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  1. #11
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    • phoenix arizona seminar date
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    OK, so that was not so good. On Tuesday night, after my first rowing session, my lower back -- right side lumbar area -- was a little tight, sensitive. Nothing seemed wrong, just a bit "off." I was able to train Wednesday; after the first set of squat warm-ups, whatever "tightness" I still felt was eased out.

    Last night's rowing was a bit more aggressive, but still not bad. I felt that tightness return afterwards, but figured it would be worked out by this afternoon.

    Well, I got into my squat warm-ups, and then on to my first working set, and the lumbar area just was not having it. I managed the first set, was concerned that I didn't really get low enough, but willing to try to get lower in the second set. After a sufficiently long inter-set rest, I got back under the bar, and my body was simply not willing to un-rack it. Rather than cheat myself through a bad set, I elected to call this a "strike" and to set the weight to stay here for the next session coming up on Monday. A long weekend to rest the back may just be what I need to recover.

    I went on with the remainder of the programmed session:

    5/24

    Squat -- 5 x 1 at 260; as noted above, poor range of motion and did not attempt the next set. Re-do this weight at the next session.

    Bench Press -- 5 x 3 at 165; laying on the bench, I could still feel the lumbar twinging, but made a solid position and completed all 3 sets with good form, full range, and no issues. Continue LP at Plus-2.

    Deadlift -- 5 x 1 at 245; a solid form based on keeping the torso tight with the breath-hold technique kept the lumbar area from being an issue with this; very solid performance. Continue LP at Plus-10.

    So, that's where we are today. I've another rowing session tomorrow (Saturday) early morning, but will have all day and all Sunday to recuperate/recover. Monday's holiday means I can train any time rather than waiting until after work, so I will plan on a lunch-time session. That ought to be plenty of time to figure out what is going on in the back and make sure I am able to complete the exercises. If not, I am concerned that I'm doing something very wrong in that rowing thing, and may need to add in more recovery time. This rowing camp will end on 6/1 anyway.
    Last edited by Bruce Ware; 06-17-2019 at 08:21 AM. Reason: convert report to Rip's rep x set format

  2. #12
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    Weekly status report:

    Every Sunday, I weigh-in and check my measurements. I use the calipers to do the Jackson-Pollack 7-point skin-fold ("pinch") test. Being a complete nerd, I plot everything on a statistical process behavior chart and use 6-sigma data exploration methodologies to see how I'm doing.

    5/26:

    Weight -- spot 186.0; long-term average 186.7
    LBM -- spot 166.4; long-term average 167.4
    Fat -- spot 19.6 (based on BF% estimator of 10.55%); long-term average 19.3, for a BF% of about 10.3%

    Over the course of the week, I've averaged about 2464 calories intake, comprised of 137 grams of protein, 276 grams of carbs, and 90 grams of fat per day.

    I've been working to increase my daily protein uptake, doing pretty well -- last week's average was only 110 grams per day, so I've made some progress and will keep pushing to get more in. Total calories feels about right, so I'll probably trade off some of my fat intake to make that goal.

    --

    Yesterday's rowing session was great. I worked out a seat trade with one of the other rowers, so I could move some of the stress I've been experiencing off my right-side lower back by pulling an oar on the other side -- try to even things up, I guess. Seems like my body position was much more stable, and we rowed in crew drills for about 6 miles over the course of the 1.5 hours actually in the boat. May have also been that my rowing technique is improving and I'm not sitting so poorly. My back is not spasm-ing today; it just feels "comfortably tight", like a muscle group should feel after a good workout. Looking forward to getting back under the bar tomorrow to get my squats back on track.

  3. #13
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    5/27 Training session:

    Squat -- skipped after completing all warm-ups; the right side lumbar spasms triggered again just as I was finishing the last warm-up rep at 225#. They all felt good, but when I re-racked the bar after that last rep and stepped back, all of a sudden the lower back seized up. I elected not to do the exercise at working weight to allow a full recovery, and I'll be re-setting back to 225 for the working weight at next session.

    Press -- 5 x 3 at 80; trying to press overhead with this lower back cramp was uncomfortable enough that I did not want to risk missing my target weight reps, so I backed off to 80# and managed solid form strict presses. Will continue to LP from here.

    Deadlift -- 5 x 1 at 255. It is odd that this exercise does not appear to be affected by the lower back cramping issue; my form is very solid, breath-hold keeps everything tight throughout the entire movement. I'll be continuing LP at Plus-5 next session.

    Rowing session 5/28 evening.
    Last edited by Bruce Ware; 06-17-2019 at 08:22 AM. Reason: convert to Rip's rep x set report format

  4. #14
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    5/28 - Rowing camp, fourth session of six planned. Many different rowing drills, and our crew's first time with all 8 of us rowing at the same time. My lumbar area feels fine, no noticeable effect rowing on the port side (left side of body doing most of the rotation work). I guess those first two days with my right side doing the work were just bad posture and action, because since I switched seats with the guy behind me, I've been good. Right lower - from just under the last rib to the hip - is still feeling tight, but at least it's not seizing up and spasms. We'll see how the somewhat lighter squat effort goes this afternoon after work when I get back under the bar.

  5. #15
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    5/29 -- Smart call to re-set the squat weight and allow my lower back to get back into normal function. I was able to hit all my reps on the working weight sets, and no spasms or loss of power, and with good range of motion/depth. Resuming linear progression on that exercise.

    Squat -- 5 x 3 at 230; plus 5 next time.

    Bench -- 5 x 3 at 167; plus 2 next time.

    Deadlift - 5 x 1 at 260; plus 5 next time.

    As the Bench and Deadlift exercises have not had any "glitches", I can report that after 3 complete weeks, metrics are:

    Bench -- average per session weight increase -- 3 pounds; today's session felt like the third set was a bit rushed and I missed touching chest on the last rep -- maybe getting close to reducing the progression to +1, but l'll hang with +2 for this next one.
    Deadlift -- average per session weight increase -- 17 pounds; solid form and tempo; normal grip on all warm-ups, but using wraps to assist grip on working weight.
    Last edited by Bruce Ware; 06-17-2019 at 08:23 AM. Reason: convert to Rip's rep x set report format

  6. #16
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    5/30 -- Rowing class #5. This was the last novice camp class before our "graduation" regatta on Saturday. After a bit of a late start to allow local thunderstorms to clear, we got the boat in the water and got our drill assignments. In the roughly 90 minute session on the water, I think that each rower managed to get about 65 to 70 minutes of rowing. We had drills that involved pair-wise technique refinements, then rowing by fours, then by sixes, and finally by eights. Some drills involved sustained rowing for 15 minute stretches, and the rotation within the drill allowed for 4 to 5 minute breaks. Pace during drills went from agonizingly slow (10 SPM) to moderately fast (26), most of which where at full power.

    It seems to me that my previous strength training and recent entry into the Starting Strength program has helped me develop the strength and conditioning to be successful at this novice level. I was tired after the session, but felt little to nothing in terms of pains or aches; nor did I feel that I was out of breath or drained. We will see how well my next lifting session goes in the afternoon of 5/31 (workout B).

    While this little 2-week camp was designed to introduce people to rowing, they also are interested in building up their club membership. I believe my wife is inclining toward signing us up for the summer, which would mean the abandonment of our Latin dancing classes (conflicting schedules). I am okay with that, although I have come to really enjoy the dancing. My concern is that my wife might be committing herself to a physical activity for which is not strong enough or conditioned enough to perform without undue stress. She just will not do barbell strength training with me.

  7. #17
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    5/31

    Squat -- 5 x 3 at 235; solid, plus 5 next session.

    Press -- 5 x 3 at 82; solid, plus 2 next session.

    Deadlift -- 5 x 1 at 265; solid, plus 5 next session.

    Appears that the lower back issues I'd been having are easing, as I felt very little tightness in that area during these squats. Progression is continuing, and I don't want to be greedy by trying to jump right up to the working weight I'd gotten to before starting these rowing sessions, so plus 5 seems to be fine for now. Also, my Press, which was also affected by the lumbar problem, is progressing nicely too, and for the same reason, I'm not going to jump right up to the weight I had been at.

    With that re-set I took to allow the back to recover, my deadlift weight has surpassed my best squat weight on this phase of the program. I'm thinking of transitioning into the version of the LP that includes Power Cleans alternating with deadlifts. I know Sullivan does not recommend PCs for geezers, because of the risk to our aging systems and its need to conserve resources for recovery. However, *if* my wife and I decide to continue with sweep rowing over the summer, then my need to train for explosive power would support the use of PCs. The boss-lady hasn't decided yet, but she says she'll be considering that option for us to start tomorrow after the novice camp graduation regatta.

    I will be watching plenty of videos and reading as much as possible to get the movement pattern solid, and we'll see how it goes. I may not need to train for power, but if so, I will be ready.
    Last edited by Bruce Ware; 06-17-2019 at 08:23 AM. Reason: convert to Rip's rep x set report format

  8. #18
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    6/1 - Graduation regatta from the Novice Rowing Camp: With 3 new crew members who had not previously practiced with us assigned to the boat this morning -- you know, stuff happens and people who had originally committed to being engaged are suddenly not able to join in -- we did not place as well as expected in the different races. The other guy in our practice crew couldn't make it, so we picked up a nice young lady from the stand-by list. 6 novice ladies, one experienced lady doing the "stroke" position, and myself, the lone muscle-man. One of the competitor teams had a crew of 4 guys, and 2 of them were experienced rowers!

    Our best event, the full-stroke eights on the feather, was our highest place finish at second. Our second-best event, the "how far can the boat travel on only 10 strokes", we actually had it locked up as a win, until one of the other boats nearly rammed us and we had to put on the brakes to avoid the collision.

    Anyway, it was an absolute blast, and our coaches (3 of 'em; no other boat had their coaches switched up on them over the course of 5 practices) told us we had done extremely well for rank novices.

    Long-and-short of it, I think my wife is committed to signing up for the full summer novice course. So, we'll be spending Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from now until the end of October doing sweep rowing. I'm going to lobby the coach for the "stroke" position -- which gives me the responsibility for setting the pace and rhythm of the entire boat.

    So far, these rowing sessions do not seem to have affected my recovery ability, but it is clear that I'm going to have to boost my calorie uptake quite a bit support the demand of 3x/week rowing with 3x/week strength training. Super, 'cause I love to eat!

  9. #19
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    Weekly status report:

    6/2:

    Weight -- spot 186.0; week's daily average 187.2 (up 0.3# from last week, up 4.2# from start of NLP); long-term average 186.5 (down 0.2#)
    LBM -- spot 166.1 (down 0.3# from last week); long-term average 166.9 (down 0.5#)
    Fat -- spot 19.9 (based on BF% estimator of 10.7%); long-term average 19.6, for a BF% of about 10.5% (up 0.3#)

    Over the course of the week, I've averaged about 2700 calories intake, comprised of 150 grams of protein, 268 grams of carbs, and 117 grams of fat per day.

    Even with the nice increase in calorie uptake over the week, yesterday's activities must have burned off a lot of my gains. All week, my daily weigh-in had been showing nice increases, but yesterday's rowing and last night's social dancing more than off-set my increased eating and body-weight gains. I'm going to aim to add another 200 to 300 calories per day to compensate.

  10. #20
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    starting strength nutrition camp
    6/3:

    Squat -- 5 x 3 at 240; great depth, solid form; plus-5

    Bench -- 5 x 3 at 169; solid form, chest touch each rep, getting to feel heavy; plus-2

    Deadlift -- 5 x 1 at 270; no issues, solid form; plus-5

    I've been re-reading Dr. Sullivan's BP:ST4L>40, and I'm re-considering my idea of trying out power cleans in the next phase, pretty close to changing my mind and going with his suggested regime of chins/lat pulls/rows in lieu of. I have a nice set of rings and straps, so I can affix them to the top of my power rack and do different intensity rows. My lat pull-down is an old Bowflex that has been in my basement for a bunch of years; I can use it, although I'll have no real measure of how much resistance those old bands actually impart. And, of course, my power rack has a nice lateral bar up top that I can use to hang and do chin-ups from; plus, I have some decent assist bands of various "strength", so I can titrate the amount of resistance I am getting from the chins.

    However, I have yet to detect signs of stalling in the standard program. My deadlift has gone well past my squat; however, if I had not had those lower back issues a couple of sessions ago, these two lifts would be pretty much moving up in synch. Only the back-off in squat has resulted in the dead getting so much further ahead. I suspect one of the two will stall, but just have no sense of when. If all continues on track, my squat working weight will be back up to where it was before the back issues in another 4 sessions (going for 245 next up, and my previous was 260 before re-set). Both lifts are still feeling really super! So, I'll just keep pounding 'em out.
    Last edited by Bruce Ware; 06-17-2019 at 08:24 AM. Reason: convert to Rip's rep x set report format

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