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jaja

Shaping the body; adjusting the mind

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9 hours ago, Kit_L said:

Without doubt; and add to this tension created by your resistance training (traps, the rest of the neck complex).

I can see how this is true, yet I feel like my training is necessary to discharge tension, in a way. I always feel better after a workout and my neck is bothering me way less after I started training properly the trapezius. So I feel like there're multiple levels to talk about, here.

On the other hand I know benching isn't doing a favor to my pec minors.

9 hours ago, Kit_L said:

This fact is just one of the reasons I stress to everyone living in the crazy Western world that the best gift to give yourself is to really learn to feel both how to relax deeply and to really feel what this feels like, so this state can become a home for you. Deep relaxation is a refuge, literally. You are doing all te required practises, so just keep going.

Been skipping yoga nidra lately, but I plan to jump back in track. Also during sitting meditation now it takes longer time to calm my mind — indicative of my current stress levels, I guess.

--------------------

Speaking of stress. Yesterday, while driving, I had an outburst of anger and screamed to release it. Also cried a little bit. Prior to this I tried to apply some relaxation principles, but failed miserably.

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10 hours ago, Kit_L said:

IOW, do not worry about "numbers", at all. Just show up at your regular times, and keep going!

Reminds me of this quote by Mike Webster:

"So you have to tinker with it, lift enough to stimulate growth and strength gains, and do it in such a way that you can recover and adapt before your nerves forget all about the fact that they had to lift something heavy a few days ago.

You can try and track every little thing, or you can just work hard, lift in an appropriate rep range with a weight appropriate to that rep range, and let your body figure it out, because it's smarter than you anyway, and we're still trying to figure out how it all works.

You just need to put together a reasonable schedule, be consistent with it, and accept that some days you will feel like crap and feel weaker and still blow it out of the water, and some days you will feel great and miss lifts you got last time with ease. Don’t stress over it, just stick with the weights, eat and sleep good, and you will get stronger.

It's a process, and it takes weeks, months, and years rather than days and hours. So consistency, rather than training to the point where you have failed with a given weight, and rather than gotten one more rep with five pounds less, is what will make you grow.

Go to failure or don't. Just make sure you leave the weight room knowing you've done something in there, and chances are you've done enough."

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1 hour ago, CraigR said:

...and accept that some days you will feel like crap and feel weaker and still blow it out of the water, and some days you will feel great and miss lifts you got last time with ease.

I don't know who Mike Webster is, but this is the truth, undiluted.

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1 hour ago, jaja said:

... yet I feel like my training is necessary to discharge tension, in a way

It does, most definitely—but it also creates tension in specific places. Not a problem in the big picture, just something to be aware of, and know how to deal with it.

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  • Squat: 1x5x115kg + 1x7x105kg + 1x8x95kg + 1x9x85kg
  • Bent Over Row: 1x8x85kg + 1x9x82,5kg + 1x10x80kg
  • Overhead Press: 1x6x40kg + 1x7x37,5kg + 1x8x35kg
  • Dead hangs: 2 sets
  • Finger curls (pronated grip): 3x10x52,5kg

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  • Tailor pose stretch
  • Passive back bend on baby whale
  • Wall pec minor stretch
  • Scalenes stretch
  • Wall quad stretch
  • Lumbar stretch
  • Ankle mobilization
  • Calves stick roll
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  • Deadlift: 1x4x130kg + 1x5x117,5kg
    • Three quite smooth reps, followed by the last sloooooow one. My spine was definitely engaged here, but in a good way.
  • Chin-ups: 4xAMRAP (13-9-8-6)
    • Surprisingly easy!

My left lumbar is bothering me. It's not an issue of bad form, though. I suspect I just tend to engage it more than necessary, due to my left-right imbalances. All of my left side fires more than the right one.

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  • Ankle mobility
  • Passive back bend on baby whale
  • Pec minor wall stretch
  • Lumbar stretch
  • Scalenes stretch
  • Jaw stretch
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I climbed the via ferrata and survived, apparently. 9hr total, few bruises and a lot of fun — I'm not going to forget this experience! It's one of the hardest things I've ever done, something that truly made me appreciate the physique I've built in the last couple of years (strength, stamina and mobility). I kid you not: without the intense training I'm doing I couldn't have completed the feat. Grip and arms strength came especially handy.

I didn't wear my FFs and I've mixed feelings about the choice. On one hand, the enhanced sensibility would have been very useful during the climb. On the other, the extra cautiousness needed would have slowed my pace a bit too much. Also injuring my feet against the rocks would have been a real possibility. Anyway…the sizing of my boots wasn't top notch, so now I have a balck nail on my left foot. Ahaha.

-----

I wanted to do a stretching session, but apparently my body don't feel like it. So I just spent some time limbering.

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On a side note, this picture was taken last Friday, to assess my progress towards the “ideal“ squat. I'm as far as I can get but, believe it or not, this is progress. It feels like progress and it looks to me as such. More dorsiflexion is needed, but I'm on the right path.

 

IMG_7934.thumb.jpeg.c6551ec688c8c582799bfd48bd8da986.jpeg

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Work up to spending 10 minutes a day in this position: stretch soleus first (use a different one each day) then squat, and hang around in that position. This is how @oliviaa got her excellent squat (and three years ago she could not squat at all, for the same reason as you—lack of dorsiflexion). It will come. Excellent work.

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Yesterday’s training:

  • Deadlift: 1x2x130kg + 1x4x117,5kg
  • Chin-ups: 4xAMRAP (12-8-8-6)

My body was still fatigued and the numbers showed it.

Stretching session in the evening:

  • Ankle mobility
  • Passive back bend on Baby Whale
  • Wall pec minor stretch
  • Scalenes

—————

I’ve been dealing with restlessness in the body, lately. It’s making difficult for me to relax into stretching positions, practicing yoga Indra and even sleeping well.

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Yesterday's training session:

  • Bench Press: 1x4x77,5kg + 1x6x72,5kg + 1x7x70kg
  • Chin-ups: 1x4xBW+17,5kg + 1x7xBW+10kg + 1x8xBW+5kg
  • Anti-pronation exercise: 1x8x20kg
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Last weekend, the day after my hiking adventure, I spent quite some time at a spa. I especially enjoyed the “calidarium” - “frigidarium” experience: finishing with a cold bath had a boosting effect on my body-mind system. I liked that, so much that I committed to a regime of cold showers (winter is coming, so it's not the best moment for this challenge). However, since I already tried this years ago, I know enough to shower with at least warm water and turn it cold only near the end. The cleaning process is more efficient with hot water and the thermal shock also is greater this way.

The thing I notice every time is how difficult it is to control my breath. It's like the diaphragm is under spasms, a really weird sensation. Luckily the strategy I used in Iceland to deal with cold (opening up to the sensation) comes handy here, so suffering is limited.

------

Something that has a lot to do with “adjusting my mind”, but hasn't come up here yet (although @Kit_L knows about it), is peer pressure. Or more in general, just dealing with stress in social settings. I can deadlift twice my weight, climb a big ass mountain and even apply for a job just because it scares the crap out of me…but make me face people's (real or supposed) expectations and I just cannot compute. I don't know why I am this way. I can come up with theories, but they would have the same validity of my fears: absolute zero.

Yesterday evening I was at a party where I didn't know any of the people there, left aside a couple of friends. I was like a fish out of water. I was effectively a wallflower, a condition I'm way too familiar with and I need to change. Why do I need to change this? Well, it's an inconvenient behavior isn't it? It limits opportunities and makes me feel like I'm in a cage — which is probably the actual state of my physical body in those occasions. But above all: my gf and I broke up recently and I need to be comfortable enough to hit on girls. Yesterday I wanted to approach a couple of gals, but I just couldn't. Blank mind, tight body. No cool.

This issue of mine can't be solved by introspection, nor by a barbell. I need a strategy, I need it quickly and I have to make room for this effort. Sadly as of late, time is a scarce good. I need to make good use of it.

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6 hours ago, jaja said:

I was like a fish out of water. I was effectively a wallflower, a condition I'm way too familiar with and I need to change. Why do I need to change this? Well, it's an inconvenient behavior isn't it? It limits opportunities and makes me feel like I'm in a cage — which is probably the actual state of my physical body in those occasions.

Just to play Devil's advocate... Does it really limit opportunities? Does it limit the kind of opportunities you want? Perhaps ask if there is a way it could actually open up different opportunities. It makes you feel like you're in a cage. However, for others (myself included), this can be an enjoyable experience. I often enjoyed standing off to the side and just observing everyone at parties when I was younger. Not saying you should be content with you're reaction, but perhaps explore how much of the "limiting" and "inconvenience" of it is coming from your perception/interpretation of it.

6 hours ago, jaja said:

I need to be comfortable enough to hit on girls. Yesterday I wanted to approach a couple of gals, but I just couldn't. Blank mind, tight body. No cool.

Again, is hitting on girls the only way to begin a new relationship? More importantly, would a more aggressive approach actually get you the kind of girl you'd be comfortable in a relationship with? No right or wrong answers, but it's always good to question why we think what we think.

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"I need to be comfortable enough to hit on girls"—probably a loose choice of words. Far better, IMHO, to get involved in an activity (like the mountain climbing you did recently) and meet people naturally and agenda-lessly that way. No women I know like being hit on. Parties where you do not know anyone are the worst place to meet people: it is all false. Doing an activity you like with likeminded people, some of whom are women, seems a far better approach to me, and no downside.

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2 hours ago, Nathan said:

Not saying you should be content with you're reaction, but perhaps explore how much of the "limiting" and "inconvenience" of it is coming from your perception/interpretation of it.

It's limiting in the sense that doesn't introduce me to new people. In the past years I got to know some amazing folks, but I “met” nearly all of them online. I like this approach, but it cannot be the only one in my toolbox. The party was just the most recent example of a problem I have to social contexts in general.

2 hours ago, Nathan said:

Again, is hitting on girls the only way to begin a new relationship?

Not at all. Maybe Kit's right, I chose the words poorly. Also consider that an “approach” could very well be a small chat at the metro station — nothing aggressive, but it still would make me way too uncomfortable to be “spontaneous”. This I need to change. Also consider that I'm not desperately seeking a new relationship, I just want to open up to opportunities.

2 hours ago, Kit_L said:

Far better, IMHO, to get involved in an activity (like the mountain climbing you did recently) and meet people naturally and agenda-lessly that way. No women I know like being hit on. Parties where you do not know anyone are the worst place to meet people: it is all false. Doing an activity you like with likeminded people, some of whom are women, seems a far better approach to me, and no downside.

Agreed, that's why I like to meet people I got to know online (forums, social networks, etc). A downside of the stuff I enjoy doing is that they typically are quite introspective and there's no much talking needed. I did meet some interesting folks at workshop like yours, but they live quite far away from me. There's also this thing, probably related to my “wallflower-ness”, that doesn't make me really stand out from the crowd. So I usually need a bit more than a weekend to bond with someone.

The bottom line is: I need to stop tensing up in social settings. Probably. I don't know. 😅

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1 hour ago, jaja said:

The bottom line is: I need to stop tensing up in social settings.

Likely a good thing, but that could be more about accepting your natural tendencies with regards to socializing as opposed to feeling that they limit you and must be changed. I think both (accepting/changing) can be valid approaches, but again, always worth exploring whether what seems the "appropriate" response is actually the one that works best for you.

1 hour ago, jaja said:

Probably. I don't know. 😅

No problem there. Exploring and questioning it is where the gold is :)

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  • Ankle mobility
  • Passive back bend on baby whale
  • Wall pec minor stretch
    • I don't know why, but this exercise feels useless compared to others
  • Scalenes stretch
  • Jaw stretch
  • Calves stick rolls
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4 hours ago, jaja said:

Wall pec minor stretch

  • I don't know why, but this exercise feels useless compared to others

Does the floor version feel useless as well? Some people will do much better with the floor version. If both feel useless, you should play with the angle (45 degrees is a good starting point, but may not be the angle you need), making sure the shoulder is rolled back, and rotating the hand in both directions to find what works for you. Quickly rolling the pec minor prior to the stretch to loosen it a bit and bring awareness to it can also help.

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4 hours ago, Nathan said:

making sure the shoulder is rolled back

This is my issue: it's difficult to me to roll back my left shoulder and keep the muscle targeted. I probably has to do with my shoulder instability. Last Sunday, for instance, I was holding a pose like this. My right shoulder was fine, but my left one was in huge distress and basically it was dislocating by the effect of gravity alone!

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3 hours ago, jaja said:

This is my issue: it's difficult to me to roll back my left shoulder and keep the muscle targeted.

That sounds like an activation (awareness, really) issue, because you're doing weighted chins - with I assume decent form - and those require decent retraction and depression at the top of the pull. It probably wouldn't hurt to add in some banded rotator cuff work (Yuri) or something similar to your routine.

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9 hours ago, Nathan said:

That sounds like an activation (awareness, really) issue, because you're doing weighted chins - with I assume decent form - and those require decent retraction and depression at the top of the pull. It probably wouldn't hurt to add in some banded rotator cuff work (Yuri) or something similar to your routine.

To be honest, I find some differences in the way my left shoulder feels compared to the right one, when I do my chin-ups. I can't pinpoint exactly what it is, though.

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So…this morning I had baaad news at work. I was so upset I felt the blood pulsing in my years. I needed a physical output, so I spent my lunch break training.

  • Deadlift: 1x3x130kg + 1x5x117,5kg
  • Chin-ups: 4xAMRAP (12-8-6-6)

Cold shower afterward. Felt better, but not by much.

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  • Chin-ups: 1x5xBW+17,5kg + 1x7xBW+10kg + 1x8xBW+5kg
  • Bench Press: 1x4x77,5kg + 1x6x72,5kg + 1x7x70kg
  • Anti-pronation exercise: 1x10x20kg
  • Like 1

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