T Nation

TnT's Log - Path to Recovery

I’ve been keeping a log of my workouts for the last few months. It’s been helpful, but pages keep tearing out of my notebook. Therefore, I’m gonna keep my log here on the web. I hope to record the daily workouts and identify patterns of my own training to optimize my exercise efforts. Here’s a brief history:

I’m 30 years old. My leg and foot were crushed by an 800-pound boulder six years ago while taking a land navigation course. After several surgeries, my leg is finally healthy enough to use again! I have very limited range of motion in my right ankle and foot, as well as limited calf strength. Pain is a near-constant when standing, but, what the hey, life goes on. After over half a decade, I can start to squat and deadlift again! More importantly, I can walk and hike.

While recovering from the crushing and the surgeries, I was on a walker/crutches/cane. I used one or the other for at least three years. My triceps grew and my dip numbers went up. Coincidentally, if you want to hit your triceps, get a pair of crutches and take a walk down the street on ‘em! Your arms will burn like you wouldn’t believe! Back on topic, my elbows and shoulders fared well on the crutches, all things considered. However, they got sick of bein’ walked on. Nowadays, I have to be careful to not over-use my upper-body joints. I want to be lifting 10 and 20 years from now.

Due to extremely limited ROM, I can’t run or jump. Olympic lifts are difficult to hit correct form with. Cleans, though, seem to work; I’m still learnin’.

So, that’s a brief sketch of where I’m at. This month’s training focuses on “training my weaknesses”, as CW said in his recent interview. I aim to increase aerobic endurance, leg mass, forearm/grip strength, and shoulder development, while improving my walking distance (four miles at a time and counting) and maintaining chest/back/upper arm muscle.

I appreciate questions, feedback and insight into my training. Here’s to successful exercise endeavors!

My basic stats: 30 years old, 5’11", 195 pounds, training as able for 4 years.

My plan for May is to do what I’ve never done before - just wing it. My elbows, shoulders, and wrists were pretty beat up from lots of lifting. I’m giving them some down time before I start a regimented program once again. However, I’m still training them, I’m just focusing on specific movements and muscle groups.

Delts - increase strength and mass in all three heads
forearms - focus on extensors and grip. I’ve never done grip-specific work before, this should be fun.
quads - build mass and strength. Re-acquire squat form.
abs - more, plain and simple. BF % is about 14%, I’d guess, so I want to shave off fat to see abs more.

First recorded workout, sweetness :slight_smile:

Friday, 5-9-08, Legs

Warm-up on exercise bike, 5 mins.
Static Stretching

single-leg leg press: 4 x 90 - 10, 10, 11, 10
double-leg leg press: 2 x 340 - 8, 8
A1 single-leg leg curl: 3 x 90 - 10, 9, 8
A2 straight-leg dumbell deadlift: 3 x 65lb db’s - 12, 12, 12
squats: 3 x 75, 95, 115 - 5, 6, 6

Rest periods were 60 seconds between sets and 15 seconds between legs in individual leg exercises.

All felt great until the squats - at that point, I was gassed. The leg curl/ sl deadlift supersets were killer! During the squats, I was definitely leaning forward on the last set. Problem is, I need to warm up my ankle and mobilize it with other exercises before I can squat butt-to-ground. Next back squat day, I’m going to do a couple of light leg presses and bodyweight squats, then do the back squats first. Form is key and I really want to get this exercise back.

Next leg workout, both leg curls and dl’s go up to 100 lbs and 70 lb db’s, respectively.

Weekend Exercise

Saturday - 2 mile walk with my dog
Sunday - off, doing stuff for Mother’s Day
Legs were fiercely sore on Sunday, particularly hamstrings and buttox. Wow, that single leg curl/db deadlift combo is excellent.

Whew, it’s been crazy the last few days. My sister’s out of surgery and I’ve been taking care of her, along with the rest of the family. Training has been spotty, but I’m moving forward again.


BW day
push-ups: 85
70* lying leg raises: 85
bw squats: 85
chin-up: 35
dips: 35

This was more fierce than I anticipated. I’m going to do a body weight workout 1x/week. Next week, I should hit 100 reps for push-ups, leg raises and squats and 50 reps for chin-ups and dips. I’ll also add in some walking lunges and perhaps hyperextensions.

1.5 hours of landscaping, shoveling, sifting, and hauling gravel.

1.5 hours sifting, scooping, and hauling rock.

Wednesday, 5/14/08 - shoulders and upper arms, moderate intensity

hammer curl - 4x30lbs: 12, 12, 12, 12
upright db rows - 4x30lbs: 10, 10, 10, 10
resistance cable delt pulls - 4x3 bands: 12, 12, 15, 15

90 second rest between circuits, no rest between A1 & A2 sets

cross-body resistance cable pull - 2x2 cables: 10, 12
tricep cable extensions - 3x2 cables: 20, 20, 16

Shoveled rock for 2 hours this afternoon.

Tonight’s lifting felt great, the high-rep cable really burn. Next week, I move up the hammer curls to 35lbs.

Ahhh, back. After several days off, my sees-ter is recovering well from surgery, back in her house, and I’m back to my regular life. Training today was a power-type day:

hang clean and press - 65, 85, 115, 125, 135 x 8, 5, 5, 4, 4
deadlift - 145, 185, 205, 225, 240, 255 (PR!) x 8, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
farmer’s walk - db’s of 35, 45, 55; walked track around yard

This was a backyard workout, using the good, ol’ star-clip, Big-5 type weights. The deadlifts were deep, as the largest circumference plate I used was a 25-pounder.

The farmer’s walk was around the backyard, up and down slopes, as the yard is nearly .5 acre. Farmer’s walk is starting out light to get my legs accustomed to carrying extra weight. The motion helps with my normal walking gait and enable greater forward drive with my right leg. Yeehaa!

I’m still working on form for the clean’n’press; I didn’t know until last week that my elbows were supposed to shoot forward, in front of the bar, instead of below it.

3 hours of rock haulin’.

Sunday - 5-18

I’m sore today from yesterday’s deadlifting workout, particularly in my traps. The long farmer walks are responsible for that! Today’s exercise was:

2.1 mile walk with my dog.
3.5 hours of chopping and sawing trees.

My walking distance is improving nicely. At this point, I’ve no reason to doubt I could get 4 miles in one, consistent walk. The goal is 10 miles with a 25 pound pack, nonstop. All in good time.

Monday, 5-19

Did my second bodyweight-only workout tonight. Ho-lee-crap. I added another exercise to the mix - lunges. The workout feels more balanced, now that I’ve got another leg exercise. Here’s a list of the total reps, listed in the order the exercises were performed:

push-ups with hexagonal dumbbells as platform: 90
squats: 90
V-ups: 90
dips: 45
lunges: 45 (each leg)
pullups, hammer grip: 45

It was steaming-hot in the gym tonight. The dip/chin-up station kept getting claimed by other people as well, so I had to vary the exercise order to keep things moving. Next BW workout, I should be able to hit the 100/50 prescribed reps for the six exercises. After that, I may break it up into sections and add a couple more movements. One workout at a time, though.

Tuesday, 5-20
Forearms, Abs, Cardio

A1 reverse wrist curls: 3x50 - 14, 14, 11
A2 wrist curls: 3x50 - 20, 20, 15
Performed on standing preacher bench, supersets with 10 seconds rest between exercises and 60 seconds rest between supersets.

120 sec. rest

B1 reverse curls: 3x50 - 15, 12, 11
B2 behind-back barbell rolling wrist curls: 3x80 - 15, 12, 11

120 sec. rest

Seated DB holds: 75lbs x 25 sec. 85lbs x 20 sec. 95lbs x 11 sec.
120 sec. rest between holding sets.

Twisting cable axe choppers: 1x70, 1x80 - 25, 25
hyperextension side raises: bw x 2 - 20, 20
Swiss ball crunches: bw x 2 - 25, 24

Treadmill: 25 minutes, 8.0-8.5 incline. Side stepping, cross-over stepping, backwards walking and forwards walking. Sideways and backwards walking performed @ 1.3 mph/ 8.0 incl, 2 minute intervals per direction. Forwards walking performed at 3.0mph/ 8.5 incl.

Heavy flywheel exercise bike: 20 mins, varying resistance.

Whoof, this was an awesome workout! There was a Thibs article in which he talked about the 3 most overlooked yet important areas of the physique: the glutes, forearms, and midsection. It turns out I’ve got a workout planned exactly around those key areas. In fact, I planned this workout out to hit those areas, acknowledging that they’re weak points in my physique. Thibs’ article, which I read a month after starting this weak points night, validated my intuition.

I’m loving doing forearms and grip work. The wrist curls and such weaken my grip, so it’s difficult to hold heavy db’s. That’s fine, though, cause the db’s at my gym only go to 140lbs. The hip walking is greatly beneficial for my post-surgical mobility. It also addresses strength imbalances in my hips and lower torso. That heavy flywheel bike feels amazing. It’s gonna become a staple.

I was slightly sore from Monday’s bw exercise day; the soreness increased throughout the day. I felt GREAT when walking; the bw lunges and squats are just what I need, right now.

Wednesday, 5-21
Deltoids, Upper Arms

warm-up on UBE (upper body exercycle), 3 minutes

A1 db upright row: 3 x 30lbs - 12, 12, 12
A2 rear delt cable pull on universal: 3 X 30 lbs - 12, 10, 10
10 second break between sets, 90 second break between supersets

B1 standing db military press: 5 x 40, 55, 55, 55, 40 - 8, 5, 6, 6, 7
75 seconds between sets

C1 cross-body, twisting hand cable pull on universal: 2 x 25 - 25, 25
performed 1 arm at a time, 30 seconds between completed sets

D1 standing hammer curls: 4 x 35 - 9, 9, 9, 8
D2 lying decline db triceps extensions: 4 x 25 - 12, 10, 9, 9
10 sec. rest between exercises, 60 sec. rest between supersets.

Hang snatches: 2 light sets, practicing form

This was a great shoulder/arm night. Next time, I get to increase db upright rows to 35 lbs and single hand cables to 30 lbs. The decline db triceps extensions were much more difficult than I anticipated; the hammer curls felt good with the new weight. I really liked this superset combo. The first shoulder cable pull exercise tweaked my left shoulder a little; if that continues, I’ll just bring in my Altus cables to the gym. I’ll keep the weight at the db military press until I hit 3x8 w/ 55lbs. Overall, a great workout. Nest up: legs!

Updating a day after the fact, which means I’ll ge to add another tonight, after the workout. For yesterday:

Thursday, 5-22 Legs

warm-up: 5 mins exercycle, 4 x 8 of overhead squat, side lunge, Scot? squat, reverse lunge. Then, stretching.

Back squats: 1 x 95, ? x 115 - 7, 20 total reps.
Front squats: 2 x 85 - 8, 8
leg extensions, single leg: 3 x 50 - 8, 8, 8

C1 lying leg curls: 3 x 80 - 7, 7, 7
C2 db straight leg dl: 3 x 70lb dbs - 8, 8, 8
Performed with 60 sec. rest between each set.

seated calf raise, single leg: 3 x 15 - 10, 12, 15
heavy fly-wheel bike: 15 mins, varying resistance

This was a much tougher workout than it looks on screen. The squats felt good, particularly after doing the mobility warm-up. I’m going to stick with 115lbs until I get 25 total reps, maybe 30. Then, I’ll hop up the weight.

My right knee pops 2x per squat when doing the front squats, once on the way down, once on the way up. There’s no pain involved, but it is disconcerting, so I’m gonna skip the front squats for a bit. The leg extensions felt good. Lying leg curls were a needed change from the single leg, standing leg curls I’d been doing.

I still like the superset combo of leg curls and straight leg dl’s. This is the first time in over h1/2 decade that I can do calf raises! Yeah, I’ve got very limited ROM, but they still felt good. The exercise bike was a great finisher.

My right knee is feeling strangely tight, the day after this workout. No pain is associated, but it’s not wholly feeling like itself. Probably just a whole new stress that it’s unaccustomed to. I’m gonna take it easy for a day or two on the leg, which I’d do anyways to recover.

Ahhh, I’m back. I ended up taking Friday off; I’d lifted for 4 days straight. It was time for some rest. Today, I lifted back and chest. It felt great; I’ve found the back/chest workout I’m gonna do for the next several weeks. Without further ado, here it is:

5-24, Saturday, Chest and Back

warm up: 5 mins exercycle, 3 mins UBE

incline BB bench press: 115, 135, 155, 175 x 8, 8, 8, 6
90-120 sec rest between sets
incline db pec flyes: 25, 25, 25 x 11, 11, 12
60 sec rest between sets
flat db bench press: 65, 65, 65 x 5, 5, 6
60 sec rest between sets

seated cable rows, wide bar grip: 100, 120, 140, 160 x 8, 8, 6, 5
90-120 sec rest between sets
B1 bent-over lateral db raises: 15, 15, 15 x 10, 10, 12
B2 chest-supported incline db shrugs: 75, 75, 75 x 15, 13, 13
60 sec rest between B1 and B2 sets

This was a great workout. The pec flyes really hammered my upper pecs and the incline bench felt great. Not having a spotter, I couldn’t push as hard as possible, which actually kept me from draining myself too much. Next week, I’m going to up the flat db press to 70 lbs. The rows will take a few more sessions before I can raise them. I’m already looking forward to this workout again.

An update on my last leg workout: my right knee feels less stiff and swollen, but is slightly sore. I’m definitely dropping the front squats for now and I may also cut out the leg extensions for a few weeks.

5-25, Sunday, Cardio and Abs

warm-up: 7 mins on exercycle, stretching
A1 Swiss ball crunches - 3 x bw - 20, 20, 25
A2 5 sec 90* lower leg raise - 3 x bw - 5 (5 sec hold each rep), 6, 7
15 sec rest between sets, 60 sec between supersets

stair stepper (downwards escalator machine) - 20 mins, varying speeds

1.5 hour desert hike later on.

This was a very good day for cardio, as it had both solid-state, long-burn exercise with the hiking and high intensity exercise with the escalator machine. I wanted to do 6 more ab sets, but that required the hyperextension chair, which was occupied. I opted to hit the stairs straightaway instead of wasting time. My pecs are pleasantly sore from yesterday’s workout.

Monday, 5-26

Today marks the first day of my deloading week. Some body parts had a deload 1-2 weeks ago and won’t be getting any extra rest, but other areas have been goin’ steady for a month and need a breather. Today was a back-off day for deadlifts. I threw in some lighter weight, practice hang snatches and regular weight power cleans, to round out the effort.

A1 hang snatch: 65, 85, 85, 85, 105, 65 x 8, 5, 5, 6, 1, 5
A2 db shoulder press: 35, 35, 35, 35 x 10, 10, 10, 10
A3 power clean: 85, 105, 125, 135 x 8, 5, 4, 3

snatch-grip deadlift: 135, 135, 135 x 8, 8, 8

farmer walk: dbs of 35, 45, 55 x walk around back yard track

My knee’s feeling off this week; it was slightly tweaked by my last leg session. I’ve discovered the culprit: side lunges in my warm-up. I’ll not be doing those any time soon. With my leg feeling odd, it was a good week for light dl’s. I felt like I could’ve gotten 270; next week :slight_smile: The farmer walks felt great, as always. Soon, I’m gonna need heavier dumbbells. I’m learning how to properly do the hang snatch, which is exciting. Next week, perhaps I’ll push the weight up 5 pounds for the last set.

Been busy the last few days. Here’s Tuesday’s workout:

5-27, Tuesday, Bodyweight

push-ups: 80
70* leg raises: 80
squats: 80
pull-ups: 40
lunges: 40
dips: 40

It was a tough night. This week was supposed to be deloading, so I didn’t do the full 100/50 reps for the exercises. Next week. I hope :stuck_out_tongue:

5-28, Wednesday, Arms and Shoulders

warm-up: 5 mins recumbent bike

A1 hammer curls: 35(8), 35(10), 35(9)
A2 decline db tricep extension: 27.5(8), 27.5(10), 27.5(9)
B cable curls: 80(10), 90(6), 100(5)/ did entire complex 3 times for a total of 9 sets
C tricep pulldown with rope: 70(8), 80(6), 90(5)/ did entire complex 3 times for a total of 9 sets
D shoulder lateral raise w/ kettlebell: 15(10), 15(10), 15(10)
E plate-loaded shoulder press machine: 35(10), 45(10), 80(5), 80(3), 70(3), 45(5)

Whoof! So much for a deloaded arm and shoulder night. I’ve started working out with one of my bros and it was a great intro night.

Back! I’m off the instinctive training series and back into a regular schedule, working out with one of my brothers.
The breakdown for the weekly workout is:
Sunday - cardio and abs
Monday - bodyweight exercise complex
Tuesday - swimming or off, depending on fatigue level
Wednesday - chest and back
Thursday - legs
Friday - arms and shoulders
Saturday - off

It’s a high-volume routine. I’m going to lower the intensity slightly to tolerate the higher volume. The first 3 days ended up being cardio/endurance-strength days, and the last 3 days are strength/hypertrophy days. The cardio may counter-act big muscle gain, though; time will tell. Without further ado, here’s the week, thus far:

Sunday - Cardio and Abs

warm-up: 5 mins exercycle
10 mins elliptical
30 Swiss ball crunches/20 hyperextensions
10 mins “hip-walking” on treadmill
20 oblique raises/side on hyperextension
10 mins heavy flywheel bike
25 Swiss ball crunches/20 hyperextensions
10 mins elliptical
20 oblique raises/side on hyperextention
10 mins “hip-walking” on treadmill

Wow. This was a fierce ab/cardio day, compliments of my brother’s imagination. My legs were sore the next day, as were my abs. It was challenging, both aeobically and anaerobically.

Monday: bodyweight complex

warm-up - 7 mins exercycle, 500m row machine, static stretching

squats - 75
70* leg raises - 75
push-ups - 75
pull-ups - 39
lunges - 40
dips - 40

Bummer, I puked after 3 sets. Next time, I need to have at least 90 mins between eating and working out. This day is more demanding than any other specific workout I do. My numbers are going down, which is depressing. I’ve noticed, though, that the exercise order affects how many reps I can do of the complex. When I do push-ups first, I’m able to complete more circuits and reps total.

Since my goal is to hit 100/50 for the exercises, I’m going to do push-ups first, leg raises second, and squats third. Thereafter, I’ll go with dips, lunges, and pull-ups. Hopefully, I’ll hit the full rep range next week.

Tuesday - swimming or rest

I rested today, which was much-needed. I hope to get a nice chest/back workout tomorrow.