WIPE OUT!

_Simon_

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I’m 54 years old 😢
Ah okay, yeah it may not be age-related still.. I always like to just assess how things are currently, and I've often surprised myself how it can revert back to having more energy etc later on at a different phase in my life. There are so many variables involved, so something else may even need tweaking possibly? Even tweaking how much volume you're doing can solve alot, or how close to failure you get... experiment and see how ya go okay 👍🏻
 
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I had another gym session today as I did last Friday and although I’m tired, I don’t feel half as bad as I did last time. I really didn’t want to go this morning but once I was there I enjoyed it. It’s all very strange and maybe I was having an off day last time.

However, I’m realising that my gym sessions and obsession with getting stronger and developing muscles is taking priority over my Budo training and I started weight-training to enhance my Budo in the first place. I need to rethink my actual aims and redress my balance.
 
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I thought I’d post a bit of an update on my weight training experience for those who are interested.

In the last couple of weeks, for the first time since I started training, I feel my weight training is having a positive effect upon my martial arts practise and activities of daily living. As you can work out from the timeline of these posts, it’s taken a long time to get this point - nearly three years of diligent training in fact!

I abandoned using the ‘negative rep training’ exclusively as it was probably what was killing me, although I do use it when I’ve upped my weight a little and am struggling with the last few reps. Now, I’m no longer completely wiped out by my training sessions, just for what I’d call a ‘reasonable level‘ of fatigue on the day of training and pretty much back to normal the day after. My sessions have gone from an hour to about two hours as I’ve added flexibility and mobility training in between sets which has produced great increases in my flexibility which really pleases me!

Having this extra strength makes my martial arts practise so much easier meaning I can move easily from some of the awkward positions required of my art and my cutting technique is much better, too.

To the embarrassing ego bit: I do like having prominent muscles ☺️ My clothes fit me in a much more flattering way, I’ve lost fat and just before getting into the shower, flexing in front of the mirror is the absolute highlight of my day 😄😂

In summary, the noticeable, positive effects of weight training took much longer to manifest than is often suggested by the literature and Youtube videos. Being retired makes adherence to my protocol much easier. Having strength and power does help with martial arts training. I really enjoy weight training now and I think it’s become a life-long habit.
 

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In summary, the noticeable, positive effects of weight training took much longer to manifest than is often suggested by the literature and Youtube videos.
Yeah, that's complicated.

Since you already had a lot of MA training (I assume based on other posts anyway) your starting point was better than a lot of people. It's much easier to see dramatic functional improvement when you're starting from zero. The closer you get to your potential maximums the slower things go and the less dramatically it will impact your day to day life (since it takes a bigger, and thus less frequent, challenge for your improvements to be relevant).

So that's one part. The other part is that a lot of YouTube people are selling BS, both BS supplements and BS training programs and/or BS results, and a lot of the public doesn't want to pay for the truth. The truth is that it takes time, consistency and hard work to develop a lot of new strength/muscle if you've already got a decent foundation. It can be sped up by properly utilizing a quality protocol, getting enough rest, and getting sufficient, high quality nutrition, but it's not an over night affair.

Oh, with one important caveat, it takes all of those things if you aren't using steroids. If you are using steroids, you can dispense with some of those restrictions, time and recovery being the big two. From what I've seen, a lot of people on YouTube, and most of the YouTube fitness "influencers", are on the juice. I'm not saying they don't work hard, but they are getting results that are larger and on a much shorter time frame than anyone who's training without chemical assistance. This is a huge frustration for me because I don't care if someone wants to take steroids, but I think the prevalence of lying about it leads a lot of people to feel insecure and inadequate about their training, when in reality they've been working hard and getting good results for a steroid free individual.
 
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Yeah, that's complicated.

Since you already had a lot of MA training (I assume based on other posts anyway) your starting point was better than a lot of people. It's much easier to see dramatic functional improvement when you're starting from zero.
That’s something I hadn't considered!

The closer you get to your potential maximums the slower things go and the less dramatically it will impact your day to day life (since it takes a bigger, and thus less frequent, challenge for your improvements to be relevant).
Yes the flattening of the curve…bas**rds!😡
So that's one part. The other part is that a lot of YouTube people are selling BS, both BS supplements and BS training programs and/or BS results, and a lot of the public doesn't want to pay for the truth. The truth is that it takes time, consistency and hard work to develop a lot of new strength/muscle if you've already got a decent foundation. It can be sped up by properly utilizing a quality protocol, getting enough rest, and getting sufficient, high quality nutrition, but it's not an over night affair.
The ones I watch don’t seem to be peddling any product directly, but of course more views mean more advertising revenue etc.
Oh, with one important caveat, it takes all of those things if you aren't using steroids. If you are using steroids, you can dispense with some of those restrictions, time and recovery being the big two. From what I've seen, a lot of people on YouTube, and most of the YouTube fitness "influencers", are on the juice. I'm not saying they don't work hard, but they are getting results that are larger and on a much shorter time frame than anyone who's training without chemical assistance. This is a huge frustration for me because I don't care if someone wants to take steroids, but I think the prevalence of lying about it leads a lot of people to feel insecure and inadequate about their training, when in reality they've been working hard and getting good results for a steroid free individual.
When I hit 60, I’ll start taking vast quantities of anabolic steroids as I’ve figured I’m likely to be dead of ‘natural causes‘ long before I get steroid induced hepatic cancer, steroid-mediated hair loss and acne and my scrotum descending down by my knees. A few years of being huge, ripped and having a tight scroge bag will be great 🤓
 

_Simon_

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I thought I’d post a bit of an update on my weight training experience for those who are interested.

In the last couple of weeks, for the first time since I started training, I feel my weight training is having a positive effect upon my martial arts practise and activities of daily living. As you can work out from the timeline of these posts, it’s taken a long time to get this point - nearly three years of diligent training in fact!

I abandoned using the ‘negative rep training’ exclusively as it was probably what was killing me, although I do use it when I’ve upped my weight a little and am struggling with the last few reps. Now, I’m no longer completely wiped out by my training sessions, just for what I’d call a ‘reasonable level‘ of fatigue on the day of training and pretty much back to normal the day after. My sessions have gone from an hour to about two hours as I’ve added flexibility and mobility training in between sets which has produced great increases in my flexibility which really pleases me!

Having this extra strength makes my martial arts practise so much easier meaning I can move easily from some of the awkward positions required of my art and my cutting technique is much better, too.

To the embarrassing ego bit: I do like having prominent muscles ☺️ My clothes fit me in a much more flattering way, I’ve lost fat and just before getting into the shower, flexing in front of the mirror is the absolute highlight of my day 😄😂

In summary, the noticeable, positive effects of weight training took much longer to manifest than is often suggested by the literature and Youtube videos. Being retired makes adherence to my protocol much easier. Having strength and power does help with martial arts training. I really enjoy weight training now and I think it’s become a life-long habit.
This is really excellent to hear, thanks for the update! Yeah it really illustrates the process of listening to your body, making adjustments and tuning into when things feel better as a result. Very helpful to others reading this too.

Yes alot of negatives are detrimental for sure. Still use them but in moderation or every now and then. Really great to hear, and yeah I'm in love with weight training, and nowadays specifically honing in on and developing that mind-muscle connection has actually really helped my martial arts as well!
 
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This is really excellent to hear, thanks for the update! Yeah it really illustrates the process of listening to your body, making adjustments and tuning into when things feel better as a result. Very helpful to others reading this too.
I sometimes think one should ignore what the body it saying, especially if it’s potentially a lazy bugg*r like mine.

I think the message, perhaps not very helpful, is just keep going…and probably for longer than you’d imagine! I heard a really good concept from Arnie’s newsletter which I use religiously and really does work- ‘Do not think’! If you start thinking about if you really want to go to the gym or dojo, or if you have things to do around the house or at work and you can train tomorrow - STOP! Just get your kit on and go! It’s easier to apply if you train in the morning before the day’s distractions get in the way.
Yes alot of negatives are detrimental for sure. Still use them but in moderation or every now and then.
I think you might’ve suggested that a while back when I was expressing my difficulties with eccentric training and I followed your advice to good effect 🙏🏽 Thank you.
Really great to hear, and yeah I'm in love with weight training, and nowadays specifically honing in on and developing that mind-muscle connection has actually really helped my martial arts as well!
It’s funny you should mention that as I’ve been doing similarly. For muscle groups like biceps, forearms and quads, it’s quite easy to do but lats or glutes are much harder to make that connection. I wondered if it was a visual thing - you can’t see them so it’s harder to make that mind/muscle connection. So I’ve tried tactile identification of hard-to-connect-with muscle groups: on the leg press machine I stroke my glutes, give them a firm tap with my knuckles and try hard to visualise the fibre direction and their powerful shortening, motoneurones firing flashes of commands and their growth. It really does seem to help. Luckily I’m usually the only person in my gym so avoid weird looks and calls to the police. I was once tempted to ask a young lady to stroke my lats as I did pull downs but good judgment held me back 😳
 

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It’s funny you should mention that as I’ve been doing similarly. For muscle groups like biceps, forearms and quads, it’s quite easy to do but lats or glutes are much harder to make that connection. I wondered if it was a visual thing - you can’t see them so it’s harder to make that mind/muscle connection. So I’ve tried tactile identification of hard-to-connect-with muscle groups: on the leg press machine I stroke my glutes, give them a firm tap with my knuckles and try hard to visualise the fibre direction and their powerful shortening, motoneurones firing flashes of commands and their growth. It really does seem to help. Luckily I’m usually the only person in my gym so avoid weird looks and calls to the police. I was once tempted to ask a young lady to stroke my lats as I did pull downs but good judgment held me back 😳
Yes absolutely, I think especially in moreso the striking martial arts we concentrate and work so much on strikes, thrusts, and generally pushing 'out' techniques, so any large pulling muscles get left behind. Plus yeah we only ever visually see the front of our body too.

That's a really cool method, keep that up! Lats are one many people have difficulty contracting, I struggled with for a long time but they're now my strongest, can actually make them cramp up badly just sitting there without even moving my arm, just from being able to contract them haha, good times!

My main cue for feeling them is shoulder girdle DOWN, elbow in, but now can contract without those, just the awareness of that tends to activate them prior to the movement now.
 
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My main cue for feeling them is shoulder girdle DOWN, elbow in, but now can contract without those, just the awareness of that tends to activate them prior to the movement now.
Like the idea of pulling the lats down ‘into the back pockets’? I have a left rotator cuff issue and to create space in the joint, the suggestion is to tip the upper edges of the scapulae backwards and avoid a down and medial positioning of the scapulae. What do you think?
 

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Like the idea of pulling the lats down ‘into the back pockets’? I have a left rotator cuff issue and to create space in the joint, the suggestion is to tip the upper edges of the scapulae backwards and avoid a down and medial positioning of the scapulae. What do you think?
Yeah like that. But hmm yeah I'm not too sure... I'm literally trying that as I type haha, yeah I can connect with the lats with that movement, but then I can protract and depress the shoulder blades and still get a contraction... I'd explore that for sure and 'feel out' what works for you.

Certain exercises too may help feel it better, some feel it better with DB rows, others with widegrip lat pulldown... (pullups I could never feel them as it's a heavier movement and the biceps wanted to just take over, nowadays I can feel the lats better in it).

One great exercise is a cable 'pull-in'. A bit unconventional but the movement really runs in the direction of the muscle fibres and you feel the lats light up tremendously. But yeah, see how you go. The thought of "pulling with your elbows" helps, you almost forget about your hand, grip and lower arm, and just hone awareness on the elbow pulling. And  lighter weights for sure.

 
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Yeah like that. But hmm yeah I'm not too sure... I'm literally trying that as I type haha, yeah I can connect with the lats with that movement, but then I can protract and depress the shoulder blades and still get a contraction... I'd explore that for sure and 'feel out' what works for you.
I’ll have a go.
Certain exercises too may help feel it better, some feel it better with DB rows, others with widegrip lat pulldown... (pullups I could never feel them as it's a heavier movement and the biceps wanted to just take over, nowadays I can feel the lats better in it).
I seem to feel their engagement better with a lighter weight. I wonder if I should try and get used to the sensation with a lighter weight for a few session before piling on the kilograms?
And  lighter weights for sure.
👍🏽

By way of example of the effects of muscle/brain connection, I recently started using a sledgehammer to strengthen my forearms and it’s great albeit gruelling fun. In my following gym session, I was, almost miraculously, able to perform my forearm extensions with a heavier weight (10kg) and for a three straight sets when I struggled before with 7.5kg. That can only be down to more motor unit recruitment caused by my sledgehammer sessions!
 

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I seem to feel their engagement better with a lighter weight. I wonder if I should try and get used to the sensation with a lighter weight for a few session before piling on the kilograms?
You might also try a very slow protocol with the heaviest weight you can control with good form, which might be light-ish until you get used to the slow speed or it might not. By very slow I mean something like a 10/10 (10 seconds on the positive and 10 on the negative). Use the slow speed to make sure your form is perfect and that you really feel the proper muscle(s) engaging.
 
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You might also try a very slow protocol with the heaviest weight you can control with good form, which might be light-ish until you get used to the slow speed or it might not. By very slow I mean something like a 10/10 (10 seconds on the positive and 10 on the negative). Use the slow speed to make sure your form is perfect and that you really feel the proper muscle(s) engaging.
I had a little go this morning and it really aggravated my rotator cuff, so I had to stop.😢
 

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I had a little go this morning and it really aggravated my rotator cuff, so I had to stop.😢
What was the exercise? Slow motion should be essentially risk free, if it caused irritation that isn't caused by more ballistic movements then something weird was going on.

EDIT: Or the weight was too heavy to control with good form, perhaps.
 
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What was the exercise? Slow motion should be essentially risk free, if it caused irritation that isn't caused by more ballistic movements then something weird was going on.
It was just a last pull down machine with only 35kg. When I got to a certain point in the pull, I felt pain and so stopped. I’m a bit protective of my rotator cuff injury and am seeing a physiotherapist again in a few weeks.

It’s a persistent problem and this time it was aggravated by the very rehabilitation exercises the physio gave me! I’m trying to posteriorly tilt my scapulae when I do certain shoulder movements but not very succesfully. I am able to hang from a chin bar but not with my full weight.

Luckily, it doesn’t affect my ability to practise Iaido!
 

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It was just a last pull down machine with only 35kg. When I got to a certain point in the pull, I felt pain and so stopped. I’m a bit protective of my rotator cuff injury and am seeing a physiotherapist again in a few weeks.

It’s a persistent problem and this time it was aggravated by the very rehabilitation exercises the physio gave me! I’m trying to posteriorly tilt my scapulae when I do certain shoulder movements but not very succesfully. I am able to hang from a chin bar but not with my full weight.

Luckily, it doesn’t affect my ability to practise Iaido!
Was it either a wide grip lat pull down, or behind the head lat pulldown? Both are much more likely to aggravate the rotator cuff. I personally won't do a pulldown with more than about a hand's distance between my hands for this reason and I don't do behind the head pulldown at all.

Assuming it's a narrow grip, front, pulldown then there's more to look at. If you aren't experiencing pain at ballistic speeds for the same movement then either the pain is masked because it's very brief, or you are moving fast enough that you are effectively unloading during the portion of the rep that's causing discomfort. Both options are suboptimal. If the pain is masked that's very bad as you're quite possibly causing minor injury that's not immediately obvious. If you're unloading then it's not as effective an exercise as it could be. I'd take this as an opportunity to re-evaluate your form. If you can't do it slowly, without pain, something is wrong.

EDIT: To clarify my last sentence; if you can't do it slowly, without pain, something is wrong and it's almost certainly also wrong when you do the movement quickly. Also, as you already seem to be aware, you shouldn't feel pain during resistance training. Intense muscular burn yes, pain no.
 
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Unfortunately I do know what’s wrong: supraspinatus impingement due to a type 3 acromial arch. It was initially aggravated a few months ago by performing shoulder presses (only 5kg on a machine) and then the rehab exercises made it worse. I now only do minimal rehab exercises and hang from a bar following the advice from here:


I just won’t do anything that irritates the tendon…I’m too frightened to as the pain is so intense (turning over in bed or stretching in a semi-conscious state are so painful making me cry out!) and worry a tear will scupper my MA training.
 

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Unfortunately I do know what’s wrong: supraspinatus impingement due to a type 3 acromial arch. It was initially aggravated a few months ago by performing shoulder presses (only 5kg on a machine) and then the rehab exercises made it worse. I now only do minimal rehab exercises and hang from a bar following the advice from here:


I just won’t do anything that irritates the tendon…I’m too frightened to as the pain is so intense (turning over in bed or stretching in a semi-conscious state are so painful making me cry out!) and worry a tear will scupper my MA training.
Sure, but that doesn't address what's different about moving slowly vs. moving quickly. If it hurts moving slowly, but not moving quickly, then there's something else, besides or in addition to your injury, that is a problem. This may aggravate your shoulder injury, or retard your progress, or both, if it is not addressed.
 
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Sure, but that doesn't address what's different about moving slowly vs. moving quickly. If it hurts moving slowly, but not moving quickly, then there's something else, besides or in addition to your injury, that is a problem. This may aggravate your shoulder injury, or retard your progress, or both, if it is not addressed.
Well I’ll have to see what the physiotherapist says in a few weeks time…
 

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