Tag Archive: doms


For the majority of the week I had been feeling some discomfort in my right side.  I would feel it especially when I woke up.  It was enough to make me get up early, usually around 4 am, and stay up.  But once I started walking around, it was fine.  When I ate food, I didn’t feel any issues.  When I lifted weights or did cardio, no issues.  So I wasn’t entirely sure what it was, I just resolved to keep a look out for it.

Late Friday night, I was able to figure it out.  I had pulled some tiny muscle in my side.  Well, maybe pulled sounds too severe, it was some mild strain on a muscle in my side.

 

 

 

 

 

Was it the external oblique?  Not sure, that seems like an awfully big muscle.  Maybe the internal oblique?  The reason I think it might be the internal oblique was because I felt it at night when I sleep.  I toss and turn a lot when I sleep, often switching positions over and over during the night.  But it is winter, and I am wrapped in heavy blankets, they add resistance.  So it was when I was twisting my body around against the coccoon of blankets I was wrapped in, that I felt a fresh round of pain in my right side.  Rotations and side-bends are the job of the internal obliques, so ipso facto, my dear Watson!

This revelation also caused me to get up at 3 am, in pain.  I stayed up.  As the day progressed, I could also feel myself fighting off some flu kind of symptoms, some aches and pains of the non-DOMS variety were bleeding in to my chest DOMS from Friday.  Oh great, minor pull in my side abs, fighting off the flu, some DOMS.  Awesome!

I decided to just take care of myself Saturday.  Turned up the heat in my apartment, built a mound of blankets to drape my legs over so I would be less inclined to toss and turn, tried to mentally prepare myself to just sleeping on my back for a while, and relaxed.

Before I knew it, it was Sunday, the pain was less, but not gone, the flu was less, but not gone.  So I rested Sunday as well.

Before I knew it, it was 1 am leading into Monday.  I felt lots better.  I decided, oh good!  I will sleep in, get up go to the gym, have some fun.  And then it hit me like a brick, oh crap!  I have to work on Monday!  I normally go to sleep HOURS earlier on work nights, this wasn’t good.  All that weekend, for some reason I thought I wasn’t working Christmas Eve, even though I was.

So I popped a melatonin, went to sleep.  Woke up tired AS HECK hours later, tried to jump in the shower.  Oh look!!  No water!!  Awesome, maybe we blew a water main last night.  Life was conspiring against me.  Undaunted, I dragged my butt off to work.  It wasn’t horrible, actually, I had had a lot of rest that weekend, so I could handle one poor night’s sleep.  They let us go early from work, right around Noon.  I checked my local gym, it was open until 4 pm.  Score!!  I made my way over for some Xmas Eve gym fun.

I was tired, I hadn’t bathed in days, I was getting over various ailments and afflictions.  It would be so easy to go home and enjoy my Christmas Eve.  And yet here I was, time to workout.

 

shoulders & abs

Cardio:  1 hour elliptical

seated DB press:  (30 sec rest b/w sets)  100 x 18, x 7, x 4, x 6

DB lat raise:  (30 sec rest)  50 x 12, x 9, x 7, x 2

reverse cable flyes: (10 sec rest)  33 x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 8, x 8, x 8, x 10, x 8, x 7

rope face pulls:  (10 sec rest)  50 x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 9, x 10, x 9, x 10, x 9, x 9

superset upright row & shrug (1-4-2 cadence): (90 sec rest)  80 x 8/8, x 8/7, x 8/5, x 8/4

straight leg raises:  (45 sec rest)  20, 13, 14

superset double crunch and foot-to-foot crunch:  (30 sec rest)  10/30, 10/30, 10/30

 

notes:  I was pleasantly surprised at my progress on the dumbbell work from a week ago.  I smashed what I did last week!  I think my body just needed to get used to the strain of rest-pause work.  As for the 10 second rest cable work, those are still killer!  But they didn’t traumatize me like they did last week.  I think I am getting used to the grind.   Supergrind! 

It gets hard to bang out 10 in a row over and over, I tried to stay accountable for my form, since this is doing more than overloading a relatively small set of muscles, this is also building up my joints.  so as far as I was concerned, there was no rush.  So if I felt like that 10th rep was just sort of me throwing the weight around, and I wasn’t controlling it any more, then I didn’t count it.  This weight was too light for me to be yanking it around and cheating, this was slow grindy isolation work, form is king.

When it was time for the upright rows and the shrugs, I used the same weight but went right from the rows to the shrugs.  this is super light weight for the shrugs, so I used a real slow count:  up, hold it up for 4 seconds, lower it for 2 seconds.  To keep the tempo going in my mind, I would lift, hold it up top for 2 seconds, pack my shoulders back and hold for 2 seconds, then lower for 2.  I was able to keep the rows going, but my traps were burning when it was time for the shrugs!  I was real happy, that was what I wanted to achieve, I wanted to pre-tire them with a compound before breezing right into the isolation, and not even putting down the bar between exercises really keeps the tension on.  The shrugs became less and less, but this wasn’t a shrug contest, I might do that next week.  This was kind of me taking it through a range of motion and keeping the contraction going.

My only thought on that trap superset is that the barbell became very awkward.  I always pay close attention to how I do my upright rows, since I don’t want to screw my shoulder up again, and maybe dumbbells would allow me a freer and more natural positioning as I raise the weight up.  As for the shrugs, when I would pack my shoulders back, the barbell would bang into my abs and rub against me on the way down.  Dumbbells wouldn’t get in the way like that.  So next time I do this, will probably break out the DBs again.

Doing foot to foot crunches was a bold choice really, since I didn’t know how my obliques were doing.  But I gave them a try and guess what?  They felt fine.  Too easy.  I will still sleep on my back tonight just to be sure.

touch your heels back and forth with your shoulders off the floor

               That’s it!  Did you work out for Christmas Eve?  I would love to read about it!  Happy Holidays!

The plan for today was do chest and triceps in the morning, go to work, come home after work, nap, do an evening yin.  ‘Twas a fair plan 🙂

My butt was really dragging this morning, I almost psyched myself out of going to the gym, but I finally made it at about 06:40.

chest & triceps:

warmup presses for a few sets with the 30s

flat DB presses (2 min rest b/w sets):  110×20, 130×12, 150×9, 170×5, 150×8, 130×11, 110×11

machine press (90s rest):  150×12, 12, 12

incline DB flys (90s rest):  80×12, x6, x7

DB skullcrushers:  70×3, x3; 50 x10, 9, 9, 7, 7, 7

seated 2 hand tricep extension:  65 x7, x5; 50 x8, 8, 7, 7

 

notes:  I wasn’t entirely happy with this workout as a whole.

I was cruising along with the flat presses, and my left shoulder gave out 5 reps into the 85 lb DBs, so I climbed back down the ladder, each time my left shoulder stayed tired.  I couldn’t really get anywhere on my 7th set with the 55s either.  I like doing all those sets at all those different weights with the dumbbell presses, it helps me build up strength in my shoulder, which right now is clearly lagging behind my chest.  It is less stressful than pushups on the joint, and I can obviously tinker with the resistance much more easily than I can with pushups.

I wanted to give my chest more work to do, but I also wanted to see how done my shoulder was, so I went to the machine press, but I went fairly light, and just did a few sets of slow reps.  My shoulder felt fine and my chest was able to get some more good squeeze in (would have been better with free moving handles), so I felt confident going on to the flys.

Flys went sort of poorly, unfortunately.  I got through the first set, but either my shoulder was really tired, or I was psyching myself out, and I kept failing out of the next few sets.  The weight isn’t THAT much diffrerent from what I do with Leslie, only slightly more.  HOWEVER, when I do incline flys with Leslie, they are my working sets 4-6.  These flys today were working sets 11-13, LOL.  So maybe I should have gone lighter and respected the volume.

Next up triceps!  Lately I have been giving arms their own day, but I wanted to experiment with the split, and see how I liked it.  Long story short?  I didn’t!!  I was doing 30s last time for the skullcrushers, and it went really well, so this time I moved up to the 35s… I failed out right from the start!  So I took a few breaths, composed myself, went again, failed right away again!  So I gave up and went down to the 25s.  They started out fine, but by the second set with the 25s, my arms were not able to go the distance, they started to fail out around rep 7 every time.  This made me sad.

Again, there are a few factors at play.  I was doing triceps first, and now they are second in the rotation, energy not peak.  Also, triceps get work doing the chest presses, so they weren’t fresh when it was time for the skullcrushers.  My shoulder was also getting tired, so more of the pressure was getting transferred to the elbow, just less helpers available to assist the tricep when it fatigues.

Once you fail out of a few sets, you also start to psyche yourself out, which was happening to me because I kept losing my focus.  There was an old guy right next to me doing dumbbell presses while fluttering his legs in the air like he was riding a bicycle… WTF??!?  DON’T DO THAT.  You make me think you are losing control of the weight and panicking, and now I’m forced to keep an eye on you to keep you from killing yourself.  If you want to work your core, do presses on a stability ball, don’t flail your goddamn legs around like a drowning man.

If I see you combine these 2 moves, I will seriously consider taking the weights away from you.

So, THAT was genuinely distracting.

I moved on to the seated extensions, and the weakness in the triceps continued, I got some mediocre sets in with the 65s, and dropped down to the 50s, and still couldn’t bust out full sets.  My arms were just torched.

In retrospect, given what I have observed, chest work wears out my shoulder, and I have nothing left for arms.  Back work doesn’t seem affected, I have done massive chest/back days and been none the worse for wear.  So I think I will keep up a chest/back & legs & arms & shoulders split, it seems to accomodate my situation the most, aka building my shoulders back up.

I was worried my triceps got a raw deal today, but as I sit here typing this, they feel pretty sore, so maybe I worry too much 🙂

 

Also!  It has been a few days since my legs workout, and it usually takes a little while to see what the DOMS were like, kind of like an autopsy of the workout.  Normally when I get railed by Leslie, my DOMS center around the rectus femoris, which is a direct antagonist to the hamstrings.  This is probably reflective of all the heavy lunges we do (as a consequence of me being heavy).  Basically I feel DOMS in the middle of my thigh and the back of my leg, making walking difficult.

As for these particular DOMS this week, I felt it yesterday much deeper than the rectus femoris, possibly even the vastus intermedius, although I couldn’t be sure, and that isn’t a muscle you can really isolate anyways.  However today, the soreness settled squarely into the outside of my thighs, the vastus lateralis.  I didn’t feel the soreness when I walked, but I felt it when I straightened out my legs.  This means it was the FST-7 sets of the leg extensions that did the microtrauma, which is fine with me.  Possibly also the one leg presses followed by the extensions, both likely suspects.

It could also well be affected by the yoga.  You can hit the vastus lateralis with leg work on closely placed feet, and while I was recovering from the leg training, I was still doing chair pose and eagle squat and flexing my quads in mountain pose, and all those asanas that require you to keep your feet closer than hip width.  So they all came together in a really beautiful way to make my legs sore 🙂

 

Can you tell I have been really inward focused today?  LOL  As the yoga challenge goes on, my attention is squarely set on how I feel inside.  How does my shoulder feel?  How does my elbow feel?  Where do I feel the DOMS in my legs?  Did I hit the triceps on those sets?

My awareness has become very very inward, very introspective.

So when I headed out to Yin tonight, that introspection continues.  I felt detached from everyone else on the bus, like they were moving slowly and clumsily and they all felt like they were getting way too close to me when they walked by.  None of them seemed to be moving mindfully.  At the same time I felt deeply the space caused by the detachment from them.  It reminded me of a passage from the Dao De Jing (translation D C Lau)

Everyone is joyous,
as though feasting at a great sacrifice
or climbing a terrace in springtime.
But I am quiet, not giving any sign,
like an infant who has yet to smile;
aimless, as though I had nowhere to go.

Everyone has more than enough,
I alone seem to be lacking.
I have the mind of a fool, vacant and dull.

Most people see clearly;
I alone am in the dark.

Most people make fine distinctions;
I alone am muddled and confused.
As vague as the ocean,
As unsettled as the wind.

People have their intentions,
I alone am as dull as a yokel.

Everyone else seemed amused, distracted, clumsy, purposeful.  I was just sort of… observing and drifting.  My attention was still focused inwardly.

 

When I got to Yin, Gigi was teaching!  A 60 min late night stretchy session 🙂

ahhh, so fuzzy!

We went through some hip work followed by restorative work.  wind-relieving pose then dragon then twisted dragon then seal then double pigeon then waterfall.

I don’t mind dragon, as I have said before.  But the twisted dragon was rough!  I really felt it on the inside of my thigh, at the hip.

this is the version of twisted dragon we did

Conversely, I LOVVVE winged dragon, aka gecko.  But we didn’t do that 😛

I was also really glad we got to do waterfall, it helped me flush a lot of fresh blood into my sore legs.

 

Day 18 over!  This was a really long entry, but I had a lot to say 🙂  See you tomorrow!

Day 10 – Power Pump

I’m not sure if that title sounds cool or cliche, haha!  Wednesday, the evening plan was for me to get an arm workout in, and then head out for 90 min of Forrest-inspired hot yoga.

Went to the gym after work, it was packed!  Dumbbells strewn haphazardly about, lazy people fluttering around like butterflies, patting each other on the back.  The positive vibes were nice, noone was laughing at anyone else, but goddang it people, clean up after yourself!  I’m not your mom.

This arm workout was a “pump” workout – a set of slow negatives (5 second neg) to wear out the muscle, then a high rep set to “pump” blood into the muscle.  Works quite well, by the third exercise I am groaning in pain.  You don’t need high weight, just good form and lots of time under tension, not a lot of rest.  60 seconds max between sets and between exercises.  And when I was alternating arms I didn’t take any breaks, just back and forth.

arms:

closegrip dumbbell press:  50s for a slow set of 10, then 25s for a set of 25

tricep extension with straight bar:  100 lbs slow set of 10, 70 lbs set of 25

(I like using the rope, but someone had the rope)

one hand seated dumbbell extension:  30s for a slow set of 6&8, 15s for a set of 25&25

preacher curls:  65 for slow set of 10, 50 for a set of 25

one hand cable curl:  40 for a slow set of 10&10, 20 for set of 25&25

zottman curls:  20s for slow set of 10, 10s for set of 25

notes:  15 lb dumbbells and 10 lb dumbbells seem like some pretty rinky dink shit, but when you put them at the end of their respective muscle group, those one hand extensions and those zottman curls brought the pain!  The zottmans especially, that bicep lift feels easy, but you twist your arm and reverse them back down… very quickly your forearms start to burn!  It’s a great isolation.  I hear Bruce Lee used to love zottmans.  Bruce Lee had good taste 🙂

That was quick and nasty, it only took half an hour, so I headed down to the yoga studio for a 90 minute Forrest class with Gigi!

all smiles before class…

I spoke a little bit about the Forrest curriculum last week:  the breathing exercises, the ab work early on, loose necks and traps, long held poses, and so on.  As the class started, we spent some time stretching out our hips.  Gigi mentioned to the class, “you may be wondering why we are doing this in a “power” class.  The power is coming.”

The abs at the start were hard, haha.  My abs are way not up to snuff, so I just did what I could.  All that keep your legs straight up in the air, and lift your shoulders off the ground and then twist left and right stuff just fades me out pretty fast.  So I do what I can.

Then we did some sun salutation type flows, usually leading into knee down on the ground lunge with a backbend.   Ok, so far so good, I can keep up with those, some people got tripped up by the pattern, but you get used to it.

We did dolphins, we did turbo dogs, we did twists.  My shoulders were so-so, I shyed away from the turbo dogs, but I did a few extra dolphins while other people were sucking wind on the floor.  So I didn’t wimp out, I just spread out the shoulder work.  By the last twist though, my left shoulder started telling me to stop it and relax, so I came out of the twist, went into seiza and did some shoulder rolls for a while.  It was just me respecting my boundaries.

Then it was time for standing series.  We bent our front leg as we went into Warrior 2… and that leg stayed pretty much the focus for like 10-15 minutes, hahaha.  Even when the leg wasn’t bent and it was straight, the pressure was still on it, so it shifted from the quads to the hams, but never really let up.  There were warrior 2s, reverse warriors, bent leg triangles, pyramid poses, straight leg triangles, half moons, standing splits, all on the same leg.  Usually around the 70% mark for each leg, Gigi would let us go into childs pose for about 30 seconds, before we hopped back up into another triangle and then half moon, for example.

Trust me, by the end, my legs were thrashed.  I did my leg workout on Monday, and there was still some DOMS I was dealing with, so by the end of this standing series, my hamstrings were hammered toast and my quads were tight cords of burning flesh.  I was a sweaty, broken man.  When we got to lie down, I felt like a prisoner being granted a few drops of water, I just lapped it up.  I had no energy left to be stubborn.

Then a funny thing happened.  As I walked out of the studio into the cool night air, yeah my legs felt tired and destroyed, but the DOMS had lightened up!  I think all that leg work flushed a lot of fresh blood into the area, and helped my recovery.  Lots of times when I had sore legs, I would stay sedentary at the office, sit in my cubicle and type.  That way dodged the soreness, but it doesn’t help the healing process.  When you have leg DOMS, go for a walk, go for a bike ride, do a spin class, do some hot yoga 🙂  Put those wheels into motion and they will clean themselves out.

 

Day 10 down!  Pump arm workout and a power yoga class!  Power Pump!  On to the next one!

Day 20 – Microtrauma

They say love hurts.

 

I woke up this morning, and my legs were really tired.  My quads felt sluggish.  I knew what this meant… DOMS, incoming.

 

Ok, I am no expert, but from my limited understanding, when you push a muscle past what it can handle, you “overload” it, you work it harder than it was ready for, you cause little tears in the muscle fiber… microtears.  In other words, you have experienced “microtrauma”.  See the little pic from Wikipedia?

1. Bone 2. Perimysium 3. Blood Vessel 4. Muscle Fiber 5. Fascicle 6. Endomysium                   7. Epimysium 8. Tendon

 

As you can see, the the epimysium connects the muscle to the tendon.  Within that epimysium are the fascicle bundles, sheathed in perimysium, and containing bundles of muscle fibres, themselves individually sheathed in endomysium.  Put another way, these bundles of bundles of bundles are each wrapped in their own successive layers of protein, helping them to resist passive stretching, to distribute force evenly, to protect from friction, to carry nerve signals and fresh blood throughout.

 

OK!  Back to the trauma.  You have caused tiny tears or stresses, it could be to the muscle fibres, to the protein coverings, to the tendons, or even to the bones.  It all depends on what you are doing.  The body goes to work, trying to repair this damage.  As a defensive measure, the body seeks to add tissue to the damaged area, to protect it from further damage.  The area gets bigger.  This can result in a few different things:  thicker bones, longer tendons, fluid buildup in the muscle fibres (sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, aka bigger muscles), or an increase in the proteins that make up the muscle fibres (myofibrillar hypertrophy, aka stronger muscles).

 

Of course, these things all often happen together.  Your mileage may vary, and bodybuilders all over the world work with ways to isolate these types of trauma through changing the way they overload their body with resistance.

The reason this trauma is good is because your body rebuilds you BETTER than before.  Every time you workout, your personal construction crew goes to work like a team of scientists with a 6 million dollar budget!

 

The theory as I understand it is, when it is repairing this trauma, there is a swell in the surrounding tissue, causing pressure, maybe some mild inflammation.  This results in soreness.  Ever notice the day after an awesome workout, you are SO sore?  Sure, we all know that.  That is likely your body repairing damage.

Please do not confuse this with the soreness you feel RIGHT after an exercise.  That is simply fatigue, your body burns through the fuel available, ATP, creatine, glycogen, then lactic acid is produced as a byproduct, etc.  No, this muscle soreness takes place a day or two after.  So they call it DOMS:  Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

 

All this is the scientific side.  The part where it enters my life though?  All day today my legs became progressively more sore.  I blame Leslie!  Curse those lunges!  I already have thighs larger than a skinny person’s waist, I don’t need bigger legs, lol.  Leg DOMS are usually regarded as the worst… why?  Because you still need to walk, haha.  After a strenuous leg day, most DOMS sufferers wobble around like aggressive chickens, coordination is WAY off.

So!  Anyways.  My legs hurt a lot as the day wore on.  How do I deal with DOMS?  Honestly, your best option is sleep.  Your body is repairing itself.  Let it do its job in peace.  Beyond that?  I like a little whey protein here and there, I like to take amino acid supplements (I personally use Dymatize Elite Recoup) both during and right after the workout, and I like to take a mild anti-inflammatory after the workout.  These all seem to lessen the soreness for me, personally.

Did I mention I sort of missed the Recoup after the Leslie workout?  I maybe brought this one on myself.

 

Anyhoo, after work I decided to tempt fate and I headed to the gym for a spin class, then maybe yoga?  I did a spin class with Crystallina, see?

Spin class was good, but it felt tough!  My legs were groaning at me.  I figured some cardio would help flush them out, bring lots of new blood to the repair crews so they can stay oxygenated.  Good in theory, in practice it meant my butt was dragging ALL OVER that stationary bike, haha.  We did LONG stretches of standing climbs, we did high intensity intervals (20 seconds of all out high tension climbs followed by 10 seconds of ride easy, multiply that pattern as many times as it takes to make the class bitter and exhausted, haha), we did a little speedwork, we did some jumping tracks (up down up down).  At the end of the hour, it was announced the yoga class would be power!  Oh joy!

I took my picture with Crystallina, talked to her for a sec, then before I knew it the yoga class had already started!  Oh darn.  Well not really, my legs wanted to crawl into bed and cry for a while.  I missed yoga, but I don’t know if chicken strut legs would have appreciated warrior poses and runners lunge after the spin class during a DOMS outbreak.

 

So I came home!

 

And how was your day?  haha