Spud's Muscle Voodoo and Witchcraftery

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  • By Marc "Spud" Bartley
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Spud's Muscle Voodoo and Witchcraftery

The Story:


For three months after a pretty good rack pull, I have had an issue with my right-side mid erectors.  It was working its way out prior to that but this particular lift was the one I noticed the most swelling on.  It kept a high neural tone (lumpy and swollen looking).  It did not impede anything at the time so kept training around it just watching it carefully.  At PosturePro, I got deeper into the compensation patterns and after getting the insoles that go along with that program, it got better but continued to be in high neural tone.  And, I kept training on it just not going quite as heavy.


After going to Be Activated for the third time, the work there calmed it down a lot. If you have been reading, it was also where Douglas issued a challenge, to us,  that breathing should be completely independent of movement and that at any time during a lift, max effort or whatever, you should be able to get a diaphragm breath. This concept being completely opposite to mine and most other's heavy lifting world, was difficult to grasp and even harder to implement.  As a recap here, obviously we accepted the challenge and began to work with our breathing in every aspect of training - ALL AREAS.


Everything was going along well for me and Sue in training.  It was so good that my nature is to push a tad farther then I should.  I had a good day a few weeks back and elected to pull after squats. The first 405, my low back grabbed in a familiar spot, but it was sharp but not the tear kind. I did a few more sets with that. Yes, I know, that probably wasn’t a good idea. I finished up the day fine. I have had this spot before and it has always healed fairly quickly.  We made so much progress that I was pleased and excited.  But success is a long road with lots of twists and turns and sometimes you go too GD fast and run off the road.


This pain in my mid-back erectors is not new to me, but surprisingly enough it has little to do with my years of powerlifting.  I actually injured it when I was 18 or 19 at a grocery store stocking job. I have just built a good support system of muscle in that area over the years. But my guard rails didn't hold this time. Combined with the mid back erector looking like a uni-hunch back, I marched on training looking for the next curve to take at the highest speed possible.


The knottington back hills began to seize a bit here and there with the low back (all right side) so I took some muscle relaxers for a couple of days and wouldn't you know it felt better.  The guys were squatting this past Saturday and well, "You squatting with us?”, came up. I was feeling pretty good so proceeded on.    We were squatting with the blue band and I was hanging with everyone until the last set.   I finished the workout with lots of recovery work and some walking-very slowly hoping everything would just calm down and I would be alright.


Ultimately this story leads to the sacred back burial ground.   Currently the ceremonies are seize and seize up. I am using all of my incantations and spells to counter as you can read below. It is working some but not as well as in the past.  Again, these are always cautionary tales to help you evade the traps the ego lays for you. I know you will not listen as I don't but at least you can get a lot of rehab witchcraftery voodoo tools.


Watch the video of his second to last squat:


The Training:


September 14, 2019


(1) 20 min walk  

(1) prowler push


September 15, 2019

(1 ) 30 min walk

  • Bench with double lights worked up to 245 for 1 off softee pad. Dropped to 1 plate for 3x5 speed work off the softee pad.  I did plenty of activations but forgot about dermal traction method (yank away pain). It is another neurological concept to loosen and activate tissue. Mostly for superficial aches and pains for me. Used it today to loosen the triceps and bicep around the elbow (my arm does not straighten because of bone spurs and tight tissue). This changes the bar path as my body is trying to do a lot of work without the right parts in the right places.   Arms were more responsive to locking out without extra effort. Additionally, worked the breathe on all sets.

(2 )more 10 min walks with 1 lap in between  with a sprinty jog.


September 16, 2019

(1) 30 min walk with wake up drills


September 17, 2019

(1) 30 min walk.


September 18, 2019

(1) 30 min walk

  • Activations with Tim tam and bands with some stretching.
  • Reverse Hypers 4 pre, 2 post
  • Buffalo Bar close stance  squat.  Went back to the original plan of just working very light reps for 3 to 5 pauses and 2 full breaths at every stops. barx3sets, 25lb x3 sets, 50lbx3 sets, 150lbx3 sets. Then used squat buddy with 200lb for a 10 breath pause at near bottom which went decent, 265lb for 8 breaths which went a little less decent, 315x 5 breaths which turned in more hyper ventilating so not good.  This is a new addition to the plan.
  • Wife had to work my erectors for 15 mins to loosen them up enough to walk. Terrible idea


September 19, 2019

(1) 30 mins walk

Lumberjacking some shit by the gym for 2 hours


September 20, 2019

(2) LAPS sled, (1) lap walk off

* Activations with Tim Tam and boom stick.

* Hung upside down the Big Ray Strap

* Infinty Loop Pro work. High rep tricep, back, upper back


September 21, 2019

Only had time for 30 mins step mill and some wake up drills.


September 22, 2019

I wasn't able to train on Saturday weights wise so did some lower and upper work.

Leg press 7 sets with 3 to 5 reps on close, med and wide stance. Lots of 2 to 3 breath pauses. My Training Partner for Life (Mr. Snow) as he named himself while doing a few sets with me.  His back is so tight he comes off the leg press seat about 4 inches on each rep as he was trying to hang.  Hammer press 7 sets of same-three hand positions for multiple pauses and breathing work.


September 23, 2019

(20 10 min walks and (1) 10 min ste pmill

  • Light activations while walking with some Tim Tam
  • Light hammer pulldowns 5 sets for tempo and pauses. About 1 to 1. minutes per set


September 24, 2019

(2) 10 min walk

* Activations


September 25, 2019

(2) 10 min walks

Activations with Tim Tam. Tempering with 120 lb BT tool. Hanging on the Big Ray


September 26, 2019

(2) 10 min walks

* Activations with Tim Tam. Hanging on the Big Ray for about 10 mins

* Reverse hypers 6x12

* Super setted standing rows x20 with standing abs x 20 for 8 rounds


September 28, 2019

(30 10 min walks

  • Lot of activations
  • 6x12 Reverse hypers
  • Did not think I would squat but it ended up okay. Box squatted with 1 strong and ended with 5 plates off a high box. I had to put on two squat buddies at the end and one around my waist just for mental health to do the set.
  • Nothing broke so I moved on to belt squat with a close stance for reps. 4 or 5 sets of 10.
  • Spent another hour loosening things back up. Could not get it to all go away and seized all afternoon at dinner.


September 29, 2019

(1) 30 min walk

* Lots of stretching, BT work and activations to trying to let ease the inflammation in my low back and mid erectors.

* I was going to bench but could not get loose enough to stop the seizing.  Basically, walked around like the old angry troll (Keith) for a while.


September 30, 2019

(3) 10 min walks

Some pressing on hammer machine. 10 x 15 to 20 reps


October 1, 2019

(2) 10 min walks

* Lots of activations.

* Lots of BT work on the gut.

* Two or three upside downy sessions

* Lastly, went to Chiro for a pop and stim for 20 mins.  Will be back there on Thursday for a repeat and possibly an X-ray. Chiro thinks it could also be a stress fracture in the mid back causing the erectors to fire continuously (high neural tone)


October 2, 2019


10 min walks

  • Activations with the Tim Tam
  • Back is still jacked up so spent the morning doing high rep work with the band and other BW exercises. Used the average band to do one straight leg lifts,  to side and finally side to side to finish. The majority were straight leg lifts. We used to do these daily in the past just to warm up or when the back was jacked.  Well the back is jacked so and back they are.
  • Sets of 50 on the straight leg for 4 rounds
  • Sets of 15 to 25 to the side for 4 rounds
  • Sets of 10 to 15 side to side for 4 rounds

(1) 85 rep, 1 50 rep assisted BW squats

(1) 25 butt walk. Surprisingly, this seemed to help my back a lot, at least in the short term.


October 3, 2019

(2) 10 min walks

* Activations, hanging upside down.

* Chiro for pop and stim


October 4, 2019

(2) 10 min walks

* Tim Tam activations

* Lots of lying leg band work just getting reps in there. About 300 reps

* Machine press 3 rounds of 5 minutes each with a 5 breath pause at chest level

* Same with seated band rows 3 rounds

* 6 sets of reverse hypers



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