Tag Archive: microtrauma

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā


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 ūüôā


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 ūüôā

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 ūüėõ

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 ūüôā¬† See you tomorrow!

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