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!