Skip to main content

Becoming a powerlifter - the first bump in the road

It was all going so well.....

I was a good way into my training programme. I had just done a deload week and I was feeling pretty fancy.

I rolled up to the gym on deadlift day, ready to kick some ass. Maybe I would stick an extra 5kg on my working sets this week and see what happened. Guess what happened?



Well your guess is as good as mine because I'm not sure. But it didn't feel good. I dropped my working sets by 5kg because my core wasn't feeling very strong.

Then I had a weekend which involved a lot of sitting on a hard surface (not good for my super flexible pelvis) and the back pain started.

Dagnabbit.

Next week training went OK, but come deadlift Friday, I was feeling a little stiff. My warm up set at 70kg wasn't feeling good, in fact I felt like a ratchet was tightening my posterior chain on every rep. I went in to start my 90kg warm up set and couldn't get it off the floor.

Balls.

That was 2 weeks ago. I haven't deadlifted since. I also haven't done a lot of squatting because bracing into my lower back is uncomfortable and my glutes are really tight.

So I don't really know what I have done, but from my own assessment I believe it's a connective tissue issue. There's no joint pain, or specific muscle hot spots. The pain moves from my thoracolumbar region to my calves and is more of a wave of tightness - that says fascia. It's worse on my right which suggests I've probably tweaked it doing some kind of everyday movement, like loading the car or putting plates back on the rack, or even just sitting twisted at my desk, and aggravated it in training.

I'm doing lots of stuff to relieve it, from myofascial release, epsom salt baths, yoga, tens machine, sitting on a wheat bag all day. I'm good at that stuff, but right now I am in a position I've never been in before, because I am 6 weeks out from competition and I suddenly can't train 2 of the 3 lifts.

Which left me with a question of what to do? Do I pull out of competition, do I stop training completely to recover? Do I find a workaround?

So here is what I decided after a lot of soul searching. I am keeping my competition entry. I did consider just going along to spectate, but I'm in it for the experience, not the big numbers. If I lift a 70kg dead and a 50kg squat (which I still can do for those 3 single reps no worry) then that's what I lift, but I get to be on the platform and learn how a competition works, and that was always my main goal.

Deciding that I'm OK with not being my best at the competition gives me some breathing room in training. Squat day and deadlift day are right out. Both have been replaced with out of the groove training (working the same muscles in different ways). I can work my legs and glutes in isolation, train core without hip hinges, all kinds of things that don't need the posterior chain (back, glutes, hamstrings) to act simultaneously. Backsquats are uncomfortable, but goblet squats and single leg squats are fine. I can also work more on hip and ankle mobility. I might try some trap bar deadlifts next week *if* I can get through the first 2 workouts of the week comfortably.

It's also given me some leeway to work harder at my bench. Upper body work is not affected at all. So I have been all about bench, push ups, pull ups, rows, as well as some hypertrophy work on chest and lats. I've added 10kg to my bench. TEN! I got my new PR by accident, because I added up my plates wrong!



So it's not all bad news.

It's been quite a wobbly place for me, because as an EDS athlete, the consequences of even minor injuries can be very severe, so there's a big fear factor there. And of course the fear doesn't help when it's entirely possible that the reason my back is cranking down the mobility is a protective, neurological effect.

It's taken me a couple of weeks to come to terms with the situation. There's always an underlying worry that I've done something really stupid, or not wanting to admit that I am hurt because I am supposed to be super strong and fit and stuff. Then there's not wanting to fall behind and doing too much. But a few good chats with lifting people has helped clear my mind a bit and we are back on track. This is why coaches need coaches too!

Onwards and upwards!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Managing Fibromyalgia flares

I've written before about living with EDS and Fibromyalgia ,  much of my personal fitness and health practices are geared around managing those conditions and keeping me as well as I can be. When managing a chronic health condition, particularly one that involves fatigue and potential flare ups, pacing, good nutrition, good sleep and generally taking care of yourself is always the first priority. Ideally we want to have as few flares as possible. But sometimes they still happen, and when they do, it's good to have a strategy in place. And I'm going to be talking in fairly general terms, because while EDS and Fibro are my personal experience, there is so little understanding of the mechanisms behind these conditions, that most strategies are going to be applicable to a number of conditions where crashes of exhaustion and pain are a feature. So what is a flare? A flare is a period where someone with chronic illness suffers increased symptoms for a short while. The

What's the deal with yoga and hypermobility?

I wanted to address a question today that keeps coming up on various hypermobility and EDS forums that I frequent. It comes up so often in fact that I feel like I have to write this all up in one place, to save me 1000s of key strokes of individual responses and distil some of my opinions and thought processes on the matter. It always goes like this. Someone asks a question like "I've just been diagnosed with hypermobility, I've been told I can't do yoga anymore..." The responses are always a mixture of "yes, my doctor/physio told me yoga was the worst thing I could do for my hypermobility" and "I do yoga and it's been the best thing for my hypermobility". So what gives? Well, I'm firmly in the "yoga is useful" camp, and I have to disclose that. I'm a yoga practitioner of around 20 years and a perinatal yoga teacher , as well as a personal trainer and bendy person. While I have the deepest respect for the medic

Step away from the scale. Why weigh ins and weight loss don't match.

I have a persistant bugbear when it comes to health coaching, and it's this issue of "weight". People are often talking about "losing weight", the number on the scale becomes a focus. "If only I could just get under 65kg" they say. Or worse I see advertised "buy this supplement and you can lose 20kg in a fortnight". I've found myself frequently sitting with a weight-focussed client and asking "if you were 2 dress sizes smaller, fit and toned, but you weighed the same as you do now, could you be happy with that?" You might be surprised how challenging a question that can be. For many people, particularly those who have struggled with weight loss, that number is the absolute key. They can wake up, feeling energised and full of life, slip into those jeans that used to live hopefully in the bottom of the drawer, check themselves in the mirror and love what they see... then they step on the scales, see the number is half a kilo

Is being polite sabotaging your weight loss?

I've been thinking a lot lately about the barriers that make it hard for people to stick to healthy habits, or even take them up in the first place. My personal training clients are a lovely bunch, and one thing I can certainly say is that none of them have come to me completely uninformed about healthy eating. Most people have done some homework before they get to the point of hiring me, and while I always go over the basics (never assume anything) I know that when I tell them stuff like this, it's not new information to them: Eat less to lose weight Eat protein with every meal Eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day Consume high sugar and fat treats rarely and in moderate portions Drink water with every meal or snack Exercise regularly That's not rocket science, so why are so many people still struggling with it? Is it because "the rules" are more complicated? Are they missing the "weird trick" (spoiler alert, there are no weird tricks

Running with wolves

When I started trying to reverse my post-baby weight gain , I spent several months, probably a year or so really floundering. I was exercising, hard. I didn't feel like I was overeating, but I wasn't losing weight. In fact sometimes I was gaining more and I couldn't figure out why. Often I get personal training clients coming to me with the same problem. They eat wholesome foods with few treats, they exercise hard several times a week, but there's no weight loss. The answer to this problem is a staple for a PT or nutrition coach. It's about activity levels. If I sit on the sofa all day, I burn through just under 2000 calories. If I do a 30 minute HIIT workout, I burn about 200 more. But if I spend my day doing housework, walking to town to do errands and generally being on my feet, I burn 3000 calories or more. It's not the workouts, it's the activity or NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis if you feel fancy). So how do you keep up your NEAT or