Newbie looking for programming/injury prevention help - repost
I am reposting this from Andrew Wilson's @fit thread. Hopefully it is the right place for it.
Hopefully one of the experts here will have the patience to read through everything and be kind enough to offer me some feedback. Bottom line up front: I have been doing @fit for about 3 months, have seen some great progress, but have also started to feel a ďtweakĒ in my right shoulder. Iíve read enough injury threads to feel like I know where this is going, but I really donít want to lose my momentum. I would like to try and get smarter about my training so I can avoid the injuries that seem to come with some of the @fit programming.
Some background: I am 36 years old, 6'0" 210lbs and work in finance (at a desk all day). I spent four years in the Marine Corps (got out in late '01), and before that high school football and college kegstands were really my only athletic endeavors (played center, arguably the least athletic position on the field). I have always been somewhat chubby and feel like I have the metabolism of a hibernating bear. I managed to get myself in good shape for OCS and became fairly obsessed with physical fitness from then on. I was able to max out the PFT for the last two years of my time in, did some reasonably heavy lifting (bench, pull-ups, but no squats or lower body) and got into triathlon. I like to work hard, but have not always worked smart.
After the military came business school, then a couple of 80-100 hour a week jobs. During that time period the only thing I really did fitness wise was train for and run the Marine Corps marathon (in '08). I'm pretty sure Oprah ran it faster than me. My weight got up to about 230 and my max pull ups got down to 5 or so from the 25 I had in the military (pull ups have always been my favorite exercise). I changed jobs and moved home in early '09, and started working with a boxing/S&C trainer to get myself back into shape. I had boxed for a couple years getting ready for and during the military and loved it. The trainer had me doing squats and deadlifts for the first time in my life, as well as some plyo stuff in addition to the boxing.
Six months in I ended up herniating a disc doing deadlifts. Tried to power through it for a few months, but ended up with pretty bad sciatica in both legs. I had managed to drop 25 pounds and got my deadlift up to 265 when I finally gave in to the pain (I could barely walk until about 1pm everyday). After 2 steroid injections, six months off, and 3 months of just pilates, I started hitting it again. I did three months of just boxing and plyo before switching to @fit in September of this year. BTW, I was also diagnosed with an arthritic A/C joint in my left shoulder and have had a couple of injections there as well. Tissue checked out fine in a contrast MRI.
I've been doing @fit for about 3 months now and am starting to feel pretty good. I'm back up above 10 pull ups and even managed to pull 305 a few weeks ago, which was a huge moment for me. My lower back feels strong and the "shocks" down my leg are pretty much gone. Left shoulder has its moments, but seems fine with strict pull ups and everything else.
I am obviously sensitive to injury, and have been approaching it the following way. I go 2 on/1 off during the week and both weekend days off. I roll out for at least 10 minutes before every workout and spend about 15 minutes stretching afterward. Days off include stretching/mobility work. I do not suffer from the same hubris that so many others in the @fit community seem to suffer from, so am not afraid to scale the crap out of the workouts. I try to scale reps and time more than weight, as I am really trying to get stronger (and am limited to the 4 @fit workouts I do a week, with maybe an occasional lifting day on Saturday). I refuse to compromise form, and will make whatever sacrifices necessary to maintain proper form on every exercise. I am at about 175lbs. on front squats, 95lbs on snatch, 145lbs shoulder press and as I mentioned 305lbs on deadlift. Not sure about the others.
I find that I am having to mostly police myself during workouts because it is difficult for the coaches to keep up with a class of 15 people, at least 13-14 of which have very poor form. The coaches are very good people who seem genuinely interested in becoming better trainers and helping people. The problem during crowded workouts is there are so many people with horrendous form that I worry about being overlooked, especially when fatigue sets in and maintaining form becomes difficult. That is one of the many ďbusinessĒ issues I am starting to have with @fit, but I wonít get into that discussion here.
As I mentioned, I worry about losing the momentum I have with my progress, as I am now committed more than ever to getting myself into great shape. The one unexpected benefit of having started @fit is that it is making me more a student of fitness than I have been historically. That is what landed me here, but I'm not naive enough to think I have the background to program myself effectively quite yet. This is not my chosen field, but I am willing to put in the time to study and learn what I need to. I know that I want to get stronger using the oly lifts, which I really enjoy, but I also know I need a strong dose of well-designed metcon work to continue getting lean.
My fitness goals are:
1) To be as strong and fit as I can in everyday life. I want to be a super dad to my kids, and that means being able to keep up and be strong enough to pick them up and play with them. I guess this would qualify as GPP. I also play tennis and would like to improve my fitness for that.
2) Body composition. I would like to be lean for once in my life (or as lean as possible). Even at my peak in the military, I was not as lean as I could have been because my training was poorly planned and I had no clue when it came to nutrition (I realize that is extremely important for this goal). Seeing all of my abs has always been a secret goal of mine.
My questions are:
1) Can you all think of other ways I can prevent my shoulder from getting worse/holding me back? I would ideally program my own workouts and do them at home or another gym, but right now I don't have the equipment. I have a great pull up bar and a jump rope, and am more than willing to buy whatever else I would need, understanding that I donít have room for much. I also really want to develop the oly lifts, which I wonít be able to do at home.
2) How should I think about which WODs will be good/bad for my shoulder? Sometimes the shoulder crushing impact of a WOD is not apparent to me until Iím done and my body lets me know. Just knowing what to look out for will help me know when to skip and/or scale heavily. I know kipping is bad, and Iím working on strengthening my deadhangs so I can protect myself there.
3) Any other pointers/programming tips you all would be willing to share with me? I have looked hard in my city for a real trainer, and so far @fit is the closest Iíve come. I canít pay $60+/hour, but I will definitely pay for good programming. There is an oly lifting gym (gayle hatch affiliate) about 30 minutes away that I am going to try and get to twice a week or so for the lifting, so I guess that leaves metcons. These are really important to me, but I have no clue how to program them. I love the difficulty and intensity of the @fit metcons and couldnít see myself going back to the long runs for cardio.
Sorry for the long post. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I just skimmed your post, so forgive me if I missed a lot. But it sounds to me like the solution is very simple: stop doing crossfit.
You're at a point where you're having to change the workouts so much that it's going to be more work than just creating your own program.
I would suggest working with one of those good personal trainers for a few sessions to get a solid eval period, and then pay them to write you a program, and go back and check in with them once a month or so to reassess and update programming.
Definitely take advantage of a Hatch affiliate.
Just posted on another thread ...
Try Coach Rut's WODs. Simple, reasonable progression and very sustainable, with the right dose of intensity to (as he says) "stimulate, not annihilate."
Thank you all so much for the suggestions. I will definitely follow up and use them to figure out the best way forward....hopefully it won't include a SLAP journey.
I really enjoyed reading your post about you. It was a bit winded at times but you did a great job of sharing and I feel that I learned a lot about your situation. In fact, I think that I may have run across you before on one of the ďotherĒ online forums.
Iím very familiar with the oly gym you referenced (FF in Harahan) but you may want to consider an alternative: the Bearís Place gym down on St. Ann St in NOLA. Some of the workouts may seem a bit unusual at first but once you get the hang of it I think you find them superior to the WODís youíre used to doing. Most of the staff there are VERY hardcore about form and body positions. In fact, most intro sessions focus on finding a position that feels good to you without getting into anything too strenuous. Once youíre okay with that youíll find the pressure increases steadily. As long as youíre open to learning something new and maybe departing a little from what youíve been doing in @fit. Plus, they have a lot of equipment that isnít found in other gyms much anymore.
As far as your injuries goÖIím not a fan of kipping either. The metcons at @fit were my only release for a long time until I got programmed at the Hatch affiliate. I now incorporate a lot of yoga, too, into my GPP.
Keep us posted how your journey progresses.
+1 on the recommendation to follow Coach Rut's programming, that's what I do.
I understand your goal is GPP -- if kipping feels funny on your shoulders (or any other movement feels funny), don't do it until you learn to do it correctly. For instance, if the WOD calls for kipping pull-ups I would do ring rows instead.
It seems to me you would be better off getting some equipment and saving the affiliate fees for 1-1 coaching for the things that really need coaching, like Oly lifts.
If you do not have room at home for a bar, rack and plates, get dumbbells and a pair of rings, you can do a lot with just that (+jump rope and pull-up bar you mentioned).
Since you consider yourself a beginner (I am also a beginner) I suggest buying starting strength (the book and the dvd). You can learn the proper technique for the slow lifts from there on your own.
Hope this helps.
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