Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Yes, squats everyday

My doctor put my shoulder on rehab for 4-6 weeks after my PRP injection, trusting me with my own therapy. So if you can't polish your guns for awhile, what better alternative than a cycle of Iron Samurai Nick Horton's "21-Day Squat Challenge". A nerve got pricked during the blood draw and bothered me almost two weeks. My restless sleep post-procedure cost me two days. Then I went on call. This was never expected to be 21 straight, but I planned 3 wks of almost daily exercise with a heavy-squat emphasis.

Before formally starting, I pre-tested 185 triples and 135 tens. My previous best efforts were a 245 single and a slow, ugly 225 double, plus a 165 front squat, which I honestly have never trained very often. So that's where I started: a 165 FSQ and a 245 BSQ from two years ago. Barely 17 days in, running Volcano plus Classic Nemesis, this has been good for me. Here's a clip of today's last heavy double.


Current progress:


  • Week 1: my weaker knee got twisted on a trail run and was sore at higher weights. I kept my relative effort around 80% for the week and skipped one day for poor sleep.
  • Week 2: I needed some upper-back improvement, so I did power cleans as a warmup and front squats as main work. I went on call Tuesday and lost a couple days. But by the weekend, I had 3@175, 2@185, and 1@195. I should just schedule a deload when I'm on call every 6th week and be done with it.
  • Week 3: currently in progress, resuming back squats on day 15 of the plan. Today I recorded 3@205, 2@215, and 1+2@225 for clean reps seen in the video above.

Making the commitment to train 7/wk has yielded 13 lifting sessions in 17 days so far. A few of those missed days were accidents, a few others used for conditioning and recovery. I'm strongly considering MWF lifting and TuThSa running going forward, which would be great for both me and Kilo.

A few closing thoughts:

Adding a big plate (45lb) to each end of the bar increments your weight to 135, 225, 315, 405, and so on. Those numbers are familiar milestones to any lifter. I squatted "two plates" for a double today, after a long session and with virtually no safety measures like a spotter or a power rack. I am completely confident at 185, but 225 in my home gym makes me nervous. This is entirely mental. Tomorrow, I run; Thursday, I rack two plates again.

Two years removed from training front squats in a barbell gym, my first session broke my old PR by 20lbs. Most studies and coaching anecdotes predict a (sport) weightlifter's front squat to be 85% of their back squat. Two years ago, my FSQ was 30lbs short of that mark. Today, it's exactly on point (195/225 = 0.866).

My FSQ are deeper and give me less back pain than my BSQ now, which is fascinating. The rehab around my loose disc and long femurs and bad knee has made me better at Oly-style lifting, despite my anatomy being so ill-fitted for the sport. There's also a growing consensus that the FSQ is safer and better-suited for novices and athletes in sports other than powerlifting.

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