case of mondays

Oh things were hard this morning again. Not sure what’s the deal with my lifting. It’s not going well right now. My arms, from the shoulders to the triceps to the elbows to the forearms, on both sides… they feel so screwed up. Simply put. They are sore and constantly complaining when I’m in the gym. Double epicondylitis, cracking and popping ripped up tore to shit shoulders (especially my right side). Forearms complaining. Left wrist barely functional. And my squats… they feel ugly. Form so bad. Barely able to get through them. The arms start to hurt during the squats. Then, after I’m done, I go right into the power cleans. But they feel sloppy, uncoordinated, difficult. Not sure what I’ll do about all this, but I’ll tell you, dear reader, if things don’t improve soon then I may just have to change things up very drastically.

Maybe, though, it’s just a case of the mondays.

Here’s what I did, what the hey:

Monday, Dec 12th, 2011.

Warm-up: 5 min on Airdyne.

Mobility: Hips, Hams, Quads, Calves, Ankles, Forearms, Shoulders, Wrists.


squats: 2 x 5 x 45 / 5 x 145 / 3 x 185 / 2 x 215 / 1 x 225 / 3 x 5 x 227.5. I was barely able to get through these. But I got through. Good morninging out of the hole on a lot of reps. My form is atrocious. My control is weak. It doesn’t feel like I was squatting 15 lbs more than this only a month ago. Why is that?

power clean: 3 x 25 kg / 3 x 35 kg / 3 x 3 x 45 kg (99 lbs). I could pull these off, but it seems like I’m going to run into a wall soon. This weight, and what I had to do to lift it, was quite startling to my left arm. I really haven’t worked it like this since July, and it’s noticing! Not in a good way.


wrist curls, prontated and supinated: 10 lbs DBs with FatGripz, 3 x 7. Gradually increasing volume here. These seem to help my left wrist. But I wonder.

Bent over rows: 5 x 45 / 3 x 5 x 85 lbs. These didn’t hurt as much as you might think. They were the only thing I did all morning that felt remotely easy.

I had more planned, but felt discouraged and beat down. So I decided to give it a rest. I did what I had to in order to keep after my goals. I skipped the various additional auxiliary things I had planned, including chin ups push ups curls and conditioning… Given the complaints of my elbows and shoulders I think I am just going to skip Push-Ups, Pull-Ups, and Curls entirely this week. Maybe next week too.


  1. Robert Novy-Marx
    December 13, 2011 - 4:03 pm

    Enough with the 5 x 5 for PRs every week– and they aren’t even real 5 rep PRs– they’re PRs for sets of 5 across. Test one day (work up to a true max, then make sure you get in some supplemental work after), get in real work on another day (heavy reps across), do some lighter work on another day or two. Mix up your testing– if you want to squat for PR every week, rotate between singles, doubles, triples and fives. You can still use something like “linear progression,” but you’ll still see progress from your last attempt (a month back) even if you have a bad day, which will be good for you head. I’m basically just suggesting something like the Texas Method, as you seem to be getting frustrated with what you are doing.

    Personally, I like to test with singles, but I rotate lifts (e.g., squats, front squats, DLs and GMs). For the volume day I do 3 x 2, 3 x 3 and 3 x 5 (three different lifts), with the doubles being the next thing I’m testing, the triples what I’m testing the week after that, and the fives what I’m testing the week after that. That is, I “ramp up” to the test over three weeks, and get to see improvement (hopefully) in the numbers for each lift/rep scheme every week without killing myself, because the last numbers came from four weeks prior. For the “light” days I do metcons, which are intense enough that they’re not really light days, but there’s still too much of the old crossfitter in me to just let it go, even when I’m mainly trying to get stronger right now.

    • I am going to spend some time thinking about this advice. I’d say it has a lot going for it. I’ll say this about your comment to the general public in case Andrew G ever reads this… Robert is both stronger and smarter than me and is a theoretical mathematician with a Ph.D. in finance… proving that maybe even smart people can be strong and that having a lot of (not to say too much) intelligence may tend to make one’s programming more complex, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

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