Starting To Powerlift – A Recover(ing/ed?) Back Injury

Starting To Powerlift - A Recover(ing/ed?) Back Injury - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca

I normally try to post something every weekday, but this month I hadn’t worked ahead enough, and then had a six day work week, so on my one day off, I’m going to pump this out.

I slipped a disc in my lumbar spine (L4/L5) several years ago, while lifting canoes by myself. We all know the story- I was lifting more with my back than my legs, thought “oh maybe my back will be sore tomorrow,” but when I bent over to pick up a paddle later, I was frozen in pain. I’ve spent years in and out of physiotherapy, thinking I was getting stronger, then I’d have a relapse.

Starting To Powerlift - A Recover(ing/ed?) Back Injury - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca
This is basically the only pose I do in the mirror at the gym:
to see how my quads and hamstrings look  

July 2015: Living with a back injury

In this time, I have gotten very conscious of every little twinge in my body. In a previous post I discuss techniques on how to live with a lower back injury, and I still apply them constantly.
For the past year of weightlifting, I’ve gone through several different phases of lifting. I’ve gone heavy, I’ve been incapacitated on the couch, and I’ve lifted light for physique purposes. This summer I got a job at a GoodLife Fitness in downtown Toronto, which means I’m surrounded by positive and knowledgeable people who’ve given me lots of help.

I finally feel like my foundation is strong enough that I can start lifting heavier. If you had told me in October that in February I would be able to squat more than my body weight and not be in pain the next day, I wouldn’t have believed you. The first time I squatted my body weight? I cried. Now I’m slowly upping the weight on my final sets, and making sure I’m going to parallel or deeper on my next to last weight. It’s incredibly important to maintain form and focus on your body during this: one week I did 155lbs x 3 reps, and the next, 145 felt heavy. Doing injury rehab is incredibly humbling.

Starting To Powerlift - A Recover(ing/ed?) Back Injury - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca
Booty gainz!!

I didn’t even realize I was “getting into” powerlifting until my husband pointed out that the workout plan I chose on Bodybuilding.com had to do with “starting strength” for powerlifters. The plan, Layne Norton’s PH3 for Power and Hypertrophy, focuses on getting stronger in the Big Three. I chose the plan because it gave me enough upper and lower body days, because I really like both.

I love the workout split it gives, I love squatting, deadlifting, and benching so much now, and every day (except for the 2 rest days) I get to do at least one of those. It’s crazy the progress I’ve made on bench press: when I first started, 75 pounds was hard, but my PR today is 130 pounds for 3 reps!

Biggest Advice At the Beginning:

  • Keep listening to your body. If you’re feeling extra sore, take the day off, don’t worry about what your workout plan tells you.
  • Make sure you’re doing things properly-I thought my bench was fine, but when my co-worker Gary was spotting me, he gave me tips. Basically my elbows were slightly wrong, and once I changed my stance to the powerlifting one (arched back) I had tons more power. Score.
  • Don’t get discouraged-like I said before, my squat goes up and down, so I can’t focus on the number, but the reps are helpful. When you start watching tons of powerlifters on YouTube, don’t feel intimidated that their bench is 160 and yours is just over half that. 
  • EAT ENOUGH! Bulking is my favourite phase, because it means I get to eat lots. 

Starting To Powerlift - A Recover(ing/ed?) Back Injury - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca

Recovery:
A good bath with epsom salts to relax your muscles
Heat pad on the sore area
Rolling out muscles with foam rollers or hard balls (I use a softball, tennis balls just crack under your weight)
Ice on spots right after a workout
30-60 minutes of yoga the next day

Starting To Powerlift - A Recover(ing/ed?) Back Injury - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca
Traps for days

I can’t wait to see what progress I’m going to make while I do this program!

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