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Old 07-27-2006, 06:11 PM   #1
Adam Grant
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Toronto  Ontario
Posts: 20
Hi everyone. First, a bit about myself. I herniated a disc in my back (L5-S1) many a year ago on a footpress sled and have been dealing with chronic pain ever since. Self-supervised exercise, including some of the lifts introduced to me on this site, has been the best therapy I've experienced so far.

Anyway, I've been considering getting into the trades. I like the idea of working outside, using my hands and being able to see my work serving a purpose. But there's always the looming threat of my back getting in the way, especially since most apprentices are given most of the labour. Or so I've been told.

And so I've designed a 'work day' circuit for myself. The goal is 1) to strengthen my core, and 2) see if I can take 8 hours of resistance work and light cardio without my back giving out.

There are many variables. How bad is my back? Well I can't sit down for longer than 2 minutes without experiencing acute pain in my lower back. Sometimes bending can aggrivate it and cause some lingering inflammation. That's about it. And the trade I want to get into, specifically, is carpentry. If there are any carpenters reading this, your input would be appreciated. Obviously I would try and avoid the more labour intensive trades such as bricklaying.

So, without further talk, here's the circuit.

Eight Hour Circuit:

Every hour five of the below exercises must be performed, with 3 minutes of light cardio afterwards. Downtime may be used at leisure. Exercises may be broken up at leisure.

The exercises are selected from the list below at random. 2 dice may be used to correspond to the exercise numbers on the left.

2-3 = 10 reps deadlift, 150 lbs.
4-5 = Two handed farmer walk for a minute, 25 lb dumbbells.
6-7 = One handed waiter walk for a minute each arm, 15 lbs.
8 = One minute plank, one minute superman, 50 crunches.
9 = 25 overhead squats, 60 lbs.
10 = 5 reps clean and press, hold for five seconds at top, 100 lbs.
11 = 25 sumo deadlifts, 60 lbs.
12 = 10 chin-ups, 5 second hang time on bottom and top. 20 grip squeezes each hand with random pauses.

I have a few questions for those more wise than I. Firstly, will these low intensity, high volume exercises diminish my ability to generate maximum as well as explosive power? Secondly, would keeping up this pace for eight hours, however moderate, affect the way my body stores fat? And lastly, to any of you in the trades, would this routeine be practical in any way for preparing me for apprenticeship?
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Old 07-27-2006, 06:27 PM   #2
Andrew G. Greenberg
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Charlotte  NC
Posts: 623
i cannot recommend highly enough that you just do the workout of the day. maybe get some therapy for the back, and add specialized training as you need it.
seriously, if your goal is to get strong enough to stay on your feet and work all day, you can't beat the WOD.

will these low intensity, high volume exercises diminish my ability to generate maximum as well as explosive power?

there's no max effort or power work here, so probably, yes.

Secondly, would keeping up this pace for eight hours, however moderate, affect the way my body stores fat?

Don't see how this is relevant. Are you trying to lose fat?
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Old 07-27-2006, 07:53 PM   #3
David Secondino
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Rochester  WI
Posts: 18
I'm still a Crossfit beginner, but I do know a bit about the trades. You do need to understand that, given current OSHA regulation, you will only rarely need to lift/carry more than 50 pounds, almost never more than 80 lbs. I don't believe that your back is any more likely to be injured doing construction than doing a desk job. My advice would be to dig in and get started. Get in touch with your local carpenters (or whichever trade you decide on) union. They will be very happy to get you started on the apprenticeship process. Don't be surprised if they tell you that some formal technical training is required before they take you into an apprenticeship program. They use this as a kind of screening process to prove that you are committed. Just follow their instructions and you should be fine. The important thing is to get started.

Incidentally, I don't believe that you will find bricklaying to be particularly taxing for your back compared to other trades. Its not like you need to lift a whole pallet of bricks or blocks. In fact, I would say that plumbing/pipefitting probably is more physically demanding than masonry work. Wrestling a 20' length of 4" iron pipe can put you into a lot of awkward positions if you are not careful. The "normal" shape of bricks/blocks makes handling them easier.
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