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First Meet of 2015 – The BPO Welsh Open Championship

So, water loading worked well again but was much tougher this time as I’ve gained a little weight since the UK’s. Got down to 85kg by the weekend before so then started loading with 2 gallons a day for 4 days, then 1 gallon on Thursday and none at all Friday – I was a little worried Friday as still weighing over 84kg so fasted as well to make sure I wasn’t over!

Woke up starving on Saturday and felt like crap as hadn’t slept well (too damn hungry), but I knew once I’d weighed in I could smash the food down 😉 Drove over to Swansea and weighed in at a comfortable 81.3kg (could’ve had breakfast!) and then started eating!! Spent the day hydrating and eating and resting up ready for the meet.

Got there Sunday and felt good, I think I’d done a better job rehydrating than last time and was ready to lift. I was in the second flight this time so had plenty of time to warm-up and mobilise and opened easily with 180kg, followed up with 200kg, and then went for 215kg for third attempt. I got a red light for depth on the final attempt from one of the judges, but the other two were white so got the lift 2-1. Happy with squats as only 10kg off the World’s with a walkout and a competition PB.

Squat 180kg

Squat 200kg

Squat 215kg

Bench went just as well, no problems with my shoulder and feeling strong so opened with any easy 140kg, then a 150kg, but just couldn’t lock out 160kg. Not too disappointed, I’ve hit it in the gym, but that’s without having done 3 big squats first! Still hoping to hit double bodyweight (165kg) at The British Championship in 9 weeks and maybe more at the Europeans.

Bench 140kg

Bench 150kg

Bench 160kg (fail)

 Started warming up for deadlifts and despite struggling in training recently with Deadlifts I was feeling good, took a tally of my lifts and noticed I was at the same as I had been at the Worlds so I was going to have to hope to pull more than my current PB of 200kg in order to improve overall. Opened with 180kg, nice clean lift and then followed with 195kg. Decided to go for glory and attempt 205kg. Just about locked it out to get a PR, win my category and get a new competition best total of 570kg. Can’t really complain! Still aiming high and will be pushing hard to get my total into the 600’s for the Europeans 🙂

Deadlift 180kg

Deadlift 195kg

Deadlift 205kg

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My Experience at The World’s 2014

 

World Powerlifting Federation – World Championships 7th, 8th and 9th November 2014

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Entrant: Steve Arnold in the Open 82.5kg Category for Team GB

We travelled down to Gatwick overnight Tuesday and flew out Wednesday. Got there in the early afternoon so went for a wander around the local town Voiron and just rested up ready for weigh-in in the morning. Wasn’t sure about weight so kept food to a minimum and drank very little to dehydrate slightly as I would have 24 hours to re-hydrate again anyway. Thurs morning picked up my GB T-Shirt and headed up to the venue and weighed in at 80.3kg 🙂 Great for my Wilks points!DSC_0347[1]

A little more grand than last time! Had a quick nosy around and then as last meet, spent the rest of the day eating, drinking and generally re-hydrating and refueling for a long day. I knew it would take longer than the UK’s as there were 137 lifters entered and 3 flights on the first day (mine of course would be flight 3, but we went up first thing as one of the Pembrokeshire Powerlifters (Jacqueline) would be first flight and we go as a team from opening ceremony/warm-up to closing ceremony.DSC_0346[1]

 

Got up Friday and had as much breakfast as possible and plenty to drink and headed off to the meet.DSC_0359

Arrived at the venue and headed to the platform to sort rack heights etc and then on to the warm-up room which was a little walk away to help the first flight before I started getting ready myself.DSC_0361

 

 

 

 

Warmed up with my squats up to a couple of singles at 160kg which was feeling easy, put on my squat suit and did an easy 180kg with loose knee wraps and opened with 190kg which felt easy! Jumped up to 210kg and again, went up a charm so coach put me down for a PB attempt at 225kg. Must be something in the water, happy with a PB on my squat and my closest rival only hit a questionable 210kg so I went 15kg into the lead.

Vids: Squat 190kg, Squat 210kg, Squat 225kg

On to Ze Bench Press… Started warming up and my shoulder was twinging a little so slapped some more ibuprofen gel (got through a lot over the weekend!), followed by Deep Heat and it felt a bit better as I did some mobility. Unfortunately there was a bit of a mix-up somewhere and we were told that there would only be two flights for the Bench so we needed to get moving and warm-up. Rushed my warm-up and failed a 140kg which smashed my confidence as I’ve hit 160kg on my own without a handout, but one of the lads came over and gave me some encouraging words and after a few minutes I pressed 140kg and decided to drop my opener from 150kg to 140kg just to be sure I didn’t bomb out! As we headed down to the platform I noticed my French

rival (the 210kg squatter) hadn’t started his warm-up and due to the fact he didn’t understand English, (or knew something I didn’t) wasn’t interested in coming down to the platform with the rest of us.

Should have followed him! After sitting in my shirt for 30 mins and going cold, we found out it was 3 flights (Of course, why the hell wouldn’t it be?) I went back and did another couple of warm-up sets up to 130kg and felt shoulder twinging again, but by now it was way too late. Thankfully hit my opener of 140kg, but failed to hit 150kg on my next two attempts. See the vid on my last attempt, I think the centre ref had fallen asleep, I didn’t hear a press command for what felt like forever, until my coach started yelling but I just couldn’t get it – You can see Paul (Coach), look at him as if to say WTF? Typically Frenchy had a massive Bench, virtually no pause and hit a 180kg which put him ahead by a clear 25kg! – Had I got my gym PR he still would be ahead, but by only 5kg, but hey, it’s what you hit on the platform that counts :-/

Vids: Bench 150kg (fail)

We had now been at the venue for over 6 hours and I was absolutely starving! Smashed a pre-workout and some sugary sweets and warmed up for my deads. Not sure if it was in my head, but bar was feeling really heavy and I was going to drop my opener to 180kg, but coach thankfully was there and he just said – ‘what’s on that bar?’ pointing at one on the floor and I said ‘180kg’, ‘pick it up then’ he said and I did! So then we headed down and I pulled an easy 190kg, then a 200kg equaling my best at the UK’s. I then looked over at Paul & Az and they were already filling in my 3rd attempt so I knew to trust them and just got ready to lift. ‘Bar is loaded for Steven Arnold at 215kg’. I thought, F%@k this, I’m having this and went for a 15kg PR. Just couldn’t lock it out, so finished with a 565kg total which is 45kg up from my UK result – PR on my Squat, Competition PB on my Bench and equal PR on my Deadlift. Can’t really argue with that!

Deadlift Pics:                               Vids: Deadlift 215kg (fail)

Deadlift 200kg

Steve 190DL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julien pulled a huge 235kg deadlift and took the gold with a 625kg total so even if I’d hit very lift I would have still come second with a 600kg total. Still, silver isn’t bad for a first World competition, especially competing naturally in an untested federation so I’m happy with the overall result. Now my goal is to get to a 650kg or higher total in time for next year and bring the gold home for GB!

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Gold Medalist Julien Barrere and Silver Medalist Steve Arnold

Huge thanks to my Sponsors Chilton Motors, Pembroke Thanks again guys, you were a great help

 


Nailing The Overhead Press by Paul Carter

Christian-overhead-pressNailing the overhead press originally published on T-Nation by Paul Carter

Here’s what you need to know…

•  Using a thumbless grip on overhead pressing allows for a better path of the bar by bringing it in closer to the centerline of the body. It’s also easier on the shoulders and wrists.

•  Start with a shoulder-width grip. As a visual cue, rotate your hands back towards your delts. If your thumb grazes the outside of them, you’ve got it right.

•  Contract your glutes, abs, and quads when you press. The more tension you have throughout the body, the stronger you’ll be.

•  Activate the biceps on the eccentric portion of the press. When you lower the bar, think about doing a sort of hammer curl towards your face/ears.

•  Press with a purpose. That means press with violence and hate. Try to think about throwing it through the ceiling.

 

Lots of guys these days shit on any form of seated press, but I’m not sure why. The entire purpose of pressing overhead is simply to build bigger and stronger shoulders. Whether you’re seated or standing doesn’t really matter unless you’re a competitive strongman and … (read more here)


The Problem With ‘Exercise Science’

By Mark Rippetoe 

Exercise_Science

Here’s what you need to know…

•  Most university-level programs do not equip their graduates to function beyond the commercial gym pin-setter level.

•  Barbell training, the most basic and effective method for improving strength and conditioning, is either not taught in most programs or so poorly taught that it leaves students unable to get real results with their clients and athletes.

•  Many studies that make it into the hallowed “Literature” draw conclusions based on unrealistic, silly methodology and puny weights. It’s clear the “exercise scientists” conducting these studies do not use barbells beyond a novice level, if at all.

•  To get a real education, study a “hard” science, plan for much self-education, compete in your field of interest, and coach lots of other people… for years on end.

Read more here


Appropriate Conditioning – What Are You Getting ‘Fit’ For?

Appropriate Conditioning by Johnny Pain, originally posted in Starting Strength and Strengthvillain.com


 One of the most frequently asked questions that I receive both in the consulting end of my business and at the Starting Strength seminars, is when and how to add conditioning work to a strength training program. This is a valid question certainly, and a serious point of discussion for many. This article is designed to address the topic from my perspective, and convey my opinions on the matter.

When asked about conditioning, I typically reply with a simple question of my own: “Why do you want to do conditioning work?” This isn’t asked from a condescending, “who wants to do that sort of thing?” point of view, but rather out of a genuine interest to determine why conditioning may or may not be important in that person’s program. Answers range from the need to pass physical fitness tests at a person’s place of employment to the desire to be “well rounded” and able to take on any task that comes one’s way. The most common answer, although the one that often has to be extracted out of a somewhat uncooperative individual, is the perceived need to include conditioning work out of the erroneous belief that body composition is dependent on one’s exposure to that type of training – the irony being that diet is 99% of body composition. All of these reasons can be legitimate concerns in their own right depending on the situation. In most cases, however, a bit of education is required in order to help the inquisitor understand the best method of addressing the issue.

Before we get into the specifics, let’s take a look at the term “conditioning”. What does it mean? For our purposes we will define it as one’s ability to perform a given task. Terms like “General Physical Preparedness (GPP)” and “Work Capacity” have become buzzwords these days, particularly among people who do not compete in an activity that requires a specific conditioning adaptation. There is a widespread belief that one must train for any possible contingency, “the unknown and the unknowable.” It is my contention that becoming as strong as possible will have the most significant effect on one’s overall ability to perform a variety of tasks, and therefore represents the most intelligent use of training time for the purpose of conditioning, within certain limits.

Let’s talk about this a bit.  <— Follow link for remainder of article..

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To Spot or Not To Spot – LRB Paul Carter

Originally posted by Paul Carter in his blog Lift-Run-Bang.com

 

“He touched the bar!” And it’s your fault.

Everyone has had this happen.

You ask for a spot from someone in the gym.  He obliges and you take the next few minutes out to get your bearings to prepare for the set.

It might be for a max, or a rep PR, but inevitably we all eventually have “that guy” that grabs the bar even though we know the attempt would have been good.

This is one of the most frustrating things to happen during a set or attempt you’ve worked yourself up for.  Now, in our mind, it really doesn’t count.  Good for it or not, when the spotter puts his hands on the bar, it’s not “all you”.  No matter how much some “bro” screams that it is.

Luckily, I have three guys in the gym that have spotted me for quite some time that all understand how I lift, and what my sets and reps look like.  The other part of that is I’ve taken time out with each of those guys to explain what I need for them to do.

For bench, no lift off.  Don’t hover.  Don’t touch the bar unless I say so.

On incline, I do get a lift off, but no touching of the bar unless I signal it.

On press behind the neck, I get a lift off, and no touching of the bar unless I signal it.

All of these guys know this.  So I always feel very confident when they spot me.

Well today, I had to ask a guy in the gym for a lift off on press behind the neck that had never spotted me.  He gave me a lift off at 275 and 315.  Both of which I blew up easily for triples.  So I figured I would go ahead and take a shot at a double at 365.

He gives me the lift off … continue reading

Strength Life Legacy


Getting Hench – The Importance of Back Training Part 1

To be truly Hench, you need an impressive back. Nothing states strength more or makes for a better looking physique than a big strong back. Whilst having a well developed chest and arms are important, without a good back alongside you will  look weak and/or incomplete often with poor posture. This is why these are often called ‘mirror muscles’ – You look great to yourself when you look in the mirror, but you are never seen in everyday life like that! How often do we face someone directly face on? Your physique needs to be Hench from any angle and a well developed back is key and, dare I say, more important than chest or arms in the way you look. Not to mention the fact it is the most crucial muscle group for functional strength in tasks ranging from everyday life to athletics/sports or competitions.

Bodybuilders have a saying in competitions that ‘the contest is won from the back’, and the majority of winners have had the best back development. This alone should spur you on – A competition based solely on aesthetics considers the back as almost the most important bodypart, yet still the newbies and ego-lifters focus on those mirror muscles with all their effort and only half-ass their back and/or leg workouts despite claiming they are ‘bodybuilding’ or just want to ‘get big’.

A good back is measured on two main things .. Thickness – Which will pull your shoulders back, maintaining good posture and emphasizing your chest and ‘V’ Shape – Causing your waist to appear smaller and shoulders wider. What I would also add for a ‘Hench’ look is a third measure which is a good set of traps. Take Bane from ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, or even the same actor Tom Hardy in ‘Warrior’ do you look at him and question if he’s powerful looking? Nope .. Definitely Hench!

Tom Hardy's Back

 

 
Part 2 to follow …

Are You Making These Mistakes In The Gym?

Are You Making These Mistakes In The Gym? By Jon Bruney – Original Article published on DragonDoor.com in August 2013

Most Hard Training Individuals – Even The Experienced Ones – Are Making A Handful Of Easily Correctable Mistakes That Are Preventing Them From Achieving Their True Physical Potential…

So If You Want More Strength, Muscle, Speed, Power, Athleticism And Conditioning – Read On Carefully And Make Sure You Aren’t Making Any Of These MISTAKES…

arnold-schwarzenegger-bodybuilding-quotes-660x701My name is Jon Bruney and I want to share some very common MISTAKES with you that many hard training athletes make in the gym.

In case you’re wondering why you should listen to me, let me start by quickly telling you a little bit about myself…

I’m a professional performing strongman, world class trainer, coach, motivational speaker and author. I have been featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not and appeared nationwide on NBC’s The Today Show. And thousands of people have personally experienced my “Pressing the Limits” motivational strength programs.

My work with competitive athletes includes Olympians and NFL players.

I am the author of Foundations, a training series featured in MILO, widely considered the world’s most prestigious strength training journal.

And as co-owner of Submit Strength Equipment, I have been responsible for the design of numerous pieces of cutting-edge training equipment now in use around the world.

5 Mistakes In The Gym That Are Holding You Back From Being As Strong, Muscular, Fast, Explosive and Well-Conditioned As You Could Be…

1. Choosing The Wrong Exercises

Not all exercises deliver the best results for the effort you put in.

I witnessed this personally when I was a trainer for a Cable TV show that was focused on helping individuals make rapid changes in body composition. Some of these people had been working very hard trying to make changes in their physiques.

But one of the key problems – and reasons why they weren’t progressing towards their ideal physique as fast as they’d like – was exercise selection. Once we changed the exercises, the results came RAPIDLY.

The sad truth is that many people put in GREAT effort, only to get MEDIOCRE results.

If they only knew how to incorporate the right exercises into the right program, they would smash through genetic barriers and see powerful changes in their physiques.

One example is the guy who busts his ass for an hour training his arms with a myriad of machines exercises. Sure – he is training with a lot of EFFORT, but does he possess the powerful ‘guns’ he desires?

The answer is almost always, “NO”.

On the other hand, consider the guy who trains his arms using just a handful of big, compound exercises…

Chin-Ups and Barbell Curls for the biceps.

Close Grip Bench Presses and Dips for the triceps.

And he does this week in, week out.

This guy trains equally as hard as the other guy – but his results are 10 times as good!

What’s the difference?

Simple… Exercise selection.

2. Choosing A Program That Develops ‘Show Muscle’ Instead Of ‘Smart Muscle’

Many training programs only focus on one approach to create hypertrophy. This results in muscle that underperforms. Smart Muscle, on the other hand, PERFORMS as well as it LOOKS.

Allow me to explain…

Smart muscle is muscle that can multi-task and handle any challenge thrown it’s way.

To truly create a bigger and better body a strength program must use multiple stressors. This will teach the nervous system to recruit more muscle fibers and allow the body to adapt to multiple forms of resistance. The goal should not only be to increase muscle size, but also strength and athleticism.

All of my hypertrophy programs do this… they help you to increase muscle size, strength and athleticism.

To focus only on building muscle is a mistake – especially if you compete in sports and are using your resistance training to not only help you to look better, but also to become a better athlete.

3. Spending Too Much Time At The Gym

Many trainees spend too much time in the gym and have little to show for it.

You see, the truth is that long routines plus long cardio sessions are not very effective because long training sessions cause you to miss out on key hormonal factors that could build muscle.

Secondly, people should have a life outside of the gym.

By the time you drive to the gym, change, set up your workout, have a post workout shake, shower, and drive home…you could easily spend two hours or more.

There is little free time left over to develop relationships, pursue other hobbies and interests, and to feed your mind.

I have personally helped individuals to get amazing results in their own homes using minimal or no equipment in 4 hours a week or less!

The key is understanding how the right exercises can be combined to create a synergistic effect of increased neuromuscular efficiency and maximum muscular hypertrophy in minimum time.

This combination unleashes powerful muscle building hormones throughout the body.

4. Lack Of Focus And Mental Preparation

There are days when trainees just don’t “feel” like working out…

They lack motivation, so they procrastinate.

Many individuals don’t have the proper focus to complete a training session at the proper intensity. So, they just go through the motions. The results are missed or wasted workouts.

Without proper focus and concentration when training, one can never reach their physical potential. Unfortunately, many trainees don’t know that there are exercises to focus your mind, develop your willpower, and deepen your concentration skills.

Understanding the importance of mental training can often be the difference between success and failure when it comes to building a powerful and athletic physique.

5. Failing To Break Training Plateaus

Trainees often get discouraged because their gains stop after a short time. They therefore quit or become stuck; never reaching their goals.

The real problem lies with the training programs. And the reason I say this is because many training programs do not provide a way to keep on gaining.

Understanding how to keep the training fresh and the gains coming is essential to reaching your true athletic potential.

If you find yourself making any of these “Mistakes”, I have good news. Tomorrow I’ll be teaching you how to avoid these mistakes and how to get on the path toward building “Smart Muscle”….

Talk to you then,

Jon Bruney

 


Silly BS – Can You Decipher The Good From The Bad?

 An old article by Mark Rippetoe, but one of my favourites! It’s no secret I’m a bit of a Rippetoe fan, despite his very strong opinions I enjoy reading his articles due to his style of writing and humour.

“There is a lot of advice, information, and well understood knowledge regarding the field in which I practice—strength training and fitness—that is just silly bullshit. Plain old “SB” (to keep from baiting the censors too temptingly). And it comes from numerous sources: chief among them are medical professionals who think that they are also exercise professionals, muscle magazines published specifically for the purpose of perpetuating it, home exercise and weight loss advertisers, Internet fitness sites, the academic exercise people, and the mainstream media, who are the mindless pawns of the others.” Continue reading –>Silly BS – Mark Rippetoe


A Year Of 5/3/1

Some serious strength gains after a year of 5/3/1 – My friend Pete demonstrating how effective the system is by simply following it for 12 months. Great work mate!

A Year Of 531  <——- Click Here!