The New Gym Equipment

I was in the new B Fit today, ( Balleys) new spinoff. It is all new with the latest equipment. I will give it an A+ for cleanliness. But the isolation machines are made to hold up a cement truck. Well I should say the movable benches could!! as well. Not to mention they are way too high to be a safe product to get a firm footing for any pressing moves. I do not know why these are made now in this fashion. I was dumb bell pressing and it was very awkward due to the fact I could not place my feet flat on the floor, I am average 5′ 11″. This is dangerous and could result in injury,,back to the weight of the benches they are very heavy, to a point that I do believe some people could not lift one end to roll it to where they need. So WAY over kill on bench make-weight. Cable cross over stanchion was nice the choice of weight to use is by flipping a switch which was hard to decipher which weight you have.  A lot of the handles on the isolation machines were big enough for Andre the giant to wrap his fingers around ,,I could see this a problem for folks with smaller hands. OK  the power rack,,,AHHHH the new power racks! well I can say one thing, They are being built-in a fashion to distract serious lifting,,of course my favorite DEAD LIFTS ( I do All mine in a power rack ) They are now building these with the bottom support cross members high enough that the bar bell hits it before any plate bottom does.. This really is bad and takes away from a good power rack,,where it is a STAPLE in building!!.  So what do they have to supplement this?? An Olympic station which has the fat Olympic rubber plates. So only good for Olympic style lifters. Olympic plates are 45 lbs but about 3 inches wide so you can only get about 3 on each end of a bar bell.  Dumb Bells only to 80 lbs.

B Fit is pretty nice and you can get a good enough workout there. But be aware of these new style machines, you will know my frustrations as well.  Call me old school , because I am. I think the older machines particularly the Hammer Strength are tops.

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Lunk Alarm Unjust?

I think all of us that like fitness know where we would like to be in accomplishing our goals.  I most certainly would not join Planet fitness because of the fact that it does not have the equipment that I or other powerlifter/bodybuilders seek.  And of course the members of Planet fitness desire not to be at a hardcore gym and are happy to be in the Planet Fitness environment.   Hence if I did go on a day pass to Planet Fitness in a town where it was the only one available, I know I would not portray the LUNK as they say and harass the customers. And I am sure 99.9% of us would not be characterized as such in their commercial.  I personally have not encountered these individuals.  I find Planet Fitness’s commercial somewhat offensive and highly misleading about the powerlifing and bodybuilding community.

I wanted to get this out and see if any of you see it the same way?

No more big bench

No more big bench presses for me.  Since my torn pec problem two years ago I have been limited to cables and hammer strength.  But its getting the job done.  I am still seeing a massage therapist which has helped tremendously.  I also turned 47 today and it does make a difference in strength, my size is staying about the same.  I have cut down on the weight in my dead-lifts from 605 for reps to 510 and down to 425 for reps.  Squats I am 525 for reps on the smith machine and 415 for reps in the rack.

The pec tear was a huge offset,(it was a 2 inch tear), but I am grateful for the big dumbbells and bench I got before it happened.  I can do up to 100 lbs dumbbells now, but it is awkward to say the least.  I still have  a small dimpled peck area when flexing but it is usually unnoticeable at a relaxed stance.

The scary thing about these tears are the fact that I never had any indications of it coming on.  I felt strong and normal with good presses, the only thing that I could say is I was using the hand made bar that made the weights wobbly and I think my arm got to much outside of a safe zone of stability.  BUT I have heard of muscle tears regardless of proper form.

I would highly recommend warming up the muscles.  I do cable to pump the blood into the muscles before any free press weights.

Ladies and gentlemen our journey in the iron asylum is a hard goal with years of pain and sweat.  It is all worth it.

I cannot stay away from it, injuries or not.

Just use your brain as the first muscle to flex in judging your progress without going beyond something not rational to safety.

Good luck stay safe.

Pec tear update

One of the best gifts I received from my wife was an hour massage from a therapist in town that is recommended.  I have been four times now and this person has done more for helping to restore and heal my torn pec than anyplace else. She can move muscle back into place as she found on out in my upper bicep area that I was unaware of. Since it is back in place my bicep is more proportionate and I have gained strength there as well. I wish that I would have been to this treatment earlier in my injury, but happy to have some needed recovery that is noticeable.  I am able to do dips comfortably< I have not tried weighted ones yet.  Wide grip pull ups are sometimes uncomfortable still.  I would recommend to those who have had a pec tear or other muscle tear to see a massage therapist after you see your sports doctor.   Earlier I went to a chiropractor for Active Release Treatment. (ART). I thought it promising to some degree but the massage therapist is showing results to my severe tear.

 

I decided to take a week off lifting upper body. I have stepped up cardio workouts. I did do squats yesterday, following with leg presses and FST 7 on the leg extensions to finish off a quality workout.

 

Power rack squats

1X 315 12 reps warm up

1X 510  10 reps

1X 510  8 reps

1X 495  6 reps

1X 405  10 reps

Leg press

1X  1100 12 reps

1X 1200 10 reps

1X  1200 10 reps

Leg raises

1X 200 12 reps

1X 190  12 reps

1X  170 8 reps

1X  180 10reps

1X 170 10 reps

1X  190 8 reps

1X 180 10 reps

no more than 30 sec rest between leg raises.

 

 

Today I will be doing more cardio on the stair climber or step climber as I feel this is good equipment in a more vertical redundant to your body weight pacing your heart rate up in a good manner. Compared to the cross trainer or as some would call “elliptical” you are using more centrifugal  force forward and denying a good quality heart rate elevation.

 

Pec tear on 3-10-2011

Good luck in your workouts and keep the challenge up.

Why Deadlift?

 

What Is The Deadlift?

 

Simply put the deadlift is a weight training exercise where you lift a weight (barbell, trapbar, dumbell, stone, keg, sandbag, etc) off the ground starting in a bent-over position and ending in an upright position. It is one of the three basic powerlifting lifts, and is arguably the greatest muscle building and strength producing exercise you can do. It is personall y my favorite lift.

 

Muscle Worked

The Deadlift is considered a compound movement, meaning it involves movement at several joints thus working several muscle groups. The deadlift could be said to work the entire body (ever look at someone deadlifting, are there any muscles not flexing?), but it does give more stimulus to certain groups of muscles. The primary muscles worked in this lift are the hamstrings, gluteals, quadriceps, trapezius, and the psoas. All the other major muscles in your body are used in stabilization.

Benefits Of Deadlifting

  1. Efficiency, Maximum Muscle, Minimum Movement
  2. Arguably the greatest strength builder out there.
  3. Great exercise for injury prevention, strong backs and hamstrings provide protection against many injuries.
  4. Bragging rights. So few people actually deadlift anymore that you will quickly become stronger than most people you know.
  5. Builds confidence. It feels amazing to know you can lift a heavy weight of the  floor. Strange but true.
  6. Requires very little space.(Good if you workout in a small room or cluttered basement)
  7. Doesn’t require any fancy equipment.
  8. Strenght built from deadlifting translates to many other exercises.
  9. Greater Energy. I know this would seem to be a unlikely benefit from a strength movement, but a stronger body is a more energetic body.
  10. A great cardiovascular workout! What? It’s true. Doing deadlifts in a high repetition fashion is an amazing cardiovascular exercise. Don’t believe me? Try doing 3 set of 20 repetitions with a moderately heavy weight(moderately heavy for you). If you’re not huffing and puffing like you just ran 10 sprints I’ll eat my words.

Tips On Technique

When bending down to grasp the bar you should keep the following points in mind:

  • Look straight ahead or slighty up.
  • Keep your back straight.
  • Squat down till your legs are slightly above parallel.
  • Will vary, but torso should be roughly 45 degrees to your thighs.
  • Feet shoulder width apart.
  • Arms slightly outside your knees.
  • Bar should be around 2″ (give or take according to your biomechanics) in front of your shins.

Good night’s sleep for powerlifters

Alright, so it is important to not forget you’re a powerlifter even when you step out of your gym environment.  You know the things that go into your daily routine as an athlete you breath feel and smell powerlifting,,So let’s make sure you are able to “dream about it” too.  After a training set in the heavy section of the muscle department you are probably at bedtime ready for a good night sleep.  I sleep on a firm mattress I am a side sleeper and as the case keeping your spine in its natural state through out the night is very important to spinal health and minimising injury during lifts.  In addition to my mattress I have a 3 inch memory foam that is really good at keeping your natural spinal form. I have not slept on a “tempurpedic” and they are quite expensive too. I have layed on one in a store and they feel allot like my memory foam maybe a little firmer. But the memory foam is 40 to 80 dollars verses $1700.00 for a tempurpedic.  I also use a memory foam or firm pillow allowing the neck vertebra to stay in sync with the spine.  I took the foam off and switched beds putting on a thick down pad with a smaller pad on that making my bed very soft.  I slept well with this and it felt comfortable but I started having lower back pain.  So I switched the pads out and back to the memory foam and after a few nights it went away.  I am not saying you should change out your bed because my type of bedding may not work for you.  I fly for a living so I have slept in many many hotels across our nation.  Some of their beds really are bad.  And the pillows worse.  I have mixed feelings about the “sleep number” bed.  I slept on them at the Radisson they seem to be ok.  So you know when you go compete and your staying at a hotel you probably notice back pain the next day or two.  Unrelated to the back pain after those squats and dead lifts.  Or maybe you could not tell between the pain if any.  So some people take their pillow with them on an overnight why not roll up some memory foam and take it too?.  Seeing a chiropractor to make sure all is straight my be in the cards for you as well.  Make up your nest for the night before the competition and dream heavy!

Active Release Techniques update

I have had two appointments now with the chiropractor trying the ART active release treatment. I think it is a little too soon to tell of improvement to my torn pectoral injury. He informed me that due to the severity of the tear that ART would not put the muscle back in its original condition but indeed will help overall verses no treatment. I do notice my range of motion in my arm is improving just after the second treatment. I am confident of this therapy.  Breaking up the adhesion’s or scar tissue improves soft muscle tissue repair in the injured area.  Also the training of ART is specific to feeling for adhesion’s.  He found additional adhesion’s I did not know about and he worked those areas as well.  The stretching and kneading of the muscle area is slightly painful but feeling like something is working. I will keep an update in the near future. I feel this is going to be a good treatment decision.

                     Below is a summary of this therapy

 

What is A.R.T. and how does it work?

Active Release Techniques (ART) is a non-surgical way of diagnosing and treating myofascial adhesion/scar tissue within muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments. When soft tissue is injured, it literally “gets sticky”: Filaments of the muscle tissue get bound together, forming dense scar tissue or adhesion’s, restricting blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles. This causes the muscle to become tight and leathery, like a leather belt rather than an elastic rubber band. These adhesion’s impede movement, cause the muscle to become less elastic and less flexible, and may entrap nerves. The “gluing” together of the muscles leads to pain, weakness, and improper function. The pain comes and goes and each flare-up is a little worse. The cycle continues.
 

Dr. Mike Leahy, the founder of Active Release Techniques, explains more, “The ‘art’ of it all is being able to know where to look for adhesion’s, how to feel for them and how to use active motion of the body part to break them up. Active motion separates this procedure from most other soft-tissue manipulation techniques. To break an adhesion, you actually have to put your thumb and fingers on it and make it move in a way that breaks it away from the tissues.”
 

During a session, both the doctor and the patient can feel the adhesion break apart. “It kinda hurts,” Leahy says. “But most people describe it as ‘hurts good’. ” The results are usually noticeable within the first few treatments. While some patients need further treatments, many can maintain the improvements with a proper diet, exercise and a stretching/strengthening program.
 

A.R.T. is not massage. Deep tissue massage, rolfing, and trigger point techniques all use a kneading motion or deep pressure to “smash” the adhesion. A.R.T uses lighter pressure and more friction to “shear” the adhesion. Trying to crush an adhesion can lead to damaging the healthy muscles tissue.. A.R.T. uses more tension and friction to break up adhesion’s in the injured areas of the muscle. For additional information visit http://www.activerelease.com

Active Release Technique and my pectoral recovery

Pectoral Tear

This is what my injury looked like in March. Does not look this way today.

After seeing the sports doctor and reviewing my MRI I am still in the healing process of this muscle tear. He is solid in view of at least a year of healing with the realization of a non complete recovery. It has been 3 months now since my injury. I have improved slowly in weight for pressing movement.  However I cannot go and rep or even try over 300lbs on the bench.  I am taking it slow and I am determined to beat this injury.  It has a level of depression when you cannot do what you used to in the bench press or dips or dumbbell presses. When I am doing flat bench dumbbells or any pressing movements I do notice the deformity of my left pectoral muscle. It is not noticeable in normal body movements.  I am able to do all the other heavy lifts so I am grateful for that.  Now that surgery is not an option I am going to try ACT (active release therapy) I have an appointment set up next week and I am looking forward to see if this will help in the healing process. I will paste below the therapy details.  And I will keep you up to date if this works.

 Active Release Treatment

ART is a patented system of soft tissue treatment that is the #1 choice for conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, whiplash, back pain and other muscle, nerve and joint conditions. It has become the world wide gold standard in the treatment of such conditions. This year at the 25th Ironman Triathlon World Championship over 1000 Active Release Techniques treatments will be given in the week of the race. Why? Because elite athletes know that ART works fast, gets rid of the pain and improves performance.

ART is a procedure that reduces adhesive scar tissue that is formed when the body repairs injuries it suffers because of repetitive motion, bumps, falls, or blows. The formation of adhesive scar tissue in the tendons, ligaments and joints is often the primary culprit in long-term pain. Although muscles get injured most frequently, they also heal more easily on their own. Tendons, ligaments and joints, on the other hand, often take months or years to heal and often stay injured for a lifetime.

Adhesion is the medical term for scar tissue. Scar tissue is abnormal tissue that can form during the healing process. Scar tissue inside the body often connects two parts of the body that are not suppose to be connected, which can result in pain. Dense cohesive adhesions connect two pieces of tissue together tightly, similar to gluing two pieces of wood together. There is no space in-between the two pieces of tissue.

When the tissues of the body are injured the body repairs the damage area by laying down a fibers that surround the affected area; this is adhesive scar tissue. It’s called “adhesive” because the fibers stick to the affected tissue and protect it while the injured tissue heals. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, because the injured party often doesn’t sufficiently rest the affected parts, the adhesive tissue is laid down in a chaotic fashion. The result is that the adhesions are not always laid down in smooth, even layers, and do not follow the direction of muscle action. The fibers thus are laid down against the grain, tightly constrict the tissues, and limit the range of motion. When motion beyond the range is attempted, pain results; avoiding pain therefore requires that one live with much reduced range of motion of the affected parts of the body.

Adhesive scar tissue can lead to pain in virtually any part of the body that’s been injured, including the neck, back, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, hip, knee, ankle and foot. If you’ve been told you have tennis or golfer’s elbow, rotator cuff tendonitis, heel spur, pinched nerves, sciatica, to name a few, then the chances are good that the cause of this pain is adhesive scar tissue.

Healthy soft tissue is healthy, it is smooth and slippery, allowing the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and organs to move freely and function properly. When adhesions attach to muscles, their ability to work properly is decreased. When you have an adhesion on a nerve, numbness, tingling, or pain result.

Imagine a piece of scotch tape, the smooth side is healthy fascia, the sticky side is scar tissue or unhealthy fascia. Try rubbing both sides of the tape along your skin. The smooth side slips easily across your skin. The sticky side drags across your skin. The drag that you feel, the “pulling” sensation is how an adhesion affects the smooth functioning of your body.

Because Active Release Techniques (ART) is able to resolve chronic injury and pain that have not responded to other forms of therapy, it one of most sought after soft-tissue treatments in the world today, and is widely used on to treat sports-related injuries. Indeed, a variety of Olympic athletes from many countries cite the technique as one of the factors that help them win gold medals

Powerlifting Injuries – How Muscles Get Injured And How To Treat Them

Hello all>>Iam sharing this interesting artical written by Ken Kinakin, D.C., C.S.C.S. (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist). We all know how an injury could break you in competition or take you out of the PowerLifting events for life. I am still dealing with my injuries,,and in this sport “count on getting them” Here is somthing to think about

Powerlifting injuries can come from a variety of sources. Examples of this may be poor lifting technique, lifting beyond your capabilities or training too often without proper rest or recuperation. All of these sources can lead to microtrauma, or small injury, that can get worse over time. Because you don’t recognize that the is injury there, you reinjure yourself frequently. This repeated microtrauma can eventually have a profound effect on the specific action of the joint and the surrounding tissues. The effects of the microtrauma include the microtearing of the muscle, the sheath around the muscle and the adjacent connective tissue, as well as stress to the tendon and its bony attachments. The microtearing of the muscle tissue leads to microscopic bleeding, all of which affects the entire area around the injury, contributing to what is commonly know as inflammation. Most people assume that inflammation can be easy to detect like the swelling around a badly sprained ankle. This is not always the case however. Microtrauma causes a corresponding low level of inflammation that cannot be seen or palpated.

The body responds to this myofascitis, inflammation of the muscle and fascia, by forming fibrous adhesions, or scar tissue in the muscle, between the sheaths of adjacent muscle groups and between the fascia and the muscle sheaths. These fibrous adhesions limit the ease and range of motion of muscles and joints and can decrease the muscles lengthening and shortening capabilities. Once the normal biomechanics of the joint is altered, this can lead to further inflammation and the pattern becomes a vicious cycle of long-term wear and tear.

This fibrous adhesion pattern can be seen in people who do certain exercises such as bench press and complain of the same pain in the exact same spot. This doesn’t happen by chance. The fibrous adhesion formed in the shoulder muscle is preventing proper motion and pulling on the various soft tissue structures like muscle, fascia, tendon and bursae when trying to perform the bench press.

Taking time off lifting will decrease the chronic inflammation, but it will not decrease the fibrous adhesion. As soon as you start lifting again, the fibrous adhesion will increase the inflammation and stop you from doing this exercise due to pain. An analogy would be if your car tire hit the curb on a icy road altering the tire alignment causing the tire and car to shake when driving. Putting the car in the garage for one month and not driving will prevent further damage to the tire and steering linkages, but it will not fix the wheel alignment. You have to take it to a mechanic that will properly assess the altered wheel alignment and then he balances it until it spins perfectly again. The same thing occurs when you have an injury. You have to identify all the possible fibrous adhesions in the muscle, then perform some soft tissue therapy on the muscle to break up all those fibrous adhesions in the muscle, muscle sheaths, tendons, ligaments and fascia. This will restore normal motion to the muscle and joint allowing proper movement and function. One of the latest soft tissue techniques that is being used on athletes all over the world is call Active Release Technique (or A.R.T.) that was created by Dr. Micahel Leahy D.C. A.R.T. is aimed at manually breaking up adhesions, the scar tissue that can entrap muscles, tendons, ligaments and even nerves.

The new procedure is similar to some massage techniques, only it’s more aggressive. You must be able to locate the adhesion and know how to use active motion of the body part to break them up. To break up an adhesion, you must actually put your thumb or fingers on the scar tissue and make it move in a way that breaks it away from the tissue it has adhesed to. Depending on the amount of chronic inflammation and severity of the adhesion, the pain can be minimal to quite intense, but the procedure is only done a few times and the relief from the injury can be almost immediate at times. Sometimes with less severe injuries only three to six sessions are needed to restore normal muscle and joint function along with proper guidance of exercise technique, stretching and diet to prevent the injury from reoccurring. More severe injuries can take longer and other forms of therapy must be regularly performed to fully restore normal muscle and joint function. After the adhesions are broken up, a rehabilitation program should be used to strengthen the muscles since certain muscles in the point will have been not properly strengthen due to altered biomechanics.

This has been a very useful and common sense therapy that has worked very well for my patients and complements all the other treatment modalities I use. It has allowed many of my patients to get back to the weight room pain free, full strength or runners back running at their full potential. If you have a current injury that will not go away, even with other forms of treatments or rest, this maybe an appropriate therapy for you to try.

http://www.activerelease.com/

Are smelling salts effective

When competing in powerlifting events, smelling salts and ammonia caps are widely used among athletes to hype them up and before the “big” lift.  ammonium carbonate  is the active compound.  Smelling salts have been around since Roman times and also known as ‘sal volatile’ for their ability to create a reaction. Many powerlifters use salts before the big lift.  The salts when inhaled irritate the mucus membranes of the nose, throat, and lungs, stimulating the body to breathe more quickly.  There is wide controversy between powerlifters using salts. However it is legal in most competitions and is accepted as a form of “natural stimulants.  I have not used smelling salts and have done well in my big lifts.  In my opinion I believe smelling salts are very effective to hype you up and focus on your big lift. You see powerlifters inhale the salts and then slap their face to get adrenalin flowing and peak their lift performance in those brief minutes of the lift.  The salts are inexpensive ranging around 5 US dollars per bottle. They should be stored in your gym bag and be aware of not to place your bag in the sun or over a heater vent as due the ammonia in smelling salts are toxic.  Ammonia gas is toxic, large concentrations could be fatal so do not stick your head in your gym back to smell for a leak!.  Although there has been no reports of any its best to treat it carefully so you’re not the first to be a fatality.  When using the salts in competition it would be good to brief your partner or coach to make sure the lid is on tight after they administer the open container under your nose.  If you are going to try smelling salts for the first time it would be better to try in an area if you get nausea it will not be an embarrassment.  Although there has been no reports of getting ill from the salts some people may be inherently susceptible to a reaction. In conclusion smelling salts are safe to use in small quantities and depends on your view in use of  an aid in powerlifting.

Good luck in all your training and competitions!