Sunday, October 11, 2009


Thursday, I arrived in Djibouti.  As soon as I stepped off the plane, I was hit by a hot humid blast of air.  I don't want to say it was good to be home, but I almost did.  Here's why: I was going stir crazy in Germany.  That and while the flight from Frankfurt left at 11:15PM, the bus leaving Landstuhl barracks to the airport leaves just once at 6:00AM.  That's a long ass wait for a plane.  And in Ethiopia, it was a nine hour layover.  But it was better than the alternative: had I flown Space A, they don't fly to Djibouti often (not much does) so I would have made many stops and would have taken longer.  And I did spend a few hours in Frankfurt at the USO: Ethiopian airlines put us up at the Riviera Hotel there for a few hours so I got to charge up my laptop and iPod Touch and catch a nap and get a lunch, on their dime.  I was just glad to stop the travel and beging working for my last month and a half here.

My last flight will be the one that takes me home!

I used this weekend to catch up on sleep.  But tomorrow I begin the very boring task of getting back into training mode.  I weighed myself this afternoon at 205 pounds.  Not bad.  My goal is to maybe even drop into the 190s.  That's really it.  Since I'm not lifting or running, I cannot eat the same or else I would just blow up.  So every morning will start with a long walk, then a 30 minute session on the elliptical and some mobility work.  My diet will be cleaner with some carb cycling thrown in but gone will be the few beer sessions a week and the associated late night trips for a soup and sandwich at the galley.  No Gatorades, and less sugar in my coffee.  Maybe every once in a while, I might substitute a meal with a protein shake.  That's it.

While I was in Germany, I emailed questions on what to do to Elite FTS' Q&A, and I received answers from C.J. Murphy, strongman from Total Performance Sports.  What luck: he had been through the same thing! I figured I would just enclose it, as is.  Considering how much time I have here until I leave coupled with two weeks leave in New Jersey, I won't be touching a weight until January 2010 (it almost kills me to think about that).  But on the good side, it will be in my  garage gym and a ten minute ride from Submarine Base Bangor's gym, so I will be set.  

9/30/2009 5:35:54 PM - Alberto Caraballo
I recently had surgery to remove my gallbladder, with a 4-inch incision made in my abdomen (could not safely be removed via laparascopy), right side. The staples come out in a week, followed by 6 weeks of light&limited duty (Navy orders) where they don't want me to lift anything over 30 pounds or do anything too strenuous. After that, how do I best rehab and ease myself back into powerlifting? Before that I was following 5/3/1 protocol, WSFSB III for assistance work. Last Maxes were 315 squat, 415 deadlift, 232 bench, 5 bwt pullups.

Thank you for the assist, as always.

I had my gall bladder out a few months ago so I'm in a good position to help here.
One thing to remember is that they were rooting around in your gut ripping your gizzard out. Your abs were shifted around, so they will be a little weird for a few months after. You need to take it slow and let them get strong again.
Take the Doc's advice and do not lift anything over 30 pounds. I made the mistake of picking up my son (about 45 pounds at the time) three or four days post surgery and almost dropped. It felt like everything tore inside.
Once you are cleasred to go back in the gym try out the following:
I modified 5/3/1 and did all the work as the program called for, except that I based it all off of 5 reps maxes instead of 1 rep maxes.
My squat was around 225, so it was very light. It did the trick though. If I didn't commit to following the percentages, I would have been back to heavy singles and injuries.
I did three 1 month cycles of this and then established 1 rep maxes and went with a 5/3/1 Strongman template.
I think this was the best thing that I could have done, as I have a tendency to be an idiot in the gym.
This kept me disciplined and allowed me to get stronger without injuring anything the Doctors fixed.


10/7/2009 7:43:36 PM - Alberto Caraballo

I wanted to thank you for your answer, it was perfect. I just have two last questions. When you started training again, what kind of ab work did you do to start out with that got you back up to speed? I'm thinking along the lines of planks, side bridges, and pallof presses . . . . nothing like situps or leg raises, more like stability work. And during my six weeks of light & limited duty, is there any kind of bodyweight work that I can safely do?

I statrted with crunches and pulldown abs. I addedin rotation a fbout a week after I came back. I use things like TGU's, windmills, russian twists. I'm not a fan of planks if you can hold one for more than a minute, which I can even then. Thay are just not that hard. Add situps in when the pain goes away in your gut.

During the limited mobility time, go as tolerated. YOur body will tell you if it's too much. Remeber, this is rehab, not max effort so go slow and low the first few weeks.


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