Powerlifting 4. End of week 1 summary ... early warning signs ... action required!
July 30, 2016
So, I have now completed the first week of the first cycle and on the whole it has gone very well ... no problem with the weights/reps and I have enjoyed it. I am fully aware that I still need to really concentrate on the correct form for each lift and will revise the techniques again over the weekend, while I check out what week 2 will consist of. Sleep has been OK (not great), nutrition OK and I now weigh in at 92.2 kg, so that is a loss of 1 kg over the week.
You may have noticed from some of the photos in the previous posts that I was wearing a white tubigrip bandage over my left elbow. This is a result of 'Tennis' elbow, which set in during my earlier isolation work some time ago and ended up being reasonably painful. I moved from mainly isolation to focus more on compound work and employed some stretches and this seemed to resolve the problem completely ... though I suppose I continued wearing the bandage out of habit and in the belief that it was possibly conferring some (slight) degree of protection (by adding some extra support and keeping the joint slightly warmer) against the problem recurring. Indeed, I have had no elbow pain for at least 6 months and possibly longer ... that was ... until now! I have started to feel pain again in the left elbow but it is relatively minor pain at present, though I am fully aware that if I do not get on its case right away then it will likely progress to more severe pain relatively quickly.
Such things are a pain in the arse, but they can be managed and dealt with effectively, as I had demonstrated previously. It is just a case of knowing what to do and how to do it. It would seem that 'Squatters' elbow (to give it it's proper name ... no longer will you see me refer to it as Tennis elbow) is not an uncommon problem and there seems to be some useful guidance on how to deal with it on this website: http://allaboutpowerlifting.com/squatters-elbow/
I expect it is the transition from the safety squat bar to the straight bar that is causing this and I will certainly be considering some of these remedial actions. However, I also need to look at the conditioning work I am doing, as this work with the Kettlebells is also new to me. I have also found some of the techniques in this book (kindly recommended by David Green of Strongest Version, Rochdale) useful for sorting this pain out in the past.
... and Andy Tyson (Marine Fit at FCPC) kindly recommended this one for the same problem, but I have not had to endure the pain associated with it as yet because I managed to clear it up the first time around before the book arrived!
Another problem I have noticed is bilateral anterior shoulder pain. Having done some research, I expect this is related to the elbow pain and that both are due to the following combination of issues: poor shoulder mobility, bar too low on my back, grip too narrow. There is a good explanation of this problem here: https://www.t-nation.com/training/squatters-shoulder-the-cause-amp-the-cure
Bottom line ... I have no excuse for ignoring these problems and not sorting them out. The quicker I get them sorted ... the better!
OK, so all the above regarding pain was written after my light workout day on Thursday, which involved squats. I took just one dose of two ibuprofen at around midday to relieve the discomfort and reduce any inflammation and woke up Friday morning feeling fine. I have just finished a heavy deadlift day (Friday), which included the kettlebell conditioning work ... and the heaviest weight I have lifted to date (see previous blog post) and I am still not experiencing any shoulder or elbow pain. Hence, it looks like it is a squat technique issue.
I am looking forward to getting into week 2, in which every rep is increased by 2.5 kg. The week starts with a heavy squat day, so assuming I get the technique right everything should be honky dory, following two days of rest over the weekend! Of course, I also need to look into a slightly longer term fix regarding the shoulder mobility issues and I will get around to it at some point.