Failure - Live to Fight Another Day!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

So I've come to realize that blogging on SP is cathartic and is best done whether I'm feeling up or down, whether I have good news or bad news, yadda-yadda-yadda.

In my last blog ( ) I talked about how I was on the verge of over-training to exhaustion. So I made a few adjustments (I ditched the extra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class at work), and, wouldn't you know, I got one hellacious cold and missed about 4 days in a row of my regular workouts.

Overall, I feel much better!

But there's a bit of a problem....actually this problem has been brewing for a while and I don't like it.....hence the blog.

About 5 or 6 weeks ago, as I was doing my last deadlift of the day (I think it was 325 lbs), I felt a little "Pop-Pop" in my lower back. It was very weird. It wasn't painful at all, it was almost like cracking a knuckle....but it was in my lower back so I became concerned.

With the wisdom of my 54 years, I knew better than to keep pushing and decided to call it quits for the day.

No pain at all, but I kept thinking about what the hell it could have been. I did some Google searches and read a few bodybuilding forums that talked about guys that experienced similar lower back pops.....but they all described them as debilitating and had them laid up for weeks!

I did not want to go there!

The next week was my designated de-load weak. So on deadlift day, I cut the weight back to 185 lbs....then felt the same "Pop-Pop". Now I was worried. No pain again, but two weeks in a row of strange popping sounds in my lower back, I decided something was up. I called it quits and began to fret.

I went back to the books, re-read everything I could devour on deadlift form (my favorite is still Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength.....excruciating detail on form and anatomy....and kinda funny too!) I focused on keeping my abs tight, my butt and hips way back, my back tightened to support my spine.

I eased up on deadlift days. I still pulled heavy weights, but once I made my designated number of reps for the day, I called it quits....I didn't go to failure and I always stopped while I still felt like I had some gas in the tank. I took it slow, thought about every move, every body part, went over and over in my mind how to position my body before committing to the lift.

Last week I pulled 335 lbs for 3 reps and felt real good, tight and strong throughout the whole session. That was a good sign, because next week, on 26 Feb, I have my next powerlifting meet!

Last October I lifted 915 lbs between deadlifts, squats, and bench press (see blog ). I have been hoping to add 50-60 lbs to that next week. I think I can add 20-30 lbs each on squats and bench press, but the deadlifts have me worried.

Because you see today....I failed.

Today's goal was to lift 355 lbs....once. I did all the warmups, and on my penultimate set, I lifted 315 lbs for 3 reps. But I worked real hard for it.

For my last set, I got my hands around the bar with 355 lbs on it, the bar 3 inches off the ground.....and down it went.

I walked around a bit, caught my breath, tried again....and failed.

I took 20 lbs off, tried to lift 335 lbs....and failed again.

I think the memory of those "Pop-Pops" are still in my head and have me being uber-cautious...which I suppose is a good thing (My motto for working out is, "First, do no harm")

But I have an ego.....yes, I know it's hard to believe, but I am plagued with a competitive streak and sometimes my ego just won't let go.....I want to do really well in next week's meet!

In October's meet, I pulled 355 lbs on the deadlift, a personal record for me and it felt great. My goal was to surpass that by at least 20 lbs this time.....but after today, I'm not even sure if I can pull 355 again.

Now, as with any competition, the adrenaline and the cheers of buds and the crowd helps you push past many barriers....but in this case, I'm not 100% convinced I should push it that hard.

So we'll see....there's no time-table pushing me to increase the weights, there's really no pressure, other than that of my own making, to keep going up....and I really don't want to be here in a week or 2 blogging about how I screwed up my back from working out too hard. Sometimes in war, it's best to retreat and live to fight another day.

Bottom feels good to get it out and put it down on paper (or whatever we want to call blogging). Thanks for reading.

Have a great night Spark friends!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Lifting 300+ lbs is a failure?

    Um. Don't think so. I would not quibble over anything that comes after the first 3 but that's me.

    My gut says: Listen to YOUR gut and "first, do no harm. "

    Good luck at the meet.

    2716 days ago
    Holy cow. I agree with Nancyanne55 for sure. It is really cool to me to read how much in poundage you are actually working with because, for me, it's little 2 lb weights with my cardio at the moment. Last time I went to the gym and did any weight machines, my max was 35-40 lbs on any machine. Keep it up, stay safe. :)
    2722 days ago
    Glad you could get it all out (better out than in) ;-) .... and glad that you have not strained emoticon any of those brilliant brain cells that always tell you what you should and shouldn't do. You've got YOU covered. No doubt in my mind.

    Let us know how things go, buddy.
    2723 days ago
    Important to listen to your body as well as your common sense, which it sounds like you are doing very well. And blogging about it is good because if you help one person, then you have accomplished a lot!
    2723 days ago
    NancyAnne55 nailed it- "Meeting goals at power lifting meets for all of your buds to witness is cool. Walking pain-free is cooler".

    Be careful. You LOVE to lift - make sure you can for many years to come.

    Go see a doctor - they can let you know what's going on. Better safe than sorry.

    Let us know what happens.

    2723 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/20/2014 2:45:01 PM
  • JUNEAU2010
    I think you are wise not to risk a serious and longer setback. Those pops are warning you!
    2723 days ago
    Everyone else has expressed all my sentiments...there will be other meets in the future that you can prepare for - and there are other events in this meet that you can focus on. It's not worth it. Good luck and let us know how it goes...I'm sure you will emoticon

    2723 days ago
    A cautionary tale here:


    Listen to your inner voice, Grasshopper, it speaks with wisdom.
    2723 days ago
    I experienced lower back pain after a run last fall and paid a visit(s) to a Chiropractor. So glad I did as I had to make several changes due to some biomechanical issues.

    Get your butt to a doctor. If the verdict is its no big deal, then you can lift without fear. If the situation warrants some intervention, do you really want to risk your health (and the joy from lifting, etc.)? If you screw up your back, it will affect a lot more than just deadlifts.
    2723 days ago
    Whatever the issues are, I'm impressed. Holy smokes, I couldn't lift anywhere near that kind of weight, so be encouraged and hang in there!
    2723 days ago
  • no profile photo CD988070
    ". . . I really don't want to be here in a week or 2 blogging about how I screwed up my back from working out too hard. Sometimes in war, it's best to retreat and live to fight another day. "

    You know it!

    Listen to the happy whispers of your happy body rather than the roar of the onlookers : )


    2723 days ago
    Go with your gut. Better to be healthy and lay off for a bit than to be laid up for a bit. The competition roar of the crowd and the adrenalin will take you where you need to be, IF you feel alright at that point in time.

    As you say: first, do no harm.
    2723 days ago
    When in doubt, follow your gut! (Or in this case, you back!)

    My suspicion is that if you didn't feel pain you don't have much to worry about, but if your instinct is telling you to lay off, then that is EXACTLY what you need to do. It just ain't worth it to jack with your lower back at ANY age.

    Meeting goals at power lifting meets for all of your buds to witness is cool. Walking pain-free is cooler.
    2724 days ago
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