Kettlebell class

Several people in the kettlebell class have decided to work together on a goal to be able to do one or more pull-ups by the time this class is over. I’m excited for them and so glad when people are interested in what else there is to do in the gym. I showed them how to practice kip swings and how to work on pulling strength by putting their feet in the big rubberbands that hang down from the bar and pulling up with its assistance. I’ve been working on this with my 4 PM CrossFit classes as well. I hope that by practicing both kip swings and sheer pulling, that the pulling strength will develop and the kip will be ready to use.

Front squats and kettlebell cleans

Today I did some yard work instead of going to work out in the gym, so I worked out in the basement instead:

10 front squats at 40 kg,
10 2-kettlebell cleans at 16 kg each
5 rounds

I think my right triceps is getting some of its nervous-system recruitment back. I did 10 push-ups yesterday, not fast, but without stopping. Two days earlier I could definitely not do that.

400 air squats; deadlifts

Last night in Dave’s Friday night class, we paired up and each pair took turns doing 40 air squats (strictly full depth ones) and 10 push-ups until both people had had 10 turns. I did my squats very fast but my push-ups are bad! I used rings that were elevated enough to make them not too hard, and I concentrated on pushing with the right side especially, since that’s the side where I have a triceps (and lats) recruitment problem. No more pain though, thank goodness.

Today I went in and deadlifted up to 3 sets of 5 at 90 kg. Tom took a video of my third set and I could see that on the final two reps I lost the back extension just slightly, but then held the slightly rounded position the rest of the way, so I didn’t hurt anything or miss the lifts. The other helpful thing about being on video is that I have more incentive to finish all five reps!

Also on the last two reps I could see the bar swing out a little on the right side. I’m pretty sure that’s because of the partially missing lats recruitment. In deadlifting you have to pull the bar close to the body the whole time, and at several sets at 90 kg my right side could not quite hold it in.

To rehab my right triceps, I’m doing this silly-looking overhead triceps extension with a FIVE pound dumbbell, with a very s-l-o-w eccentric portion. By the time I do that five times my arm is shaking. I hope this makes a difference. I want my push-ups back and I want to go to the new Level 2 class Dave is now offering to some of us.

Front squats

Today, front squats, 5 x 5 at 70 kg. Recently my 1 RM was 90.

My partially disabled right triceps is unable to lift a 10-lb dumbbell from down behind my neck with my elbow pointing straight up (“triceps extensions”). I can complete a push-up with difficulty and can feel the left side doing most of the work. I still have a little bit of nerve ache; today it was in the biceps just above the elbow. It keeps changing and getting slightly better. I hope the muscle recruitment does too.

Short basement workout; triceps rehab

Last night before dinner, and after a long walk, I decided to do some stiff-leg deadlifts as well as test my weakened triceps with some presses. For the DLs, I warmed up and did 4 sets of 5 at 50 kg stiff-legged. At the lighter warm-up weights, up to 35 kg, I also did a bent-over row between each DL. Those are a challenging test of the safe back position and really tire me out.

I pressed the empty 20-kg barbell several times, concentrating on contracting the triceps and shrugging at the top. And I tried some push-ups. I can tell that the triceps on the right is not fully engaged. Push-ups feel like they’re being mostly carried by the left side, and presses just don’t feel as solidly locked on the right. I’m not sure if this is visible or only “feelable.” I will video it next time. Guess I should do one-handed presses to avoid the assistance of the left.

Some similar deficiency is affecting the lats on the right also, but I didn’t try to test that yesterday. The only way I can think of to test the lats without also using the triceps is to do pull-ups, and that’s bilateral so the left could carry more than its share. Having just come off an elbow problem on the left, I’m not anxious to do imbalanced pull-ups. Maybe later this week I will.

I wonder if this lats/triceps problem has existed for a long time and just wasn’t painfully obvious until two weeks ago. I have often felt that presses don’t lock out as solidly on the right as on the left. It was subtle, feeling sort of like a handedness issue; it worked, but there was a good side and a not-as-good side. It will be interesting to try to get this solved, and not a worrisome problem if I can at least work out at lighter intensity without pain.

The muscle pain in the upper back that I had for the first five days of this problem is completely gone. The shoulder joint pain I had for the next seven days and nights is gone. The ART therapist figured the joint was hurting because the muscles had held it so tightly together, protectively. The remaining symptoms I’m aware of are some remaining nerve pain/ache in the radial nerve under the triceps (feels like a deep bone ache combined with “sore skin” like when you get the flu and the skin hurts), and the triceps/lats weakness.

The ART therapist had also found my right glute medius wasn’t working. I think that’s come back to life. I’ve been able to test it with Tom’s help and I’ve done a lot of one-footed movements to try to keep it engaged. 

Basement workout

Weighted walking lunges with 20-lb. dumbbells, 1 lap
15 V-ups
10 bodyweight deadlifts (60 kg)
4 rounds

I saw an Active Release Technique therapist yesterday for my shoulder, Steven Tolzmann in West Seattle. He used simple resistance tests to learn that my triceps and lats are partially “shut off” possibly due to overuse during my sudden gung-ho re-induction to 21-15-9 pull-ups and heavyish KB snatches. These upper-body muscles were most likely overused during the snatches because of the fact that (also discovered by Steven) my right glute medius is also shut off. The upper body had to compensate for a less than solid foundation by tightening up extra tight, it seems. The hip and the triceps are noticeably weak today despite his making a good start at re-activating them yesterday. I have another appointment in two weeks; maybe these things will resolve themselves.

I still have some pain in my upper arm, most likely because of some minor trauma to or pressure on the radial nerve. From what I’ve read, this will probably go away on its own, since it’s not due to a fracture and I don’t have any noticeable loss of movement or feeling in my wrist or hand.

It’s hard to accept that I have a basically unexplained weakness in my whole right side (why did the hip shut off?) and can’t do push-ups, dips, or decent presses for some unknown amount of time because of the weak triceps. Will exercising that and the hip (by doing abductions) reactivate these muscles or make them more stubborn? I need to find out more.

Max front squat 90 kg

In the gym one of the three goals we’ll be tracking for the next four months is the front squat, so I tested my 1-rep max yesterday. I made it to 90 kg, a new max.

It was one bright spot in a disappointing week. Starting last Tuesday I’ve had a worse than nagging pain in my right shoulder. It’s bad enough to wake me up at night and keep me from going back to sleep and has been for eight nights. I didn’t think anything was torn because I still have full range in the shoulder. What I can’t do is jump to a support position on rings or dip bars. Something on the right side is turned off and not working.

This occurred (not sure how and wasn’t aware of it at the time) in my first week of feeling like my left elbow tendonitis was well enough to work out hard. I was so excited and now I’m feeling like I’m doomed. I hope I’m overreacting but I’ve never had pain like this before. Luckily, moving it around a lot makes it hurt less (that’s the only thing that does) so at least when I’m at the gym I’m not distracted every second.

Farmer walk, short but heavy

On Friday night we did a bunch of skin-the-cats, then with a partner, alternated on 3 single kettlebell clean and jerks for 10 minutes. Emily and I did (I think) 11 rounds (both people going through 3 reps on both hands). We used a 16-kg kettlebell. I liked this workout because it was hard without making me stop to rest. I should have used an 18 or 20 probably. I was impressed with Emily going with the 16 all the way through, because originally she intended to use a 12.

After that we all did a one-lap farmer walk inside the gym carrying the heaviest combination of kettlebells that we could. I ended up carrying a pair of 32 kg’s with a pair of 12’s. (Reach through the 12’s to grasp the 32’s with a thumbless grip in order to carry them all together.) Together this is almost one and a half times my body weight. It wiped me out like a max deadlift workout would. The great thing about it was that if you didn’t do the math, it didn’t seem that hard–a short distance, though heavy. But then when you think about how deadlifts are not normally carried but just picked up and put down, while this was walked one foot at a time and balanced, it’s easier to see why it was so tiring. The guys went a lot heavier.

This made my elbow sore, but it seems to have recovered to its now-normal low-level achiness.

Late this week I’ll do a deadlift workout and see if I can do better than my recent 3 reps at 105.