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Everything posted by kwesadilo

  1. Week 4 update and summary Squat: My front squat seemed pretty consistent, albeit still not upright enough, at 95 lbs today. The bar was pretty consistently over my toes. I also did 95x5x1 of low-bar back squats, which were mostly over the front of my shoelaces. I actually forgot what my goal was for squatting until just now, but there's no way that I would have done 3 sets with proper bar path. Not even close to completing this one. There's been some slight progress, but I've still got a long way to go here. Mobility: Stretched twice on lifting days and once on other days. Surprisingly got 100% of these. Sleep: Got to bed truly by 11:30 Monday through Friday. 17/20. I think setting an alarm has actually been helpful, as has not counting 11:32 or 11:33 as in bed on time. It seems like I can feel a difference in how rested I am when I wake up after going to bed at 11:25 vs 11:35. That sounds crazy. I haven't made a thorough study of it. SICP: Worked for 30 minutes on Thursday. Basically 7 out of 8 days. Not terrible, but I'd still like to ramp this up a bit more.
  2. Week 3 update Squat: I bumped my front squat up to 75 today. It still looks about the same, but it feels more or less stable, and my back seems to be staying neutral. I noticed some slight knee wobble at the bottom towards the end of the set, so I'll probably stick with 75 on Wednesday. Mobility: Stretched twice on lifting days and once on other days. Sleep: Got to bed truly by 11:30 on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Two other days, I was in bed before 11:35. SICP: Worked for 30 minutes on Saturday and an hour on Sunday.
  3. Week 2 update Squat: Since my most recent PT appointment last Tuesday, I've been front squatting 45 or 65 lbs for sets of 10. They don't look good, in my opinion. At the bottom of the reps, my back is about 55 degrees above horizontal, and the bar is over my toes. That's about the same as before PT, although my spine stays more neutral now. I might be more consistent now, but I'm not sure. My front squat form right now would actually be great form for a low-bar back squat, if that's where the bar was. Maybe that's something. Mobility: Stretched twice on lifting days and once on other days. I haven't been as good about remembering to do it before going to bed as I was a couple weeks ago. Sleep: Got to bed on time on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. I missed it by less than 10 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday, but I've been occasionally fudging the record when that happens, and I want to get out of that habit. SICP: Worked for 30 minutes on Tuesday and an hour on Sunday.
  4. I tried that a few weeks ago. I haven't done it in a long time, and it felt awkward. It didn't look any better than my low bar squat. I'll probably try high-bar squats again before too long. I would like to get to the point where I can do all 3 positions correctly. If I had switched to high bar when I first noticed my injury, it might have gotten better more quickly or without completely deloading. I wouldn't have been high-bar squatting correctly, but the change in position might have been helpful anyway. If something like this happens again, I'd at least like to have enough experience with modified versions of the movement to try switching to them.
  5. Week 1 update Squat: I tried low-bar squatting a few times last week. When I try to keep my lower back neutral, the bar mostly stays over the front of my shoelaces, which is not great. Mobility: At least once every day and 2 or 3 times some days. Sleep: Got to bed one time Monday through Friday. SICP: Worked for 30 minutes on Thursday and a bit over an hour on Saturday.
  6. The same thing we do every challenge, Pinky. Try to squat correctly! I may made a challenge with this title before. Previously, I attempted to get my bar path over my mid-foot by just sitting back more. I believe these attempts caused me to over-extend my lower back, which may have resulted in my inflamed facet joint, in response to which I am currently seeing a PT. That stopped hurting a few weeks ago, but I also haven't squatted more than the bar in I think over a month. I haven't squatted what I would consider to be heavy in I think the better part of 3 months. I really want to be squatting again, but I don't want to just hurt myself again, so I need to do it right. Goals Squat with the bar for 3 sets of 5 with perfect form. My entire spine should be in a neutral position. My knees should track over my feet. The bar should stay over my mid-foot the entire time. My thighs should reach just below parallel. My feet should stay flat on the floor. Do mobility work every day. I've been pretty good about this for the past few weeks, but it is important enough to my first goal to make it a goal in its own right. Get to bed by 11:30 pm on 5 nights every week. I started setting an alarm to get ready for bed last week, and it seems to be working fairly well. Work on SICP on at least 2 days each week for a total of at least an hour and a half.
  7. Week 5 update PT: I have completed the original treatment plan, and I haven't had any significant back pain for awhile. I did feel a few twinges this weekend after squatting with the bar on Wednesday and Friday. It seems likely that the two things were related, although I also moved some furniture on Friday and Saturday. According to my own video evidence, my squat bar path has not noticeably improved since the last time I squatted. My PT originally said I needed to come in for 3 weeks, but he seems to have transitioned into a plan to get me to the point where I can relax into an ass-to-grass squat. I doubt that that is quite necessary to squat to parallel with a loaded bar with correct form, but I do consider it to be fairly desirable goal nevertheless. He has been a bit reticent recently when I've asked him what the long-term plan is. I don't really want to keep paying for medical treatments on a regular basis indefinitely when I'm not even injured anymore. I'll try to find out what the score is tomorrow. I saw a PT. This is 100% accomplished. Mobility: Stretched at least once every day except Thursday. My prescribed routine has changed, and now I am pretty much just stretching my calves and getting into a squat position, which takes a lot less time. Throughout my treatment, my prescribed stretches have mostly replaced the ones that I used to do. This week, I started to notice that my neck and shoulders were getting stiff, so I will have to bring back in some kind of shoulder stretches. I did well more than my goal amount of stretching. I guess having a doctor tell me do something helps. I don't think I could stretch this much in the long term, though. We're talking like 45 minutes a day of just stretching for 3 weeks. Sleep: Got to bed on time Monday through Thursday and Sunday, albeit just barely in some cases. 21/25 days. I could still improve here. I think I will try setting an alarm and see what happens. SICP: Worked for 30 minutes on Sunday. This weekend, I spent a bunch of time moving my stuff from my old desk to my new desk. While doing that, I realized how dirty my computer was and spent a bunch of time cleaning it. I knew that I should work on this on Saturday before I started, because I wouldn't have a place to work on my computer until I was done moving it. But I started moving my stuff anyway, and I didn't get things back together until Sunday afternoon. I could have done another hour on Sunday, but instead I went to a friend's house to watch the Patriots lose. I don't regret that decision, but I could have handled this better. 6/10 days. I haven't been making time for this lately. I wanted to spend more time reading over the winter holidays, and I started leaving my house to go to a coffee shop, so that I wouldn't be distracted by the stuff I have at home. It might help for me to buy a laptop, so I could do that with programming projects. It seems stupid to buy a whole laptop for that purpose though. I wouldn't really use it for anything else, and there's technically no reason I can't do this at home.
  8. Week 4 update PT: I have continued to visit the PT and do my stretches fairly faithfully. I haven't had any back pain in probably over a week, but I haven't squatted in over 2. I think tomorrow is my last visit. I'm not sure what the long-term plan is. Mobility: Stretched at least once every day and foam rolled on Sunday. I don't consider this level of mobility work to be very sustainable. If I do the prescribed stretches as quickly as possible, I'm still spending like 30 minutes a day doing that, and it's eating into some other things I want to do. Sleep: Got to bed on time every night! SICP: Worked for 30 minutes on Saturday. Meant to work for an hour on Sunday, but I bought a desk this week, and I've been slowly assembling it. On Sunday, I just wanted to get it finished and didn't feel like stopping to code, even though it totally could have waited. Perhaps my refreshed work environment will motivate me to spend more time on this.
  9. Week 3 update PT: Nothing has actually happened since my last post. I've had almost no back pain since I started, but that's probably because I've done almost no squatting. Mobility: Stretched twice on the weekdays and once on Saturday and Sunday. Foam rolled on Sunday. Sleep: Got to bed on time on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. SICP: Didn't do this at all. There were a number of occasions when I blocked out time and then did something else instead.
  10. I guess I have a ritual, which is that I wash my face, take out my contacts, brush my teeth, and do a number of other, related things. "Ritual" wouldn't be the first word that I would use, though. In terms of the decisions that I make, there is really only one step, which is stopping whatever I was doing and going into the bathroom. It could be helpful to remind myself to do this, though. I don't forget. I just want to finish more stuff before I go to bed, so I look at the clock and think, "I can keep doing this for another 5 minutes and still get to bed on time." If I were to set an alarm, I'd probably want to set it for 11:00 pm. In practice, the latest that I can start getting ready for bed is 11:13. A lot of times, I try to take it down to the wire, but I think an argument could be made that there are benefits to usually getting to bed a bit early. It would increase the amount of time between when I stop looking at screens and when I'm supposed to go to sleep, and it would encourage me to read before going to sleep, which is probably also conducive to falling asleep faster. At least as long as I'm reading Effective C++. I would feel a little lame setting alarms to go to bed on the weekend. If I've gotten decent sleep during the week, I can miss bedtime by 30 minutes or an hour, and no harm will come. However, more often than not, if I find myself not wanting to go to bed at 11:30 on a Friday, I will spend the last hour or so that I am awake doing nothing of any value whatsoever, repeatedly refreshing various things on my phone, hoping that something new will pop up, knowing that I should go to bed but now tired enough that I don't feel like getting off the couch. It is a pretty sorry scene. Maybe I should set an alarm. Or configure my Wi-Fi to turn off at like 12:30.
  11. Belated week 2 update Doctor: I went to my PT appointment. Mission accomplished! JK, I've now gone to 4 of what will be at least 6 appointments. I have been assigned various stretches to do. They take up a lot of time, and some of them kind of suck. Mobility: Stretched once on Monday and Tuesday and twice on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Sleep: Only made it to bed on time on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday weren't even close. I have yet to master the art of quitting what I'm doing to go to bed on a night when I know I don't have to get up for anything the next morning. SICP: Did an hour on Wednesday and another hour on Sunday.
  12. Week 1 update Doctor: I have a PT appointment for tomorrow, which is good, because tonight's attempt at lifting was by far the most pathetic yet. Mobility: Stretched after working out on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday; did yoga on Saturday and Sunday; and foam rolled on Friday and Sunday. Sleep: Only got to bed on time on Monday and Thursday. Not a great start. SICP: Worked for 30 minutes on Saturday and an hour on Sunday, although, to be honest, I was distracted for a bit of that time. Nevertheless, I did make slight progress on the problem I'm working on.
  13. Nice! When I was a kid, we had cheese quesadillas on the lunch menu. One kid loudly mispronounced it, and a handle was born.
  14. Adding rep cycling to my program hasn't burned me so far, so I'm going to keep doing that and keep trying to be conservative. I'm not going to make a goal for it this time, though. The main thing getting in the way of my lifts right now is some nagging lower back pain when I squat and do a few other things, so I'm going to try to fix that. Going light didn't seem to work, and taking a break from lifting didn't either, so I think my next step should be seeing a doctor. Goals See a physical therapist. I'm aware of one nearby with a sports medicine focus, or I think just any old doctor with expertise in sports medicine would probably be sufficient as a first step. I've been putting off making an appointment for awhile, because I hate making appointments. In order to complete this goal, I have to actually go to a doctor's appointment before the end of this challenge. Do mobility work at least 4 days a week. I changed up my routine in the last few months, and what I'm doing now seems to be no worse than what I was doing before, so I guess I'll stick with it. Get to bed by 11:30 pm at least 5 nights each week. Probably not tonight. Work on SICP for at least an hour and the half over at least 2 days each week. This was my goal last challenge, and I got pretty close to it. I need to spend more time than I have been if I want to consistently make headway, but I think I need to build up to it gradually.
  15. Summary Lifting: I used rep-range cycling, and I didn't get stuck. I haven't reset anything back to sets of 5 yet, so I guess it remains to be seen whether it will be effective in the long run. I did set PRs in overhead press and bench, so I've got that going for me. I'll call this done. Mobility: I stretched after most of my workouts, both lifting and cardio, and I did yoga at least once each weekend. There have not been any obvious mobility improvements, but neither have I gotten any worse, so I guess this is at least as good as what I was doing before. Sleep: 18/20 nights, with the lapse coming on the most recent holiday weekend. Not too bad, but there were a few nights that I could have easily gotten to bed in time but got distracted by something at the lat minute. Still, I think this is going fairly well. I feel pretty well rested most of the time. I often don't feel like getting out of bed in the morning, though, even though I'm not tired. I'm not sure what that's about. SICP: I made my goal during two weeks, and I came fairly close to making it during two other weeks. This wasn't a disaster. I'm hoping to sink a good chunk of time into this over my holiday break and try to finish chapter 2 before January.
  16. Week 4 update Lifting: Overhead pressed 136x1x1 on Wednesday. My second attempt didn't go as well, so I guess that is the end of one cycle for overhead press. My other lifts last week were unremarkable, and I haven't lifted yet this week due to holiday traveling. I switched out RDLs for stiff-legged deadlifts on Friday. I haven't done those before, but they didn't hurt my back, so hopefully they can keep my deadlift from stalling while my back gets better. I will probably not do a full lifting schedule this week. Mobility: Stretched on Monday, Thursday, and Friday. Full-length yoga sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Foam rolling on Sunday. Sleep: Got to bed on time on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. SICP: Worked for 30 minutes on Thursday and an hour on Saturday.
  17. Week 3 update Lifting: Overhead pressed 134x1x3 on Wednesday. Benched 210x3x5 today, which was a PR. Deadlifted 340x3 today after failing to break it off the ground once. I was initially planning to go for 5, but I had to really, really focus on bracing, and I wasn't sure that I could make it, so I decided, much like week 1, that I would call it at 3. Squats continue to be light. While I am warming up, I will have no or minimal low back pain until I get to a certain weight, at which point, I will notice significant back pain almost immediately on descending. For the past few weeks, I have been stopping at this point. The weight varies. It seems to go down if I've aggravated the injury and up if I take Ibuprofen before lifting. That gives me a bit of the heebie-jeebies, because I don't want to make things worse by overworking. However, so far, my back seems less aggravated on the days after I've lifted with Ibuprofen than the days that I've lifted without it. It has been suggested to me by a couple people that I see a physical therapist, which I will try to do soon, even though I hate calling offices and making appointments. Today, I squatted 285x5x2. I was going for 3 sets, but my back started hurting as I unracked the last one. It was pretty tiring, probably because I haven't done a legit work set in a few weeks. Mobility: Stretched on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Did yoga on Saturday. Sleep: Got to bed on time on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. SICP: Worked for 30 minutes on Thursday and 30 minutes on Saturday.
  18. Week 2 update Lifting: Overhead pressed 132x2,1,1 on Wednesday. Other exercises that might have resulted in gains last week were canceled or greatly abridged due to back pain. I didn't lift at all on Friday. As a result, I did not attempt to increase any weights today, but I did squat more than the bar for the first time in over a week. I warmed up very slowly and experienced no back pain up through 285x5, albeit having taken Ibuprofen in the last few hours. 315 started to hurt, so I didn't do any more squats. Bench was a repeat of last week, and I deadlifted 335x5, which was more reps than last week, without pain. Mobility: Stretched in some form after lifting or running on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Did yoga and foam rolled on Sunday. Sleep: Got to bed on time on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. SICP: Worked for 2 hours on Sunday but on no other days.
  19. Week 1 update Lifting: I've been doing sets of 3 for overhead press and bench for the past few weeks. Last Wednesday, I overhead pressed 130x3x3, which is my all-time PR by 2 lbs. Today, I benched 207.5x3x5. I've done 207.5x5 before, but this is the first time that I have completed the bench sets I planned at 207.5. Today, during my heavy deadlift set, I called an audible and stopped at 3. I was lifting 335, which I've done before for 5, but I was losing my grip, which often happens when I start to lose by back bracing, and I didn't want to hit failure. Something in my lower back has been hurting when I squat since mid-October. For the past month and a half or so, I've significantly reduced weight, reps, and sets for back squat and also RDLs, because they seem to aggravate it. However, it hasn't gotten better, so I just did part of my warmup routine on Friday and didn't squat at all today. Right now, I'm planning to not do squats or RDLs at all this week. Hopefully, that will give it time to heal. Mobility: Stretched after lifting last Monday and Friday, did yoga on Saturday and Sunday, and foam-rolled on Sunday. Sleep: Got to bed on time on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. SICP: Worked for about 30 minutes on Thursday and an hour on Saturday.
  20. My last challenge involved some experimentation in terms of my lifting and stretching routines. I tried a few different things but didn't actually do the same thing for long enough to learn much. Nevertheless, I have some promising ideas that I would like to test out. Goals Lifting: don't get stuck while using rep-range cycling. I've been doing sets of 5 for almost all of my work sets for almost as long as I've been lifting. I think that was causing me to plateau at the same point over and over again on most of my lifts, so I wanted to introduce a tapering aspect to my program, in which my heavy days start with sets of 5, and when I can't keep progressing on those, I switch to sets of 3 and then 1. When I can't progress on 1s anymore, I go back to sets of 5 but at a higher weight than when I last did 5s. At least, that's the theory. For the past couple weeks, I've been doing sets of 3 on some of my lifts, but it's been a little haphazard. I'm also deloading a little bit due to some previously observed detraining, so it's hard to tell whether the programming change is having an effect. I've also irritated something in my lower back that is keeping my back-squat volume artificially low. My goal for this challenge is to continue to implement this program, hopefully resulting in some PRs before the end of the challenge. More importantly, I don't want to get stuck by sticking for too long in the same rep range, and I want to avoid aggravating my back, so that it can heal. Mobility: Perform new stretching routine after lifting and running. During the last challenge, I intended to break down my yoga videos, figure out what poses stretch what areas of the body, and then do those stretches after I lift, instead of the ones I've been doing since I first started working out. In the interval, I have come up with stretching routines for after lifting and after running. My goal is to do those consistently and see what affect they have. I also intend to continue doing full-length yoga sessions on weekends. Sleep: The same thing we do every challenge, Pinky: Try to get in bed by 11:30 pm on five nights each week. SICP: Spend 1.5 hours working on problems, over the course of at least 2 days, each week. This is a slight increase from my previous goal. I realized that I made a New Year's resolution this year to finish the book. That's very unlikely to happen, but I think finishing Chapter 2 is very plausible. (There are 5 long chapters.)
  21. Week 4 update and summary Lifting: Last week was pretty light, overall. I decreased weight even more on a few assistance exercises, and I decreased volume significantly on squats. I've had a sore spot in my lower back for a few weeks when I squat heavy. I was hoping it would go away without me doing anything differently, but it seemed worse on Friday, so I cut things short, and I only did 1 work set of 3 today. Today, I benched 200x3x3, which was pretty easy. I had been thinking that I would deload a bit and work my way back up to what had been my 5x5 weights before tapering reps, but I may just start doing that and have this be a weird, unplanned cycle. This goal was kind of nebulous, but I'll call it complete, in that I have selected a program (a slight modification to my previous program) and started to try it (like, today). Since I am currently involved in a significant deload to deal with detraining, it will be quite some time before I can confirm or deny that the change I've made is working. Flexibility: I didn't get around to analyzing the videos. I did sign up for the next episode of the class, but it's not until tomorrow. I'll call this half done. I'm pretty sure that I could benefit from changing my mobility work, but I haven't gotten much closer to having a new plan. Sleep: Got to bed on time on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 19/20 days isn't bad. Some of the days that I missed my bedtime, I missed it by quite a bit. That could be improved upon. SICP: Worked for 30 minutes on Wednesday and an hour on Sunday. 7/8 days. I've done a pretty good job here the past few months, but it's clear at this point that this effort would benefit from more time spent. Probably longer sessions would be more beneficial than more sessions. It takes a little while to ramp up mentally when I start programming.
  22. Week 3 update Lifting: Similar to last week. In addition do using lighter weights, I've been doing 3 sets of 5 instead of 5 sets for squat and bench on heavy days. Today, I tried to jump from 195 lbs to 200 lbs on bench, and I didn't make it. That was kind of disappointing, because I've done 200x5x5 before. I'm not sure what I should do for bench next week. Options include 195x5x3, 197.5x5x3, or 200x3x3. Flexibility: I went to the class. It seems like it could be useful, but this was just the theory component, and I don't know when the regular practical classes will be offered. I didn't get around to analyzing the yoga videos. Sleep: Got to bed on time on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. SICP: Worked for about an hour on Saturday and 30 minutes on Sunday.
  23. Week 2 update Lifting: My workouts in the last week have been lighter than usual in intensity, volume, or both. Nothing to report. Flexibility: A bit of an anti-climax. I missed the notification for the class I had scheduled and forgot to go. I have planned to go to another session tomorrow, and I have set several reminders for myself to do so. On Saturday and Sunday, I did a full-length yoga routine that is just stretching. I want to analyze the positions in that video and see if they hit all the same things that my usual videos do in terms of stretching. Sleep: Got to bed on time on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. SICP: Worked for about an hour on each of Monday and Sunday.
  24. Week 1 update Lifting: I decided that I'm going to try to augment the HLM program I had been doing with a gradual taper from 5-rep work sets to 1-rep work sets. However, I've also started deloading my squat and deadlift, because I'm pretty clearly overtrained at this point, and I've had a few failed 5x5 attempts on bench recently as well. Hopefully, I won't have to take a reset on that. So the next 3 weeks are pretty much guaranteed not to prove anything. Flexibility: I made a list of the different yoga poses in the two videos that I usually do and noted whether they were mostly for warmup, stretching, or strength. After lifting yesterday, I tried to do each of the stretching ones for 30 seconds. It took much less time than a yoga session usually does, but I more than made up for that while making the list. I don't know how long I should hold each pose or how many reps I should do on each side. On Saturday, I did the yoga session I normally do, because I forgot about this. I also did foam rolling on Sunday. I enrolled in some kind of mobility class at my gym that I think is this week or next week. I don't know if it will actually be useful, but it's only an hour long, and it's a one-off, so I can't waste too much time on it. Sleep: Got to bed on time on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. Tuesday and Wednesday, I could have gotten to bed on time but decided to do just one more thing on the Internet before retiring. SICP: Worked for about an hour on Saturday. I would have worked on this on Thursday, but my power was out for about 2 hours, so I couldn't use my computer.
  25. I was doing a heavy-medium-light program (as described in Practical Programming). Texas Method is one of the alternatives I'm considering. Although there might be some poundage changes in the beginning, the long-run effect would be to replace medium day with Texas Method's intensity day. This would obviously be a significant increase in intensity, and the effect on volume would probably vary by exercise. As I attempted to answer your question, I was looking in Practical Programming and realized that the examples of the HLM program contain a gradual taper in volume on heavy day, which is one of the features of Texas Method that I was interested in. I wasn't sure how to apply it to HLM. I may just attempt to do that without radically changing my programming. Rippetoe's writing is very clear and accessible, but I nevertheless end up learning something new every time I go back to look at his books. I'm not sure yet what I intend to do on Friday or Monday. Tapering would be a reasonable choice for squat and bench, and it could help for overhead press, too. I'm not sure what the plan should be for deadlift. I have set PRs in the recent past, but it seems like on a lot of heavy days, I just can't break my work weight off the ground. I tried switching deadlift to Wednesdays, in case heavy squats were messing it up. That helped briefly, but then I got stuck again. I tried adding a couple back-off sets of RDLs on heavy days, but that didn't have a huge effect. I suspect I'm overtrained at this point and need to deload, but once I get back from that, there's not much room to taper 1 set of 5 on heavy day. This isn't what I especially wanted to hear, but it is consistent with my own previous observations. At least I'm not crazy.
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