T Nation

Furo's Comeback Log

Week 5 - Lower Body

Pistol Squats (Left Leg)
BW: 2x5 (free)
BW: 2x10 (to box)

BW: 5x20

Unweighted Reverse Hypers
BW: 100

Bad session today - the free standing pistol squats were horrible. I developed a very sharp pain in my left knee, which has persisted, as well as a lot of crepitus. I was able to do pistols to a box (just above parallel) afterwards, but they were painful. The crunches were fine and the reverse hypers felt really good. This is very frustrating, I cannot afford to damage my good leg in any way. I’m really itching to put weight through my bad leg, I have had enough of this. Not long to go - 1 week today. Until then I’m going to stick with crunches and reverse hypers, no more left leg training.

Week 5 - Upper Body (Morning Gip Work)

CoC Grippers
Trainer: 5x10
Guide: 5x50
Trainer: 5x8
Guide: 5x40
Trainer: 5x6
Guide: 5x30

My Captains of Crush trainer arrived today so I decided to do a high volume grip session. The trainer is a much better fit for me - 5x10 was manageable but a struggle. I finished off with a high rep set of elastic band finger extensions to work the antagonists, and I will hit the gym this evening with my friends.

Week 5 - Upper Body (Continued)

Seated Barbell Press
40kg: 10
45kg: 10
50kg: 10
55kg: 5
60kg: 3

Preacher Curl
27kg: 10-10-10-8-8

Bodyweight: 92.4kg

A nice change from the usual bench press and pull-ups. I’m really excited about all of the grip work I’ve been doing because my grip was holding me back on my single arm kettlebell swings. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but it would be fantastic if I could improve that so when I start swinging again I can quickly progress. Yesterday I did a lot of experimentation with hip stretches and my hips haven’t bothered me at all today.

Week 5 Summary

Bodyweight: 92.5kg

Training: Excellent - 6 upper body sessions (4 gym, 2 home) and 1 poor lower body session.

Nutrition: Good - healthy food supplemented with 2-3 protein bars per day, as well as at least 5 fish oil capsules and 4 multivitamins (inc calcium and vit D).

This has been a great first week of proper training, although I was doing push-ups etc for the fortnight before. The only bad thing has been my knee issue with the pistol squats, which has bugged me again today, but that is ok. I’m itching to start training my lower body again, and I think my usual training - based on goblet squats and kettlebell swings, will probably be quite safe (although I’ll make sure I’m comfortable with bodyweight squats before I try anything weighted).

Week 6 - Upper Body (Light)

CoC Grippers
Trainer: lots x1
Guide: 3x50

Band Pull-Aparts
Red: 10x25

BW: 5x20

I think I did around 50 singles with the trainer gripper, but I wasn’t keeping count. The high volume of grip work has given me a couple of nice new blisters. Otherwise this was a very straightforward session. It’s finally week 6 - my last week of not being able to weight-bear. I have an appointment on Thursday and I think this will be the one where they say I can walk. Walking, driving and bodyweight squats feel like a fantasy.

Wow. I just saw this earlier today - really good to see you logging here and chronicling your recovery. I think your upper body approach has been quite good, and can certainly relate to having some days where you basically just make up a light session (band pull aparts and grip work) just to feel like you did something…keep at it!

Thanks man! Yeah I think these light sessions are more for mental benefit rather than anything physical. Just feels good to move a little!

Week 6 - Core

Unweighted Reverse Hypers
BW: 100

BW: 5x20

This was another nice brief session, but I’m looking forward to the gym tomorrow.

Week 6 - Upper Body (Morning Grip Session)

CoC Grippers
1: 10x1
Trainer: 5x20
Guide: 5x50

Band Curls
Red: 10x25

This was a great grip session. Solid PR with the trainer, although I wasn’t using strict form after the first set - I didn’t manage to close them all and I had to break up the later sets. I’ll hit the gym this evening.

Week 6 - Upper Body (Evening Gym Session)

Bench Press (Legs Up)
100kg: 10x1

Barbell Row (Chest-Supported)
37kg: 10x20

Bodyweight: 92.1kg

This was done as a superset and the final set of bench was done as a dropset. I misjudged the weight for the row - it was just too easy - but the bench press felt great. I’m surprised my bodyweight has stayed so low, I’m now eating a lot more than usual.

Once I can weight-bear I will base my training on bodyweight squats and lunges for at least 2 weeks (while continuing my usual upper body work) but I’m at a loss about what I should do after that. I think my main two options are to either do a dedicated strength phase (probably based on the trap bar deadlift and barbell lunges) or alternatively to revert to my previous training style (kettlebells - lots of swings and goblet squats).

The main advantage of the first option would be psychological - I would really feel that I had fully overcome my injury if I could set some heavy lower body PRs. The main disadvantages would be it’s irrelevance to my long-term training plans (which are kettlebell based) and it’s potential for injury (either of the tibia/knee or setting off my old lower back issues).

The kettlebell option seems more sensible on balance, but it would feel wrong to only train my injured leg with lightly loaded exercises. It might feel like I hadn’t ever fully recovered. I certainly need to have some sort of goal to shoot for to prove to myself that I’m able-bodied again. I think possibly a good hike would be best as I have lost so much conditioning as well as strength, and I think it is likely that walking and certainly running will be harder than static strength movements. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Scotland (and indeed the UK) and it has a good path so that would make a suitable challenge.

I’d really appreciate any input from anyone reading this on what my next moves should be. Although I’m obviously getting ahead of myself and I’ll primarily have to go by what my body will allow me to do.

What are your kettlebell based long term plans? Do you plan to compete in kettlebell sports?

Nothing as structured as that. Prior to my injury I was doing a routine called Simple and Sinister for the second time - it’s an extremely minimalist routine by Pavel Tsatsouline based on just the Turkish get-up and the single arm kettlebell swing. My goal was to manage all of the reps in the time limits with my 40kg kettlebell (5x1 get-ups in 10 min and 5x10 single arm swings in 5 min). After that I’d get a 48kg kettlebell and try the same with that. I’d altered the routine by adding in upper body work - the last time I did it I felt fantastic, but I definitely lost significant upper body strength.

I think my injury will put a stop to the Turkish get-ups, at least in the short term, because kneeling is meant to be really affected by the type of surgery I had. But I’d really like to continue with the single arm swings. 5x10 single arm swings in 5 min is a great test of hip, upper back and forearm strength as well as conditioning.

EDIT: Besides the above my goals weren’t very fixed at all. Just to get better gradually at my usual exercises - bench press, pull-ups, dumbbell rows for upper body and goblet squats and two-handed swings for my lower body (in addition to the Simple and Sinister goals). I’ve never had a clear overarching plan, as I’ve never trained for a specific sport or event. I’ve often picked a certain exercise, e.g. double kettlebell front squats most recently, or my 40kg clean and jerk challenge with ActivitiesGuy prior to that, and pushed them until I’m sick of them/hurt. But overall my training does not follow a set structure.

I think some time spent training outside of the comfort zone would probably pan out better during immediate recovery. It would reduce the temptation to compare old numbers and, by extension, try to match them too early. Doing something you don’t have a lot of background in allows you to focus more on the new activity and pursuing the goals related to that.

Immediately post my ACL tear, I ended up doing a 5 day bodybuilding split that was so unlike everything I had ever done up until that point that it took my mind off the healing and gave me something else to focus on.

I like that idea, thank you very much. I wonder if lunges with kettlebells might be a good idea - it fits with the equipment etc that I already have and is similar to my previous training, but it’s a totally new exercise and so I wouldn’t be able to compare it with previous lifts. It would also target the musculature of my injured leg whilst maintaining a vertical shin, which is surely safer than anything that places a shearing force over the break.

What kind of training do you plan to do once you get the green light to start working your bad leg? Will you continue your strength work or try something different for a bit?

The day I am told I can perform a weighted squat again, my plan is to use whatever the weight limit is and squat that until I have a case of rhabdomyolysis and work back up from there. Pretty much the way I am training now is already built to accommodate my leg once it heals, I would just start swapping out some movements. I scratched the “different” itch with the bodybuilding program, and it was exactly what I needed to do at the time and also reminded me why I got into strongman, as I just couldn’t find myself caring about the training. I may end up doing a powerlifting meet just to get my feet wet with strength sports again, since it’s more static and less risky with the ACL, but otherwise I’m going back to business as usual.

I think KB lunges sound like a solid idea from what you described. Could be something solid to set some goals around.

I like the sound of that! I hope to induce rhabdo on Thursday when I get clearance to do bodyweight squats, I’ll have to do a lot!

Week 6 - Light

Band Pull-Aparts
Red: 10x25

Band Curls
Red: 10x25

CoC Grippers

Unweighted Reverse Hypers
BW: 100

I didn’t keep track of what I was doing with the grippers, but I did my highest volume yet. I did most of my work with the 1 and trainer and I hit a 100 rep set with the guide, which was brutal.

I’m getting really fucking frustrated now.

It happens. I still get my occasional rage spells. You’ll get through this though man.

100 rep set musta been pretty nuts. Bet your forearms are swollen something fierce, haha.

Thanks man, you help more than you know.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot this evening and I think the main thing that frustrates me is the dependence on others. I find that completely sickening. So many of my ideas of “manliness” relate to ones ability to care for both himself and others. And, whether right or wrong, my physical size and abilities play a huge part in my sense of identity. In some ways I feel like I’ve regressed from a man to a child while I’m in this impotent pathetic
state. The vast majority of the time I feel totally fine, but every now and then these feelings manifest themselves as extreme anger.