Saturday 11 February 2012

What I learned from a disappointing sixth installment in an awesomely primal franchise.

Well, I thought I would make a blogging and weightlifting comeback; if I enjoy writing it, I will stick with the blog. Weightlifting: always! My last few months of blogging was a chore though, so I am glad I stopped.

For the last three months I have not been able to squat or do the classical lifts. This was immensely frustrating, but like all things in life, reflection leads to learning. So, in this comeback post, I will give a brief rendition of where I am now and what I have been doing since September. Here is the soundtrack to listen to while you read this post:

On Monday, I had my first proper weightlifting training session in three months. I loved being able to do the classical lifts again and it kicks several shades of fecal matter out of regular strength and conditioning work. Today's post shall be about what I was doing from July up to mid November.

When I came back from California Strength in the end of June ( you read the posts below and also watch the amazing interviews ), the back problem I had continued to get worse and I modified my lifting so that I could continue. In August, I found out that I had a labral tear in my right hip and an osteophyte in my right hip and a smaller one in my left hip also. This is where a bony growth forms to protect the damaged joint and is essentially osteo-arthiritis. This worsening condition was obviously causing havoc on the right hand side of my body and led to me getting a lower back injury that I could not shake from April to mid February. My old rugby shoulder injury prevented me pressing at all and my right ankle had also taken a beating and had a debilitating wear and tear injury. To put it bluntly, I was a shambles.

I finally understood why every time I trained hard, my hips and back would get stiffer and tighter so that I could not really train at all. My hip function was basically non existant in my lifting and I could never fathom how to get them to extend properly. When I worked on my flexibility, it never improved and my hips seemed to get more painful. With the results of the scan it finally dawned on me what was happening and it was more a blessing than a curse. Ignorance was most certainly not bliss in this case. I did not understand why I was not improving. Now I do.

In order to help my back injury recover and to protect my hip from getting worse, I changed how I trained. Instead of lifting from the floor, I lifted off either two thick plates or blocks that went between my shin and the bottom of my knee. I got a load of work done on my back, shoulder ( an old rugby injury that would not go away) and my hip. So, I trained from the low blocks from mid July to the end of September and I got stronger in these positions. I also started doing more pulling exercises and did some push presses also for general strength. I still couldn't press in the bottom range and all the work I had done on it did not seem to help my back or my shoulder at all. I also started squatting to a bench and when I started, I was really weak in these positions. In the beginning, I struggled with 180 and then two months later I hit 200 for a triple. Weak, yes, less weak then before. I was also still able to Front Squat and I hit 167kg which was a 2kg pb. Embarrassing, yes, but I got stronger in most things while my injuries continued to worsen.

Eventually, I got to the stage where I had to stop pulling off any kind because my back was quite inflamed and it hurt lifting with the bar. In the next post I will take you on my journey from November to mid February. I will address the things that I have learned of course, and over the next few weeks, I will write up a post about the biggest things I have learned since my lifting debacle that has been my last 9 months. But, this is a happy post because I know I will be a better lifter because of all this!

Power Snatch from blocks, then above knee and then below knee with 100kg:

Power Clean with 120 from block, then above knee, below knee and followed by Jerk:

Bench Squat single with 210kg:

This is a complete cliche of a speech, but cliches can be awesome. This is the message of my post and it shall be explained soon.


Anonymous said...

Keep moving forward Barry, love it! Over and out Biatch no. 2 :)

Anonymous said...

I have really missed your blogs. Glad you are back again. Best wishes.

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