Ask me your fitness questions

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SpyderEdgeForever
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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:27 pm

Yeah I was asking not only about the statistical levels of injuries caused by it but also, for my own personal concern: I used to lift weights consistently, and it was actually very beneficial, but then I started feeling a lot of muscle aches. Now, I may not have been doing it right, but, I admit: I kindof scared myself off of it, because, I began to read about spine and back related injuries.

A related question: If someone was on a low budget and didn't have access to professional weight lifting machines, would you recommend them to use 'home made replacements', such as heavy books, bricks, and cheap weights, as long as they knew how much they were lifting, and did it right, or, would you recommend against that?

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby Johnnie1801 » Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:54 am

sbaker345 wrote:I pull with a rounded upper back. It looks like wrong form to a lot of people. That is part of the reason you hear about people using terrible form with no Injuries
Without seeing you lift I think it's safe to say that you probably have a weak posterior chain. If you address your weaknesses your form will improve and your lift will go up.

If you lift sumo or conventional you should always try to maintain the arch in your lower back and push your chest out.
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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby Johnnie1801 » Fri Aug 14, 2015 12:22 pm

SpyderEdgeForever wrote:Yeah I was asking not only about the statistical levels of injuries caused by it but also, for my own personal concern: I used to lift weights consistently, and it was actually very beneficial, but then I started feeling a lot of muscle aches. Now, I may not have been doing it right, but, I admit: I kindof scared myself off of it, because, I began to read about spine and back related injuries.
Hi SEF, it really depends what you are doing. Most people who start training in a gym will experience muscle aches. Each time you lift weights your muscles experience micro tears and the next day they can be sore (DOMS, Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness). The plus side is that when your muscles recover (24h for small muscle groups and 48 for large) they will be stronger.

Injuries occur more often when using free weights at a maximal level. If you over reach yourself you can do some damage, especially if you don't have a good training programme. Personally, I have had some shoulder injuries, hernia and a prolapsed disc. All my injuries came from being stupid.
SpyderEdgeForever wrote:A related question: If someone was on a low budget and didn't have access to professional weight lifting machines, would you recommend them to use 'home made replacements', such as heavy books, bricks, and cheap weights, as long as they knew how much they were lifting, and did it right, or, would you recommend against that?
It really depends on what you want to achieve. If you just want to be healthier/loose some weight then just making some changes to your diet and getting some exercise, like a 20 minute walk might be enough (you actually burn more calories walking 1 mile than you do running a mile). Add in some bodyweight exercises like push ups, sit ups, squats and triceps dips etc. and you're all set to go.
Currently enjoying Spyderco's in - S30V, VG10, Super Blue, Cruwear x4, CTS XHP, S110V x2, M4 x3, S35VN, CTS 204P x2, S90V, HAP 40, K390, RWL34, MAXAMET, ZDP 189, REX 45


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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby tvenuto » Fri Aug 14, 2015 2:11 pm

sbaker345 wrote:I pull with a rounded upper back. It looks like wrong form to a lot of people. That is part of the reason you hear about people using terrible form with no Injuries
It's not "wrong" per se, although it could definitely be riskier than keeping a neutral spine. Rounding your upper back has the effect of shortening your body, which gives you mechanical advantage when deadlifting. You can get away with it because your thoracic spine (the middle/upper back) has a "positive" curvature in it already, instead of a "negative" curvature like your cervical (neck) or lumbar (low back). I'm actually unsure whether or not positive/negative are the right ways to refer to these, but I think you understand my meaning. See below:

Image
Donut wrote:I believe the reasoning is that if you are supporting weight with your back bone and not your back muscles, you have a chance of hurting your spine. I think I would rather pull a muscle in my back 10 times before I injure my spine once.

It probably depends on how much you are rounding your back.

Yeah, when it comes to hurting bones, I try my best to use perfect form.
Your spine is a series of bones separated by soft disks, and as such it is quite unable of supporting a side load sine it isn't a rigid structure. Think of your spine like a stack of jenga blocks; it can support a very large weight if stacked directly on top of it, but it will fall apart if pushed from the side. Your core muscles are like putting a water wing around the jenga blocks, so any load coming from the side is supported by the muscles.

A herniated disk happens when you excessively change the curvature of your spine, and then load it. Since the pressure on the disk is now uneven, it has the change to squirt out one side. Since your upper back is already rounded in that direction, rounding it a little more isn't significantly changing the curvature. Plenty of people lift a lot of weight without injury (see below), although I would say they are certainly risking injury more than keeping a neutral spine. Anyone who did not absolutely need the biggest possible deadlift I would coach to lift with a weight that allowed them to keep a neutral spine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smJZNxZUptc
Johnnie1801 wrote:Without seeing you lift I think it's safe to say that you probably have a weak posterior chain. If you address your weaknesses your form will improve and your lift will go up.

If you lift sumo or conventional you should always try to maintain the arch in your lower back and push your chest out.
If you watch the above vid, it would be hard to say that this guy has a weak posterior chain. It's more of a habit that allows a bigger deadlift because the body is shorter. Gaining postural endurance/strength is certainly helpful in the long run, but it probably won't actually increase the deadlift, if that's what you're primarily concerned with. The arch in the low back absolutely needs to be maintained to avoid injury, as I mentioned, it's rounded in the other direction, so reversing the curvature significantly increases the chance for injury. Most low back injuries are actually caused by muscle spasms due to your body feeling that it's in the wrong position, so it clamps down to avoid further injury.

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby sbaker345 » Fri Aug 14, 2015 2:38 pm

Johnnie1801 wrote:
sbaker345 wrote:I pull with a rounded upper back. It looks like wrong form to a lot of people. That is part of the reason you hear about people using terrible form with no Injuries
Without seeing you lift I think it's safe to say that you probably have a weak posterior chain. If you address your weaknesses your form will improve and your lift will go up.

If you lift sumo or conventional you should always try to maintain the arch in your lower back and push your chest out.

KK, Layne Norton and Pete Rubish all pull with rounded upper backs. The reason this is typically done, is it lessens the range of motion, and also puts your hips closer to the bar reducing torque. It's a complicated lift that depends a lot on mechanics. allowing thoraxic flexion brings the lift into more balance for me, When I solely train arched my lockout tends to get even more disproportionately strong however my off the floor strength barely moves.


My point with the post above was its easy for a newbie to see someone pulling with a rounded upper back and equate it to rounded lower back and wonder why people don't get hurt from bad form, when in reality it is not.

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby tvenuto » Fri Aug 14, 2015 7:26 pm

sbaker345 wrote:KK, Layne Norton and Pete Rubish all pull with rounded upper backs. The reason this is typically done, is it lessens the range of motion, and also puts your hips closer to the bar reducing torque. It's a complicated lift that depends a lot on mechanics. allowing thoraxic flexion brings the lift into more balance for me, When I solely train arched my lockout tends to get even more disproportionately strong however my off the floor strength barely moves.
Sounds like its time to move beyond straight up deadlifts to make your deadlift stronger. You seem to have at least done some research, so I'm sure none of these things are new suggestions. I'm a fan of deficit deadlifts to help with off-the-floor strength, and I like GH raises in general for deadlifting. Some outside the box suggestions are make sure both legs are pulling their weight (sorry). Do some single legged GHD hip extensions (below) and you might be surprised how much harder one side is than the other. This means you aren't able to activate that side as powerfully, and working single leg posterior chain movements will be very helpful. Some others: Single leg DLs, single leg RDLs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99TWKf4wUg0

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby tvenuto » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:15 pm

SpyderEdgeForever wrote:Yeah I was asking not only about the statistical levels of injuries caused by it but also, for my own personal concern: I used to lift weights consistently, and it was actually very beneficial, but then I started feeling a lot of muscle aches. Now, I may not have been doing it right, but, I admit: I kindof scared myself off of it, because, I began to read about spine and back related injuries.

A related question: If someone was on a low budget and didn't have access to professional weight lifting machines, would you recommend them to use 'home made replacements', such as heavy books, bricks, and cheap weights, as long as they knew how much they were lifting, and did it right, or, would you recommend against that?
I built a gym and I don't have access to "professional weightlifting machines." I am the professional weight lifting machine, think about that one. Obviously, I think you can do a ton of stuff with some basic equipment and your body weight. Remember that time I challenged someone here to work on doing 100 burpees in 5min (1 burpee every 3 sec)? Give that a try and see how it affects you. The main thing is you need to make it progressively harder to keep driving adaptation. You should be able to find a ton of cheap free weights on craigslist or similar. When we were starting out that was the route we went. Look for 50c a lb or cheaper. Sometimes you can get whole sets for next to nothing.
Johnnie1801 wrote:It really depends on what you want to achieve. If you just want to be healthier/loose some weight then just making some changes to your diet and getting some exercise, like a 20 minute walk might be enough (you actually burn more calories walking 1 mile than you do running a mile). Add in some bodyweight exercises like push ups, sit ups, squats and triceps dips etc. and you're all set to go.
This is good advice but we really need to divorce ourselves from the notion that "burning calories" is the purpose of working out training. One day, god willing, the fitness industry will look back on the "burning calories" thing like medicine looks back on bloodletting. It was a way for ineffective trainers and fitness programs to say: "Hey, we're doing something! You burned calories!" Don't burn calories, drive adaptation. You're either getting better, or you're wasting your time.

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby Donut » Fri Aug 14, 2015 10:51 pm

T, that dude has skinny legs. His range of motion with his legs is only a few inches. It looks like he's compensating for the weak legs by powering it up with his upper body.

There's a video from Elliot Hulse on youtube about rebuilding your dead lift. I'm trying to work on that.

I had a problem a while back, I could do 6 reps on dead lift with 295 lbs, but I could only get 10 reps with 225 lbs. I figured I should be able to get 30-ish reps with 225. I'm making an effort to get my reps up with 225 lbs.
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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Sat Aug 15, 2015 8:52 am

I have a question regarding protein shakes. I forget if someone already mentioned this or not: What are some lower cost alternatives to the expensive protein shakes and protein powders in places such as GNC and health food stores? Or are there any alternatives that can equal the same levels of concentrated protein and other nutrients in those shakes and powders?

Related question: Would you suggest a person drinking such a shake on a regular basis, as part of their regular food intake, or, are these mostly focused for people who are specifically involved in athletics and major exercise?

Third question: From what you have seen, how do the mass-market nutrient drinks, like Ovaltine and Carnation Instant Breakfast, and those types, measure up to the specialized protein powders in health food and vitamin stores?

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby sbaker345 » Sat Aug 15, 2015 8:58 am

tvenuto wrote:
sbaker345 wrote:KK, Layne Norton and Pete Rubish all pull with rounded upper backs. The reason this is typically done, is it lessens the range of motion, and also puts your hips closer to the bar reducing torque. It's a complicated lift that depends a lot on mechanics. allowing thoraxic flexion brings the lift into more balance for me, When I solely train arched my lockout tends to get even more disproportionately strong however my off the floor strength barely moves.
Sounds like its time to move beyond straight up deadlifts to make your deadlift stronger. You seem to have at least done some research, so I'm sure none of these things are new suggestions. I'm a fan of deficit deadlifts to help with off-the-floor strength, and I like GH raises in general for deadlifting. Some outside the box suggestions are make sure both legs are pulling their weight (sorry). Do some single legged GHD hip extensions (below) and you might be surprised how much harder one side is than the other. This means you aren't able to activate that side as powerfully, and working single leg posterior chain movements will be very helpful. Some others: Single leg DLs, single leg RDLs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99TWKf4wUg0

I might try those single leg extensions, I've also been doing 3 sets of reverse hypers after pulling or squats. Which seems to be strengthen my erectors quite a bit. I did weighted hypers ala pete rubish quite a bit at the college gym, worked up to about 225 I believe. Not sure if it helped much though because I was pulling arched then.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clRuluunHN4

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby sbaker345 » Sat Aug 15, 2015 9:02 am

Donut wrote:T, that dude has skinny legs. His range of motion with his legs is only a few inches. It looks like he's compensating for the weak legs by powering it up with his upper body.

There's a video from Elliot Hulse on youtube about rebuilding your dead lift. I'm trying to work on that.

I had a problem a while back, I could do 6 reps on dead lift with 295 lbs, but I could only get 10 reps with 225 lbs. I figured I should be able to get 30-ish reps with 225. I'm making an effort to get my reps up with 225 lbs.

Touch and go, or do you reset each rep? when you say 6 with 295 and 10 with 225. Do you have trouble locking any more than that out or can you not break it off the floor? Also if you can do 225 for 30 reps my hats off to you man. I did 77 reps in either 15 or 30 minutes, Can't remember which, and i laid on the gym floor for about that long trying not to pass out.

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby tvenuto » Sat Aug 15, 2015 11:15 am

Donut wrote:T, that dude has skinny legs. His range of motion with his legs is only a few inches. It looks like he's compensating for the weak legs by powering it up with his upper body.
Ah young grasshopper, much to learn.

One: I think you just called a guy who is doubling you up on the DL "skinny legged." You might watch doing that in an non-internet setting ;).

Two: the reason his legs look "skinny" is because they are long in relation to his body. Thus, the muscle mass is distributed over a longer area, and the circumference will be smaller than someone with identical mass and shorter segment lengths.

Three: As I mentioned earlier, he has long legs and a short torso, which changes his angles on the deadlift (to his advantage actually). His hips will be higher than an athlete with a longer body and shorter legs. However, he is still moving through plenty range of motion, the issue is that you're looking at his "legs" (knee angle), when you should be looking at his hip angle. The upper body can't open the hips, only the hip extensors can do that: glutes and hamstrings (primarily). The DL is mainly a hip opening movement.

Four: If having long legs and a short body is good for deadlifting, rounding your upper back effectively shortens your body and compounds that advantage. It may not be risk free, but the below olympic lifter is abusing his knee ligaments to get into a deeper squat, and no one whines at him or says he has poor form.

Image

Five: When it comes to absolute strength, your nervous system is more important than your muscle mass, but more on NME later.

Six: I know all this, in part because I was a mechanical engineer who entered coaching, but also because I have long legs and a short torso.
Donut wrote:There's a video from Elliot Hulse on youtube about rebuilding your dead lift. I'm trying to work on that.

I had a problem a while back, I could do 6 reps on dead lift with 295 lbs, but I could only get 10 reps with 225 lbs. I figured I should be able to get 30-ish reps with 225. I'm making an effort to get my reps up with 225 lbs.
You're (somewhat) talking about neuro-muscular efficiency (NME), although when you get into the range of 30 reps other factors start to play into it.

If you have High NME, you are good at activating a lot of your muscle mass, but this results in you being able to do LESS reps close to your 1RM. Your 1RM would be much higher than your 5RM.

If you have Low NME, you are not good at activating a lot of your muscle mass at once, and thus can do MORE reps closer to your 1RM. Your 1RM and 5RM might be quite close.

Here's a good test:
Do a 1RM deadlift.
Rest 5min
Do a maximum rep set @ 85% of 1RM. (Try to be sure that you're not taking a lot of rest between reps of the DL, as there is potential for abuse on the DL in particular)

If you get 3-5 reps, you have High NME.
If you get 6-9 reps, you have average NME (for a male who lifts weights)
If you get 10+ reps you have Low NME

Being High or Low NME isn't bad, it's just how you present as an athlete based on your previous training. However, if you want to do more reps closer to your 1RM, you'll need to work reps, and thing like Every Minute On the Minute (EMOM) protocols.

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby sbaker345 » Sat Aug 15, 2015 12:12 pm

An example of long legs, short torso when pulling conventional arched :o Felt like a mile.

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby Donut » Sat Aug 15, 2015 12:30 pm

I do touch and go. Well, until I get to the end of my set, I might pause on the ground on the last one or two. I don't fail to get it off the ground, I stop when I feel like the muscle is fatigued.

It's been forever since I've maxed on anything. The lowest reps I've done in the past 5 years is 3 and I've never tested my max with deadlift in my life.

Is that the only way to test it?

The thing is, this feels opposite what I expect to see on my bench. If I was getting 6 reps with 295 on bench, I would expect to see many more reps at 225.
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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby tvenuto » Sat Aug 15, 2015 7:33 pm

Donut wrote:I do touch and go. Well, until I get to the end of my set, I might pause on the ground on the last one or two. I don't fail to get it off the ground, I stop when I feel like the muscle is fatigued.

It's been forever since I've maxed on anything. The lowest reps I've done in the past 5 years is 3 and I've never tested my max with deadlift in my life.

Is that the only way to test it?

The thing is, this feels opposite what I expect to see on my bench. If I was getting 6 reps with 295 on bench, I would expect to see many more reps at 225.
Yes, testing it is the only way to know for sure. You can find equations online that extrapolate it from a "rep max" but as we just learned that assumes a certain NME. To be clear, there's really no need to test it. If you want to do lots of reps at 225 then you really just need to do reps at 225. If you were a client of mine we'd test it so that I had a sense of how certain rep schemes would affect you, but if you don't have a specific goal in mind then just lift in the way that you enjoy and keeps you healthy and uninjured. However, if you insist that you don't round your back, a super-maximal deadlift is relatively safe, you either won't get it off the ground, or won't lock it out.

NME is muscle group specific. If you've trained the hell out of your deadlift but haven't trained your bench, you'd certainly find your NME would be lower when testing the bench.

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby tvenuto » Sat Aug 15, 2015 7:35 pm

sbaker345 wrote:An example of long legs, short torso when pulling conventional arched :o Felt like a mile.

Image
I used to have a client that was 6'2" and had legs so long that he was shorter, yes, shorter, than his 5'2" wife when they were sitting down. He almost could not get into a competition legal squat, but could deadlift over 600.

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby sbaker345 » Sat Aug 15, 2015 7:53 pm

tvenuto wrote:
sbaker345 wrote:An example of long legs, short torso when pulling conventional arched :o Felt like a mile.

Image
I used to have a client that was 6'2" and had legs so long that he was shorter, yes, shorter, than his 5'2" wife when they were sitting down. He almost could not get into a competition legal squat, but could deadlift over 600.

I'm not a big fan of sitting either, feel like a midget.

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby tvenuto » Sat Aug 15, 2015 8:30 pm

SpyderEdgeForever wrote:I have a question regarding protein shakes. I forget if someone already mentioned this or not: What are some lower cost alternatives to the expensive protein shakes and protein powders in places such as GNC and health food stores? Or are there any alternatives that can equal the same levels of concentrated protein and other nutrients in those shakes and powders?
The answer to this somewhat depends on whether you mean a pure whey protein shake, or a more designer "bodybuilding supplement." If you're just looking for standard protein powder, I would say that these are already pretty cheap. You can get Optimum Nutrition's "Gold Standard" for $112 for a 10lb bag off of Amazon, and with 149 servings, that's less than $1 per serving. To put it in perspective, that 10lb bag has as much protein as approximately 600 eggs. Obviously there's more to the eggs than the protein in them, but it gives you a sense of how much you're getting.

Since the whey proteins available are pretty much whey and flavors, you can't get any more concentrated than that. If you're talking about designer supplements, I've said previously that you can buy the main important ingredients on your own and mix them more cheaply.
SpyderEdgeForever wrote:Related question: Would you suggest a person drinking such a shake on a regular basis, as part of their regular food intake, or, are these mostly focused for people who are specifically involved in athletics and major exercise?
That depends on who "a person" is. Generally, most people don't eat enough protein. One, you probably have to cook it. Two, it often comes with fat which people have been conditioned to avoid. So, I generally recommend people increase their protein intake. I would prefer they do it from food sources, but that may not be possible for one reason or another. For instance, I have many doctors/nurses who work long hours and strange schedules with no real meal break. In their case, I acknowledge that they can't fry up steak and broccoli at work, and a protein shake may be a good strategy to tide them over these times without going to the vending machine. Although as an aside I believe all people should be doing some form of physical activity. If you're not, you're already screwed.
SpyderEdgeForever wrote:Third question: From what you have seen, how do the mass-market nutrient drinks, like Ovaltine and Carnation Instant Breakfast, and those types, measure up to the specialized protein powders in health food and vitamin stores?
SEF, I've become convinced you live in a place that's sort of a steam-punk version of the 1950s, and yet still has internet service somehow. And I mean that in the most good-natured way possible. I have actually never seen Carnation Instant Breakfast consumed, and when you say Ovaltine I think of the below two movie scenes. I feel comfortable calling this one blind, however. My bet is that both of the old-timey products you mention contain unneeded sugar, and are an inferior source of protein compared to a purpose built whey protein powder. There are very few disadvantages I could think of in taking a scoop of whey protein every day.

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby Donut » Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:14 pm

That's a good point on the body ratio. I don't think pointing out to someone what something appears, based on their body shape and range of motion seem to be saying... would be an insult as much as it would be a suggestion to pay attention to something to see if it is true.
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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby Donut » Mon Aug 17, 2015 8:12 pm

Okay. Today was leg day. Here is my run down. Maybe I was skipping some details. I don't ever do my deadlifts first.

Front squats 135 lb warmup. 3 sets of 205 for 6-8 reps. Going as far down as possible.

(I normally do dead lift after squats, but one of the cheaters was doing it so I delayed it.)

Hack squats, 2 plates on each side, 3 sets of 10. Changing foot position on each set, toes off the end of the platform, go as low as is comfortable.

Leg extensions 210 lbs with toes pointed forward, 15 reps. 230 lbs, toes pointed outward, 12 reps. 230 lbs, toes pointed inward, 12 reps.

On to the dead lifts. 225. I tell myself that I will see how far I can push myself. 13 reps, I was feeling kind of OK, my lower back was almost holding on well, but I started to see spots and get dizzy. I waited a bit, got 8, but I was feeling pretty drained at this point, and didn't want to see if I could pass out, so I called it a day.
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