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Chief Wounded Knee goes after a 3 plate squat

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  • Chief Wounded Knee goes after a 3 plate squat

    Hi all,

    in the Q&A podcast that Jordan Feigenbaum and Tom Campitelli did in Sydney Australia, Tom mentioned something that made me think. He said how "...he could never stick long term (think years) to something if he didn't have some sort of external motivation, like a goal or a competition". Naturally, I started thinking what will motivate me to lift for as long as I can move and live. Since I have a chronically fcked up knee, I doubt I could ever achieve a result that would matter so competitions are out for me.

    Next best option - a public training log (read: humiliation if I quit). So, here it goes.

    ABOUT ME (if anyone cares)
    • age: 38 y.o.;
    • weight: 91 kg | 198 lbs;
    • height: 191 cm | 6'3 ft;
    • training hist.: 15 years on and off, never got anywhere really as I never stuck to a program;
    • injuries: fractured knee, intraarticular unfortunately (14 stitches, 2 screws), 2 radiculopathy incidents with low back pain over the years (some disc protrusions and one deg. disc disease);

    DAY 1​​​​​​ - Sep 1 2018
    • Program I chose: Starting Strength Novice linear progression (not a smart decision, as will be shown later);
    • Previous training attempts: couple of weeks of Instagram/Youtube user "SmashweRx" mobility routines - seemed to help short term but in the long run did nothing for me;
    • Subjective feeling: severe morning back stiffness and moderate pain for a year (slight during the day, stronger in the evening);

    Lift Weight Reps Sets
    squat 20 kg (bar) 5 3
    deadlift 30 kg 5 1
    press 20 kg (bar 5 3
    Last edited by alex.starbuck; 12-05-2018, 05:17 PM.

  • #2

    /fast forward 3 months/

    Nov 23 2018 - Last day of SSLP

    There were ups and downs, aches and pains, loads and deloads. I have to give Ripp credit where credit is due. His podcasts and website articles, many of which were authored by the awesome BBM crew, provided me with one crucial thing: a "dogma" and a simple, structured approach to follow.

    This, along with a couple of really inspiring stories from Greysteel trainees and dr. Sullivan, re-assured me that I was fine. That I can recover from the pain AND, more importantly, that I can keep on progressing with my training.

    During this time I went through all of the SS podcasts and eventually switched to BBM, I learned a ton and even created a Trello board for taking notes (psycho).

    SSLP progression stalled at these intensities below (about which I asked for tips and advice in this BBM forums thread):

    Lift Weight Reps Sets
    squat 85 3 2
    deadlift 90 5 1
    press 50 5 3

    Now I have to NOT give credit where credit is, erm... what would be the opposite word from "due"?

    Linear progression is NOT the optimal way to go, especially if you are almost 40, detrained, sleep poorly, are in pain and have a history of incorrectly rehabilitated trauma with lots of false narratives.

    It was here at BBM that I first learned about the Bridge and the concepts of "fatigue and load management". Therefore, I entered the Bridge.
    Last edited by alex.starbuck; 12-06-2018, 09:47 AM.


    • #3
      Nov 26 2018 - The Bridge, day 1

      You know the situation where for weeks, maybe even months you read about doing something exciting, like for example - driving a car, or flying a small airplane but when you actually sit down at the controls you realize you have absolutely no fckin idea what to do? This was me, trying the RPE based program for the first time.

      Warmed up with just the bar, 5-8 2-rep sets, minute-on-the-minute, OK. But, then came a time to load the bar.

      How much weight should I use?
      How do I feel?
      Is it going to be a 6, 7 or 11 (cue Wayne's World jokes)?

      Long story short - RPE is a concept that definitely takes time to adjust to. It is not as simple and easy as a hard-coded program which mandates to increase weight each session by a certain amount.

      On the other hand, it makes you really pay attention to how you are feeling and what you are doing so I guess that's worth learning.

      Lift reps RPE kg e1RM
      Squat w. belt 5 6 60 83.33
      5 7 65
      5 8 67.5
      Close grip bench 4 7 50 66.86
      4 8 55
      4 9 57.5
      Rack pull, mid shin 7 6 50 78.9
      7 7 55
      7 8 60

      The weights have gone down significantly compared to my SSLP lifts. What probably happened is that I have deeply overestimated my RPE's. Also, the stupid knee constantly feels stiff, almost "burning" for the lack of a better word, so some protective mind mechanism is definitely at play here. As the weight goes up it starts nagging but stays bearable so I complete the workout. The day after the workout however, it clicks, pops, grinds, burns and (have I forgotten any expressions?)

      Anyways, workout done, moving on.
      Last edited by alex.starbuck; 12-06-2018, 09:50 AM.


      • #4
        Nov 28 2018 - Bridge, day 2

        I feel like I am getting into the "catastrophizing" pit. I dread going to sleep in the evening because I know that the next morning I am going to wake up, my back is going to be stiff as f*** and that my knee will grind like a soda can in your blender. I "fear" the workout to come. I see knee replacement down the line. I see all the horrors that lay ahead, Laistrygonians and Cyclops...

        And so it was (a case of "What you think, you become."?).

        I got up and, sure enough, there I was - grabbing the socks with my toes, feeling like an ohrangutang, kneeling when I want to get a pot to cook my oats, just so that I don't have to bend at the waist. constantly calculating: is the back going to hurt more or is the knee worse today? This is becoming ridiculous.

        A few things do however push me through. If Brian Jones can fall from the roof flat on his feet, break a lot of bones, crawl on all fours around his house and front yard and a year later compete in a meet and if Leah has such an inspiring story of her own, deadlifting 375 now, god damnit I too can push on through.

        Lift reps RPE kg e1RM
        2ct paused sq. 4 7 60 75.5
        4 8 62.5
        4 9 65
        Press w. belt 5 6 30 49.4
        5 7 35
        5 8 40
        Barbell rows 8 6 50 74.3
        8 7 55
        8 8 55
        8 8 55

        • I think I am getting better at judging the RPE but still nowhere where it needs to be;
        • I cut the intensity because the knee just can't take it for now;
        • (It could be that I overloaded it during the SSLP period and got some nasty tendinopathy or something but who knows, the option is to see an orthopod which will do nothing and suggest "to rest and not lift heavy");
        Last edited by alex.starbuck; 12-06-2018, 09:55 AM.


        • #5
          Nov 29 2018 - GPP day

          Nothing to write home about. Random sh** here, I tried to stick to the program but the morale was a bit low today. The knee keeps burning and grinding and popping with occasional pierce of pain and it keeps me "under the water".

          Sometimes I really have to chant "What are you going to do, NOT TRAIN?!"


          • #6
            Nov 30 2018 - Bridge, day 4

            Tempo squats for the first time ever - I literally almost fainted (like, real black-out while getting out of the hole).

            I am a tall guy with (possibly) slow to constrict blood vessels and a light bradycardia, so when I stand up I usually do feel dizzy. I will have to work on my, well, "work" capacity fo sho.

            Knee still stiff, still hurts but less. On a scale from 1 to 10 It would be a 2 with occasional 3.
            Lift reps RPE kg e1RM
            deadlift w. belt 5 6 65
            5 7 70
            5 8 75
            Bench 1ct paused 5 6 50 74
            5 7 55
            5 8 60
            3-0-3 tempo squat 8 6 40 81
            8 7 50
            8 8 60

            First piece of good news is: the back is starting to let go! It is completely pain free during the day, with some stiffness after waking up. I am not catastrophizing and not really paying attention to it so that is also helping probably.

            The knee still grinds and nags and hurts.

            Last edited by alex.starbuck; 12-06-2018, 10:01 AM.


            • #7
              I enjoyed reading your training log--impressive determination in the face of pain! Glad to hear that your back feels better.


              • alex.starbuck
                alex.starbuck commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks man, glad you like it!

            • #8
              Dec 6 2018

              Caught a nasty cold couple of days ago, which has been interrupting sleep. It became so nasty yesterday and today that I decided to temporarily pause the program and just do anything I can.
              Great tips here in this video - an algorithm on how to handle things when something is going wrong (tl;dr - reduce load, reduce ROM, find movement variation, find another move).

              Stationary bike: 15 min, 60-ish % heart rate;
              Deadlift: empty bar warm up sets, 40kg x 5, 40x5, 50x5, 60x5x2;
              Squat: 50x5x3
              Narrow bench: 55x5x3

              This is something to just keep things "lubed". Knee immediately felt better during the workout, it kinda nagged afterward, will see tomorrow. Back is fine.


              • #9
                Dec 7 2018

                Strep throat. Shit. Antibiotics, no workout.
                Will re-start on Monday.


                • #10
                  Damn, hope it clears up soon.


                  • #11
                    Dec 10 2018

                    Well, today I've decided it was enough. Since I got back to work there was no reason not to get back to training, as well.

                    The knee pain has lately become the predominant factor that determines my RPE so, as per Austin's instructions, I will use that to guide my training. When it starts to be unbearable, it has gotten to RPE 10.

                    Being pressed for time, I did squat and press supersets.

                    - 10 min on the bike, just to get the synovials flowing;
                    - squat: bar x5x5, 30x5, 40x5, 50x5;
                    - press: bar x5x3, 30x5, 30x5

                    Yes It is a 60% deload from 85 that I did a couple of weeks ago, but what can you do?! Forging on.