Though things have been going quite well with my training, there is one change that has to be made.  I have fought it but I can't fight it anymore.

I have been leading my training split with my back session simply because this is my weakest link.  On the one hand, it has paid off considerably in that my back has improved (though is still shitty).  On the the other hand, leading with the back session has compromised my chest and delt training quite a bit, off and on, this year -- more on than off over the last couple of months.

What is happening is the day after I train back, I train chest and delts.  My back is so fried from the back session the previous day that while chest pressing (and sometimes during stabilization for delt exercises), my back is cramping half way through a set. Sometimes it's just a little uncomfortable and goes away but lately it has made me stop some sets early because the cramping can get pretty bad.

I never have this issue when I lead my split with chest and delts and then do back the following day.  Even though I have been progressing with my back sessions this year, I just won't be able to continue with this sequence.  Next week I will change the back day to follow chest and delts.  It sucks but it's the lesser of the evils.

Update on my knee pain:

I ended up not training quads for 3 weeks after the knee pain I was experiencing.  I did still train hamstrings and calves but no quad work, at all.

This last weekend I decided to train quads for the first time but was approaching it with the idea that I would basically just do my usual warm up sets and then call it.  This way, I could see if there was any pain, get a little bit of a pump and gauge whether I might be able to try to go heavier for the next leg session.

I started with leg curls, moved to extensions and then did smith squats.  Everything felt so good that I worked heavier than my warm up sets but not to the point where I was pushing heavy sets, either.  I stayed in the 10-12 rep range, had a great session and I feel that by the next leg session this Saturday, I will be able to push some weight again.  Obviously, I will be paying close attention to the feedback my body and knee is giving me, but I am confident that I should be able to have a productive, pain-free leg session for the first time in a month.

Right now, I am just riding out the month of December.  What I mean is I am not doing anything crazy but I am still pushing workouts hard and staying as heavy as I can but keeping reps a little bit higher.  I also am experiencing better recovery since dropping volume by about 33%, as well.  Joints feel better and I am getting stronger since dropping volume, as well.

My focus this month is to maximize recovery and to go into 2020 with no aches or pains and be fresh to start the year after vacationing over the holidays back home in Michigan.  I will still train while there but the workouts will be "cruise" style workouts where I am not pushing big weights and instead just getting a pump and getting out of the gym quickly.

I have been fortunate to have gotten through 2019 with a very productive year by being smart so I don't want to do something stupid the last month before switching gears as I go into 2020.