Fitness Diary 4/13/21

Been making big changes to the way I move lately

Been making big changes to the way I move lately.

Calisthenics

I used to powerlift under the starting strength program. I did that for a few years until I injured myself. It wasn't anything big, but enough to make me stop and reevaluate... My squat and deadlift were exceling, but my bench was complete poverty (aka t rex arms). Every time I tried to increase bench weight the same shoulder issues would prevent me from progressing. I switched to over head press and tried other methods but nothing seemed to be helping. Got discouraged and stopped going to the gym for way too long.

Shoulder problems got worse and I started doing detective work. One school of thought was to do tedious arm band movements to correct the issue. Another school of thought said just work through it, targeting the specific muscles that need the work along the way. Either way I spent a lot of time spinning my wheels with various YouTube videos and books (McKenzie method, Supple Leopard, etc) focused on mobility and PT. I'd find a solution that seemed to work, would get really excited about it, and then find that it didn't actually improve the situation. And yes, I did go to a PT, but found they were much less focused on addressing the problem and more the symptoms. Finally, I've recently  decided to do what I thought I'd never do and see a chiropractor. My experiences with them have been shite, but this time I'm with a guy who really seems to listen and understand my issue. When he snapped me it was pretty fucking incredible... The areas that cause me issues have never felt so good and loose. So that might be a sign we're on the right track, but we'll see. Strengthening the muscles is definitely the key, I know that, but it seems I won't make good progress there unless I'm able to "unstick" those inflamed areas.

Anyways, all of that is just to say:

That whole thing got me to switch my mindset from powerlifting to calisthenics/bodyweight in order to iron out all my imbalances and weaknesses. At first I thought this would just be something to give me "baseline" strength and then I'd return to the weights, but lately I'm realizing there really is no need for the weights in my case.

This is super cool to me because I've always been orbiting the ideas of minimalism for some years now. I accumulate junk, sure, but every now and then I do a purge and it's a great feeling. My ADD brain can't handle seeing so much fucking shit sometimes and nothing feels better than getting rid of it.

Also I have to say it: weeb rooms full of figures and trinkets and keychains and plushies?

Fire hazards. Dust bins. Hoarder caves.

Being a post-anime weeb, one who doesn't really interact or obsesses over the latest things, one of the behaviors I can no longer stand is the materialist/consumer side of this subculture. Your figure and merch collection is nothing but a pile of trash to collect dust to me LOL.

Anyways, all of THAT was just to say:

Calisthenics is cool because I just really like the idea lately of not needing to rely on material objects to do a workout. When you relinquish the need for objects, you bring back more power to yourself. In some post apocalyptic wasteland I’ll still be able to do pushups and pullups on random shit. Power over yourself is true freedom.

Also, I've spent more time outside than ever lately due to needing to go to the local park to do pull ups and their variations. Why be stuck in an air conditioned house all day just to go lift weights in another air conditioned room?

Is Calisthenics Enough?

I first started with Convict Conditioning, the book touting the ability to get SHREDDED using only the workouts you'd be able to do in a prison cell.

The issue I had with this book and didn't realize for the longest time is that there are many exercises in it that are difficult for weaklings.

For example, my weak shoulders were having an impossible time with the "Handstand pushup" movement progressions.

Step 1: Headstand

Step 2: Crow stand

Step 3: Handstand

7 more steps after that, and I was struggling just to do Step 2! Step 3 seemed impossible.

This was causing me to fall into a trap again. I figured I just needed to keep working at the 2nd step and eventually I'd get the strength I needed to progress. The problem was with me, right??

Well, not so...

When I read Al and Danny Kavadlo's book "Street Workout" I learned that there are several other shoulder progressions I can do between a headstand and an actual handstand. This has given me at least five different new movements to add to my routine that are all working various parts of my shoulder and testing my abilities to balance on my head and eventually just my hands.

The callisthenic lesson learned here:

When a movement is too tough, don't just struggle with that same one... Instead, find an easier version of that exercise and do that. This is fundamentally different to me than the old powerlifting mindset of "you just didn't hit the PR today; eat more, sleep more, and try again next time."

Doing these exercises doesn't give you the same dopamine reward as lifting some heavy ass weights, but I'm starting to really enjoy it in a new way. Now, what I seek is the ability to go through a movement slowly and with complete control. When you gain this control over your body it's just as rewarding, imo.

Fixing Imbalances

Another thing that does give me a nice hit to the reward center is nailing down an issue. I guess this just hits my problem-solving receptors in the right way.

Doing squats recently, my right knee kept popping with every squat. After doing a dozen of them my knee would start to ache a bit, so I knew I had to fix this. I tried some stretches with limited relief.

It wasn't until I tried doing narrow squats (a move I would have never thought necessary during weight training days) that I noticed the knee popping didn't occur it all in this movement. This move requires much more work from your glutes--its practically impossible to not have your glutes fire off during this move. It made me realize my right glute wasn’t firing at all during my normal squats, and thus leading to the popping in the knee. Once I corrected this, my problem was gone. Now I have a clear roadmap for what to do to correct it.

I suspect this glute problem is likely what caused my hamstring injury during powerlifting in the first place... hundreds of pounds of weight being improperly handled, and that particular weight on that day being the tipping point.

So all of THAT SUFF was just to say...

Convict Conditioning is cool, but for weak boys, you might need extra steps to make that program manageable. You can also add more exercises to your workouts rather than strictly following what Wade offers in CC. My days under CC had literally just two movements, and now after incorporating what the Kavadlo’s teach, I have 5 to 7 depending on the day. I'm also working out 2 extra days than before. Workouts feel much more rewarding as I'm able to get a good workout and actively feel my improvements being made in several areas.

I didn't link no fuckin books cuz I'm not an amazon affiliate. Just Google em. Alright, bye.