Friday, December 23, 2022

Easy Muscle: Week 5 and 6

Week 5 was my first full week doing 2-arm swings with the 32kg kettlebell. I've been feeling more post-workout soreness in my lower back muscles, compared to 2-arm swing sessions with the 24kg kettlebell. Otherwise there seem to be no ill effects from the load increase, as of the completion of Week 6

I rewatched the videos of Geoff Neupert performing chinups and dips and noted that his eccentric movement was nowhere near as slow as the 4-6 second eccentrics I've been doing in those exercises. Neupert also clarified that slow eccentric is not recommended for Easy Muscle. The eccentric should be performed under control, but not too slowly. So, for my push-pull session, I aimed for not more than 2-sec. eccentric. My heartrate was faster with the faster eccentric. My exercise volume increased as expected.

My shoulder continues to heal, with pain-free ROM gradually increasing.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Easy Muscle: Week 4

I completed Week 4 of the 8-week Schedule C in Easy Muscle. I did Week 3 twice because I took some time off for Thanksgiving.

I switched to the 32kg kettlebell for my 2-arm swing sessions. My body felt ready to handle the increased load. There was a little more soreness in the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings on the day following the swing session, compared to what I'd been feeling after swing sessions with the 24kg KB. There was also some soreness in my left forearm. If I want to eventually train under Easy Muscle Schedule A, which is the Clean-And-Press only schedule, with double 16kg kettlebells, I need to make sure I can swing a 32kg load.

I have admittedly not been exercising the forearm extensors with the Ironmind Expand Your Hands bands that I've had for years. The Simple And Sinister book advises exercise with these or similar elastic bands, including the ones that typically come with vegetable produce, to balance out the work that the forearm flexors get from kettlebell swinging, and help prevent elbow pain. So this week, I started doing 3 sets of about 12 repetitions with the blue bands after my Easy Muscle sessions.

I like keeping my thumbs turned out for the dips on the NOSSK trainer. This seems to allow more ROM on the bottom of the movement, and keeps enough muscles of the upper back and shoulder external rotators engaged to keep my shoulder and elbows comfortable, even with the front delts and chest getting a stretch at the bottom. While the Easy Muscle instructions say to perform the eccentric/negative of movement under control, it does not specify how long the eccentric should be. I take about 3-4 seconds on my dip eccentric. This Bret Contreras article says fast eccentric may actually stimulate more hypertrophy than slow eccentric if the load is high enough, although it also cautions against speeds high enough to risk injury. This research article indicates no difference between 2- and 4-second eccentric for stimulating muscle growth. I'll see what info I can find.

I bought the Duonamic Rings set, which is designed to replace the stock handles on the Duonamic Eleviia doorway pull up system. It took a while to figure out how to set up the rings as high as possible for pull ups, but it was worth the time and effort. Pull ups on these rings feel much more comfortable for my elbows and shoulders, compared to the stock handles. Palms facing each other at the bottom position and supinated palms at top position seemed most comfortable for me. I still could not drop all the way to an active hang, but I felt I like I had just a little more pain-free ROM restored in thei movement compared to when I started.