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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!

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