Friday morning at the gym I was late, and pressed for time, needing to be on campus to give a final exam by 8:00 am. So I kept it short and didn’t sweat the fact that I couldn’t complete a full workout. I was insanely sore from Wednesday on Thursday, feeling beat up and wasted anyway. And even though my back had felt better on Monday, by Friday morning it was not feeling great. SUPER. Recovery from this back thing may take some time. Anyway, it made better sense to make it a “light day,” as it turned out.
Initial Warm-Up: 200 meter run with 50 lb sandbag, followed by 20 jumping jacks and 20 high knees.
Burpees: 5 x 6 @ 60 sec. Yeah! At least I can brag I did 90 burpees this week.
Shoulder Rehab: external rotations 3 x 10 x each arm x 10 lb DB / shoulder press: 3 x 9 x 25 lbs KBs.
In retrospect, the sandbag runs were a terrible idea given my back pain. Damn I’m an idiot sometimes.
Second Warm-Up: 200 meter run with 50 lb sandbag, 20 jumping jacks, 20 high knees.
Wandered around for a few minutes and then went home.
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.
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.
I had a pretty good sleep the past two nights, and have certainly eaten well. But I drank last night (long weekend with Good Friday holiday… and my folks are in town). Weigh in this morning was 196.
Good workout to finish up training during my week 1 of 8 in the current cycle.
Warm-Up: 5 min on Airdyne, Karaokes and floor-work, Burpees, 5 x 2 @ 60 sec (sets of 2 on the minute for five minutes).
Supersets of Squats and Deadlifts, on 5 min intervals:
SSB Squat: 5 x 70 / 3 x 120 / 5 x 5 x 150.
Deadlift: 5 x 135 / 3 x 185 / 1 x 225 / 2 x 5 x 235. Darn it! I forgot my camera. These felt good though. I will certainly video my work sets on Monday.
Shoulder Rehab: Shoulder Press: 3 x 12 x 15 lbs KBs; Side Delt Raise: 3 x 10 x 8 lbs DBs. The latter really hurts my right shoulder!
Chin-Ups: 4, 4, 5, 4. I was bummed when I didn’t get five on my first set. Then surprised to get it on my third! Overall, a higher average reps/set (4.25 vs. 4 last week) and +5 reps over last week.
Clean and Press: 10 x 1 x 37 kg @ 60 sec intervals. These were done after the first set of chin-ups.
Rowing Ergometer, max meters in five minutes: 1311. This works out to an average split of 1:54.4, which was right in line for my goal today. I will re-test this on Friday of week 8, if I can. I used an average stroke/min of about 21-22 and had the dampers set at 4.
I was super sore, and dragging on Tuesday. Most pain felt RIGHT; upper back pulling muscles. Tried to maximize sleep Tuesday to Wednesday, with some success, although my sleep for whatever reason was not unbroken. Diet wise I was in good shape; plenty of protein for past two days, and was at about 11.5 hours fasted at 6:00 am when the workout really got underway. Weigh in this morning was 196.
Warm-Up: 5 min on Airdyne, then 2 burpees on the minute for 5 minutes (10 total, actually 11, as I did 3 one set by accident). Plus shoulder mobility, hamstring mobility, karaoke. I like the simplicity of my new warm-up, which took about 12 minutes total.
Safety Bar Squats: 5 x 70 / 5 x 140 / 3 x 170 / 3 x 5 x 180. No problem.
Super Sets of Romanian Deadlift and Lying Triceps Extension:
RDL: 4 x 10 x 85 lbs.
Lying Triceps Exension: 4 x 10 x 45/50/55/50 lbs.
Conditioning: 5 x 3 minute rounds; each round: 200 meter run / 10 x Overhead Barbell (OHS grip) Box Step Ups (alternating legs) w/ 45 lbs bar / rest remainder of round. (Total time about 13:55).
Shoulder Rehab: Shoulder Press 3 x 12 x 15 lbs KBs / Standing Deltoid Front Raises 3 x 10 x each arm x 10 lb DBs.
Shoulders feeling a bit better than usual today! That made me happy.
Friday, I was not motivated at all. Pain in my right shoulder is getting me down. I considered changing up my plan, but decided against it. I would push through shoulder discomfort for at least one more training day and decide later whether the efforts were worth it. I was also pleasantly sore and worn out from Wednesday’s workout, especially the lying triceps extensions / pullovers.
Warm-Up: 5 minutes on Airdyne, mobility, etc.
Squat: 5 x 45 / 5 x 160 / 1 x 225 / 5 x 3 x 235.
Some of these were pretty grinding. That third rep could involve too deep of a bend (good morning style) and too slow of a drive. “That’s tempo lifting,” I joked. Yeah. This was the plan and I followed through and that’s all that matters.
Also performed (sometimes in between sets):
Wrist Curls, supinated and pronated: 3 x each type x 25 reps x 5 lbs DBs.
Shoulder Press: 3 x 10 x 5 lbs DBs.
Various shoulder flyes: numerous sets x 10 reps x 5 lbs.
Shrugs: 3 x 12 x 50 lb DBs (i.e. 100 lbs).
Chin-Ups, unassisted: 1 x 2 (one set of 2; this is one more than last week).
I wish I had felt up to doing more work in some more basic lifts, but nothing sounded right… not the power clean, RDL, good morning, DL work sets, KB work, etc. The thought of a “Turkish get up” with my right arm makes me cringe. Will assess more later.
I may need to take a serious look at how I can modify my program for best results, being more deliberate over the next 3-4 weeks about how to approach rehabbing the shoulder while continuing to make progress in the bigger lifts, and doing some meaningful auxiliary work. Not today. For today I’m satisfied.
Wednesday afternoon at the MAC, I did a very low volume workout. No wonder I’ve been getting fat! I’m down to one conditioning session per week. But it was a solid training session. I tied my previous PR in the Deadlift, which felt like quite an accomplishment to me, just about exactly 24 weeks post-broken left arm.
Warm-Up: 1 minute slow, 2 minutes 1/2 tabata on the Airdyne.
Mobility: the usual
Deadlift: 10 x 45 / 5 x 155 / 3 x 225 / 1 x 275 / 1 x 295 / 5 x 300 (PR tie). Overhand hook grip throughout. In that respect this was a true PR, since I always used to switch up to a mixed grip at weights above 275. My grip work has been working!
Shoulder Press: 5 x 45 / 5 x 55 / 3 x 5 x 75.
Snatch/OHS Bottom Position Static Holds (30 seconds or so): 25 lbs, 25 lbs, 25 lbs. About 1 minute between efforts. I just did these because they felt good. I hadn’t been in the position in a while. They allowed me (forced me) to work on: back (thoracic and lumbar) extension, knees out, engaged (packed) shoulders, weight in mid foot, etc. All at once. It is safe to say that I was the only fellow in the MAC who had put himself in that position in quite some time.
That is all.
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, July 27th started out great and ended in the crapper. Worked out, got a PR. Afternoon turned beautiful. Dug a sandcastle with my kids in the sun. It was an afternoon low tide and I went pipoboarding. Everything was awesome until I fell and broke my left radius (forearm).
400 meter run (50 meter turnaround)
50 jumping Jacks
10 push ups
10 x 45 x deadlift, clean pull, hang power snatch, ohs
5×135, 3 x 170, 1 x 185, 7 x 1 x 195 @ 120 seconds
200 meter run active recovery
5 x 185 (PR)
Shoulder Press and Bent Over Row
3 x 5 at 90, 95, 100
Broken Left Forearm
Many spectacular smooth and in control rides. And then one slip… bam. I knew instantly that I’d snapped one of the bones in my forearm. Calmly… we gathered up our things and went to Seaside, the ER. They took good care of me. My dad and mom came down; a little musical cars followed and then, my dad drove me back to Portland.
Surgery today, Thursday, at 5:00 pm, with Dr. Bueller.
Sunday afternoon, in the driveway at “Arch Cape Strength and Conditioning,” I completed the following workout. It made me feel fat and sluggish and weak, but I did it. Almost a week had elapsed since my last barbell workout. Too much time. This workout had slightly more total volume than the last, but other than that, doesn’t have much to recommend it.
1000 meter run
20 jumping jacks
10 push ups
10 x 45 hang power snatch
10 x 45 ohs
10 x 45 back squat
10 x 45 deadlift
5 x 135
3 x 205
1 x 225
3 x 5 x 225
These felt totally doable.
1 x 135
5 x 135
3 x 170
1 x 180
3 x 5 x 180
These felt ridiculously hard. Not fun at all. Especially since they are at only 76% of my 1 RM.
Press and BO Row Supersets
3 x 5 @ 85, 90, 95
I am surprised at how great the shoulder presses are feeling lately! And I am loving bent over rows. Shoulder pain in the left has become almost a non issue. On the right, I’m at about 90%, ironically.
FYI: I did about 10 x 80 yards of light jogging between sets of all the above, a form of active recovery. These just kept my heart rate up just a little bit, and provided a sense of rhythm to the workout, preventing me from standing around daydreaming between sets.
1 x 140, x 160, x 170, x 180, f x 185 goddamnit!!!
This short sequence was a bit disappointing. My form is totally screwed up. On the 185 I clarked the bar; I didn’t even get a proper second pull. On all of the reps the bar is probably way too far out in front, away from my body. But at least I cleaned 180 again as I did last Monday.
Hang Power Clean
10 x 135
I threw these in just out of sheer frustration, and to re-emphasize to myself how important it is to pull close to the body and to get those elbows around fast.
Next workout: focusing on the cleans (Tuesday).