Ask The Hitman

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Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
I understand, water weight is what will flucuate the most, I can see the impact of water weight almost hour to hour on me, since I am always closesly examining my coniditioning throughout the day. It seems though you have changed the set point of your body fat by about -5% which is great even with the changes you have made. You have done really well. Are you now comfortable at that bodyfat level?
Thank you once again. just one other question concerning my lower back muscle spasms and tightness during the match,,,,, i usually do Leg presses(180 lbs, 120 reps, 1-2 times a week) and Chest presses at the Gym. i was so busy with work this week, i didn't do any Leg presses and Chest presses in the Gym this week . but i did work out with dumbells doing Sumo squats and some bicep curls, light 20 lbs dumbell, nothing big, and i did this at home. and in the match this weekend, my lower back wasn't bothering me as much it has been. Can the leg presses and chest presses in the gym contributing to my lower back muscle problems ??
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
@Hitman

Any recommendations on a homemade electrolyte drink? Am into nutrition myself and eat pretty healthy, however, I recently moved to a hot country and playing singles in the morning certainly requires more than water. The sachets I am currently taking are good but expensive. I see that the majority of electrolyte products are made up of 4 main compounds - Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium. Would you recommend mixing flavoured squash/cordial with water and then just buy Potassium/Magnesium and Calcium powders in bulk to put in? I use Himalayan salt at home so can use that for the Sodium. In terms of sugar, I've seen some online articles state to use full sugar squash and others say to use no added sugar. I could potentially mix in some honey or something?
I can understand your situation. Yes, the main mico-nutrients that you need to be looking at are most certainly sodium, potassium, mangesium and calcium The first work those sodium-potassium pumps in your cells, and I can tell you, I know when I am running low on magnesium, it is not a good feeling at all for me. Himalayan salt is a fantastic source to use, so major kudos you have that, I don't personally have any right now, but my mother uses it back at home all the time. You certainly need simple fast acting high glycoemic sugars if you are waking up and playing singles tennis in the morning, the reason being that blood sugar levels are quite low in the morning, and since tennis requires a lot of explosive start and stop movements, the slightly lower glycemix index sugars like honey take a little longer to get into the blood stream, they are much better for helping you have stable blood sugar levels, so I would recommend it for your standard day to day living...but for early morning tennis match preparation it is not as optimal as something like a sugared drink that has the simple carbs you need for performance, have to say that squash drink that contains simple sugars would be more ideal. Dextrose would be the ideal thing, I have often used dextrose as part of my pre-workouts.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
I do like this video. See if this one works for you. It is not so overwhelming, and hits a lot of angles.

Can i do this day before the match or day of the match, and would it help with making the racket feel featherlight during the match ?? Thank you
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
Thank you once again. just one other question concerning my lower back muscle spasms and tightness during the match,,,,, i usually do Leg presses(180 lbs, 120 reps, 1-2 times a week) and Chest presses at the Gym. i was so busy with work this week, i didn't do any Leg presses and Chest presses in the Gym this week . but i did work out with dumbells doing Sumo squats and some bicep curls, light 20 lbs dumbell, nothing big, and i did this at home. and in the match this weekend, my lower back wasn't bothering me as much it has been. Can the leg presses and chest presses in the gym contributing to my lower back muscle problems ??
I would say it is pointing to the leg presses, it is possible the torque you put on your lower back as you push is impacting it, this is a very frequent thing I have seen, and have personally fallen victim to in the past also, when I got a little carried away with the exercise. I wouldn't say it is the chest press, especially if you push your scapula into the board your back is pushed up against, whether that is a seat or a bench, your lower back would only hurt if you are using very terrible form and too much weight on the chest press.
 
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Hitman

G.O.A.T.
Can i do this day before the match or day of the match, and would it help with making the racket feel featherlight during the match ?? Thank you
I would say before the match concentrate more on loosening up and do more exercises to warm up your rotator cuffs, and shoulders in general. I wouldn't really suggest doing this before a tennis match, as with any muscle contraction, regardless of whether you are using weights or bands, the muscle shortens, and it slowly comes back to its normal length, unless you do some rigorous stretching, but to me then, it would be like you are doing a little too much just before a match. I would suggest doing this the day before, and then a quick few minutes of rotator cuff, shoulder movements on the day of the match.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
I would say it is pointing to the leg presses, it is possible the torque you put on your lower back as you push is impacting it, this is a very frequent thing I have seen, and have personally fallen victim to in the past also, when I got a little carrried away with the exercise. I wouldn't say it is the chest press, especially if you push your scapula into the board your back is pushed up against, whether that is a seat or a bench, you lower back would only hurt if you are using very terrible form and too much weight on the chest press.
OMG, i think you are right on the right track. You are pure Genius. I may have to either use lower weight on the leg press or Switch up the leg strengthening excercise all together. I have been doing Sumo squats using 20 lbs dumbells, 12 squats, 10 reps, and this excercise doesn't seem to hurt my lower back, but it puts some stress on my knees....
What do you think about just straight dumbell Leg squats and do both Sumo squats and leg squats and replace the Leg press machine excercise altogether ?? If so, what kind of leg squat is best ?? Thank you
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
OMG, i think you are right on the right track. You are pure Genius. I may have to either use lower weight on the leg press or Switch up the leg strengthening excercise all together. I have been doing Sumo squats using 20 lbs dumbells, 12 squats, 10 reps, and this excercise doesn't seem to hurt my lower back, but it puts some stress on my knees....
What do you think about just straight dumbell Leg squats and do both Sumo squats and leg squats and replace the Leg press machine excercise altogether ?? If so, what kind of leg squat is best ?? Thank you
Me and my other half do sumo squats at home with our kettleweight collection, proper form and slight rotation changing of the direction in which your toes point does wonders. We are big advocates of that exercise, so I would encourage you to continue doing it, if not with kettleweights, then dumbbells are just fine. And yes, no stress on the lower back if done right, because there is no pressure being placed directly on the spinal column. Work with the positioning of your toes to see where there is less stress being placed on your knees, sometimes pointing out each side helps.

Another exercise I would recommened is the Bulgarian split squat, a fantastic exercise, you just need a chair to assist you. Add this one to your routine, and try it with a dumbbell, it might be even better for your knees. I would say, look to move away from the leg press machine, it seems from our discussion that it is causing you obvious discomfort, and no exercise should be doing that.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
Me and my other half do sumo squats at home with our kettleweight collection, proper form and slight rotation changing of the direction in which your toes point does wonders. We are big advocates of that exercise, so I would encourage you to continue doing it, if not with kettleweights, then dumbbells are just fine. And yes, no stress on the lower back if done right, because there is no pressure being placed directly on the spinal column. Work with the positioning of your toes to see where there is less stress being placed on your knees, sometimes pointing out each side helps.

Another exercise I would recommened is the Bulgarian split squat, a fantastic exercise, you just need a chair to assist you. Add this one to your routine, and try it with a dumbbell, it might be even better for your knees. I would say, look to move away from the leg press machine, it seems from our discussion that it is causing you obvious discomfort, and no exercise should be doing that.
I had no idea there was another fan of Sumo squats in this forum, noone mentions that excercise here. Anyway i was also told that Sumo squats can also strengthen that lower back muscles and it can actually be good for lower back muscle. Have you heard this before ??

overall, i have pretty strong leg muscles and was able to maintain it with Leg press machine. Since i am going away from that machine, do you think i can still maintain that strong leg muscles with just Sumo and Bulgarian split squats ? Thanks
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
I had no idea there was another fan of Sumo squats in this forum, noone mentions that excercise here. Anyway i was also told that Sumo squats can also strengthen that lower back muscles and it can actually be good for lower back muscle. Have you heard this before ??
Sumo squats can hit all the muscles in your body if done properly, not just the lower back. It is all about making sure your positioning is correct. The benefit on the lower back is, it is getting a workout, but there is no direct stress placed on the thoracolumbar fascia, otherwise known at the TLF which makes up all that connective tissue in that lower back region. For some, that is a blessing. :)

Edit - Yes, you can still maintain strong leg muscles from those exercises. I would also throw in dumbbell lunges, you can either do them static or walking, depending on what you are able to do, the walking I feel works the glutes more effectively. Also stiff legged dead lifts to target more of the posterior chain of the leg. If you are doing these, you should be just fine.
 

onehandbh

Legend
I understand, water weight is what will flucuate the most, I can see the impact of water weight almost hour to hour on me, since I am always closesly examining my coniditioning throughout the day. It seems though you have changed the set point of your body fat by about -5% which is great even with the changes you have made. You have done really well. Are you now comfortable at that bodyfat level?
I'm pretty happy with the progress and set point. Wouldn't mind maybe being slightly leaner (and not losing weight), but not if it means having to be overly strict with diet, workout, etc.

So the question here is, is soreness the effective way to deduce whether or not your workout was sufficient enough for you to continue to make visible progress. The answer to this question is, it a certainly a perceptible indication, one that you are conciously aware of, that your workout was effective....however, it is not the be all and end all to determine if you are making progress.
In a related question, if I am still sore after a gym workout does that mean I should wait another day or two before working out again in the gym?
 

onehandbh

Legend
Although I like doing the dumbell lunges on one of the days of the workout you gave me, I am reaching a point where my grip strength is now the limiting factor. After two warmup sets, my working set is up to holding two 35 kg dumbells. Did 20 walking lunges (10 each leg) a couple days ago. My grip strength gives out just a rep or 2 before my legs do.

Any suggestions on another similar exercise? Maybe sprints?

btw, the workout has been great as a complement to my weekly tennis. Despite not doing any running at all other than tennis, I feel pretty fast on the court and have decent endurance.
 

thomasannand

New User
I can understand your situation. Yes, the main mico-nutrients that you need to be looking at are most certainly sodium, potassium, mangesium and calcium The first work those sodium-potassium pumps in your cells, and I can tell you, I know when I am running low on magnesium, it is not a good feeling at all for me. Himalayan salt is a fantastic source to use, so major kudos you have that, I don't personally have any right now, but my mother uses it back at home all the time. You certainly need simple fast acting high glycoemic sugars if you are waking up and playing singles tennis in the morning, the reason being that blood sugar levels are quite low in the morning, and since tennis requires a lot of explosive start and stop movements, the slightly lower glycemix index sugars like honey take a little longer to get into the blood stream, they are much better for helping you have stable blood sugar levels, so I would recommend it for your standard day to day living...but for early morning tennis match preparation it is not as optimal as something like a sugared drink that has the simple carbs you need for performance, have to say that squash drink that contains simple sugars would be more ideal. Dextrose would be the ideal thing, I have often used dextrose as part of my pre-workouts.
Thanks, would it still be best to opt for the high glycemic sugars despite having a morning smoothie before tennis? Smoothie contains mixture of frozen berries, banana and many other things. Secondly, I also use chia seeds in my smoothie and the calcium and magnesium content of these is sufficient for what i would need in an electrolyte drink. However, I am unsure as to how fast chia seeds would be absorbed into the bloodstream, so it may be best to stick with the calcium and magnesium powders?

Sent from my CLT-L09 using Tapatalk
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
I'm pretty happy with the progress and set point. Wouldn't mind maybe being slightly leaner (and not losing weight), but not if it means having to be overly strict with diet, workout, etc.


In a related question, if I am still sore after a gym workout does that mean I should wait another day or two before working out again in the gym?
Now this depends on the extent of the soreness, what you actually did, and if you are planning on hitting those same muscles groups in the upcoming workout. Sometimes the best way to get over soreness if it is not overwhelming is to actually workout again, and the reason for this is that you increase blood flow, oxygen delivery and enhance nutrient absorption by the recovering muscle cells - What can do though is probably not go as close to the same intensity level as you would if you felt as super fresh as a daisy. Also increase your hydration more than normal in these situations, I have trained intensely five or sometimes six days straight, and since I always do some sort of massive compound movement, there is a very likely chance that target muscles in the subsequent workout that I will be training, will be sore to an extent.

Understanding your body is very criticial here, and everything is not black and white, there are many shades of grey here. Sometimes after a solid workout, you may have increased your cortisol levels too much, and even though you are feeling OK, hormonally you are in a catabolic state, and you are just not feeling it in the gym, the converse is also true, you may have increased testosterone and growth hormone levels that not going to the gym to make the most of it, despite being a little sore could being doing a disservice to your anabolic window. So, you need to be attuned with your body here, and make sure that you are doing the right things outside of the gym post workout by making sure the nutrition is solid and you are getting adequate rest, having ice baths or cold showers also helps the recovery.
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
Although I like doing the dumbell lunges on one of the days of the workout you gave me, I am reaching a point where my grip strength is now the limiting factor. After two warmup sets, my working set is up to holding two 35 kg dumbells. Did 20 walking lunges (10 each leg) a couple days ago. My grip strength gives out just a rep or 2 before my legs do.

Any suggestions on another similar exercise? Maybe sprints?

btw, the workout has been great as a complement to my weekly tennis. Despite not doing any running at all other than tennis, I feel pretty fast on the court and have decent endurance.
OK, the first thing I will say to you is, why not invest in some straps? Not only would they help you with your lunges, but they can help with other exercises also, where if you are impacted with your grip being the limiting factor, and not the actual muscle being used, you will be able to remove that as an issue. It seems your grip is OK, if you are just giving out a rep or two before, so I don't think you need any specific grip training, but straps will certainly get those extra few reps out of you. A lot of guys use them for movements like pull ups, dead lifts, etc. I think you can benefit from it for sure.

You can hold do kettlebell or dumbell lunges by just using a larger weight, but holding it front of your torso, with body hands, kind of how you would do a goblet squat. This is also a fantastic way to work your core, as the weight is now in front of you, instead of to the side. Finally, sprinting is a fantastic exercise, I would encourage you to do them regardless, at least twice a week...I aim for two to three sprint sessions last 20 minites each week.

Glad the exercises are complimenting your tennis! Keep going! :) (y)
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
Thanks, would it still be best to opt for the high glycemic sugars despite having a morning smoothie before tennis? Smoothie contains mixture of frozen berries, banana and many other things. Secondly, I also use chia seeds in my smoothie and the calcium and magnesium content of these is sufficient for what i would need in an electrolyte drink. However, I am unsure as to how fast chia seeds would be absorbed into the bloodstream, so it may be best to stick with the calcium and magnesium powders?

Sent from my CLT-L09 using Tapatalk
I would say yes to high glycemic carbs before tennis, because you are looking at performance here, and since sugars have a quicker metabolism pathway than fats and proteins, you need something that enters your blood stream quickly, and is broken down faster. Lower glycemic carbs are much better IMO for when you are not training, working out, as they help better regulate blood sugar levels, but for performance, you need those fast acting.

Now, while I am not playing tennis, I do lift some serous weight, which requires explosive movement of fast twitch fibers the same way tennis requires it in principle, I normally consume berries, indeally blue berries maybe two hours before, and then about 40 minutes, I would take dextrose in it's purest form. It isn't a problem for me, since I am going to use it all up really quickly, plus, with an elevated metabolism post workout, it helps shuttle nutrients into my blood quicker for recovery.

Chia seeds have fiber in them, so they are absorbed a little slower. They are great as a food source, but timing is everything here, if you are taking them 90 minutes before, then great, if you are taking them more closer to the match time, then you probably are not getting the micro-nutrients during a key window you have set out for yourself. So ask yourself, when you want to take them, the closer you are to match time, best to go with the powders IMO.
 

Username_

Hall of Fame
Hellooo @Hitman

Ive been doing jump rope quite a lot now, and I've started to feel pain that feels very similar to shin splints that I got from when I used to run a lot. I'm worried if it actually is shin splints, developing into shin splints. At the moment i can tell it hurts if i pay it any attention


I jump and land on the toes and ball of my feet rather than land flat footed if it gives any helpful context on how i'm doing it.
Pretty much like this image but on the right:



Is it muscles soreness or shin splints (or something else) from overuse and/or slight discomfort/pain?

[Some more info if needed:
the pain is on the inner sides of both shins, below the calves. I do 10-12 mins of non-stop jump rope and alternate on each foot per skip rather than land on both feet so i can feel it more in my legs. It hurts the most when I am walking a flight of stairs for now, but only if i'm going down rather than up.]

Thank you again
 
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yossarian

Semi-Pro
Hellooo @Hitman

Ive been doing jump rope quite a lot now, and I've started to feel pain that feels very similar to shin splints that I got from when I used to run a lot. I'm worried if it actually is shin splints, developing into shin splints. At the moment i can tell it hurts if i pay it any attention


I jump and land on the toes and ball of my feet rather than land flat footed if it gives any helpful context on how i'm doing it.
Pretty much like this image but on the right:



Is it muscles soreness or shin splints (or something else) from overuse and/or slight discomfort/pain?

[Some more info if needed:
the pain is on the inner sides of both shins, below the calves. I do 10-12 mins of non-stop jump rope and alternate on each foot per skip rather than land on both feet so i can feel it more in my legs. It hurts the most when I am walking a flight of stairs for now, but only if i'm going down rather than up.]

Thank you again
You’re describing medial tibial stress syndrome, or shin splints. They can also occur on the anterolateral portion of the shin

What kind of shoes are you wearing? You said you’re a runner, and you’re landing on your forefoot (as you should when jumping rope, by the way) in a reciprocal pattern similar to running. Do you know if you had a tendency to over pronate when you ran? Did you ever wear an orthotic?

Shin splints on the medial side of the leg usually involve tibialis posterior being too overworked in eccentrically controlling pronation of the foot. So if you have a tendency to over pronate or pronate too quickly, you could develop shin splints. What is the height of your arch like?

Overpronation can also be caused due to hip strength. If you land on one leg, you need your hip muscles (gluts med, glute max) to keep your pelvis stable and avoid your thigh from collapsing inward. If it does collapse inward, it can cause internal rotation of the limb down chain

Ultimately this results in pronation of the foot. Point being, the root problem could stem from your foot/shoes itself or from higher up. If it’s your foot, perhaps an orthotic or some taping to support the arch can help. If it’s your hips, some hip strengthening and re-training to correct your mechanics. A video of you jumping rope, filmed from behind, would be helpful in figuring it out
 

Username_

Hall of Fame
What kind of shoes are you wearing? You said you’re a runner, and you’re landing on your forefoot (as you should when jumping rope, by the way) in a reciprocal pattern similar to running. Do you know if you had a tendency to over pronate when you ran? Did you ever wear an orthotic?
I don't run anymore but i got recommended orthotics by the physio to check out my shin splints.

When I use the jump rope I use casual sneakers that have no arch support...uhhh one of those casual everyday comfort sneakers?

However, I do use shoes with moderate arch support when I play tennis since my shin would end up hurting when playing tennis with shoes that had no arch support.

Shin splints on the medial side of the leg usually involve tibialis posterior being too overworked in eccentrically controlling pronation of the foot. So if you have a tendency to over pronate or pronate too quickly, you could develop shin splints. What is the height of your arch like?

The pronation part does make sense to me. I would feel it hurting a bit on the medial side of the shin as well as slightly above the ankle when I started to feel tired from the skipping rope and kept pushing it. Assumed it was normal.

As for the height...the best way I can describe it is that it feels best when the arch support in my shoes when I play tennis isn't too elevated nor too low? Sorry i can't explain


But I think you're right

thank you
 
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pyrokid

Hall of Fame
Been lifting for nearly a decade now, look mostly okay anymore but my chest has always been weak and my traps and forearms have only recently started to be brought up (pic removed after he replied). Any ideas for big lift variations that would hit chest while preventing me from taking over the movement with front delts would be appreciated, I seem to be able to make almost any press delt-centric

Buuut.. I'm putting a home gym together to corona-proof myself and I'm trying to decide between weighted dips and decline bench for lower chest. The issue is that the benches I'm looking at only go to -15 degrees, and I've always used more decline than that in commercial gyms so I'm not sure how it'd feel. Do you think that'd be enough of a decline to be effective? Or, do you think weighted dips are just a better exercise overall anyway? The gym I go to right now doesn't have a decline bench so I can't compare directly.

Also trying to decide between an independant set of cable towers and something like THIS that would just be a bolt-on attachment to my power rack and still give me cables for constant resistance but without the adjustment. Do you think I'd be able to get creative enough with something like that to make chest flyes workable, probably unilaterally? Stuff like delt work/arm stuff/kickbacks/abs should all be fine without the movement, it's really only chest I think I use the adjustment for. And then I've been playing around with getting lever arm attachments (Pic) for my rack just because they seem incredibly versatile, but I can't really say what they'd allow me to do that I can't already do with a barbell... The only thing I can think of that I'd really benefit from would be some weird angled on unilateral seated chest press. Which are really good actually, but I'm not sure they make a 500 dollar attachment worth it. If you know of any unique stuff I'd be able to do with them I'm missing I'd be interested, it seems like there must be something...

Would also appreciate any advice on what I could do for dumbbells, I've been using rebuildable handles and just changing the plates out when I need a different size but it kinda kills the workout.
 
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Turbo-87

Legend
Would also appreciate any advice on what I could do for dumbbells, I've been using rebuild able handles and just changing the plates out when I need a different size but it kinda kills the workout.
If you can find them and have the money, a pair of Bowflex Selectech dumbbells would be great, especially if space is limited. Just select the weight you want, pick them up and go. There are various models depending on the max weight you want to dial up.
Beware of imitation examples that are out there on Amazon. You get what you pay for.
 
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Hitman

G.O.A.T.
Hey all, apologies for not being able to get the outstanding replies in, letting you know that I am having my account suspended for a few weeks, when I come back, I will hopefully answer all the outstanding questions! Keep training! :)
 

Username_

Hall of Fame
More of a despair post than a question. but im not getting stronger after lifting for about a month and I am confident I'm working to failure or close to it (technically I AM getting stronger but I think it's very insignificant it's not something I can with confidence that J got stronger...I'm able to do 2 or 3 more reps in a set with the same weight than when I first started. I would have imagined being able to notice more difference.)

Am I being too optimistic? Or/and have not worked out long enough to see any gain in strength or size and impatient?
 

onehandbh

Legend
More of a despair post than a question. but im not getting stronger after lifting for about a month and I am confident I'm working to failure or close to it (technically I AM getting stronger but I think it's very insignificant it's not something I can with confidence that J got stronger...I'm able to do 2 or 3 more reps in a set with the same weight than when I first started. I would have imagined being able to notice more difference.)

Am I being too optimistic? Or/and have not worked out long enough to see any gain in strength or size and impatient?
My strength gains come very slowly. Sometimes I don’t gain any reps in a set in a few weeks, but I also do a lot of other sports and activities and may not always eat enough calories or get enough sleep/rest.

Probably more importantly, in the past year I have gotten leaner, gained a little muscle and gotten a little stronger.

As an example, these were my bench and squat sets a year ago vs today:

Sept 2019
Bench: 136.4 lbs x10, 136.4x10, 149.6x8, 140.8x8
Squat: 143x12, 162.8x12, 198 lbs x10, 187x11

Sept 2020
Bench: 136.4x10, 151.8x10, 184.8x1, ,147.4x9, 136.4x9
Squat: 143x12, 180.4x12, 220x12, 198x11
 
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Username_

Hall of Fame
My strength gains come very slowly. Sometimes I don’t gain any reps in a set in a few weeks, but I also do a lot of other sports and activities and may not always eat enough calories or get enough sleep/rest.

Probably more importantly, in the past year I have gotten leaner, gained a little muscle and gotten a little stronger.

As an example, these were my bench and squat sets a year ago vs today:

Sept 2019
Bench: 136.4 lbs x10, 136.4x10, 149.6x8, 140.8x8
Squat: 143x12, 162.8x12, 198 lbs x10, 187x11

Sept 2020
Bench: 136.4x10, 151.8x10, 184.8x1, ,147.4x9, 136.4x9
Squat: 143x12, 180.4x12, 220x12, 198x11
Thank you
Am feeling more motivation again
 

onehandbh

Legend
I forgot to mention that I changed the way I do bench presses a couple months ago. After the first set which I use as a warmup, I now do them at a slower speed.
 

onehandbh

Legend
Hey all, apologies for not being able to get the outstanding replies in, letting you know that I am having my account suspended for a few weeks, when I come back, I will hopefully answer all the outstanding questions! Keep training! :)
When you get back, I have a general question about overall exercise workload.

I have incorporated/added some new once a week activities:

Mon: badminton
Tues: Gym workout A
Wed: Yoga (basic class with a few arm balances and inversions at the end)
Thurs: tennis
Fri: gym workout B
Sat: Hiking (usually about 5-6 km, occasionally a longer 8-11 km hike. Sometimes easy, sometimes very challenging with lots of steep inclines and going up and down)

Each are on separate days, but every once in awhile, I have my gym workout late morning and yoga later at 5pm.

I'd like to at least maintain weight, body composition, or improve slightly. Do you think this will be possible or will overtraining eventually happen? Sometimes when I feed tired, I add an additional day of rest before going to the gym. I never do any other exercise on the day I play tennis because I feel like if my shoulder is too tight I might injure it.
 
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Username_

Hall of Fame
How much does protein powder help? Best consumed an hour after workout to let HGH do it's thing?

Can you consume too much protein/is it bad to?
 
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Hitman

G.O.A.T.
I don't run anymore but i got recommended orthotics by the physio to check out my shin splints.

When I use the jump rope I use casual sneakers that have no arch support...uhhh one of those casual everyday comfort sneakers?

However, I do use shoes with moderate arch support when I play tennis since my shin would end up hurting when playing tennis with shoes that had no arch support.




The pronation part does make sense to me. I would feel it hurting a bit on the medial side of the shin as well as slightly above the ankle when I started to feel tired from the skipping rope and kept pushing it. Assumed it was normal.

As for the height...the best way I can describe it is that it feels best when the arch support in my shoes when I play tennis isn't too elevated nor too low? Sorry i can't explain


But I think you're right

thank you
I do believe @yossarian did a very good job in answering your question. Good to see the exchange of knowledge. :)
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
Been lifting for nearly a decade now, look mostly okay anymore but my chest has always been weak and my traps and forearms have only recently started to be brought up (Pic). Any ideas for big lift variations that would hit chest while preventing me from taking over the movement with front delts would be appreciated, I seem to be able to make almost any press delt-centric

Buuut.. I'm putting a home gym together to corona-proof myself and I'm trying to decide between weighted dips and decline bench for lower chest. The issue is that the benches I'm looking at only go to -15 degrees, and I've always used more decline than that in commercial gyms so I'm not sure how it'd feel. Do you think that'd be enough of a decline to be effective? Or, do you think weighted dips are just a better exercise overall anyway? The gym I go to right now doesn't have a decline bench so I can't compare directly.

Also trying to decide between an independant set of cable towers and something like THIS that would just be a bolt-on attachment to my power rack and still give me cables for constant resistance but without the adjustment. Do you think I'd be able to get creative enough with something like that to make chest flyes workable, probably unilaterally? Stuff like delt work/arm stuff/kickbacks/abs should all be fine without the movement, it's really only chest I think I use the adjustment for. And then I've been playing around with getting lever arm attachments (Pic) for my rack just because they seem incredibly versatile, but I can't really say what they'd allow me to do that I can't already do with a barbell... The only thing I can think of that I'd really benefit from would be some weird angled on unilateral seated chest press. Which are really good actually, but I'm not sure they make a 500 dollar attachment worth it. If you know of any unique stuff I'd be able to do with them I'm missing I'd be interested, it seems like there must be something...

Would also appreciate any advice on what I could do for dumbbells, I've been using rebuildable handles and just changing the plates out when I need a different size but it kinda kills the workout.
I always said that to build a powerful well developed chest, focus on your elbows. I understand that quite often when do chest presses whether in the form of a barbell press of a dumbbell press, that the elbows are perpendicular to the torso, now while there is nothing overwhelming wrong with that, it has been to take the stress of the both the pectorals major and pectorals minor muscles, as well as even cause some muscle damage when too much weight is being used. The ideal way to press and move the stress away from the anterior deltoids is to not presses with elblow pointed out in the perpendicular angle, but to have a depression in the angle and ever so slightly bring them towards to the torso....so if you body was a clock and your legs were pointing to 12, and your elbows were originally pointing outwards to 3 and 9 respectively, bring the elbows in so they are between 2-3 and 9-10, and try pressing again.

You will notice that they will be less deltoid activation, there will of course still be some still there, but you will start to use more deeper fibers within your pectoral muscles. I would suggest that you experiment with your elbows and a weight which is causing activation, but not anywhere close to heavy sets to find that sweet spot, and build that mind muscle connection there...when you get to the top of the movement, squeeze the chest muscles to together, and use the eccentric portion of the lift to increase the time under tension that will help stimulate growth. I would advise that you do this with both barbells and dumbbells and also do this on both flat and a moderate incline, don't too much incline until you have understood what mechancial position your elbows needs to be in....chest development has always been about the elbows, once they get inot the correct place, you will start to notice the impact. I can assure you of this.

Looking at rest of your post my answer would be that you can make all those things work, but, I would advise you take a step back and go back to basics since it looks like a lot on untapped potential if indeed your elbow position is holding you back some what. You can also do unilateral dumbbell presses, keep one held up above you, while you presses the other, this will work your serratus as well as many other stabilizer muscles both in the anterior chain and the poster chain to help balance you. Another thing I would suggest, if you are interested, and something I have been using a lot over the past few months is press ups on my knuckles using the same dreppession angle I suggested for the barbell and dumbbell presses, it will certainly help.

With creative aspect, focus on tri-sets, or super sets, where you can combine a press with a flye exercise. That way, you are not constantly changing the weight element of the dumbbell. Give the above a go, hopefully it will help. :)
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
More of a despair post than a question. but im not getting stronger after lifting for about a month and I am confident I'm working to failure or close to it (technically I AM getting stronger but I think it's very insignificant it's not something I can with confidence that J got stronger...I'm able to do 2 or 3 more reps in a set with the same weight than when I first started. I would have imagined being able to notice more difference.)

Am I being too optimistic? Or/and have not worked out long enough to see any gain in strength or size and impatient?
Steady on there Hercules. :)

These things can take time, and understand the human body is a very unique and individual thing that responds to stress and stimuli not just from your workouts, but from your emotional output, your emotions both positive and negative feed into this also. You shouldn't get down on yourself, and besides you have only been lifting for a month. Depending on your genetics, whether you are a mesomorph or ectomorph or endomorph, can also contribute to how quickly both strengthening of your actin myosin sacromeres is, as well as the sarcoplamsic growth, which is the primary visual growth faotor you see as you pack on the muscle. And we all hit plateaus....the first thing I would ask is, how often are you lifting? Are you lifting too frequently and not allowing your muscles enough time to recover and grow stronger? Or are you not lifting enough and providing that stimulus to keep your anabolic hormones, in particular testosterone and growth hormone at optimum levels throughout the week? Or maybe you are not getting proper sleep, since sleep is needed to create an anaobolic environment and lower catabolic hormones like cortisol with negatively impact muscle gains and strength? Or how about the diet, which makes up to 70 to 80 percent of your results? Are you getting in the correct macro and mirco nutrients?

These are constant question you need to ask yourself, also are you training at what is the best time for your body? Have you tried another time? Have you changed your routine around, and maybe even did the exercises in reverse?

Ask yourself these questions always, and also don't get down on yourself, stay upbeat, the body is either moving forwards or backwards, it looks like you are still doing good.
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
When you get back, I have a general question about overall exercise workload.

I have incorporated/added some new once a week activities:

Mon: badminton
Tues: Gym workout A
Wed: Yoga (basic class with a few arm balances and inversions at the end)
Thurs: tennis
Fri: gym workout B
Sat: Hiking (usually about 5-6 km, occasionally a longer 8-11 km hike. Sometimes easy, sometimes very challenging with lots of steep inclines and going up and down)

Each are on separate days, but every once in awhile, I have my gym workout late morning and yoga later at 5pm.

I'd like to at least maintain weight, body composition, or improve slightly. Do you think this will be possible or will overtraining eventually happen? Sometimes when I feed tired, I add an additional day of rest before going to the gym. I never do any other exercise on the day I play tennis because I feel like if my shoulder is too tight I might injure it.
I don't see anything wrong with that schedule. What I would say is to make sure you are taking a few minutes each day to stretch, especially the lower body, as you are doing a lot of leg movement. And it seems you are aware of when to pull back, I do recommend that you do take in a little extra carbs the day before the hking, because you have already been training a couple of days in a row before that, so to not tax your legs and ensure they are back to full recovery for Monday again, ensure the tank isn't empty before the hiking. So do raise the carbs a little more on Friday, and then return back to your normal intake following that.
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
How much does protein powder help? Best consumed an hour after workout to let HGH do it's thing?

Can you consume too much protein/is it bad to?
Protein powder is a nice supplment, but it isn't the be all end all. It is a nice way to get the extra protein you require, as it prevents digestive stress, by you constantly have to eat and digest calories all day just to meet the macros for the daily intake. I would say, you are right to wait up to around one hour if you can, since protein shakes raise insulin levels, and insulin and growth hormone cannot co-exist. The anabolic window is open for a long time after the workout, ideally wait if you can, I normally wait up to two hours.

In regards to consuming too much....well, too much of anything isn't good. Excess protein is heavy on the glomerilus filtration system within the kidneys, but to get to that level you must be consuming absolutely massive amounts of protein, most likely what happens most of the time is your body is unable to release enough pepsidase enzymes into your small intestines to break down the peptides to allow for absorption through the micovilli surrounding your small intestines, and the reason for that is, because of the lack of fiber to slow down the movement, a lot will pass through, and causing you other bowel problems. Take in as much as your body needs, your body knows how to get rid of excess.
 

Username_

Hall of Fame
Steady on there Hercules. :)

These things can take time, and understand the human body is a very unique and individual thing that responds to stress and stimuli not just from your workouts, but from your emotional output, your emotions both positive and negative feed into this also. You shouldn't get down on yourself, and besides you have only been lifting for a month. Depending on your genetics, whether you are a mesomorph or ectomorph or endomorph, can also contribute to how quickly both strengthening of your actin myosin sacromeres is, as well as the sarcoplamsic growth, which is the primary visual growth faotor you see as you pack on the muscle. And we all hit plateaus....the first thing I would ask is, how often are you lifting? Are you lifting too frequently and not allowing your muscles enough time to recover and grow stronger? Or are you not lifting enough and providing that stimulus to keep your anabolic hormones, in particular testosterone and growth hormone at optimum levels throughout the week? Or maybe you are not getting proper sleep, since sleep is needed to create an anaobolic environment and lower catabolic hormones like cortisol with negatively impact muscle gains and strength? Or how about the diet, which makes up to 70 to 80 percent of your results? Are you getting in the correct macro and mirco nutrients?

These are constant question you need to ask yourself, also are you training at what is the best time for your body? Have you tried another time? Have you changed your routine around, and maybe even did the exercises in reverse?

Ask yourself these questions always, and also don't get down on yourself, stay upbeat, the body is either moving forwards or backwards, it looks like you are still doing good.
Thank you. You have given me hope again.
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
I'll be taking leave from boards from Monday until the new year, if anyone wants to get any questions answered before then, let me know and I promise to answer them before I go. Don't want to leave questions unanswered for too long. :)
 

LoanStar

New User
It's really great how generous you are with your time and knowledge! I would appreciate your input on establishing a sustainable workout schedule given that tennis is my priority from a fun, fitness and "mental therapy" standpoint.

Currently I'm playing on Saturday (usually doubles or an hour hit with a pro and doubles), Sunday (standing singles match), and Thursday (another singles match). Some weeks I'll work in another practice hit on Tuesdays. In total I'm getting at least 6 or more hours of 4.0 level tennis in each week. I also have a young golden retriever who gets a 1+ mile walk every morning.

I'm 59, overall great health (except for the damn prostate cancer!) and have purposely dropped 20+ lbs during the pandemic going from 193 to 172 (never felt better or slept better). Given my tennis schedule what would you suggest for a resistance training routine to maintain or at least slow down the decrease in muscle mass, prevent injury and help my on court performance. I have a home gym with resistance bands, dumbbells up to 30 lbs, several kettle bells, lat pulldown/seated row machine, ViPR tube, treadmill and recumbent bike. I have access to indoor courts so I'll be able to maintain my tennis schedule thru the winter.
 

gvsbdisco

Semi-Pro
@Hitman. Wondering what your opinion is of using one armed kettlebell swings and Turkish Get Ups (basically the Simple and Sinister program) as a foundation for tennis fitness? I plan to start this along with a few additional targeted exercises. I look forward to your response and thank you for taking the time to respond to tt members' inquiries.
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
It's really great how generous you are with your time and knowledge! I would appreciate your input on establishing a sustainable workout schedule given that tennis is my priority from a fun, fitness and "mental therapy" standpoint.

Currently I'm playing on Saturday (usually doubles or an hour hit with a pro and doubles), Sunday (standing singles match), and Thursday (another singles match). Some weeks I'll work in another practice hit on Tuesdays. In total I'm getting at least 6 or more hours of 4.0 level tennis in each week. I also have a young golden retriever who gets a 1+ mile walk every morning.

I'm 59, overall great health (except for the damn prostate cancer!) and have purposely dropped 20+ lbs during the pandemic going from 193 to 172 (never felt better or slept better). Given my tennis schedule what would you suggest for a resistance training routine to maintain or at least slow down the decrease in muscle mass, prevent injury and help my on court performance. I have a home gym with resistance bands, dumbbells up to 30 lbs, several kettle bells, lat pulldown/seated row machine, ViPR tube, treadmill and recumbent bike. I have access to indoor courts so I'll be able to maintain my tennis schedule thru the winter.
Firstly, thank you very much for your kind words. Having competed in natural bodybuilding all over the world, and being a certified personal trainer and nutritionist, this has been my whole life, so if I can share that with anyone who is willing, then I consider myself fortunate. :)

I am extremely sorry to hear about the prostate cancer, seriously hope you come out stronger than ever. From an activity perspective, you are doing well with the walking and the tennis, so major kudos for that. Going with the information you have provided, I would suggest two total body workouts, that should be completed within the hour. I would like for you to incorporate whole body movements here using the kettlebells, so lets take a deep dive into what is good to do.

Kettlebells - One arms swings, now with a lighter kettlebell you can do full swings where you bring the swing all the way up to the top, or if the weight is a little heavy, focus on patial swings and get the weight at least to the level of your eyesight. Make sure you are getting in deep squats when doing this, so you are engaging your core muscles, glutes, hamstrings, to work along side your quads. Keep your stomach allows tight, so your entire midsection stays stimulated. You can start by doing 10 reps on one side, then switch up and do 10 reps on the other side, the beautiful thing here is the creativity you can bring, you can even alternate each arm at the bottom of the swing if you so wish. The idea here is to work all the muscles, get the heart rate going and pump blood all over.

The kettlebell swings can be followed up with kettlebell snatches. Take a weight you are comfortable with off the floor and powerfully snatch it over head, start light to get the movement right, you are basically trying to launch the dead weight into orbit, straight up to the ceiling. You again can do 10 reps each side, or alternate the arms. Another exercise you can do with moderate size kettle bells is hold one in each hand, have them rest on your shoulders while you hold them, and do a deep squat into a shoulder press, this is a fantastic exercise for burning calories, and maintaining muscle mass.

Finally for kettle bells, if you do have any heavy ones, you can do goblet squats and alternate to sumo squats to work the outisde and inside of your quadriceps as well as your glutes. Hold a single heavy kettlebell in front of you, close to your body and perform the exercises, keep a good posture, with back being straight. You can do standing calf raises on the steps in your home, pausing at the top while hold the weight, and also do bent over rows to work your back by using a bench, a table, a stool to get into a 90 degree position and perform the exercise.

Dumbells - for arms I would suggest to do standing and sitting dumbbell curls, here again, you can alternate, or to make it more challenging, you can do both arms together. Remember that sitting down for this is hard that standing up as it prevents momentum swings. I would also recommend that you use them to work all three heads of your shoulder, the anterior, lateral and posterior head, by performing front, lateral and posterior raises.

Resistance bands are fantastic for everything. Everything thing I have suggest above and more can be done, there is not limit here.

And since you have the lat machine, and seated cable row machine, your back will get enough training. Focusing on changing your grip positioning, overhand and underhand training both are important, when you bring your arms doing, pause for a moment, feel the contraction, and slowly let your arms go back to their original position. And don't forget to get in some push ups and work your abs directly with planks, ensuring you are doing side planks to keep everything tight.

Good luck! :)
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
@Hitman. Wondering what your opinion is of using one armed kettlebell swings and Turkish Get Ups (basically the Simple and Sinister program) as a foundation for tennis fitness? I plan to start this along with a few additional targeted exercises. I look forward to your response and thank you for taking the time to respond to tt members' inquiries.
I would strongly recommend them because of the core activation you are getting, all muscles in the core all the way from the serratus, to the external and internal obliques to the abdominals are engaged with this, not mention your posterior chain and pelvic floor muscles to a degree. The turkish get up is very good for helping with trunk rotation, which for a tennis player is very important as it allows you to hit through the ball better and provides fluidity to your game. You will only benefit from these exerciese that much I am can say for sure, the turkish get up is one of the most underrated and one of the most effective exercises anyone can do. Go for it! And thank you for your kind words. :)
 

RiverRat

Professional
@Hitman, I'm relatively new to this forum but already recognize your expertise and selflessness. Don't feel the need to respond to my post before the new year. I have a long-term plan, so nothing is pressing. Nearly two years ago I had a skiing accident and tore a bicep tendon up at the shoulder. I saw an orthopedic surgeon who prescribed rehab. After six-months with little progress, I had bicep tendinosis surgery, where the bicep tendon was detached from the shoulder and reattached to the upper-arm. I spent four months in rehab and regained close the full range of motion. I'm now 56 and returning to the game after a long hiatus. I have worked my way to playing roughly five-days a week over the last 3 months, but much of it has been non-competitive, hitting on a backboard, so I don't think I'm overdoing it. I have a daily stretching and rolling routine and do calisthenics, for legs, core, arms, and back. I have worked myself into good enough shape that I can play competitively for an hour and not be overly sore the next day.

I wonder if you have any suggestions on routines to add more power to my serve. I still feel I like some strength and flexibility in my shoulder. I have a pretty well-equipped Smith Machine gym, dumbbells, and bands. Thanks, and enjoy your time away.
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
@Hitman, I'm relatively new to this forum but already recognize your expertise and selflessness. Don't feel the need to respond to my post before the new year. I have a long-term plan, so nothing is pressing. Nearly two years ago I had a skiing accident and tore a bicep tendon up at the shoulder. I saw an orthopedic surgeon who prescribed rehab. After six-months with little progress, I had bicep tendinosis surgery, where the bicep tendon was detached from the shoulder and reattached to the upper-arm. I spent four months in rehab and regained close the full range of motion. I'm now 56 and returning to the game after a long hiatus. I have worked my way to playing roughly five-days a week over the last 3 months, but much of it has been non-competitive, hitting on a backboard, so I don't think I'm overdoing it. I have a daily stretching and rolling routine and do calisthenics, for legs, core, arms, and back. I have worked myself into good enough shape that I can play competitively for an hour and not be overly sore the next day.

I wonder if you have any suggestions on routines to add more power to my serve. I still feel I like some strength and flexibility in my shoulder. I have a pretty well-equipped Smith Machine gym, dumbbells, and bands. Thanks, and enjoy your time away.
Hi @RiverRat :) Thank you firstly for your kind words. Since you asked me before I leave today, I felt I should answer this question.

The first thing that comes to mind reading what you have stated is to start incorporating chin ups as a primary exercise into your routine, as in one of the foundation exercises. Chin ups are the absolute best exercise you can do to strength and rebuild your biceps and the supplementary muscles associated with it, since they not only cause a bending at the elbow, they also cause the flexion at the top shoulder joint, plus your arms will never lift more weight clean than your own bodyweight as a pure concentrated bicep exercise. I am happy with the rest of your training for now, but adding in the chin ups, will go a very long away to add more power to virtually every single shot, as it will build up your lats, biceps and even your shoulders. Start off slowly if you haven't done them, with the reps and the difficulty.

And no, your age will not impede you here, the key is to see it as a marathon, and if you stick to it, I am certain you will start to see perceptible improvements in both regaining muscle strength and shape, but also with the performance. If you cannot do it every day that is fine, but I would encourage you to do this three to four times a weeks, again, if you can only do one, that is fine, if you can do five to start with, go with that. Over time, the aim will be to get you be able to get as much strength into upper body using your own weight to do it.

Apart from that, I want you to do this for your shoudlers and rotator cuffs, all three to four sets for a range of 8 to 12 reps

Dumbbell shoulder press
External rotation - this is for your rotator cuff, stronger rotator cuff will help with serving
Laterall raises
Bent over lateral raise
Standing fronts raises

Good luck with this and thanks for the well wishes!
 

LoanStar

New User
Firstly, thank you very much for your kind words. Having competed in natural bodybuilding all over the world, and being a certified personal trainer and nutritionist, this has been my whole life, so if I can share that with anyone who is willing, then I consider myself fortunate. :)

I am extremely sorry to hear about the prostate cancer, seriously hope you come out stronger than ever. From an activity perspective, you are doing well with the walking and the tennis, so major kudos for that. Going with the information you have provided, I would suggest two total body workouts, that should be completed within the hour. I would like for you to incorporate whole body movements here using the kettlebells, so lets take a deep dive into what is good to do.

Kettlebells - One arms swings, now with a lighter kettlebell you can do full swings where you bring the swing all the way up to the top, or if the weight is a little heavy, focus on patial swings and get the weight at least to the level of your eyesight. Make sure you are getting in deep squats when doing this, so you are engaging your core muscles, glutes, hamstrings, to work along side your quads. Keep your stomach allows tight, so your entire midsection stays stimulated. You can start by doing 10 reps on one side, then switch up and do 10 reps on the other side, the beautiful thing here is the creativity you can bring, you can even alternate each arm at the bottom of the swing if you so wish. The idea here is to work all the muscles, get the heart rate going and pump blood all over.

The kettlebell swings can be followed up with kettlebell snatches. Take a weight you are comfortable with off the floor and powerfully snatch it over head, start light to get the movement right, you are basically trying to launch the dead weight into orbit, straight up to the ceiling. You again can do 10 reps each side, or alternate the arms. Another exercise you can do with moderate size kettle bells is hold one in each hand, have them rest on your shoulders while you hold them, and do a deep squat into a shoulder press, this is a fantastic exercise for burning calories, and maintaining muscle mass.

Finally for kettle bells, if you do have any heavy ones, you can do goblet squats and alternate to sumo squats to work the outisde and inside of your quadriceps as well as your glutes. Hold a single heavy kettlebell in front of you, close to your body and perform the exercises, keep a good posture, with back being straight. You can do standing calf raises on the steps in your home, pausing at the top while hold the weight, and also do bent over rows to work your back by using a bench, a table, a stool to get into a 90 degree position and perform the exercise.

Dumbells - for arms I would suggest to do standing and sitting dumbbell curls, here again, you can alternate, or to make it more challenging, you can do both arms together. Remember that sitting down for this is hard that standing up as it prevents momentum swings. I would also recommend that you use them to work all three heads of your shoulder, the anterior, lateral and posterior head, by performing front, lateral and posterior raises.

Resistance bands are fantastic for everything. Everything thing I have suggest above and more can be done, there is not limit here.

And since you have the lat machine, and seated cable row machine, your back will get enough training. Focusing on changing your grip positioning, overhand and underhand training both are important, when you bring your arms doing, pause for a moment, feel the contraction, and slowly let your arms go back to their original position. And don't forget to get in some push ups and work your abs directly with planks, ensuring you are doing side planks to keep everything tight.

Good luck! :)
This is very helpful, thank you! Enjoy your break and the holidays. I look forward to continuing to learn more when you return.
 

RiverRat

Professional
Hi @RiverRat :) Thank you firstly for your kind words. Since you asked me before I leave today, I felt I should answer this question.

The first thing that comes to mind reading what you have stated is to start incorporating chin ups as a primary exercise into your routine, as in one of the foundation exercises. Chin ups are the absolute best exercise you can do to strength and rebuild your biceps and the supplementary muscles associated with it, since they not only cause a bending at the elbow, they also cause the flexion at the top shoulder joint, plus your arms will never lift more weight clean than your own bodyweight as a pure concentrated bicep exercise. I am happy with the rest of your training for now, but adding in the chin ups, will go a very long away to add more power to virtually every single shot, as it will build up your lats, biceps and even your shoulders. Start off slowly if you haven't done them, with the reps and the difficulty.

And no, your age will not impede you here, the key is to see it as a marathon, and if you stick to it, I am certain you will start to see perceptible improvements in both regaining muscle strength and shape, but also with the performance. If you cannot do it every day that is fine, but I would encourage you to do this three to four times a weeks, again, if you can only do one, that is fine, if you can do five to start with, go with that. Over time, the aim will be to get you be able to get as much strength into upper body using your own weight to do it.

Apart from that, I want you to do this for your shoudlers and rotator cuffs, all three to four sets for a range of 8 to 12 reps

Dumbbell shoulder press
External rotation - this is for your rotator cuff, stronger rotator cuff will help with serving
Laterall raises
Bent over lateral raise
Standing fronts raises

Good luck with this and thanks for the well wishes!
Thanks so much! You'll be happy to know that chin-ups have been my number 1 exercise my entire life, so it's great to know those meet your approval. I don't do them as pull-ups with the bicep grip. Should I start mixing those in? I'l add in the other exercises, which I have done before but not subsequent to my injury. I wasn't familiar with external rotation exercises, but googled them and will be sure to add them in. Sometime next year I'll report back with my progress!
 
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