T Nation

Couple of General Questions

So I have a couple of questions that I’ve been thinking about lately, and I could use some input. None of these questions are that “serious”, but I am curious.

  1. When I first started lifting weights, I could just go. Now, I feel kinda stiff and weak without warming up first. I mean, I understand the idea of warming up, but is having a stiff/weak grip normal until you are warmed up? I don’t feel like the warmup keeps me from pulling a muscle, I feel like the warmup simply gets my arms and grip warmed up so they aren’t so stiff.

  2. My biggest challenge, I think, is intensity. What do you guys do to stay intense. I’ve been lifting regularly for about a year and a half, and I manage to be consistent - I don’t skip workouts at all, but… I can’t always say that I manage to keep my intensity at 100%. Any help with this would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

–Me

  1. I wouldnt say its normal or not normal to have a stiff grip or what not until you get warmed up because every one is different for sure. Howe ever every on edoes need to warm up and your no different. No one can honestly perform at 100% on the first rep of the first exercise. I am sure some can do it better than others but, eventually it would catch up to em.

  2. I have never had a problem staying focused and intense unless I was very overtrained. So I suggest looking at your program, diet and recovery and seeing everything is honestly in check. Other than that loud music ( Rammstein, Pantera, Disturbed just to name my favorites ), watching videos that motivate or reading articles that motivate.

Good luck.

to your second point, intensity is a relative thing, do you mean you are feeling like you just aren’t working hard enough during sessions or do you feel that you just aren’t managing as much volume as you used to? Like Reed said there are things that can affect how intense your workout feels and what you can or can’t do in one session.

Over training can be a reason why you may not be working as intensely as you like, but I don’t think it is. You could simply be stressed out or not eating enough. You could just plain old not be motivated enough.

First off…How old are you? Weight? What condition/shape are you in? How do you train? It will help with answers.

Second, What are you goals? You need to have goals. Some big overall ones (ie: certain body weight/comp…DL or squat PR goal…etc) and lots of simple small ones (add inch to arms, develope rear delts…etc). Goals are what keep me going, keep me pushing and keeps my workouts intense.

Your training structure might be a cause of lack of intensity. If its boring and the same every day, for weeks and months on end, its hard to maintain the intensity. Putting myself in a position to hit rep PRs and weight PRs keeps me interested, and so does putting myself in a position where I have to perform to avoid getting crushed by weight on big lifts. You need to find what motivates you to perform.

1- it’s pretty normal to feel stiff until your stretch/warm up. It’s a very good thing to take your stretching/mobility/warm up seriously.

2- It’s all in your head.

if you don’t do any kind of deloading, that can help with motivation/etc (as well as generally being important)

also I concur on the goals angle

if you can find a training partner that can be useful for making sure you push hard on the days where you really dont feel like it… as well as the friendly competition acting as a goal itself

warming up absolutely does keep you from pulling something, also try stretching more postworkout.

“They can’t all be gems” -Dan John …highlight one workout a week where you really bring it and don’t stress too much about the rest

[quote]kravi wrote:
So I have a couple of questions that I’ve been thinking about lately, and I could use some input. None of these questions are that “serious”, but I am curious.

  1. When I first started lifting weights, I could just go. Now, I feel kinda stiff and weak without warming up first. I mean, I understand the idea of warming up, but is having a stiff/weak grip normal until you are warmed up? I don’t feel like the warmup keeps me from pulling a muscle, I feel like the warmup simply gets my arms and grip warmed up so they aren’t so stiff.

  2. My biggest challenge, I think, is intensity. What do you guys do to stay intense. I’ve been lifting regularly for about a year and a half, and I manage to be consistent - I don’t skip workouts at all, but… I can’t always say that I manage to keep my intensity at 100%. Any help with this would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

–Me[/quote]

  1. When you first started lifting weights you were much much weaker, so there was much less risk involved by not warming up. The stronger you get the stupider it gets to skip warm ups. Not warming up to a 95lb bench press is ALOT different than not warming up for a 300lb bench press.

  2. I assume that if you are aware when your intensity is lacking, there must be times when it isn’t? Do more of that, more often…whatever you’re doing when you acknowledge 100% intensity on your part.

Ok, some info. I’m 36, 200lbs, not sure about bodyfat percentage, but not fat (not lean either, but 34 dress pants waist).

I work out 5 times a week, fairly typical split. Chest, back, arms, shoulders and then legs.

So I guess I should clarify.

  1. I’m just wondering if other people’s hands feel kinda stiff in the morning, though once I warm up they are good for the rest of the day. IE do I need to worry about tendinitis or something. They don’t hurt (right now as I type), but they definitely lack power - and they’ll ache a bit as I start my warmup.

  2. As for the intensity, it is a mental question. I’m looking for tips on what people do to help themselves “bring it” (or whatever) regularly every week. Sometimes going into a workout I feel kinda lazy, lack motivation, whatever. Normal human things. I work out anyway, and I try to get myself excited, but I don’t always succeed. Granted, on other days, I can’t hardly wait until lunch to get started. So really I was just wondering if other people have routines, habbits, things they do, whatever to pump themselves up prior to a workout so the mental intensity is there.

Thanks!

–Me

[quote]kravi wrote:
Ok, some info. I’m 36, 200lbs, not sure about bodyfat percentage, but not fat (not lean either, but 34 dress pants waist).

I work out 5 times a week, fairly typical split. Chest, back, arms, shoulders and then legs.

So I guess I should clarify.

  1. I’m just wondering if other people’s hands feel kinda stiff in the morning, though once I warm up they are good for the rest of the day. IE do I need to worry about tendinitis or something. They don’t hurt (right now as I type), but they definitely lack power - and they’ll ache a bit as I start my warmup.

  2. As for the intensity, it is a mental question. I’m looking for tips on what people do to help themselves “bring it” (or whatever) regularly every week. Sometimes going into a workout I feel kinda lazy, lack motivation, whatever. Normal human things. I work out anyway, and I try to get myself excited, but I don’t always succeed. Granted, on other days, I can’t hardly wait until lunch to get started. So really I was just wondering if other people have routines, habbits, things they do, whatever to pump themselves up prior to a workout so the mental intensity is there.

Thanks!

–Me[/quote]

If your hands start out stiff in the morning, you could have blood work done to see about rheumatoid arthritis. That’s a hallmark symptom right there to begin stiff and have it get better the more that you move.

You don’t always feel motivated? Most people don’t. It’s the people that do it anyway that succeed. I think many expect motivation or intensity to be a feeling of some sort. They aren’t. Just get it done and you will feel better after for it.

[quote]Jackie_Jacked wrote:
If your hands start out stiff in the morning, you could have blood work done to see about rheumatoid arthritis. That’s a hallmark symptom right there to begin stiff and have it get better the more that you move.

You don’t always feel motivated? Most people don’t. It’s the people that do it anyway that succeed. I think many expect motivation or intensity to be a feeling of some sort. They aren’t. Just get it done and you will feel better after for it.
[/quote]

It isn’t rheumatoid arthiritis. I don’t have any of the symptoms at all. The problem for me isn’t the joints. Those are not stiff at all :slight_smile: It is the muscles in the palms which are weak - basically it feals like overuse. Once the muscles warm up, then it is better. Recently I took a week off from lifting (travel) and by the fourth day, my hands felt normal upon waking. Once I returned to lifting 5 times a week, though, my hands got weak in the morning again.

Weird, eh? Not a problem, and I don’t have any pain. Just peculiar.

–Me

To me, grip strength is directly linked to CNS exhaustion… Which, mind you, depends on physical exertion, but also sleep, stress levels etc. An improved grip means I’m well rested, if it goes downhill over the course of several weeks I know my body is having a hard time with the current pace of my life.

[quote]kravi wrote:

  1. I’m just wondering if other people’s hands feel kinda stiff in the morning, though once I warm up they are good for the rest of the day. IE do I need to worry about tendinitis or something. They don’t hurt (right now as I type), but they definitely lack power - and they’ll ache a bit as I start my warmup.[/quote]
    This does sound like some kind of overuse injury, or injury on the horizon, especially since it went away during your rest and came back soon after a return to the gym. Double-check your training routine and see where you can reduce grip work (straps on your heaviest back sets, less dumbbell work, etc.) to give yourself a break for a while.

Like Badger said, Dan John has written about his before:


Basically, it’s unrealistic to expect super-awesome workouts 5 days a week, 20 workouts a month, over and over. As long as you do show up and get through your routine from start to finish each day, you’re ahead of the curve.

For the first exercise of my warm-up, I do a reverse lunge with twist. Among other things, this lets me know if my mind is 100% in the game for the day. I’ve noticed that if i’m having more trouble than usual balancing during the lunges, I’m usually not focused or something’s on my mind, so I make more of a concerted effort to get “in the moment.” In addition, during my walk to the gym (it’s only about 3 blocks from my house), I visual the workout from start to finish, set for set. I can usually get through the session twice in my head, seeing/“feeling” what I’m in for, before I even step foot in the place.

Last habit, which I stole from Dorian Yates, I have workout outfits and music that I only wear/listen to when it’s time to train. Certain shorts and t-shirts are only for the gym, not for mowing the lawn, not for running errands, just training. If a song is on one of my training playlists but comes on the radio while I’m driving, I’ll change the station or else I actually start getting amped up.

Just goes to show you how different people are… I have to make a concerted effort to stay calm. I sometimes close my eyes and meditate a little while resting between squats.

Even a couple hours before I go to the gym, my heart rate picks up and I feel anxious. I also usually have better form when my mind is not on my workout and I can just zone out on life, titties, whatever.

I hope that yates thing isn’t real… last thing I need to do is get all psyched up whenever I hear ryan seacrest… shitty gym radio.

[quote]kravi wrote:

[quote]Jackie_Jacked wrote:
If your hands start out stiff in the morning, you could have blood work done to see about rheumatoid arthritis. That’s a hallmark symptom right there to begin stiff and have it get better the more that you move.

You don’t always feel motivated? Most people don’t. It’s the people that do it anyway that succeed. I think many expect motivation or intensity to be a feeling of some sort. They aren’t. Just get it done and you will feel better after for it.
[/quote]

It isn’t rheumatoid arthiritis. I don’t have any of the symptoms at all. The problem for me isn’t the joints. Those are not stiff at all :slight_smile: It is the muscles in the palms which are weak - basically it feals like overuse. Once the muscles warm up, then it is better. Recently I took a week off from lifting (travel) and by the fourth day, my hands felt normal upon waking. Once I returned to lifting 5 times a week, though, my hands got weak in the morning again.

Weird, eh? Not a problem, and I don’t have any pain. Just peculiar.

–Me[/quote]

A stiff grip in the morning would be a symptom, granted only one. If that’s not an issue than that is a good thing.

[quote]Jackie_Jacked wrote:

[quote]kravi wrote:

[quote]Jackie_Jacked wrote:
If your hands start out stiff in the morning, you could have blood work done to see about rheumatoid arthritis. That’s a hallmark symptom right there to begin stiff and have it get better the more that you move.

You don’t always feel motivated? Most people don’t. It’s the people that do it anyway that succeed. I think many expect motivation or intensity to be a feeling of some sort. They aren’t. Just get it done and you will feel better after for it.
[/quote]

It isn’t rheumatoid arthiritis. I don’t have any of the symptoms at all. The problem for me isn’t the joints. Those are not stiff at all :slight_smile: It is the muscles in the palms which are weak - basically it feals like overuse. Once the muscles warm up, then it is better. Recently I took a week off from lifting (travel) and by the fourth day, my hands felt normal upon waking. Once I returned to lifting 5 times a week, though, my hands got weak in the morning again.

Weird, eh? Not a problem, and I don’t have any pain. Just peculiar.

–Me[/quote]

A stiff grip in the morning would be a symptom, granted only one. If that’s not an issue than that is a good thing. [/quote]

Amen to that! Yeah, I did some reading, but most of the symptoms of stiff grip refer to the joints. My finger joints are limber and loose in the morning, it is just the muscles in my palms that feel strained and tight.

–Me

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
…snip…[/quote]

I didn’t want a 4 page quote of quote of quote, so I’ll just say thanks for the responses. I hope it is not over use, but I think it is. I’ll try to figure out how to keep exercising without straining my grip so much… I mean, I squeeze the bar tight on bench presses, shoulder presses, dumbbell work, barbell rows, well everything, really. How do you stop squeezing and still lift weights?

As for motivation, yeah, I’m constant. I do my full workouts 5 days a week, and I enjoy it immensely. I would just like to minimize the amount of time that I’m feeling 90% during the workout, is all.

I think music is the secret sauce I miss.

–Me

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
To me, grip strength is directly linked to CNS exhaustion… Which, mind you, depends on physical exertion, but also sleep, stress levels etc. An improved grip means I’m well rested, if it goes downhill over the course of several weeks I know my body is having a hard time with the current pace of my life.[/quote]

What is CNS exhaustion?

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
To me, grip strength is directly linked to CNS exhaustion… Which, mind you, depends on physical exertion, but also sleep, stress levels etc. An improved grip means I’m well rested, if it goes downhill over the course of several weeks I know my body is having a hard time with the current pace of my life.[/quote]

My grip is strong when I lift. It just takes warmups to get the muscles in my hand going. Also, I continue to progress in both weight lifted and reps. I have no sense of over training, exhaustion, etc.

–Me