T Nation

Another Stuck At Home T-ransformation Log: JDM135

Edit 3/16/2020
Starting Guaranteed Muscle Mass now that rehab program is finished.
GMM log starts at post 61.
LOL that lasted one day before my gym closed for coronavirus!
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Starting this log now since I signed up for the 2020 T-ransformation challenge.
Unfortunately I won’t be lifting for, most likely, a solid month.
I have a series of surgeries scheduled during January to correct a vein issue in my legs, and I’ll be instructed not to lift for 2 weeks after each one;
AND I have some severe tendonitis (or something worse?) in my left forearm, which has gotten so bad it hurts to use my finger flexors even for something as simple as washing my face;
AND I have an issue with my left shoulder with a bony acromion bump; the shoulder hurts when I carry any meaningful weight with that arm and in certain forward-reaching positions.

I have an ortho appointment mid-Jan and hopefully can come up with a plan for those issues, hopefully I can get back to lifting in February.

For the next few weeks I expect to be posting nothing but cardio numbers and ever-dropping body weight. So it will certainly be boring.

Edit 1/6 to add:
About me

31yo Male, 190lbs as of 6 JAN 2020, 72" tall.

Married 10 years, 3 young kids, a busy and full life. Demanding non-physical job (not sitting all day only mental exertion).

Training history:

Military for six years ('07-'13), during which time I was in decent shape (not fat) but never strong. I could never squat 225 and it was like a distant goal i could never achieve. I knew how to lift but not how to program or do progression, and never followed one. How I wish I’d found (and stuck with) 5x5 or 5/3/1 back then!

Never liked to eat and always weighed 178lbs.

After military I fell away from lifting or conditioning. Then in 2018 started getting back in the gym, no real progression plan, some running, compound lifts and tons of pullups (which always made me feel better about myself, I cant lift any weight but I can beat you at pullups big guy!).

I did work up to a 225# squat for a few reps during this phase.

Still weighed 178lbs.

July 2019 i stumbled on the 5/3/1 BBB challenge on T-nation and went all in. Ate like crazy, lifted hard, I grew visibly more muscular and gained some fat as well. After the 3-month challenge I kept going with another 5/3/1 template and maybe some tweaks I shouldn’t have made, maybe tried to progress a little faster than I should…

I was 200lbs on December 1st 2019! This felt great, except that suddenly I was broken and could barely lift. Gripping with my left was nearly impossible because I had ignored the worsening forearm tendinitis.

Next, something happened with my left shoulder. It hurts and has a bony bump on the acromion area.

So early December I put an emergency stop on all upper body activity and did legs only (no DLs either) for the rest of December.

Now I’m awaiting orthopedic appointment and have to stay completely off weights while recovering from some leg vein treatments throughout January.

Training goals:

Body comp: the pain/gain ratio of a long-term 6-pack is not for me. It would be nice to get there once, though. Hopefully at end of February.

My wife is freaking gorgeous and I need to stay in decent shape; top two abs visible is about my speed long term. But I don’t want the “spare tire” dadbod thing I’m rocking right now either.

I would like to be muscular, 190-200lbs.

For a naturally 178lbs dude I’m not sure how reasonable this is with low body fat.

Strength: though competing with none but myself, I WILL strict standing press 135lbs. Once I can do a single, the goal will be to do 135 for reps. Then, set a new goal.

Likewise, I want to get my squat up. Short-term goal is to get to 225 for 5x5, then set a new goal.

I also want to bench 225 (never have; all the cool kids could do it when I was in the military, see the pullups comment above).

Naturally I’ll keep progressing my deadlift as well.

1 Like

All of them? Or is the pain more pronounced for certain fingers?

Ring finger seems more pronounced now that you mention it.

Related to any kind of trauma?

I had gotten carried away with pullups, doing 50-60 during certain workouts and 10-20 basically every day (had a bar up at work); and generally high pulling volume with DLs, power cleans, DB rows as well.
Front squats places some strain on them too I guess.
But none of that seems out of the ordinary based on logs here…

The pain is located near the elbow, where tendon meets bone I guess, or close, and arises from hard gripping, loaded wrist flexion or loaded finger flexion.
With no load there is no pain.

Depends on how long it took you to build up to that volume. Either way, it’s obviously too much for you right now. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have tendonitis.

Most people can squat 3+ times weekly, I can do twice safely and three times is a gamble.

At least with pull-ups, once you’ve healed, you should vary your grip. Neutral/pronated/supinated. Get rings if you can. Do towel variants if not. Do not test it, often, let it heal.

Thanks!
You’re probably onto the root cause there, I jumped into that volume as fast as I could, and didn’t stop when symptoms started. I only stopped when it became unbearable.
Getting help on the 15th though so hopefully I can get back on track and, as you suggested, progress slowly with varying grips.

What’s the purpose of the towel grip? Seems even more punishing on the forearms?

Your muscles adapt far quicker than your tendons. Learn from this experience, next time, back off once you feel that whatever pain you at experiencing is accumulating. It’s alright to be in pain, sometimes, but if it gets progressively worse stop what you are doing and do something else while you try to figure out what is the root cause of the pain.

It is. But, the exact stimulus is slightly altered. If you do pull-ups the same way every single day you are causing repeated wear and tear at whatever angles that puts your body in. By varying your grip, you alleviate this problem somewhat.

So, to be safe, it’s better to alternate grips. Ring pull-ups would arguably be the best as it allows your wrist to rotate as they need to during the movement but I prefer changing grips every other workout. I also climb 2-3 times a week, so my needs might be different than yours.

What’s your aim with all of these pull-ups?

I’m weak and (until 2019) scrawny. When I was a kid, pullups were an ego thing, like, “I cant squat or bench like you but I can do a crapload of pullups!”
So they have always made me feel good.
I’m 31 now and things are different. I ran 5/3/1 BBB Challenge this year, first time I genuinely followed a program, gained 15lbs and felt good, but of course I decided my next program needed pullups!
In summary, No particular goal in chasing pullup numbers, just the ego boost.
I’ll eventually edit my intro post above to explain more about my training history and goals but that’s a decent summary lol.

Once you can do fifteen in a set with good form start adding weight. If that’s not feasible, do Frenchies (basically pull-ups with isometric holds). Your program can absolutely include pull-ups, after you’ve healed, but it’s not something you have to do every day for that many reps.

On a back injury rehab/rebuild journey of my own. Good luck to you. What’s a few weeks or hell even a few months to a lifetime of lifting.

1/6
30 sweaty minutes on the stationary bike, following some spin workout on YouTube. It kicked my ass.
Weighed 190 this morning, which is nearly 10 lbs down in 6 weeks. My fear is that much of the loss is muscle.
Now in the waiting room for the first vein thingy.

If your injury were in your finger tendons, this could help. It’s something you can probably do without aggrevating your bicep tendonitis if that is indeed what you are suffering from,

1/8/2020.
Weight:189.8 before breakfast. Steady downward trend continues.
Walked 1.3 miles this morning and yesterday, which is all I can do after the vein surgery.
Just finished my second of 3 treatments, both my lower legs are wrapped up but not as painful this time.
One more week until I meet with orthopedist re: shoulder and forearm.

Another morning walk. All I can do!
Legs are very uncomfortable, cant wait for this to be over.
Also really missing weight training. Even if I could just do 5x5 everything with an empty barbell it would be so much better than nothing…
Trying to eat mostly protein hoping muscle stays on while fat melts, but seems unlikely given a complete lack of stimulus. Depressing!
Luckily I have lots of other things to keep me busy.

Bodyweight: 186.2lbs.
Planning to run 2 miles today but not sure if my leg will allow it.

1/11/20
Ran 2 miles (street).
1/12/20
Ran 1 mile (street).
1/13/20:
First day back at the gym in a couple weeks! Lower body only, and taking that easy too considering the legs still hurt like hell from the vein treatment.
Squat 5x5 155lbs
Leg press 5x8 360lbs
Hip thrusts 5x8-10 95lbs
Never done hip thrusts before, I think I’ll do them regularly during this lower-body-only time of life. But damn they feel awkward! No eye contact permissible!

1/14/2020
Bodyweight: 185.4lbs
Cycling 30 mins

1/15
Squat 5x5@165lbs
Leg press 50 total reps @ 270*
Hip thrusts 4x10@135
*different gym, this leg press has WAY less mechanical advantage! 270 here felt like 360 at my usual gym.

At orthopedist today, hope to learn more about my painful acromion bump and make a plan to rehab the forearm tendonitis.

I’m definitely losing weight, I can see the difference, I wonder how much I can stave off upper body muscle loss through lower body workouts?

Good news!
Got a corticosteroid shot in the elbow for the tendinitis, doc says start lifting in 1 week, but take 6 weeks to ramp up to pre-injury levels vis-a-vis gripping and pulling.
Doc is not concerned about shoulder. The time off thus far has been good for it, have scrip for s good topical anti-inflammatory, and as long as I ramp up slowly it shouldn’t be in trouble.
There is a bone spur on my acromion, but if I dont impinge the joint I should be ok.

To that end, I am planning a simple 5x5 progression to ease back in to lifting.
I’ll use
Workout A: squat5x5, bench 5x5, row5x5;
Workout B: squat5x5, press 5x5, DL 1x5
Alternating A/B, M/W/F, starting in a week.
Six week Ramps:
Squat 175. 180. 185. 190. 195. 200.
Bench 135. 155. 160. 165 170 175
Press Db. Db. 55. 65. 75. 80.
Row. 95. 100. 105. 110. 115. 120.
Dl. 155. 165. 175. 185. 195. 205.

Pretty low demands on grip; and press starts very low, with some light single arm DB press work for the first two weeks. I’ll play by ear of course and pay closer attention to injuries from now on.

I’ll be doing some some ab work too as they should start becoming visible in another couple weeks, and continue jogging/cycling to prepare for beach vacation march 1st.