Squats & Presses

The lower back is still cranky, very cranky and achy. It’s little things that cause the most bother and discomfort and pain. Sitting which I try to limit to the toilet and the car. Getting out of the car. Laying on my side with my knees pulled up. Bending forward to pick something up. Sitting on the floor at the gym, leaning forward to put on my socks and shoes. Getting up from the bench after pressing with heavy dumbbells. Lowering my body to the floor. At times I feel as if I am moving like an old lady, but I also think that most of the time my level of pain or discomfort isn’t even noticeable to anyone but myself. My coach notices most of the time…when I can’t quite keep it hidden. 😉 But, for all that is not easy to do right now, I am glad that there is still plenty I am able to do without too much bother. I might not be able to deadlift for a while yet, but I can still squat.

1a. squats-low bar, sleeves

45 lbs x 10  Michael had me experiment with bar position for the last several reps to see the difference in my back angle between high and low bar. There wasn’t much difference.

95 x 7, 125 x 7, 145 x 7

with belt: 155 x 7, 165 x 7, 170 x 7

total volume: 6435 pounds

Depth is still questionable. I’m not entirely certain if that is due to an actual restriction in the lower back or just a subconscious restriction to protect the lower back. Either way, it is a little frustrating. My depth isn’t super terrible…probably right about parallel, but another inch deeper would be better when it comes to competition. I’m not too worried about it yet.

Despite the depth issue, these squats were pretty good. Michael said he’s happy with them and that they are an improvement…that I’m getting my squat mojo back! The final set was virtually as fast as any of the earlier ones, and I believe my bar path was good overall.

1b. bench press-competition grip

43 lbs x 10  I think Michael noticed the expression on my face as I got up from the bench after this set. Of course, the weight was negligible; however, the lower back wasn’t too happy with arching. Michael recommended benching with my legs up, because doing so would only make my bench stronger without putting more stress on my back.

63 lbs x 7 I had my feet in the air for this set, but the lower back actually hurt more in this position than it did with the arch.

83 x 7, 100 x 7, 105 x 7, 105 x 7

total volume: 3622 pounds

The working sets were done with my feet on the bench rather than in the air. This seemed more comfortable on the back, and I managed to keep myself from using leg drive.

2a. barbell split squats-high bar position

95 lbs x 10 each, 105 x 10 each, 105 x 10 each

Split squats are a funny animal. With the left leg planted on the first set, my balance was atrocious. Same set, right leg planted was so much better. For the second set, my balance troubles switched legs. The final set was easier overall, but finishing off the final rep was torture and there was a definite pause between finishing that rep and being able to rack the bar thanks to jelly leg syndrome.

2b. chest-supported rows-keeping constant tension, using 2-16kg kettlebells

3 sets of 12

2c. flat dumbbell presses-with feet on the bench just like the barbell presses

34 lbs x 10 x 3 sets

I think these presses were okay. My biggest struggles were in getting into position on my back with the heavy dumbbells and then getting back up after. Michael has some pity on me since my back is injured, so he’d take the dumbbells from me so I could sit up. Normally I could do it on my own, even with the dumbbells, but the current state of my back makes that uncomfortable and difficult. He did offer to hand me the dumbbells once I got into position, but I’m too stubborn and managed to get into position without too much trouble.



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