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Injuries Chronic & Acute

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Old 08-30-2005, 02:05 PM   #1
David Wood
Departed David Wood is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 3,303
Ok, this is probably going to be a grumpy old man talking, but here goes:

For the last 3 or 4 weeks, I have just felt "weak".

I haven't lost or gained weight (5'6", 155).

My diet hasn't changed in any way that I could notice . . . mostly healthy, not-eating-crap-but-probaby-a-bit-too-much-good-food. Very little refined starches.

I don't feel "overtrained" . . . I've taken my share of days off (more than my share, maybe). I'm sleeping reasonably well (not as much as I should, I'm sure, but no less than I used to . . . 6 hours most nights, sometimes 7).

I don't feel lousy or tired between workouts (or, at least, no worse than ever before).

I don't lack enthusiasm for workouts. If anything, I have more enthusiasm than ever, coupled with a bit of frustration . . . I look forward to going to the gym and *doing it*.

It's just that the "doing it" part has turned lousy.:sad: I feel great . . . right up to the first pullup. Then, suddenly, it's like I never did one before . . . incredible effort to get 3. (I used to do 12 pretty easily . . . now I warm up and my max set is 6).

It seems like that with everything that requires the shoulder girdle . . . even on simple pushups, I feel like I'm straining terribly to do simple moves that used to be routine. Everything feels like I'm working at the last rep (the one where I fail), right from the very first rep.

The phenomenon seems to affect everything above the waist. Don't even ask about HSPUs . . . or L-sits (been stuck at 15 - 20 seconds for weeks).

But, weirdly, I'm not noticing it in leg-oriented or aerobic-oriented workouts. Squatted OK (not great, but not bad) today. Ran a lot over the weekend, no problem.

Doing "ballistic" stuff with my arms seems to be OK (but I don't have a lot of past experience to compare it to). Trying to learn the KB snatch, not noticing the same weakness in that. Did KB and DB swings, they seem OK (no worse than before).

But, if I try to do a pullup or a simple pushup . . . nothing happens. It's like 3/4 of my muscles don't know how to contract, and the other 1/4 have to do all the work (and are straining terribly).

The only thing I'm thinking is that I started using a nasal inhaled steroid for allergies (Flonase; Nasacort is similar) about 3 weeks before this came on (about 3 weeks ago) . . . anyone have any experience or knowledge that suggests this could be the cause?

Other than that, I can't for the life of me figure out what's changed . . .

Note: this is serious because I agreed to do the TSC on September 17th, and at my current max rep set of 6 pullups, I will be laughed out of the building.

Thanks in advance,
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Old 08-30-2005, 03:57 PM   #2
Jason Billows
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Location: Ottawa  Ontario
Posts: 384
I think you just need a break. Maybe a day or two off here and there isn`t enough. When was the last time you took a week or two off?

Even though you've been eating good food and few refined carbs, are you sure you've been eating enough carbs on the whole. Maybe your glycogen stores are low.

Perhaps a visit to the doc for blood tests is in order.

Hope this passes quickly. good luck at the TSC.
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Old 08-31-2005, 06:35 AM   #3
Larry Cook
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Location: Cheshire  CT
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Hi Dave,

It's just that the "doing it" part has turned lousy. I feel great . . . right up to the first pullup. Then, suddenly, it's like I never did one before . . . incredible effort to get 3. (I used to do 12 pretty easily . . . now I warm up and my max set is 6).

Just maybe this is a muscle recruitment/coordination/timing thing (call it what you like). Overtraining can sometimes cause this, but I think many times it is a mental thing. (As I think about that, I realize it might be a fine line ... overtraining causes as much mental fatigue as physical fatigue .. but it seems at some level you might have "forgotten" how to perform pullups efficiently.)

Think of a baseball pitcher that loses his mechanics for a while. Pitching is a very complicated motion (as are pullups). The pitcher tries to get his mechanics back not by simply throwing more (what's the use in throwing more, if it means throwing more, poorly), but by breaking down his motion and working on part(s) of it.

So maybe a break from doing full pullups is warranted. Try just hanging from the bar and swinging, or maybe doing jumping pullups or whatever drills you used to when you were not as good at pullups.

Diet, of course, is always key. Jason's comments sound good. Sometimes a little change from the routine helps there, too.

Also, I think Ryan Atkins is a "pullup specialist" of sorts. If he does not post something here, maybe try and e-mail him and see if he ever experienced something like this.

It will get better. Good luck.

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Old 08-31-2005, 02:21 PM   #4
David Wood
Departed David Wood is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 3,303
Thanks to both Jason and Larry.

I was thinking about a week off . . . I've been going (relatively) hard now for about 10 weeks straight (in my case, that mean 5 or 6 WODs / week) . . . may need a complete back-off week.

As it is, the last few days I've tried to go 'easy/light' . . . haven't done the official WOD since Kelly the other day. (It's very hard to read the daily comments and NOT want to go out and try to bust one, though.)

I was debating go to a doc . . . if it doesn't get better with some more time off, I probably will. (Not expecting much out of that, though, unless I really do have some bizarre disorder . . . mostly, he's going to tell me not to lift weights.)

I've sort of been doing what Larry suggested. Since I can't seem to do pullups worth sh.., I've just been jumping/climbing to the top position and trying to hold at the top and/or a very slow negative (which is what I used to do when I couldn't do even a single pullup). In that drill, I notice a strong right-side imbalance . . . something else to work on (sigh).

I've also just decided to "go with the flow" and work stuff that I still can do at a light level . . . did about 60 KB swings today, and about 60 snatches (over 25 - 30 minutes), just working on form. Not banging the forearm quite so badly now.

I also stopped the Flonase yesterday . . . no idea if that's really part of the problem, but I'd rather not be dependent on it, anyway.

Thanks again,
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Old 08-31-2005, 06:25 PM   #5
Brian Hand
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Posts: 633
David, since you feel good, your weight is steady, and your lower body stuff is good, my guess would be it's something with your upper body training. Is the KB work beating your upper body up at all? If so the wear could lead to some inhibition and loss of snap in pushups, chins, etc. There are so many things that can take the edge off.

It sounds like you could be beating a dead horse. I might just take a break from any work that involves the upper body, at all - even stuff like swings. I'd also try anything that might aid in restoration. Take saunas, get a massage, get a chiropractic adjustment, ice your shoulders, take some MSM, do some very light and easy range of motion work for the upper body, get in some cold water and tread water for 15 minutes. Do some hiking. Give it a week and see if it clears up.
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Old 09-01-2005, 01:23 AM   #6
Christian Lemburg
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Aachen  NRW
Posts: 308
Given from what you tell, it seems this is not a systemic thing (like overtraining in the classical sense, a virus or other illness), but something related to your upper body only.

You mentioned your shoulder girdle as the problem. Just as a try, have somebody (partner? or try it yourself by using a ball between your body and the wall) massage your shoulder/neck area with some amount of pressure. If it hurts like hell somewhere, you will have found the problem. I would pay special attention to the rotator cuff muscles. They are involved in nearly every shoulder movement, and if they are cramped/tight, they will weaken your shoulders in everything you do.

Also, maybe a week of complete rest (yes, yes) will help you, too. I got my first MU after I was not able to really train for about a week due to moving to a new house. Go figure.



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Old 09-01-2005, 04:48 AM   #7
Larry Lindenman
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Location: Chicago  Illinois
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You may be on the edge of a break through! I used to see diminished capacity and then, when the motor units fired correctly...bam I got it. The week off is a good call, have fun and play around with sports. Get a massage. If your feeling dragged out (eyes heavy, more emotional, falling asleep at your desk, etc.) it may be sleep or illness issues, but it doesn't sound like that.
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