Back on the right path

Of course, this is, well, nothing, but I felt absolutely NOTHING for the first 10 minutes; slight tingles for the next 3-4, and a dull ache (that was getting more pronounced in the final 5. This was much, much better than being in pain when walking the .2 miles to the office.

The improvement is real. But that I have a very long ways to go is also real.

How it went:

  1. stretching ..starting off easy
  2. The walk
  3. light stretching and PT: included: dead bugs, two types of knee lifts (standing and prone), one legged bridges, 3 minute plank, clam shells, one legged stands from sitting, behind the body leg lifts, banded walks followed by more stretching
  4. 30 minutes bike (fake 10 miles)
  5. Yoga: Warrior 1, 2, triangle, pyramid, revolved triangle, reverse warrior, wide leg forward fold and WLFF with a twist.

The whole thing took 2:20 to do.

Note: I do get an occasional shoulder ache. But overall, it is looking up.


I have no special knowledge here though what struck me is that much of the fighting between the old USSR and Nazi Germany took place in Ukraine.

What we should be doing: I think President Biden is doing the right things. I honestly think that Putin got Russia into a quagmire that he’ll have trouble extracting itself from.

What I remember from the cold war days: the Russians (then the Soviets) had a lot of machines (subs, tanks, etc.) but often in a poor state of repair. Evidently that is still true:

Their in the field tactics are not the best either. I remember a report from Afghanistan where the mujahideen had ambushed a Russian convoy carrying troops in armored personnel carriers. The embedded reporter thought “we are dead; the infantry will come out and kill us, easily”..but they just stayed in safety…

Then there are supply issues..long lines through hostile territory.

For sure, Russia has them outnumbered and their sheer weight would prove decisive if they use it. But it sure looks like the tide is truing against them (with respect to Europe’s reactions..and ours) and it is my (uneducated guess) that they will find a face saving way to pull out…perhaps holding a small corridor from mainland Russia to Crimea.

Note: Putin is NOT Hitler and the Russians are far from the Wehrmacht; Putin might WANT conquest but he isn’t going to get it.

Workout catch up

The back/glute continues to improve; I no longer dread the walk to the office. Oh, I am not close to “being there” but I can at least envision walking a pain free 5K.

I do notice that incorporating a degree of “twisting” to my stretches helps.

Thursday Stretching, ton of PT, 17:00 walk (1.2 miles) on the treadmill, lots of PT, yoga (especially the Warrior 2, triangle, pyramid, revolved triangle, reverse warrior on each side). This took 1:50..much to my surprise.

Yesterday: upper body mostly. 1:50 worth, which included all of my PT.

pull us: 2 sets of 10 singles, 2 sets of 10, 4 sets of 5 (included wide grips, chins) These went fine.

push ups: 3 sets of 30 sissy, 20 flat indoors. Lots of PT.

Inside: bench press: 5 x 167, 5 x 167, 5 x 172 (best since April, when I hurt my shoulder)

rows: 3 sets of 10 with 60

curls 3 sets of 10 with 50 (?)

shoulder presses: 3 sets of 10 x 98, using a belt and elevated seat (with rugs)

Today: I will go into more detail; this took 2:30 to do; mostly due to the warm up/stretch routine. I was hesitant to do the deadlifts with 285 as I felt slight fatigue going in; it turned out not to matter.

My “stretches” usually include: McKenzie, cat/cow, spinal balance, laying hip twists, Half Frogs, lower lumbar twist stretch. These take 6-15 minutes to do, and I usually do them before and between different activities. They add a lot of time to my workout.

Warm up.
Dead lifts: 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 234, then on the 3 minutes, 5 sets of 3 x 285 (all low). My final set was ragged and so I did not try for extra reps. Belt for the 234 and up.

Then stretching.

PT (2 sets each): single knee lifts, single leg “stand from seating” (down stairs)

upstairs: leg lifts on the side (and behind the body..straight leg), prone knee lifts (including one extra 5 rep set in a more challenging position), dead bugs, clam shells, one legged half bridges, spinal balance (again: moving)

Outside: 2 sets of banded walks.

Inside: headstand, 3 minute plank.


30 minute bike (10 fake miles)

Stretch (6 minutes)

Videos: (PT and weight work..yesterday and today)

Back to work…

My standing desk converter is here! Now to put it to use when I teach.

This morning: I finished feeling like a million dollars. The back ached some during the day and the walks to and from the office were imperfect. But still..much improved.

What I did:

pull ups: 3 sets of 10 (sort of sloppy), 6 sets of 5 … in between:

3 sets of rows with the band, several sets of hip hikes, 2 sets of band walks, 3 sets of one armed rotator cuff moves

push ups: outside, 2 sets of 30 sissy, 1 set of 30 feet raised.

Inside: collection of stretches (McKenzie), twisted lumbar, light dead bug, spinal balance, 20 more push ups.

Basement: low dead lifts: 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 234

high dead lifts (8 inch), 10 x 285

The final set challenged me a bit.

Downstairs: I did one legged stand ups, (2 sets on each leg) and standing “knee ups” with a band (red)

Upstairs again: McKenzie, twist then 2 sets of 1 leg brides, leg lifts (side, behind the body) clam shells, dead bugs, prone knee raises (one set with legs lifted)

More McKenzie, piriformis leg stretch, twist stretch again.

The whole thing took 1:50, much of it was rehab. And oh, I did I feel great. Wish I could bottle it.

Reality: some lateral stuff to work on; left leg is still weaker.

Weaker leg:

Stronger leg.

Finally some hope

First today’s workout:


17:30 treadmill walk (incline) 1.2 miles

rehab/stretch (3 min plank, head stand, among others)

30 minute bike (10 fake miles)

yoga/rehab; main set was Warrior 2, triangle, pyramid, reverse warrior, revolved triangle on each side.

That went ok. But it was PT..again..that made a difference.

The therapist and I talked..he made it clear that I didn’t have stenosis; my back problem was degenerative disk disorder in my lower lumbar region.

But..the knots were back in the glute; that remains a problem (hence the rolling and piriformis stretches feel good) but the glute stuff was brought on by my back issues, so I’ll have to address both. And this lower lumbar twist stretch was heaven on earth..

Evidently my left (the side with pain) is so tight that it interferes with the nerves going to my left leg thereby preventing proper contracting. A loosening up on that side restored much of the strength right away.

This is what I look like before therapy.

So, we shall see. The saga continues but, I honestly feel very hopeful. But I have a lot of work to do..and work I am willing to do.

Warm up

It was 3 F yesterday, 49 F as I type this.

Back: much better…I now know what to do. But the road back to walking will be a long one.

B and I went to a women’s game together! Yes, a strong Missouri State team overwhelmed the Braves 72-56, but midway through the 3’rd it was only a 4 point game…that quickly grew to a 22 point lead.

Last night, the men overcame a 11 point deficit (generated by 5-7 3 point shooting) to beat Illinois State 72-64.

Though this was the best crowd of the season, there were a LOT of empty seats; maybe half full (official: 690x but…)

Yes, I sat way up there for social distance…and wore my KN-95, as we did today.

Workout notes

rehab/stretch. Then 15 minutes on the treadmill (1.1 mile walk).
rehab/stretch: included clam shells, head stand (1:45), 3 minute plank.

30 minutes (10 fake miles) on the bike.

Then yoga; down dog, lunge, the the Warrior 2, triangle, pyramid pose, twisted triangle, reverse warrior on each side.

Felt GREAT when I finished.

Catching up..again

Thursday: snow day..caught up on backlog (sort of) and worked out (below)

Friday: went ok; back somewhat sore from shoveling. Ate at the office; went to the Women’s game (almost a 30 point loss)

Saturday: today; worked out ok; lots of back stuff; watched the men win 72-64 over Illinois State; latter team kept itself in the game with 50 percent 3 point shooting but the Braves made 12 more free throws.

Note: back felt ok today.

Workouts: Thursday: lots of back rehab exercises; in between: 15 minute walk on the treadmill and 30 minutes on the bike (1 mile and 10 fake miles)

Friday: weights; pull ups 4 sets of 10, 4 sets of 5 (went well)

push ups: 4 sets of 25 lots of rehab

bench: 3 sets of 5 x 167

rows: 3 sets of 10 each arm (60)

curls: 3 sets of 10

shoulder presses: with belt; 2 sets of 10 x 93, 10 x 98 (much better)

Saturday stretch, deadlifts (10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 234, then 5 sets of 3 with 280), rehab, 15 min walk (1.1 miles), rehab, 30 min bike (10 fake miles)

Back feels reasonably good right now.

Much better

Now that I have a bad-back diagnosis the stretches I am doing are far more productive. This morning was the best I felt in several weeks; walk to the office was pain free, minor tingles going up the and from lunch was ok; some mild pain walking home this evening.

The secret: stretch the back.

Here is what I wrote for FB:

The diagnosis I got yesterday was a game changer almost immediately.

I had persistent butt pain since summer of 2020..but I’ve had bouts of this many, many, many times before as well as back issues.

This time, the x-ray showed it as clear as a bell. Disks in my lower lumbar spine were compressed..probably leading to a bulge against a nerve.

I had physical therapy which treated this as a glute issue. There was some improvement because part of the therapy strengthened the glutes and abs. But I now notice that the best exercises were the ones that helped the back.

And one other thing now makes sense: treadmill walking on an incline did not cause glute pain but it did make my back somewhat sore and stiff…that is entirely consistent with what I have.

Also, in my running/walking photos: I am often bent forward from the waist…my body was doing that to protect the back…

Yes, this is genetic; my late mom suffered from the same symptoms later in life.

Things are already better because I now know what is wrong and what sorts of things mitigate the pain. It is only day later and I know feel 70 percent better….just knowing what is wrong helps a great deal.

As you can see, the disks between the lower lumbar vertebrae are very compressed.

The workout: pull ups (2 sets of 10 singles, 2 sets of 10, 4 sets of 5 which included one wide, one chin)

push ups: 30, 30 sissy, 25 feet elevated, 10 deficit, 20 indoor flat. Also abs and back.

Deadlifts (trap bar): 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 234 low (felt great)

10 x 280 8 inch handle.

Then more back and yoga; felt great walking to the office.

Its Baaaaack

It sure appears that my stabbing glute pain is caused by my back; that is why so many of the back type exercises (McKenzie) appear to work for it.

Almost all of my favorite PT exercises are those for stenosis.

Today: yoga and old PT; I resume some light aerobic stuff on Thursday..perhaps swimming?


Well, the piriformis really acted up today; ached on the little walks to and from the office. I wonder about the shoes..something happened. I also wonder about the lower back. We shall see.

Workout notes: mostly lower body with some yoga; this actually felt good?

pull ups; went well: 2 sets of 10 singles, 2 sets of 10, then sets of 5 (two sets of chins)

push ups: 25 inside before the chin ups, then 30 sissy, 30 feet elevated, 20 more inside.

bench: 4, 5, 6 with 167

rows: 3 sets each arm; 10 x 60

curls: 3 sets 10 x 50

shoulder: 3 sets of 10 x 93; last set got into it; the motion down.

Need to get the glute fixed; making a doctor’s appointment.