Day 4 – Surrounded

Posted: September 26, 2011 in Sadiv Sets for Strength + Speed Work

Today was a great day at the ISE. I’m not sure if there was a memo sent out, but it seemed that everyone and their mother was in the SPC. However, I’m not complaining at all. Despite my preference of quiet isolation when lifting, today’s booming gym gave me some extra energy. Not only that, but the squatting technique of your average ISE user seems to have improved considerably since last year. Sure, like in every gym, there’s the odd few who haven’t found a decent resource yet, but by and large, there are hinging hips, postured backs and braced abdomens.

After some brief waiting, we found ourselves a rack and got stuck on with the workout of the day:

Bent-over row


Squatting was first up. Today’s plan was to take our last squat session and simply add ten kilos to the workload. This meant hitting a 120kg single instead of a 110kg and 1×10 @ 90kg instead of 80kg. Light, yes, I’m stressing again that we’re driving squats slowly this year. I’m unhappy with my technique (knees coming in a little too much) and as such, I’m adjusting accordingly.

Ross’ abdominal issues from last week have seemingly resolved themselves. He owes this to additional core work + more squatting practice. He also finds that a slight breath out at the bottom before acceleration helps the pain. This has happened with him before. With this same solution, he was able to return to a full breath at the bottom of the squat in a short amount of time.

Today’s squatting brought to my attention the concept of training consciously. Most people work off of pre-determined plans. It’s easy to go along, grind it out and go home (usually). However, with that approach, you lose some of the benefits of the “conscious incompetence” stage of learning. It’s at this point that you must consciously be paying attention to technique as you train, so as to forge adequate muscle memory.

Short advice: at the beginning of every set you do, consciously think about what you want to achieve from a technique and strength standpoint. Give yourself cues, such as “spread your knees” or “squeeze your core” and say them to yourself at each relevant point in the lift.


Bench – Sadiv’s at 90% of 1RM.

Though the Sadiv’s were successful today, a 3-rep failure at 75kg freaked me out. Keep in mind I had smashed a 5rep 80kg set a few months ago and you can imagine my surprise. I’m currently re-adjusting my entire bench technique. My main focus point has been consciously pulling the bar apart as part of a bracing strategy. I feel that I was perhaps a little distracted and had shifted the bar too far below my nipple (almost at my navel). In short, I “missed” the lift.

However, the Sadiv’s at 77.5kg were absolutely fine – thought a bit of a grind at the top!

Again, looking forward to gains in the bench.


Bent-over rows  – Sadiv’s at 90% of 1RM.

Done deal – I’m actually stronger with the more parallel posture. This is likely due to the rowing background – at least I’ll always maintain that’s the cause, it was worth something after all! (I don’t mean that, I do indeed love rowing). I have always been particularly successful in pulling motions (lucky me, eh?). With the previous technique I was using, I was using my mid-back (my seemingly unflappable muscle set) a lot less.

Main technique point at the moment – pinch the shoulders together! It’s a stabilizer and an injury preventer.


Today’s chat:

– Serious sets: before you begin your set, think about what you want to achieve and give yourself simple cues.
– Brace yourself! In almost every lift, tightening your core will allow you to go heavier and prevent injury.
– Bent-over rows – pinch those shoulders together.

You stay classy, Planet Earth.

(Go train)


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