The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

It’s no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Senior Member Rugg's Avatar
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    Rugg's HCT-12 Journal, back in action

    Background:

    So about 6 weeks ago, I tore a muscle in my lower back (same trouble spot hurt many times before). Well, I assume it was a torn muscle. I was almost completely crippled by spasms, after about 3 days I was able to walk with 2 inch steps, then I re-injured it to the point where I couldnt even crawl or drag myself along the ground without blindingly painful spasms across my entire lower back. I ended up having emergency services come get me in an ambulance and take me to the ER. I had X-Rays that didnt show any spinal disfunction, so they pretty much just gave me some pain killers and muscle relaxers and sent me on my way.

    I'd never gone to the doctor before with my back problems since I was pretty sure they'd just tell me to "strengthen my core", but I was sick of this happening so I broke down and went to the family doctor to see if they had any more insight on how to avoid this crap in the future. Unfortunatley, she told me exactly what I thought she'd say, but I did get prescribed some Physical Therapy, I thought maybe they'd have some better input. Of course I was disappointed again. The PT was a decent guy, and had some good ideas, but failed to provide any new information.

    During this whole process, I decided I'd wait the requisite 6 weeks for most muscle tissue to heal to about 80% instead of going back to the gym right away (which I'd done in the past). I used that time to reduce my calorie intake since my activity level was much much lower (I did about 15 minutes of core exercises a day, thats about it). I managed to drop about 8 pounds over the 6 weeks I was out of the gym and have decided to keep my intake lower to try to get down to 10% bf.

    So here I am now, just starting back at the gym. I gotta admit that Im very scared of re-injuring myself so Im getting "back in action" (see what I did there) really really slowly, limiting exercises that will put my back in a comprimised position while continuing rehab exercises outside of the main lifts.

    Current Stats
    Age; 37
    Height: 6'
    Weight: 190
    BF: 21% (as measured by my scale)
    Lifts: ? My previous max BP was around 265, and I havent done full weight DL or Squats since my previous injury so I dont know what they are

    Goals
    Age: 25 (Hey, you never know what modern science will bring)
    Weight: 180 (maybe 175)
    BF: 10%
    Lifts: As long as I keep progressing, I'll be happy.

    Once I hit those goals, I will concentrate on lean gains to get back up to about 200 instead of cutting weight

    I plan on doing mostly Hammer Strength exercises for at least the first month, then I will graduate back into free weights as I feel more comfortable lugging plates and dumbells around.

    That about sums it up. Workout logs to follow.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Rugg's Avatar
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    Program 1 - A Workout

    Chins
    BW x 6, BW x 6, BW x 6, BW x 6+2+2+2

    DB Rows
    40x6, 50x6, 60x6+2+2+2

    Hammer Strength Flat Bench Press (weight is each arm)
    60x6, 70x6, 80x6, 90x6+2+2+2

    Hammer Strength Incline Press (weight is each arm)
    40x6, 50x6, 60x6, 70x6, 80x6+2+2+2

    Cable Tricep Press Downs
    50x6, 60x6, 70x6+2+2+2

    10 minutes of incline treadmill walking then some dynamic upper body cooldown.

    Energy was a little low, strength was definately down, but it leaves me room for improvement next time. I should be better dailed in with my limitations on the next A workout.

  4. #3
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    Good luck. You don't actually say what it was that injured your back, whether it was acute or a long time coming, whether it was during a particular exercise which had previously been uncomfortable or one morning it happened whilst tying your shoelace. I'm not an injury specialist but not knowing what and how would bug me. Give us a clue and we might be able to give you some practical advise about how to tailor the program to suit you. If you follow the warm-ups properly or go deeper into Nick Tumminello's article linked in the training doc or here that should help you enormously.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Rugg's Avatar
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    The injury is on my left side in the sacral region. I've actually got a knot that I've had for ~14 years thats right at my belt line, an inch and a half away from the spine that was the size of a grape with a noticable void beneath it at that location right after injury. It's since shrunk back down to its normal size which is about like tip of my pinkie finger.

    The PT wasnt even sure what muscle the knot is associated with because of its orientation. Directly under the knot is where the source of the pain is, though both sides of my low back were spasming causing intense pain most notably where the muscle attaches to the back part of both my hips. I also noticed that external rotation of my foot in a seated position (after healing enough to sit again) caused some pretty high levels of discomfort leading me to believe the psoas muscles were involved as well.

    The knot and the void on the one side and the fact that the stiffness eased with light stretching / activity is what makes be believe that the injury is mostly related to muscular damage instead of spinal damage or arthritis which would be increased pain with usage.

    I think the only other thing to note is that the only "stretch" that was able to directly hit the most sore area was light traction mostly focused on my left leg. It took quite a bit of traction (he was actually starting to pull me down the table) to activate that area, but when it did, wow, it burned, but the pain lessened as it relaxed. After my first couple PT sessions with light traction, I'd sit up and have a mild spasm in that area, so I know that was really close to the source, but the PT pretty much just blew it off.

    I've had two relapses of back injury in that spot in the last 6 months. One was when i was squatting and my back "popped" about half way through the up-stroke on the 3rd rep of my first set of 235. Thinking back, I remember that my hips were very sore even after the legs soreness was gone from the previous workout(should have been a big warning sign). I was actually able to finish the rep and rack the weight so it wasnt immediate disfunction and I was able to move around ok immediately after the injury, but I could tell my body was reacting to injury with the shakiness and cold sweats. I went home after that set and pain and disfunction steadily increased to where I couldnt get up to walk, but i could crawl slowly, but pulling my left leg forward was extremely painful (and spastic). I was able to walk again in a day or two, but it was very slow, and sitting was out of the question for about 3-4 days. I was back in the gym about 2 weeks after injury, starting over on squat weight to build up the muscle again. It never really healed well and was always tight and uncomfortable.

    The most recent injury, I bent down to pick up a 95lb barbell to do some skull crushers. I actually bent at the knees, but my core wasnt braced and my back was probably a little rounded, I didnt even get the weight off the ground. As I was standing up I felt an odd sensation on the left side, it wasnt really a pop, it felt like when you pull two pieces of paper apart that had been stuck together with half dried rubber cement, I'd characterize the sound as "Schlorp", lol. Again, i wasnt immediately debilitated, but I had the same "you just farked yourself up" body reaction. And again, the pain and disfunction increased through the day until I couldnt even crawl, if I wanted to move, I had to pull myself along the floor like some ******ed worm, and turning over was a guaranteed spasm. And these spasms weren't just a quick grab and release, it was grab, squeeze, hold, 3 deep breaths and then they'd relax again. Anyone who's experienced these knows how much fun that is.

    Once I began to heal, I'd be able to walk with very small steps. Standing was usually ok, but getting into the fully upright position was the killer. Anything moving away from my core was painfully discouraged. I could get into a seated position after a few days, but I'd have to roll sideways to get up from sitting, or just roll over to my knees, then push myself upright followed by some painful decompression and muscle adaptation. Once the muscles were relaxed again, I could go back to my small steps.

    I think the only other detail I can think of is that both of these injuries were in morning workouts and I probably wasnt as warmed up as I should have been. If you're interested, here is a list of the current exercises I do for back rehab.

    Single leg glute stretch
    Side twists (knees to one side then the other)
    Standard crunches
    Marches (Like one legged leg lifts)
    Single side low back extensions (I lay on my stomach, put my hands on my head elbows out and raise one elbow and my upper body up using my lower back to do the contraction)
    Prone leg raises (again using my low back to left my leg straight up)
    Side Leg raises (lift one leg up then raise the bottom leg up to meet it, laying on my side)
    Side torso twists (Seated twisting at the waist with a band for resistance
    Hip extensions (lift one heel keeping the upper leg poinging straight down and raising that hip and then extending it down)
    Laying hamstring stretches

    I also bought a home ultrasound massager. I honestly dont use it as much as I should since I do really feel better after a 10 minute session, but its a serious pain in the rump to hold the device in a position to hit the right area for 10 minutes. I have my wife do it from time to time, but its suprisingly hard to get 10 free minutes where both of us arent busy with something else.

    I know that's quite a wall of text, but I wanted to give as much detail as possibl so maybe it'd trigger someone else to say, "hey thats exactly what I felt when...".

    Thanks for reading.

  6. #5
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Good luck with the back injury. I can relate to the frustration as I have been through something similar with my back injury. I was lucky and found a GREAT doctor and PT. It was actually my PT that got me into lifting. Weight lifting has strengthened my back to the point where I very seldomly have any issues any more. Hopefully you'll have the same experience.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member Rugg's Avatar
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    Program 1 Workout B

    Im more than a little pensive about loading up much weight onto my back, so I thought some single leg stuff would be a good start. My leg program will be ultra-slow and steady more focused on flexability and coordination for the time being.

    Bulgarian Split Squats - Holy crap these are a lot harder than they look. Especially on my left leg which is the weaker of the two.
    40x6,50x6+2+2+2

    Stiff-Legged Deadlift - I just went for flexabilty here, using just a little weight to add tension to my hamstrings
    45x6, 45x6, 45x6, 45x6+2+2+2

    Standing Calf raises on hack squat machine
    50x6, 90x6, 140x6+2+2+2

    Drag Curls
    40x6,50x6,70x6+2+2+2

    Abs
    I did my core routine for ABs

    I wanted to ease back into leg workouts so I started pretty light. I think, being older now, that I need to slow my progression way back to allow for the connective tissue to adapt and heal. This cycle of growth/injury needs to stop. If that means slower progression, so be it.
    Last edited by Rugg; 05-14-2010 at 07:22 AM.

  8. #7
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    You have to start somewhere, right? Those Bulgarians are nice, but be careful with them. They can mess up your back fast too with the balance that's required. You could always practice box squatting with an empty bar, that's pretty much how I started. Get the form down, build up your tolerance, and one of these days you'll find yourself adding weight to it. Another option is a Trap Bar, great for building up while maintaining upright posture. One final option, if your back just can't take any load, is a hip belt. I've seen some guys build some impressive weights with that piece of equipment.
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  9. #8
    Lifting junkie. AKMass's Avatar
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    Welcome to the journals Rugg! I think your goals are attainable (with exception of age, I think you should aim for 30 or 31 :P), though bodyfat % will have a lot more to do with diet than lifting. What's your diet like? Oh and props to you for getting in the gym with a bad back! Guys like you and OffRoad take away the excuses of the weak (and that's a good thing).
    5'10"
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  10. #9
    Senior Member Rugg's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input everyone.

    As far as diet, Im riding pretty low on calorie intake until I hit my goal of 180.

    Breakfast
    1 Scoop Opticen
    1 Scoop Nitrean
    2 Cups Milk

    Lunch
    PB & J w/2 servings of Peanut Butter
    Medium Sized Banana
    1.5 Servings of Almonds

    Dinner
    It varies by the day, but its usually around 900-1000 calories spread between pasta/random carbs, meat and veggies

    I have added 1 scoop of nitrean + 1 cup of milk post workout to my diet recently. I'd estimate that at about 24-2600 calories. I'm definatley low on energy and strength, but I'd rather just deal with the poor performance until I hit my fat loss goals, then slowly boost the calories back up to help fuel growth.

    Here's yesterday's workout

    Program 1 - A Workout - Week 1 (Im just starting this cycle over since I only managed to get to the gym twice last week)

    Chins
    BW x 6, BW x 6, BW x 6, BW x 6+2+2+2

    DB Rows
    45x6, 55x6, 65x6+2+2+2

    Hammer Strength Flat Bench Press (weight is each arm)
    60x6, 70x6, 80x6, 100x5+2+1+1 (I overestimated my abilities)

    Hammer Strength Shoulder Press (weight is each arm)
    60x6, 70x6, 80x6, 90x6+2+2+2

    Dips
    BWx6, BWx6, BWx6+2+2+2 (my triceps were wasted at this point)

    10 minutes of incline treadmill walking then some dynamic upper body cooldown.
    Last edited by Rugg; 05-18-2010 at 07:10 AM.

  11. #10
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Well done!
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  12. #11
    Senior Member Rugg's Avatar
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    Program 1 - B Workout - Week 1

    Seated Hack Squat Machine (Weight is just the plates I added)
    90x6, 140x6, 180x6+2+2+2

    Stiff-Legged Deadlift - Slowly adding weight to this, still working on flexability
    55x6, 55x6, 55x6, 55x6+2+2+2

    Standing Calf raises on hack squat machine (Weight is just the plates I added)
    180x6, 270x6, 270x6+2+2+2

    Drag Curls
    50x6,60x6,75x6+2+2+2

    Abs
    I did my core routine for ABs

    10 Minutes incline treadmill walking
    Last edited by Rugg; 05-21-2010 at 08:21 AM.

  13. #12
    Senior Member Rugg's Avatar
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    Program 1 - A Workout - Week 1

    Chins
    BW x 6, BW x 6, BW x 6+2+2+2

    DB Rows
    50x6, 60x6, 75x6+2+2+2

    Hammer Strength Flat Bench Press (weight is each arm)
    70x6, 80x6, 100x6+2+2+1

    Hammer Strength Shoulder Press (weight is each arm)
    60x6, 70x6, 80x6, 95x6+2+2+2

    Dips
    BWx6, BWx6, BWx6+2+2+2

    10 minutes of incline treadmill walking.

    I was supposed to do this workout Friday, but it was a wonky weekend. I am happy that I increased most of my lifts a few pounds or reps. Its definately getting tougher to keep energy up with the continuing calorie restriction, but its manageable.

  14. #13
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Nice continued effort.
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  15. #14
    Senior Member Rugg's Avatar
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    Program 1 - B Workout - Week 1

    Hammer Strength Independent Leg Press
    90x6,180x6,270x6,360x6+2+2+2

    Stiff-Legged Deadlift
    45x6, 55x6, 65x6+2+2+2

    Hypers - I added these for just a little more lower back/hamstring work
    BWx8,BWx8,BWx8

    Standing Calf raises on hack squat machine
    180x6, 270x6, 320x6+2+2+2

    Drag Curls
    50x6,60x6,80x6+2+1+1

    Abs
    I did my core routine for ABs

    10 Minutes incline treadmill walking

  16. #15
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    Man, I feel for you - I just (re)injured my back and am down for the count again. Hopefully I'll be back in action soon, but in the meantime I'm working on diet and hamstring mobility, which I'm pretty sure is a causal factor for my continued back problems.

  17. #16
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    That independent leg press sounds brutal. I like the way you are being progressive and playing it safe at the same time. I wish you luck with the back, injuries suck big time.
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  18. #17
    Senior Member Rugg's Avatar
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    Program 1 - A Workout - Week 2

    Chins
    BW x 6, BW x 6, BW x 6+2+2+2

    DB Rows
    55x6, 65x6, 75x6+2+2+2

    Hammer Strength Decline Bench Press (weight is each arm) - Regular bench was busy
    70x6, 80x6, 100x6+2+1+1

    Hammer Strength Shoulder Press (weight is each arm)
    60x6, 70x6, 80x6, 95x6+2+2+2

    Dips
    BWx6, BWx6, BWx6+2+2+2

    I was in a hurry to get to the gym and didnt bring my list of previous weights so I neglected to increase them as I should have. Whoops

  19. #18
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    It's good to know what you lifted previously but it's not necessary - this is about working up to your best on the day, that might surpass any preconceived plans for an increase or if you're having a bad day be less - the point is, you don't need a plan, you just need to lift the best you can do that day - if you're consistent with training and eating then progression will take care of itself.

  20. #19
    Senior Member Rugg's Avatar
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    Program 1 - B Workout - Week 2

    Hack Squat machine
    90x6,180x6,270x6,360x6+2+2+2

    Stiff-Legged Deadlift
    45x6, 55x6, 65x6, 75x6+2+2+2

    Standing Calf raises on hack squat machine
    180x6, 270x6, 360x6+2+2+2

    Drag Curls
    55x6,65x6,80x6+2+2+2

    Abs
    I did my core routine for ABs

  21. #20
    Senior Member Rugg's Avatar
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    Program 1 - A Workout - Week 3

    Hammer Strength Bench Press (weight is each arm) - Regular bench was busy
    70x6, 80x6, 100x6+2+2+2

    Hammer Strength Shoulder Press (weight is each arm)
    60x6, 70x6, 80x6, 100x6+2+2+2

    Close Grip BP
    135x6,135x6,135x6+2+2+2

    Chins
    BW x 6, BW x 6, BW x 6+2+2+2

    Wasnt able to do the regular order, gym was pretty busy, and I didnt have time for the DB rows, but Im glad I finally got the 100 pound BP up for all the required reps.

  22. #21
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Congratulations on getting the bench press numbers.
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  23. #22
    Senior Member Rugg's Avatar
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    Sunday

    Hammer Strength Independent Leg Press
    2 PPSx6, 3 PPSx6, 4 PPSx6, 5 PPSx6+2 (felt a weird snag in my left hamstring so i stopped there)

    SLDL
    55x6,75x6,95x6+2+2+2

    Calf Raises on Hack Squat Machine
    2 PPSx6,3 PPSx6, 4 PPSx6+2+2+2

    Drag Curl
    50x6,70x6,85x6+2+2+2

    I tossed in some Ghetto Reverse Hypers
    10xBW,10xBW,10xBW

    10 Minutes Incline treadmill walking

    Monday

    Chins
    6xBW,6xBW,6xBW,6xBW+2+2+2 (need to bring my belt next time so I can add weight)

    DB Rows
    6x50,6x70,6x85+2+2+2

    Hammer Strength Flat Bench (weight is per arm)
    70x6,85x6,100x6+2+2+2 (much easier this week, I should have added 5)

    Hammer Strength Shoulder Press (weight is per arm)
    70x6,80x6,105x6+2+2+1

    Close Grip BP (Thumbs touching)
    95x6,115x6,145x6+2+2+2

    Had a migraine earlier in the day and was all out of whack, I was happy with my performance overall. I also saw the underside of 190 for the first time in probably 15 years. 189.5 was my early morning dry weight. Fighting the after effects of a migraine, sitting at a calorie deficit, and still increasing my numbers (albeit slowly), I am definately pleased with the program.

  24. #23
    Senior Member Rugg's Avatar
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    Friday-

    Chins
    6xBW,6xBW,6xBW,6xBW+2+2+2

    DB Rows
    6x55,6x70,6x85+2+2+2

    Hammer Strength Flat Bench (weight is per arm)
    70x6,85x6,105x6+2+2+2
    Hammer Strength Shoulder Press (weight is per arm)
    70x6,80x6,110x6+2+2+1

    Close Grip BP (Thumbs touching)
    95x6,115x6,150x6+2+2+2

    Starting Deload week today

  25. #24
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Nice job on the cycle. Have fun with the deload, it's painful
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  26. #25
    Senior Member Rugg's Avatar
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    Thats no lie, I was pretty suprised how much tougher it was to push out 15 reps when Im used to just doing 6's. I definately overestimated my abilities with the shoulder press and I didn't finish any set easily.

    Rack Chins (Underhand Grip)
    2x15xBW

    DB Rows
    2x15x50 (I had to pause a second between each of the last 5 reps on the second set)

    Hammer Strength Flat Bench (Weight is per arm)
    2x15x65

    Hammer Strength Shoulder Press (Weight is per arm)
    1x15x60, 1x10x60, paused 20 seconds then pushed out 5 more

    Close Grip BP
    2x15x95

    20 minutes incline treadmill walking

    The ole triceps were screaming at the end of the workout, all that pressing with high reps made my arms feel like jell-o. I probably should have gone lighter since this is a deload week, but I'll know better for next time.

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