Yesterday I ended my LBWO in tears, feeling like I had a pathetic workout, hurting because I irritated my lumbar discs, and totally disheartened.
Problem 1. It seems that as I try to increase my LBWO weights, it really starts to trigger the protruding discs I have in L3 and L5 that press against the nerves in my lower back and left leg. I use mainly leg press, ham machine, then free weight calf raises followed by crunches, but I noticed that when I increased my leg press weight yesterday, it began to hurt. I'm going to lower it back down next time and focus on timing and form, but I'm frustrated to think that I'm in some holding pattern and unable to increase weight - I'm NOT HITting. I'm just not, and that frustrates me to no end. Has anyone else dealt with a back injury? How did you work with it?
Problem 2. Not getting anywhere NEAR 8/9 let along 10 on calf raises. I don't have access to a calf raise machine, and I can only hold up to 40lbsx2 free weights - and those hurt my hands more than they do anything for my calves. Any suggestions? I honestly feel like I get more out of standing with the balls of my feet on the edge of the step on the power rack and slowly lifting all the way up, then controlled back down to below parallel, but that's not the same as calf raises holding 80lbs of weight. I can, however, keep my balance and form better.
Basically, I can't use free weights on LBWO because it exacerbates the back injury, but I feel like I'm not making progress. I'm not hitting highs, but feel more like I'm just going through the motions. I know what those HIGHs feel like, and I'm almost angry that I'm not getting there. I WANT that burn!
I went home in tears, sobbing to my husband and wondering if this was worth it. Bless his heart, he gave me a massage and told me he could tell I'm getting leaner already (C1W3D4), but that doesn't change my problems.
"The limits you are living with right now, in every aspect of your existence, have been created by your mind. They are perceptions. And they are holding you back. You are capable of far more than you think you are." -Bill Phillips
I can't speak regarding the back injury issue. But I do know that you can get very nicely defined thighs by doing lighter weights, higher reps. In example instead of the 12,10,8,6,12, try lowering your weight and doing all 5 sets of 15 reps. Focusing on muscle contraction. Also have you tried sumo squats which is toes out feet more than shoulder width apart holding a dumbbell at your waist. If you really squeeze your quads and glutes from the bottom of this until you are standing again, it's a great leg workout.
On the calf raises. Does your gym have a Smith Machine? If not, you should check in to Versa Gripps, they have really helped me to be able to handle the heavier dumbbells.
Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right ~ Henry Ford
Michelle Simpson ~2009 Body-for-LIFE Champion 46+ Catagory
Thank you so much for the encourgement and advice, Michelle. I'll definitely try lighter weights, higher reps on these particular exercises. I'm just a pretty by-the-book person, and was really trying to play by the"rules." I know, however, that I need to be flexible so that I don't a) hurt myself or b) get so frustrated I give in.
We have no Smith Machine, unfortunately - all the Power Racks you could want, though! :P My husband actually HAS Versa-Gripps - I just hadn't thought of using them for this because I don't work out with him (our schedules are opposites) - Duh!! Thank you for that smack-in-the-head. I needed one! I'll get my OWN set! :D I appreciate the advice!
Since my gym only has this rickety old calf press weight rack, I have switched to using the Leg Press Machine to do my calves. I position my feet securely, extend the weight with my legs then flex my calves slowly and come back to where my heels are lower than the platform. I'll switch it up with different stances placing my feet wide apart with the heels pointing out or with my feet almost together with the toes pointing out.
You just had to mention the Smith Machine again, Michelle :-)
I used the Smith Machine for the first time tonight for my bench presses. Yay! Have used it for the last 2 weeks for squats. Yay! I like that big ole intimidating beast of a machine over in the meathead section. :-D
OK. Now you are talking about calf raises with the Smith Machine. Do tell. you know I love me a new challenge.
By the way, next switch will be the one legged bench squats. Ugh! Those look ugly!
I'm kind of bummed becaused i looked for the ?sp? Pec Deck machine. No go at our gym. :-(
Keep the faith!
Faithful Renee :0)
um Renee, you know that they are preparing your "meathead" membership card right now? Yes it may be true. When they ask you to spot them it means love and acceptance. :)
Kimmie-I've had lower back issues; I've been doing barbell squats but have to hold the barbell in front of me as I do not have a squat rack at home. I have noticed that raising the wts. have caused my back to go into spasms so I've noted that in my journal and will try what Michelle suggested in the higher rep lower wt method...I'm at the end of wk four so have to change up exercises anyway...
Oh watch your form on the sumo squats, I had to lower wt. because of the back...
Have you tried the ball squats against the wall? I've been doing the one-legged ones and oh do they burn AND the ball gives a cushion for the back...this might be an option for you. And can you do lunges? Always burning there! How about some adductor/abductor work with some tubing or exercise bands, works those thighs good...
I have same problem with calves so I've been positioning my feet at different angles and doing 12 reps at each position and repeat a couple of times with each, then stand on a stair with a 20# dumbbell (the highest I have) and lower heels over edge then raise on toes, hold for 3 seconds then do that 12 times. I have been getting cramps in my calves so I know I'm working them!!
Take care of your back, make sure you stretch after!!
Renee-can't wait to workout in your "meathead" section of your gym next month! :)
DebMO :0) Blessed to be a Blessing...
Very Clever adaptation, James! I'll definitely have to try that. Thank you for your advice!
Thank you for the great ideas! I hadn't even thought of the ball squats... I'll have to look those up! I have no admit I'm not sure how to do them, but our gym (we have a staff gym at one of our schools) has balls.
Sumo squats irritate it, too... it just doesn't take much to cause the discs to put pressure on those nerves, unfortunately. Lunges I can only do if I use no more than 10x2 lb weight., so I've gotten to where those don't do much for me. :P My husband has a whole cooler full of bands, though, so thank you for that awesome idea - I'll go grab some and throw them in my gym bag! :D
I love your calf ideas, especially the stairs... that seems to be where I get the best benefit, also... when I can go below parallel and go up from that position. I wish our gym had something that would allow me to do that there... I think James's idea with the leg press might be a good place to start!
I appreciate your help and support, Deb! :D You made my day brighter!!
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