How hard should I be pushing?
Quick background on my sitch:
35. Male, 5'10" 197lbs . Lost 50 pounds last year through diet, cycling, and running.
I've just finished the 6th week of starting strength, and it's getting tough. I was eating at a deficit, then at a 500 calorie deficit just on non-lift days, and since I failed my 220 lb squats today, I'll be doing the proverbial program and eating more.
I would just like to know if my experiences are comparable to others:
1. My bar speed on my last 3 sessions of squats was abysmal, to where I'd have to breathe out about halfway up to get past my sticking point.
2. I have to wait with the bar on my back in my last set for my breathing and pulse to be manageable.
3. I am dizzy and can barely walk afterwards.
4. Sometimes I have acute shooting pains in my muscles that feel just shy of strains, only when I'm lifting heavy. They don't stick around the next day.
5. The most extreme of 4. was a minor QL strain during my squats (I believe it was the last set of 185) that I worked through. I thought I was going to not be able to squat again anymore (ever), but I stretched out my hamstrings and it was manageable by the next session.
6. I have some kind of 'elbow', I think 'tennis', that robbed all of my strength during my last bench, making me unable to push. I've been working through it, but I'm worried that it's not healing, and I've had to drop my presses down 10-15 pounds to be able to move the bar at all. I get wrist pain from twisting my right wrist in either direction, and the forearm is tender.
7. That elbow problem started after I really went to failure on my chinups one day, and hung onto the bar until my grip failed.
8. My last set of deadlifts- 1x5x275- made me feel like someone had shaved a good 15% off my CNS when I dropped the last, painfully slow rep.
Do these things sound normal? The formal problem that led to the wrist injury aside, am I at risk of something like a stroke or heart attack from trying too hard? I try really hard. When I fail, I fail.
Also, should I still be pressing with the wrist issue?
Thanks, and Hi!
I love the program, It's changed my life. In six weeks, my weight stayed the same and I lost 3 inches from my waist. Now I have glute muscles!
The purpose of a caloric deficit is that your body is forced to burn up its own tissue to continue to keep you alive. Once the truly excess fat is burned up, the body starts burning muscle, too. Which is obviously going to make getting stronger impossible.
So you have two options.
Which you choose is up to you.
- continue to starve, reduce your lifts to a maintenance level (whatever you can lift without drama and fainting) and get smaller, or
- eat more, weight loss will slow or stop, but you can then get stronger
Your elbow issue I'm willing to bet has to do with your squatting grip. This site has a video about it, watch it.
Yes, I'm going to eat more.
I never felt the problem in my wrist while squatting, but I did watch that video today and have made sure my wrist is straight, my upper back is tight, and the meat of my thumb is in the proper position. I hope that's the issue. Should I still be pressing?
And this 'drama' to which you allude, that's not normal?
It's normal that at some point it gets fucking hard. Otherwise everyone's squat would be limited only by however many plates there are in your gym. You reach a limit, but it's not like it's piss-easy the whole time until you hit that limit, and then at that limit you simply can't move the weight at all. As you approach the limit your form gets rougher and it just all feels awful, a grind, and if anything else in your life is less than perfect - food, rest, stress at work, whatever - that's when you'll be missing reps.
Where that limit is for you depends on your training history, your rest, diet, stress in life, sheer bloodyminded determination, etc - but everyone does have a limit.
"Dramas" are of many kinds. Shortness of breath, tunnel vision, odd pains here and there not connected to any particular injury, fear of the next set, etc. All that's normal, happens to everyone. As well, if your body has any previous injuries or asymmetries, any issues waiting to pop up in later years - they'll pop up now, because you're putting a maximal stress on your system. This is why the book has all that talk of deloading and coming back to the weight later.
Thanks, that's reassuring.
Originally Posted by stuck
Thanks for the input. Gonna eat, try the same weights on monday.
I agree with Kyle Aaron, it does start to get tough. As long as you eat enough, rest and recuperate enough and don't get injured you can still add more weight to the bar on your following sessions. Keep at it, good luck!
Last edited by b17vic; 05-26-2012 at 10:12 AM.
Reason: Spelling mistake
I have a feeling the elbow was a problem from my squat grip. After correcting it yesterday (and eating enough), the pain is 10% of what it was yesterday.
Just wanted to report back and say that my sore forearm was DEFINITELY a problem from my squat grip. It's gone now. Thanks for that!