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An Exercise In Loquaciousness.

I am suffering from an immensely insurmountable case of writer’s block at the moment. It is absolutely, unorthodoxly, cosmically, Brobdingnagianally and Kryptonianally frustrating.

I’m sitting here, fingers hovering all-but-impotently above the keyboard, wanting nothing more than to let slip the dogs of war, so to speak, but am finding myself naught but tethered and bound. Looking back, I wonder, where has my inspiration gone?

I can recall, with bittersweet flavor, how effortlessly words and ideas seemed to flow while I was in college. I could write and write and write and never tire of it. But now I find myself struggling with each thought, trying, often times in vain, to find the right word, or to both succinctly and creatively, give my thoughts form. It seems that if I’m not writing about lifting, I’m not writing at all.

Where hath thou fled, Muse? Methinks I am in need of my own Dark Lady.

Maybe the Universe is trying to tell me something and I just need to open my ears/eyes a little more. It’s been my experience that Life, the Universe, and Fate (or whichever moniker you wish to yoke to the ephemeral cosmic force that guides our lives…), have rarely been wrong in their guidance–it just takes some time for me to truly see and/or hear the messages, which have rarely, if ever been blatant.

Is there such a thing as fate, or destiny? Are we each and all meant to one end, our lives serving as individual threads in the weave of a much larger cosmic tapestry? Or are we given free will, the power to bring about, by means of our choosing, the end most deserved?

One could argue that we are indeed masters and mistresses of our fate, and that the legacy we leave behind is one crafted solely by our hand, that each and every decision is one made of free will, conscious choice, and coherent approval. But should one find himself in a situation beyond his control, what then? If I’m struck by a car tomorrow on my way to work, is it because of a decision I made? Or were, at that moment, the forces  of existence in confluence such that the car and I happened to be attempting to occupy the same space at the same moment?

As I’ve mentioned time and time over, I broke my ankle in April of 2010 playing football. If I look back on it, the only reason that happened was because I chose to return to Tacoma rather than traveling to South Korea as originally planned. I chose to play football, and, I suppose, I chose to make the interception that ultimately led to my injury. But was it my choice to break my ankle?

I suppose the question becomes not, “Does fate exist?” but rather, “How deeply do we look when searching for signs of Fate or predestined events?” Where does choice end and coincidence begin?  I chose to play football, yes, but did not consciously choose to break my ankle. But, I did choose to place myself in a situation that carried the potential for such an event to occur. So, in a not-so-well-thought-out and slightly rushed way of bringing this tangent to a close, I’d offer up the opinion that coincidence (Fate) and choice are intertwined, and that neither rules sovereign over or precedes the other. One makes a decision, placing himself into a particular situation, thereby creating the potential for coincidences to occur. Conversely, Fate might intervene randomly, thus creating a certain set of unforeseen parameters to which an individual must then consciously react. I chose to play football, and it was a random occurrence that I broke my ankle, which then led and allowed me to make decisions that would affect the next phase of my life.

That’s my meta thought for the day.

On to lifting.

My bodyweight has been climbing fairly steadily lately, and I’m hovering somewhere between 230-235. There’s a saying in strength athletics that goes, “Mass moves mass,” and I’ve found it to be true. The more I eat, the bigger I get, the stronger I become. Also, I’ve found that proper nutrition improves my recovery time drastically. Yes, I still feel sore and beat-up, but the intensity thereof is much less severe than if I try to subsist on Hostess cupcakes and Monster alone. My nutrition/diet is still pretty garbage, but it’s better than it was.

My lifts have been steadily improving as well. This last week went well, and was a good way to end a cycle and go into a deload week. I hate taking deloads, but I do believe that the body needs a break every few weeks, especially after handling heavy poundages. I finally wrote a program for myself, meaning I’m doing something more structured than hitting my main lift and then dinking around with whatever I want afterward. It’s a rough first attempt, but it’s a start, and perfection is never attained on the first try.

I’m sticking with the big three lifts (squat, bench, deadlift) but have cut military presses. Good idea? Maybe, maybe not, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I wasn’t getting much out of them and that they were causing more pain than gain. My left shoulder has, for a number of years now, been a source of pain and frustration, and military/push presses did nothing but aggravate it. I’ve started doing some more direct shoulder work with light weights in an attempt to make my shoulders a little more healthy. This internship has taught me a number of things about the human body and its relation to weight lifting that I never knew before, and I feel that with some trial and error, implementation of what I’ve learned will be nothing but positive in the long run. I’ve also started doing more ab/core work. My core has gotten stronger since I’ve stopped using a belt all the time, but now I feel I need to give it more direct work in order to bring it up more. As my weight, and weights, have gone up, I’ve noticed an increase in thickness about my midsection. I’m not getting fat, but my stomach has become more pronounced, and I can feel it more when I squat or deadlift.

I pulled on Monday, and was pretty pleased with how the weight moved. The first rep for each set was heavy, but once I got in a groove the bar moved cleanly and without any (relative) excess exertion.

Deadlift: 390×5, 445×3, 500×5, 225x5x10

I did other work as well, but am too lazy to write it out.

Tuesday was bench day, and I have to admit that I was a little nervous about it. I’ve never been a strong bencher, and I always seem to disappoint myself. But the session went well, and I walked away happy.

Bench: 210×5, 245×3, 270×7 (PR)

Felt great about the 270×7. I told Coach Frey I was going for “at least one” but ended up banging out 7 pretty easily. He even told me “Good job.” Made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Thursday was squat day. My last two sessions were awesome (365×10 and 390×7), so I was stoked for this time around.

Squat: 320×5, 365×3, 410×3-4 (lost count as I was squatting…), 315x4x4

I didn’t have a spotter, otherwise I would have tried for a couple more reps at 410. Still, I’m pretty pleased with this performance.

Friday was snatch day. I’ve never done snatches before my internship, and it’s difficult if not downright impossible to effectively and correctly teach a movement you’ve never performed yourself, so right now I’m working on improving my technique. I’ve got the basic movement pattern down, but still need to clean it up. The weight is super light (115lbs), but it’s sufficient for the task at hand.

Hang Snatch: 95x2x4, 115x2x4

Like I said, I have the basic movement down, but need to get it cleaned up. I’m not used to popping my hips through as is necessary on the snatch, and have a habit of throwing my head back in an effort to get the weight up, causing me to lose my balance and step backward. Since the weight is light, I’m not catching in much of a squat position, and I’ve caught myself pushing the weight to lock out a few times as opposed to jumping/pulling/catching it. Form and technique will come as I continue to practice it. It’ll be something I can work on even while at camp.

Thanks for reading.

Stay yoked and loked.

EDIT: Here’s a great video from EliteFTS.com. Don’t think weak, get stronger, prove the impossible.


About Jim

Jim is a semi-competitive powerlifter, strength and conditioning coach, and all-around nice guy. He loves flannel and IPA's.


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