Don’t Mess With the Neck

Last night was not a phenomenal sleep, but it was better than the previous night. At least I could sleep in almost any position without too much pain in my neck or back. Ibuprofen never really seemed to dull the headache, so I had a glass of wine after dinner and that seemed to take the edge off. I woke up with only a mild headache and feeling significantly better all over than I did before my chiropractic appointment yesterday. The upper back is probably feeling the best of everything. The lower back bothered me a bit off and on during training this morning, but it was still reasonably minor. My neck still doesn’t feel quite right, although I don’t know if that is an accurate assessment or if it is simply still hurting. While most of the pain was on the right side of the neck yesterday, it has moved to the left side today. Same with the headache. No Ibuprofen so far today! Of course, I don’t like taking anything and I can be stubborn, so the lack of self-medicating isn’t an accurate indicator for my level of pain; however, the pain IS less than the past two days.

As much as I didn’t like my chiropractor saying that I should use the safety bar if I was going to squat yesterday, in hindsight I will admit that was probably a wise decision. Squatting last night didn’t bother my neck at all, but I know that using a regular barbell would have. Definitely. There was a slight bit of discomfort on my neck near the end of last night’s bench sets, most likely a result of the arch in my back pushing my neck into the bench. It didn’t cause additional pain, but I did notice the pressure on the last set. Even with the improvement in how I felt this morning, my body still reminded me that it isn’t very happy yet.

1a. bench press, close grip…sets of 6

45 x 10   Not six reps, I know, but it was a warm-up and Michael didn’t say sets of 6 until after I had done this set.

65 x 6  See, I do know how to count.

The remaining sets were “touch and go” to keep the muscles under tension, which is apparently something that I don’t like to do.

85 x 8   Ooops! It’s not that I forgot how to count…I just forgot how many reps I was supposed to do.

95 x 6

95 x 7   This time it wasn’t my fault! I was all set to do only the six reps, but Michael told me to do 8 as I finished the sixth rep and I wasn’t expecting it. So, he told me to start mentally preparing myself to do 8 reps on the final set.

95 x 7+1   So I was ready to do 8 reps, but Michael also wanted me to pause the final rep on my chest…after doing all these ‘touch and go’ reps! I paused. I felt doubt, trepidation, and maybe a touch of fear. I didn’t even attempt to press that final rep. Took a few seconds to rest and regroup, then did that last rep properly.

1b. chest-supported kettlebell rows

10kg x 15, 12kg x 15, 16kg x 12 x 3 sets

2a. flat dumbbell presses, neutral grip, keeping elbows close to the body

25 lbs x 10, 29 x 10, 34 x 10, 34 x 8

These presses were odd today, and I don’t know exactly why or even how. Michael made a comment about me not really being myself with these today, and I can’t argue with that statement.

Setting myself up for these is different than setting myself up for a bench press with the barbell. With the dumbbells, I kind of flop onto my back while trying to keep my shoulder blades pinched and down as I land on the bench, because I can’t really set my shoulders the same way with dumbbells in hand. Well, I flopped back for that first set and instantly realized that was not going to be a good thing for my neck. It wasn’t too bad, but it was definitely jostled. I tried to be softer in my set up for the following sets…tried being the key word there. Aside from the set up, the first two, even three, sets felt pretty good. I didn’t even mind the jumps in weight. The first set at 34 pounds felt easy in terms of weight, although some of the reps might have been a little shaky. But that last set was something else. The dumbbells just felt super heavy as I picked them up for that final set. After I positioned myself on the bench, I had a moment where I had to convince myself to press them up and begin. There were a few reps where I had to mentally convince myself that I could do this. I was tentative and shaky, and I so should have been able to bang out 10 reps.

2b. chin ups, with small green band

x 7, x 7, x 6 and then a bandless 10 second eccentric

Provincials begin in exactly one month! I am looking forward to this next competition, as it will be my biggest one to date. It’s a little too close with my last competition in terms of what’s best for training, but it is what it is. I am also hoping to compete at Westerns in August, so my life is going to feel a little crazy for a few months, but then I will have an off-season until next year. I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t given any thought to what I might be able to do at Provincials, but I have not been thinking about it too much yet. The previous competition occupied most of my thoughts. Has it really only been a week and a half since that competition?! I had barely decompressed from that before I was dashing head-first into graduation activities for my daughter, and now I am dealing with a little neck injury. But excitement is beginning to build. Slowly but steadily. Who knows what will happen on the day, but there is the potential to break some, maybe all, of the Provincial records. Wouldn’t that be sweet!




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