Archive for April, 2012

back to the mat

I put my game face on today.

got a good sleep the night before, went off to work, ate well, headed to the gym after work.

shoulders & triceps first

I grabbed the 25s, and supersetted front raises and side raises.  Then I supersetted front raises and reverse flys.

12 front, 12 side, rest 2 min

12 front, 12 side, rest 2 min

12 front, 12 reverse, rest 2 min

12 front, 12 reverse

Then I grabbed the 50s for some slow shrugs.  Shrug, hold for 4 seconds, then lower.

12, 60 sec rest, 12

Then triceps (60 sec rests)

close grip bench 135×10, x10

T-bar pushdowns 130×12, x12

DB kickbacks 30×12, x12

dips…. ugh, let’s talk.  1, 1, 3

I am not used to doing kickbacks so I kept the weight low.  They didn’t feel comfortable, so I am going to borrow a trainer friend next chance I can and get some pointers from him on form.

Dips – I used the dip station, and I normally do them seated.  I was VERY uncomfortable, lol, I kept swinging and I coulnd’t lower all the way, so I stopped.  I became worried about how they felt on my shoulder as well, dips are risky for me, so if I am not comfortable with the form, if I am unstable, I wouldn’t continue.  So my reps really suck.  Next time I will do assisted dips so that I can work the triceps without risking my shoulder.

Then I loosened up:  joint circling, then as the mat was full of people stretching, I tried one-arm fingertip pushups against the wall, lol!  Those were hard!  2 sets of 5, on the pads of my fingers, moving the hand closer to the center of my body for the stability.

Then 2 sets of 10 eagle claws.

Then I went to go hang from the chinup bar.  25 seconds widegrip, 18 sec closegrip, 15 sec hammer grip, 12 sec widegrip.  Widegrip was really the most comfortable, the other grips I was too close to the backpad, and I had to pull my legs back when they hung, which made my hamstrings want to cramp, lol.  But the times weren’t too bad for me.

But it’s not over!  Then I headed to Spin class, 1 hour.  At the end we did some HIIT Spin: 1 cycle of 7 repetitions, 2:1 ratio.

But it’s not over!  Then I went to a yoga class right after, not hot yoga like I normally do, some regular temp stuff.  It was my first time back on the mat in close to 3 weeks, since I hurt the shoulder.  It felt good, but downward dog was wearing me out, and my chaturanga was pretty sad.  But considering I had a shoulder workout before, I didn’t judge myself too harshly.  We had some great stretches for the hips, Pigeon feels good!  Reverse Warrior also felt really good, decent backbends on my Warriors.

So yeah, I pretty much ran wild all over that gym tonight, lol.  Let’s see if I wake up dead tomorrow…

chest and biceps

I had been away from the gym for 2 days, it felt like forever.

Tried to get up early Tuesday morning, managed to convince myself to sleep in a little, haha.

Made it to the gym before work though.  chest & biceps

bench press 45×8, 95×8, 145×8, 155×5, 155×5, 155×5, 155×5

dumbbell flat press 60×12, 60×12

pushups (60 sec rest) 15, 17, 17, 20, 19

pec deck 90×25

hammer curls across the body 75×5, 75×5

seated alternating twisting dumbbell curls 50×12, 50×12

bicep curl machine  80×40 (burn set)


notes:  first time doing bench press since my shoulder got hurt, I am happy with it as a start.  For the pushups I realized I was doing less than I should be for the pushup challenge, so I stacked more towards the end to compensate for total numbers.  Week 5 Day 1 Level 1 complete.  My left shoulder was aching during the pec deck, so I cut it short.  I am happy the twisting curls went better than they did last week!  Biceps had a decent pump going after the last set, so I made sure to take a drink from the water bottle when the ladies walked by, so I could flex the biceps, HAHA.

I wanted to do grip work and some cardio next, but I had to head into work early so I could prep for a meeting, so I had to split. Maybe tomorrow.

emptying the tank

Neighbour asked me if I wanted to go to Spin class at 10 am.  So I showed up at the gym a little after 9 for some back work.

Did some deadlifts, which is one of those big boy moves I am still getting accustomed to, so really focused on form for now.  Then one arm DB rows with no rest between sets.  Then I did closegrip on the hammer strength row machine until the assisted chinup bar was free.

deadlift 185 for 8 reps, 90 sec rest, 8 reps

1 arm DB row 55s for 12, 12

row machine 90 pounds for 25 reps

assisted pullups (40% BW) – widegrip 4, closegrip 5, hammer grip 4


Then I loosened up my joints for about a minute, then alternated sets of 5 fingerpad kneeling pushups with 10 eagle claws, 2 sets.  Then I went back to the assisted chinup bar to practice hanging:

15 sec, 30 sec rest

20 sec, 40 sec rest

15 sec, 50 sec rest

10 sec

I think my times were better this time because this chinup bar has fresher rubber, I get a better grip.  New favorite bar to hang from!


Then it was time for spin class.  By the third song, I knew I was in trouble.  I was running out of gas to the point where my pedals were stopping, and I was only about a quarter of the way into the class!  That class seemed to go on FOREVER… I just got pulverized.  It was brutal!  If there was a referee, he would have stopped the class and thrown in the towel.

I am not sure what it was:  was I dehydrated?  Were my legs still tired from HIIT on Thursday?  Did I use up my energy on the back workout?  All 3?  Whatever the reason, it was just one of those cardio classes where we empty our tanks long before the finish line.  We have all had them, now was just my turn.

After class I went to do some extra stretches (beyond the ones we normally do for our legs):  L-Sit above the dip station for about 20 seconds, held a short bridge for about 20 sec, some seated twists for about 20 sec each side.  Then I showered and headed home.

By the time I was at the bus stop, my feet were dragging, I was ready to just crawl into a hole and hibernate.  Maybe no spin class for me tomorrow…


group play

Wanted to do back this morning, but woke up and wanted to go back to sleep, haha.  “I’ll just do it after work” always sounds great at 5 in the morning, but when its 5 in the afternoon and the gym is packed, you think “I am a moron”.

I actually worked at my job a little late, and got to the gym about 5 pm, and the gym was busy, so I thought, hmmm, spin class in 15 min…

So I just did some assisted chinups while I waited.

5 widegrip

7 closegrip (so close to 8!  arghhh)

4 hammergrip

I had thought hammer would be the easiest for me, but it seems not, oh well.  I intentionally went from the traditionally hardest grip to easiest, so maybe I was just tired.

My shoulder was rather faded after that.  So I headed to Spin class.  And even there I could feel my left shoulder a lot when I was leaning forward on the bars.

One hour class, I liked it.  We did some climbs, some jumps, long endurance races, some hamstring work.  All in all, it was a good flush for my tired legs from yesterday.  We even got in some “tabata” at the end, fancy Japanese word for HIIT.  It was right at the end, 1 cycle of 6 repetitions at a 2:1 ratio.

For those less familiar, that means we went all out for 20 seconds, just race it out like your butt is on fire but with tension cranked as high as you can bring it, then lower tension for 10 seconds, then all out, etc, do that 6 times.  2:1 is an aggressive ratio for first timers, I wonder what the newbies thought of it.  It was funny, at first she suggested 8 repetitions, then someone groaned really hard, so she lowered it to 6, haha.

Group classes are great when your enthusiasm is waning like mine was the past few days.  I do like working out at home, for sure, but something about group cardio just gets me going, I can feed off the energy of the guide, the energy of my neighbor, etc.  It reminds me how much I miss the yoga studio.

The spin teacher was actually teaching a yoga class right after, but my shoulder was groaning at me, so I packed it in.

Still, a good evening!  A good group class was just what I needed.

Some DOMS soreness in my biceps today, which I am happy about.  That means I did something right.


Wasn’t feeling very motivated tonight, didn’t want to workout, but I got bored trying to watch tv.  These are the times when you need the exercise the most, when you want it the least.


Went for some pushups, Week 5 Day 1 of the pushup challenge.  Did about 17, by which point I was feeling it exclusively in my left shoulder, nowhere else.  I know I worked it pretty good on the pec dec yesterday, so I decided to leave the pushups alone tonight, let the shoulder rest for tomorrow.  Failed the challenge today, day repeats for next time.


Went for some ATG squats.  Did 20 jackknife squats as a warmup, then supported squats: 30, 30, 30.

Then went for some calf raises.  Since I cut chest short due to pain, I decided to alternate calf raises with vert wall presses.  If I leave my feet far away, I can both stretch out my calves as I lean forward, and flush out my shoulder joints.

45 calf raises,

20 vert presses,

45 raises,

20 presses,

45 raises,

10 presses(answered phone),

45 raises


Then went for some dips.  45 sec rest in between sets.

26, 26, 30, 30, 26, 26, 23, 25, 27, 17

I was only supposed to do 8 sets, and the 8th set was supposed to be 69 reps.  But I gave out at 25.  The sweat was rolling down my arms, into my palms, and I was slipping around on the bench, lol.  So I rested 30 sec or so, then knocked out another 27.  This told me that I wasn’t exhausted, I had just psyched myself out.  So I waited 15 more secs, then did the remaining 17 reps I needed to do to meet the 69 goal.  Even though I didn’t beat the challenge, I wasn’t going to let myself give up.

Week 6, Day 2 of the Dip Challenge failed, day repeats.


Can’t say it was the most successful day, but they can’t all be winners, haha.

fearing the iron

When I went into the gym today, I had some lingering nervousness about my shoulder.  It happens sometimes after an injury, you are extra timid about getting back into it.  You worry about whether it’s a good pain or a bad pain.  That lack of confidence affected me.  I lowered the weight on all exercises, but I still feel like I should have been able to push more than I did.

Some chest and biceps today.  Went into the gym right after work, which is always a bad idea, hella busy with people, taking up the benches, chatting away, weights left in random places, hovering over you as you try to lift.  Very annoying.

Bench press was of course totally busy.  So I decided to do more DB presses instead.  Plus I had an evening meeting to go to, so I couldn’t waste any time.  I cut the chest routine short actually to save time, figured I could make it up with pushups later in the week.

DB press with 30 sec rest in between sets

50s for 12, 12

55s for 12, 12

pec dec with 75 pounds

40 slow reps, definite strain on the shoulder

then 13 slow reps, left shoulder was groaning at me, so I stopped it there

biceps – pinwheel curls (hammer curls across the body)

70s for 2 sets of 5 (each arm), 60 sec rest in between

seated alternating twisting DB curls

50s 2 sets of 9, 10 (disappointed in this)

went to the bicep curl machine

70 pounds, slow set of 40 reps

Then took my joints through range of motion for a minute, then 2 sets of 5 kneeling fingerpad pushups.  Then 2 sets of 10 eagle claws.  Then I went to go hang from the chinup bar (grip work)

hung for maybe 15 seconds, then hung again for 13 seconds, then hung again for 10 seconds, then for 7 seconds

not happy with that.

Then I did an L-Sit off the Roman Chair for about 30 seconds (there was a guy in it so I asked if I could sub in, he admitted he was just having a nap, ROFL), then did a short bridge for 30 sec, then a couple of seated twists for 30 sec each.

Then I got on the arc trainer for 30 min, resistance of 60, incline of 5.



proper positioning

Today was all about putting in my workouts here and there, wherever I could sprinkle them in.  So my day was peppered here and there with stuff.

In the morning I did some quick squats, just to benchmark my level for the squat challenge for Week 5.  I did a quick 61 squats, then went to the wall for some calf raises:  45, 45, 45, 45.  Ready for Week 5 of the Squat Challenge.

In the afternoon I realized I hadn’t done ab work in a while, so some quick leg raises (lying down):  20 bent knee raises, then 20 more, then 30 bent leg raises, 30 more, 30 more.

When I got home, I was tired of my triceps feeling sore, so I decided to punish them with some seated dips:

47 reps, (60 second) rest, 60 reps, rest, 30, rest, 32, rest, 65

My arms were aching by the end, I felt like my arms were pulling back permanently and forcing my chest out, haha.  They wouldn’t relax and just hang.  Week 6, Day 1 down of the Tricep Challenge.

Time for some light pushups.  I did 25 vertical pushups, then 20 inclined pushups, then went for kneeling pushups, the first time since my sprain.  I did 30 of them, and was feeling it in my shoulder more than my chest.  Second set I only got to 15 and had to stop.  I think maybe my hands were placed wrong and it was putting too much on my shoulder? I didn’t have this difficulty with regular pushups!  Rested, changed my hand position, and came back for another 17, then had to stop.  Rested, changed my hands again, was able to do another 9, shoulders still aching.  Changed my hands again, sucked in the gut harder, rocked forward a little more, and was able to do another set for another 17.

Funny enough, kneeling pushups seem harder to me right now than regular ones, due to poor positioning of my hands, I guess.  I wonder if I am putting too much pressure on the shoulder girdle when I do chaturanga in yoga as well?  Distinct possibility.  I might set up a private session with a teacher to take a look at it.

Summary (I am too wordy for my own good):

61 half squats

double bent leg calf raises 45, 45, 45, 45

lying leg raises:  bent knee 20, 20; bent leg 30, 30, 30

seated dips, feet on ground:  47, 60, 30, 32, 65

pushups:  25 vertical, 20 inclined, kneeling – 30, 15, 17, 9, 17

hanging in there

Went to a 10 am spin class at my gym with my neighbour.  Not bad, teacher was a little chatty.  Sometimes they try so hard to get you hooting and hollering, it seems a little silly.  I like to stay quiet and focus, can’t force the enthusiasm.

After an hour of spin, I decided to give my shoulder another test.  I grabbed some 45 lb dumbbells and some 22.5 dumbbells and alternated between bench press and front raises, for 15 minutes continuously, no rest.  By the end, my shoulders were burning, both of them.  My chest itself felt fine, 45s are too light, even for an aggressive series of sets like those.  But my shoulders were screaming, in a good way.  I started off doing sets of 10, back and forth, but by the end was more like sets of 4 or 5 on the raise and 7 or so on the press.

This is a variation on the “zero rest alternate” technique.  Normally, it would be two shoulder exercises, not a shoulder and a chest, but instead I chose to continuously superset the presses and the front raises because I didn’t want to extend my shoulders over my head while I heal, and I am convinced that one of the ways I sprained my shoulder was from frequent presses off the floor.  So this was a revisit.

But if you ever want a really good and quick workout, take some light weights, and alternate between complimentary exercises for the same body part, keep going for 15 minutes.  Leave a comment below if you would like any specific suggestions.

After that, I stretched out.  I took my joints through range of motion for about a minute, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips.  Then I did 2 sets of 5 fingerpad kneeling pushups.  Those felt pretty hard on the fingers!  Then 2 sets of 10 eagle claws.

Then I went to the chinup bar, and just hung by my grip.  I did it for about 30 seconds, then decided to stop.  Probably could have gone longer.  Then I did an L-Sit off the dip station, then held a short bridge for 30 seconds, then a minute or so of seated twists.

I follow the commonly held theory now that you warmup BEFORE the exercise, then stretch AFTER the exercise.  The thought is with stretching beforehand you run the risk of shortening the muscle, and inhibiting performance.

Came home, and crashed hard.  The last two days must have taken a lot out of me.  When I woke up, my triceps were sore (which I don’t understand!) and my forearms were sore.  If you want a good forearm workout, do like I did, after you finish your upperbody routine, do some grip work like hanging off the chinup bar for as long as you can.  The forearms will burn!

Ready to Play

I put my gameface on today.

I woke up feeling pretty good, so I decided to do some warmup pushups before heading to the gym.  Quick 35 half ROM pushups.

I wanted to do back work, but I didn’t know what my shoulder could handle, so I dialed down the weight, but tried to make up for it by cutting down on rest time, 30 sec max rest, even between exercises.

I started off with some assisted chinups, first set close grip, palms in.  Assisted for about 40% of my weight.  Did a set of 10, not a big deal.  Then switched to hammer grip, was only able to do 4, shoulder getting tired.  Especially as my arms were above my head, I didn’t want to push the girdle too hard, so I stopped.

Then I did some one arm bent over dumbbell rows, with 55 lb DBs.  Did 2 sets of 12 reps on each side, alternating with no rest.  Felt light, so that was reassuring.

Then I went to the lat pulldown machine, again I was wary about going above my head.  I did 120 pounds widegrip, 2 sets of 12, 30 sec rest. It felt good and light, but no need to push it.

Moved to the hammer strength row machine, took a close grip.  Left it at 60 pounds, but went slow and tried to feel it, and go for high reps, see if I could make it a “burn” set.  First set, did 40 reps.  Waited 30 sec, then did another set of 25 reps.  Felt tired, but not muscle exhaustion, so I guess that is ok for now.

I wanted to do cardio, but I was going to be late for work, so I left.

At work I stepped away at noon to see the doctor about my shoulder.  He refilled my scrip for a-i and xo inhibitor, and checked my blood pressure.  I have had problems with high blood pressure in the past, even after weight loss, but he said it was really good today, so I was relieved.

Went back to work, and it was someone’s birthday so I had a piece of cake… I was jacked up on energy for the rest of the day!  LOL.  I wrote down some adjustments to my gym routine:  switching out above the head movements for a while.  I will lower the weight for all other upper body work until I get the weight back up to pre injury levels, then I will add back in the above the head stuff, but at light weight, then build that back up to pre injury levels.

Remember, you need to spend as much time researching and planning and reading and thinking about your fitness strategy as you spend doing it, or you will be driving blind.

Came home, did squats: 40, rest, 45, rest, 40, rest, 40, rest, 54

Then I collapsed on the ground, lol.

No time to rest, I jumped back up and did some bent double leg calf raises, 40, 40, 40, 40.

Then I lay down on the ground and tried to do some short bridges (like thrusting your butt up into the air with your feet in close).  I did a set of 50, but with some difficulty, as my hamstrings were seizing up.  I guess doing them so close to leg work was taxing.  I tried to do another set, but only got to 23 before my right ham seized up, and I had to take a break.  Waited a few minutes, then went back for another set, slowly got through another 50, then stopped.

For fun I decided to do something different, so I set up my towel on the ground like a pillow then went into a headstand against the wall.  Head on the pillow, palms of hands on the ground to hold me up.  When I started to feel it in my neck, I pushed harder with my hands and shoulders.  I think I went for about a minute before I felt more pressure in my neck so I stopped.  I didn’t expect much so I hadn’t set up the timer.  Next time.

Overall, a pretty good day.

some nagging pain

I suffer from gout, at an early age.  I med for it, but sometimes it rears its head.  I ate a fair amount of junk food this long weekend, trashed the diet, and went for a bunch of walks.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

So today was affected greatly by that.  Foot was sore all day, so I decided to cut back on leg work and let the gout settle down.  Pushing it only prolongs the attack.  The a-i’s I take for it twisted up my stomach pretty good.

So I decided to test out the shoulder.  I went back to pushups.  I did 25 vertical pushups, then 20 incline pushups (waist level), then 30 kneeling pushups.  By that point, I was getting some nagging pain in my shoulder, so instead of pushing it, I will rest it up, and see how it feels tomorrow.

If my foot had been better, I was planning to go down to the GNC and buy more multivits, Vit E, Fish Oil, and maybe some glucosamine, see if that helps my shoulder.  I used to take fish oil, but haven’t in 3 or 4 months.  I might go back to it.

The big nagging pain is that I feel irritated, stressed.  That happens when I haven’t been to yoga in a while.  I am itching to get back to it, and soon.