getting better … again

Monday, one week after my back muscle pull. This is the first workout of my fifth week of the current 8 week cycle. The painful muscle pull… or tear… or whatever it was… has subsided to an ache. I was stiff in the morning, but after this rehab-centric workout, I had a pain free day (amazingly) and feel like I am clearly on the mend. THAT IS AWESOME.

Warm-Up: 4 rounds of — 200 meter run, 20 jumping jacks, 20 high knee steps; then — shoulder mobility; followed by — Burpees, 5 x 6 @ 60s intervals. That’s right, 30 burpees.

Oh yeah. My warm up is your workout. I’m like a one man CrossFit affiliate!

Feeling loose and warm now… the rest of my workout was cake.

Shoulder Rehab: Incline Y/T/I 3 x 10 x 8 lbs (10 lbs on first set… was too much). Shoulder Press: 3 x 9 x 25 lbs KBs.

High Bar Back Squat: 4 x 20 x 45 lbs. Empty bar. This is my modified Starr rehab protocol. These felt good. REALLY good. I’m pretty sure they helped cure my back pain. Also cool: first time squatting with a conventional bar since I blew my shoulder out months ago.

Conditioning: 5 rounds of: Farmer’s Carry Box Step Up 10 x 25 lbs DBs (50 lbs) @ 24″, then 50 meter sandbag shuffle w/ 50 lb sandbag on my bag (cleaned it up there). Just straight up work. Did not time it. Probably about 6 minutes. Pretty good workout. I wish I had a 100 lb sandbag, though!

Chin-Ups: 5, 4, 3, 3 (15 total reps, +2 reps from last Wed).

It’s amazing how much easier it is to work out when you’re not lifting heavy. I can’t wait to get back to heavier squats and deadlifts. Maybe next week. We’ll see if I keep on feeling better.

week IV catastrophe

That’s it for week 4 out of 8 of my current training program. This week sucked. Sucked!

Training: Instead of continuing to implement my plan, everything fell apart on Monday when I pulled a muscle in my back. I improvised my way through Wednesday and Friday workouts. The only area I can point to where my plan continued unabated was in shoulder rehab work and burpees. Sigh. I am still in a wait and see mode post injury so maybe in this upcoming week five I’ll decide what to do about my goals and my training.

Body Recomposition: I made progress in my average waist measurement (down to its lowest point yet at 36.11″) whereas my average weight was up slightly (to right around 196, or 1 pound over my goal), and my skinfold average remained steady at 9 mm. I’m happy with all this.

The literal meaning of “catastrophe” is actually just “downturn” so I’m actually not being dramatic by referring to this week as a catastrophe. The setback in my training will just put things on hold. It won’t stop me. More later.

getting a bit better?

Friday morning I was … not entirely prepared for the gym. Back still in pain. Maybe getting better. It’s still too soon to tell how long it’s going to take. After this workout I was in pretty bad pain in the late afternoon; sort of as if aggravating the injury induced an accelerated DOMS. AOMS.

Accelerated onset muscle soreness! What a concept.

Warm-Up: first… 4 rounds of 200 meter jog and 10 jumping jacks. This felt GOOD. Then

Shoulder Mobility, various floor work things, etc.

Burpees 5 x 5 @ 60 sec. Some of these kinda painful on shoulder and back. I feel a wreck.

Shoulder Press 3 x 8 x 25 lb KBs

Shoulder Rehab External Rotations 3 x each side x 10 x 10 lb DB.

Goblet Squat (rehab for back): 3 x 10 x 15 lb KB. These were PAINFUL on my back.

Romanian Deadlift with FatGripz (rehab for back): 4 x 20 x 45 lbs.

Lying Triceps Extension: 5 x 10 x 52.5 lbs, 55 lbs, 57.5 lbs, 60 lbs, 62.5 lbs.

Foam Roller on Lumbar and Thoracic Spine; lacrosse ball on hips, lumbar back, spine, etc.

That’s it.

rehab day 1

well, by Wednesday AM I could move. Let’s just say it hurts most when I try to put on my socks.

Warm-Up: 5 minutes on the airdyne, then, agility ladder stuff. Shoulder mobility. Jumping jacks. High knees, etc.

Burpees: 5 x 5 @ 60s. Surprised, but these were not a problem.

Shoulder Rehab: Front deltoid raises, 3 x 10 x each arm x 10 lbs DBs; shoulder press: 3 x 8 x 25 lb KBs. These were done on a 3 minute interval.

Chin-Ups: 5, 4, 3, 1. 3 minute interval between sets.

Conditioning: 5 rounds, 3 minute interval: 10 farmer carry box step ups with 25 lb DBs (50 lbs total) @ 20″ / 150 jump rope single unders. Most rounds I had 70-55 seconds rest.

It doesn’t seem like much and I suppose it isn’t but it got my heart rate up and kept it up.

My back was OK. While my back is repairing I’ll have to focus on upper body work. I haven’t rewritten my program yet but you can bet I will. While God is still chuckling about this setback I’ll just improvise, lest a new set of plans makes things worse. The lesson to learn here is that, no matter what you think you’re doing, if the plan has to give way then the plan has to give way.

another setback

They say God laughs at those who plan. Or something. Anyway I had plans and was admiring my own unfolding plans. I should have known a setback was coming, simply because I was so excited about the apparent progress I was making. I ignored a kind of nagging, nascent pain I had in my back on Sunday and figured, yeah, nothing like that ever caused me any real trouble.

So, yeah, I pulled a muscle in my lower right back / hip on Monday, cutting short my workout and throwing my whole plan into doubt.

Warm-Up: yeah, I did. And shoulder mobility. In retrospect, maybe not sufficient.

Burpees: 5 x 5 @ 60s

The following sets were all done in “supersets” or alternating…

Deadlift: 5 x 135 / 3 x 185 / 1 x 210 / 3 x 5 x 215. On rep 5 of the 3rd set I pulled the muscle, and the workout was over. It was supposed to be 5 x 5.

SSB Squat: 5 x 70 / 5 x 140 / 1 x 155 / 3 x 5 x 160. I completed all these prior to the muscle pull.

Shoulder Rehab: diagonal bent over reverse flyes 3 x 10 x 8 lbs DBs; shoulder press: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs KBs.

But there was no moving on. In fact I was crippled all day. I left the workout thinking (a) I’d not be squatting or deadlifting for at least 5 sessions (through my week 5) and (b) I should have realized that the high-volume of deadlifts in my current program would not be sustainable.

I had some worry that the pain I felt was disc or spine related, but palpation and exploration showed me pretty clearly that it wasn’t, at least not directly, related to the spine, and that it probably was entirely soft-tissue damage I was feeling, as opposed to connective tissue, cartilage, etc. More than likely it involves the right side erector spinae or the internal abdominal obliques or quadratus lumborum. The pull is closer to the attachment on the hips than to the spine.

I could not continue. Not that I didn’t try to walk it off. I jogged 800 meters, and walked 800 meters. And rolled it out. Nothing relieved it. I could barely move all day, and was in pain for most of the next day too, although it was better by Tuesday afternoon. We’ll see how long it takes to get back on plan.

Please note: I am absolutely convinced that this injury was NOT caused by poor form on the pull. I have been concentrating on using *perfect* form for the past month. The injury happened during the release phase of the last rep; form may have been relaxed since it wasn’t the pull. But I don’t think so. Overall, I suspect that my form — I have been exclusively focused on improving my extension as of late — was very good. So, injury… may rather have been a result of repetitive stress on a longstanding weakness (there are good, historical reasons of repeated injury to the leg and buttocks causing my right side to be weaker than my left). If recovery is good, normally this doesn’t affect me. In other words, this was caused by insufficient recovery. I have to let my pull heal for a few days, then embark on the Starr rehab.

week three recap

Week three of eight went well.

Training: except for a missed conditioning workout on Wednesday and another week of only 2 short sets of chin-ups, all was according to plan. I showed up, put more weight on the bar, worked on extension, did a huge volume of squats and a large volume of deadlifts, and what else need I say? I am getting stronger and I trust my plan.

Body Recomposition: I was in control and reasonable in my eating. The measures all looked better or continued to look good. Average weight for the week was down by over a pound from the past couple of weeks, and cameclose to my goal of 195, falling to 195.6. Average umbilical measure was also down, to 36.3″. Skinfold measure remained low at 9mm. I’m satisfied. Again, I trust my plan.

friday morning blast

Warm-Up: a couple of minutes of jump rope, some floor work, shoulder mobility, then burpees 5 x 4 @ 60s intervals (= 20 burpees).

Deadlift: 5 x 135 / 3 x 225 / 2 x 5 x 255. No video. Probably about the same as last week.

SSB Squat: 5 x 70 / 3 x 140 / 5 x 5 x 160. These felt great… for a change!

Shoulder Rehab: Y/T/I 3 x 10 x 8 lb DBs. Press: 3 x 7 x 25 lb KBs.

Clean and Press: 10 x 1 x 39 kg @ 40 sec. intervals. Better interval, otherwise same as monday.

Chin-Up: 3, 3. Just not feeling it today.

Conditioning: 5 minutes on the clock, AMRAP 200 meter run, KB Swings 25 x 35 lb KB. I started round 4.

again with the wednesday

training may feel like it keeps going on and it does

Warm-Up: 5 minutes on the bike, shoulder mobility, burpees 5 x 4 @ 60s intervals.

Shoulder Rehab: external rotations each side x 3 x 10 x 10 lbs DBs; shoulder press 3 x 7 x 25 lbs KBs.

SSB Squat: 5 x 70 / 5 x 140 / 3 x 170 / 1 x 180 / 3 x 5 x 190 lbs

Lying Triceps Extension: 4 x 10 x 50/55/60/62.5 lbs

Romanian Deadlift: 4 x 10 x 90 lbs

Skipped conditioning today … probably because of the rain and a late start. It’s a strange day. Weighed in at 194.5 after workout, though, my lowest point since I started Body Recomposition efforts in Jan.

gimme more monday

A little more weight on the bar this week than the last. A little more volume too. Week three of my current eight week training cycle began today It went ok. Going ok is good. This is about doing work.

Warm-Up: 5 minutes on the Airdyne. Floor work. Shoulder mobility. Burpees 5 x 4 @ 60s. (Yep, 20 burpees).

SSB Squat and Deadlift Supersets (also, shoulder rehab in there) on 3 minute intervals for warm-up sets and 6 minute intervals for work sets:

SSB Squat: 5 x 70 / 3 x 130 / 1 x 150 / 5 x 5 x 160

Deadlift: 5 x 135 / 3 x 185 / 1 x 195 / 5 x 5 x 205. Video to be posted later.

Shoulder Rehab: Bent Over Reverse Flye: 3 x 10 x 10 lbs DBs / Shoulder Press: 3 x 7 x 25 lbs KBs.

Bent Over Row: 4 x 10 x 80/85/90/92.5.

Clean and Press: 10 x 1 x 39 kg @ 30 sec intervals. Going to increase interval length soon.

Conditioning: 10 x 40 meter Farmer’s Carry w/ 50 lbs DBs (+100 lbs) @ 60s intervals. Great workout this.

That is all! Check back for the video in a day or two.

week second same as the first

Second Week of my new eight week cycle … it went ok.

Training: Training this week was entirely according to plan. I added weight, I did my reps; got that work in. Every set was completed except for the last two sets of chin-ups on Friday. Which I regret. But I was spent and out of time and they aren’t central to my goals. Speaking of goals: my deadlifts on Friday weren’t as crisp as I want them to be. My extension is still suffering, which is visible in the video. I gotta work on it. But video of my Monday deadlifts looked good. My squats were feeling weak this week. But the volume I’m doing is outrageous. So. I’m going to stick with my plan but beginning with the next cycle I have to try something new. No PRs in sight anywhere. But the plan is the plan and I’m sticking with it.

Body Recomposition: With my parents in town, and my little girl’s birthday this weekend, my diet has been sub-optimal. But not entirely so. Not all indicators were off. Average weight was about 2 lbs above my target weight and about 1/2 pound above week 1, at 197. Average umbilical circumference was very slightly up (bloating, I’d guess) to just over 36.5″. But my average skinfold measure was actually down, to 9mm. Something is working. Probably the increased conditioning. Overall I’m feeling optimistic and like the progress is tangible but I’d still like to get down to my target weight and maintain it.