Continuing On


I think my brain is still in the process of gathering up the pieces, but I have to believe that I will get there eventually. Even if my heart and my brain aren’t there yet, I am too stubborn to stop trying.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” ~ Winston Churchill

1a. bottoms up kettlebell presses

10kg x 10 each, 10kg x 8 each

It’s highly satisfying to hit little PRs in the gym considering, or despite, the limitations I’ve been experiencing for the past couple of months.

2a. split squats-with safety bar and flat shoes

75 lbs x 12 each, 95 x 8 each, 115 x 7 each, 125 x 8 each, 125 x 8 each

2b. floor presses-moderate grip, no legs

45 lbs x 10

I didn’t have to do that many reps for the first set, but I had to fiddle with my leg positioning in order to find what would be the least bothersome to my back. Michael didn’t want any arching, but having my feet in the air and bracing is too painful on the back. Although I’ve been find with my knees bent and feet flat on the floor, today wasn’t super comfortable. What actually felt the best was to have my left leg bent and my right leg out straight on the floor. There was still a small arch in order to have some sort of good shoulder positioning, but I think it was small enough to not be a bother.

65 x 8, 90 x 8, 105 x 8, 105 x 6

I think these were all reasonably solid reps with decent speed.

3a. glute ham raises

x 10 just bodyweight

10kg kettlebell x 10

3b. single arm kb press while kneeling on a bench

10kg x 10 each x 2 sets

These felt a little tough, especially as each set wore on. I’m also not convinced the back liked these a whole lot, but it wasn’t too bad.

3c. single arm kettlebell row

16kg x 12 each x 2 sets

While the weight wasn’t overly challenging and I could have gone up on the second set, I think the better decision was to stay at the same weight rather than risk aggravating the back. There wasn’t significant pain during these, yet I could feel a bit of pressure in the back.

3d. ab wheel x 0

Despite having no troubles using the ab wheel earlier in this injured season, I just couldn’t do it this morning. I started to roll out but didn’t get too far.

hanging knee raises x 12, x 0

These were generally okay, except for the last rep. I’m not sure what I did…maybe lifted my knees too high or too fast or flexed my back a bit…I don’t know, but that last rep hurt. A fair bit. Tried for a second set and the very first attempted rep hurt, so I just hung out until my grip began to fail.

And just like that I had a decent training session, maybe one of the better ones I’ve had in the last week or two. Still so far from where I want to be, but focusing on what I can do is more productive than moping over what I can’t do.


Goblet Squats

Since it is Wednesday I walked into the gym expecting military presses to be on my agenda, but my coach surprised me by saying that we weren’t going to do them today…if I was okay with that. The military press. while I will do them when required, is not my favourite lift and I did not mind doing something else this morning at all!


bottoms up kettlebell presses 8kg x 8 each, 10kg x 9 each

Since overhead pressing tends to be an area of struggle for me, I am pleased as punch whenever I manage to have strong feeling sets. Michael only asked for sets of 8, but I pushed for an extra rep on the final set in order to set a PR. Of course, I only pushed because I felt confident in my ability to complete the extra rep.

hip thrusts with hip circle 2 sets of 20

1a. floor press-competition grip

45 lbs x 10, 65 x 8, 90 x 7, 105 x 7, 105 x 7, 105 x 4

1b. goblet squats-flat shoes

12kg kettlebell x 8, 44 lb dumbbell x 8, 64 lbs x 8, 84 x 8, 105 lb dumbbell x 3, 95 x 0, 84 x 10, 84 x 6

For the most part, these goblet squats felt really good. Michael intervened after the third rep at 105 pounds, recognizing that the upper back wasn’t going to hold for another. We dropped the weight a bit. Since my back is still an issue, Michael helped me by lifting the heavy dumbbells, so I could just be in position and take the dumbbell from him rather than running the risk of hurting my back trying to pick it up from the floor. He’d given me the 95 pound dumbbell and I held it but decided against attempting a squat, because I could feel more strain on my lower back than I had felt during the previous sets. This was likely due to the fact that the 105 and 95 pound sets were with regular plates on handles which meant a larger dumbbell that protruded further away from my body and required a bit more bend in the lower back. We dropped the weight and the first set was no problem. The final set started out easy enough, but the upper back was done.

2a. chest supported rows

45 lbs x 20, 70 x 3…the low back was feeling a bit pressured

2-16kg kettlebells x 12, x 4…this time the upper back was just done

2b. cable triceps pull-downs: reverse grip + overhand grip

30 lbs x 15 + 10, x 10 + 7

From the very beginning when I was doing the hip thrusts, I had the urge to take a picture of a section of the wall in the gym. My coach has a ribbon of words spanning the length of one wall, and my gaze was drawn to a handful of words over and over again. Ironically, as I am typing now roughly 11 hours later, I cannot recall the exact words that caught my eye. The first set of hip thrusts started out most uncomfortably on the low back, and I focused on the words. It bothers me that I can’t remember the words now. In my defense, there are many words and I have gazed upon them all many a time. I shall have to look at them again tomorrow…and maybe snap a picture. The back is determined to shove splinters of doubt into my confidence, so I need all the positive input I can get.

Big S, Little S, What Begins With S

The right shoulder has not been happy all weekend. It’s not super bad…just enough to be uncomfortable in certain positions, like overhead at various angles. It simply does not feel right, and that makes me unhappy and frustrated as it impacts my day-to-day life in big and small ways. The actual level of pain may be on the lower end of the scale, but even minor pain can be demoralizing.

As much as I don’t always admit every little ache and pain to my coach, I think I am smart enough to be honest when there is an issue that should be acknowledged. Michael gives me a hard time when I am not forthcoming about discomfort in a body part, but I think there is a difference between some minor discomforts and actual signals of pain, overuse and injury. That’s why I didn’t mention the right hip this morning until it made my final set of squats feel a little tougher; however, I did admit to the shoulder being sore all weekend. Michael then asked if I wanted to skip the overhead squats today, and I agreed. I really didn’t want to skip them, but sometimes you just need to be smart with what you do!

1. bottoms up kettlebell presses (in lieu of the overhead squats)

8kg x 10 each side

10kg x 4 each side while balancing on a bosu…just for fun

2a. front squats

45 lbs x 8, 95 x 8, 125 x 6, 145 x 8

The last set was a bit of a challenge. It felt like the bar was slipping off of my left shoulder, and I was likely also having trouble maintaining tightness in my upper back.

high bar squats

125 lbs x 8, 145 x 8, 165 x 8

It is always an odd feeling to do back squats right after front squats, and I feel as if I struggle more with pitching forward even at relatively easy weights like these. It also feels like my depth is super low. As I mentioned earlier, the last set here was a bit tough due to some discomfort in my right hip, both at the front and back/bottom. Nothing major…just annoyance.

2b. military press

45 lbs x 8, 55 x 8, 60 x 7, 60 x 5 + 1 push press

Although it really only matters to me, the weights recorded likely aren’t 100% accurate. I’m not sure which bar I was using for these today, so I don’t know if the bar weighed 43, 45 or 47 pounds. I’m going with 45 pounds, but it was probably the 43 pounder.

My third set was one rep better than the same weight last week, and that was the only reason why I even attempted that seventh rep. For the final set, Michael told me to do 5 strict reps, then as many push presses as I could manage. Obviously I didn’t get very many! He expressed some surprise at that. It’s disappointing and frustrating for me, but the right shoulder was burning something fierce.

incline bench press

60 lbs x 8, 65 x 8, 25 lb dumbbells x 9

Michael had me do the final set with dumbbells instead of the bar, thinking that would be easier on my shoulder. It was…the shoulder just felt weak and fatigued. The first set of incline actually felt the worst on the shoulder. The second set still presented with a sense of discomfort, even though it wasn’t as bad.

competition bench press

75 lbs x 10, 105 lbs x 8 or 9? using the slingshot

I wasn’t sure that Michael would let me do the regular bench portion of my ramp set, but he did. It didn’t feel quite as uncomfortable as the incline, but he still switched things up for the next set. He upped the weight and had me use the slingshot, since the shoulder seemed bothered more at the bottom range and the slingshot would help most off the chest. That set wasn’t horrible, but I wouldn’t say it was fantastic. The right elbow never did fully lock out on the final rep, and I can’t remember if it was 8 or 9 reps.

2a. TRX rows

2 easy sets of 12

2b. push ups

Michael had to step out before I did the push ups, so he has no idea how pathetic they were. He said I could do real push ups, and then use the slingshot. Ha ha! Oh that shoulder had other ideas! I got myself into position to begin. I began to lower myself to the point that the tip of my nose was touching the floor. My brain sent signals out to my arms to push my body back up, and that right shoulder said, “Not gonna happen!” So I collapsed on the floor. Does that even count as half a rep? A frustrated word escaped my lips. Push ups are not something I excel at, but I am completely capable of banging out at least 10 reps. <sigh> Michael wasn’t in the gym. I could have quit there, but I didn’t. Not quite. I put on the slingshot and did 10 reps that felt utterly ugly, but at least the shoulder held up. And held me up!

In my training journal, I let my frustration show:

right shoulder sucks! skipped overhead squats. burned on military. wimped out on push press. cried on incline bench. annoyed at bottom of competition bench. failed on pushups.