Lots of Updates

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I have not written in a long time as life has gotten in the way.  In this post I will provide some updates on various things.  Please bear with me.

Hypertension:

The DASH Diet works.  In 90 days I took my blood pressure from 145/90 to 122/60 simply through dietary manipulation.  While the DASH Diet has many factors to it as long as you get less than 1,500mg of sodium per day and 4,700mg or greater of potassium per day I suspect you will see results.  I get my potassium from light orange juice, avocados, potatoes, steak, bananas, and some forms of potato chips when I crave a snack.

Sleep:

I recently acquired a TEMPUR-Cloud Supreme Breeze which, while very expensive, has been a life-changing event.  You spend 1/3 of your life in bed, if you can afford it, buy the best mattress you can.  Lots of good research into mattresses is available at the website Mattress Underground.

Exercise:

Regarding my recurring right bicep tendon annoyances I took some advice from Blaidd Drwg on IrongarmX which amounted to “Don’t fuck with it.”  Of note is that I interpreted “Don’t fuck with it” as don’t try to train around the injury, literally, don’t do anything near the affected area.  As such from January until August of 2017 I did nothing but walk or light yoga for exercises and, drumroll please, the pain went away and has not returned.  “Don’t fuck with it” — simple as that.

In October I began bringing back some pull-ups and kettlebells into my life and below is what I am doing these days which, is a great balance for me of strength, flexibility, and endurance based upon my time available and how much I want my workouts to effect the rest of my life i.e. not being worn out when I am trying to spend quality time with my family.

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Ladders are Shaf’s Ladders — autoregulate your workout however you need to.

I like the Single Arm Kettlebell Clean for my Hinge Exercise as it feels as though it involves a bit more forearm and bicep strength usage during execution than the traditional Kettlebell Swing.

For Yoga I love the Yoga Studio App as it can be tailored to the needs of your body.

Naked Turkish Getups are an amazing exercise and I highly recommend them.  I can’t really describe how they make me feel other than energized.

I like the Single Arm Kettlebell Strict Overhead Press as while it uses less weight than the double kettlebell version it feels as though it requires more use of balance / stabilizer muscles which I like.

I like the Single Arm Kettlebell Rack Squat because I can get the same depth as the Goblet Squat but I also get a clean (hinge) to get the kettlebell to the rack position and I need to balance / stabilize more during the squat as compared to the Goblet Squat.

For the Take it Easy circuit — you need to take it easy.  Relax.  You should feel better after than before.  Let me explain the exercises a bit.

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Ab Wheel

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Stand on One Foot for 20 Seconds Right then Left

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Trunk Twists – Right then Left is One Repetition

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Bird Dogs for 20 Seconds Right then Left

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Blood Pressure & Shoulders

Blood Pressure:

August 23:  163/95

September 28:  138/78

October 8:  138/72

Since August 23-ish:

No cardio.

3x a week lifting.

DASH diet six days per week. One day per week I go nuts and eat and drink whatever I want.

Cut back on caffeine from a single 28oz daily coffee to single 16oz.

8 oz of beet juice daily.

8 oz of hibiscus tea daily.

12mg of fish oil daily.

1 cup of oatmeal for breakfast daily.

Correlation? Causation? I have no clue. What I do know is that I did a combination of things and the numbers came down.

Shoulders:

In August, 2016 my left bicep tendon started to dislike me.  I got a cortisone injection, did some rehab, and it is fixed.

In October, 2016 my right bicep tendon flared up again from this thing in 2014.  My body truly hates horizontal pressing of any kind as this flare-up came from push-ups, and very few of them at that.  I got a cortisone injection and rehab starts this week.  Note I never got a cortisone injection in the right bicep tendon in 2014 because it was never presented to me as an option.

Based upon what I learned from my previous bicep tendon rehab efforts and reading The 7 Minute Rotator Cuff Solution below is a jpg of my next plan — or as I call it Shoulder Thingy Two Point Oh.

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Log Review and New (Old) Discoveries

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Last night I reviewed all of my logs since the beginning and discovered the following:

My best progress on the military press was made when I was doing it three times per week with each session consisting of three ladders of 1-2-3 and micro loading.

My best progress with the deadlift and squat was made when I was doing it once per week with each session consisting of five ladders of 1-2-3.

It remains to be seen what doing barbell rows does for me. I suspect they are good for strength and health whether they transfer to the other lifts or not.

The sweet spot for me for weekly schedules-wise based upon the demands of the rest of my life seems to be three days per week.

During these thrice-per-week sessions I can best fit in two lifts with a maximum of 15 sets each (e.g. five ladders of 1-2-3 for two different lifts).

The sweet spot for me for volume seems to be a 4-5 week cycle.

The sweet spot for intensity for me seems to be a 1-2 week cycle.

I seemed to make my best progress during the intensity cycle ramping up to a one or three rep max at RPE 10 then dropping 10% and working the same rep scheme again until I once again hit RPE 10.

I think pursuing three rep maxes is likely best / safest as an intensity goal for a non-competitor.

I need to start doing deload weeks.

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Daily Hypertension Cocktail

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Some medical studies point to Beet Juice reducing blood pressure.

Some medical studies point to Hibiscus Tea reducing blood pressure.

In addition to pursuing the DASH diet each morning I am also drinking what I call my Hypertension Cocktail.  The ingredients are as follows:

8 ounces of Beet Juice

8 ounces of Wild Berry Hibiscus Tea

8 ounces of Water

I mix the above into a travel coffee cup before I go to bed and put it into the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning it is the first thing I consume upon waking.

The results?

I don’t know yet.  I will post more after a month or so.  I can say at this point that drinking my Hypertension Cocktail every morning makes me feel better than drinking coffee ever did.

 

 

 

Half Marathons & Hypertension

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The night before the half marathon my right foot began hurting so much it took my breath away.  When I woke up the next morning the pain was still there so I skipped the race.  The Doctor declared a sprained tarsometatarsal.  While I didn’t get to run the race it turns out my last long run before the half marathon was 14 miles so mentally I checked the block for my goals this summer.

While at the Doctor’s office my blood pressure was extremely high, around 153/92.  I have taken it two more times this week and it is at this level or slightly lower.  In response I am pursuing the DASH diet.  As I scoured my blog and workout notebook I found this post that I had forgotten about.  In it I note a correlation between my weight lifting, specifically using barbells, and lowering of blood pressure.  Based upon all of the above it looks it’s time to get back under the bar.  See below for my next template.

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Bicep Tendonitis and the Scapular Plane

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I annoyed by bicep tendon again.  This time it is my left one.

I sugested to my Doctor and he agreed after an assessment that the cause was likely strict overhead pressing a 28kg kettlebell at an angle outside of the scapular plane.

What is the scapular plane?

Click on this article by Scott Iardella at Strong First to find out.

The article is also available here in PDF format:  The 3 Key Distinctions of the Kettlebell Press – StrongFirst

Bottom Line:  Staying within the scapular plane when pressing overhead is safer than not.

Question arising from this situation thus far are:

Is barbell strict overhead pressing safer than the same exercise with a kettlebell since a kettlebell can naturally drift out of the scapular plane easier than a barbell?

Is there a substantial difference in performance gains when utilizing equal resting weight and pressing weight as compared to light resting weight and heavier pressing resistance?

Example…

When I stand with a kettlebell in the racked position I feel weight.  When I strict press it overhead I feel weight.  When I stand with one or more Iron Woody Resistance Bands looped over my Ross Enamait do-it-yourself resistance band handles I feel little to no weight.  When I strict press overhead I feel resistance.

More to follow once I know more.  For now it is a cortisone shot and six to eight weeks of physical therapy.