Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Breaking Back: Lessons Learned

I learned a few lessons from hurting my back. Some were more obvious than others, but this has been a good learning experience overall.

Recording and collecting technique tips that work for you is far more important than recording sets/reps performed.

Going for broke (failure) on deadlifts is flat out retarded. The lift that hurt me was on rep 1. I was so concentrated on blowing through all 4 reps, my concentration was not even close to the heavy ass weight that broke me.

You have not stalled progress if you cannot complete 10x3 at a certain weight. If you move down to doubles and singles, fine. It is when your technique falls to pieces and you have trouble completing a single rep when you have hit a plateau, but it may also just be a bad day. The human body is not a machine. Trying to treat it like a machine works for about 6 weeks. Fuck man, anything works for about 6 weeks (Dan John)


Include more bodyweight exercises (weighted and unweighted)

No one exercise is necessary (thinking I will be weak and small if I don't do X is retarded). Exceptions are the full squat and a deadlift variation.

Dumbbells do not transfer to barbells. Not a God damned bit.

Progressive overload is all that matters.

Instead of doing everything at once over a stretched period, do a few things weekly. Get strong at the main movements, cycle them out when you start to stall.

Your body will tell you when you are being an asshole. Listen and change accordingly. My hints:
- Callouses would regularly rip off my hands from overuse. Wear them down before they rip. More time without constant heavy sessions greatly aids in this type of recovery.
- The left side of my back would always feel more pressure from pulls than my right. This was a result of the failure of my left ass and hamstring to fire.
- Hitting a PR did not mean I could hit it 15 more times in the same day (retarded, just retarded)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chaos and Pain - Picking a Working Weight for Straight Sets

I feel slightly retarded...

For months, I would use linearly increasing weights week by week until I could no longer progress, then decrease the total reps/set and continue pushing until something terrible happened. Typically, my hands would rip open from excessive shear forces, I would have a series of terrible training days, or would just feel stuck.

The reasoning behind this should have been obvious...at some point, I would be training with a new max as a working weight. The first time I push pressed 225 behind my neck, it took me 5minutes to build up the nerve to start the set. After I completed the lift and had a good case of not deads, I realized I needed to put up 14 more singles at 225 to finish out the day. Fuck that man.

A better approach would be to work within percentages of a daily max (~85-95% of the max). That way, I can hit a heavy single, then work within that day's capacity at a lower weight and higher volume with a weight I've already conquered. You should be repping out (i.e. 2-5 reps) with a weight you KNOW you have destroyed in the past. It would feel much more natural to hit 225 for reps if I hit a single at 265 a few minutes beforehand.