by: Anthony Campo
I continued to increase work capacity in the main lifts, and as symptoms continued to decrease, I began incorporating more movements and exercises into my routine. 4-5 months after the high hamstring attachment tear I was now able to lift between 80 and 90% of my previous maxes in the Squat and Deadlift. I then began incorporating more explosive athletic movements into my programming, which have always been a staple in my training such as jumps and sprints. I quickly realized that sprints were still my most limited movement, as I was only able to run at about 60% before pain and restriction set in. Since a high level sprint after a fly ball in baseball it was led to the severity of the tear initially, I was going to be extremely careful when dealing with sprints.
Since this injury sidelined me from participating in the October IPA Powerlifting meet I was training to compete in, I began to look at the next meet in April for redemption. Since my lifts before the injury were good enough for an elite raw total in the 198 weight class, I decided that I was going to set my eyes on achieving an elite total for the first time at the April 26th IPA meet. I had plenty of work to do to get this injury healed up along with continuing to improve my lifts. I sat down and designed a program that would bring me right up to the meet, and projected me towards an elite total.
Since I decided to train specifically for this meet, I eliminated any movements that aggravated my injury whatsoever. I stuck primarily to the core lifts, training all the intensities such as maximal, rep, and dynamic effort. I chose accessory work that trained my weaknesses but did not cause an increase in pain or symptoms. Before I decided to do the meet, I was still trying to focus heavily on mobility and flexibility. I had discovered that at the current stage of my injury that aggressive stretching of the hamstring (especially when cold) aggravated symptoms and limited my performance. For this reason I decided to limit my aggressive stretching, and not worry if I temporarily lost some flexibility and mobility so I could really specialize on my lifts and not decrease performance.
I followed the program exactly without having to make many modifications, and week by week I continued to increase my strength and explosiveness. The pain and limited range of motion still existed from day to day seemingly randomly; however the one constant remained that the best I felt was during training, so I continued to push through and even managed to hit some all-time personal records for myself leading up to the meet.
So the day of the meet was finally here. I hit my weigh-ins the day before, and was ready to compete in my first meet in over 3 years. Due to the quantity of lifters I had to wait almost 4 hours until warming up for squats. When the time finally came, I crushed it. I ended up hitting a 575 squat which was a 25 lb personal record for me. I was actually slightly disappointed because the weight went up too easy for a third attempt, and regretted not going for 600 on my last attempt. The rest of the meet went according to plan and I ended up hitting my elite total, and came in first place for the 198 lb raw amateur division.
The meet was a success, and all of my hard work had paid off. Even with this, my injury is still not yet completely healed, and sprinting is still most limited. More preparation is needed to get my speed and mobility back for baseball season starting in May. My road to recovery continues towards becoming 100 percent healed by the end of baseball season.