Starting Round 2 of Week 3 and Back Tweak

back pain
Photo credit: stomachview.info

Ouch! I was hoping this sort of thing was behind me, but I guess it isn’t.

My lower back is often a tiny bit sore, typically from squats and deadlifts, but it’s not debilitating sore. Just the typical DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) you’d expect from working out with weights. Nothing out of the ordinary. I don’t even ice or heat my back or take any sort of pain relief.

This morning at the gym, I felt pretty confident with my squats. There’s always that moment when I start lifting my working weight off the pegs when I’m testing my balance, but once I start the squat, I’m fine. A little soreness in the lower back, but again, nothing out of the ordinary.

Then came the deadlifts, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Here’s what I did today. No bonus sets or increasing the weights beyond the plan. Roughly 120 second rest periods between sets.

Barbell Back Squats in Squat Rack

5x 150lbs/68.03kg
5x 165lbs/74.84kg
5x 195lbs/88.45kg
5x 195lbs/88.45kg

Barbell Close Grip Bench Press

5x 100lbs/45.35kg
5x 120lbs/54.43kg
5x 135lbs/61.23kg
5x 135lbs/61.23kg

Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift

5x 165lbs/74.84kg
5x 190lbs/86.18kg
5x 220lbs/99.79kg
5x 220lbs/99.79kg

overhead press
Photo credit: buffdudes.us/

Overhead Barbell Press

5x 60lbs/27.21kg
5x 65lbs/29.48kg
5x 70lbs/31.75kg
5x 70lbs/31.75kg

Standing Barbell Curl

8x 60lbs/27.21kg
6x 70lbs/31.75kg
5x 80lbs/36.28kg
5x 80lbs/36.28kg

Body Weight Upon Awakening:

190.1 lbs/ ~86.22 kg/ ~13.57 stone

Height (for reference):

6′ 2 3/4″ or 74.75 inches/1.89865 meters or 189.865 cm

Like I said, the squats went OK. This being the start of week 3, the weights go up to more challenging levels as the number of reps decrease. Although the really “big guys” at any gym would think what I do is pretty pathetic, I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got…

…and as I’m about to relate, sometimes that’s not good enough.

Close grip presses went pretty well. The 100 pound warm up was a snap and 135 pounds for my working set may have been about 5 pounds too light. I felt like I could have done a bit more.

But I was still feeling a little groggy from getting up early so I figured I wouldn’t push it.

I didn’t think I was pushing it. Not until the deadlifts.

straight leg deadlift
Photo credit: Bodybuilding.com

The 2 warm up sets went OK, but I think it was pulling 220 pounds off of the floor that tweaked the lower right area of my back. I knew something happened, but powered through the first set anyway. I even made it through the second set and completed all 5 reps, but it may have been too much.

I decided to do my overhead presses at the weight bench rather than going over to the squat rack, which meant loading up the barbell and setting it on the floor. Bending over to pick it up was definitely an “ouch” moment. A 70 pound working weight was “doable” but for that last rep for each working set, I had to kick into overdrive.

For my curls, I could have used the fixed weight barbells, but there was a fellow doing crossover cable flies and he was leaning so far into the pull, that he was hovering right over the rack where those barbells are kept.

I decided to stay where I was and keep using the variable weight barbell. To save myself from bending over, after each set, I put the barbell back on the rack, even when I didn’t need to add weight plates.

Just as for the overhead presses, the working weight for my curls seemed set about right, since that last rep of the last set was a real “groaner.”

And that was it. No bonus sets. No extras. No hanging exercises. It was just a minute before 6 a.m. when I finished and with my back feeling none too well, I called it a day. My victory was hitting my goals and the fact that my waking bodyweight didn’t go up overnight (didn’t go down, either).

Naturally, bending is a problem, such as getting into and out of my car.

I didn’t want to reveal my “tweak” to my long-suffering wife, since she’s been periodically pestering me about overdoing it. She did notice that I was moving more slowly, but I told her I was just tired. I don’t think she entirely bought it, but she had to go to work while I hit the shower.

socks
Photo credit: webmd.com

Little things like putting on socks and shoes are a struggle and I hope this resolves quickly.

I took a hot water bottle to work so I could use it to ice my back (oddly named thing given that I put cold stuff in it instead of hot). I just discovered that the lid wasn’t on tight and when the ice melted, it poured water on the floor under my desk. Good thing it all landed on the plastic mat instead of the carpet. All I needed was a bunch of paper towels to wipe it up.

But getting on the floor and getting up again wasn’t comfortable. Neither is sitting down and standing up, and I have to walk more slowly to baby my back.

I even broke down and took a couple of ibuprofen in the hopes that it would dull the pain and make me more maneuverable.

Just for fun, let’s take a look at week 3 for the previous circuit:

Barbell Back Squat in Squat Rack 4×5

5x 145lbs/65.77kg
5x 165lbs/74.84kg
5x 185lbs/83.91kg
5x 185lbs/83.91kg

Barbell Close Grip Bench Press 4×5

5x 100lbs/45.35kg
5x 105lbs/47.62kg
5x 120lbs/54.43kg
5x 120lbs/54.43kg

bent leg deadlifts
Photo credit: pixgood.com

Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift 4×5

5x 165lbs/74.84kg
5x 175lbs/79.37kg
5x 205lbs/92.98kg
5x 205lbs/92.98kg

Barbell Overhead Press in Squat Rack 4×5

5x 50lbs/22.67kg
5x 55lbs/24.94kg
5x 65lbs/29.48kg
5x 65lbs/29.48kg

Barbell Standing Curls 4×5 plus 2 bonus sets

5x 60lbs/27.21kg
5x 65lbs/29.48kg
5x 75lbs/34.01kg
5x 75lbs/34.01kg
6x 75lbs/34.01kg (bonus)
6x 75lbs/34.01kg (bonus)

Barbell Back Squat in Squat Rack (bonus sets for practicing form)

6x 135lbs/61.23kg (parallel)
6x 135lbs/61.23kg (parallel)
6x 135lbs/61.23kg (parallel or below parallel)

Overhand Grip Body Hang w/Shoulders Engaged (bodyweight)

x30 seconds

Dead Hang (bodyweight)

x15 seconds

hacking sleep
Image credit: rifemagazine.co.uk

That’s a 10 pound increase in back squats for 5 reps, 15 pound increase for close grip presses, 15 pound increase for deadlifts, and 5 pound increases for both my overhead press and for curls.

Not bad. Of course, I tossed in a bunch of bonus sets and it was a Wednesday, so I only did Workout B one time that week. This time around, I’ll face deadlifts again on Friday.

Now I have to rehabilitate my back and see how I’m going to pull off Workout A for Wednesday.

But before that, my next challenge comes tonight when I start evening one of my sleep hack plan. Wish me luck. I could use the “Zzzzzzs”.

Live your life and forget your age.

Norman Vincent Peale

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6 thoughts on “Starting Round 2 of Week 3 and Back Tweak

  1. I know how you are feeling right about now. Been there and done that too many times, sometimes from lifting weights other times straining at work. Being a mechanic can be hard on the body. I am sending a link to an article you may find interesting. And I have read that a good protocal for using ibuprofen is to take 800 mg 4x a day for up to days. My shoulder began hurting a few weeks ago benching . I rested a week then the next WO I couldn’t even finish my warm ups.i went to an ART practioner it helped some, but the next time I worked out on the bench same thing. I a have taken ibuproferm since last Friday and the pain is gone. I hope you get well soon. I enjoy reading your blog.
    http://startingstrength.com/articles/misinflammation_sullivan.pdf

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  2. @Lyftapajobbet: Thanks, but right at the moment I don’t feel like I’m doing good.

    @Jerry: Thanks for the advice and the link. Interesting article. I don’t like taking even OTC pain meds anymore than I have to. I just took my second dose of ibuprofen a few minutes ago and I hope it does something. Have an ice pack on the affected area right now. The cold helps some, that is, until I have to get up out of my chair.

    If this doesn’t resolve rather quickly, I may not lift any more this week and just start week 3 over again next Monday. We’ll see.

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  3. You know by now I can’t resist giving advice😄 . . . so . . .

    If you have not already, consider doing your DL as the FIRST movement (after warmup) I think doing them after squats is asking for trouble.

    I had been slowing the progressions and increasing the days off on DL recently. Then I tore an ab muscle, so Ima off all compound movements for a minimum of two weeks.

    For me, it’s pretty easy to get sucked into the progressions that other people on-line claim to make. But they are usually younger than I and they don’t follow up with injury reports.😉😝

    My unsolicited advice . . . take some time off. Myself, I have gone back to some isolation work, which requires WAY less core tightness.

    Well wishes, Man!👊

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    1. Normally, I’d be all over your suggestion, but the problem is that there’s only one squat rack at my gym. If I start using it right when I get to the gym at five, it’s all mine, but I’ve noticed that later on in the hour, other people use it, so if I do Deadlifts first, I might miss my window of opportunity to do squats.

      I’ve only got between 5 and 6 to do my entire workout. After that, I’ve got to shoot back home and get ready for work. Currently, I’m giving both my sons a ride into town most mornings so they can go to work/school, so my schedule is not flexible.

      I appreciate your advice, but sadly, the practicalities of life must intervene.

      Cheers.

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      1. Just DL in the squat rack😉 I hear this happens almost as often as curling in the rack at the gym😇

        Oh, BTW . . . The hardest advice to follow but the surest success. . . Video EVERY rep. Whatever weight you fail to be able to maintain lumbar extension, deload to the prior weight. Retest monthly.

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