First Real Positive Sign in Weeks

Ok, I look like a bodybuilder again. I've been back for 2 weeks and cleaned up the mess -- not just physically but my head, as well. I'm in a good place and everything is going very well. I even got my tan back. Yes, these things matter.

I rested my hip and leg like I was (am) supposed to, and this was part of the reason I took 2 weeks off and just rested, didn't train, ate what I wanted, and just mentally and physically "rested" from bodybuilding.  After coming back 2 weeks ago and bombing upper body, calves and hamstrings (leg curls don't bother my hip and aren't considered a vulnerability), I had originally planned for 2 more weeks of resting my legs. 

Please understand this before I move forward with my update: I have been training for 35 years. I kind of know my body and have dealt with many injuries over the years. I always appreciate when people who support me, tell me to make sure that I take it easy, don't come back too fast, rest and recover, etc. I really do appreciate it. I always thank them for their support, but I sometimes want to remind them that I do know my body, and I'm not a gambler, by nature. I'm actually quite calculated and cautious. EG: I don't have a deadline anymore due to not competing, so there is no reason for me to risk an ongoing injury by coming back to training legs if I thought for one minute that I needed more recovery time.  I lose nothing by waiting a few more weeks. My thing is that I have tested my hip and quad, have been over it hundreds of times in my head, and I am quite confident that I am at a point now where I can START to ease back into some leg training that involves my hip and quad. 

In saying the above, that does not mean I am going into the gym and destroying my legs. What it means is that last week I finished up my abbreviated leg session with 4 sets of super light extensions just to see if there was any cramping, anything that felt out of place, irritation, etc. The gluteus medius is not a big stabilizer of the leg while doing a leg extension. I knew my hip would be fine and that is why doing leg curls (seated leg curls) has caused no issue for my hip. I had no desire last week to try to do any type of compound movement for legs due to my hip.

This week, I decided that I would do heavier extensions, though still keep reps high at 15-18, but have then be much more intense. Again, the gluteus medius is not in jeopardy here unless I do something stupid. I also decided to try to do a few leg presses to see if I had good ROM or limited ROM in my hip with LIGHT weights. I started at 1 place each side for 20 slow reps and everything felt great. I actually started to get a pump right away, and doing extensions first as a pre-exhaust limited the weight that my quads needed for leg presses, anyway. My goal was two-fold: 

1. see how my ROM was and if there was any irritation or any indication that something wasn't right

2. to hopefully get a pump and enough work on my quads to actually get them sore for once, so that I felt like I did something lol

I was able to work up to 5 sets of high reps for the leg press but still kept them very light, only going up to 5 plates per side (cybex leg press with the pivoting platform). Due to my quads being pre-exhausted, my quads were on fire without having to go too heavy.

I decided to finish with 2 sets of smith squats only going up to 135 pounds, so that I could see what kind of glute activation I would get and, equally important, if the activation was equal and balanced from the left side to the right. It most definitely was. I started with just the bar, put 25 pounders on, and then moved to 1 plate for 2 sets.

I left the gym with a quad pump for the first time in a while. More importantly, I had ZERO indication that anything was wrong -- no irritation, no pain, no swelling -- nothing.

That is only half of the story, though, because I had done a full-on leg session about 5 weeks ago and it went well, only to get home and have a spasm in my quad that almost took me back to the hospital, 3 hours after training. 

So, as good as I felt after the session, Friday, I knew I had to wait to see what happened (if anything) over the next handful of hours. Everything went great and there were no issues.

Moving forward, my thoughts for next week are to stick with these exercises that I know feel good and not change them up as I start to add weight in SMALL increments. 

Another precaution that I will continue to take is I will not stretch my hips, yet. On the one hand, that may seem counterintuitive because of my history of back injuries. However, I can't risk doing the one thing that started this whole fucking mess, to begin with. I KNOW the left hip and is still tight and needs to be stretched or opened up. However, what I do not know is if that muscle is strong enough to be stretched, yet, without injuring it again.

Yes, my back is now a vulnerability while I can't stretch my hips. The good thing is that my poundages that are being used right now for legs are not likely to cause a back injury, though. As the strength starts to come back, I will have to start to stretch again, slowly, and carefully.

I do not have to have this injury healed in X amount of time due to no real deadlines right now. I do think, though, that if I can continue to build strength without any issues, I am shooting for being back to top leg poundages in 6-8 weeks. This is JUST a PROJECTION, as I do not have to meet this timeline. It's just my best guess based on how things have gone over the last 4-6 weeks.

 

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