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

But how can you be an athlete when you are sick?

Training through chronic illness - living life on the edge.
I'm living a double life.

My superhero persona goes to the gym and lifts enormous weights. She's vital and has her life together. Endless to-do lists in a bullet journal, juggling work and kids and being an athlete and performer with theatrical effortlessness.

Then there's the secret side people don't see, where I lie on the sofa in my flare day leggings and fleece, clutching a cup of tea for the slight relief the warmth affords my stiff, clawed hands.

I know I'm not the only one. I know a lot of athletes living with chronic illness. Outwardly fitter and busier than the average person, inwardly wracked with pain and fatigue.

There are two ways people tend to interpret this. Either we are not as sick as we claim, or we are stupidly putting our health at risk doing sport that seems counter-intuitive to our well being. The reality is a lot more complicated. I wanted to formulate a decent answer to "why …

I'm an intelligent grown-up, so why can't I eat like one?

Nutrition is complicated.
The rules change all the time. One minute we are told a food is bad, the next it's good. It's like scientists can't make their minds up!

Fat does't make you fat. Sugar is toxic. Undereating puts you in starvation mode. But you can "hack" your metabolism with this one weird trick.....

Of course all of this is false, or at least such a gross reduction of the truth that it is open to extreme misinterpretation. Put it out in plain sight and it becomes very clear that it doesn't hold water. So why are we believing this? Why are people telling us this, and most importantly; why as educated, intelligent adults who are perfectly capable of identifying a healthy plate of food, are we still struggling to consistently eat well?

The rules of healthy eating.
Healthy eating is not at all complicated. It's actually so obscenely simple that when I spell it out you're going to go "well tell me something I didn't know" and r…

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 medical professio…

Your quick and easy guide to eating healthy from a restaurant menu

Ok, so last time I totally saved your lunch box, and now I'm here to save your lunch out.

Eating out is fun. It's a classic example of how food is so much more than fuel for our bodies - and that is one of the reasons why making dietary changes can be hard. It's not just about what you put in your face, it's also about your culture, the people you hang with, your habits and your emotional or sensory connections with food.



Eating in restaurants can be fraught with difficulty for people trying to adjust their eating patterns. You might have established preferences on the menu, you can't control the portion size or the ingredients in your dishes. You might feel pressured to drink alcohol and studies suggest that people actually eat more when eating in company.

This is why many people on strict weight loss diets, or athletes prepping for competition often choose to sacrifice social eating for their final goals. But you might not have that option if your job involves so…

We need to talk about talking about our bodies.

Up until a couple of years ago, I always had "saddlebags". For those not in the know, this delightful term doesn't indicate that I was some kind of human pack mule (that's parenthood) but that due to hormones and genetics and all that guff, I stored fat on a certain point on the outside of my thighs.

I'm going to call it trochantic adipose tissue. I'm not sure if anyone else does, but what's the point of an Anatomy degree if I can't use fancy anatomy words to make up names for body parts by describing them?

I always had this, at a size 10 or a size 16, it was just how my body was. But I knew I wasn't supposed to have it, because that's a bit that is consipiciously absent from most images of women in the media. And also it has a colloquial name. Not a particularly offensive one, but not a flattering one either. Not a term that one would associate with beautiful women with amazing bodies.

Anyhow. They are gone now. I'm a chunky size UK12 but…