2015-10-22 training log

I still feel like I have a lot to learn in terms of working my back. But I’m getting there. Today was kinda a cool experiment.

First, while the Defattening Project remains my primary task, some exercise selection is guided by my shoulder problems: either things to avoid or things that could help. To that end, a couple things changed for today.

I decided to do pullovers. I used to do these a lot as a teenager and got a lot of benefit out of them. I tried doing them a little while ago and my body said “no”. I opted to do them again, and this time I’ll stick with it. Why? First, they’ll be good for hitting what they hit — they have a lot of benefit. Second, I think opening the ribcage up will be good for me. I sit all day, a lot of “hunched over”. Often during the day I’ll stretch in ways that open me up, like reaching to the sky, or just pulling my arms back/outwards to expand the chest. So, I think the pullovers will be useful in that way, so long as my shoulders are OK with it.

Thus today was just about trying to put my body into position and seeing if it would complain. A light enough weight that wouldn’t stress anything but would at least be enough to put me into position and stretch things a bit. It went alright. I do have to keep my elbows in, because any drop/flare and my shoulders do not like. I do also need to ease into the bottom position a little bit, but it was OK. I noticed when I was leaving the gym my shoulder actually felt REALLY good, so I’ll go with that emotion. I’ll stick with these for a bit and see how it goes, keeping it very light and just working on getting my body used to the movement, the range of motion, etc. before I bother upping the weight.

Then, I called an audible during the session. Sitting at the cable row station, staring across at the smith machine… and I thought, no Meadows DB Shrugs — let’s do behind-the-back barbell shrugs. Why? First, been curious to try them. Second, any time I shrug things roll forward. It’s part of why I moved to DB’s, so I could keep my arms at my side and keep my body and everything more neutral and upright. But with the bar behind, that’s certainly a different groove and does require things to be pulled back, again a more open chest sort of thing. Also with the Smith Machine I don’t have to worry about the plane of motion and can actually lean a bit against the bar (the machine holding me up) so I can have a bar path that works a little more for my needs and not just what gravity forces me into. So this was an experiment. I did find standing “inside” the machine worked better and gave me a better plane of motion than standing on the outside (because of the angle the machine forces the bar path). I also find I need to look down, bend the head to touch chin to chest, else I scrunch my head and bend it back which then totally messes up trying to keep a straight back. Weight was kept light with more reps, but the 135 wasn’t too bad. Again, this is something I’ll stick with for some sessions, work to find the groove on the movement, then see how it goes. But so far I liked how it went.

On rowing….

I had a thought about BB rows: I always do them straight-sets. What if I tried working up in the 5,4,3,2,1 progression, then drop down to an AMRAP+50% like I do bench and squat? It may not work, but I’m thinking about maybe giving it a try next week.

Cable rows work nicely… really trying to be strict, really feel and work the back muscles through the whole range of motion, hold and squeeze at the top, etc.. It’s things like this — don’t focus on pulling and moving the weight, focus on contracting the involved muscles — and I really get something out of back work. Other body parts I can move the weight and get something, but back really needs me to focus on the back muscles.

Anyways, pretty cool. Happy with the day.

  • Barbell Rows
  • bar x 10
  • 95 x 8
  • 135 x 8
  • 135 x 8
  • 135 x 8
  • 135 x 7
  • 135 x 6
  • Cable Row
  • 90 x 12
  • 90 x 12
  • 90 x 12
  • 90 x 12
  • Behind-the-back Smith Machine Shrugs
  • 135 x 20
  • 135 x 20
  • 135 x 20
  • 135 x 20
  • 135 x 20
  • Close-grip Pulldowns
  • 110 x 8
  • 110 x 10
  • 110 x 10
  • 110 x 9, then drop set.
  • DB Pullovers
  • 25 x 10
  • 25 x 10
  • 25 x 10
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