Thursday, February 4, 2010

Not So Good News

Sorry for being absent from yesterday's training session. It seems any time that we make a plan to learn how to snatch, something comes up. I really wanted to be there as we were working on overhead squatting (one of my personal nemesis) and going to learn how to begin snatching weight. I hope that everyone trained safe and moved weight they were capable of.

My absence was due to an impromptu trip to Banff to see Dr. Laurie Hiemstra at Banff Sport Medicine. Dr. Hiemstra has been an angel on my shoulder these last number of years and has performed multiple surgeries on me. I would not be able to do what I do today, nor do I think I could do it as well as I do without her. She believed in me when others were willing to give up. She kept trying to get me back to what I love doing and remained positive and hopeful at every obstacle. Beyond being an amazing surgeon, she is a wonderful person with an extremely kind heart. Her compassion knows no bounds. I would walk through fire for her if she were to ask.

The results of the trip to Banff are what I was afraid of prior to going, but also what I was prepared to hear. I have a tear in the lateral meniscus of my knee. In short, the meniscus is responsible for dispersing your body weight across the knee joint. Without the meniscus (its still there just torn and we are not sure to what extent without the MRI.....scheduled for June!!) weight is unevenly applied to the bones that make up the knee joint. This in turn causes pain, inflammation, some instability and can lead to early onset of osteoarthritis. Not so good news.

The current plan is to continue on the path that I am on. I was given the option of surgery sooner than later, but have chose the later. I am still headed to Costa Mesa for Olympic lifting in February and am still looking at competing at the March CrossFit sectionals in Edmonton to try and earn at spot at the CrossFit Games Qualifier. I will have to approach this on a week to week basis reassessing my progress, pain level and detriment to my overall health and well being as I go along. In essence I can continue doing what I am doing as long as I can hack the pain. My ligaments are still intact, which means that my knee isn't going to blow apart. However, the tear has the possibility of getting worse and if that occurs I need to know when enough is enough. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Let's get on to a little more pressing matters. So far we have looked at the ability to increase stability and starting strength to be a better presser. We have also kept in mind that many of the bench press exercises are interchangeable when looking at increasing press strength (pin press, stretch release bands, speed sets @ 50%, etc.). The final key is to increase lockout strength.

Strengthen your Helpers: Your triceps are a major helper when it comes to locking out an overhead press. If you can get the weight up and over top of your head, they are going to be the major driving force that helps get it there and keep it there. Any triceps strengthening you can do will definitely help. If you need specific exercises then please email me and we can talk about where you are having issues and what things you can do to help alleviate those issues.
Rack Lockouts: Rack lockouts will be performed by setting the safety pins on the squat cage at a position that involves only the top 6" - 8" of the movement (can go as low as the top of your head). You will load the weight and step underneath it in the position that you would be in at that point in time in the press. Tighten and stabilize your body and lock the weight out. Once you lower it back to the pins, relax the muscles, reset and press again. The dead stop of the weight and having to overcome the initial weight of the bar will pay big dividends in the future.
Press Throws: Make sure when you do this one the owner of the gym knows what you are doing and agrees to let you do it. Use bumper plates and an old barbell just in case. The movement is exactly what it sounds like. You are going to press the weight and throw it as high in the air as possible (and get out of the way). Ensure that all proper press mechanics are followed. This is a strict press format as we are looking for shoulder strength development and not explosive leg power that we see helping in the push press (although you can do it with push press). Use a weight that is approx. 65% of your 1 RM. We do not want this movement to get too heavy or there will be no throw.

8 Rounds for time
5 Power Cleans
5 Pull Ups
5 Box Jumps
10 Air Squats