Thursday, January 02, 2014

The Year In Weight Lifting

It really hasn't been a whole year since I started in June, see my post on that here.

I continued to add 5 lbs per week until about 105 lbs and then hurt my back trying for 110. I worked on my form and on getting my back well again and progress has been slow but steady. I have gotten to the point where I sometimes am able to lift 135 lbs over my head using the clean and jerk.

I have changed my routine a little: I used to just lift whatever weight I was at five repetitions. Now I start at 115 and then either lift 120 then 125, then 130 and then (sometimes 135). Other times I will skip increments in order to be fresher at the highest weight, so 115, 125 then 135.

Am I getting stronger?

The short, or as I like to call it sometimes--the Microsoft answer--is that yes, I must be getting stronger. But does it alone account for the fact that I can lift more weight? No, almost certainly not. When I make a successful top-weight lift, it often feels pretty effortless. The moves in a clean and the moves in the jerk are pretty acrobatic and require a lot of coordination. This difficulty is compounded by the stress and danger of doing it while holding a heavy barbell in your hands.

It is all for the best:

Whether I am purely getting stronger (which is the actual goal) or am getting purely better at the moves, it is fine. If I am becoming more skilled this helps in two ways: Going through the full range of motion which happens in the properly executed lift provides better training. If skill allows more weight on the bar, then eventually the weight will have to be lifted with strength and so my muscles will become stronger.

Learning to let go.

The thing I have to watch out for is hurting my back. As mentioned above, I did hurt myself at 110 lbs. This happened when I failed to make the clean and bent my back while under a load. Now what I do is drop the bar if I need to. The floor is concrete and an unfinished basement, but even if it was the finest teak parquet, my back is less replaceable. Still, my back does ache and it is hard to tell what the reasons are. It was totally fine a month ago and I was lifting 130 back then. I suspect it was other activities like snow removal and hauling around packages and heavy bags of salt. This current snow storm will not clarify matters, but back issues are something to watch out for.

No comments: