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Thread: Laser Focus

  1. #91
    sadly, life is a marathon shesprints's Avatar
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    Haha I had the same thought about deadlifts being a 'pull' and was totally counting them as such. I could do more rowing and single-arm rowing--the ratio you suggest is easy to remember so I'll stick to that! I do try to do a 'pull' directly BEFORE a 'push' so that I kind of get the muscles warmed up, scapula flexible, etc.

    It's not exactly a zing-y pain. It's sort of a burn, like a thin line of fire running along the spine and shoulder/arm. It makes me want to press on that place deep and hard but I can't reach. The dude who gave me a massage this week said I have knots just under my shoulderblade, if that helps...
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    Originally Posted by shesprints View Post
    The dude who gave me a massage this week said I have knots just under my shoulderblade, if that helps...


    Could try laying on a golf ball. That won't hit subscap (that's pretty much impossible to hit on your own other than that stretch above), but you can hit infraspinatus, teres minor, and your traps with it.

    Balance horizontal pressing with horizontal rowing (chest supported row, BOR, Yates row, landmine row, Meadows row, single arm DB row, single arm BB row, Kroc row, etc..don't care, but something heavy). Balance vertical pressing with vertical rowing (pull-up, lat pull-down). I'd avoid isolation front delt work altogether since that gets his hard on pretty much every pressing exercise. You can keep isolation rear delt work though (rear delt fly, face pull, etc).
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  3. #93
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    Originally Posted by shesprints View Post
    Haha I had the same thought about deadlifts being a 'pull' and was totally counting them as such. I could do more rowing and single-arm rowing--the ratio you suggest is easy to remember so I'll stick to that! I do try to do a 'pull' directly BEFORE a 'push' so that I kind of get the muscles warmed up, scapula flexible, etc.
    I always do the pushing before the pulling. So the bench press, triceps dip, OHP etc. always come first. You could alternate them as well because doing that allows you to lift slightly more weight. Also, I wouldn't count the deadlift as a pull or a push; it's a full body movement.

    Use a Lacrosse ball to hit the upper back. Even a golf ball might work as V02 suggested.
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    sadly, life is a marathon shesprints's Avatar
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    @Lucifer, I do often use a lacrosse ball--I have one constantly rolling around my floor, occasionally getting lost amongst my piles of books!

    @V02, I found one of those sticks at the gym and did that stretch today. I think it helped.

    I also did a bunch of pulling today, just being mindful of all of this. Shoulder and whole left side are just never quite 'right' feeling. Not sure how to fix having a whole weaker side that gets knotted up.

    I also feel pretty sick and tired. Coughing, kind of logy, sniffles. Blah. Took yesterday off (had to work 7:30 am to 7:30pm anyway!) and took today very easy, basically considering this a deload week.

    rowing--20 min, 4470 m (only 20 min cardio today!)

    usual warmup, pulse squats, etc.

    pause squats wide stance:
    bar x 12
    65lb x 10
    95lb x 8 x 5

    rack pulls:
    155lb x 8 x 5

    single-arm bent over row:
    27.5lb x 10 x 4 each side

    ass't chinups:
    40lb x 4 x 5

    pushups:
    5 x 5 w/ :30 rest

    and that's it
    blech I feel kind of sick to my stomach still and weak and awful. No like.
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    sadly, life is a marathon shesprints's Avatar
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    Feeling slightly better today after a very easy swim.


    2200 yards

    3 x 100
    4 x 75 kick/drill/swim
    4 x 50 slow/fast
    4 x 25 fast kick, slow arms

    4 x
    4 x 25 dolphin kick underwater, then ez, on :40
    2 x 50 ez on on 1:00
    100 on 2:00 fast (in 1:27, 1:26, 1:27, 1:27)



    The good news is, work is going great (and somewhat running me ragged). Two old clients have gotten in touch, so I have LOTS coming up and am able to pay my rent and, idk, maybe pay for some accupuncture/massage that I desperately need. Now the question is when I have TIME to get said massage. It's like the more money I make the less time I have to spend it. Paradox! But a good paradox.

    I'm also having tremendous fun writing fanfiction with a French character. I get an excuse to use my French! (For those who care: it's the French sidekick of Captain America in WW II. Fun times). I'm also teaching a few French students right now, so the language has seriously come back to me. Next I need to polish my Italian. Been too long.
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  6. #96
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    I have two gift cards to get a massages that I got at Christmas, haven't used them yet. I feel you on the time crunch.
    *Trying to stay sane and get back to avi status.
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    I keep meaning to reply to your PM but putting it off since I actually need time without getting interrupted to get thoughts together. So sorry about that, I will reply!

    How do wide stance squats feel? I've tried to get used to them many times since they should help the long femur issue, but just can't do it.

    Who's Captain America's French sidekick? Is this an actual comic character or someone you created?
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    sadly, life is a marathon shesprints's Avatar
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    @phoenix, sounds like you could use those for sure with all the stress you're under. Maybe now that you're only doing 2 x per week workouts, do that on a day when you get done working earlier? or a lighter work day?

    @V02, OH it's okay, take your time... I'm just really anxious that you hated what you read! But even criticism is welcome, really. Like I said, I'm rewriting the thing. The second half is sort of a different arc, it's learning how to function as an athlete and a person when not controlled by someone else. Does it require more or less discipline? As someone who's had fraught relationships with coaches myself, I find that kind of interesting to explore.

    TBH wide stance squats feel good only about half the time. I don't think it'll ever be my strongest position, but it seems to be easier to do pause squats that way. Maybe because they're more stable. But I feel stronger in close stance, by far, even though I go down to the same depth. I guess I'll have to experiment, but I tend to favor close stance because it feels like it has more carryover to running.

    French sidekick is Jacques Dernier--I didn't make him up! I just write a lot of fanfic about the WW II-era Cap, so I sort of did a ton of research into Howling Commandos. It's where I put all of my WW II knowledge. (I've read 15 books on the era, at least, in the past year).
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  9. #99
    RE1GN in Blood VO2Maxima's Avatar
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    No no didn't hate what I read at all, I just want to actually sit down and put together coherent thoughts lol.

    Good article that touches on squat width: https://www.t-nation.com/training/6-truths-about-squats
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    sadly, life is a marathon shesprints's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by VO2Maxima View Post
    No no didn't hate what I read at all, I just want to actually sit down and put together coherent thoughts lol.

    Good article that touches on squat width: https://www.t-nation.com/training/6-truths-about-squats
    WHEW I shouldn't be so relieved, but I am!

    It's funny, re: that article... I need to ponder my bar placement. I've been doing low bar and I do feel like when I 'slip' and the bar sets up too high, it contributes to my upper back and shoulder issues.

    As for the 'squat test', IDK, it seems like either VERY WIDE or VERY NARROW stances are equally good, but my butt winks somewhere in the middle, which is odd. Who knows? I do have some neato MRIS of my hips to peruse whenever I desire, from all the times I broke my femoral neck bone. But I'm not sure how enlightening I'd find that.

    Why is such a seemingly simple movement so complicated? I guess you could say the same about running. But I never overthought my running form that much, and generally the way I got better form was by running faster (i.e. sprinting) because... if my form wasn't right I wasn't gonna go as fast. Likewise, I feel like just trying to get stronger de facto irons out kinks in the squat.
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    Yeah I never overthought my running stride or footstrike like some people did. It always seemed like worrying about footstrike was the realm of the slow (with the exception of a couple fast athletes who apparently wanted to roll the dice with injury i.e. Ritz).

    I'm not sure you'll see anything enlightening as far as ideal squat stance on MRIs. Interesting stuff in general, perhaps, but if you can figure out anything about squat stance, you're better than most.

    I'd say just experiment with it and see what feels natural and where you're strong.
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    sadly, life is a marathon shesprints's Avatar
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    @V02, would that I were not always on spread with you! But yeah, you're right. I was joking about the MRI, really. It is neat that I have so many images of my hip, though. I mean, given the three stress fractures, I've had more magnetic resonance in my body than most people have.

    Today I felt GREAT. I think it's because it's the weekend, so I chose to use my free pass on eating some sugar to put some maple syrup (a whole 30g!) on my sprouted grain pumpkin pancakes this morning. 72g carbs right before workout + not too much fiber = I felt STRONG. I have also been stretching and rolling my shoulders and back and all seems loosened up, especially after yesterday's swim.


    So today I did:


    run--3 miles, with 3 x 2:00 at 6:58 pace and 1 x 1:00 at 6:58 pace (just to get a total of 1 mile really), the rest easy, 25:15 total
    7:00 pace isn't feeling too uncomfortable but my throat is still gunked up so I didn't push
    also did 5:00 on the elliptical to loosen up and cool down from this before lifting


    Lifting... tried to hit my weaknesses today (triceps and rotator cuffs)
    also felt unexpectedly good squatting? 135 felt pretty darn light and I'll probably aim for 5 x 5 next week at that weight; stayed with 4 x 4 this week just because I didn't want to compromise form at all

    20 x pulse squats, wide stance pulse squats, split squats, glute bridge, single-leg glute bridge

    squats:
    bar x 10
    65lb x 10
    95lb x 8
    115lb x 6
    135lb x 4 x 4

    deadlifts:
    135lb x 8
    155lb x 6 x 4
    175lb x 4 x 2

    face pulls:
    35lb x 10 x 4

    lat pushdown:
    40lb x 10 x 4

    parallel bar w/ straight arm leg raise:
    bw x 10 x 4

    ass't chinups:
    30lb x 2 x 5

    rear delt flye:
    5lb x 10 x 4

    lying triceps extension w/ db:
    15lb x 10 x 3 each side (to failure)
    12lb x 10 x 2 each side

    alternating bicep curls:
    17.5lb x 10 x 4 each arm


    What's cool is I didn't feel like I totally ran out of gas, got dizzy and lost muscle tension, etc., as has been happening lately. I credit the carbs.

    (ETA: I think I did an accidental carb refeed today? My macros were 283C/113P/43F)
    Last edited by shesprints; 04-09-2016 at 05:48 PM.
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    sadly, life is a marathon shesprints's Avatar
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    Dude. I feel so good from carbs. Decent focus and good energy in the gym and no crashes and cravings for chewing gum--oddly, craving gum is a sign that I'm too low on carbs because it's the thing I'll 'allow' myself even if I can't have, ya know, food.

    Ran today, went to work and didn't eat lunch 'til later, usually would feel awful, felt fine today.


    Easy run--3.45 miles, 30:00 (so 8:41 overall pace, though I started super-slow, like 10:00/mile)
    threw in 3 x striders, aka 20 seconds at under a 6:00 pace, toward the end


    It's funny how I always feel more invigorated if I throw in some striders or sprints in an easy run than if I just did the easy run. Gets me more range of motion in my legs, I think, and recruits more muscle fibers, but doesn't tire me out.

    Now I'm going to eat a Snickers ice cream bar. 180 cal per thing, that ain't bad. My weekend of sugar-is-allowed has been great. Back to the dessert-free workweek ahead of me with no qualms or leftover cravings.
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    Carbs are wonderful lol. Mmm glycogen stores being refilled. Wonder if your past as a runner has somehow taught your body to be good at nutrient partitioning, not sure how that works.

    I don't think I can ever say sprints invigorated me or felt good hahaha. They were always hard.
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    Originally Posted by VO2Maxima View Post
    Carbs are wonderful lol. Mmm glycogen stores being refilled. Wonder if your past as a runner has somehow taught your body to be good at nutrient partitioning, not sure how that works.

    I don't think I can ever say sprints invigorated me or felt good hahaha. They were always hard.

    I don't know how it works either, but I do think that my body is better at anaerobic-glycolitic efforts--hard bursts. Hence the 400-800m distances I was best at as a runner. So I tend to burn a lot of carbohydrate when I exercise, as opposed to fat. Actually someone in the swimming pool with me noted that today, she was liike, 'you either go really fast or really slow!' and I pondered this and said that it probably had to do with my old sport (running). We'd typically do hard sprints or slooow recovery jogs... not much in between. So I don't know if it's my body that's good at partitioning or just my exercise habits.



    Anyway, I swam today. Strokes are getting easier as my muscles get stronger! I have improved at breaststroke and also butterfly--those are such full-body efforts and the improved core strength helpss so incredibly much. I was the first one in the lane at practice today for those strokes, whereas I used to be barely able to do them.


    Swim--2200 yards

    5 x 100 on :55
    5 x 100 IM on 2:15

    3 x
    5 x 25 alternating fly and breast
    125 free

    150 fast
    150 pull
    150 easy c/d


    Tomorrow I lift. I needed this swim day to rejuvenate... something about being in the pool, buoyant, just makes my whole body feel like it gets to recover, even if I am putting forth effort.
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    Originally Posted by shesprints View Post
    I don't know how it works either, but I do think that my body is better at anaerobic-glycolitic efforts
    So you're set for lifting then, it's already perfect for your body type. All you need to do now is train that phosphogen system and get you into powerlifting...whoops, did I say that aloud?
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    LOL V02, I don't know if powerlifting is ideal for someone like me. I'd get injured, I'm basically 100% sure of that--it's such an extreme sport, lifting as heavy as possible like that! I'm happy getting strong, but right now I just want to look good and move well. Not even do any sort of physique competition, just look good in daily life. And, ya know, run decently fast.

    On that note, I did some almost-sprints today... 30 seconds at 5:00 pace flat, x 5. Used to be able to do that, uh, all in a row, minus the rest. Ah well.

    Run--20 minutes, 2.35 miles, mostly easy jogging but with 5 x :30 @ 5:00 pace

    Lifting--high rep day, feeling too drained for heavy stuff

    usual warmup

    squats:
    bar x 10
    65lb x 10
    95lb x 10 x 4

    snatch grip deadlifts:
    135lb x 8 x 5

    lat pulldowns:
    70lb x 10 x 4

    seated row:
    55lb x 10 x 4

    dumbbell OHP:
    17.5lb x 15
    20lb x 10
    22.5lb x 8
    25lb x 8

    cable crunch:
    50lb x 15 x 4



    I went over my calorie goal by.... 5-15 yesterday? Haha gonna assume that 1815 vs. <1800 is not too bad, but it's because I was just sooo drained-feeling--been running around with work and whatnot as well as these workouts and the swims and running, which both push me pretty hard; my cardio is not easy and never will be. I genuinely detest LISS and basically refuse to do it, I only like stuff that's at least slightly interval-based. I get super bored. Even at my most competitive as a runner you had to basically cattle-prod me to get me to do those long easy runs and even then I would do stuff like throw in intervals or fast finish or gradually speed up or whatnot. Then again, there are schools of thought that doing long runs fast, for an 800m runner, is indeed the right thing to do. For a miler less so maybe. But IDK. I just know that it feels like my FORM slips when I run super slow unless I do pickups. Dunno why, muscle recruitment? Meh.

    Is it bad that I find all 'pull' movements SUPER FREAKING BORING? Like, why are we supposed to do more pulling than pushing when all the most fun things are pushing? Benching is so much more fun than rowing or pulldowns. Maybe if I could do pullups, I'd be happier. But that feels insurmountable to me. I don't even know why It's not like I'm not strongish in general, and I'm not overweight. Why are pullups so hard? Sigh.
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    I love working my back. Heavy low rep pulls though, dislike anything over 6 reps.

    Do more heavy pulling and those pull-ups will come.
    *Trying to stay sane and get back to avi status.
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    I go through phases of what I like and don't like. Have definitely been through periods where I hate pull day. Just like there's times when I hate squat day, or hate bench day, or hate deadlift day. And then I'll go through another period where I like those days. It all just depends on where I am in my training and what's going well and what's not.

    1815 vs 1800 isn't a big deal. Especially when you consider that there's so much variation that your tracking is wrong anyway. *gasp!* Like no matter how perfectly you weigh and track your chicken, there'll be variations in the amount of protein and fat and calories in the exact same muscle in different chicken. And even with something as homogeneous as a protein bar, there'll be slight variations in macros from batch to batch, and then slight variations in mass even though they're all supposed to be the same size, etc. So it's all just an estimate anyway.

    I wouldn't really call powerlifting an extreme sport. I mean yeah people can get injured, but I'd wager that the injury rate is lower than that of running. Or at least that's my guess based on what I've seen so far.
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    @phoenix, I feel you on hating high reps. I'm doing them right now, though, because I feel like 'greasing the groove' is important... I tend to get hurt by jumping too quickly to higher weights than I can handle.

    @V02, maybe you're right--I don't know! Or maybe I just don't have as much of a powerlifting culture around me as you do. But I also think that I should try to focus more on improving my mind-muscle connection and form right now than absolute weight. Which I guess doesn't preclude training to get stronger.

    Apparently I'm losing weight (slowly but steadily). Still have a layer of fat over my abs. And over everything--I store fat 100% evenly over my body, which is annoying 'cause I can never see progress but good because I don't look disproportionate, I suppose. I'm also feeling realllly wiped out, like I just want to curl up and sleep all the time when I'm not working or working out. Blah.


    Tried taking it easier today on both deadlift weight and cardio--no running. My back and shoulders are killing me even after a rest day yesterday, and I think the impact can't be great, so I did rower fairly easy and then elliptical to warm up.


    15 min row (3355 m)
    15 min elliptical

    usual warmup

    hip thrust with shoulders on bench:
    90lb x 10
    110lb x 10 x 4

    front squats:
    bar x 10
    65lb x 8
    95lb x 6 x 4
    115lb x 2 x 3

    bent-over barbell rows:
    90lb x 10 x 4

    ass't pullups:
    70lb x 8
    60lb x 6 x 3
    50lb x 3

    deadlifts:
    135lb x 8 x 5

    pushups x 5 x 5



    I sort of supersetted some of the pullups and rows with some of the front squats and did the same with the deadlifts and pushups. Made the workout faster. Man, my upper body is weak. My ribcage is really narrow, so I want to grow my lats and back to make up for it.

    Currently feeling pretty droopy. Blah. Hopefully today and tomorrow will help me recover for a busy work weekend.
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    Are you trying to lose weight? Unintended weight loss + fatigue always throws up the red flags in my mind...
    On the other hand, if you are actively trying to lose weight, fatigue might just be part of the poverty calorie cutting feels.

    90lb BOR isn't bad at all. We all want a wider back, and we all want a stronger upper body, but that's seriously not a bad weight...definitely not worth thinking that your upper body is weak.
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    I am trying to lose weight, which on ~1800 cal/day I am doing. (I think my maintenance is closer to 2000-2100). So that's probably why I'm tired... but I think I get more tired than a normal person. Oddly, at my last check, my thyroid was great, even slightly toward the LOW end (TSH)--enough that I slightly lowered my dosage of thyroxine. I have another checkup for that in a couple months. It could also be the Paxil I take, though that has not changed lately. Or it could be that my workouts are too long sometimes for a cut. I could drop my rest times, but then I'd have to drop the weights.

    I'm happy to hear that's not a poverty row weight. The hardest thing for me is keeping my shoulders down and elbows back. I even looped a band around them behind my back for a set to make sure that I was activating midback and not traps or shrugging the weight up.
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    Don't shorten the rest times...use what feels right (when you feel recovered enough to give as close to the same effort as the last set...generally shorter for isolation work and longer for compound). I wouldn't even time it. There was a study done that seemed to show rest periods are way less important than people think...can't remember what it was called, but I think it was discussed on the Barbell1 podcast if you're interested.

    If you're having trouble not cheating on BOR, you could try doing a chest supported T-bar row (which is what I'm doing every time I type "machine row" in my log). I feel it way better than BOR, though maybe that's just me. One of these:

    Or a seal row if your gym has one, which looks awesome but I haven't seen the right equipment to rig it up at any gym I've been at yet:


    Oh! Check this out: https://www.t-nation.com/training/8-...ing-variations
    I really like Meadows rows too. I did them once this week, before that it's been a while since I cut out isolation work, but they're great.
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    Ooh, this all looks really interesting. I'm going to try ssome of these at the gym tomorrow.


    Today I just swam. I slept a TON yesterday and just... don't feel great. I'm going to do a mini-carbload tomorrow and see if that helps. I do feel better post-swim, it's like the movement kind of resets my stomach or something.


    Swim--2200 yards

    18 x 50 (3 on 1:00, 2 on :55, 1 on :50, x 3)
    150 ez

    3 x
    4 x 25 (fly, fly kick, fly drill, fly)
    100 free ez

    200 in 3:20
    3 x 50 ez
    4 x 25 sprint (18s each)

    100 c/d ez


    I swam some of the fly 25s in 21s each. Pretty good for me. Whew.

    I'm watching the new season of the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Instead of writing. But it's funny.
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    No idea what Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is, but I'm pretty sure you're purposely watching everything else but the DC shows just to make me sad lol.
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    Originally Posted by VO2Maxima View Post
    No idea what Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is, but I'm pretty sure you're purposely watching everything else but the DC shows just to make me sad lol.
    Okay, you'll be happy to note I DID finish the ENTIRE first season of The Flash. It's a lot lighter-and-fluffier than the Marvel shows, but it's cute if you embrace the cheesiness. So funny how the DCEU movies are SUPER dark but the TV shows are light, whereas Marvel has (imho) a better mix (TV shows grading into TOO dark).
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    Originally Posted by shesprints View Post
    Okay, you'll be happy to note I DID finish the ENTIRE first season of The Flash. It's a lot lighter-and-fluffier than the Marvel shows, but it's cute if you embrace the cheesiness. So funny how the DCEU movies are SUPER dark but the TV shows are light, whereas Marvel has (imho) a better mix (TV shows grading into TOO dark).
    Arrow > Flash. Even though I've been complaining about Arrow dropping the ball last episode. It's still significantly lighter than Jessica Jones and Daredevil (which make A Clockwork Orange look like a comedy lol), but it's not quite as cheesy as Flash.
    But yeah I do think it's funny that the DCEU movies and TV shows are on the complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Especially since fans were complaining about them having a different actor for Barry Allen...well of course, if Grant Gustin played his character the same way, he'd be completely out of place in the movie universe. I mean yeah, Flash brought some comic relief in the comics (that was the worst choice of words ever), but he still had some pretty serious roles (e.g. Crisis on Infinite Earths), and he has to at least fit in with the other characters. And having someone like Cisco in the movies would be so out of place it wouldn't even make sense.
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    New journal in the women's forum and you're lifting for strength!! Too awesome. I'm sorry to hear you had to make that type of decision about running, but it looks like maybe short runs, less often will be fine? And, you're still swimming. I still miss that (but haven't been ).

    I'm committing to logging (for a short time at least) and saying hello.
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    Okay, V02, you win, Arrow goes next on my to-watch list. :P

    TINA! It is so good to see you! How've you been? I must stop by your log! But today I am quite busy so I'll be back later.

    Before I go, stopping by to input my latest workout. Today was a good day. I also got a MASSAGE. SO NEEDED OMFG. SO NEEDED. This guy is really, really good, really worked on everything. My shoulder and back almost feel okay?? I must do this again. And it wasn't even prohibitively expensive. Will do on the reg.


    Workout...

    Run--3 miles, 26:00
    easy run with:
    3:00, 2:00, 1:00 at 6:58 pace
    1:00 at 6:00 pace (it is funny, it feels easier to run at 6:00 than 7:00ish? Why?? I mean, not for long distances, but for a minute, way easier)

    lifting--
    usual warmup

    squats:
    bar x 10
    65lb x 10
    95lb x 8
    115lb x 7
    135lb x 5 x 5 (rep PR!) and didn't even feel that hard tbh

    deadlifts:
    135lb x 10
    155lb x 8 x 2
    175lb x 5, 3, 3, 3

    rotator cuff side movements:
    10lb x 20 x 4

    face pulls:
    30lb x 10-12 x 4

    flat bench:
    bar x 15
    65lb x 12
    75lb x 8
    85lb x 4 x 3
    95lb x 1
    100lb x 1

    lying single-arm tricep press:
    12lb x 12 x 4 each arm

    ass't chinup:
    20lb x 1 x 3 (first one my feet came off, so was really unassisted)

    What up. Off to visit friends. Had a nice date last night. Online dating is going okay, am pleased. Being more social = good. Apparently people think I'm pretty cool. Well, I have gotten some comments on my constant puns. But I got to attempt to make Marvel fans out of a few dudes, so that's good. ( :P Becki).
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    6:00 pace...now that's something I haven't seen for a while lol. Out of me, I've seen fast paces in here lol.

    Easy 5x5 @ 135, eh? Very nice. Remind me if you squat low bar or high bar? I can never remember this stuff.

    Also cool on the unassisted chin up that was apparently fast enough to go up faster than the foot piece.
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