Correctives suck. They may cure what ails ya, but they're nowhere nearly as fun as hoisting heavy iron overhead or launching it out in front of you repeatedly. I don't think anyone would argue with that. I've been doing a lot of correctives to try to fix my strained hamstrings for the past few months, and I've made a ton of progress. I'm not 100% fixed up yet, but I'm closer to that percentage than I was in March (it helps that my knees don't feel like they want to fly out behind me anymore). As a result of not feeling 100%, I have mostly avoided two of my favorite things: swings and squats.
But lately, the words of my friend and one-time champion powerlifter Mike have started ringing more and more loudly in my head: "you're a little too cautious." So I decided to say "f*** it" and throw caution to the wind.
Monday I cautiously approached my practice with a few of my favorite lifts: pullups (on "rings"), clean and press, and goblet squat, with some swings for desert and, of course, some grip work afterward. Here's what it looked like:
Pullup - 5
C&P - 5R/5L (24 kg)
Goblet squat - 5 (24 kg)
(the above were done in circuit format for three rounds and with plenty of rest between each set)
Swings (24 kg) - 5 x 10 with plenty of rest between each set.
The main thing I was focusing on was keeping the volume low enough to better ease into practice again after a hiatus that has kept me from lifting the way I once did, and, more importantly, to simply practice. Clearing my head and focusing on the movements led me back to a few of my old a-ha moments.
1) Tension is king, but once you can peel some of it away, do. As Brett Jones said in a recent post on the RKC forum regarding tension, it's like porridge: too hot, too cold - just right. You can't know what's "necessary" until you've had too much and too little. I found this to be especially true on my C&P, as I dialed back the tension little by little and found the bell going overhead just as easily.
2) Visualizations help. For example, the past few times I have practiced pullups, I focused mostly on pulling myself up. This time, I focused on pushing my elbows into my obliques, and it made things much, much easier.
3) The little things count. I placed extra focus on glute tension in my squats and swings, as my gluteal amnesia seems to be a side effect of my hamstring strain. As a result, my knees actually didn't feel as sore the next morning and this morning they felt great!
I'm hoping this means I'll be back on track to reclaiming my badassery in no time.
* * *
I've been a follower of the Warrior Diet for three years now and I've felt that it's helped me immensely in leading a healthier, stronger life. Here's what I've had for dinner the past few nights.
Two big ahi tuna steaks cooked in olive oil
6-7 cups of cooked veggies mixed in with a can of kidney beans
A bunch of almonds
7 egg whites and 3 egg yolks mixed with one can of tuna and about 5-6 cups of chopped veggies.
1 1/2 cups of lentils
1 serving of guacamole a la Neghar Fonooni's recipe (one avocado, some chopped cilantro, pico de gallo, salt, and lime juice)
A number of handfuls of almonds
Until next time, lift heavy and eat clean!