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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 2:39 am 
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Well, it's been longer than I'd planned, but I started rack pulls Friday. They felt fine, although I find that it's a bit difficult to stay focused on form and technique with the light weight. I just don't feel threatened by them, if you know what I mean. I'll try to keep my head in every lift, and just take the weight up slowly.

I built 6 boxes, each 4" high, with cleats on top that either engage the frame of the next box above to keep them from slipping, or hold the plate so that it doesn't roll off. They are working very well. I'm starting with 3 boxes high, which puts the bar right at knee-height for me, and will later lower the bar (and probably drop the weight again each time).

I'm happy about the chins. This was once a major symbol that I was weak and wimpy--I didn't do my first chin until 9th grade or something.

I think I'm too tired by the time I do the iso holds. I should try them on an off day.

This is the last week before a 3-week holiday in the US, which will include my older son's wedding, and Freshman Orientation at college for Sam, my youngest. I will try to lift once or twice a week, maybe even in a good gym with real racks and real dumbells. Sounds nice.

Internet was out for about 2 days, so I'm a bit behind.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:44 am 
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with all the holds, to be honest, I did think there was a bit much. Not that it would do any harm, but mentally and physically, it's tough just having one hold in your work out.

I would suggest rotating them. I can't remember how often you do that work out, but you could just pick a different one each work out. Or do one for one month, then change it.

Push up holds really challenge your shoulder stabilisers. I would prefer to see you doing just one depth (as close to the ground as you can handle) and doing it for a pre determined time. Don't hold until failure, just enough that's challenging. If that's just 25 secs per set, then stick with that until it feels easy, then increase the time... Failure even in an isometric situation can still be quite stressful. I would say 3 sets of 45 secs, at the end of a work out(when it's harder) is enough to justify forgetting about them for a while (drop them and add something else- something more fun!).

But your main issue is the back pain, so I would tend to prioritise the core specific stuff. I've read recommendations that people with back pain should do front and side planks every day, so doing these on your off says also seems like a good option.

It's always good to be safe than then sorry, however, if you lift with a slower tempo, it's difficult to screw up form. Therefore, I would advise that you don't shy away from loading up the weight a little quicker, if your lifting with a slower tempo - which I would recommend until you groove the movement. Be extra catious on the way down, for some reason our bodies want to get lazy at this part. I used to lift with great form then lower the bar like a scared cat. It never clicked with me until I investigated exactly why I kept whacking my knees with the bar on the way down - because I was letting my chest caving in, rounding my back.


How is the back feeling anyway?

KPj


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:02 am 
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Thanks. The back's feeling good.

Yeah, I'm surprised how exhausting the holds are. I don't understand why full-extension holds have been feeling worse than the other depths. I'll try doing just one depth for a while, 3 sets. That won't save much time, though.

This is my last week before a 3-week vacation in the US, and I missed my workout today. I'll do part of it tomorrow (no push, and light overall) and then max on bench with Sam on Wednesday. For the next three weeks the workouts will be somewhat sporadic. The time will include a funeral, a wedding and the freshman orientation at college for Sam. I should be able to use the college gym, as I am an alumnus, or at least get in as a guest of my brother, who is retired faculty. I'll try to do the holds and planks regularly, though. Stretching, too.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:27 am 
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I meant to put this in my first post. Problems at full extension on push up holds would suggest a serratus anterior weakness to me. That's the first thing that comes to mind, anyway. Scap push ups are a good start and DB protractions take it to the next level... Under Shoulder Saver 2 in the following article - worth a shot. Personally, I will always do scap push ups in my warm up and every couple of months include DB protractions in my program.

http://www.t-nation.com/readArticle.do?id=1053531

Also, when I'm strugging for time I go for a super set option on a couple of exercises, normally the ones towards the end of my work. Sacrfices load, makes you sweat more, but it get's it done in less time. In your case, an example would be,

Lunges alternated with Pall of Press. Really, you just alternate exercises, set by set. So, lunges, then over to cable and set of pallof press, then lunges, then pallof press... So, you would do 6 straight sets instead of 3, then a rest, then another 3, for example.

Another thing I do is get bigger bang for your buck exercises and incorportate it into the same principle. For example, instead of throwing in something else that will hit my upper back for higher reps, THEN some external rotations then some direct lower trap work.. I will do Face pulls With external rotation (change hand position) supersetted with straight arm lat pull downs...

Or seated DB cleans super setted with prone trap raises... both options hit the external rotators upper back a long with direct lower trap work inbetween sets, all in around the time it normally takes me to do one exercises

Just some food for thought.

KPj


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:48 pm 
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And good food it is. I've read that Creasy article before, and thought about my serrati. Isn't thinking about them good enough?

I have thought about the ss option, too. I think I need to do that some. One of the guys who journals here regularly (is it Sampson?) does a couple of ss in every wo. When I'm back from vacation it will be time to re-work the routine.

When you say do the face-pull/ERs with straight-arm pull-downs, would you even include those in the same wo with chins?

You suggested the face-pulls once before. I'll use them sometime soon.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:22 am 
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The SS option is a handy one. And yes, I include face pulls etc in work outs with chin variations.

Most of my upper body work outs are made up loads of pulling, i need more because of my job, and even more because of previous injuries - to look after my shoulders. So more than likely I will do chin variation, 2 row variations, and I always finish it off with some face pulls, straight arm pull downs, prone trap raises, ext rotations. My chin variation will be heavy, normally sets of 2-5. next row variation will also be heavy, but normally 5ish/set, rep range mostly depends on what I do first. Next row variation will be 8-12 reps / set, and face pulls and exercises like that will be in the 12-15 rep range, so they don't have much of an impact on recovery.

It's quite difficult to over train your 'mid back', I've actually never heard of it, but i'm sure it's happened somewhere. The lower traps especially are really just a stabiliser, too. So, for most people, once you get the required strength (if you haven't already), then it's justa case of 'keeping them awake' i.e. for me, making sure they don't switch off again. So I give them as many reps as I can, also throw in direct lower trap work in my lower body days, so that I can 'sneak' more reps in...

KPj


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 9:36 am 
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So, defeat on the bench, victory on the chinning bar!

Is it technically a super-set when you are alternating two unrelated body parts? I thought ss was alternating two exercises that worked the same muscle group. Oh, well. I tried alternating the rows and the step-ups today. It did shorten the w/o.

Also a bit of a sad day as part of a number of "lasts" for Sam. This was our last time to work out together, at least in PNG, for a couple of years. We'll probably manage to work out together a few times in the states.

This trip will be a good break, but will be a hard time, as we will start with a funeral for my mom, then withing a week have a wedding for our older son, get Sam settled at college and come back to PNG, all within 3 weeks. I'm hoping to work out at least once, maybe even twice a week. And I'm hoping not to put any pounds back on. I'll try my best to stay away from fast food and pizza. Well, the fast food anyway, and just do pizza once or twice.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 1:59 pm 
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Doc, a super set can be using two exercises, related or not, in a back to back fashion (mini circuit). Rest periods can be anything you want them to be, none to a couple of minutes between each exercises. Alternating lower body with upperbody (as in your example) was a key thing in the old PHA (peripheral heart action) system of circuit training used some time back. You set up a circuit or a string of supersets alternating lower/upper and did them with very little rest in between. Most strength routines alternate opposing motions with heavier weight, and more rest in between (bench/row). It's all up to you.
Tim


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 1:53 am 
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Well, I'm in the US, and had several new experiences.

I worked out in a commercial gym for the first time since I started lifting free weights. A lot of the stories that people have posted are clearly real--guys with buff chests, flat backs and skinny legs, ladies military pressing 10# DBs, guys doing unrecognizable exercises, known exercises with terrible form, etc., etc. I was there at a busy time.

I found a rack in a quiet corner do most of my work. While I was doing rack pulls (in a real rack!) a teen-age kid set up in the next rack, and started doing rack pulls. I visited with him for a minute. He's rehabbing from a hamstring pull, and said that rack pulls are his favorite lift. I only got a few curious glances while doing Pallof presses.

It's hard to maintain a good diet while staying with someone else. I can't expect someone to cater to my particular needs. I cooked breakfast for myself, and then did cold foods for the rest of the day. There's a lot of cookies and cake around.

A friend offered me some passes to a different gym, so I'll probably go there for rest of the time I'm here. Also, I'd like to check out the gym at the university where Sam will be. I think my brother (who is retired faculty) can get me in, if my status as an almnus won't.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:02 am 
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hey andy! sorry it took so long for me to comment. i just thought that it wasn't my place to give any since i am just new to working out

anyway, i just want to say congrats on having a new member in the family! :grin:


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:15 am 
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Thanks, Anshan. To say the least, it's been a strange mix of sorrow and joy these past two weeks. Lifting has been my stress reliever. I'm not lifting well, but then again, I'm not eating well, I'm not sleeping much, and I'm a bit unstable emotionally. The next few days will be more restful, and hopefully more consistent diet-wise.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:31 pm 
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I found whey powder at WalMart at about $6 a pound. I bought 2# to try, and decide whether to buy some to take back to PNG. Will check Costco. Tried my first shake this afternoon. I feel stronger already!


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:36 am 
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I got some protein from Vitamin Shoppe for $8 a pound, and I got some at Costco for $5.5 a pound shortly after. Oh well...should have waited. But the EAS protein from Costco doesn't taste so great. I miss the unflavored stuff I could get in Japan, I didn't need to worry about some fake "vanilla" flavor from making my shake taste nasty.


By the way, good work on the rack pulls. That's a good method, actually - work to a lower point with the same weight. That's progression just as much as upping the weight.

And I'm amused to see you knocking out more than 5 x 5 chinups when a little while back getting even 5 x 3 was hard for you. It's nice to see someone making steady progress like that.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 3:31 pm 
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Well, the WalMart stuff is flavored, but doesn't taste too bad. I need to add a bit or carb to it anyway, so I think that will help. I'm planning to check out the CostCo stuff, too.

Yeah, I've been pretty happy about the chins. Not doing very well this week, but I'm not doing well on anything. When I'm back in PNG I'll go back to some added weight with my fancy home-made weight belt. It's a luggage strap, which I thread through some weight plates and then buckle around my waist. I just try to choose plates to put one on each side, or 2 bigger ones on the sides and a smaller one in the center in back. Works well. I was up to 5x2 at 25#.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:05 am 
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Hey Jungledoc,

I've been using the following exercises the past few weeks, and they've been great. I thought they might come in handy for you. Again, they came from Tony Gentilcore - he's some great vidoes up on youtube.

Prone Plate Switches
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KEIrvuB5Hw

Side Plank w/Row
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hQ4NuscaTA

The first one is just a normal plank, except harder (it's quite brutal). Same with the 'row' element of the side plank. It gets to a point where front and side planks become far too easy and you need to hold them for what seems like an eternity. These variations make them more challenging and actually make them kind of enjoyable to do. More intense and takes less time (exactly what appeals to me!). The plate stacking one is fun if you have someone to train with - see who can move the stack back and forth the most, before collapsing face first in a heap on the floor. I would never of thought I would be talking up a 'plank' like I am now, but i've been bored of the normal variations for ages now, so i'm pretty excited about these!

KPj


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