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Back in the gym like nothing happened (almost!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


I’m on top of the world this morning! With the exception of one exercise, I was able to do yesterday’s chest/triceps workout (here’s the actual workout) exactly as planned. Of course I was not content to just perform the workout; I needed to make it a great one, and I did.

My back was hurting a little, especially when loading plates and picking up dumbbells. Every time I needed to pick up a dumbbell or plate I focused on stabilizing my “core” before I even put my hands on it. I need to make sure I do this from now on, even once my back is feeling 100%. I suspect that when I picked up the two 50-pound dumbbells on Friday (when I injured my back), that I did so without any attempt to stabilize my body because the dumbbells were “light”. Well, the dumbbells may have been fairly light, but they were obviously heavy enough to cause injury. Lesson learned.

OK, so about the actual workout. I started off with barbell bench press, and I added 5 pounds to last week’s effort. I experienced essentially no back pain whatsoever, even when I arched my back before lifting off. I was able to do more reps than last week using the heavier weight, so next week I’ll add more weight. This was exactly the start to the workout that I needed: I felt awesome!

I was concerned that I would not be able to do the triple drop set incline dumbbell presses – especially the starting lift – because kicking the very heavy dumbbells into place while getting into lifting position puts a fair amount of stress on the back. I solved that problem by using my Dumbbell Power Hooks for the initial (heaviest) lift, and then I kicked the other dumbbells into place for each drop with no problem. This worked out perfectly. I was able to do more reps than last week on each drop, and so next week I will be adding more weight.

As expected, the dumbbell flyes/chest dips supersets did not pose any sort of problem for my back. I added 5 pounds (per dumbbell) to my flyes and did more reps than last week, and I was able to do more reps than last week on the supersetted bodyweight “burnout” chest dips. Next week I’ll add more weight to the flyes.

The first tricep exercise was standing ez-bar french curls. I didn’t think I’d be able to clean and press the bar without hurting my back, and even if I could get the bar into position I figured the stress on my back while performing the lift would be too much. I decided to try anyway, and it turned out that my fears were unfounded. Very little back pain. I did more reps than last week using more weight (+5 pounds) than last week, so next week more weight!

The tricep pressdown triple drop sets were not a problem at all. I added 5 pounds to each drop, and did the same or more reps than last week.

The final part of my workout required a little modification. The workout called for standing dumbbell extensions supersetted with body weight “burnout” bench dips. When I picked up the heavy dumbbell for the standing DB extensions, I sort of knew that it was going to be a problem hoisting it over my head. As most of you know, when getting a heavy dumbbell into position for standing DB extensions there is a lot of force placed on the back as you counter the inertia that is generated while getting the DB overhead. I started to do it, and my back screamed, “Oh no you don’t!” I didn’t press my luck. I modified the workout by doing bench dips with plates on my lap, and after reaching failure I removed the plates and did body weight bench dips until failure.

After my workout my back was aching a bit more than normal, so I iced it down real good. This morning my back feels like it’s improved over yesterday, so I obviously didn’t do it any harm by working out. Whew.

I have today off from lifting, so I’ll be continuing my ice/Aleve treatment and resting. Tomorrow is back/bicep day, and that’s going definitely require some changes. Unfortunately I will not be able to clean or deadlift. I’ll figure something out. 🙂

I can’t even describe how good it felt to be able to lift yesterday (but I’ll try anyway): have you ever almost fallen from a height, but caught yourself just in time? Or maybe been driving and looked up and saw a car stopped in front of you and hit your brakes just in time to avoid a collision? That’s kinda how I feel, like I just avoided disaster. I can practically taste the relief.

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