Feeling Frustrated

I am a little frustrated today, and my efforts to slough it off aren’t working so well.

Wednesday morning finds me at a training session. Currently on Wednesdays, I do eccentric chin-ups, landmine presses, kettle bell swings, barbell rows, some sort of triceps press (I am horrible at remembering what everything is called), more kettle bell swings, and finally, a barbell complex consisting of 5 exercises (2 sets of 8 reps each exercise). In my case the complex includes: overhead squat, push press, front squat, rows, and Romanian deadlifts.

Most of my frustration stems from the fact that my left elbow is hurting again. The elbow doesn’t really bother me when I am doing my program. Two months ago when I had elbow pain for a few weeks, I am fairly certain it was a result of overextending my elbows and things like kettle bell swings were not very comfortable to do. Today I could do the kettle bell swings without a problem; however, my elbow has been throbbing off and on since I finished my training session.

Unlike two months ago, I am not sure why I am having this pain now. I don’t think I overextended it, but who knows. Maybe I did without even realizing it. I felt faint stirrings of pain early last week, so I began doing everything I could to try to avert full-blown pain. That full-blown pain hit over the weekend, and I was not happy about it. The pain wasn’t as bad on Monday and was even less bothersome yesterday. The elbow was okay during training this morning, but now it hurts and I am stewing in my frustration. I don’t really like set-backs.

Despite my elbow and frustration, most of my training session today was excellent. The chin-ups aren’t one of my favourites, simply because I have little upper body strength. Eccentric chin-ups are a bit more fun than traditional chin-ups though, because I don’t really have to lift myself up. Instead I lower myself slowly. I have been working on lowering myself over 8 seconds, but we pushed a bit today and one rep over 12 seconds and two over 17 seconds!

The complex is tough. All five exercises are done with the bar, and there is no putting the bar down until I’ve done them all. Last week, I did the first set with the 45 pound bar and the second set with the 35 pound bar. Let me tell you that 10 pounds makes a huge difference! It’s a challenging task, but I kind of like it. It is also awkward, at least for me, because I find it a struggle to change the position of my grip while holding the bar in the rack position. I need to go from a wide grip to a shoulder-width grip between the overhead squat and the push press, which is almost as physically taxing as doing the actual presses. Push presses aren’t a favourite either, and today they were my nemesis.

During the first set, I managed five push presses then hit the wall. (I was supposed to do eight.) I tried for the sixth and couldn’t lift that bar above my chin. Regroup, gasp for breath, and try to calm shaky muscles. I tried again, lifted the bar just barely over my head and could not finish the press. Regroup again, gasp for breath, feel defeated. For the third time I tried to do that sixth rep…and failed. At that point my trainer came over, took the bar and racked it, and told me to take a break. I did, and then I picked up the bar and finished the complex, minus the last few push press reps.

My trainer is awesome! He pointed out some mistakes I was making with my technique which would make the push presses more difficult, he made sure I knew that my struggle wasn’t because I was weaker, and he reminded me of my progress with the chin-ups. I needed to hear all those things, but I still feel frustrated. I successfully completed that complex the previous two weeks, so I know I can do it. Grrr!

Well, I guess I can always whip my frustration into submission on Friday, when I end my training session with battling rope lunges!

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