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 Post subject: Re: Ryan's "Starting Over Again" Log
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:09 pm 
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Stegosaurus
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Location: Waukesha, WI
Had a really rough week, put off training for a few days, then finally got to the back specialist I'd been meaning to visit for a very long time. In summary, I'm more of a wreck than originally thought.

L2, L3 and L4 vertebrae are all starting to suffer big-time. Discs between each are pancaked down to about 1/4 the desired amount, and bone spurs are starting to form. After a few minutes of talking about where things started to go wrong, it is looking like my timeline of issues goes like this -

Lower back strong as hell for years, trained beltless and could start a deadlift warm-up session with 405 lbs. and feel great (not that it was smart, just that my back felt like it was made of steel back then), never got hurt once until the day I hyperextended severely by trying to hold on to an overhead press much longer than I should have.

After that, it didn't hurt much once I rested for a few weeks, kept training around it, kept getting stronger everywhere but had stopped deadlifting for a stretch and put my focus into squatting instead. Was good for a while, but that's when I kept popping my QL when squatting heavy and would end up in agonizing pain from it for days or weeks after each injury. That's when it most likely got a lot worse.

After the recurring injuries from 3-4 years ago, I ended up unintentionally changing my posture with babying my injured spot, how I sat in a car or on a chair, how I lifted, and put additional unnecessary stresses on the vertebrae by trying to compensate and work around the injured QL. So, a handful of years of poor posture, worsening lifting technique, and sitting hunched over in poor positions has basically helped cause my lower back to turn to crap. It seems that training with a belt has helped me to work around what is normally otherwise painful, but it has only been masking the issue and hasn't prevented damage, rather, it just lets me work THROUGH the damage and is probably helping me to do more bad stuff over time.

Add in a pair of fallen arches for some really flat feet, severly messed-up ankles from too many sprains and ligament tears, and my foundation is in shambles as well as my core.

So, I go back to the specialist Monday for the full run-down on how we're going to tackle this so that I'm not broken and on pain meds in 5-10 years, like I've said here, getting healthy is priority #1. Even if I end up having to drop my weight back down to the lower 200s again and work more for general fitness this year while fixing the damage, it's better than the alternative. No idea yet where I'm going from here, but chances are I'm going to end up having to drastically change just about everything, so no time like the present to make sure I keep my diet clean, work on feeling better overall, and follow the advice of the specialist to see what we can do. He's got a great reputation for helping a LOT of people in the area go from agonizing pain to being pain-free, so we'll see how well he can do for someone who has mild pain to actually getting their ass strong again one day.

So, there might not be a lot of posting for the future until I get settled on a plan of attack, but mark my words, I WILL feel better next year after I put in the time to fix what's wrong!

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"A 'hardgainer' is merely someone who hasn't bothered to try enough different training methods to learn what is actually right for their own damned body." - anonymous


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 Post subject: Re: Ryan's "Starting Over Again" Log
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:07 pm 
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Rabbit

Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:09 pm
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Location: Chicago, IL
I feel for you, and it is never a pleasant issue dealing with your back. I wish you a fast recovery and I hope that you are able to come back really strong.

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Ryan's "Starting Over Again" Log
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:12 pm 
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Shit dude, sorry to hear all that. However it is positive that you're looking at the issue, the alternative of ignorance is definitely not the healthiest. Keeping a clean diet and focusing on a general fitness level sounds like a very sensible task.

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 Post subject: Re: Ryan's "Starting Over Again" Log
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:01 pm 
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I'm so sorry to hear :( My thoughts and prayers are with you on getting well!


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 Post subject: Re: Ryan's "Starting Over Again" Log
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:15 pm 
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VeganEssentials wrote:
there might not be a lot of posting for the future until I get settled on a plan of attack


Man, you are going to come out of all this so smart and so excited and you are going to have a completely new understanding of how it all works. I don't just mean health. I'm psyched as all hell for you, what an opportunity! Woo-HOO!

Post what you learn as you learn it, even if it's out of the gym. You'll be teaching thousands.

Baby Herc

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 Post subject: Re: Ryan's "Starting Over Again" Log
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:00 am 
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Stegosaurus
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Location: Waukesha, WI
Thanks for the kind words, everyone. I'm not pleased now that I can't bury my head in the sand about pretending I'll just be able to work through the injury, but I needed a good dose of reality!

I do my first session with the back specialist tomorrow, not sure exactly what we'll be doing (could be chiro, spinal decompression, physical therapy, massage or a combination of all of them), I'll know more soon.

Got in for some upper back/shoulder work tonight, had a good time with it -

Weighted pull-ups (narrow grip, hands about 14" apart) -
1x3 @ bodyweight
3x6 @ 45 lbs. added (total weight 290 lbs. fully clothed with added weight), reps done as singles with feet on floor and one deep breath between each one.

Standing strict overhead press w/ axle -
1x10 @ empty axle (55 lbs.)
1x3 @ 145 lbs.
5x5 @ 190
3x10 @ 150, triceps getting fried at this point (they're fine with heavy low-rep work, once the reps go up, the triceps crap out on me quickly)

New plate-loaded row machine came in last week, put it to the test -
1x12 @ 200 lbs. plus orange band (no added resistance at start, about 40 lbs. added at end of pull)
1x10 @ 230 + band
1x8 @ 250 + band
Liked it, chest support keeps my lower back from feeling bad, and it's got 4 different grips to change things up

Behind-the-neck wide grip overhead strict press -
2x15 @ 100 lbs.
Just some light sets to round out the shoulder stuff

Hammer Strength plate-loaded pulldown machine -
3x15 @ 180 lbs. plus green bands (set to add about 20 lbs. extra resistance at start, and about 70 lbs. at finish of the pulldown)

Went back to the new plate-loaded row machine once at the end for some light work -
3x25, wide grip, pulling high to work on more scapular retraction to help keep bad shoulder from cocking out more over time

That was it, nice session that ended at midnight, taking a walk tomorrow and should do some light hip belt squatting on Tuesday!

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"A 'hardgainer' is merely someone who hasn't bothered to try enough different training methods to learn what is actually right for their own damned body." - anonymous


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 Post subject: Re: Ryan's "Starting Over Again" Log
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:28 pm 
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Stegosaurus
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Location: Waukesha, WI
Taking it easy today, had my first visit to the spine specialist for therapy, definitely feels like a good fit based on how it went today.

Started with 10 minutes on the hydro massage table (basically, a table with a vinyl top you lie on, where hot water jets massage you from head to toe). After that, a few chiropractic cracks to the hip, middle back and neck. Next was 10 minutes sitting and gyrating around on the "wobble chair" to loosen up my spine for the decompression machine, which I was looking forward to trying. It didn't disappoint.

Basically, they strap you into a dual-belted system in a big-ass machine that puts your spine into traction by extending it, allowing the smashed discs to rehydrate and recover. Felt pretty good for the 25 minutes they had me in there (it goes from a full hard stretch to a light stretch over the course of each minute). Interesting feel, a bit tender afterward, but in a good way. You can see a demo of the contraption here: http://youtu.be/90qTtpFNu5Q
Wrapped up with some electro stimulation on the lower lumbars for 10 minutes, realized I'd been there nearly 2 hours (felt more like 30 minutes), and that's it. While my lower back was a little tender at first, it now feels MUCH more loose, with no pain yet any time that I've gotten up from a chair or anything else that normally lets me feel discomfort. Of course, I have a prescribed program of about 30 more sessions (for the record, this therapy is NOT low-cost, because of course, insurance won't cover the decompression machine...) so it's early in the game, but the more I read up on people's experiences, the more confident I am that a few months on a set plan to fix my back problems will get me to where I want to go.

Only changes to my training currently is that I'm to make sure that for the next 6 weeks I avoid compression exercises (no regular squatting, no deadlifting), so it's just upper body and non-compression lower body work for a bit. But, should things go as hoped, the doc said he should be able to green-light my return to light squats and deadlifts after the first phase of my rehab is done with at the end of February.

Should be doing some light leg training tomorrow!

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"A 'hardgainer' is merely someone who hasn't bothered to try enough different training methods to learn what is actually right for their own damned body." - anonymous


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 Post subject: Re: Ryan's "Starting Over Again" Log
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:40 pm 
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Stegosaurus
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Location: Waukesha, WI
Really quick upper back and overhead training on Friday -

Standing strict overhead press w/ 2" diameter axle -
1x10 @ empty axle (55 lb.)
1x5 @ 145 lbs.
1x3 @ 175
1x2 @ 195
1x1 @ 205
1x1 @ 215
1x1 @ 225, felt easier than last time I strict pressed that amount, which was good
3x5 @ 205
1x16 @ 145

Weighted pull-ups -
2x3 @ bodyweight (250 w/ 4 layers of clothing on since gym was freezing tonight)
3x6 @ 45 lbs. added

Seated row on plate-loaded row machine, wide grip handles -
3x20 @ 140 lbs. + doubled band for about 40 lbs. added resistance at end of reps

That was it, short on time but wanted to get at least a few sets in!

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"A 'hardgainer' is merely someone who hasn't bothered to try enough different training methods to learn what is actually right for their own damned body." - anonymous


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 Post subject: Re: Ryan's "Starting Over Again" Log
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:14 pm 
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Rabbit

Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:09 pm
Posts: 64
Location: Chicago, IL
Looks great, Glad that you are back to training. Good luck in all your training.


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 Post subject: Re: Ryan's "Starting Over Again" Log
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:55 pm 
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Stegosaurus
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Location: Waukesha, WI
Thanks! :) Feels good to still be able to train at least some upper body for the time being, at least it will keep me sane for a while until I can test things for the lower back again next month!

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"A 'hardgainer' is merely someone who hasn't bothered to try enough different training methods to learn what is actually right for their own damned body." - anonymous


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 Post subject: Re: Ryan's "Starting Over Again" Log
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:30 am 
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Posts: 21037
Location: Austin, TX
Hi Ryan,

Just now reading about your back issues after visiting the specialist. Sorry to hear that. Hope things improve this year and hope you get to that point of injury-free and pain-free. I had to sit out nearly all year as well. It wasn't a lot of fun, but it allowed me to get healthier and I'm back at it with full enthusiasm and growing strength.

Hope you have a speedy recovery and fix those areas in need of fixing.

All the best!

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 Post subject: Re: Ryan's "Starting Over Again" Log
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:43 pm 
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Rabbit

Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:09 pm
Posts: 64
Location: Chicago, IL
Take care of yourself, I am hoping to learn a thing or two from all that you do. I hope you have a speedy recovery.


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 Post subject: Re: Ryan's "Starting Over Again" Log
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:19 am 
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Stegosaurus
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Posts: 3071
Location: Waukesha, WI
Thanks, guys! :) The rehab is going well so far, I feel far fewer "lightning bolts" in my lower back from mis-steps and upper body workouts than normal after just one week, so here's to hoping that, as they've been telling me, 4-6 weeks into treatment most people feel pretty much pain-free. The decompression machine is pretty sweet, I have the feeling even after I get back to "normal" I may do a session once every few weeks just to keep up on not letting things backslide too much. The other good news, I should have my custom orthotic insoles coming in this week to help my feet be slightly less messed up, so we'll see how those factor in soon as well.

Leg and chest work tonight -

Barbell flat bench, medium grip -
1x5 @ 135 lbs.
1x3 @ 185
1x2 @ 225
1x1 @ 255, 2 second pause on chest
1x1 @ 275, 2 second pause on chest
Put on Slingshot
1x2 @ 300, 305, 310, 315
Took off Slingshot
1x10, 1x8 @ 225

IronMind Hip Belt squats, done with rigged setup on side-handle plate loaded deadlift machine -
1x10 @ 125
1x10 @ 175
4x10 @ 225
1x25 @ 175
Definitely a lot of adapting to a different belt squat setup, later this week I'll finally try hooking it up to an EZ bar as they recommend and see how it works. Definitely a major quad-heavy movement, really sore even after some light sets. I guess Kirk tried hooking the belt on to a regular olympic bar with 185 on it, thought to himself "This should be easy!" and couldn't squat it up from parallel. Mind you, he's something like a 550ish raw squatter @ 220 lbs. bodyweight, so that right there tells me that the belt squat setup should help keep things moving for my lower body work for a while until I'm green-lighted to start putting a bar across my back. Though, in 3 more weeks, I'll be asking if I can just start squatting a light 135 lbs. for reps again, if nothing else I'd like to try and get the feel back for the regular movement even if I have to keep things light.

Banded horizontal bench machine -
4x20 @ medium size black, purple and orange bands (feels like 120ish at start, 170ish at finish of reps)

Glute/ham raises -
1x30 @ bodyweight
3x20 w/ 15 lb. plate held in front
1x15 w/ 25 lb. plate held in front

Prowler pushes -
200 feet w/ 4 turns (every 50 feet) @ 90 lbs. on Prowler, all sprinted, no rest between turns
150 feet w/ 3 turns @ 140 lbs.
100 feet w/ 2 turns @ 190 lbs.

Pretty winded as I was alternating the Prowler sprints with the banded benching, leaving no more than 20-30 seconds between sets.

Decent enough day, will be doing some upper back and misc. stuff on Tuesday!

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"A 'hardgainer' is merely someone who hasn't bothered to try enough different training methods to learn what is actually right for their own damned body." - anonymous


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 Post subject: Re: Ryan's "Starting Over Again" Log
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:03 am 
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Location: Austin, TX
Nice work!

And glad you've got some good news on the way with your rehab!

Hope you're pain-free soon!

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 Post subject: Re: Ryan's "Starting Over Again" Log
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:14 pm 
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Stegosaurus
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Posts: 3071
Location: Waukesha, WI
Thanks, Robert! :)

Upper back and shoulder work last night, for once, the gym temp was actually above 50 degrees, which was nice as I didn't need 3 layers to train in to keep warm.

Barbell rows in rowing rack -
1x5 @ 135
1x5 @ 225
3x5 @ 275, not the prettiest, but got them done

10" diameter log press in the power rack (log on safety pins just an inch below shoulder rack position at start, roll it back to clavicles and press) -
1x10 @ empty log (75 lbs.)
1x2 @ 165 lbs.
1x2 @ 185
1x2 @ 195
1x2 @ 200, got tough as log is harder to strict press, dropped down weight for doubles done as fast as possible with 165 lbs.
30x2 @ 165, done in clusters of 3 sets w/ 30-45 seconds rest between each set, each cluster done between upper back lifts over the course of an hour. First 20 or so were pretty easy, by the last few, there wasn't much speed on those presses, started to become grinders by the last one :)

Hammer Strength plate-loaded pulldown machine -
3x10 @ 210 lbs. plus green bands (about 25 lbs. added resistance at start, about 75 lbs. at finish of pull)

Hammer Strength plate-loaded high row -
3x15 @ 350 lbs.

In between the sets as well, I worked in some odd angle shrugging to get a little more in there -

Bench shrugs (done between high row sets) -
3x20 @ 255 lbs.

Overhead log shrugs (done on last set of last 3 clusters of log pressing) -
3x20 @ 165 lbs., done after 2nd rep pressed and locked out

That was all for the night, just trying to get a feel for the log again to change things up for overhead work. Feeling pretty good, hoping to get back in for some leg work tomorrow!

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"A 'hardgainer' is merely someone who hasn't bothered to try enough different training methods to learn what is actually right for their own damned body." - anonymous


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