Monday, May 13, 2013

Gap analysis, pt 2

It meant the world to me that other athletes and coaches complemented me on my technique at last month's meet. As I am self-coached, that feedback tells me that I am "displaying good form at this load". But what I understand privately is exactly how I am compensating to achieve that good form. This conversation's entitled "Gap analysis" for a reason. For only two brief examples,
  • I've been coached previously to deepen my first dip in the Jerk. Last week, I felt a shooting pain in my knee under the 24s. I shook it out and finished the set with a shallower dip and zero pain. That is a gap, a structural flaw related to a known injury. (Note: I duly noted that I was no longer doing any isolateral physical therapy on that knee and have resume it as part of normal training.) The dip I need for that weight is at the limit of my current tolerance.
  • I needed better cardio. I used a Concept 2 rowing machine with great results in pure stamina, but I found that long sets with the bells made my feet hurt. While running is less suited to my anatomy (pathology?) than rowing, running does acclimate my feet to the pounding of the sport. I never saw that coming, never heard it said by a coach. So, I have to compromise.  Running's hard on my hamstrings, but great for my feet.
I trimmed that list twice in draft, so it's not nearly complete. The leg is a widely-known story. It will never be quite normal, but it no longer interferes with my margin of error or causes me pain at this level of performance. Now then, I could retain a sport coach forever to train around a structural pathology, or I could work on my elasticity until I'm capable of dipping deeper and faster, then retain a coach again when I have implemented their last instructions. Fortunately, I have a coach willing to see me once or twice a year, and I still make progress from our meetings.

Medical problems are not always repairable, and coaches are expensive. What I've spent on exercise gear would only cover a few weeks of personal training at the level I require, and I have the time for the self-discovery. I'm working Indian clubs daily and in all warm-ups and doing PT drills on my knee. I need some speed work, both upper body and lower body; my jerk is pretty but slow. The plan is to include front squats and presses, and I've made good progress on 5/3/1 programming.

P.S. I'll close with a link out to Mark Reifkind's blog. Mark has had catastrophic injuries, and he understands that rehab is training. He finally digested that phrase in 2011 or 2012, if I recall. The man was a gymnast and a powerlifter, and he had to retrain himself to do pushups. His shoulder could press overhead, but not forward. That is the kind of self-study I'm talking about, the focus to recognize and fill in one's own gaps.

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