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FamilyBeer

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This challenge started on Sunday, I just noticed it today but I've been going to the gym since last week with a strength-increasing goal in mind so I think I qualify to participate in this challenge.

 

My goal for this challenge is really just to go to the gym somewhere between 6-7x every 2 weeks and work on increasing my strength using the Stronglifts 5x5 program (with a couple of minor modifications).

 

The basic Stronglifts program is 5 exercises: "A" day = back squats, bench press, barbell rows, "B" day = back squats, overhead press, deadlifts

     Modification = replace back squats on "B" day with front squats.

 

Increase by 5lb each new workout.

     Modification = find a suitable starting weight for each exercise and stay at that weight for a couple of workouts to learn/relearn the exercises before moving up in weight.

  • Like 2

 

Challenge Logs: Current Challenge 3 2 1 Battlelog

 

Origin of Name:

FN: Julian -> Jules -> Family Jewels -> Family

LN: Rickards = Canadian brand of Beer -> Beer

Call me "FamilyBeer" (or just Jules)

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After the first day, I learned that I could not do front squats, even with a 45lb bar alone, for the reasons that I could not raise my elbows high enough and secondly, it appears that I have very tight hamstrings because, as much as I try, I lean forward as I crouch which, along with an improper hand/grip position, forces me to use arm strength to keep the bar on my collar bones (which isn't so bad with 45lb but will be a problem with heavier weights). Therefore, I've decided to do Goblet squats with kettlebell weights and am starting out with 4x10 at 20lb. I did a quick trial with a 45lb plate and I learned that I can hold on to it ok but it is a bit heavy for now. The alternative is to use a single dumbbell and those can go up to at least 100lb if I want to take it that high.

 

I don't have a "friend" at this small gym and when I go at 6am, there is only the one gym staff member in the gym and she's been at the front counter, not wandering around the gym so I don't really have someone there to do either a form check or to provide some guidance. I suppose I could just get someone to video me using my phone, likely that won't be an issue, and then I could just post or link the video in the Form Check forum.

 

Either way, until I fix my front squat form, it is out. However, if someone can suggest an alternative to goblet squats as a front-based squat, please do so.

  • Like 1

 

Challenge Logs: Current Challenge 3 2 1 Battlelog

 

Origin of Name:

FN: Julian -> Jules -> Family Jewels -> Family

LN: Rickards = Canadian brand of Beer -> Beer

Call me "FamilyBeer" (or just Jules)

Link to post

For front squats, how is your ankle mobility?  Are you using weightlifting shoes with a heel?  Try repeating the movement with a small weight plate under each heel.  When your ankle mobility is poor (like mine), your knees don't track far enough forward (more forward than a back squat).  With your knees back, your hips and a lot of your weight is back.  That makes you lean forward to balance.  Also make sure your weight isn't getting biased toward your toes. If the weight was heavier, it might be thoracic extension strength, but with just the bar it's more likely a lower body mobility/stability issue.  The hamstrings also attach below the knee, so as you bend your knee, you get some of relief from the stretch the bend at the hip is doing.  Adductors, which attach above the knee, can be restrictive - more so the wider you squat. 

 

Front squats with the more vertical back angle actually require less hip flexion but more knee and ankle mobility.  I can't front squat currently, but it's not a goal or focus of mine.

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Challenges: #1#2#3#4, #5

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After thinking about it for a bit, I realized that I wasn't quite correct in the description of my problem but your suggestion still may be spot on.

 

As I lower, and this also applies to goblet squats, at some point, I'm unable to keep a flat back and my lower back region rolls. No pain or anything, the weights are light at the moment and I don't have any significant back issues, it's just that I thought that my back should be flat and that I should stop lowering when my back rolls. It is my lower back/hip region, that is rolling, not my upper back, I'm not hunched over.

 

Yes, there is some limitation to ankle mobility: most of us cannot squat like we see the native African and Asian population do (and young kids of any origin).

 

I am not using the most flat shoes that there could possibly be but I put my stilletos away for the fall, I'm using old basketball shoes that have little cushion (unlike running shoes) but a bit of a lift at the heel.

 

I will try the plate-under-the-heel trick on Friday and let you know.

  • Like 1

 

Challenge Logs: Current Challenge 3 2 1 Battlelog

 

Origin of Name:

FN: Julian -> Jules -> Family Jewels -> Family

LN: Rickards = Canadian brand of Beer -> Beer

Call me "FamilyBeer" (or just Jules)

Link to post

Ahh, the dreaded "butt wink".  I'm fighting that myself as my flexibility and mobility is garbage.  It has several varied causes.  I find daily paleo chair sessions to be helpful (bodyweight squats all the way to the bottom and sitting there a bit), but it's pretty uncomfortable and I can't balance with my heels on the ground.  For me, my adductors and hip capsules are very tight.  Butt wink is a much worse problem for me on back squats as the degree of hip flexion is much higher.  If you are ok with back squats but have the issue on front squats, how deep are you going? 

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Intro

Challenges: #1#2#3#4, #5

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Back squats? I'm pretty deep (not quite like the girl I saw a year ago who was practically touching the mat) but I had the extra weight on my shoulders to force me down. I'm out of practice/shape (in terms of weight lifting, my cycling/cardio fitness is good) so I can't quite get as low right now as I was a year or so ago when I last did lifting.

 

If I try to use bodyweight alone, I either put my heels down and not go as low or go lower (butt to back of calf) with my heels up. I find that if I grab the toes of my shoes, I can force myself into butt down/heels down but that is hard to sustain.

 

My problem with front squats appears to be twofold: firstly, the bar is not as far back on my shoulders as it should be because I can't get my elbows up high enough (but when I do force them up, the bar goes into my adams apple, uncomfortable to say the least) and with the bar (and weight) more forward, I'm using my back more (no injuries yet but the potential is there) and secondly, a lack of mobility making me lean forward.

 

Regarding the second, I did some experiments. I pretended to do a front squat with no weights and I found that I leaned forward so I tried to correct this by forcing my upper body back to a more erect position and in doing this, my lower back got sore, like arching my back too much. I put a broomstick under my heels and did the same thing and with less effort and pain, my posture was more upright. Does that not suggest that my problem is not ankle flexibility but tight hamstrings? Either way, your suggestion of putting something under my heels does seem to work and help my lower body position in a front squat. I wonder if continuing to work on them might help stretch the muscles and ligaments and reduce dependence on lifting my heels.

 

I now need to focus on getting my elbows up and the bar in proper position. I wonder if using dumbbells might enable me to do the equivalent of front barbell squats while I work on flexibility.

 

Challenge Logs: Current Challenge 3 2 1 Battlelog

 

Origin of Name:

FN: Julian -> Jules -> Family Jewels -> Family

LN: Rickards = Canadian brand of Beer -> Beer

Call me "FamilyBeer" (or just Jules)

Link to post

Catching up on the logs here with these 4 workouts

 

September 21, 2016

 

Stronglifts: "A" Routine

Back Squats: 5x5 - completed: 5@45lb, 5@55, 5@65, 5@75, 5@85

  • Next time, use 75lb as starting weight for this return to weightlifting in the gym

Bench press: 5x5 - completed: 5@45lb, 5@55, 5@65, 5@75, 5@85

  • Next time, use 75lb as starting weight for this return to weightlifting in the gym

Bent Over Rows: 5x5 - completed: 5@45lb, 5@55, 5@65, 5@75, 5@85

  • Next time, use 75lb as starting weight for this return to weightlifting in the gym

Comments

  • Good workout, glad to be back in the gym doing weightlifting

 

September 23, 2016

 

Stronglifts: "B" Routine

Front Squats: 5x5 - failed

  • Couldn’t do front squats, did goblet squats instead, 4x10@20lb kettle bell

  • Need to figure out why my form is not working for front squats but will continue with goblet squats for now

Overhead press: 5x5@45lb - completed: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

  • Good weight to start for my return to the gym

Deadlifts: 5x5 - completed: 5@45lb, 5@55, 5@65, 5@75, 5@85

  • Next time, use 75lb as starting weight for this return to weightlifting in the gym

Comments

  • Other than the front squats failure, workout was good, use these weights as starting points

  • In order to get form and routine settled, keep these weights for a couple of weeks, then consider moving up


 

September 26, 2016

 

Stronglifts: "A" Routine

Back Squats: 5x5@75lb - completed: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

  • Sort of hard, no increase in weight next time, feel it in IT bands

Bench press: 5x5@75lb - completed: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

  • Sort of hard, need to get used to weight and routine

  • Feel it in right shoulder where there is the weakness

Bent Over Rows: 5x5@75lb - completed: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

  • Ok weight, no issues

Comments

  • Need to get used to this again, it was a good idea not to move up weight on squats or bench press until I’m more comfortable

 

September 28, 2016

 

Stronglifts: "B" Routine

Front Squats: 4x10@20lb kettle - completed: 10, 10, 10, 10

  • When I’m quite low in the squat, my back is rounding at my hip, I can see it in the mirror, I stopped lowering when I saw my back rounding (butt “wink”), will look into this

  • Continue with this weight next time

Overhead press: 5x5@45lb - completed: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

  • Felt good

Deadlifts: 5x5@75lb - completed: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

  • Good workout

Comments

  • Good workout, looking forward to next one
  • Like 3

 

Challenge Logs: Current Challenge 3 2 1 Battlelog

 

Origin of Name:

FN: Julian -> Jules -> Family Jewels -> Family

LN: Rickards = Canadian brand of Beer -> Beer

Call me "FamilyBeer" (or just Jules)

Link to post

Today's workout

 

September 30, 2016

 

Stronglifts: "A" Routine

Back Squats: 5x5@75lb - completed: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

  • Nice and slow, felt good, same weight for one more round

Bench press: 5x5@75lb - completed: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

  • Nice and slow, good workout, same weight next time

Bent Over Rows: 5x5@75lb - completed: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

  • Good, same weight next time

Comments

  • I started this workout with some limited dynamic and static stretching which felt good

  • Lifting was good, same weights next time for one last time

  • Like 3

 

Challenge Logs: Current Challenge 3 2 1 Battlelog

 

Origin of Name:

FN: Julian -> Jules -> Family Jewels -> Family

LN: Rickards = Canadian brand of Beer -> Beer

Call me "FamilyBeer" (or just Jules)

Link to post

Nice one doing the stuff! :D If you're totally stumped on what's hapenning with those front squats, you can shoot some video of yourself doing them and post it here or in the form check thread for local opinion. (Or better - both!) Good luck with your challenge, will be watching along :) 

  • Like 2
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At some point, I will find a way to take a vid of me doing front squats but they are just a bonus so I'm not really being halted by them. Like I said, I'm "replacing" them with goblet squats but if you have an alternate replacement, until I am able to do them properly, please post.

  • Like 1

 

Challenge Logs: Current Challenge 3 2 1 Battlelog

 

Origin of Name:

FN: Julian -> Jules -> Family Jewels -> Family

LN: Rickards = Canadian brand of Beer -> Beer

Call me "FamilyBeer" (or just Jules)

Link to post

I quite like goblet squats too but I think front squats would enable me, at a much later stage, to go heavier than I could with goblets and I am looking for strength for the spring cycling season and next year's Bike for United Way ride (http://b4uw.ca).

 

(I used to think that they were called Goblin squats!! Why? Because you crouch like a goblin? They haven't spoken up as to whether or not we're actually crouching like them so I was never certain until I looked it up, and behold!!!  I was wrong again!!)

 

Challenge Logs: Current Challenge 3 2 1 Battlelog

 

Origin of Name:

FN: Julian -> Jules -> Family Jewels -> Family

LN: Rickards = Canadian brand of Beer -> Beer

Call me "FamilyBeer" (or just Jules)

Link to post

October 3, 2016

 

Stronglifts: "B" Routine

Goblet Squats: 4x10@20lb kettle - completed:

  • Good

  • Tried front squats with a lightweight bar and a thin mat under my heels, it worked!

  • Tried 1x5@45lb front squats with barbell and heels raised with a metal bar, worked great!

  • Will move to front squats next time, 5x5@45lb until I’m comfortable with the movement

Overhead press: 5x5@45lb - completed: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

  • Good, same weight next time for the last time

Deadlifts: 5x5@75lb - completed: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

  • Good, same weight next time for the last time

 


 

Comments

  • Fairly easy workout, good dynamic and static stretches to start, same weights one last time

  • Really, really happy with the advice that @Grymm gave me regarding raising my heels in order to do front squats, it works and I’m really happy to be able to include them in my regular workout rotation
  • Like 3

 

Challenge Logs: Current Challenge 3 2 1 Battlelog

 

Origin of Name:

FN: Julian -> Jules -> Family Jewels -> Family

LN: Rickards = Canadian brand of Beer -> Beer

Call me "FamilyBeer" (or just Jules)

Link to post

October 5, 2016

 

Stronglifts: "A" Routine

Back Squats: 5x5@75lb - completed: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

  • Nice and slow, felt good, increase by 5lb next time

Bench press: 5x5@75lb - completed: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

  • Nice and slow, good workout, increase by 5lb next time

Bent Over Rows: 5x5@75lb - completed: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

  • Not always bent over enough, using biceps to compensate, need to watch that

  • Nice and slow, good lifts, increase by 5lb next time

 


 

Comments

  • I started with some dynamic and static stretching, felt good

  • Lifting was good, time to increase weight

  • Like 1

 

Challenge Logs: Current Challenge 3 2 1 Battlelog

 

Origin of Name:

FN: Julian -> Jules -> Family Jewels -> Family

LN: Rickards = Canadian brand of Beer -> Beer

Call me "FamilyBeer" (or just Jules)

Link to post
21 minutes ago, FamilyBeer said:

 

  • Lifting was good, time to increase weight

 

YAY!!! All the weight :D 

 

ZtZ8BaM.gif

 

 

  • Like 2
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On 9/28/2016 at 2:08 PM, FamilyBeer said:

After the first day, I learned that I could not do front squats, even with a 45lb bar alone, for the reasons that I could not raise my elbows high enough and secondly, it appears that I have very tight hamstrings because, as much as I try, I lean forward as I crouch which, along with an improper hand/grip position, forces me to use arm strength to keep the bar on my collar bones (which isn't so bad with 45lb but will be a problem with heavier weights). Therefore, I've decided to do Goblet squats with kettlebell weights and am starting out with 4x10 at 20lb. I did a quick trial with a 45lb plate and I learned that I can hold on to it ok but it is a bit heavy for now. The alternative is to use a single dumbbell and those can go up to at least 100lb if I want to take it that high.

 

I don't have a "friend" at this small gym and when I go at 6am, there is only the one gym staff member in the gym and she's been at the front counter, not wandering around the gym so I don't really have someone there to do either a form check or to provide some guidance. I suppose I could just get someone to video me using my phone, likely that won't be an issue, and then I could just post or link the video in the Form Check forum.

 

Either way, until I fix my front squat form, it is out. However, if someone can suggest an alternative to goblet squats as a front-based squat, please do so.

 

On 9/28/2016 at 2:31 PM, FamilyBeer said:

After thinking about it for a bit, I realized that I wasn't quite correct in the description of my problem but your suggestion still may be spot on.

 

As I lower, and this also applies to goblet squats, at some point, I'm unable to keep a flat back and my lower back region rolls. No pain or anything, the weights are light at the moment and I don't have any significant back issues, it's just that I thought that my back should be flat and that I should stop lowering when my back rolls. It is my lower back/hip region, that is rolling, not my upper back, I'm not hunched over.

 

Yes, there is some limitation to ankle mobility: most of us cannot squat like we see the native African and Asian population do (and young kids of any origin).

 

I am not using the most flat shoes that there could possibly be but I put my stilletos away for the fall, I'm using old basketball shoes that have little cushion (unlike running shoes) but a bit of a lift at the heel.

 

I will try the plate-under-the-heel trick on Friday and let you know.

 

 

Sounds like you're already pretty on top of things :)

Going to add a few suggestions, if that's alright:

  1. Switch up your front squat grip (I see you've linked an article already
  2. It's likely not that your hamstrings are tight, but if you're shifting forward it's because you aren't keeping your elbows up and your weight is tipping. 
  3. For butt wink. Really focus on breathing, I've only recently realized how important having a stable core during the lifts are. To practice without weights, place one hand on your belly and one on your side near the base of your rib cage, thumb behind you fingers in front. Almost dig your thumb up under your ribs. Breathe in and think about pushing your thumb out, and keeping the hand on your belly in the same place. Try to breathe like that at the top of your squat.

Good luck! Welcome to the challenges :)

  • Like 3

Current Challenge

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DOMs in my legs are setting in tonight, first time since I've restarted back in the gym, and here too.

What I haven't identified here is that in addition to the gym workouts, I cycle about 14 km each day, to work and back. Today, I attacked the hills a bit and that I think it's the reason for the sore legs, combined with today's gym workout.

 

Challenge Logs: Current Challenge 3 2 1 Battlelog

 

Origin of Name:

FN: Julian -> Jules -> Family Jewels -> Family

LN: Rickards = Canadian brand of Beer -> Beer

Call me "FamilyBeer" (or just Jules)

Link to post

cycling and squatting would fry my legs... so well done...

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Meet lifts: SQ 175kg, B 112.5kg, Dead 215kg.   Gym lifts: SQ 185kg, B 132.5kg, Dead 220kg

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After last night's laziness in front of Netflix, I feel I need to add another component to this challenge, and ideally, it should be added to my "life challenge".

 

"Don't go to bed before all the chores are done!"

 

It would have taken only about 15 minutes to complete them and in the end, I had to rush this morning to complete them before I left for work.

  • Like 3

 

Challenge Logs: Current Challenge 3 2 1 Battlelog

 

Origin of Name:

FN: Julian -> Jules -> Family Jewels -> Family

LN: Rickards = Canadian brand of Beer -> Beer

Call me "FamilyBeer" (or just Jules)

Link to post
2 hours ago, FamilyBeer said:

After last night's laziness in front of Netflix, I feel I need to add another component to this challenge, and ideally, it should be added to my "life challenge".

 

"Don't go to bed before all the chores are done!"

 

It would have taken only about 15 minutes to complete them and in the end, I had to rush this morning to complete them before I left for work.

Something you will find a lot of us are struggling with.

  • Like 2

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