I Need More Rest & Recovery


Sometimes I tell my clients, “I make all the dumb mistakes so you don’t have to.”  Well, I continue to make less-than-intelligent decisions from time to time when it comes to exercise.  I’ve been working out very hard for several weeks and I seem to have overstepped my boundaries.  I’ve got some aches and pains that are proving difficult to resolve. Therefore it’s time to dial back my efforts, prioritize rest, and let all my various tissues and functions restore themselves.

I want to deadlift 500 lbs.  That’s my big goal this year.  In order to hit this goal I must put in very hard work.  Hard workouts must be balanced by adequate rest–but not total rest.  I’ve been lifting three days per week with the idea that I’m doing one heavy workout, followed by a light workout 48 hours later, then a medium workout again 48 hours after that.  Then it’s two days off lifting and I start it all over. As important as it is to lift hard on the hard day, it’s equally (maybe even more) important to ease up on the other days, especially the light day.  So while I’ve definitely been hitting the hard days, I believe I have fallen short of my goal of lifting light.

So here’s my strategy. I’ve based the next few weeks on a variation of the Texas Method as discussed in Practical Programming for Strength Training, the brilliant book by Rippetoe and Killgore.  This calls for a Monday/Wednesday/Friday type of pattern with a medium workout on Monday, a light workout on Wednesday and and the heavy workout on Friday.  Here’s my plan:

Monday: Medium Day

  • Back squat: 3 x 8 reps
  • Pushups:  3 x to exertion (10-25) but not exhaustion; alternated each workout with
  • chin-ups: 3 x 5 (I may play around with band chin-ups to get more reps; I’m not terribly strong on the pull/chin-ups and my forearm is banged up.)
  • Back extension: 3 x 8-10 reps
  • I must stay far away from anything that feels like exhaustion or muscular failure.
  • I’ll likely add back bench press and/or overhead presses once my wrists and shoulders feel better.

Wednesday: Light Day

  • Turkish Get-Ups: 1×5 reps each arm–AND THAT’S IT!

Friday: Heavy Day

  • Deadlift: work up to 1 x 2 reps near goal max
  • Speed deadlift: 3 x 3 around 70% of goal max alternated each workout with kettlebell swings
  • Romanian Deadlift: 3 x 5 reps
  • chin-ups: 3 x 5 alternated each workout with
  • pushups: 3 x to exertion (10-25 reps)

The key to all this is paying attention to how I test during each workout after every exercise.  I’ll be assessing and re-assessing my range of motion frequently (most likely with a standing toe-touch type of assessment), and I’ll be performing Z-Health joint mobility drills often.  If I tighten up at all or if I feel any pain then I MUST stop and call it a day.  This is of course counter-instinctive to me but I know I’ll feel better if I do.  The ultimate goal is 500 lbs. on that deadlift and I won’t get there if I’m beat up.

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