“Elizabeth” in the basement

They did Elizabeth in the gym on Monday but I wasn’t able to work out that day, so I did it the next day in our basement. I knew my ring dips would be bad but made up my mind to do them even though I’d have to do one or two or three at a time.

21-15-9 reps of:
Cleans (40 kg)
Ring dips, no jump
My time: 20:49

This is really slow but what the heck, I got through it as prescribed. I took video of the final (9-rep) round in order to see how my cleans are looking when they’re heavyish and I’m tired. Am I able to keep my arms straight until the last instant? Am I shrugging and extending with a bit of layback rather than going forward? I’m going to put together some video today to compare to the one from about a month ago, “Clean Up Your Cleans.”

Basement deadlifts and jumps

Having tried 20 heavy squats, I thought I’d try 20 heavy deadlifts. Eighty kg? That’s what Tom suggested and I confidently agreed as I headed downstairs to the Dungeon of Dread. After warming up I realized my GRIP would be getting a going-over. So I decided to stick with bodyweight (60 kg) for the 20 reps. This was uncomfortable but hardly an epic struggle.

I followed up with:
5 bodyweight deadlifts followed instantly with no rest by
5 “jump as high as you can” jumps (unweighted)
5 rounds
This part took 3 minutes. My low back had a slight ache on the left occasionally for the next 24 hours but no biggie. My forearms inside and out were tight from all the gripping. I now have a great shoulder stretch to relieve the discomfort when the tennis elbow on the left acts up a bit.

Clean Up Your Cleans

I practiced cleans yesterday with no weight, PVC, weighted PVC, and a barbell. I’m trying to find out if I can do barbell cleans at all without aggravating my elbow tendonitis. So I want to obsess on technique with light weight for a while. I took a lot of video so I could analyze what I’m actually doing. Maybe this can help somebody else too; lots of people have the habit of bending the elbows too soon. My specific goal in working on cleans is to eliminate that habit.
After watching this video, I’m not sure I should be practicing highpulls at all: maybe just straight-arm shrugs followed by hang cleans. That’s what I’ll do next time.

Heavy back squats, yay!

Yesterday in the basement was the first time I’d squatted 95 kg for 5 reps — and I did it twice. I am pleased! It would have been easier in my lifting shoes, but at least I was wearing flat sneakers. This video is of the second of the two sets, taped by Scott, a neighbor who trains with me in the “Dungeon of Dread” on Saturday mornings.

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.

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.