Adjusting for injury in February

January is coming to a close, and with it, my hypertrophy-only training block. I WISH I would have taken some comparison photos or even some measurements, because at this point I’m really gauging my progress from feel alone. I had a vague goal of getting bigger and putting on some weight, and I appear to have made solid progress in that direction. I think I’m back up to about 140lbs from the low 130s.

I did next no cardio, absolutely no running, and only used weights I could move for reps of 6 or more for at least 3-4 sets (aka “light weight”). It was a huge departure from meet/marathon training and much, much needed. 

I was training at least 4x per week, sometimes up to 5 – lower body twice, upper body up to three times, including one back only day which REALLY paid off in size gains. I’d never actually enjoyed taking an “off-season” as a powerlifter – lifting without thinking about putting pounds on my total wasn’t that exciting. I’m now better able to see the bigger picture, and notice how bringing up lagging body parts and weak movements translates to my squat/bench/deadlift.

Different training styles can also showcase poor movement patterns and possible injury.

After my meet in November, I started thinking about transitioning to a conventional deadlift. I’ve only EVER pulled sumo on the platform (I think I switched stances about 6 weeks out from my first meet, put 20lbs on my one rep max, and never looked back), but in November I couldn’t shake the feeling that my hips were shot after squatting. I barely pulled 325 on the platform after hitting 355 in the gym a few weeks prior. I went on to experience pretty severe stiffness and pain in my right hip during the marathon, which I’d never experienced on training runs. I chalked this up to extreme fatigue during an extreme event, let it rest for a few weeks, and hadn’t really thought about it since.

Two weeks ago I started experiencing some low back tightness and soreness after deadlifting. My conventional pull sucks right now, I’m working on it, but I could also tell that I was having a hard time using my right glute. The following week, I noticed a lack of stability on my right side while doing light single-leg work. I also noticed a stunning mismatch in mobility in my hips while practicing yoga (in the mornings, staying strong). There was some clicking and definitely some discomfort, but nothing that registered as DANGER. I decided to reach out to a trusted PT, Jared Caroff, to get a trained eye on whatever was happening.

Long story short, the outside of my right hip felt like “dry clay.” The muscles surrounding my right hip joint are locked up, suggesting they’re working to protect me from making a problem worse – possibly a labrum tear. I’m unconsciously biasing my weight towards my left side (probably explaining the left KNEE pain I was in after the race). My fun but extreme meet and marathon event was the likely cause. No regrets, and I’m still going to do it again. 

What’s this mean? Daily physical therapy and trying to pay better attention to what I’m really feeling as I move. My pain tolerance is high, which sometimes leads to me writing off “minor” things as nothing when I shouldn’t. I’ll need to become a bit more in tune with my body over the next few weeks.

Looking forward to February’s training, I’ll be making some changes. I had planned on running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in early May and taking my time down to 1:42. I’m not bowing out yet, but I am going to take my reintroduction to running VERY slowly. Will attempt some very short runs about midway through the month.

For now, I’m sticking with my general training template, but will start focusing on pushing my bench a little more since upper body work has been going so smoothly. I have a pretty specific goal of benching 200 by the end of 2020. I think it’s in reach. For now, that will look like adjusting my higher rep range bench work (currently a feet up variation and an incline press) down to lower reps, but still hammering bodybuilding style accessories. Back day is staying on too.

For my deadlift, I’ll be focusing on block pulls all month, plus a lot of uncomfortable single leg hip hinging after my physical therapy. I haven’t had any pain on my squat so long as I either keep my stance narrow OR squat to a box. I’m thinking I’ll focus on paused front squats one day and some SSB box squats after deadlifting if my hip doesn’t scream at me (squatting twice per week works well for me).

Excited to see some progress in healing my hip (as best I can) and more upper body gains!

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