Workout 22/04/2016 – leg day and a new exercise. Safety squats!

On a day that I’m stillĀ very stiff andĀ very sore from my last arm/back/shoulder day (damn those pull-up negatives!), I hit leg day with limited enthusiasm. Luckily I really enjoyed the session, with thanks to a new barbell – the safety squat barbell. As I’ve said before, I have issues with back squats. I can’t get my weight in the right spot, I lean way too far forward, and my depth is shocking. Experimenting with front squats has helped – with those I can squat deeper and with better technique, but I have to drop the weight. Fine for technique, not so great for my legs.

The safety squat bar sits on your back, but has handles across your shoulders that you hold at the front of the body. I knew straight away we were going to be friends. With this bar I could squat deeper, with better technique, and still maintain a decent weight. In fact, I ended the session feeling that if I did a few more sessions at that weight, I’d probably be able to increase the weight pretty soon. I even feel like I might be able to squat unsupervised with this bar.

safety squat bar

I know it’s not the solution to just stop back squats all together, but it’s nice to know that I can improve my depth, technique and weight in my squat.

3 sets:

  • 10 x safety squats (30-35 kg, 40 – 45 kg x 2 sets) – we weren’t sure how much the bar weighed!
  • 20 x walking 2 pulses lunges (no weight, 10 kg each hand x 2 sets)

1 set:

  • 25 x leg extensions (25 kg)
  • 25 x hack squats (raised heel squats)
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A semi-dislocated shoulder. A step backwards.

stepping backwards

How does it feel to not be able to hold your handbag in your left hand? What is it like to feel that your shoulder may drop out of its socket if you pick up your water bottle?

It feels scary. It feels foreign. It feels unstable, like your shoulder might drop out of your socket. It feel embarrassing, a little humiliating and, most of all, it just feels fucking frustrating.

For two and a half years I have paid $50 twice a week. I have invested in gym gear, for the first time in my life. I have sweated, sworn, ached, felt proud, risked a lot, and trusted my very movement to a personal trainer. I have invested all of this to strengthen my somewhat unstable shoulders to make sure that, unlike my mother from whom I inherited them, I would prevent them from dislocating rather than having to rehab after the fact.

But today, merely half an hour ago, my left shoulder slipped. It didn’t dislocate, to be fair, but it slipped enough to make a popping feeling, to feel my muscles twinge, to leave my left arm feeling vulnerable and helpless. I wasn’t doing anything that I’d classify as risky- I was pulling a rope, bringing a reasonably heavy sled towards me. But I got enthusiastic, sped up, and forgot to brace my shoulder. A reminder that no matter how long I train for, no matter how strong I get or how much I achieve in the gym, my shoulders will always be vulnerable. A reminder that no matter how many times I’ve done a movement, no matter how practiced I am, no movement can ever be routine. I must always be alert, concentrating, aware of every muscle in my back and shoulders- how they’re placed, how they feel, how they’re working.

And now I’m left sitting in my manual car, wondering how the hell I’m going to drive home when my arm feels too vulnerable to pick up even my handbag.