the friday before squat camp

Week VII, Workout C

Friday morning I was in the gym early. Not entirely sure what I would be doing. Normally, I’d have continued with my linear progression in squats, did my wrist/forearm rehab work, and lately, add in some light bilateral upper body work, as I test the limits of my healing left arm.

But today, I was under instructions from Steven Hill, whose Low Bar Squat Camp I’ll be attending this weekend, to take a light day so I’ll be rested well enough get my ass handed to me on Sunday afternoon.

So here’s what I did.

Warm-Up: 2000 meter row, Res. 7, S/M 20-21, Time: 8:14.3 (split: ~ 2:03.6); Jump Rope single unders, 300 or so.

Shoulder Mobility (various; done between sets of the following)

Bilateral Wrist/Forearm Rehab (done between sets of following): 3 x 8 x 8 lb FatGripz DBs: pronated & supinated, & neutral grip wrist curls; shrugs & hammer curls; triceps extensions & curls; reverse curls & side delt raises; pronation & supination; 400 meter farmer’s carry.

Squats: 5 x 45, 10 x 135, 15 x 135 (!). This 15 rep set is a PR set for me but that fact doesn’t appear to be worth paying much attention to. I could easily do a set of 15 with more weight. I will say that I felt exceptionally smooth, strong and able through the whole set, and I enjoyed that.

Split Jerks: 3 x 5 x 10 kg

Press: 3 x 5 x 10 kg

Push-Ups (PVC pipe in 3 point contact with seat, lumbar, and head): 5 x 1. It is going to be awesome to start adding back in volume with push-ups. I can’t wait to add pull-ups!

wednesday squats and an update on my shoulder pain

Week VII, Workout B.

Feeling much more rested on Wednesday I got up super early (4:30 am) and made it to the gym by about 5:20; got most of my workout in before Mike and Lauren arrived.

Warm Up: Row 500m, Res: 7, s/m: 16-18, Time: 2:10; Jump-Rope about 200 single unders; Hip/Leg Mobility.

Squats (alternating with shoulder mobility sets, written just below): 5 x 45, 3 x 95, 3 x 135, 1 x 185, 5 x 190, 5 x 190, 8 x 190 (f on 9). I found that I had to push harder on this than I expected. I think maybe the interval of Friday to Wednesday for heavy squats is TOO long, by at least one day. I missed the optimum window for taking advantage of supercompensation. But I still got my sets and 8 x 190 is technically a PR. This is with body weight of 192, as of Wednesday morning.

Shoulder Mobility: dislocates, “spiders”, rotations.

Bilateral Wrist/Forearm Rehab: 3 x 12 x 5 lb FGDBs: pronated and supinated wrist curls; shrugs; hammer curls & triceps extensions; reverse curls & side delt raises; 400 meter waiter’s walk.

In keeping with my discovery last day that I can perform lightweight barbell movements with both hands, I took our heavy kid’s bar (10kg) and did the following:

Hang Power Cleans: 3 x 5 x 10kg

Hang Power Snatches: 3 x 5 x 10kg

Finally, Push-Ups. Time to start adding volume in these. They are feeling ok!

Push Ups: 3 x 1.

Update on My Right Shoulder Pain

So… I figured out what happened to my right shoulder.

Things improved markedly starting on Monday. I did multiple sets of shoulder mobility exercises Monday through Wednesday morning and kept feeling more and more life in my joint. The shoulder is still sore as all get out. But I came to realize that it wasn’t some piddly little set of low-weight high volume bench presses or deltoid raises that had screwed my shoulder up. After everything shifted back into place, the pain localized, and this triggered my memory. And my common sense.

The localized pain sits more or less on the protuberances of the bones on top of the shoulder: the distal clavicle, the Acromion process, and maybe the Coracoid process. The tissues between, among, and under all these protuberances is also quite sore and complains alot during various movements.

It was while I was contemplating why these bones and tissues on top of my shoulder might hurt, I finally remembered something I had done on Saturday that might have aggravated them.

Oops! On Saturday, while helping T-Bone reorganize the gym, I twice moved around the giant strongman competition implement called “the yoke.” I found out this week that this thing weighs about 150 lbs. And I did not balance this thing properly on my back, as in a walking back squat. I just put it all on one shoulder, the right side, hoisted it carelessly, and moved it around.

This yoke did feel uncomfortable while carrying it; there was intense pressure placed through the tendons of my trapezius muscles onto the distal end of the Clavicle, which in turn was pressed down, affecting the so-called “Acromioclavicular joint” and the “Acromial bursa” beneath it. The pressure would have affected the Coracoacromial, Superior Transverse Scapular, and Coracoclavicular ligaments.

To put a less fine point on it: this point-specific weighted compression probably displaced and bruised some shit, and basically messed stuff up. Definitely stretched and maybe lightly tore some shit. The good news is, I think, this is an eminently recoverable injury… it will be history after two weeks. And I’ve learned a lesson… and some anatomy… for my trouble.

You gotta be careful, Baldwin!

Rippetoe on Training vs. Exercise

Face it, Mark Rippetoe knows what he is talking about, and also has a way with words. Great article on T-Nation from back in July (July 7th, 2011). Thanks to T-Bone for the tip.

“Exercise and training are two different things. Exercise is physical activity for its own sake, a workout done for the effect it produces today, during the workout or right after you’re through.

“Training is physical activity done with a longer-term goal in mind, the constituent workouts of which are specifically designed to produce that goal. If a program of physical activity isn’t designed to get you stronger or faster or better conditioned by producing a specific stress to which a specific desirable adaptation can occur, you don’t get to call it training. It’s just exercise.”

monday “active rest” becomes a “workout”

So, I wrecked myself over the weekend, with “cheating” and “drinkin” and “stayin up late” and that continued into Sunday night, as we sat up with some lovely “long weekend” house guests late into the evening. I maintain that lively conversation with friends, at table, with wine… that is the definition of the good life. So there is no use being a stick in the mud and missing such moments because you “need sleep.”

So, I was up until 1:00 am Monday morning. And I paid for it. The alarm got me up at 5:30, and I was at the gym just before 6:00 am, with only about 4 total hours of sleep (the kids were also up at various times during the night, so sleep was broken).

Week VII, Workout A

I felt like crap and didn’t think I could manage my squats. And I knew I probably wouldn’t have time to do a full workout. So I resolved to do something.

Row 1000m stroke/min: 15-17 resistance: 4 total time: 4:15 (2:07:30 split).

Shoulder Mobility Work (various)

Bilateral Wrist/Forearm Rehab: 3 x 12 x 5 lb FatGripz DBs of: pronated, supinated, and hammer style wrist curls; triceps overhead extensions; hammer curls; reverse curls; curls; pronation/supination.

400 meter farmer’s carry w/ 5 lbs FGDBs.

Forearm/Wrist Stretches and Mobility

Pushups: 1 x 1. My first pushup in the gym since breaking the arm 9 weeks ago!

Plank Holds: 3 x 1 x 30 sec, 45 sec, 60 sec. These were challenging. Later they became VERY painful. Which is awesome. Going to start doing them on a weekly basis. I did them with a PVC pipe in 3 point contact with the back of my skull, the thoracic spine, and the sacrum. These seem like they are great for posture development and for getting HARD in the trunk.

I was putting away a 45 lb bar when I realized, to my sudden surprise, that I could carry it with both hands without pain! To celebrate I did:

Hang Power Clean: 1 x 1 x 45 lbs.


Press: 1 x 1 x 45 lbs.

Then for good measure, and just so I could say I did something I did:

TWO HANDED Squat: 3 x 15 x 45 lbs.

Fun times.

sled pulls on saturday and the ‘return’ of my fracking right shoulder

Week VI, Workout D

Saturdays are fun at ASC, cause the kids run around, and we all goof around, and make plans for world domination, and usually, we eventually pull sleds and shit.

Brian and Jamie and I got our weight bearing movement (aka “loaded carries”) on. I pulled a sled +90 lbs with a harness.

8 x 45 meter sprint w/ sled +90 lbs

What an incredible workout.

The Return of Right Shoulder Pain

I don’t know what happened. I was on a drive, a long drive, rocking out to the pixies, in the afternoon, and I noticed that my right shoulder was painful. Like I’d tweaked it. Going back in my mind I remembered slight discomfort in it on Monday during my forearm/grip mobility/rehab work. I did not notice any acute pain or feeling of “injury” on Friday during my DB press and bench press.

Well, I’m pissed off. But… I guess I should have seen this coming. First off, in the sense that repetitive stress injury is inevitable when you overuse a part, and I’ve been (over) using this arm pretty exclusively for 8 weeks, since I injured my left arm and had to start compensating for that. Second, because I did feel a tweak on Monday and I should have backed the fuck off the shoulder and not done the presses I did on Friday! And thirdly, because I’ve been here before and frankly, it hasn’t been that long.

My last major shoulder pain issues were associated with the left shoulder; which I was complaining about the whole first half of this year (2011). But my left shoulder was really getting better, and I was pressing with little difficulty and improving right up until the second to last workout of the summer (July 24th) where I was in fact saying it felt fine but was complaining that my RIGHT shoulder was “ironically” at 90%; and the last workout of the summer (July 27th), a day on which I, among other things, pressed sets of 90-95 lbs, before breaking my arm in the afternoon.

But before 2011 I had occasions of pretty unbearable right shoulder pain. See for example my ‘log entry for Dec. 9th, 2010, where, much like this occasion, I felt fine during training but then had pain flare up later on. Something is going on in the damn shoulder, but it tends to get better if I baby it and do my mobility work, and work on posture and neck position, and do neck work. So, watch and wait, eh?

squat progress

Friday I showed up early and got in a decent workout. I’m having a bit of a hard time pacing myself effectively through my available training window; I am often supervising (or at least consulting about) the training of two other trainees during my period. Be that as it may, I’ve been making progress with the squat, am enjoying being able to row again, and in general doing the best I can given the limitations that have been imposed on me by recovery from a broken left forearm! It’s been 8 weeks. I anticipate another 10 weeks before I return to a “normal” training routine, and then, I suppose I will have to work my way back up to actually using heavy weights on anything involving pulling or pushing with my left arm.

Week VI, Workout C

Warm-Up: Row 500m Res 7 S/M 21-23 Time: 2:10. 210 single unders w/ jumprope, in one continuous set. Shoulder mobility.

Bilateral Forearm/Wrist Rehab Work: 3 x 10 x 5 lb FatGripz dumbbells: supinated & pronated wrist curls; hammer curls and bent over rows; curls and high pulls and shrugs; shoulder press and deltoid reverse flyes; bench press and side delt raises; forearm pronation and supination.

Back Squat w/ One Arm (Right): 10 x 45, 3 x 135; 2 x 5 x 185; 1 x 10 x 185 (PR). This was awesome. Very hard. It left me feeling quite spent afterwards! One of those on-line “theoretical one rep max calculators” told me later that this corresponds to a theoretical one rep max of 247. But I have no intention of testing my 1 RM until mid December. I’ll be going back to using both hands and I will CRUSH this number.

One Arm (Right) DB Press: 3 x 5 x 35.

One Arm (Right) DB Bench Press: 3 x 5 x 55.

“Conditioning”: Row 1000m, Res 7, S/M 23, Time: 3:50. Corresponding to a 500m split of 1:55, and a several second improvement over last time. I am loving rowing again.

a little bit of something is better

than nothing. How especially true if you’re rehabbing an injury. Today I ignored a sore throat and sinus problems and a general malaise and dragged my ass into the gym anyway. But I took it pretty easy. So there.

Week VI, Workout B.

Today marked 8 weeks from my broken left forearm. The time has passed weirdly, slowing down and speeding up, depending.

Warm-Up: Row 1000m, 21-22 s/m pace, resistance 7, time: 4:17; jump-rope: about 200 single unders with jump rope, not consecutive.

Mobility: shoulder work.

Bilateral Forearm/Wrist Rehab Work: 3 x 8 x 5 lb FatGripz dumbbells: supinated & pronated wrist curls; hammer curls and bent over rows; curls and high pulls; shoulder press and deltoid reverse flyes; bench press and side delt raises; forearm pronation and supination.

One Arm Deadlift (Right Arm): 10 x 45 / 2 x 95 / 5 x 135.

More mobility: wrist rotations, more forearm pronation and supination (not weighted), and slow “dynamic” stretching of wrists on the top of a 24″ box.

“Conditioning”: Row 1000m, 21-23 s/m pace, resistance 7, time: 3:59. This corresponds to an average “split” of 1:59.50 Not bad for a guy pulling with one broken arm!

Dietary Note

This was day four of my VLC cutting experiment. The scale read 194.5 (losing a pound a day, roughly, clearly, most of this is water). I feel ok, but I have a bad cold. Is this the “low carb flu” I have read about? Or just a case of “I shouldn’t have let my 2 year old son share sips of my seltzer water?”

more more

Week VI, Workout A

Somehow I’ve been kicking it, day after day. Today, I did a warm up on the rower, 1000 meters, 4:48, a 12 second improvement, or so, over last effort. No pain. Then a bunch of single unders with the jump rope. Maybe 400. A good warm up. Shoulder mobility. Then 3 x 15 x 3 lbs FatGripz Dumbbells, Bilateral Forearm/Wrist Rehab: supinated & pronated wrist curls; hammer curls and bent over rows; curls and high pulls; shoulder press and deltoid reverse flyes; bench press and side delt raises; forearm pronation and supination. Then back squat: 3 x 45, 95, 155; 2 x 5 x 180; 1 x 10 x 180 (PR). I impressed myself, until I thought about how much stronger some people are. This impresses me because it would put my theoretical 1 RM at about 240, or +5 from my last 1 RM test. But I am not spent, and I fully expect to keep getting these sets of 10 for the time being. No conditioning today.

A Couple of Notes on Diet

I am trying a cut. Weight was 199 on Saturday evening. And still 199 on Monday morning. But I am trying a very low carb protocol, without alcohol, for about 12 days, to see if I can shed a couple of pounds of fat. I’ll report back more on this later.

saturday long and leisurely

Week V, Workout D


Rowing on C2, with BOTH hands: 1000 meters, about 5 min; Jumprope, various styles of single unders, about 600 x (roughly 6 minutes).

Mobility and Rehab

Hip, Hams, Quads.

3 x 12 x 3 lb FatGripz DBs, each of the following: pronated and supinated wrist curls, hammer curls, bicep curls, high pulls, side delt raises, shoulder press, rear delt flye, bench press, front delt raise, pronation/supination.

A long time goofing around with Brian, John, and Mike, and the kids.


Strength Work

One Arm DB Shoulder Press (Right): 1 x 5 x 50 lbs; 3 x 5 x 35 lbs.

One Arm DB Snatch (Right): 3 x 1 x 65 lbs.

One Arm Oly Bar Snatch (Right): 1 x 65, 1 x 70, 1 x 75, 1 x 80, 1 x 85 (PR).


Sled Drags: 6 x +90 lbs x 40 meters @ 90 sec intervals. Brutal.

friday is the best day of the week

Week V, Workout C

Friday morning was another workout after too little sleep. Once again, I’ll say it: I gotta sort out my sleep behavior. Again. Is this struggle with myself going to go on forever?

Anyway, I made it to the gym and had a good time.


Jumprope, 300 single unders


3 x 12 x 3 lb DBs w/ FatGripz of each of the following: pronated and supinated wrist curls, hammer curls, bicep curls, high pulls, side delt raises, shoulder press, rear delt flye, bench press, front delt raise, pronation/supination.

Hip/Ham/Quad Mobility


Back Squat: 3 x 95, 3 x 135, 2 x 5 x 175, 1 x 10 x 175 (PR). These are getting frigging hard. HARD.


3 rounds: 160 meter farmer’s carry w/ 3 lb DBs FatGripz, 10 tuck jumps w/ DBs.