Exercise Log 10.27.13 (Back & Shoulder Day, No Cardio)

Back day today was a pain… in the back! Ya get it?

Back and shoulder day is always a fun time, because I got plenty to learn and do with all my back exercises. After warmups I got straight into bent over rows, grabbed an 80lb curl bar and did a set, incremented up to 110lb over 4 sets. Feeling pretty good and warmed up, I decided to nab a heavy dumbbell (for me heavy here is 60lb) and did one armed dumbbell rows. After two sets of that I went up to two more sets at 65lb.

Then it was time for deadlifts! It was a little rocky but deadlifts are some of my favorite exercises. I started with a simple set at 135lbs, just to get the knack for my form doing a full set of 10. Then I incremented and hit a set at 185lbs, and after that I decided to try my known max of 225lbs. At this point I had problems, in fact for the first 5 minutes or more I couldn’t budge it and had to stare at the bar like an idiot in the gym. Thankfully it wasn’t busy.

Elliot Hulse is one of the Youtube channel makers who is particularly talented with barbell exercises and knows a ton about it. I’m going to quickly share two videos of his that helped me out despite both being silly.

Elliot Hulse explains God’s weight belt and offers a simple breathing exercise that works

The mechanices of the lumbo-pelvic rhythm in the deadlift

The first vid I know is a little hard to take seriously (for those who don’t have ten minutes, it’s a breathing exercise where you exercise the abdominal core and the muscles that form the body’s natural “weight belt” by sucking your asshole… yeah, I’m being serious… into your gut, if that makes sense). I tried the exercise though and it works well, my abs were sore for two days afterwards… plus when I needed to pick up the max weight, I felt like it was really helpful to stabilize my back and not fold my body up like a limp noodle.

Second video is part of Elliot Hulse’s “science of deadlifting” series and explains how all the muscles in the lumbo-pelvic region relate to one another, and how this correlates into generating force for the deadlift. After watching this video I understood a lot more about what I need in terms of rhythm.

So to get past the wall of not lifting this heavy (for me) weight, I did a few practice grabbing motions before trying again, focusing on using my heels to push the ground down and force myself up hard. While doing this, I contracted my core as I learned in the exercise, and combined it into one motion. After I felt comfortable with the explosiveness and force of the motion, I went for a grab and rather easily pulled the weight up. I was aiming to complete a set of 6 reps, but somewhere around rep 5 at this weight I felt like I was losing the rhythm, so I took a break and lowered the weight and did a couple more sets practicing the tweaked form at a lower weight level.

So after the deadlifts were done, I hopped out and did some pull-ups and chin-ups, then I focused on my scapula adductors (which as I mentioned in the previous video I felt needed development to improve my squat form) with seated rows and with T-Bar rows putting special emphasis on the scapula adductors by making the moving motion pinching the shoulder blades together NOT moving the arms.

I was in a pinch on time at the gym and already had been there an hour and a half, so I put off shoulders until I got home. Shoulders at home means very little equipment, but that’s okay I still got in a good workout. With the ol’ trusty EZ curl bar I did some upright rows and military presses. Then I did another superset of dumbbell shoulder presses and side raises. I decided to try a new exercise (for me), the Arnold press…

T-Nation video showing how to do the Arnold press

This press created by Arnold Schwarzenegger focuses on the shoulder and is more or less a pronated/supinated shoulder workout from an unconventional angle. I only had one dumbbell heavy enough to do this press so I just took turns on arms. Great exercise! I followed this up with some trap shrugs, one arm at a time, with the same dumbbell.

Then I wrapped up shoulders by doing the usual innies & outties superset with some wide arm stance narrow feet pushups like usual. Innies & outties are a nice safety exercise to help stabilize your rotator cuffs, it’s a nice exercise to top off an otherwise busy exercise day.

Scooby shows the innies & outties

Skipped cardio just didn’t have the time between that and all my other chores, go figure.

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