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So my favorite Training Program let me down or should I say I fail to raise myself to it's level :-(

Last 2 months have been difficult on SS. First I wanted to lose weight and then travelling and erratic food habits + sickness and injuries didn't let me make any progress. I have hardly increased on any of the lifts. My Program includes SS + Barbell rows(120 pounds) currently apart from overhead press all my lifts are close to 220 pounds which is 10-15 pounds more than 2 months ago but I am plagued with injuries. I weigh 195 pounds. I have frequent back aches out of which one is a persistent one in the Rhomboids. Rotating on my back causes pain in the middle back. However bending and lifting weights isn't that much of a problem. It also seems that my recovery isn't as good may be because of the food.

What kind of break I can take to heal the back while still retaining strength ?

What would be the best way to come back on the program ?

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Do you have good form, and if so, how do you know? Can you define "erratic food habits"? Did you deload after traveling and getting sick? What were your starting weights (bodyweight and each lift)? Do you have the book or are you solely using the wiki? Why did you add the BB rows? Have you ever deloaded on any lifts? How many workouts have you missed? How many sets and reps have you missed? To know how to get you back on the program, it's necessary to know where you left it. –  Dave Liepmann Feb 4 '13 at 16:55
    
Hi Dave, I have good form on Squats and Deadlifts, I do these in front of the mirror. I try to notice the form some times not all the time. I know Rippetoe suggests not to look in the mirror. I have the book, I have read it once if you have any particular sections to revisit I can do that though I never read the book 2nd time because I found it too informative. I have not really deloaded in the real sense but some times when I struggled with existing weights I brought the numbers down by 5-10 pounds on that lift to keep things going for a while. –  Geek Feb 4 '13 at 17:08
    
Erratic food habits is mostly because my job requires going around and meeting people during the day and some times I can not eat for a few hours even though I feel very hungry and than I try to make up for the lost calories in the next meal. I feel hunger is a worse thing while you are training. I added barbell rows because my back lacks the thickness and I have very little middle back, I thought this could help. To improve recovery I tried doing Squats twice a week but I noticed something strange. I could work out well but the soreness would come the 2nd or 3rd day on the legs. –  Geek Feb 4 '13 at 17:12
    
You squatted twice a week instead of in all three workouts? Or did you squat in separate workouts? I don't understand what is strange about the leg soreness. –  Dave Liepmann Feb 4 '13 at 17:13
    
I think it was tireness more than soreness. I missed Squat completely some times, never consecutively though. I started at 168lbs body weight. I have never missed a rep on any set may be the 5th rep on the 5th set once in a while but I do 1 rep later if I missed it just to keep myself happy. Also I might have missed 1 workout in some weeks, I always did 2 no matter what. I started off light on most lifts that was close to 7-8 months ago increasing the weight once a week rather than every workout, I made good progress close to 6 months and then wanted to cut some fat. –  Geek Feb 4 '13 at 17:19
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

It's impossible to know what went wrong, but here's a preliminary list:

  • You may not have good form. A mirror simply can't provide enough feedback. I recommend finding a coach or training partner to check your form in the squat, deadlift, and power clean at least, and probably in the presses as well.
  • You got sick and traveled--which means time off from workouts or diminished recovery--without deloading. Though you may have been able to keep up with the increased weights, this meant you were lifting much closer to your maximum than normal. This puts greater stress on recovery and makes form errors more likely, which makes repetitive-strain injuries more likely and soreness much greater. I would deload all lifts by 15% (so, approximately 30 pounds for those lifts in the 220 range) and re-start your progression.
  • You only read the book once. It has a lot of information on workout programming as well as the minutiae of the lifts that is almost impossible to absorb in one reading. I'd reread the book.

Your modifications to the program raise eyebrows but sound OK. Squatting twice a week isn't optimal, and could disrupt your progress in that lift. Adding the barbell rows may have affected your ability to recover for the other lifts. I'm not clear whether your missed reps were very different from the prescribed deloading procedure. Adding weight once a week is almost certainly not a problem.

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Thanks Dave, I knew you would be the first to answer on this forum :-) My question is now, how to heal the injured back. It is not worse but has stayed like this for a while. I don't want to take a long break and then start from 150 pounds. I lose strength sooner than others. –  Geek Feb 4 '13 at 17:49
    
@Geek I'm not clear what the injury is, but the solution may involve taking a week or two off and deloading by 30% or more. It's not helpful to keep re-injuring yourself. –  Dave Liepmann Feb 4 '13 at 17:52
    
Thanks Dave. I will take this as the answer and probably take two weeks off straight away and then start close to 30% deloads depending on how I feel. It is frustrating not to be able to make progress for 2-3 months and getting injured. The current injury wakes me up some times in the night while turning on the bed so important to get rid of it. –  Geek Feb 4 '13 at 18:01
    
You haven't made progress for 3 months? –  Dave Liepmann Feb 4 '13 at 18:05
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WHOA! Yeah, dude, that's a "stop lifting altogether and restart way lower" scenario. Two months of playing with the same numbers while feeling pain is not normal. –  Dave Liepmann Feb 4 '13 at 18:27
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