EMS Max Strength Journal

It’s been almost a year since I’ve trained for weightlifting and I’m about 75% back to normal I would say. It’s a long story why I’ve been out for a while but to say it simply, my hip muscles were in a huge mess to where it was causing a lot of stress on my hip capsules. Foam rolling just doesn’t cut it, especially when I’m invovled in a sport like weightlifting which involves a ton of flexibility. I can squat pain free with a narrow stance but the more I spread my feet out, the more of a chance I’ll have a getting a pinching sensation in my hip capsules because my hips are so tight. I have to squat deep wide because it’s the most stable position to catch the snatch in.

I’ve been doing a lot of upperbody work over the past year - benched 235 x 11, 260 x 5, weighted chin-ups - BW+70lbs x 5. Other than that, I’ve just recently started doing single leg stuff like leg press, lunges, etc. I’ve also done some bike sprints up to 20sec to get some lactate work even though it’s not necessary for weightlifting.

I plan on devoting the next month to achieving the goal of improving flexibility in a wider stance of a full squat. It’s the best way to help me stay consistent with a routine to reach a goal. I plan on using EMS as a tool to supplement my stretching routine to accomplish this goal. I also will try the best I can to getting deep tissue work at least once per week (found a local guy that charges $20 for 30min) and maybe drive down to Austin or Ft. Worth at least once a month and get some ART if necessary. I also plan on consulting with a physical therapist that I had good success with in the past. She’s able to help in a lot of ways in which I can’t improve on my own such as hip distraction, craig’s test, etc.

My stretching routine will involve a lot of self PNF work aiming for 1hr per day. I will also use a loaded stretch with a barbell to squat deeper as long as there is no pain (pinching). Any suggestions are more than welcome.

Bol - get well soon… Are you gonna do any iso lunges etc?

Thanks man, I’m going to need all the luck I can get to fix this issue. I’m going to still do SL/prehab work but in moderation so I don’t run the risk of getting my hip muscles too tight from overuse like I usually do. I’ll start to do more work when I feel more comfortable with managing the muscle tone, etc.

I’m going to talk more in detail with the issue I’ve been having with my left hip. I’ve had pinching sensations with my left hip when squatting for years (about 5 years IIRC) and I’ve had several people work on me to fix this issue. It literally feels like bone on bone in the front part of the hip at the bottom of a squat. It was always a 2 out of 10 on the pain scale so I always ignored it and trained through it. There was a summer where I worked with a Physiotherapist and she was able to reduce the pain to nothing by improving my internal rotation. When I started training seriously for the sport of Olympic weightlifting (1.5 years ago), it gradually started to pinch a little harder each time. It was 7-8 months ago when it really started hurting me and my performance as a lifter. I had just completed the smolov base cycle (tons of volume) and it wasn’t the same. I started noticing that it would pinch even during an RDL and couldn’t even snatch 94kgs during this time. It also hurt to even do lunges or single leg work. It was December (6 months ago) when I told myself I wasn’t going to train through this pain anymore. I then saw several chiros that did ART, etc. and never saw too much relief. I maybe had one massage session during this time which was a huge mistake come to find out later. None of these treatments did a whole lot of good so it was time for me to seek out medical help.

Here’s where it gets ugly… I had seen a sports orthopaedist about two years ago for this issue and he initially sent me to PT after seeing nothing wrong on the images (xray/ct scan) and made great improvement. They originally thought that I had femoral acetabular impingement syndrome (FAI) but I went to see him again in December and this time he finally decided to do an MRI and told me it was unnecessary to see the PT again. I get the MRI results on a T1 (which is kind of lower quality imaging) and he diagnoses me with Avascular Necrosis disease, the same disease that ended Bo Jackson’s career. It’s where the bone cells start dying due to a lack or blood supply. He starts telling me that I need to stop all activity so we can give it a chance to heal and if it doesn’t heal, he’s going to have to drill a whole into my femur or eventually perform a hip replacement. I was scared out of my mind at this point.

Over the past 4-5 months since that MRI, I’ve come to find out that the MRI report diagnosis wasn’t even 100% sure if I had this disease or not. I have also gotten a second opinion on this issue and was told that the MRI that was ordered wasn’t even a high enough resolution to detect this issue confidently. My hip still felt very badly during this time, so I had no choice but to believe the Orthopaedist. My training during this time was just bike work, core work, and upperbody.

It wasn’t until about a couple weeks ago when I started seeing the same chiros again, getting ART regularly, and deep tissue when I finally started seeing results. I can now do a full narrow stance squat with no pinching in my left hip. It still pinches a little bit with the wider stance but this tells me that my issue is purely muscular to where it’s causing my bone pinching symptoms.

I realize that this is a very complicated issue and it’s mostly my fault for not getting consistent massage and taking care of myself as well I should have. I won’t make this mistake again and will continue to carry out the plan for increasing my flexbility in the squat to where I won’t having any pinching symptoms anymore. I’m going to take the suggestion from T-Slow to start doing a microstretching routine 2x daily to achieve my goals. So far I’ve done two sessions and can already notice some good benefits.

If there’s anybody who’s going to train ridiculously hard and consistent reading this, I’d highly encourage them not to train through pain and pay whatever amount necessary to get consistent massage work. I’m told by many weightlifters that they don’t need therapy because they get a good enough stretch being the in the bottom of a squat all day to where they have no issues. It’s only a matter of time before they make the same mistake that I did.

You have had doctors confirm that you do not have Avascular Necrosis disease?

Rich, good point. The doctor who gave me a second opinion initially told me that he’s confident that I don’t have it. This upcoming week, I’m going to get the second MRI to officially confirm it though.

I only asked because I went through something similar…and the more doctors that I seen, the more differing opinions…

Did you wind up having the disease? What were your results?

I didn’t mean I had the same disease, just a medical condition that almost each doctor I seen gave me a different opinion…after 3 surgeries and multiple neck injections, it was found the main problem was elsewhere.

ku2u-next time you go to squat, before squatting, do a partner stretch for the hip flexors lying on the table and start off VERY easy and over the course of about 10 minutes, progress to a significant stretch-both pushing the leg down and get your partner to put you in knee flexion (this is 10 min each leg). Relaxation and breathing are key throughout. Rest a couple of minutes and then go and squat under the same conditions as you have before and report back. Look forward to your feedback.

Make sure your partner is competent…i.e he doesn’t hyperextend your lower back.

Thanks for the suggestion Gymrob, I’ll probably have to pay someone to spend 20min stretching me lol. Rich, I’ll be very aware of any Doctor’s opinion.

Monday, 4.8.13.
Narrow stance Goblet Squat - 2 x 10, 40lbs. Almost zero pinching.
Deep SL Leg Press - 3 x 10 - 210, 190, 175
Back Hyperext - 3 x 10, BW and short ROM
ISO Lunge - 2 x 25sec
DB RDL - 3 x 10, 35lbs

Microstretching afterwards - 3 x 60sec hamstrings, glutes, psoas, adductors, spiderman lunge

This was the third microstretching session. I can’t tell if I’m seeing any results or not but I believe I need to breathe and relax more for this stuff to work better. I had a pain-free session today, but I still feel real unbalanced between my right and left leg. My right (good) side is a lot tighter still after the massage work I had on Saturday. It’s my glute medius, tfl, and QL that feel restricted. My next massage session is Thursday for an hour and I hope to get closer to solving this issue.

I know this sounds like a broken record comment coming from me but why don’t you try some routine hydrotherapy? The thing about water therapy is the body gets systemic treatment. You take the guess work out of your issues or problems. Everything is subject to judgement. When you get in the water and use water for treatment no one does the guessing… Over time ( and usually the results are positive and timely) it’s noticeable.
I had routine massages almost daily by someone more knowledgeable than most. ( no kidding right? ) When the message could not fix it all, I always found significant improvement with hot and colds. Try it. I dare you.:wink:

Ange, it’s always great to hear your opinion on your life as a high level athlete so you sound far from a broken record lol. I have not been doing water therapy or hot/cold showers mostly because cold water seems to make my sinus issues worse especially at this time of the year. From what you’re saying though it sounds like I’m missing out on too many benefits and need to get back to doing them and will start doing those today. I’m going to do whatever it takes to train hard again, thank you for your post.

Tuesday, 4.9.13
-Final day of my internship and had no time to train because we were out eating sushi all day. I did manage to come home and do a session of micro-stretching and took Angela’s contrast shower recommendation. I did 4 cycles of 3min in a hot shower/1min in the pool outside and I feel better already.

Wednesday, 4.10.13
-Went up to Dallas today and the 2nd opinion orthopaedist told me to start gradually work my way back into training. He thinks it’s a muscular problem that’s causing impingement like symptoms in my left hip and that I’m going to have to get very flexible to avoid this.

Goblet Squat - 3 x 10, 50lb DB
Reverse Lunge - 3 x 10, 40lb DBs
RDL - 4 x 10, 95lbs
-microstretching session afterwards

Very minor pinching in the squats today and none in the RDLs. I feel like I’m on the right path… I probably won’t train tomorrow because I have an hour long deep tissue massage but I do plan on doing some block snatch/clean work next week.

Friday, 4.12.13

Block Power Snatch - 6 x 3, worked up to 60kgs
Tried out other exercises:
Back Squat - still have pain/pinching sensation in left hip
Front Squat - no pain, but felt stiffness in hip
Deadlift - no pain but feel like I struggle to stay in alignment. (torso favors to twist to the right)
Jerk - no pain

Had someone film my squat from the posterior view and I notice my left hip and knee is higher than my right hip and knee when I decend to parallel or lower.

Monday, 4.15.13
Reverse Lunge from deficit - 4 x 10, 60lb DBs
GHR - 3 x 5, 3-0-3 tempo
ISO Lunge - 3 x 30sec
Side Plank - 60sec/side

Decent day today, I’m thankful to still be able to do single leg exercises with no pain. I feel like I’m still not ready to do bilateral work (squats, deadlifts, OLs) yet as something is still and still can’t figure out what’s causing me to be so imbalanced. I know I wasn’t like this when I was at my best a year ago. I’m getting some more massage/flexibility work tomorrow and will try to get my obliques, QL, and lats worked on.

Well, I thought things were heading in the right direction but I actually was going in circles again thinking that I was going to slowly work my way back into normal training. I started doing real easy squats a couple of weeks ago and sure enough all of the symptoms came back. Good news is that I’ve finally found out what’s causing my pain. I’ve recently had two MRIs and come to find out, I’ve been diagnosed with Femeroacetabulur impingement syndrome (FAI) and a hip labral tear, an injury that I knew I had for years now… These doctors, they just can’t listen to their patients…

I’ve only received the results from one of the MRIs (done without contrast) and it still says that there’s a chance that I do have early avascular necrosis. But there’s also a chance that it’s confused with bone marrow edema, which is caused by repeated trauma to the joint. Whatever this issue may be, it’s not the reason why I can’t move like a normal person. The reason why I can’t move properly is simply because I have a hip impingement. My orthopaedic doctor (the guy who’s my second opinion) told me that I’m a candidate for a hip arthroscopy. I haven’t met with the surgeon yet, but from my own research it will probably take me 4-6 months to get back into sports from this surgery. It’s been 11 months since I’ve been able to train without the unbearable pain in my left hip and it will be 17-18 months until I will be back. That’s a lot of precious training time lost especially when at age 22, but there’s nothing I could have done about it.

I spoke with Giovanni Ciriani over the phone this week and learned that I could have been using EMS MaxS to my advantage this entire time while I’m injured. A huge mistake on my part and I will start using it again to complement my limited voluntary training. My journal will be quite boring, but I’m going to start logging my training here consistently to see how much of an impact EMS can help with my recovery after surgery.

Monday, 4.29.13
HRV - 68, HR - 86.1
-No training because I had a hip arthrogram aka MRI with contrast. They stick a needle deep down in the hip and inject dye to determine if there’s a labral tear or not. It left me sore to where I could barely walk out of the facility.

Tuesday, 4. 30.13
HRV - 75.7, HR - 84.0
Bench - 185 x 10, 170 x 10, 155 x 10
Neutral Grip Pull-ups - 5 x 5, bodyweight

MaxS EMS - Speedcoach level 1 setting:
Hamstrings - worked up to 24
Glutes - worked up to 44

No quads stim because I was still very sore from the MRI yesterday. As recommended by Giovanni, I’ve started using the speedcoach program. My goal yesterday was to get some hard contractions, not maximal contractions. With the upperbody work, it was real light as I haven’t done any upperbody in a month, another training mistake…

Wednesday, 5.1.13
HRV - 77.7, HR - 77.6
Bulgarian Split Squat from deficit - 4 x 10, 55lb DBs
Active recovery EMS - 10min on quads, glutes, hamstrings.

My left hip was still a little sore from the MRI, but I was able to train with no pain. Those bulgarian split squats nearly killed me though and it was probably a little too much to do. My legs are not as near as sore as I thought they would be. With the cheaper unit I used to have, I used to experience soreness like no other!

Thursday, 5.2.13
HRV - 72.9, HR - 86.1
Bench - 3 x 10 w/ 170lbs
Neutral Grip Pullup - 5 x 5

MaxS EMS - Speedcoach level 1
Quads - worked up to 44
Hamstrings - worked up to 22
Glutes - worked up to 42

I did the quad stimulation a bit different today as I put my legs into a leg extension machine (at home) while doing the contractions. This gave the quads a stimulation from a stretched position. Again, I wasn’t trying to work up to a maximal contraction, just a hard contraction. My upperbody was still a bit sore from Tuesday as expected but not too bad. I’m really enjoying the EMS sessions so far, the biggest issue that I face is making sure the pads are placed symmetrically.

EDIT - also going to start logging in my Heart rate variability (HRV) data, even though it’s somewhat pointless doing this with limited training. My average baseline number the past 4 months I’ve been using it is 74 I think.

Friday, 5.3.13
HRV - 78.4, HR - 81.9
Bulgarian Split Squat - 3 x 10, 53lbs
DB RDL - 3 x 15, 53lbs
ISO Lunge - 2 x 30sec

EMS Active Recovery, 10min each muscle group
Quads - 14
Hams - 14
Glutes - 37

How are you measuring HRV? Are you using ithlete or a different device? Also, what position are you doing the test?

CLIMBON, I use the Ithlete and take the measurement from a standing position like it recommends. I also take it within 1-5min after waking. This explains why my heart rate numbers are a bit high. I may consider taking it from a lying position because I doubt my resting heart rate is below 55. I think the standing position is meant for resting heart rate is below 50 or something.

OK. I was wondering why the HR numbers were so high. I would recommend doing it lying down or at least in sitting. I think it gives a more accurate measure for those of us who are not endurance athletes with extremely low resting HR. I would think that most people who follow the CF’s principles would be in the 50’s to low 60’s (supine or seated) simply because of the low intensity/general conditioning work.