slow-motion when I walk down the stairs. I go: "That's a few months away..."

I'm taking a trip down to my alma mater to help out the college rugby club with their first game of the season. We have a great flyhalf, great outside center, great fullback, great hooker, and the rest of the team is pretty new or just not the best ever. The men's team they are playing has a monster pack that will crush them, but rather suspect back line players. It seems that's where we'll overmatch them seriously in talent. What sort of strategies would you consider for making sure a talented back line can get their hands on the ball when the pack is getting beaten up?

mark williams
09-12-2009, 07:23 AM
Hi Nick - glad that you're progressing!

The main thing is to keep the pace of the game up - the mens side will almost definitely not have the natural wind of the college side. I'd avoid mauls like the plague (they'll be slower but stronger and will just push you around at maul time) so you want every contact you take to turn into a ruck straight away - scrum half whips it away as fast as possible and just keep peppering them. The second half will be easier than the first because they will gas.

In the rucks, tell the boys to focus on really placing the ball as far back on your own side as possible - the mens sides tend to be a bit more streetwise at slowing ball down in rucks and thats what you want to avoid.

Other than that - play the numbers, don't feel obliged to run it from everywhere, the kicking game for the first 20 minutes will help run their legs down and then you can really exploit the mismatch in the backs. Thats the main thing I noticed playing college rugby against mens sides - we were way more skilled and way fitter but they knew the dirty tricks up close and were strong as hell.

Good luck!

mark williams
09-12-2009, 09:58 AM
Overhead Squats
1x5 @ 20kg
1x5 @ 30kg
2x5 @ 45kg

Power Snatch
1x5 @ 40kg
1x5 @ 45kg
1x5 @ 50kg

Front Squats
1x5 @ 50kg
1x5 @ 60kg
1x5 @ 70kg

Romanian Deadlift
1x5 @ 90kg
1x5 @ 100kg
1x5 @ 105kg

Barbell Twist
3x5 (each side) @ 40kg

Med Ball Hammer Throws
3x5 @ 9kg

Notes
-balance on overheads was better this time: 47.5kg next time
-power snatch was very light but my form really needs work; I had to really concentrate on not muscle snatching it up. Keep weight around this for now.
-front squats were strong, quite explosive on the way up: up to 60/70/80 next time.
-RDL's were strong and will up to 100/110/115 next time.
-twists were good, but keep weight there for now, I want to keep it fairly explosive.
-med ball throws felt snappier

Overall a good session.

mark williams
09-15-2009, 02:53 PM
was pretty sore for the last couple of days but woke up today feeling great... except my right shoulder hasn't forgiven me for heavy benching on a hammerstrength machine. I think they're great machines and give a much better/more natural movement than other machines, but it turns out my shoulder hates anything that isn't free-weights!

today....

Overhead squats
1x5 @ 20kg
1x5 @ 40kg
2x5 @ 47.5kg

Power Clean
1x5 @ 70kg
1x5 @ 75kg
1x5 @ 80kg

Front Squats
1x5 @ 60kg
1x5 @ 70kg
1z5 @ 80kg

Romanian Deadlifts
1x5 @ 105kg
1x5 @ 110kg
1x5 @ 115kg

Barbell Twists
3x5 (each side) @ 40kg

Medicine Ball Hammer Throws
3x5 (each side) @ 10kg

Crosstrainer
30 mins, hill prog, lvl 13

Notes
- overheads improving, felt my shoulders rock back into that sweet spot for balance. At this weight, it's more about coordination and core than legs so I like it as a warm-up to wake everything up. 50kg next time
- power cleans were ok, go 70kg/85kg/87.5kg
- front squats were nice, deep and reasonably easy. Go 70/80/90kg next time (this will probably be approaching 90% of max)
- RDL's were ok but again grip is my nemesis. It held but I had to think about it which means I wasn't focusing on form.
- keep twists and med balls as they are for now.

mark williams
09-22-2009, 02:42 PM
Whoops!!

Not been posting, but have been working out (not quite as regular as I would have liked but have quit my job and uni starts next Monday so have been balls to the wall trying to get stuff sorted!)

Diet... well, good news really. I tried Lyle McDonalds RFL program (see previous posts) and, for me atleast... it blows. I only stuck to it a little over a week but when you see the numbers flying down the scale, only to fly right back up again as soon as you have a carb-heavy meal (not day, just a meal) you realise it was a false dawn. Plus, calories that low cannot be good for you.

Instead, I've been eating paleo-ish. Meat and olive oil providing all my protein and fat, all carbs coming from berries and green veg (+yellow peppers). Weight? Down to 192.5lbs (which was the lightest I was with RFL after the same amount of time - 7 days) and calories not been under 2000 yet. Much easier to do, energy great and meals are fun. Hoping to break the 190 milestone by end of next week.

19th SEPT

Overhead Squats
1x5 @ 20kg
1x5 @ 40kg
1x5 @ 50kg

Power Clean
1x5 @ 70kg
1x5 @ 80kg
1x2 @ 85kg
1X3 @ 85kg

Front Squat
1x5 @ 70kg
1x5 @ 80kg
1x5 @ 90kg

Romanian Deadlift
1x5 @ 105kg
1x5 @ 115kg
1x2 @ 120kg

Barbell Twists
3x5 (each side) @ 40kg

Medicine Ball Hammer throws
3x5 (each side) @ 10kg

NOTES
-good progressions on everything, RDL's suck, at this point am considering going back to SLDL - I know they're very similar but I get more consistent form on SL's, plus my hammies and butt feel it more.

20th SEPT
Went for a walk through a forest with my dog for couple of hours. Not sure on distance, but while never out of breath, I got a good healthy sheen of sweat off it.


22nd SEPT
Walked about a mile

Overhead Squats
1x5 @ 30kg
1x5 @ 40kg
1x5 @ 52.5kg

Power Clean
1x3 @ 75kg
1x3 @ 85kg
1x2 @ 90kg
1x1 @ 90kg

Front Squats
1x5 @ 60kg
1x5 @ 82.5kg
1x5 @ 92.5kg

Chins with weight hanging from waist
3x5 @ +10kg

Barbell Twists
3x5 @ 40kg (each side)

Notes
-have cut about 6 sets or so out of the workout. Last couple of times I just feel the intensity isn't there at the end. Will always start with OHS as, at this stage, they are as heavy as I can go but light enough not to count as leg work - I really like how they work my whole body and mean I don't have to fanny about with proper warm-up sets on the other exercises.
-Will alternate front squats with SLDL's from here on in, power cleans with power snatches, and weighted chins with bench. Keep to this for a month or so and then start mixing it up.
-All weights felt good and were progressions. Think the power clean is approaching 1RM PR territory (I'll have to look that up). GRIP is still my nemesis. I need to start working it separately.


Weight held at 192.5lbs today. Seems to be my boogie number:mad:

mark williams
09-29-2009, 02:12 PM
Wt - 190lbs

No training since last post, except for a lot more walking - especially from yesterday, lugging my arse around campus.

Went to the gym today though for a very quick workout

Power Clean
1x3 @ 75kg

Deadlift
1x20 @ 90kg

Chins
3x6 @ BW+10kg

Bent-over Row
3x8 @ 70kg

Barbell Curl
3x8 @ 35kg

Notes
-weight coming down well and eating lots of meat so all good!
-all bars now bent at gym so held back at 75kg for cleans. Was going to try for a 92.5k single (I WANT that 100kg)
-trying some 20-rep work on for size. Hear good things about it but want to try couple times a week first hand.
-chins were strong, full ROM, will up weight when I get 3x10.
-diet is seemingly evolving, naturally, into Anabolic Diet style. Not wanting any carb foods but will have 1 or 2 free meals on a weekend to keep me interested.

mark williams
10-04-2009, 11:32 AM
Wt - 188.5lbs

Playing around with some rep schemes, tried this 10x3 hybrid thingy based on Waterbury and quite liked it.


Bench Press
10x3 @ 100kg

Dbell Flyes
4x6 @ 25kg(x2)

Deadlift
10x3 @ 120kg

Chins
4x6 @ BW+7.5kg

Notes
Took a bit of a guess at the weights to use on bench and deadlift but think I got them more or less right for today.

-Bench was good, enjoyed the intensity of doing explosive triples but also had a hell of a pump at the end. Best of both worlds! Flyes were strong, and will increase both bench and flyes by 5kg next time out.
-Deadlift was good. This could be the answer to my pathetic grip problem. 120kg isn't a massive weight (but was prob about right for 10x3 for me at the moment) but with it just being triples, I could keep the grip together long enough. Posterior chain and grip both feel well worked. Could I have done 3x10 @ 120kg and kept grip? Nope. Chins were good, last couple of sets had an ugly last rep so will keep the weight the same on that. 122.5kg on the deadlift though.
-Chuffed with weight loss, into pretty new territory (not been this light for more than 3 years) and it seems comfortable and easy. I want to get to sub 180lbs in the next couple months and take it from there.

Will try and come up with a 4x a week schedule now that I'm settled at uni and know my timetable.

Unfortunately, rugby looks to be off the agenda for a while - the daily commute to and from uni means I won't be back in time for rugby practice. Can't join the uni side because a) they're 10 yrs younger and fitter! b) can't afford not to work weekends so games would be out.

Have enjoyed a couple of hammer throwing sessions but its the off-season now so no real training on that til April next year (the odd session here and there in the meantime but nothing concrete). Looks like training for trainings sake again!

mark williams
10-07-2009, 10:51 AM
Apart from walking a couple miles a day around campus, the last workout I did was yesterday:


Front Squats
10x3 @ 80kg

Barbell Curl
10x3 @ 42.5kg

Overhead triceps extension (cable)
4x6 @ 65kg

Shrugs
4x6 @ 100kg

Notes
-loving this 10x3 stuff. Thighs well-cooked today. Chest still a little sore so not sure if I'll lift tomorrow.
-biceps hit (I know, I know, but I want guns!). Up to 45kg next time.
-triceps also feeling it - I hate the mvmt but it does hit the spot. Keep weight the same for a week or so.
-traps feel well hit too. Up to 105kg.

I'm going to work on a split that fits with my uni schedule and will post in the next day or so. Rugby, sadly, is off the table. My timetable and the commuting means that training is not do-able and I need a weekend job so games are off too. Not sure how I feel about that yet.

Nick Hunter
10-08-2009, 11:32 AM
Hey Mark,

That's shit! Find a way to chase the egg!

Did you ever have a problem with scar tissue inside the knee after your surgery?

mark williams
10-09-2009, 01:20 PM
Hey Nick - hows it going?

Shit is right, I miss chasing odd-shaped balls.

I had a MAJOR problem with scar tissue! It's more common in the patelograph than the others because of the relative immobility of the area (because it hurts like shit) early on after the surgery, compared with having the slightly less painful hamstring donor site.

My scar tissued made full ROM a bit difficult (but nothing I couldn't squeeze through)... the major issue for me was it caused my patela to track incorrectly so I got clicks and locking etc. HARD self-massage was the only cure for me. Are you having problems?

mark williams
10-09-2009, 01:28 PM
Starting to hit a bit of a routine now with uni and so on... joined the gym on campus so now can fit workouts in easier.

Big plus - weight is down to 187lbs! This makes 23lbs since January (when I got off crutches - with muscle definitely put on since); and 5.5lbs since 2-3 weeks ago. Lifts going in the right direction, so I'm confident its mainly fat loss.

Today...

Walked about 1.5-2 miles with heavier than normal kit-bag.

Bench Press
10x3 @ 105kg

Flyes
4x6 @ 28kg(x2)

Deadlift
10x3 @ 120kg

Bent Over row
4x6 @ 75kg

Notes
-really loving the 10x3.
-Bench was good - first 5 sets were a struggle but then I hit my stride. Upto 107.5kg next time.
-flyes were solid, up to 30kg but then keep static for a while. I want to focus on the bench: when that dries up, I'll use the flyes to progress workload.
-deadlift was strong and easy - should have upped to 125kg. The barbell at the new gym is marginally thinner (but same weight) and really helped my grip... I have small girly hands.
-Bent-overs were fine but lower back obviously feeling it from 30 reps of deadlift so stupid to couple these together in retrospect. Still working on a split - I'm thinking back/chest and legs/arms/shoulders with 2 sessions on each a week, using different exercises for each session. So, in the case of back, the first session could be Deadlift and chins... the second could be bent-overs and chins/lat. pull downs/whatever.

Peace out.

mark williams
10-12-2009, 11:56 AM
Wt - 186lbs

Workout
walking about a mile and a half-two miles each day with sports bag full of clothes and couple books.

Front Squat
10x3 @ 85kg

Barbell Curl
10x3 @ 45kg

Skullcrushers
4x6 @ 50kg

Upright Row
4x6 @ 50kg

Notes
-front squats can go up to 87.5kg next week
-curls were too easy until last set or so, 47.5kg next time
-skullcrushers fine where they are for now
-upright row can go to 52.5kg

Feeling good, weight coming down, strength going up and enjoying my food so all good!

Nick Hunter
10-12-2009, 11:10 PM
Hi Mark.

YES, I'm having a predictable click in the same area of ROM every time and theres pain with it. I'm also feeling pain all the way thru the ROM when using the leg presses.

I find squatting down to pick stuff up more bearable because my legs guard themselves somehow with weight distribution. But both of these problems frustrate me. I am about 7 weeks out.

Tell me everything, as I am a knowledge hungry American hoarder of facts.

=)
Nick

mark williams
10-18-2009, 06:42 AM
Hi Nick - it sounds very similar to the problems I was having. I had what i would call "discomfort" in the joint itself, the real pain throughout ROM was on the tendon itself where they had harvested. This is understandable and will, I'm afraid, last for many more months! It does calm down though.

My understanding is that the scar tissue that builds up around the incision site (not much unless he was a butcher) and the scar tissue from the donor site itself can cause the patella to glide out of it's very specific groove. I found deep massage, going across the direction of muscle/tendon fibres (in the case of the patella tendon they go down, so rub side to side) loosened it up and if I did this on waking, sometime mid day and before bed it really helped. This reduced pain on the tendon and also reduced clicking quite a bit. If, when you are self-massaging, this doesn't hurt, then you're not pushing hard enough. You're trying to break down that fresh scar tissue so that you're patella can get back to its normal tracking route (it glides up and down your knee joint depending on angle of flexion).

The other cause of my clicking was a small rough area of cartilage rougness that the surgeon had either missed or deemed was too minute to cause issues during the first surgery. The self-massage thing helped but we decided together that a second look arthoscopy would only knock my recovery back a few weeks (in the grand scheme of 10 months) so was worth performing. When he was in there he tested the graft (which was solid and a major psychological boost) and smoothed a small area of cartilage. I still get the odd click, but no pain follows and patella now tracks correctly.

I found leg presses very painful until only a few months ago (tendon, not joint itself) but am now knocking out ass to grass front squats twice a week with pretty much my previous weight levels.

I think the things for you to maybe consider are

1) is it the joint that really hurts or is it the tendon? If it's the tendon, self massage followed by lots of non-resisted ROM work to dig that patella groove back in. If it's the joint, still self-massage but back off the resistance work for a week or two and see how you stand after that... its quite a big deal what they've done to the inside of your knee, including drills etc!

2) keep in mind how you are not even 20% of the way to recovery... the recovery curve starts depressingly shallow but then rapidly increases later on. I was just doing 90 degree swiss ball squats 8 weeks out, and they hurt like a motherfucker.

3) keep talking to your physio/physical therapist if possible. They see thousands of these every year and can quickly put your mind at rest.

In terms of the self massage, I focussed on the sides of the patella, a little bit over the patella itself (not too rough here!) and then below the patella apex (pointy bottom bit) - expect this to hurt.

Hope this helps, but remember I am no expert just a guy who went through the same and asked some questions of people who are experts - do the same if you can and speak to the physio!

mark williams
10-18-2009, 06:49 AM
Weight holding at 186lbs just now - I've got another 10lbs to go to hit my target (bet with my dad) by Dec 1st.

Two workouts and about 10 miles of walking since my last post...

Last Thursday
Front Squats
10x3 @ 87.5kg

Barbell curl
10x3 @ 47.5kg

Upright rows
4x6 @ 52.5kg

NOTES
-front squats ready for 90kg... getting to the top end of current strength I think.
-curls ok for 50kg but again, expect this to be more or less current ceiling.
-upright rows I love, but they do feel like they're pulling my shoulders out of their sockets!!


Last Friday
Dips
10x3 @ +20kg

Incline Flyes
4x6 @ 28kg(x2)

Bent-over rows
10x3 @ 85kg

[B]Notes/B]
-Dips can go to 22.5kg; new dipping bars so slightly different grip and width.
-flyes can stay there for now.
-bent-overs stay where they are, last couple of sets had some wobbly reps in them.

Overall, strength is ok, recovery is better than it's ever been, weight coming off (albeit not this last week!) and I'm eating a LOT of meat.

mark williams
10-20-2009, 01:20 PM
Parents visited last week, weight at 187.5lbs (expected weight gain due to a couple of bevvies and a cheat day)

Aside from the daily walking (covering between 1 - 2.5miles), today I did....

Front Squat
10x3 @ 90kg

Bench Press
10x3 @ 107.5kg

Deadlift
10x3 @ 127.5kg (last set was a 2+1)


Notes
-Front squats were hard work but all reps were good. Up to 92.5kg next time out.
-Bench was solid, again all reps were fine, but with no spot I want to keep at this weight another week.
-Deadlift... the same old shit - my grip is causing problems by the last 3 sets or so. Will persevere for now before getting the straps involved again, but I'm pulling as explosively on the last rep as on the first. The problem is keeping grip long enough for the eccentric.

Will do similar workout on Thursday (same bodyparts, different mvmts) and take til Monday to recover. Will then try a 3 day a week run and see how recovery stacks up on what is essentially 3 full body workouts. Recovery been very good lately, due to the meat I'm eating I think.

Nick Hunter
10-21-2009, 11:39 AM
One day I will be front squatting again. I went to go coach some new players at my local club last night and caught myself stepping into their scrimmage and jogging around a bit.

Stupid wingers playing flat up when the balls still int he 9 and 10's hands... just asking for it. I was wondering if I could teach them a lesson without breaking out of a jog. I thought better of it.

mark williams
10-22-2009, 08:41 AM
Best stay out of it Nick!! It'll end in tears (and tears!)

Weighed 185.5lbs today so weight loss on the move again. The cheat days keep me going but cost me about half a week in terms of losing weight... when the drops start to plateau I'll throw in the odd 10 days with no cheat to keep it moving.

Workout

Walked about a mile.

Dips
10x3 @ +25kg

Chins
10x3 @ +5kg

SLDL
10x3 @ 100kg

NOTES

-Visibly leaner today in the midsection and 36" jeans are now officially no good for me - wore my 34's and they were comfy. 32's here we come!!

-Training was solid; dips felt fine but will only up by 2.5kg next week to make sure I'm used to the new angle.
-Went too light on chins: the handles are a little further apart than I'm used to so wanted to err on the side of caution - will go to 7.5kg next week and should nail it. All reps were dead hang through to collarbone-to-bar.
-SLDL's were fine, go 105kg next week.

Chest has really filled out on this 10x3 run, even with the fat loss the moobs are bulging!

Nick Hunter
10-22-2009, 08:49 AM
Nice.. bulging... moobs...

*runs out of thread*