I'm Benched

Here’s where I confess what a serious addiction I have to my workouts.

I’ve had some pain in my upper back the last few days that got bad enough I had to text Dr. Kyle for an emergency appointment yesterday after work. The pain comes like clockwork after benching but isn’t usually severe and doesn’t last long. This time it lasted days. Dr. Kyle pronounced it a locked muscle or joint (it could be either, and either one affects the tissue adjoining it) and gave me a through working over with what he calls the soft tissue jackhammer. This device really works down deep in the tissue and feels great. He also got some good cracks and pops out of my upper spine that had felt for days like I couldn’t stretch it enough. Though that part improved, the pain didn’t stay away for long.

So I lay awake last night, worried that the pain would still be there on my bench day. I’d have to tell Ben and I was afraid he’d tell me no bench.

I stretched and warmed up really well at the gym today, chatting with Dr. Kyle as I did so. He was not pleased to hear the pain hadn’t entirely gone away. “Have you told Ben?” he asked. I shook my head no. “Are you going to?” I didn’t want to but of course I’d have to. I couldn’t make Dr. Kyle rat me out.

I got everything set up to bench and ,as nonchalantly as I could, asked Ben if there was a way to work that wouldn’t aggravate the painful part of my back. I was hopeful for a moment as I could tell he was mulling over something. Then: “No bench. You’re off it for two weeks.”

I couldn’t refrain from a tiny whine, “Seeeeee, that’s exactly why I didn’t want to tell you.”

“We can work on your bench strength without the bench,” he replied, which promptly cheered me up. He expects me to bench 100 pounds (that’s almost body weight, which is quite an achievement in women’s lifting) at the next meet. That’s also 20 pounds more than I did at the last meet, so I have a lot of strength to build, which is why the last thing I want is to take two weeks off.

We went to the write board and I got my assignment: 3×10 band pull-aparts, 3×10 face pulls, 3×10 pushups, 3×10 dips, 4×4 chin-ups and 2×12 bent over (20lb) dumbbell rows. It didn’t sound that hard. Until I went from straight from one to the next to the next, my arms going all quivery and tight. By round 3 I could only eek out two chin-ups, and in my focus on finishing, forgot I was only meant to do two set of the dumbbell rows, and pushed through three. It was all I could do to get two chin-ups on my fourth set. A third was as impossible as one was on my first day at CrossFit. In Ben’s gym you’re not finished until you complete your task though, so I rested my weary arms a few minutes, and labored through four more.

He was right, I didn’t have to bench to blast my upper body! I hope that after replacing two weeks of bench day with this, that I’ll be stronger than ever when I go back to it. And I’m glad I took the counsel of Dr. Kyle and Ben (as if I had a choice!) and laid off. I’ve got a lot of work to do, and I have to do what it takes to accomplish it, even when that means doing the last thing I want to do.

benching 80-1


One thought on “I'm Benched

  1. I’m impressed, I have to say. Really hardly ever do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve got hit the nail on the head. Your idea is excellent; the difficulty is one thing that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled throughout this in my seek for something referring to this.

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