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Old 01-06-2011, 05:30 PM   #31
Mark Fenner
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Default December Recap

Man, not a great month of training. But, I did keep the wheels turning. I developed a neck stinger (pinched nerve) that required a bit of ART, posture improvement, and rehab to address. The shoulder also started playing dirty. But, I did get a moderate linear progression run from 3 of 5 @ 185 -> 245 on squat and 155 -> 175 on BP. Nothing amazing, but still work. Also got in plenty of MobWODs, some custom MobWOD work, added in some DLs, MPs, and rows. Hit a SQ 3 of 315.

Got a nice long hike in (12.5 in 4:45) though the knees were very grumpy since the last long hike was in June.

Hit KBs the week of New Years, plus a bit. Mainly working on C+P to get away from rehab and more towards developing the shoulder. Doing 2-3-5-10 of 1C-nP or nC-nP (i.e., C-P-P-P... or C-P-C-P).

Not sure what's next for the next blocks of training. I definitely want to incorporate more regular CV type training. It will almost certainly be multi-modal (run, bike, swim, snow activity, kettlebells) and mix longer-slower with shorter-faster work. I definitely want to add arm and shoulder mass. On a whim, I measured my arms and legs: 28" thigh and 16" arms. Definite disparity. Don't even have to measure to see it. Need to keep the shoulder and hip happy. Want to keep moving the powerlifts forward. These are all workable together; not sure what, where, when.
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Old 03-13-2011, 04:26 PM   #32
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Quote:
Man, not a great month of training.
Man, not a great month of training.

Do ya see a trend? Well, it's not -all- bad, but things have been better.

About three weeks ago, I had a serious back issue come up during warm-up sets of squats. Another reason to ALWAYS start with lighter weight. Had it been 185 (still a warm up weight) instead of 95, I might have been really fubar'd. Anyway, since November (and, in reality, longer), I've been dealing with increasingly annoying lower back/hip/SI joint/etc. issues. It's sort of come and gone. Anyway, after a day of heavy snow shovelling, the next day of squatting caused the serious issue (very pissed off disc in the lower lumbar) that sent me crawling to the ART chiro. Some soft-tissue work to relieve some of the excess tension let me sleep and move for the next week. And things calmed down. Another snow storm put some additional stress on the lower back (but thank you to the neighbours with snow blowers) and laid me up for the evening.

I'm now about 3 weeks out. This sort of injury is a 6 WEEK thing. So, while I'm feeling mostly ok. The level of pain is normally very tolerable (1-2/10) and only spikes to 3-4/10. But, if I *ding* it up again, it will be another 6 WEEKS before it really heals and ... on ... and ... on. Etc. So, I'm really trying to take it seriously and give the back time to heal. Snow shovelling is mandatory, but it looks like we might be mostly clear now.

So, no heavy bilateral leg/back work. No significant posterior chain work. No running. No rowing. Etc. But, I've been able to quad/glute leg work, remedial core work, upper arm stuff, and I've gotten at some walking (with and without weight vest) and swimming. I've also revisited ice skating which I hadn't done for about 10 years. Relearning how to skate stop (damn you, left turning skate stop) has been fun. And the real fun of skating is my 3-year old son is making his first strides.

So, hopefully 3 more weeks and I'll be able to --gradually-- start back into some heavier lifting. But, I'm planning on at least a 6 week ramp up to work weights (but still sub-max stuff).

*******

I realized that only captures my training since later February. January itself was a mix of a $hit ton of shoveling and moving of *heavy* boxes of books, wgt. equipment, etc. The back survived, but I think it was increasingly injured by repeated exposures to the "uncontrolled real world". Fortunately, good friends and beer helped me through (thanks Bob & Bob & Jason & Jason and Three Penny). I also hit a few bouts of snowshoeing. All in all, I was physically active, just not in the gym. And, we finally have our home gym set up. My wife put some pics online, but I don't remember where. Heck, I don't need to logon anywhere to look at it! We just need a good adjustable weight bench. NYBB delivers quickly to us, but I'm not quite content enough with their benches. Craigslist in this area is somewhat disappointing. Later!

Last edited by Mark Fenner : 03-13-2011 at 04:31 PM. Reason: Added January notes.
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Old 05-29-2011, 06:47 PM   #33
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Things still haven't been great. But I think I'm --starting-- to turn a corner.

I developed some serious lower back issues (and some severe neck issues). I have much greater sympathy for anyone who has ever "given up" their athletic endeavors due to chronic pain. I've always looked down on folks ... boy do I feel like an ass.

I imagine it will be at least three more months before I squat seriously (with seriously defined as reps with > 275 ... my PR is 345). I imagine a long slog of squat like movements, light deadlifts, etc. etc. I have to completely retrain my squat and pulling patterns. They developed (devolved) into some serious hyperextension at the lumbars, inactive torso (rectus ab, tva), inactive glutes, etc. Along with ... serious desk jockey posture.

Have you gotten to the point that mowing the lawn was causing pain? If so, I feel your pain.

Giving up and taking some relaxants and pain meds and quitting (all physical activity) would be so easy it is silly. But, I can't give up the activity. I'd end up ... well, I'd end. So, back up on that pony and time to keep slugging along.

Updates when something interesting happens.

Mark
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:30 AM   #34
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In the spirit of posting every two months ...

The back is "pretty good". The neck is fine. Sometimes, lots of active recovery methods are needed. Sometimes you just need to rest. For weeks. But, keep building the desire to "get back to it".

I've been doing substantial mountain biking (on a new 29er). I'm -- just this week -- starting back into some calisthenics and using a lighter kettlebell. I think ETK ROP (ha! look 'em up) will be my ticket to build back up to some strength work.

I can't imagine *starting on* heavy for at least another two months (beginning of October). That would work well as mtn. biking season would be starting to wind down.

Best,
Mark
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:21 AM   #35
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Just a quick note, I'm still alive!

From July 2011 (my last post) on, I've been doing a metric ton of mountain biking (up to and including last week). Ranging from 25 mile enduros to 1 hour "faux single speed" gag fests. I'll likely continue through the winter. I'm hoping to start some swimming (primarily as a skill, not as a "workout") to get a little variety and b/c I love being in water.

I've started toying around with Dan John's MMS high-rep squat progression. I'm not doing MMS. I'm playing around with the squat progression. (Is that enough of a disclaimer?) The degree to which high-rep squats transfer to mountain biking is freaky. I'm also keeping in the game with KB C+P, pull ups, and swings. Along with the Williamson core awareness drills. Everything, including me, seems to be chugging along pretty well. Once I have a bit more steady training (things started back up around October, but were scattered ... I've been pretty consistent since the insanity of Christmas travel) to talk about, I'll put up some details.

Best,
Mark
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:11 PM   #36
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Wow, immensely long time since a post.

But, I've been very physically active and I'm pretty darn happy about it. Last winter was very mild in the northeast and the upshot was that I had essentially no break in my mountain biking over the winter season. While I was sad to do almost no skiing, snowshoeing, etc., my biking really grew by leaps and bounds. I carried a ton of riding into the summer and I went from "middle of the pack" in our group rides to riding (admittedly, behind) with the front riders. Some of them are *really* good and it will take a substantial amount of work to truly ride -with- them [smiley courtesy of my son!]. About the only big downside is that I expected about three years out of my (new last year) hardtail 29er ... with the winter and not losing any riding time, I'm completely ready for a new bike. Drat!

As you can tell from the first topic bias, biking has become my preeminent activity. And I'm really happy abou that because I grew up loving two wheels; it just took me a long time to re-discover that old flame. However, I also love the iron and here's what I've been up to (for the last year!):

Nov 2011 saw me working ETK ROP and into Dec 2011 I started following Dan John's MMS SQ progression. As I mentioned above, I was *not* doing the entire program. However, the SQ progression really intrigued me. I ended up doing ETK style swings and C+P plus some pullups/supine rows. At the end of it, I got 50 reps at 185 in about 8:13. I can't emphasize the benefit of high rep squats for short "punchy" hill climbs on the mtn bike. That took me through (about) March first. March, April, May were consistent with a 40-workout type flavor. However, the end petered out and from June through September I had very scattered training (four workouts a month in June, July, and September; none in August!). However, my riding was just this side of insane (for me) and included a one week trip to Arizona with a good friend:

http://forums.mtbr.com/pennsylvania/...it-815903.html

As it does, the iron called my name and I've rolled back into some training that leans more towards the "punch the clock" style of workouts that DJ has been advocating (and which works well in the context of other demands -- life, sport, work, etc.). I've settled on a super simple "template" that is a mashup of Pavel's PTTP as interpreted by Kelly Baggett (with clear flavor from Wendler's 5/3/1). Here's the important stuff:

Four days a week plus one optional; two full days rest between SQ2 and SQ5: SQ0, SQ5, SQ3, SQ2, SQx.
SQ0: 2 of 5 (medium); SQ accessory
SQ5: 2 of 5 (light-medium)
SQ3: 3 of 3 (medium+)
SQ2: 5-3-2 (medium+); SQ accessory
SQx: 2 of 5 (very light)

Essentially the exact same for BP. The days can be same (BP5/SQ5) or lagged (start the SQ early in the week and kick in BP later: BP5 with SQ3). The accessory can be skipped (Wendler's "jack shit"), they can be combined (just do some clean and press and accessorize everything), they can be super specific (the best accessory is volume), they can be upper/lower: sq accessory is dl + sq, bp accessory is bp and mp. But don't be distracted. Just do a little bit everyday with moderately heavy weights. Obviously, this takes an ego check or you can go overboard. Starting with Wendler's 90% as 1RM is a good start. I mix in pull-ups with my squats.

I do a warm up with goblet squats, swings, jump rope, etc. and some very targeted stretching or strength-stretching (bulg. split squats).

Or, I just drop it and do some goblet squats to get ready for SQ and pushups to get ready for BP. When I do that (and no accessory), I'm in and out in about 30 minutes. Very useful for my current life schedule. Combing the lifting with somewhat extensive cardiovascuar demands means that I'm eating like a darn growing teenager.

In other news, my wife did MMS and loved it. I give her a ton of credit: she's working out before going to work in our enclosed porch gym -- that means it's not exactly the height of creature comforts (think cold). But, like most other MMS followers, she's complaining about her wardrobe needing replaced. Between my training and riding, her lifting, and our five year old (thick as a brick, in a good way) son -- our food bills are slightly ludicrous.

I hope to give some updates on how the "punch the clock" template works. I think that if I can spend most of my time (1) ignoring the accessory work and (2) checking ego on raising weights, I'll see nice progress.

Ah yes, last topic: the hip and shoulder. The shoulder has been 100% trouble free. My hip on the other hand is constantly back and forth. Before I restarted lifting I had a good time of almost 100% pain free. But, even hard enough riding could cause a flare up. With the lifting, I have to moderate (the lifting) to keep it from getting too grumpy. That's ok though. It's a good lesson in wisdom. I am convinced that there is nothing "broken" in the hip. It's simply an issue of hyper active muscles and activation patterns. Which means I can push on it -- I just need to keep practicing relaxing it.

Best and happy holidays,
Mark
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