Monday Musings: Captain America, Exercise Pairings, etc.

1. Lyme's. So I forgot to mention that - when I went on a backpacking trip a couple weeks ago to catch some breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley - I also went to, apparently, catch a nice dose of Lyme's disease. This bear is brutal (crazy how large a punch that little tick packs), and I don't wish it upon anyone. It completely wipes you out, and is extremely tough to diagnose (all my blood tests came back negative). When I was in the ER, they even shoved a needle into my spine to withdraw spinal fluid in order to search for an infection in the nervous system. (Doctors, I know you meant well, but I'd kinda like my spinal fluid back whenever you get a chance). Anyway, I'm extremely blessed to have access to medical aid, a family/fiancee that took incredible care of me, and awesome co-workers that were able to pick up the slack while I was out. Those 10 days were pretty grueling (lost about ten pounds, too), but I'm on the mend and fortunately they were able to catch it before it evolved into something much worse. And, yes, I realize you spell the fruit in the picture l-i-m-e, but give me a break! Just trying to keep some pictures in here for you all.

2. Captain America. I have to admit, I was very disappointed with this one (you let me down, RottenTomatoes!). As the worse of the Lyme's symptoms were dying down over the weekend, I decided the natural course of action for my first low-key outing would be to go see the latest Marvel character on the big screen. Even though I cringe when spending the outrageous fee that theaters are charging, I generally enjoy Super Hero movies (Batman, X-men, the first Spider Man, etc.), so I decided to take my chances with Captain America. Anyway, they pretty much blew it with this one. The plot was sub-par, and even the action just seemed a bit forced. Not to mention, whenever the bad guys would salute their leader, they'd throw up both arms and yell 'Hail, Hydra!'

Hail Hydra?! Really??? Is that the best you can do?

The only thing they did correctly with this movie was show Chris Evans with his shirt off intersperse a fair amount of humor throughout the film, which was actually pretty funny.

3. Quick Thoughts on a Common Exercise Pairing. Is a Chinup and Bench Press a *true* antagonistic pairing? Most lifters who’ve investigated training understand how important it is to balance one’s program. For example, you should “pull” just as much (if not more) as you “push” in order to promote structural integrity and keep shoulder health in check. In other words, if you perform 3 sets of a bench press, you should also be performing 3 sets of a row variation. Or, if you perform 4 sets of a military press, then you should perform 4 sets of a lat pulldown or pullup. Often these are performed as supersets, or “alternating sets” to save time and increase work density. One premise of this, in the context of shoulder health, is to include as much external rotation of the humerus (upper arm bone) as internal rotation.

HOWEVER, while it's a great place to start, it's not always just about 'pulling' and 'pushing.' Using just one example: It's very common to see a chinup and bench press pairing. What many don’t realize is that as you execute a chinup, you actually drive internal rotation of the shoulder joint. Guess what you’re also driving when you bench press? Internal rotation.

So, a chinup and bench press pairing, while it may look good on paper, isn’t a true antagonistic pairing. I’m not saying it’s a bad pairing and should never be used, but just trying to elucidate the point that it’s not always just about pushing and pulling, It’s important to understand what is occurring, mechanically, at each joint, if we’re seeking true balance in our programming.

4. The Bull Shark is the only shark that can live in both salt and freshwater. Just sayin.'

5. My Current Program. Well, more accurately, the program I'll be following once the Lyme's is out of me. Long story short, I'm pretty beat up. As I noted in a post a couple weeks back, my left shoulder is pretty angry, so not only is bench pressing going to be nixed for a lonnngg time, but unfortunately I need to cease back squatting, too (holding the bar in back squat places the shoulder joint in a position of pretty extreme horizontal abduction and external rotation, which can be pretty risky (depending), and I've experienced plenty of pain from it so it's out for now).

Also, I did something pretty stupid a couple months back (for the sake of brevity) and injured my left leg. I haven't figured out exactly what it is yet, but I do know that I experience a significant piercing sensation in my quad when I'm under load and undergo hip flexion greater than roughly 110 degrees. As such, unfortunately, I need to omit any exercises that exacerbate the symptoms (which, through experimentation, include most quad-dominant exercises such as front squats, forward lunges, and also pretty much any plyo drill involving significant deceleration).

As such, here's what the jist of my program is going to entail:

    • Loads of horizontal pulling (can't really do enough of this)
  • Pushup Variations (weighted, suspended, etc.)
  • Hip-Dominant lower body exercises (namely, deadlifts and their variations)
  • Sled work
  • Lots of Pullups. I'm going to use this time to see what I can get up to in the pullup realm.

I'll be sure to keep everyone posted, and, hopefully, garner some solid results from the program in spite of the injuries.

That's it for today. Hopefully it was random enough for you all and that you learned some things (you'll thank me later for the Bull Shark trivia).