I benched for the first time in four weeks on Wednesday. After three real easy warm-up sets, I did two slow sets at 185 lbs. My problem shoulder had no problems and felt fine the next day. For this first day back I was lowering and pressing in a very slow, controlled way, concentrating on pulling my shoulders back and isolating my chest the whole time. I can’t say I felt very strong but that wasn’t really the point of this training session. My shoulder went through a mellow bench routine without issue and I feel it could be ready for explosive lifts at 70% in a few weeks.
I’ve never been that guy that weighs 135 lbs (at least since I was 12) and runs effortless laps around the climbing gym. I currently weigh in the neighborhood of 195 lbs and watching me climb might be like watching a whale seizure. At least that’s what it feels like when I break a hold and fall on my face. For example, last night at the shed I tore the bolt through the T-nut (I know, I didn’t think this was possible either) of a new crimp. It exploded in a way that made me question whether I had been shot. Then I landed on my left elbow which hurt way bad for the rest of the night. But the interesting part came when I told Phil I broke his hold and hurt my arm because he said to me, “that’s scary”. That is scary. With all the effort I put in to training so that I can go out and be strong on the routes I love to get on, I had forgotten how much injuries hold me back. A person of my dimensions (fat) should be more careful. Especially in the gym. Chicks are not impressed by injuries sustained from plastic holds on a plywood wall over old mattresses. Fuck, I think I’m maturing.
Refugio State Beach is great. Honestly, its probably my favorite beach in town. I dove there Friday with Paul and, despite lousy visiblity, had a great time. For most of the hour we were out I was doing 60 second dives. I felt really comfortable, relaxed and able to stay on the bottom plenty long. Well, I guess its never long enough but it was a long time considering. We had tried to get out to Naples Reef that day but determined at the last minute the access and paddle out looked too gnarly and it was getting late. I’m going to need to think of something better than hiking a mile and paddling a board 1.5 miles just to get to there.
This Wednesday will be four weeks since I last did flat bench. And my shoulder feels good. It could be time to let it loose on the bench press again. My last session on the bench did not go so well but in the month since I have worked my close-grip bench in to feeling pretty strong. The focus lately has been on strengthening triceps, staying off the shoulder and chest exercises and stretching lots.
Been a while since I’ve gone to a climbing gym. They haven’t changed. Last night I went to Vertical Heaven in Ventura. Didn’t feel strong. Whatever.
I found this video on http://www.savenaples.org/. Haven’t dove here yet.
Not much new to report. I’ve been climbing four or five times a week at GVAC or Phil’s shed. My shoulder feels fine to climb on. My recent focus has been to get out climbing as much as possible to get used to this volume of training. And I feel stronger. My weight is just below world climbing record level, about 195 lbs. So, in the past two months 10 pounds of me has inexplicably vanished, making climbing about 37 million times easier. This is probably due to the running (I hate running) and skin diving. At the shed, where I feel I get the best climbing strength conditioning, I’ve focused on putting up moderate routes I can send in a day or within the week. And I’ve been climbing by myself mostly, my favorite partner. In general climbing feels good lately – I’m pretty psyched on it.
While close-grip benching yesterday I could feel tightness in my right shoulder. Just noticeable enough to make me think it is not yet time to start heavy benching again. During dips there was the same tightness near the bottom of the movement. Feels OK today though. Stretching has helped. For the past few weeks I’ve been diligent about stretching out my back and shoulder before work outs and throughout the day. After lifting arms yesterday I did some bent-over dumbell laterals to pull back my shoulders. Felt good. This is maybe an exercise I should integrate into my routine permanently.
Yesterday I climbed at GVAC for about an hour then lifted arms. Felt good then and now, the next day. No shoulder issues. All the stretching I’ve done seems to have made me generally more flexible. A friend even mentioned to me last week that I’m “pretty flexible for a big guy”. Which was surprising because I don’t feel flexible or big. Anyways, I increased weight on the close grip yesterday – 2 sets of 12 at 135 lbs then 2 sets of 12 at 155 lbs. Well, maybe my last set was more like 10. I went through this exercise fairly quickly, with about 2 minutes rest between sets. Again I concentrated on pulling my shoulder blades together, making a stable, flat base for my shoulders on the bench. And my repititions were slow, with pauses at the top and bottom, really paying attention to how my shoulder felt. Then I did 3 sets of 20 dips, triceps cable push-downs with the bar, and standing barbell curls where I gradually increased weight, for sets of 8, up to 95 lbs. Actually the set at 95 lbs, my fourth and final set, was 7 reps. Lastly I did some overhead squats with no weight on the Smith Machine. This is an exercise Kevin Brown recommended to me as part of my shoulder rehabilitation. I use the Smith Machine because my hamstrings, back, and shoulders do not yet have the flexibility to get into a proper squat. The fixed track lets me push myself into a correct path. I guess the point of this exercise is to force me to pull my shoulder blades together. If so, it seems to work.