Saturday, November 15, 2014

Some off-season training updates...

Over the last 5-6 years, I've been pretty fortunate when it comes to injuries. Injuries are part of the game in powerlifting. If you go into every lift worried about an injury, you will never get anywhere. But there are certain things you can to regarding training smart - to minimize them - and get back in the game quickly when they do occur.

A few years back, I strained my Quadratus Lombartum (QL muscle) in my back deadlift.. that was really painful. Put me to my knees. Learned the hard way about not letting it heal long enough too. It put me to my knees a second time, 2 weeks later deadlifting only 225lbs. I went back to the drawing board. Fixed my deadlift form, and rehabbed my back properly. Now, 3 years later, I'm much stronger in the deadlift (about 70-80lbs) and my form is 100 times better.

Last week I had the unfortunate thing of straining both my hamstring and tweaking my pec both in the same week. And the way things work out, I wasn't doing anything stupid.. I was running some sprints, and bam, I felt a sharp pain in my ham.  Being smart, I shut it down for the night and began rehab. A few days later, benching only 265lbs (which is fairly light for me, considering my raw 1RM is around 375lbs), I felt a sharp needle pain in my upper left pec during the 3rd rep. Again, I shut it down.

Kind of a bum situation, both a bad hammy and a pec in the same week huh? Well. I guess I'll get em both out of the way now. haha.

The hamstring has healed pretty fast honestly, I think it was very minor - but I'm still nursing it and working rehab.

Basically how you rehab any type of pull/strain/minor tear is to :

  • RICE it (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) right after the immediate injury
  • Once the pain, or "acute" part of the injury subsides - begin rehab. DON'T TRAIN THRU PAIN. Not this kind of pain. You are setting yourself up for re-injury.
  • Rehab- super light weights or light light bands, for high reps. What we are trying to do is get blood flowing into the muscle. Blood carries nutrients which will heal the injuries.
  • Over time, build the weights, and phase down the reps.
  • How long will it take? Depends on the injury. But usually 6-10 weeks is about right. Any faster and you are risking re-injury. 
I put together a roughly 10 week plan to rehab and train around my injuries, working on a 3 day split as follows:

Mon- Deadlift
Wed- Bench
Fri- Squat

I'll start with Squat first..
I had to get a specialty bar right away - a safety squat bar. This was key with my pec injury. I couldnt be stretching that pec out getting under a bar with that injury nagging. This is one of the best (Worst!) bars I have ever used. It gives your pec and shoulders a break by allowing you to hold the bar in front of you, but also makes the weight sit up higher, and makes the lift WAY more awkward and difficult. I started out with only 225lbs on a 12" box for sets of 5, and my outer hamstrings/quads, glutes, and abs feel more sore today, then they have in a long time. I can't even remember them feeling sore in the areas they are. I am really excited, because I think this training will actually boost my squat by building my weak points.

Full write up on the Safety Squat bar by top ranking Powerlifter Greg Panora here:

 My plan is to follow a 10 week linear progression plan, starting out with around 225lbs on the bar 3 sets of 5, and increase 10lbs each week, up to 325lbs. I am pairing that up with light Stiff Leg Deadlifts starting at 135lbs, increasing 10lbs each week, for 3 sets of 10. Each session will also be paired up with Sled pulls and band pull thrus.. everything working on keeping that posterior chain strong thru rehab, while allowing my injury to heal.

Starting out with dumbbells, in a similar linear progression. Light dumbbells. like 20lbs. 3 sets of 20. Work my way up to about 60s after 4 weeks. Then progress to a barbell at 135, and work my way up to about 205 by week 10. I'll match that up with heavy tricep work and back work, so I keep the rest of my benching support muscles strong during rehab.

My plan is to cycle between Sumo, and Conventional, throwing in Safety Squat Good-mornings.. 3-5 reps... starting around 275lbs and working back up to around 405lbs.

If all goes well, in about 10 weeks, I should be fully rehabbed.

That just so happens to put me 10 weeks out of my next meet, March 28th.. so I'll be jumping into a customized meet-prep cycle as well.. this may prove interesting since I was planning on getting into some brand new Metal Multi-ply powerlifting gear.. this may or may not happen for this meet.. depends on how well/fast it breaks in.. but thats getting ahead of myself hahaha.. lets get thru rehab. :)

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