Day 26 – Maximum Effort
Today was a little uneventful. Maximum effort upper and some boulder shoulder work. The highlight of the day didn't come until plyos. Ben proceeded to perform his box jumps with some Eddie Guerrero flare.
Thought of the Day:
Wrestling consists of men with no pants fighting over a belt.
Day 25 – GPP
Today was cardio and lunges. It was time to up the protocol. 1min of lunges with 2min of rest for 4 sets. Doing 50m at a time instead of 25m put me in a new world of pain. Ben elected to do these occluded. That’s ok… He is a crazy old man who has clearly lost his marbles.
I give you Tayler G
A Defining Moment
Give Danimal a tough time about bailing on Ragnarok.
Okay, now it’s on to the workout. The moment before my first set of squats was, surprisingly, a defining moment. My training partner had tapped out. My temporary training coach had just left. I was tired. All these excuses were screaming reasons to give up, but, even louder than the excuses, was a voice in my head that said “forget everything else. You’re doing this for you.” I think it is very important that we remind ourselves why we show up to the gym in the first place. Whatever your reason is, let it motivate you.
Squats went well. RDL’s brought some heat… to my low back. Jodie, one of the strength and conditioning coaches at FSU, was nice enough to help me change weights. Step ups added fuel to the fire. On my second set, I heard Ben say “Come on Tayler.” YES. Extra motivation. Once you focus on the reason why you are training, it becomes easy. When you have a friend or coach to help you, even easier.
Next was bench press. If you remember from my last exposure, I completed 5 pounds less than prescribed on my final set of bench, and that was a serious struggle. So, when I noticed that Iron Dan progressed the weight, I was almost convinced I would fail on my last set at 200lbs. ALMOST convinced. On my first set, I kept my heels away from my body to avoid any arch in my back. An arch would’ve surely given me a cramp, and I would’ve failed. On my second set, at 185lbs, I was able to bring my heels in. My set at 185 felt easier than my first set at 170. I kept my heels in on my final set, and, to my surprise, I crushed all ten reps. It actually felt easier than 190lbs on my previous exposure. LET’S GO!
Side note: Danimal hit a 35lb PR on close grip bench press.
You are very welcome
Lat pulldowns were next. I’ve mentioned that my back is one of my weaker areas. Last exposure I was only able to complete 7 consecutive reps on my last set, but because I finished the last 3 reps before my time was up, my weight on this exercise was progressed. Last set was defeating. I used all 80 seconds and I only managed 7 total reps. Dang you Ragnarok. Oh well. Take it on the chin, and move on.
Ben already had my push press weight loaded. How awesome. It was perfect too because I had just forfeited my rest on the last exercise because I couldn’t complete 10 reps in time. I survived push press. Next was seated rows. Oh great, math again. First set at 160. 80 pounds on each side I told myself. I got this. Surprisingly, I did not have trouble with plate math on my following two sets. Triceps extensions were fun. You know what sucks? Having to add and remove the 5 pound block to the weight stack. Usually, the 5 pound weight is a slender rectangle, but the one by this cable machine is a thick fat block. I had more trouble moving that thing on and off than I did with my actual sets.
Finally, biceps curls. For those keeping score at home, I failed on biceps curls last week, so my weight stayed the same. First set felt fine. Second set wasn’t awful. But, by rep 3 of my third set, I was dead. I was able to get a measly 6 reps on my third set before the timer went off. This was frustrating, but I can tell that I’m getting stronger.
Let’s appreciate Ragnarok real quickly. 3 sets of 10 reps. That protocol should promote hypertrophy right? Maybe minor gains in strength. Let’s check the facts. In 3 weeks Dan added 35 pounds to his close grip bench max WITHOUT DOING CLOSE GRIP BENCH ONCE!!! And, I just hit 200 for 10 reps which would put my estimated 1RM at 265 which would be a 10lb PR for me. I know 10 pounds doesn’t seem too impressive, but let me remind you that I had already completed 3x10 squat, RDL, and step ups, as well as 2x10 on the bench with little rest.
Following the workout, I was fried. Shirt was drenched in sweat, and if I raised on my toes, my leg would shake like a leaf. I think I drank a muscle milk too quickly afterwards because I felt like yacking. All in all today was a good day. I progressed on everything except lat pull downs and biceps curls. Destroying bench was a great feeling. Three weeks down. 2 exposures left. One final week. Wish me luck.
Thought of the Day,
A boxing ring is a square.
Day 24 - Maximum Effort
Need protein. Today is maximum effort day and I need protein. I grab the last of my eggs out of the fridge. They expire today. Whew! Dodged a bullet there. I hate throwing food away. Unfortunately my stupid brain took over. I couldn’t help but wonder if they took leap day into account when they put the food label on the container. Had the eggs gone bad by one day? Stupid brain.
Ben crushed today’s maximum effort day. By the end I felt as though I had merely participated. First on the docket was above parallel back squats. I have never done these and OMG! I have read over and over that by pushing your legs out in this movement you get better recruitment of the muscles that help you move laterally. Isn’t that the truth? My groin muscles were firing faster than a six shooter.
Note to self: lacking development of lateral muscles, do wide box squats.
Snatch grip deadlift from a deficit. Man I’m tired just from typing that. This is the point where I became a mere participant. Ben went beast mode. Watch the video below. I need not explain more.
The last thing was seated goodmornings. I was a little jaded that Ben hit a massive PR and I did not. So when he said “185 is a good weight", I made sure we did 275. How do you like them apples Ben?
Later today I have to make up my Friday lift. It will be a blood bath.
Thought of the Day:
How many people have said the F-Word more than their own name?
Day 23 - Off
Day 22 - Light Day
Hamstrings feel like a struck match - LIT UP! There are basically zero high speed movements during Ragnarok. So after my first dynamic day, this makes total sense. Since My lift won't be very entertaining today, I give you Tayler G...
Ragnarok Growing Pains?!?!
As previously mentioned, Ragnarok has a significant impact on one’s body. Specifically, it causes extreme hunger, sleepiness, fatigue, and even GI distress. While driving to the gym, my stomach was in knots. The feeling was comparable to what one might feel a couple hours after competing in a bean and cheese burrito eating competition. Ragnarok is evil. It will beat you up inside and out, and its effects extend before and after each grueling session.
On this day, I was able to train at an actual athletic club (vs Anytime fitness), so the first few minutes were spent trying to locate a squat rack. Once I found it, it was on. I crushed squats and RDLs. My lower back was pumped but it wasn’t yet debilitating. The challenge with step ups, again, wasn’t with the reps, but rather with my inability to catch my breath after the reps.
I’m convinced that Ragnarok workouts restrict oxygen to the brain which causes lapses in the ability to count. Between sets of bench, while I was changing the weight, I swore I was seeing bright lights. I was on the verge of fainting, no doubt about it. Usually mental lapses come later in the workout, but this one came on my third set of bench press. Instead of the prescribed 195 lbs, I put on 190lbs for bench press. I only realized my mistake when it was time to strip the weights.
Next was lat pull downs. On my third set I was only able to complete 7 consecutive reps, but the fighter in me was not satisfied. I mustered up enough strength to knock out 3 more before my time was up.
Success. Push press was next, and I was spent. After my second set, my phone vibrated. A reply from the Danimal. I had texted him earlier asking for words of encouragement, and his timing was perfect. He replied with “every rep you are a better version of yourself. You got this!” On my last set, I imagined that after each rep I was growing. On an exercise like push press, the imagery was awesome.
After push press was when I started talking to myself. Seated row math is so difficult. The weight listed on the sheet is in total pounds, and the machine requires you to evenly distribute the weight to both sides, meaning I had to divide by 2. Are you kidding me? I used my calculator to verify that 160lbs divided by two was 80. There was already a 35lb plate on both sides, meaning I needed to add an additional 45 pounds to both sides. Of course there were no 45lb plates nearby, so I had to grab a 35 and a ten. As I’m moving weights around between sets I am talking to myself, going over the math, to ensure that I wouldn’t make another mistake. At this point in the workout, I felt drunk. I’m talking to myself, and I can barely stand up straight. That’s no joke. It was hard to simply stand upright. It got better from here. So the next exercise, triceps extension, is right next to the lat pull down. They are adjacent to each other if you will. I don’t know why but had I had left my water bottle at the lat pull down. Between sets of extensions, I attempt to reach over the lat pull down to retrieve my water bottle. For whatever reason, I tried to rest my arm on the leg pads of the machine. If you’ve ever done a lat pull down you understand that these pads roll. As a result of putting all my weight on these rolling pads, I almost fell over completely. “Wow” I thought to myself. “That could’ve been really bad.” I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that you literally feel intoxicated.
Following the workout, I was sitting down on a couch when I realized that it felt as if a heating pad was under my back. Or, if you’ve ever been in a car with heated seats, this was exactly the sensation I was feeling. Could this be another Ragnarok symptom? Dan confirmed that he experienced the same phenomena.
I’ll conclude with this. I think Ragnarok is giving me growing pains. I have not felt the achy sensation of growing pains in years, but twice now I have struggled to get to sleep because my quads feel like they need to be contracted. What in the world is going on? How awesome would it be if Ragnarok was somehow the impetus for a very late growth spurt? I know it’s a stretch, but hey, you never know.
Thought of the Day:
Computers are the only thing that freeze when they overheat.