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PaulG's Challenge, Rebooted


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I just realized I forgot to post my workout log yesterday.

 

Workout Log 5/30/20


Warmup


Hamstring Curls: 6/6a-x, 2/2a-e

- The first set was done in the morning, right before I started work. They sort of prime my legs for the standing desk. Plus it means I get more volume throughout the week. 2nd set was a warmup for the squat workout. I am at basically full ROM now, and I think it's a safe bet they've been a big part of why single leg squats are giving me knee pain very rarely now.


Partial Single Leg RDLs: 10

- Stole this from Cirque Physio at @Mad Hatter's behest. One leg is planted, the other is just ball of the foot to partially support myself. It kills much of the balance component, but I mainly want to use them to wake up my posterior chain anyway.


Dining Chair Pistols: 7/7a-e, 7/7a-e, 7/7a-e


Hamstring Curls: 6/6a-e


Wall Leg Raises: 6/6a-e, 6/6a-x

- A wake-up exercise for my iliopsoas. Surprisingly difficult to not compensate by rotating my hips or extending my back. Like the hamstring curls, these are very form intensive. Unlike the curls, I honestly don't know what advantage they'll give me. I have a vague idea that some psoas strength will help out my pike compression work. But I won't be doing L-sits for a few weeks.


Cooldown

 

I suppose it's time for a recap of week 3, too. This week went by fast.

 

1) Strength: Do a set of 5 false grip, chest-to-bar pullups. I pulled these off in week 1, which is good, because I'm sure as hell not doing them right now. I had hoped to clean up my form and height, and earn all the brownie points by the end of the challenge, but it has to take a backseat to my shoulder... which still gets intermittently sore from doing silly things like, using today as an example, scrubbing the inside of the oven. Granted, I was really going at it, but it's a little discouraging.

 

Right now, my working theory is that it's strained a couple of rotator cuff /shoulder joint muscles and there may be some minor tearing that needs to heal. The shortlist of affected areas seems to be the pec minor/subclavius, the subscapularis, and the supraspinatus, which is leading to lots of different kinds of pain points as various muscles try to compensate for them. It's had two weeks to heal up though, with not much to aggravate it. My plan is to start PT exercises tomorrow or Tuesday, and do them daily or as tolerated for another week or two. As the shoulder gets stronger I'll start doing more wall slides to work in greater overhead ROM. After that, I'll start working shoulders back into my workouts with light compound movements (rows, dip shrugs, and low-intensity pushups); and build from there, eventually adding back in some very light rings work and handstand work. If I'm very nice to myself, I might be back to my old workout routine by the beginning of July.

 

2) Mobility: Stretch every day, with a max of 6 days off. I've been continuing to do it, but the routine has shrunk a little, now just focusing on a couple exercises and stretches for the hamstrings, quads and psoas. I don't think any shoulder stretching right now is a good idea, nor do I need it, but I think it's time to resume the hip stretching I was doing at the beginning of the challenge; it had fallen out of my routine without my realizing it.

 

3) Diet: End my diet break at no more than 17% bodyfat. Still going strong. I'm now two weeks into the diet break and although it's going to last longer than I'd expected, I only appear to have lost weight (now at 185.4lbs, 14.54% bodyfat, 29.75" waist). Assuming I don't totally fly off the rails I should hit the end of the challenge without much, if any, weight gain.

 

My initial plan was to end the diet break tomorrow and resume my cut; I'd given myself four weeks to get down to 12% before potentially embarking on a bulk. That will have to wait, since cutting right now would be extremely counterproductive for my shoulder healing, and the lack of exercise would mean cutting would be a lot more difficult. I'm not totally sure when I'll be able to resume the cut -- definitely not until I'm back to full body workouts, but I may want to keep the diet break going even a couple weeks past that to make sure the shoulder's 100%. Better not to have any complicating factors before diet starts messing with my workouts again.

 

4) Life: Finish The Cooking Gene, by Michael Twitty. A little embarrassed about this one. Despite lots of free time, I've sunk all my time into random cooking projects and none into this book, I haven't picked it up in at least a week. I still have seventy pages left, and only two weeks in which to read them.

 

Bonus: Make the Red Onion Martini. I've done a little work on this -- not super successful so far. I succeeded in creating something... slightly unpleasant. A pink onion-y gin that doesn't exactly capture the taste of a fart, so much as it reminds you, after you've spent a few seconds swilling it around the inside of your mouth, of a whispered suggestion of flatulence. I'm keeping a full journal of my attempts, but I just relearned GIMP to make the progress montage below. So now I'm too tired to make my scribblings more coherent.

 

--

 

Progress Photos. Gotta admit, I was not excited to snap a progress pic after two weeks off my full strength routine. I was prepared for something decidedly unimpressive. But it seems the lack of exercise isn't as visible as it feels, not a huge difference in the new photo. Of course, not a huge amount of progress either, but given that the time between the last two photos has been all diet break, it could be a lot worse. Oddly, I think chest striations are a lot more visible than they were two weeks ago -- and the difference is way more noticeable in person than in the photos.

 

I'm not throwing up my relaxed photos right this moment, but I'm taking them. Starting to see hints of abs unflexed, which is encouraging.

 

12298075_ProgressM5-31-20.thumb.jpg.ae02ff9f0c0880c6f7523043b526946c.jpg

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You crack back into your thread to make a new post and only then do you realize you're scowling in every one of your progress photos.

 

Of course, not a lot to smile about the past few days. I would protest, but frankly, I don't think it's safe for any number of reasons -- the National Guard is still out in Seattle, and civil disobedience appears to still be pretty much the norm, and the Seattle Police are known for excessive force at the best of times. But what worries me more is covid -- I have a feeling the protests will have to stop pretty soon, since they're hotbeds for outbreaks. At this point I don't know what to do; something is going to need to replace the protests, but I don't know what that is. I feel paralyzed.

 

Workout Log 6/2/20


Warmup


Hamstring Curls: 6/6a-x, 6/6a-x, 3/3a-e


L: 25/25
Y: 10/10
T: 15/15
P: 20s
Ex: 15/15
High IR: 10/10a-e, 5/0a-

- The shoulder work and all but the last set of hamstring curls were done this morning, before starting work.

- My shoulder felt a little sore after the exercises, but not in the anterior joint, impingement-y way. It felt more like a little achiness from various rotator cuff muscles. Back of shoulder especially, the supraspinatus and subscap. Taking it carefully to keep from aggravating my rotator cuff right now.


BW RDLs: 10


Dining Chair Pistols: 8/8a-e, 8/8a-x, 8/8a-x

- Now we're starting to get somewhere strength-wise, I actually started to feel the edges of failure creeping in. I definitely had a rep or two in the tank, but it's something. A little pain in the quad tendon on the R knee, 1st set. No issues in the rest.


Wall Leg Raises: 9/9a-e, 10/10a-x


Cooldown

 

- After the workout I poked around some more Cirque Physio IG stuff and @Mad Hatter, you were right, there is some good stuff there. Messed around with some possible active stretches for hip flexors.

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On 6/3/2020 at 4:43 AM, PaulG said:

Of course, not a lot to smile about the past few days. I would protest, but frankly, I don't think it's safe for any number of reasons -- the National Guard is still out in Seattle, and civil disobedience appears to still be pretty much the norm, and the Seattle Police are known for excessive force at the best of times. But what worries me more is covid -- I have a feeling the protests will have to stop pretty soon, since they're hotbeds for outbreaks. At this point I don't know what to do; something is going to need to replace the protests, but I don't know what that is. I feel paralyzed.

 

You can get in touch with relevant organisations, there are different ways to support them.

 

How do you do wall leg raises exactly?

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17 hours ago, @mu said:

You can get in touch with relevant organisations, there are different ways to support them.


Thanks. I’m looking at a few organizations right now, mainly the National Bail Fund Network, which I think will need a lot of help in the coming months. I’m looking into donation matching plans, trying to figure out whether my company is doing any donation matching as well after reading @Mad Hatter’s latest update.

 

17 hours ago, @mu said:

How do you do wall leg raises exactly?


Basically like this:

 

 

But with my back against a wall, so I can track my low back and pelvis better, and keep them from compensating for weakness in hip flexion.

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Workout Log 6/4/20

- Going in: a slight tickle of a sore throat. I talk a lot at work, but usually I don't have any throat soreness at the end of a workday. Weird.


Warmup


Dining Chair Pistols: 9/9a-e, 9/9a-x, 9/9a-x, 9/9a-x

- Starting to feel really strong in these, much more stable. I am pretty sure I could have done straight sets of 10.


Counter One Arm Pushups: 4/0a-x, 4/0a-y

- Tried them out as I'm tired of doing no arm work at all. Tried one-arm pushups on my kitchen counter, left arm only. Easier than I expected. Then I tried a second set: suddenly, not so easy.


Hamstring Curls: 7/7a-x, 7/7a-x


Wall Leg Raises: 15s/15s

- This time I did them isometrically, lifting my leg well above 90 degrees and holding there. The last ten seconds of each I extended my knee as far as possible to increase the load. Interesting effect.


L: 30/30
Y: 15/15
T: 20/20
P: 20s
Ex: 20/20
High IR: 15/15, 3/3

- Tiny bit of soreness an hour after the shoulder exercises, but overall I'm happy, they don't seem to be in danger of aggravating anything anymore.


Compression Work: 3x10s

- Oh, my nemesis, compression work. I'd been avoiding it because there's a low-load shoulder component, and also because laziness. Even though I did less work than usual, these felt way better than they ever have. For the first time I felt like I could get a good contraction in the quads and flexors to lock out my knees and pull my legs to my abs. Lots more height. I guess the leg raises were good for something after all.


Cooldown

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On 6/5/2020 at 11:48 AM, PaulG said:

- Tried them out as I'm tired of doing no arm work at all. Tried one-arm pushups on my kitchen counter, left arm only. Easier than I expected. Then I tried a second set: suddenly, not so easy.

 

I suspect that you may have changed your position slightly between sets.  OAPUs are very similar to pikes in that a slight change in body position makes huge changes in your body's ability to perform the action.  The big things I have to focus on are internal/external shoulder rotation (fingers pointing out vs, fingers in), shoulder position relative to chest (are my shoulders equal height or is my off shoulder lifting up), Hand height (closer to head or closer to waist) and hand width (closer to sternum or outside shoulder width).  A change in any of these factors can influence the overall difficulty level of the exercise significantly.  Also, if you do them straddle, the width of straddle will also affect the required leverage.

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On 6/5/2020 at 3:07 AM, PaulG said:

Thanks. I’m looking at a few organizations right now, mainly the National Bail Fund Network, which I think will need a lot of help in the coming months. I’m looking into donation matching plans, trying to figure out whether my company is doing any donation matching as well after reading @Mad Hatter’s latest update.

Awesome! And if they don't, make them. Or take other action.

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17 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

Awesome! And if they don't, make them. Or take other action.

 

I've been trying to think of the best way to do it. I admire what you did, just going straight to your CTO in public. Unfortunately, my company is a very, very large company and the routes to the executives are pretty much 100% private, or they have about six or seven gatekeepers between me and the person who could be embarrassed into doing something. There are a couple of levers closer to the ground I can pull, though -- diversity committees and people who coordinate volunteering and donations with NGOs. People who are close to home, but they also have a budget they can use to make something happen. Right now I'm thinking I can start by talking to them.

 

22 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

I suspect that you may have changed your position slightly between sets.  OAPUs are very similar to pikes in that a slight change in body position makes huge changes in your body's ability to perform the action.  The big things I have to focus on are internal/external shoulder rotation (fingers pointing out vs, fingers in), shoulder position relative to chest (are my shoulders equal height or is my off shoulder lifting up), Hand height (closer to head or closer to waist) and hand width (closer to sternum or outside shoulder width).  A change in any of these factors can influence the overall difficulty level of the exercise significantly.  Also, if you do them straddle, the width of straddle will also affect the required leverage.

 

After reading this, I paid closer attention to my form in them today and explored how some of those things affected their difficulty. On a counter I didn't really notice any change with the off-shoulder, but externally rotating was definitely more difficult, so it's the form I'm going to be using. Didn't really mess with the hand width though, I am pretty much going straight on, almost hand to sternum. No straddle though. I figured if I don't need it, I'm going to avoid it.

 

--

 

In food news: those bagels I made? To go with that salmon I cured?

 

Bagels.jpg.1b407613d4b90f61060db39c29720c25.jpg       Bread2.thumb.jpg.bfde0476c864f5e920be6fb3444270a7.jpg

 

Delicious. And that's the loaf of bread I baked last week; French Lean Bread recipe from Modernist Bread. It's the first time I'd ever tried to shape a batard, so it came out looking... kinda janky. Not exactly @fullproofbaking-level stuff. But it tasted great! It was my first recipe that used a poolish, which gave it some extra nutty flavor that I usually don't get without at least an overnight proof. And it lasted as long as any good French bread I've ever had (ie, it turned to compacted sawdust inside of four days).

 

I've decided I should post my PT logs as well as my strength workouts, to make sure I'm progressing with those too. Yesterday I started doing the PT daily (I had hung back earlier in the week, worried about pissing off the shoulder again).

 

Rehab Log 6/5/20


L: 30/30
Y: 15/15
T: 20/20
P: 20s
Ex: 20/20
High IR: 15/15, 3/3


Workout Log 6/6/20


Warmup


Dining Chair Pistols: 10/10a-e, 10/10a-e, 3/3b-e

- Got some weird knee pain in the last set... well, not exactly knee. The left medial tibia just below the knee suddenly went crazy, sharp pain. Decided to back off. Shame; I'd been thinking about dropping the elevation for my last set. Hopefully next time, though.


Counter One Arm Pushups: 4/0a-x, 6/0a-x, 6/0a-x

- After the first set I standardized how far I'm standing from the counter, and it dialed in a form that means I can do 6 reps without being worried about my form. I'll spend some time working these up before going crazier.


Hamstring Curls: 8/7b-

- Bad cramping in the right hamstring made me take it as a sign that today's not 100% my day, and cut the leg work short. Still did the rest of the activation and hamstring work.


Wall Leg Raises: 15s/15sa-


L: 30/30
Y: 15/15
T: 20/20
P: 20s
Ex: 20/20
High IR: 15/15, 5/5


Compression Work: 3x10s

- I'm super happy. I did some extra hamstring mobility right beforehand, not much, but suddenly found that I was able to longsit almost at a flat 90 degrees with a perfectly straight back. The pike compression itself felt strong and solid. Something is working.


Cooldown

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One last progress report before the end!

 

Week 4 Progress

 

1) Strength: Do a set of 5 false grip, chest-to-bar pullups. I pulled these off in week 1, which is good, because I'm sure as hell not doing them right now. I had hoped to clean up my form and height, and earn all the brownie points by the end of the challenge, but it has to take a backseat to my shoulder... which still gets intermittently sore, especially after doing my rehab exercises daily the last couple of days. I think I need to accept this is going to take some time to fully heal. I wish I had a better idea of how much time, though.

 

 2) Mobility: Stretch every day, with a max of 6 days off. Well, I forgot about any kind of stretching last night, and I think that pushed me officially over the 6-days-off limit. Bummer. But I think having the goal was effective overall, because pushing myself to stay consistent means I've begun seeing small but real improvements in my mobility. My overhead shoulder mobility was great (at least it was before the injury), and my hamstrings are starting to improve.

 

3) Diet: End my diet break at no more than 17% bodyfat. Still going strong. I'm now three weeks into the diet break. Technically I haven't finished this goal yet as the diet break is open-ended while I let my shoulder heal, but given I'm still hovering at 14.5%, it would be pretty much impossible for me to blow it now.

 

4) Life: Finish The Cooking Gene, by Michael Twitty. Finished the book. It was fascinating, and sometimes very difficult. I had been stuck about seventy pages before the end, in a chapter in which Twitty describes in meticulous detail the many ways in which his ancestors’ families were forcibly split apart, and the effects cotton production had on African American culture and food in the Deep South (not good ones). It was impossible to casually read seven or eight pages a day; I finally pushed through the rest of the book in one shot yesterday.

 

Twitty cites a couple of cookbooks that look interesting in the bibliography, one of which I'd heard of a couple years back; I think I may try and source one or two of them. Maybe have a cooking-related goal next challenge? Learn a few recipes from a new cuisine?

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On 6/7/2020 at 12:39 AM, PaulG said:

- I'm super happy. I did some extra hamstring mobility right beforehand, not much, but suddenly found that I was able to longsit almost at a flat 90 degrees with a perfectly straight back. The pike compression itself felt strong and solid. Something is working.

Congrats! 😁 I've been struggling to find hamstring flexibility or mobility exercises that actually work for me. Could you tell me what you've been using?

 

On 6/8/2020 at 12:56 PM, PaulG said:

4) Life: Finish The Cooking Gene, by Michael Twitty. Finished the book. It was fascinating, and sometimes very difficult. I had been stuck about seventy pages before the end, in a chapter in which Twitty describes in meticulous detail the many ways in which his ancestors’ families were forcibly split apart, and the effects cotton production had on African American culture and food in the Deep South (not good ones). It was impossible to casually read seven or eight pages a day; I finally pushed through the rest of the book in one shot yesterday.

 

Twitty cites a couple of cookbooks that look interesting in the bibliography, one of which I'd heard of a couple years back; I think I may try and source one or two of them. Maybe have a cooking-related goal next challenge? Learn a few recipes from a new cuisine?

Sounds like a fascinating book; I may have to read it at some point. I find I quite enjoy cooking, especially interesting/unusual dishes from other cuisines I don't usually get to eat. I'd love to see what happens if you do decide to add a cooking related goal next time! I might even do the same. 

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On 6/9/2020 at 2:02 PM, Riviera16 said:

Congrats! 😁 I've been struggling to find hamstring flexibility or mobility exercises that actually work for me. Could you tell me what you've been using?


Absolutely. Though, I don’t know that I’ve found the secret to flexibility, this is just what’s working for me at the moment.

 

I’ve spent a lot of the challenge considering what my hamstring issues are, trying lots of tests around the edges of my core stretching routine. The conclusion I’ve come to is that my hamstrings are at once both tight (chronically shortened) and weak (unused to bearing weight in most positions and ranges of motion). I would be willing to bet the hamstring issue is also partially to blame for a lot of other hip/leg issues (for example, I’ve been doing some reading about anterior femoral glide syndrome and its role in a clunking hip, which is also a problem for me).
 

Since I have both tightness and weakness, what I’ve been doing has focused on both lengthening the hamstrings and loading them close to the ends of their ROM.
 

1. I work both Bodyweight straight-leg Romanian deadlifts and hamstring curls into my workouts.
 

2. Pike compression work is both a strength and active flexibility exercise for the hip flexors and quads, and it helps immensely with the piking position specifically.
 

3. For the stretching itself: a decent chunk of my stretching is just the exercises shown in this Cirque Physio article. I tested myself a few times and found that it made a decent difference in my hamstring flexibility, and the focus is on loading the hamstring, stretching it, and then making it contract at the end of its ROM (which is exactly what you want, I think, for a muscle that’s both weak and tight).

 

4. Once I finish that routine I do some extra passive stretching. Again, I like to load it, so I get my back to a wall (a pace or two forward from the wall) and basically do a straight-leg RDL to get into a pike stretch. Since my butt is against the wall, I’m supported and gravity is pulling me into a bigger stretch. I find it very effective.

 

5. I’ve also been experimenting with this lateral hamstring stretch/exercise around the edges of my core routine. I don’t just stretch in that position, I contract and relax the hamstring to try to load it while it’s in awkward positions. I’ve only been doing this for a few days, so it’s hard to say what effect it’s having yet.

On 6/9/2020 at 2:02 PM, Riviera16 said:

Sounds like a fascinating book; I may have to read it at some point. I find I quite enjoy cooking, especially interesting/unusual dishes from other cuisines I don't usually get to eat. I'd love to see what happens if you do decide to add a cooking related goal next time! I might even do the same. 

 

On 6/10/2020 at 3:32 AM, Mad Hatter said:

 

I vote yes for cooking goals! And it has nothing to do with selfish recipe stealing purposes. 😄

 


Twitty’s book is a great one! Though it’s not a recipe book, exactly.

 

I’m currently looking at Senegal: Modern Recipes by Pierre Thiam, and The Africa Cookbook: Tastes of a Continent, by the highly respected Dr. Jessica B. Harris. I’ve had both books on my radar for a while but was never quite ready to take the plunge.
 

I’ve been a little wary of Senegal in particular because I know the author also sells a grain that is supposedly essential to the cuisine, fonio. I am down for learning some recipes, but I tend to get excitable about this kind of thing, I’m exactly the sort of person who would order a fifty-pound sack of a specialty grain, use it four times, and forget about it in the depths of my pantry. I’ll have to be a little bit careful to make sure I don’t go too crazy buying a whole new set of ingredients.

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No workout log for Tuesday posted because no workout. I have suspected since Sunday I might be coming down with something — I’ve been dealing with little tickles of a sore throat and headaches, and they ramped up on Tuesday, so I made an executive decision to skip the workout to and just recover. Apparently “recover” meant “fall asleep at 5 PM...” but I woke up the next morning feeling much better.


I’ve been doing my usual shoulder PT with a green theraband that provides maybe 5 lbs of force. The last couple of days, though, I’ve been straying from the core plan and instead doing some of the exercises with a 1.75lb free weight (er, actually it’s the pestle from my giant mortar and pestle). I’m starting to think I may have been pushing a touch too hard with the theraband, at least with external rotations and high internal rotations. Trying them with a free weight means I have to be side-lying and supine, respectively; and I’m finding I have much more difficulty with ROM and strength in those movements when I’m not standing. Most likely, I’m compensating with bigger muscles like lats and traps when I use the theraband without realizing it.


The High IRs worry me in particular. Even unloaded, just the weight of my hand itself feels like a lot, and it causes some tingling in the ulnar nerve.


Moving my right arm overhead is still a little dicey, but I’m able to do some wall slides and overhead shrugs with a limited ROM now.


Took a couple minutes on my lunch break to slice up a pound of onions and start the dehydrator. Who knows, maybe I’ll manage a half-decent onion martini by the end of the week.

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Workout time!

 

Workout Log 6/11/20


Warmup


Dining Chair Pistols: 5/5a-e


15in. Pistol Eccentrics: 4(6s)/0a-x, 3(7s)/3(7s)a-x, 3(7s)/3(7s)a-x

- The 15 inches refers to how far from the ground I'm dropping to. No more chairs or other single objects that are lower than my dining chairs, so it's hard to give my new progressions a pithy name. Instead, I'm stacking weird little blocks and books to make a 15-inch pile of crap to sit on. I'll keep going down in 3-inch increments from here, until I achieve full ass-to-grass nirvana.

- Totally forgot the right leg in that first set.


Counter One Arm Pushups: 6b-y, 7a-x, 7a-x


Hamstring Curls: 5/5a-e, 6/6a-x


Wall Leg Raise Holds: 16s/16sa-x, 16s/16sa-x


Compression Work: 3x10s


Cooldown

 

- Compression work felt damn good. I took a photo to see if I have a full 90-degree pike now; I'm not quite there, but it's tantalizingly close, more like 100 degrees.

 

- No shoulder work today because I spent so much time exploring mobility and rehab stuff during my workday breaks (notes on what I've been finding in the last post). I wanted to rest and see how my shoulder reacts to it tomorrow rather than keep throwing more exercises at the wall.

 

Speaking of rehab work, I immediately moved on from Twitty's book to Steven Low's Overcoming Tendonitis. I've only just gotten to the part where he starts actually giving programming advice, but I can already see it's an extremely good book on the subject and I'm gleaning a lot of ideas for programming my prehab going forward, both for shoulders and knees. The knowledge that went into this book is already more up-to-date than the working knowledge of a lot of actual PTs I've worked with.

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2 hours ago, PaulG said:

No more chairs or other single objects that are lower than my dining chairs, so it's hard to give my new progressions a pithy name. Instead, I'm stacking weird little blocks and books to make a 15-inch pile of crap to sit on. 

I do this same thing, but I haven't measured it.  I am currently at 2 weight plates, 2 yoga blocks and a folded towel

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14 hours ago, PaulG said:

No shoulder work today because I spent so much time exploring mobility and rehab stuff during my workday breaks (notes on what I've been finding in the last post). I wanted to rest and see how my shoulder reacts to it tomorrow rather than keep throwing more exercises at the wall.

 

oh yes good one, sometimes too much rehab kills the rehab!

 

14 hours ago, PaulG said:

No more chairs or other single objects that are lower than my dining chairs, so it's hard to give my new progressions a pithy name. Instead, I'm stacking weird little blocks and books to make a 15-inch pile of crap to sit on.

 

11 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

I do this same thing, but I haven't measured it.  I am currently at 2 weight plates, 2 yoga blocks and a folded towel

 

ha ha it's a bit difficult for me too. I make piles of books and yoga blocks. And for press I need evenly sized piles, it's not that easy :D

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20 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

I do this same thing, but I haven't measured it.  I am currently at 2 weight plates, 2 yoga blocks and a folded towel

 The folded towel is the best part... that’s like what, half an inch of height, right? 😂

 

8 hours ago, @mu said:

ha ha it's a bit difficult for me too. I make piles of books and yoga blocks. And for press I need evenly sized piles, it's not that easy :D


Not gonna lie, that sounds like a pain. I really don’t want to pay for things like yoga blocks when I could just grab something from the hardware store, but if I needed them for pike presses, I’d probably cave too.

 

— 

 

Not much of note today, except that I restarted trials for this onion martini, and I want everyone to understand just what a nightmare it turned my kitchen into. THIS IS THE PRODUCT OF EXPERIMENTATION:

 

Nightmare.jpg.516e0067795c74db0ed3b823840fed3b.jpg

 

But it produced an onion gin mixture that’s slightly deeper purple than the first go-round. Hopefully it will taste better. I’ll update shortly once I’ve had a chance to taste it (and clean).

 

Oh, and I did one set each of high IRs and External Rotations today, hooray for me, etc. Shoulder’s a little sore.

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On 5/3/2020 at 9:03 PM, PaulG said:

So, let’s consider this a respawn, and my secret behind-the-scenes goal is to actually finish this frickin thing this time

 

So, congrats are in order?  🥳 Just read through, nice job!  I might creep over into the Assassins corner next challenge and see if I see you there. 

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6 hours ago, ZachPSU said:

 

So, congrats are in order?  🥳 Just read through, nice job!  I might creep over into the Assassins corner next challenge and see if I see you there. 

 

Thanks! Hope to see you there. I had almost forgotten about the whole danger of crapping out thing... I started out afraid I would burn out from writing too much. It really didn't turn out that way, though. I could have written a lot more than I wound up writing about the exercise and flexibility stuff.

 

--

 

I'm going to write a second post later with today's workout and my challenge wrap-up. But first... let it not be said that I crapped out on any of my goals, no matter how frivolous.

 

The Red Onion Martini: A Full Report


This all starts with what is known as a Justino: water or liquor quick-infused by blending it with large amounts of something very flavorful, usually a fruit, which leaves you with a highly-flavored booze smoothie. The mixture is then spun in a centrifuge until clear, getting rid of the solid matter and allowing you to use the mix in a drink that you want to be decidedly un-smoothie-like — such as a martini.


I knew as soon as I saw the video that something very Justino-like had been done to create that red onion tonic; but the internet revealed zero published recipes, so I knew I’d have to extrapolate from other applications of the technique.


Begin testing phase!


05/31/2020
Red Onion Justino Test 1

Blend:
150ml New Amsterdam gin
50g fresh red onion, diced
0.5ml pectinex
Notes: initial results discouraging. Very light purple hue as it sits waiting for the pectinex to act.

 

Image.jpeg.ceb47faba5024991c768ba6a78cb4e22.jpeg

 

You can't see from the photo, but that mixture is kind of sludgy, like OJ with a TON of extra pulp. Gross. To try to knock those solids out, I added short 0.5ml shots of chitosan and kieselsol (charged particles used in wine fining to remove sediment), and another (full) 0.5ml of pectinex at the end. Spun in the centrifuge.


The solids did not compress into a very solid puck, had to strain through a tea filter, then a paper coffee filter. But I don’t think the coffee filter did anything. Result was a pale pink liquid.


Tasting Notes

Straight: Strong sulphuric onion hit. Rather bitter. Unpleasant. No sweetness.
Martini: Actually pretty nice. A mild bite of onion, and a little more herbal and sweet thanks to the vermouth and gin. ADDENDUM: Ugh. Give it five seconds and that sulphur starts to tingle at the mid-palate in an unpleasant way.

 

Overall, pretty poor results. The more I tasted and re-tasted that hit of sulphur, the more I started to realize what it really reminded me of: accidentally swallowing after a baby just spat up in your mouth. I had a feeling the answer to that sulphurous soupçon of an infant's digestive tract lay in dehydrating the onions, as I've heard of dehydration knocking out other offensive odors from things like cabbages. I knew that would be the main thrust of my next test.


06/12/2020
Red Onion Justino Test 2

Blend:
200ml New Amsterdam gin
25g dehydrated red onion (403g fresh red onion dehydrated for 5.5 hours to 43g)
25ml water
1ml pectinex

Blend, spin in the centrifuge.


No need for wine fining agents this time, although I was unable to get all solids out of the mix. Slightly cloudy after 25 minutes spinning. Maybe the fining agents would help, but I doubt it. Ultimately it did settle in the pint jar I put it in, and a paper coffee filter got out the last particles of dust before I bottled it.

 

IMG_2362.jpeg.fefefa80806279972363e189a1601ef4.jpeg

My two justinos side by side, Test 2 on the right. I know which one I'd rather put in my mouth.

 

Tasting Notes
Appearance: much brighter pink than Test 1. Most likely because this test uses what would have been equal parts onion to gin, based on the weight of the onions pre-dehydration. Much more than Test 1’s 1:3 onion-to-gin ratio.

Straight: ONIONS. Strangely, it has some of the characteristics of cooked onions — a touch of that caramelized sweetness — along with some of the bite of raw onions. But strangely, no bitterness.

Martini: So. Delicious. The dehydration made all the difference. Sweet and a little biting, but not even a hint of that sulphuric note that plagued the last batch. The flavor of onion is strong, but not cloying. This really tastes like a Gibson (pickled onion dirty martini), but stronger and fresher. This was the ticket, I'm calling it, code cracked.

 

The cocktail:

0.5 oz red onion justino
0.5 oz Dolin dry vermouth
1 oz London dry gin (I used Tanqueray)
Garnish: none. Serve up, with a side of good ham, Swiss and mustard.

 

IMG_2363.jpeg.ace7e8e9ec3d9c6080c7d584b5269353.jpeg
The Red Onion Martini with its natural pairing: clumsily-sliced homemade pancetta. I haven’t died of botulism yet!

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4 hours ago, PaulG said:

The more I tasted and re-tasted that hit of sulphur, the more I started to realize what it really reminded me of: accidentally swallowing after a baby just spat up in your mouth.

I cannot say I've ever had the pleasure, but EWWW. 😆

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Second post of the day, the first being my full report on the Red Onion Martini, from its beginnings as just a twinkle in my eye to its triumphant, squalling birth (above). Coincidentally, that checks off my bonus goal for this challenge. Grade: an eye-watering A+.

 

Workout Log 6/13/20


Warmup


15in. Pistol Eccentrics: 3(8s)/3(8s)b-x, 3(8s)/3(8s)a-e, 3(8s)/3(8s)a-x


Counter One Arm Pushups (Left Only): 8b-x, 8b-x, 7b-x

- These started feeling more stressful on the shoulder in the second set, so I backed off on the last rep. This is a new exercise for me, and the way I hurt my right shoulder was not respecting the need to back off and let myself adapt to new stresses; not gonna make the same mistake again.


Hamstring Curls: 5/5a-e, 6/6a-x


Wall Leg Raise Holds: 18s/17sb-e


L: 25/25
Y: 15/15
T: 15/15
P: 20s
Supine High IR (2lbs): 10/10b-5, 10/10b-6

- Big, big difference between the right and left arms here. Right arm is noticeably slower, shakier, and contracting the muscle causes a sort of cramping sensation that wasn't there in the left. I am doing my right arm first with all my rehab exercises, as it's the injured one.
Sidelying Ext Rotation (2lbs): 15/15a-5, 10/10b-5

- Another difference, though not quite as big. I have noticeably less ROM when externally rotating my right arm, and the concentric portion of this movement (raising it into ext rotation) is noticeably slower. I didn't notice any shaking, though; this is encouraging.
Sidelying Can (2lbs): 15/15a-5, 15/15b-6

- Added these in after seeing them in Overcoming Tendonitis. They are a supraspinatus isolation exercise, whereas the previous two mainly hit the subscap and teres minor. Partially just an experiment, since I keep having aches and tightness in the supraspinatus area. They actually felt surprisingly good, though. I didn't notice a large difference between my right and left arms.


Cooldown

 

- Totes forgot a second set on the leg raises, and compression work just slipped my mind. Oh well.

 

- More shoulder work than I've done before. After reading Overcoming Tendonitis, I'm moving away from daily PT exercises and going to implement it just during workout days (3x/week) instead, to bring it in line with the book's recommendations. To be clear, there's not really medical consensus on which frequency is better for tendinopathy, necessarily. But... the book points out that when doing daily work, some people may be more likely to push their volume too high and aggravate the tendon, and that seems like something my dumb self would do.

 

 

1) Strength: Do a set of 5 false grip, chest-to-bar pullups. I pulled these off in week 1, which is good, because my shoulder needs some TLC before it will be ready to bust out super-pullups again. Sad face. On the other hand, I do finally seem to have a decently thought-out plan to progress with rehab exercises. And before I hurt myself, I did manage 6 good-quality C2B pulls in a set. Grade: A.

 

 2) Mobility: Stretch every day, with a max of 6 days off. Embarrassingly, I missed a total of 7 days, so I technically failed this goal. However, the push to be consistent with mobility really paid dividends with my overhead shoulder ROM, my psoas strength, and my hamstring flexibility. So even though I failed the letter of this goal, I saw a lot of improvement. @Mad Hatter, @WhiteGhost, @@mu, your advice in particular made a huge difference; my hamstrings went from a pitiful 135 degree pike to a slowly-becoming-respectable 100 degrees. I wish I could make you all a round of red onion martinis in thanks. Grade: C.

 

3) Diet: End my diet break at no more than 17% bodyfat. We can say I made this one. Although technically the diet break hasn't ended -- and I have no immediate plans to end it, not till the shoulder's better -- it's now been four weeks with no fat gain. I'm ending this challenge having just weighed in at 179.2lbs, a waist that's edging toward 29.5 inches, and 14.4% bodyfat. Grade: A.

 

4) Life: Finish The Cooking Gene, by Michael Twitty. Finished. I didn't do a great job of doing small, daily readings a few pages at a time like I'd planned, but I did eventually get it done. In retrospect, the emotional weight of the last 70-ish pages made casually reading 5-7 pages at a time difficult, and I've always been more of a binge reader; but I should have put aside a day to rip through it much earlier than last weekend, because I basically hadn't touched it for two weeks up to that point. Grade: B+.

 

Overall Grade: Let's say A-. The last five weeks finds me in a very different place than I thought I'd be. But frankly, I did better than I expected, especially given the setbacks I've had.

 

I'm mulling over possible goals for the next challenge, and how I might be able to proof them against the possibility of another setback. For example, I seem to be humming along pretty well with pistols right now; but I worry that if I set myself a goal to be doing full pistols by the end of the challenge, I'll push myself too hard and too fast and hurt myself that way. So I'm nervous about setting a time-limited "get this much stronger" goal. But the other type of challenge goal I usually set, "do X thing so many times per week", doesn't really drive progress in the same way, and it feels a little too basic.

 

So I don't know. Do y'all have another type of challenge goal that's a happy medium, some other format you prefer to use?

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27 minutes ago, Mad Hatter said:

I cannot say I've ever had the pleasure, but EWWW. 😆

 

You know how you don't need to actually freefall off the Empire State Building, because you've had the dream that you did and that was close enough? That's what that first test was like. To sip it was to dream of something horrible being regurgitated onto your palate.

 

It's the most horrific flavor experience I've ever made with my own hand, but in a way that's its own kind of accomplishment, right? :D

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1 hour ago, PaulG said:

But... the book points out that when doing daily work, some people may be more likely to push their volume too high and aggravate the tendon, and that seems like something my dumb self would do.

 

This, this, so much. Just leave it alone for a while and grumpiness shall pass :P

 

1 hour ago, PaulG said:

but I worry that if I set myself a goal to be doing full pistols by the end of the challenge, I'll push myself too hard and too fast and hurt myself that way. So I'm nervous about setting a time-limited "get this much stronger" goal. But the other type of challenge goal I usually set, "do X thing so many times per week", doesn't really drive progress in the same way, and it feels a little too basic.

 

So I don't know. Do y'all have another type of challenge goal that's a happy medium, some other format you prefer to use?

 

yes, "do X by the end of challenge" can be disappointing, it always takes more time, doesn't it... While the consistency goal can be a little boring maybe. How about cutting the apple in 2. Keep the consistency one, and add 2 bonus goals: one for the progression below X with a given amount of reps, and then X. So you get some motivation but also some mental breathing space in case of failure. It's not really failure that said. Bodyweight skills take time really and they rely on so many factors (amount of strength to build, flexibility, technical skill, coordination etc.) it's just very hard to pin point when they can come out. I prefer to let them come out when they want to :D It's my way of chasing new shinies.  Don't rush the beast. But let it know you're coming for it :D

 

Awesome challenge! See you soon in the Assassin's Den :D

 

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6 hours ago, PaulG said:

I'm mulling over possible goals for the next challenge, and how I might be able to proof them against the possibility of another setback. For example, I seem to be humming along pretty well with pistols right now; but I worry that if I set myself a goal to be doing full pistols by the end of the challenge, I'll push myself too hard and too fast and hurt myself that way. So I'm nervous about setting a time-limited "get this much stronger" goal. But the other type of challenge goal I usually set, "do X thing so many times per week", doesn't really drive progress in the same way, and it feels a little too basic.

 

So I don't know. Do y'all have another type of challenge goal that's a happy medium, some other format you prefer to use?

Yeah, time-limited "get X amount stronger" goals can lead to pushing too hard/overuse. I know I would absolutely go too far if I set something like that for myself and was falling behind. If I wanted to have a goal about getting stronger rather than doing something a certain number of times per week then what I would do is rather than set a target to try to hit simply track how many reps at what difficulty I was doing for a given exercise throughout the challenge. That way I can see if I'm building strength/how much and make my goal to have built some strength, see how much it was given what I was doing, and possibly use that information as a guide if I did want to set a specific targeted goal at some point later on.

 

I know it's generally a good idea to have goals that have clear, measurable endpoints so you know when you've achieved them, so this may not work for everyone, but what I myself am considering doing with strength-related goals in future challenges is to say "given my current physical condition, my workout options/schedule, and any other factors I may have to account for, how much strength can I build in this period of time?". That makes it less of a bar I feel I have to hit and more of an open-ended "let's just see what I can do and how far I can get while pushing myself only as far as I'm sure won't cause me injuries/setbacks" kind of situation. The endpoint isn't a certain number of times per week I've done something or amount of strength gained, it's the time at the end of the challenge when I look back and say, "Ok, what did I accomplish? What progress have I made?" and be able to give myself a win regardless of exactly how much progress was involved. And even if I didn't make any progress, I can look at what happened and figure out what went wrong so next time I can avoid that obstacle.

 

But anyway, congrats on finishing your challenge, despite setbacks along the way! Those can be really discouraging and make it hard to keep going but you kept at it. So again, congrats! Looking forward to seeing what you decide to work on next! 😊👍

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8 hours ago, PaulG said:

It's the most horrific flavor experience I've ever made with my own hand, but in a way that's its own kind of accomplishment, right? :D

Very true. It's not actually that easy to create something so vile and original at the same time. 😂

 

9 hours ago, PaulG said:

my hamstrings went from a pitiful 135 degree pike to a slowly-becoming-respectable 100 degrees.

Maybe you "failed" your goal, but this is a HYUOUGE improvement! 😲

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