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  1. I give no guarantees that I will be as epic as that dwarf. So, in my two and a half years here on NF, I have never done a challenge outside of the Monk’s Guild. I love the Monastery, but lately I’ve been having a goodly chunk of lifting questions and thoughts pop into my head, so I figured now is a good time to show up and learn from all your wonderful Warrior-type people. By and large, this is going to be a weird challenge for me. I go on vacation starting in….. 12 hours? Which means I’ll be doing Challenge-light stuff for the week or so I’m gone. And then starting in the middle of the last week, I’m going away to Japan. Guess how much Challenge-related stuff I’ll be doing then? So, new guild location means that I’ll give a short bio about myself for any onlookers who are curious but haven’t seen or followed me before. I’m a martial artist who studies aikido, a martial art focusing on using an attackers energy against them, using their own momentum and strength to either throw them away or immobilize them up in a joint lock. It’s an art that is centered not on using strength, but physics and anatomy. So strength training for me is an odd balancing act of getting stronger (and hopefully gaining more endurance), while practicing an art where that strength isn’t required. Because of that (and really just how often I’m at the dojo), I only strength train twice a week. Slower strength gains, but it fits my schedule. In addition to that, I run with the November Project Tribe here in Boston on Wednesday mornings doing Stadium sprints. It’s all good fun. So, for this challenge I have really two major physical goals, and a life goal I’ll focus on. 1) Record Lifts I ain’t talking this: I’m talking this: ~Make recordings of my form and post them for critiques I really should post some form check videos.I’m really bad about it.At the moment, I’m doing 5/3/1 twice a week, based on the Black Iron Beast (https://blackironbeast.com/5/3/1/calculator) calculator.I’ve done one cycle already, and rather enjoyed it, but really, really should get some extra sets of eyes to check on me.Goal is to take recordings of my lifts this week (I’m on vacation and I’m lifting, what of it?), post them when I get back, and hopefully address any issues you guys see. Honestly, I’d also like to try and branch out beyond squats, deadlifts, bench press, and OHP, but right now I don’t think I have the mental fortitude (or time) to work on that.But if I have a spare day or three, I may try to work on cleans as well (figure start with the hanging cleans with just the bar and eventually graduate up to power cleans).But that’s secondary, but will definitely require videos if/when I do it. 2) A Cut Above the Rest ~Keep a cut of 2300~2500 calories per day (16,000-17,500 calories per week) I’ve lost a good chunk of weight since starting here.But I still haven’t quite hit my goals, even though I’ve modified them a bit as of late.I would like to eventually be around 200 pounds.Last November I was ~205, and (incredibly fun) Nerd visits, holidays, and stress made me balloon up to ~225.I’ve spent since January trying to get my weight and body fat percentages down using my tried and true method of just counting the damned calories.I feel more comfortable and definitely make better choices. Ultimately, I want to be under 215 for my trip to Japan.Which, for the curve ball, I apparently have succeeded at.As of this morning I weigh 214.6 pounds.So I guess I should aim for more like 210 for Japan.But really, if I can keep under 215 I’ll be happy for my Japan trip. Largest issue I have is at work – snacks are plentiful and more often than not junky.But I also tend to chow down on a lot of fruit.I think to make this okay I’m going to try to limit myself to 1-2 pieces of fruit a day at work, and then only 2 cookies a week.I’m not Paleo, so no worries on that front.I’ve actually been doing this cut since the end of the last challenge and it seems to be working fairly well (down from 217 in 10 days, which is weird).I think I can sustain it.Just a matter of making sure I can sustain my performance levels as well.So I’ll probably have to factor in more effective pre and post workout meals.I’m honestly more worried about my aikido classes, as those are in the evening and last a while.Lifting I do early in the morning with a decent breakfast in me. 3) Traveling Monk I apparently use a lots of Avatar gifs. I decided to keep it going. Complete the List: -Buy JR rail Pass -Buy Personal hotspot -Find Hombu membership card -Buy some easier-to-travel-with clothing (lighter, easier to clean) -Quick drying towel? Not Needed -Get a basic schedule done -Get some more LaX balls for Travel -Buy small travel backpack -Organize list of must-travel gear -Something else I probably forgot and will continue to update this list with Like I said above, I’ll be going to Japan at the end of the challenge.I’ve been…. Rather lax about getting schedules for this.The first part of the trip I’m going to be with a chunk of people from my dojo and it’s been fairly solidly planned.At least in terms of “We need to be here on this day” for things.The minutiae aren’t planned, but I really want to keep myself loose for this in general.I don’t do vacations in a highly planned way – I’m kind of a hyper planner normally, so vacations I take it easy (beyond a general guideline) on that front. Anyway, going to be in Tokyo for a little less than a week, then I want to go to Kyoto and see Fuji.I may also travel to Osaka because coincidentally my brother and his partner are going to be in Japan at the same time as me.But really… I got no big plans.Anyone who’s been to Japan want to give suggested things to do? And that about covers it for this challenge. It kind of amounts to “Keep doing what you’re doing,” but it should be okay. I’m not sure if I’ll ramble on about aikido/monking in here, or spare all you warrior types the martial arts philosophizing and keep it in my Battle Log. Or maybe I’ll just go create a ramble space in the Monk’s guild to make sure I don’t get accused of abandoning my Monks. Onwards and upwards!
  2. So, form check: 1/05/2015, Squats. Disclaimer: fat man in an ill-fitting tank-top. And apparently I need better shorts. Weight is 95 pounds. Yeah, I know, but I want to nail the form before ramping up. First video: shot from 11 o'clock, low. Second video: shot from 4 o'clock, low.
  3. Ok, finally managed to take a couple form check videos where enough of me might be visible enough to critique. Squat: http://vid1368.photobucket.com/albums/ag163/eewallace/2014-10-9-squat_zps8977d57d.mp4 Pushup: http://vid1368.photobucket.com/albums/ag163/eewallace/2014-10-9-pushup_zpsedf9ce33.mp4 Standing lunge: http://vid1368.photobucket.com/albums/ag163/eewallace/2014-10-9-lunge_zps4be516ff.mp4 Squats have felt pretty good. That front view one looks a little wide, but I think my knees are at least tracking ok; it's a little hard to tell without a better view of my feet, though. I didn't realize until I made the pushup video how much I was bending my neck over to look down toward my feet. Does the first one at least look ok? Lunges have felt a bit off as long as I've been doing them, though better since I've focused more on staying upright. Looks from the video like I'm stepping a bit across my body instead of straight forward, which probably isn't ideal. Anything else wrong there? I completely forgot to get a side view of the lunge to check upper body position, but can do a new one tomorrow if it's needed to give proper advice.
  4. So I made some videos of myself deadlifting a couple different sets. I don't really have anyone at the gym to check me so I was hoping I could get some help here. So here they are: 235 lb 1 rep 235 lb 2 reps* *this one I am most not sure about how to do multiple reps. It feels funny trying to set the weight back down and try to rep without having to set it down and readjust. 285 lb 2 reps Also: This is my video of how NOT to deadlift. I went for 310 lb using straps and my back breaks early and I'm glad I didn't hurt myself. That said I'd really like to work up to this weight. I talked to a couple of trainers about it and they advised me to get a belt when I'm working in 1-3 rep ranges. I've never used a belt before but I can on;y assume that's the right way to go if I want to practice with heavier weights like this yes?
  5. Hey everyone, I've been working on increasing my squat weight lately and don't know a lot about keeping form under heavier weights. Today I recorded myself going for 5 reps at 185lb and then trying to do 1 rep at 225 lb. The higher weight felt okay and I was able to push it but it looks like the weight started to move forward and I was pushing up with my core more then my legs maybe? I donno I'm no expert I need all the help I can get. Thanks!
  6. Hello again everyone, I've got a few more sets that could use critique. I worked on keeping my upper back tight, warmed it up a bit more and brought my hands in a little closer which seemed to help. Squat: 245lbs Set 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3LKSUPJC5Y&feature=youtu.be Set 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KctwL_ixBk4&feature=youtu.be Deadlift: 235lbs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNqkNFdsRok&feature=youtu.be Hopefully an improvement over my last form check available here: http://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/50738-low-bar-squat-check/ Thanks all.
  7. Evening everyone. Rate my squat! I'm doing Stronglifts, making pretty good progress, but feedback is always good. I'm currently about 255lbs, and started in the gym at the beginning of the most recent 6-Week challenge (6/9/14) with 135lbs. First video is set 3/5, and I only do 4 reps because I wasn't set up properly at first, and I reracked and reset the bar on my back after my first rep. I still counted it as a good set, don't hold it against me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxWxYgqpwPY&feature=youtu.be Second video is set 5/5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVi7ABgZKDo&feature=youtu.be Thanks! PS- I have no idea how to embed on this forum... sorry you have to head to youtube to view.
  8. Guys, it's that time again! I recently recorded myself giving the L-sit my damnedest. My goal is to do this on the floor, but haven't tested it in a while -- when I first started I was having trouble elevating myself enough on my palms. How's my form look? Particularly in the shoulders? Anything wonky?
  9. Okay. So. I can feel my right leg caving in when it gets hard, and I can manage to push it back out but I can't stop it from happening. Also pretty sure something wonky is going on with my back because it feels a little owie. Although these were MUCH improved from 2 weeks ago. Not sure how much the video shows. (This was set 2 of 3).
  10. This morning I went to the gym and it was dead so I was able to get some videos of my workout. I did bench press, squats, dead lifts, and push presses. I have video of me using just the bar (45lbs), 55lbs, and 65lbs. Which videos should I post? Some of the exercises I do better with just the bar and others I feel are more graceful with some added weight. I guess I will start with videos where I just have the bar.... Would you critique me please? I would really appreciate the feed back. Bench Press: I find with the bench press my arms wobble a lot, not shaky because I can't lift the bar, they just don't stay "quiet" enough to make the whole thing a fluid motion. Does this get better with practise? Should I be doing it slower? I am still wobbly with added weight, my bar just doesn't stay straight. Squat: My squats feels good, I don't have any issues...I don't think. Now I can squat low enough to rest the bar on the bumpers, should I go that low or should I stop just before I put the bar on them? And the front view. Dead lift: Is dead lift one word or two? I never know. My dead lifts feel pretty good. I am not sure if I should have the bar sitting on a higher stand. Is my butt going low enough when I bring the bar back down? I am getting better at "scraping" the bar up my shins and legs, I am going to have to start wearing pants on DL days. Push Press: The push press is the toughest/weirdest exercise for me. I feel like I am curving my back inward (belly out) when I fully extend up. Am I leaning too far forward? Am I doing it right? Should I be using a rack where the bar starts off at shoulder height or is it ok to "flip" it up from my thighs to my shoulders? Thanks for all the constructive criticism, tips, and tricks. I can also put up the videos with extra weight on the bar if that helps.
  11. Here is my 3x 275lbs squat. My current 1RM is around 295-335ish. I can see that I only went 95% down, so I need to work on that, but any suggestions would be most welcome. Here is my 2x 365lbs deadlift. My 1RM is 385lbs. I think I was tired from squats when I did this cause I didn't get my legs into it. Suggestions would be welcome. Thanks in advance for helping me bacome more awesome.
  12. Hey all, I just started adding ring support holds back into my warmup and I'm trying to make sure my shoulders aren't rounding forward. I regressed a little bit to make sure I'm practicing correctly. Below is a video of me practicing the support hold on my knees. How are my shoulders lookin'? Anything looking ugly? Any help from folks who use rings or have in the past would be awesome. Thanks in advance!
  13. Okay guys, I have problems. Granted, none of you can help with my mental problems, but my form ones can be whipped into shape, right? So I started strength training a week and a half ago. I have all sorts of issues, but my current one I wish to tackle is the deadlift. Also, it's the only one that I can easily record right now, so there's that reasoning as well. Anywho, Video: Now, I know I have a round back. I just have no idea on how to correct this. Also, the weight is only at 135# - and it can't get lower. My gym doesn't have plastic plates, so I'm stuck with the 135. Which is okay, because it feels pretty light for me. But I'm really clueless on what to do. I do need to re-read the Starting Strength section on DL form and tips, but I'm trying to read so many section of that book that I probably am missing some details that can more readily be pointed out here. So, halp plz!
  14. Power Clean I'm struggling with where the rack position is, I don't seem to have whatever muscle it is that the bar is supposed to be resting on at the end and always end up with it in my fingers, what am i missing? OHP I had trouble before with overextending my back, and leaning back more & more after each rep, I also sometimes get this odd sensation in left shoulder (about 1-2" above the shoulder blade) where it feels like someone is sticking a pin in me as the bar is traveling up, anyone know what that is? What else am i doing wrong? Thanks!
  15. This is a long overdue form check. Here is the first video. This is my third set of 5 at 240#. This is set 5 of 5. Then I shot one of my cool down sets at 135# So there are some definitely obvious problems that I thought I'd fixed (at lower weights) that are starting to come back out. I want to see what others notice objectively before I chime in on what I think is wrong here. Thanks everyone!
  16. Please check my form on these lifts. Any feedback is appreciated. These were the last sets on overhead and squats.
  17. Hey all, Just starting out on my first Nerd Fitness challenge, doing Stronglifts 5x5, and starting to get heavy enough on squats that I think I could use some pointers on form. I started more high-bar, trying to move it lower now because what I've read seems to suggest that's better for form. I try to focus on pushing my knees out and bringing the chest up when I come out of the hole. I thought I was going below parallel every time but this video shows I'm just barely hitting it - I tried to go lower on the sets after I recorded this. 125lbs, this is my 3rd set so it should be pretty average in terms of my normal form. My biggest concern is that I can see my back rounding at the bottom, and I've been feeling tight in my lower back (and less so mid-back). I'm not experienced to know whether that tightness is just the result of working my back or if it is something I need to worry about. Also, if it matters, I'm a fairly tall guy so I don't know if there are specific techniques I should consider because of that. Any and all feedback would be really appreciated!
  18. This is from Monday. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQx_0vTED7A
  19. So as I'm doing Strong Lifts 5x5 I thought I might start documenting my form in my lifts. As the weight will be increased frequently, I want to keep close tabs on my form. So here is today at 67.5kg (148.5lbs) squat, I completed all 5x5. I felt myself tipping forward last time, so this is my first time squatting barefoot. And this is the most Ive squatted before, my next increase will be a new PR.
  20. /shame face you guys. how long have I been doing this? yeah, and I'm only now getting a video of my bench up. Here it is: http://youtu.be/NlxtSukGZaI Um, what the heck am I doing? I'm not sure when this funny power belly business started but it does explain why my lower back has been fussing at me lately (and why I finally decided to get a video going). I left the roll of shame in there because sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
  21. Warriors, come out and plaaaaaaaaaaay! Welcome back to another 6 week challenge. We're here in the guild that puts strength on a pedestal. We want you to lift the most that is physically possible for whatever your body allows, and then some. But the most important piece of lifting heavy is lifting correctly. If you keep trying to pull 315 off the ground with a rounded lower back, you're going to deadlift yourself into a world of pain. But that's what we're here for, to pick out the miscues and missteps and misguided form that we all fall in to sometimes. This forum is full of able bodied and able minded lifters who have read their fair share of books, watched their fair share of instructional videos, and some are even certified trainers in their field. We're very lucky to have them and would be foolish to not rely on our guildmates for support whenever possible. Let's start by example, watch these two videos and see if you can't point out the main differences between them, besides for the length of my sox. Video 1 ( ) It's low barBar path is too forwardFeet aren't wide enough apartHips aren't hinging correctlyIt's a good 3 inches above breaking parallel Video 2 ( ) High barKnees track over the toesBar path stays over center of the foot, except for 5th repHips bounce down in the hole, ensuring a below parallel finishLast rep the hips fall backwards, showing a weakness out of the hole Those videos were taken a year apart. After I received some feedback from my fellow nerds, I reevaluated the way I was squatting and dropped the weight back down until I could nail the form properly. I'm writing a lot though, so I'll wrap it up. Your Challenge Weeks 1 and 2 will be the first section of this challenge. In this time, you will be tasked with taking a form check video of yourself and putting it into your thread. The video can be of any technique that you are unsure of, anything at all. I think my DL is wonky, so I'm gonna have BigM rip it apart. You may worry that your elbows aren't tracking perpendicular to the ground during your OHP or maybe you're unclear where your hips need to be to break parallel on a squat. You are under no obligation to post this video, use it for your own devices. I will say that the videos will come into play later in the challenges though. I'll stress again that it is of course a big step to post photos or videos of yourself on the intertubes. We know. We had a member who used to wrap a shirt around his head because he didn't want to have his face on youtube. His videos were some of the funniest things I've seen in a while. That said, it is entirely possible to mark your youtube upload as "unlisted" so that only the people you give the link to can view it. Please don't think that any of us would judge you in any way. We're all here to help each other out. Your Rewards +1 to Wisdom for realizing that your form may need help+1 to Charisma because you're now on youtube, as a celebrityGuidelines Please include the following details along with your form check. Weight UsedCurrent 1RM/5RM for exerciseThese two bits of information are useful because weight used is a huge factor. Me deadlifting 135 is going to look a lot different than me using 315. As you get closer to your heaviest, your form will start to adjust to muscle memory. That's what we need to work on. You have until 3/9 to complete this. Good luck.
  22. I've been lifting for a few months now and have a question about Military Press. For those of you that do them, what movements do you do to get the bar/dumbells into starting position? Do you lift from the floor or from some sort of rack? Also, How much difference does it make doing Military Press standing versus sitting? Thanks for the help.
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