This scenario might anger many, but, it may also be a stone throw away from happening to you.
Check out this e mail I received and see my thoughts below:
Just wanted to send you an email to let you know how much I appreciate how many bodyweight resources you are giving us. We've spoken via email before, but to reiterate, I played 4 years of college football at a small D3 school in Chicago.
During my time there I developed chronic neck injuries that left me with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Luckily it's not bad enough to inhibit any of my daily activities, and I am currently employed as a police officer.
The only symptoms I have left are stiffness in my neck, occasional numbness and tingling in my left arm, and weird spasming of my left pec for days after I bench press with a barbell (though oddly enough, not dumbbells).
However, I noticed that loading my spine seemed to worsen the condition. Which means that, at least for the time being, my beloved deep barbell squats are out of the question. 🙁 For a time I was somewhat lost, with my knowledge of bodyweight exercises being limited to pushups (which I was doing with improper form), pull ups, and bodyweight squats.
After ordering and watching, rewatching, and re-rewatching your Bodyweight University Videos and Combat Seminar DVD's, and reading a lot of Steve Maxwell's stuff, I have completely changed my training.
Lots of bodyweight movements supplemented with Kettlebells (I now have a modest collection of 3) and odd object training (like an old 100lb heavy bag I bought cheap).
While I am still bummed that the focus my training had to shift, I find that the new modalities of training you and Steve Maxwell have shown me has:
a) left me feeling better than I have in years.
b) increased my mobility.
c) increased my kinesthetic awareness.
I feel that this method of strength training has translated more to my BJJ training than my days of nothing but powerlifting. I can no longer squat 500 lbs, but my knees are more stable, my shoulders are more mobile, and I no longer suffer from my neck injury as I once did!
While I apologize for the long winded nature of this email, I feel I definitely owe it to you for putting out all these resources that showed me that just because I'm limited by time (we work 12 hour shifts at the PD), lack of equipment, and an injury, I can still strength train, just in a different way!!!
All the best,
PS: I ordered Convict Conditioning, and I very much look forward to receiving my copy.
Brian - first off, Dude, you're a f**ing animal.
I respect BIG time how you are constantly investing in your knowledge to improve your health and strength. Most people make excuses about not being able to afford training courses or training tools that will improve their health. They want hand outs and still complain, they are contributing to the weakening of society, so I'm grateful and inspired to see you are raging against the norm.
Excuses force me question the priorities of men nowadays, as I always say, "Without your health, you have NOTHING."
When it comes to gaining knowledge for my health, I invest without thinking twice about it. I've got multiple book shelves packed to the hilt, along with book drawers piled high with books. In my garage, due to running out of space, I've got more boxes filled with more training resources.
So, let's get to the BIG concern you have along with many others. Will powerlifting have to end for you?
Perhaps the 500 lb squats will end, BUT, you can still find ways to squat, bench and deadlift, only now with variations that keep you feeling good and still allow you to get stronger and faster.
Here are some tips I use for the powerlifting variations as we get older and more banged up, yet still allow us to perform them and feel GREAT.
Squats - Try performing your squats with a safety squat bar or the zercher variation. Front Squats are also a favorite. If loading your spine with any type of bar on your back feels like hell, go ahead and hit some moderately heavy zercher squats. I used this movement when I severely strained my low back a few years ago and they felt great.
I also used zercher squats with 315 + lbs 36 hrs. prior to my last knee surgery. Keeping my legs strong helped me make an extremely fast comeback after knee surgery. Strong legs are the foundation of your entire body, never forget their importance.
Deadlifts - Deadlifts can suck for some and be heaven on earth for others. For me, it all depends on the style of deads I use along with the intensity. If deads crush you, then try to use moderately heavy weights on a Trap Bar (Never heavier than a solid triple) and avoid maxing out.
My motto with the deadlift is simple: If you kill the deadlift, it will kill you!
Rack pulls always screw up my back, but, deficit deadlifts feel great. A few heavy sets while leaving a 1-3 reps in the tank often keeps progress coming, max out regularly on the deadlift and you'll often get weaker, slower and eventually..... injured. Find what works best for you, don't deadlift every week, maybe every other week or 2 - 3 weeks on, 1 - 2 weeks away from the deadlifts.
Bench Press - Avoid wide grip benching, instead, try shoulder width or slightly wider than shoulder width. Try using a swiss bar, a thick bar, floor pressing and add chains to help with shoulder stability. I also love using the bandbell bars, they save my shoulders.
Inside The Underground Strength Academy, check out The Shoulder Health File that gives you all the exercises and tips I use for shoulder health / shoulder injuries.
The bench press is an awesome exercise, but, it may not be for you. If it hurts, find an expert to critique your form. If it still hurts, cut your losses and move on.
Push Ups with Gymnastics Rings are one of my favorites, you can't go wrong with a set of rings.
As you grow older, your needs change and your body changes as well. Your training must continually evolve and the most important thing is staying healthy. Your health dictates what you can and can not do.
Stick with me, brotha, I'll show you the way.
PS: After training since the age of 13, I've seen the fads and gimmicks, I've experienced what hurts, what works, what doesn't work and have clawed my way to the top with plenty of bumps and bruises to teach me some serious lessons when it comes to getting bigger, stronger, leaner, etc.
The truth is HERE for those who want to remain focused and stray from the confusion.