Tag Archive: extensions


Push and Road Drills

I didn’t do TRX this morning! Surprise mofos!

 

I got out of work slightly late, and had a quick coffee with a friend, then headed to the gym to see what kind of trouble I could get into.

 

There was a spin class starting at 6, and I had about 45 min to do some weights.  I chose chest and triceps.  SURPRISE!!

Chest & Tri (60 sec rest between all sets)

dumbbell flat press:  160 x 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3

2 handed tricep extension:  70 x 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 7

notes:  this took about 30 min, including making sure I got my name on the list for spin class.  Admittedly, the weights to reps ratios were not that hard for the prime muscle, but my shoulder was sore the night before, and I wanted to test it out.  Shoulder felt good, weight felt fine, could go heavier next time.  Since I was done on the last set of the tricep extensions, I figured I would do as many as I felt like.  Turns out I only felt like 7, haha.

 

had 15 min before spin, but I saw people were already picking out their bikes.  WTH!!??!  Come on people – this is why we have sign up lists, so we don’t have to fight for a space at the trough.  So yeah, I grabbed a bike and just spun my wheels for 15 minutes.

It was a “road drills” class, meaning the teacher picks their own tunes and routine (I normally do RPM, which has a certain schedule and structure).  Courtney was teaching this one, I had only had 1 class with her before.

Turns out Courtney is pretty good!  the music was really good, lots of heavy beats and long stretches of rhythm.  Dancy stuff, no need for silly lyrics.  The class itself was all heavy climbs… scary!  Only one real racing song, mostly 6 or 7 minute climb drills.  We started with a drill of 15 sec of standing climbs followed by 45 sec of seated climbs, as heavy as you could make it without losing the beat.  I thought THAT was grimy enough, turns out it was just the start.  We also had a 5 or 6 min steady seated climb, turning up the resistance every 30 seconds with no break.  Then we had 15 second standing climbs followed by 90 second seated climbs, did that for 6 or 7 minutes, awesome.  Then we had our straight race, 40 sec race followed by variable length ride-easys, did that for a while.

The whole class was only 60 min, but everyone was dripping sweat by the end.  I think someone mentioned the gym was extra warm today, that might have added to it.

 

Did I mention my legs were still sore from yesterday?  So this was a real good flush for me.  All those heavy pedal strokes were good for me, I noticed calf stiffness in both legs about 2/3 of the way through the class.  I take this to mean I am pointing my toes too much, so I focused on dropping the heel harder and that seemed to alleviate it a bit.

 

It was one dirty grimy spin class, and I loved it!  It really hit the spot.

 

And that was my workout today!

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I have had problems sleeping for days.  I toss and turn all night, and the tossing and turning aggravates the sore muscle in my side.  It has made me a little irritable, and I wake up so ragged in the morning that I am often forced to go straight back to bed and move morning cardio to the evening.  Oh well, so much for the morning cardio.  At least for now.

I had to work late today, now that everyone is back, and everyone is eager to give me stuff to do.  So I couldn’t make the workout with Leslie, and went to the gym on my own in the late evening,  In honour of Leslie’s focus on circuit training, I tried some circuit training of my own:  keep going until I couldn’t.  3 circuits of upperbody resistance training.

warmup: 30 min of cardio

Circuit 1:  machine bench press 5 reps and widegrip lat pulldown 8 reps; back and forth 4 times nonstop

bench/lats:  150 x 5/150 x 8/150 x 5/150 x 8/150 x 5/150 x 8/150 x 5/150 x 8

notes:  this felt good as a warmup, could go heavier next time.  I took a couple of minutes before the next circuit

Circuit 2:  dumbbells – incline press 8 reps, then one arm row 8 reps then overhead press 8 reps; 3 times through

incline/row/overhead:  50s x 8/70s x 8/50s x 8/50s x 8/70s x 8/50s x 4/REST/50s x 6/70s x 8/50s x 5

notes:  Out of respect for my shoulder, I used a hammer grip on the incline press.  This helps me because it encourages me to keep my shoulderblades rolled back, and keeps my shoulders more stable.  Towards the end of the second runthrough I just ran out of gas! I looked in the mirror, I was sweating a lot.  I failed out of the overhead, so I rested for 1 minute, then went to do the 3rd set.  I couldn’t do all the reps on that one either.  By this point, I could feel my energy diving.  I hadn’t taken a preworkout either, so that might also be me getting used to not having that as backup.   I waited 2 min before the last circuit.

Circuit 3:  arms and shoulders – 2 hand overhead tricep extension 20 reps, then hammer curls 20 reps, then lat raises 20 reps; 2 times through

tri/bi/shoulders:  50 x 20/40s x 11/25s x 12/REST/50 x 15/30s x 20/17.5s x 6

notes:  I was going to add in bicycle crunches after the lat raises, but the gym was SO crowded, I didn’t want to lose my spot at the dumbbell rack, so I cut it out.  The first time through, the weights were too heavy for me to do high reps with the wornout state I was in, so I took a minute rest then dropped the weights on the second run through.  Even then the lat raises were just BLAH, so I put them down and walked away and said screw it, haha.

I had also considered throwing in some pushups at the end as a “finisher” but I felt so finished already I said to hell with that too and hit the showers, haha!

Considering I couldn’t make the appt with the PT, bad sleep, no PWO caffeine boost, I think I salvaged it ok, what do you think?

see you later!

post-Xmas arm day

Yeah, I got pretty lazy for a few days there, did nothing on Christmas Day or Boxing Day, just drinking and eating and chaos and debauchery and shame and ruin.

And then I had work on the 27th!

work was empty, boring.  I had a few things I could do, but I didn’t want to go through my meagre workpile too quick, or else I really would be stuck.  Noone was in the office, just me.  Boring.  I kept hoping Jennifer Connelly would be found curled up in one of the cubicles, so we could go rollerskating, and foil a robbery.

This was my favorite movie when I was 14… well, it was either a toss up between this or Predator.

After work, I headed to the gym, wondering to myself if it would be crowded.  Seems not!  I guess people wait until New Years to commit to the gym.  I figured an arm day would be fun.

 

Arms:

warm-up

skullcrushers (90s rest b/w sets):  70 x 10, 10, 7, 6, 5, 6

seated two-hand extension (90s rest):  65 x 10, 10, 10, 10, 8, 9

bicep curl machine (90s rest):  90 x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

seated dumbbell curls (90s rest):  40 x 10, 7, 10, 10, 8, 7

cardio:  elliptical 40 min. 70% resistance, incline 9

 

notes:  I wasn’t entirely happy with how it went.  I don’t think I warmed up enough.  My focus could have been sharper, more intense, and I felt like I could have been a lot stronger.  Lately I have been playing around with my cardio component, and while in the past I saved cardio until last so I could have more total energy for the weights, I have noticed lately that I have better sessions when I do cardio FIRST.  The last few times I did the 40-60 min of cardio first, I just do better all around.  Like my most recent shoulder session, for example.  Seems counterintuitive, but I have to listen to what works for my body – cardio first from now on, for the foreseeable future.

 

Skullcrushers, I ran out of gas fast, but the extensions went a little better.  I was really happy with the curl machine! That was a success.  My mind wandered a bit during the dumbbell curls, so I rallied and did better after the second set.

 

Was that the last arm day of 2012?  So sad!  I will miss you, 2012 arm sessions.

Press, Pump and Pull

I went to the gym after work, with a few possibilities on my mind. I wanted to do arms, mainly. My chest also felt a little underworked this week. And I said I was going to be casually doing more pullups. So let’s see what I can do in an hour?

workout:
dumbbell flat press: (2 min rest b/w sets) 120×16, 140×12, 160×8, 180×4, 160×3, 140×8, 120×11
(from now on, 60 sec or less between sets and exercises)
closegrip dumbbell press: 110 (w/ 5 sec negative) x 10, 60×25
straight bar pushdown: 70 (w/5 sec neg) x10, 40×25
one arm dumbbell extension: 30 (w/5 sec neg) x 4/8, 20 x 9/11
curl machine: 80 (w/5 sec neg) x 10, 50×25
one arm cable curl: 50 (w/5 sec neg) x 10/10, 30 x 15/20
zottman curls: 30 (w/ 5 sec neg) x 5/5, 20 x 10/10
assisted pullups: wide grip x 5, closegrip x 6, hammer grip x 5

cooldown cardio: elliptical, 80% resistance, incline 9, 30 min

notes: I had a lot of stuff I wanted to do, but I didn’t want it to take more than hour, as the work starts to get counter productive around the 60-90 min mark (plus I get cold, hungry and sloppy). The weight portion clocked in at 55 min, score!!
I took more time between chest sets so I could try and build some strength. I had been really hoping to press the 100 lb dumbbells, but I wasn’t confident with the 90s, so I went back down the ladder. My shoulder felt a little sore my second time pressing the 80s, so I stopped and rested right away, as you can see I only did 3 reps of those. I think I am getting a little stronger, gradually.
The arm sets were designed to achieve a “pump” to try and encourage blood to fill the muscles, get a little size. So a slow negative set (super slow!) followed by a high rep set right away. By the 3rd exercise for each body part, your muscles will be used up and burning!
I couldn’t get the pushdown cable spot I wanted, I like the one where you can adjust the pulley a little lower. I had to use the one where the pulley stays up high. I find that one a little awkward, so my weight suffered as a result. Whatever, I still got a pump near the end.
With the one arm exercises, I didn’t take a specific “rest”, I just went back and forth arm to arm, slow set to slow set to pump set to pump set. Those wore me out like crazy, you see my reps go down on those just because the muscles were toast. I took slightly longer than 60 sec after those specific exercises to recover, so I think it all balanced out in the end. I also notice my right arm seems a little stronger than my left! hmmm, good thing I did those one arm exercises so I can notice the imbalance.
One arm db extensions and zottman curls at the end of the routine are rough! I didn’t get even close to the reps I wanted to achieve, I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but it felt really good. In my defence, my triceps were tired from the presses, and my biceps were trying to save some juice for the pullups 🙂

And that was that! How was your day? Any good workouts?

The plan for today was do chest and triceps in the morning, go to work, come home after work, nap, do an evening yin.  ‘Twas a fair plan 🙂

My butt was really dragging this morning, I almost psyched myself out of going to the gym, but I finally made it at about 06:40.

chest & triceps:

warmup presses for a few sets with the 30s

flat DB presses (2 min rest b/w sets):  110×20, 130×12, 150×9, 170×5, 150×8, 130×11, 110×11

machine press (90s rest):  150×12, 12, 12

incline DB flys (90s rest):  80×12, x6, x7

DB skullcrushers:  70×3, x3; 50 x10, 9, 9, 7, 7, 7

seated 2 hand tricep extension:  65 x7, x5; 50 x8, 8, 7, 7

 

notes:  I wasn’t entirely happy with this workout as a whole.

I was cruising along with the flat presses, and my left shoulder gave out 5 reps into the 85 lb DBs, so I climbed back down the ladder, each time my left shoulder stayed tired.  I couldn’t really get anywhere on my 7th set with the 55s either.  I like doing all those sets at all those different weights with the dumbbell presses, it helps me build up strength in my shoulder, which right now is clearly lagging behind my chest.  It is less stressful than pushups on the joint, and I can obviously tinker with the resistance much more easily than I can with pushups.

I wanted to give my chest more work to do, but I also wanted to see how done my shoulder was, so I went to the machine press, but I went fairly light, and just did a few sets of slow reps.  My shoulder felt fine and my chest was able to get some more good squeeze in (would have been better with free moving handles), so I felt confident going on to the flys.

Flys went sort of poorly, unfortunately.  I got through the first set, but either my shoulder was really tired, or I was psyching myself out, and I kept failing out of the next few sets.  The weight isn’t THAT much diffrerent from what I do with Leslie, only slightly more.  HOWEVER, when I do incline flys with Leslie, they are my working sets 4-6.  These flys today were working sets 11-13, LOL.  So maybe I should have gone lighter and respected the volume.

Next up triceps!  Lately I have been giving arms their own day, but I wanted to experiment with the split, and see how I liked it.  Long story short?  I didn’t!!  I was doing 30s last time for the skullcrushers, and it went really well, so this time I moved up to the 35s… I failed out right from the start!  So I took a few breaths, composed myself, went again, failed right away again!  So I gave up and went down to the 25s.  They started out fine, but by the second set with the 25s, my arms were not able to go the distance, they started to fail out around rep 7 every time.  This made me sad.

Again, there are a few factors at play.  I was doing triceps first, and now they are second in the rotation, energy not peak.  Also, triceps get work doing the chest presses, so they weren’t fresh when it was time for the skullcrushers.  My shoulder was also getting tired, so more of the pressure was getting transferred to the elbow, just less helpers available to assist the tricep when it fatigues.

Once you fail out of a few sets, you also start to psyche yourself out, which was happening to me because I kept losing my focus.  There was an old guy right next to me doing dumbbell presses while fluttering his legs in the air like he was riding a bicycle… WTF??!?  DON’T DO THAT.  You make me think you are losing control of the weight and panicking, and now I’m forced to keep an eye on you to keep you from killing yourself.  If you want to work your core, do presses on a stability ball, don’t flail your goddamn legs around like a drowning man.

If I see you combine these 2 moves, I will seriously consider taking the weights away from you.

So, THAT was genuinely distracting.

I moved on to the seated extensions, and the weakness in the triceps continued, I got some mediocre sets in with the 65s, and dropped down to the 50s, and still couldn’t bust out full sets.  My arms were just torched.

In retrospect, given what I have observed, chest work wears out my shoulder, and I have nothing left for arms.  Back work doesn’t seem affected, I have done massive chest/back days and been none the worse for wear.  So I think I will keep up a chest/back & legs & arms & shoulders split, it seems to accomodate my situation the most, aka building my shoulders back up.

I was worried my triceps got a raw deal today, but as I sit here typing this, they feel pretty sore, so maybe I worry too much 🙂

 

Also!  It has been a few days since my legs workout, and it usually takes a little while to see what the DOMS were like, kind of like an autopsy of the workout.  Normally when I get railed by Leslie, my DOMS center around the rectus femoris, which is a direct antagonist to the hamstrings.  This is probably reflective of all the heavy lunges we do (as a consequence of me being heavy).  Basically I feel DOMS in the middle of my thigh and the back of my leg, making walking difficult.

As for these particular DOMS this week, I felt it yesterday much deeper than the rectus femoris, possibly even the vastus intermedius, although I couldn’t be sure, and that isn’t a muscle you can really isolate anyways.  However today, the soreness settled squarely into the outside of my thighs, the vastus lateralis.  I didn’t feel the soreness when I walked, but I felt it when I straightened out my legs.  This means it was the FST-7 sets of the leg extensions that did the microtrauma, which is fine with me.  Possibly also the one leg presses followed by the extensions, both likely suspects.

It could also well be affected by the yoga.  You can hit the vastus lateralis with leg work on closely placed feet, and while I was recovering from the leg training, I was still doing chair pose and eagle squat and flexing my quads in mountain pose, and all those asanas that require you to keep your feet closer than hip width.  So they all came together in a really beautiful way to make my legs sore 🙂

 

Can you tell I have been really inward focused today?  LOL  As the yoga challenge goes on, my attention is squarely set on how I feel inside.  How does my shoulder feel?  How does my elbow feel?  Where do I feel the DOMS in my legs?  Did I hit the triceps on those sets?

My awareness has become very very inward, very introspective.

So when I headed out to Yin tonight, that introspection continues.  I felt detached from everyone else on the bus, like they were moving slowly and clumsily and they all felt like they were getting way too close to me when they walked by.  None of them seemed to be moving mindfully.  At the same time I felt deeply the space caused by the detachment from them.  It reminded me of a passage from the Dao De Jing (translation D C Lau)

Everyone is joyous,
as though feasting at a great sacrifice
or climbing a terrace in springtime.
But I am quiet, not giving any sign,
like an infant who has yet to smile;
aimless, as though I had nowhere to go.

Everyone has more than enough,
I alone seem to be lacking.
I have the mind of a fool, vacant and dull.

Most people see clearly;
I alone am in the dark.

Most people make fine distinctions;
I alone am muddled and confused.
As vague as the ocean,
As unsettled as the wind.

People have their intentions,
I alone am as dull as a yokel.

Everyone else seemed amused, distracted, clumsy, purposeful.  I was just sort of… observing and drifting.  My attention was still focused inwardly.

 

When I got to Yin, Gigi was teaching!  A 60 min late night stretchy session 🙂

ahhh, so fuzzy!

We went through some hip work followed by restorative work.  wind-relieving pose then dragon then twisted dragon then seal then double pigeon then waterfall.

I don’t mind dragon, as I have said before.  But the twisted dragon was rough!  I really felt it on the inside of my thigh, at the hip.

this is the version of twisted dragon we did

Conversely, I LOVVVE winged dragon, aka gecko.  But we didn’t do that 😛

I was also really glad we got to do waterfall, it helped me flush a lot of fresh blood into my sore legs.

 

Day 18 over!  This was a really long entry, but I had a lot to say 🙂  See you tomorrow!

Day 10 – Power Pump

I’m not sure if that title sounds cool or cliche, haha!  Wednesday, the evening plan was for me to get an arm workout in, and then head out for 90 min of Forrest-inspired hot yoga.

Went to the gym after work, it was packed!  Dumbbells strewn haphazardly about, lazy people fluttering around like butterflies, patting each other on the back.  The positive vibes were nice, noone was laughing at anyone else, but goddang it people, clean up after yourself!  I’m not your mom.

This arm workout was a “pump” workout – a set of slow negatives (5 second neg) to wear out the muscle, then a high rep set to “pump” blood into the muscle.  Works quite well, by the third exercise I am groaning in pain.  You don’t need high weight, just good form and lots of time under tension, not a lot of rest.  60 seconds max between sets and between exercises.  And when I was alternating arms I didn’t take any breaks, just back and forth.

arms:

closegrip dumbbell press:  50s for a slow set of 10, then 25s for a set of 25

tricep extension with straight bar:  100 lbs slow set of 10, 70 lbs set of 25

(I like using the rope, but someone had the rope)

one hand seated dumbbell extension:  30s for a slow set of 6&8, 15s for a set of 25&25

preacher curls:  65 for slow set of 10, 50 for a set of 25

one hand cable curl:  40 for a slow set of 10&10, 20 for set of 25&25

zottman curls:  20s for slow set of 10, 10s for set of 25

notes:  15 lb dumbbells and 10 lb dumbbells seem like some pretty rinky dink shit, but when you put them at the end of their respective muscle group, those one hand extensions and those zottman curls brought the pain!  The zottmans especially, that bicep lift feels easy, but you twist your arm and reverse them back down… very quickly your forearms start to burn!  It’s a great isolation.  I hear Bruce Lee used to love zottmans.  Bruce Lee had good taste 🙂

That was quick and nasty, it only took half an hour, so I headed down to the yoga studio for a 90 minute Forrest class with Gigi!

all smiles before class…

I spoke a little bit about the Forrest curriculum last week:  the breathing exercises, the ab work early on, loose necks and traps, long held poses, and so on.  As the class started, we spent some time stretching out our hips.  Gigi mentioned to the class, “you may be wondering why we are doing this in a “power” class.  The power is coming.”

The abs at the start were hard, haha.  My abs are way not up to snuff, so I just did what I could.  All that keep your legs straight up in the air, and lift your shoulders off the ground and then twist left and right stuff just fades me out pretty fast.  So I do what I can.

Then we did some sun salutation type flows, usually leading into knee down on the ground lunge with a backbend.   Ok, so far so good, I can keep up with those, some people got tripped up by the pattern, but you get used to it.

We did dolphins, we did turbo dogs, we did twists.  My shoulders were so-so, I shyed away from the turbo dogs, but I did a few extra dolphins while other people were sucking wind on the floor.  So I didn’t wimp out, I just spread out the shoulder work.  By the last twist though, my left shoulder started telling me to stop it and relax, so I came out of the twist, went into seiza and did some shoulder rolls for a while.  It was just me respecting my boundaries.

Then it was time for standing series.  We bent our front leg as we went into Warrior 2… and that leg stayed pretty much the focus for like 10-15 minutes, hahaha.  Even when the leg wasn’t bent and it was straight, the pressure was still on it, so it shifted from the quads to the hams, but never really let up.  There were warrior 2s, reverse warriors, bent leg triangles, pyramid poses, straight leg triangles, half moons, standing splits, all on the same leg.  Usually around the 70% mark for each leg, Gigi would let us go into childs pose for about 30 seconds, before we hopped back up into another triangle and then half moon, for example.

Trust me, by the end, my legs were thrashed.  I did my leg workout on Monday, and there was still some DOMS I was dealing with, so by the end of this standing series, my hamstrings were hammered toast and my quads were tight cords of burning flesh.  I was a sweaty, broken man.  When we got to lie down, I felt like a prisoner being granted a few drops of water, I just lapped it up.  I had no energy left to be stubborn.

Then a funny thing happened.  As I walked out of the studio into the cool night air, yeah my legs felt tired and destroyed, but the DOMS had lightened up!  I think all that leg work flushed a lot of fresh blood into the area, and helped my recovery.  Lots of times when I had sore legs, I would stay sedentary at the office, sit in my cubicle and type.  That way dodged the soreness, but it doesn’t help the healing process.  When you have leg DOMS, go for a walk, go for a bike ride, do a spin class, do some hot yoga 🙂  Put those wheels into motion and they will clean themselves out.

 

Day 10 down!  Pump arm workout and a power yoga class!  Power Pump!  On to the next one!

Arms & Forrest yoga

Wednesday would be a busy day.  I slept in from the late night Tuesday activity, then rushed off to work.  After work, the plan was to get to the gym ASAP and do an arm workout, then rush off to the yoga studio for a 90 min session.  Woof!  Hopefully this would go off without a hitch.

Got out of work ON TIME (boss is away, no last minute requests, haha), then walked to the gym (only 10-15 min walk away, a nice warmup).

Arms: (90s rest between sets and exercises)

dumbbell skullcrushers w/30s x10, x10, x10, x10, x10, x10

2 hand seated extension w/60 x10, x10, x10, x10, x10, x10

bicep curl machine 70 x10, x10, x10, x10, x10, x10

seated alternating twisting curls (DB) w/35s x10, x10, x10, x10, x10, x10

notes:  volume week, lots of work, limited rest, lots of TUT (time under tension) helps keep the time requirement down.  this was pretty much all I could pack into one hour, no filler.  My form was pretty shaky near the end on the skullcrushers and the extensions, but I think I banged them out correctly, it just wasn’t smooth.  Which is how it will look as I ramp up the weight, so no worries.  Machine curls felt good, I still tried to either squeeze at the top or squeeze hard on the way up, so I can hit that peak of the bicep a bit.  The alternating curls felt good, I just tried to mentally focus on the PULL at the start of the ROM, it seemed to help me get good jumps on the set.

To my pleasant surprise, I had lots of time before yoga, so I sat in the sauna for a bit, took a shower, hopped on over to the studio.  Gigi was guiding us through a 90 minute “Forrest-inspired” yoga class.

can you tell a dude took this pic? haha, framing and lighting seems off

OK, most important thing to take away:  this class kicked my butt!  I knew I was rusty, but it wasn’t just me, I heard lots of groans and concerned looks from the rest of a relatively full room.  I found my spot near the back and in the corner, aka, the “I might be struggling” spot and settled in for a wild ride – I had never done this sort of class before.

What does “Forrest-inspired” mean?  Well, meaning Ana Forrest for one thing, her “style” or curriculum.  Saying “inspired” can mean you aren’t fully cleared to teach as Ana would teach it, but you have her permission to use her name, and her permission to blend her tricks with your tricks, etc.  My familiarity with taking classes with Gigi already meant I had some sense of what parts of her class were “Forrest”.

We started off with some breathing exercises.  I admit, I wasn’t very good at these.  I can experiment with different kinds of inhaling and exhaling, but she had us do them in saddle pose, which is a pose I heavily struggle with.  I spent most of my breathing exercises trying to get my knees to stack over each other.  Thank God for a spot at the back 🙂

Then after the breathing we did ab and core work.  I am used to doing ab work at the end as a finisher, this way it would pre-exhaust us before the physical yoga work.  Meaning the asanas would likely require some focus on the core as well.  Ya, I was not a superstar at the ab exercises.  I think I was supposed to keep my legs straight up and my shoulders off the floor for the entire 10-15 min, I spent lots of time near the end heaving on the floor.  3 or 4 various crunchy type exercises.

Then the asanas!  It wasn’t a “flow” type, we held poses for an extended period of time, which is where your core can start to come in, depending on how awkward the pose is.  There was a lot of shoulder work, which thankfully we broke up with some shoulder rolls.  We were constantly asked to focus on breathing through our ribs (“telescoping” them to the sides of the room), to focus on spreading our toes and fingers out in every position, and to keep our neck loose and relaxed.  To this end, when we did Warrior 2, we didn’t turn to face our forward hand, we kept looking to the side of the room. To make up for the hip work we would normally get out of the warriors, we did lunge type activities forever and ever.  The side benefit of this is we got to use our shoulders while relaxing our traps, which is something I rely too heavily on.  Traps are cool, but I need to be able to use them all equally.

Sometimes I wasn’t sure what we were doing, and I would pop my head up and look around to see what others were doing.  Inevitably when I would do this, I would see other heads popping up to look around also.  So I didn’t feel too bad.  At one point, we were doing sort of a sumo squat facing the side of the room, and Gigi suggested we lift our shirts while we do breathing exercises, as sometimes people have hangups about their guts.  While I was contemplating my gut, in a sumo squat, my body naturally decided this was the best time to break wind… I think I might have interrupted the teacher mid-sentence with my outburst…  At that point, I decided to surrender to the hard work and just smile while I did it, since my chances of being cool had flown out the window.

When we were doing warrior 2 legs (aka lunge with a straight back leg), we went through multiple poses on that bent front leg, by about the 10 min mark, I was mumbling, “ok, nope” and dropping down to my back knee.  Tired.  I wasn’t the only one, some people on the other side of the room started to laugh and vocalize, Gigi had to remind them this was a silent practice so we could proceed.  Then we got to do the other side, haha.

I would like to give all these moves names, but they were new, there was alot of them, and this post would go on forever, so maybe another time 🙂

At the end, as we lay on the ground, resting, Gigi reminded us of how awesome the 30 day challengers would feel towards the end of the month.  This being only Day 3 and feeling pulverized, I started to chuckle.  I know I am drained if I just start to laugh uncontrollably.  Next step – hysterics.

Came home, feeling really good!  I was worried about how my shoulder would take it, but it feels pretty good so far, even after a 90 min, somewhat “isometric” practice!  See you next time!

Rocktober Roundup

Haven’t posted in a bit!  Not for lack of activity, just so tired I pass out when I come home 🙂

Tuesday I showed up for another session with Leslie:

2 min warmup with the battle ropes.  I have always seen people use the big ropes, but never got to play myself, so a first for me!

not me, but I was THIS cool too

Then we got on the straps.  It’s kind of like TRX, but I think that is a brand name, so let’s just call it straps 🙂  I did some pushups off them, my feet against the wall, probably deeper than 45 degree angle pushups?  Still technically easier than a regular pushup, but again a first time for me!  Fun.

3 sets of 12 pushups

Then we headed to the vertical leg press machine.  Again, a first time for me!  I have been on various leg press machines, sleds, hack squats, etc, but this version is a lot more compact.

I did a set of 12 with 270 pounds, but we realized that was too light, so I did 2 more sets with 360 pounds.  My legs were still sore from Monday, so I wasn’t entirely happy with my range of motion on these, I felt I went a little shallow and could have worked harder.  Food for thought.

Then we went for some lat pulldowns.  They had 2 cables but no seat, so I did them on the floor with my feet braced against the machine.  It felt quite comfortable, actually.  First set was like 160 x 12, but that was way light so we did 2 more sets 220 x 12

Then we went to go do some hamstring curls off a stability ball.  Sort of like a short bridge, but harder 🙂  3 sets of 12

such a flattering shot of my gut, haha

I debated using this shot since it highlights the belly so much, but I decided to keep it real for you guys!  See the sweat on my arms?  Working hard!

Keeping up the upper body/lower body pattern, then we went for some lateral raises.  I asked to go light on this one so Leslie could check out my form.  Lateral raises are one of those exercises where light and correct is much better than heavy and full of swing.  Leslie made some adjustments to my form, did some shoulder packing and kept the weights to the side of my thighs instead of in front of me.

So the weight was weak, but next time I will go heavier.  10 lb dumbbells, 3 sets of 15

Then some tricep pushdowns with the rope, which is nice because then I can pull it past my legs and hit the triceps a little more.  Felt super light, but I kept it controlled and slow.  Hopefully more next time, my triceps laugh at these weights.

60 x 12, 70 x 12, 80 x 12

Then we went for some Supermans for my back.  I did 12 with my hands under my shoulders (like a Locust in Yoga), 12 with my arms straight out in front (like Superman would do), then 12 with my fingers laced behind my head (like if Superman went to jail).

prisoner supermans

See the sweat on my back?  See the sweat on the floor where my arms have been?  What, you think this is a game?!  Shit is real, son!  I am here to workout.

Then we did some planks.  3 of them, about a minute each.  Leslie kept telling me to go on my knees and then off my knees, which on some level does make it easier, but I think she wanted to correct my form for how I was flexing my back.

And that was Tuesday!

Wednesday I was supposed to do cardio but I was so sore and tired from Monday and Tuesday that I slept in in the morning, came home after work, took a nap, woke up, ate food, then went to bed early, lol.  Wednesday was a day off I guess, I was wiped!

Thursday I had an appt with Leslie, but I had an appt conflict, caused by the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend.  Leslie couldn’t reschedule for Friday, as she was headed out of town for the long weekend.  So Thursday night, when I was free, I went to the gym for some late-night cardio.  One hour on the elliptical, resistance 75%, incline 9.  At around the 40 min mark, my hands and feet were going numb, lol.  It was weird.

Friday (today) I was still sore in my quads and abs to some extent, so right after work I went for a deep tissue massage.  She spent 40 min on my legs, 20 min on my upper body, and her feedback was that she could easily have spent the whole hour on my legs, lol.  Lots of deep knots in my calves, and my hamstrings were pretty tight.

After the massage, I went to the gym for another late night session.  With Leslie away, I could pick my own routine, hooray!  I didn’t feel like I had worked my arms much, and I felt bad about my form from Monday, so I decided tonight I would do both a volume arm workout, and keep form strict.  I figured I wouldn’t exhaust them like I would with heavy weights, but I would get a solid pump.

So light weights, slow with good form, full and deep range of motion (all the way down, squeeze at the top), lots of working sets.  4 exercises, 2 for tricep, 2 for bicep, 6 sets each, 24 working sets.  About 90 sec between each set and each exercise, it would take an hour if I stayed focused and didn’t screw around.

Volume Arm Workout

Dumbbell Skullcrushers:  25s x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10

2 hand dumbbell extension:  50 x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10

Preacher curls:  50 lbs x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10

Seated Alternating Twisting Curls:  30s x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10

I was feeling good, so I then did some assisted chinups but my biceps were tired and my grip was tired, so I only did a set of 6, a set of 4, then a set of 5

then I did another hour of cardio on the elliptical, cranked up the tunes on the ipod, the hour flew by!

So that was the last 4 days.  What a long entry!!

dealing with a bad day

Some days things just don’t seem to be going your way.

I woke up on Monday (aren’t they always Mondays?), and was dog tired, maybe even fighting off something, a bug or something.  I postponed my workout until the evening (first bad decision), and went to work.  Crossing the street this guy takes a hard right and almost runs me over, cursing and flipping me off as he does so.  Wouldn’t that be a good way to die?  Smooshed on the street right in front of your office building?

they let the intern organize my funeral

Enter my building, take the elevator up, 2 people in there, man and a woman.  Right as I step out of the elevator and am walking down the hall, he mutters to her, “Some days I wish I had a .22 with a silencer.”  She laughs.  And in my head I am thinking, “why did he wait until I stepped out? was he talking about me? why am I just being dogged today?”

Yeah, one of those days nothing seems to be going your way.  By the end of the day I was miserable, bordering on angry.  Irritable, maybe a touch of sad.  Some days you just get the blues and become very irritable to boot.

I came home, and just stewed.  After a few hours, I was just pissed off.  Everyone has those days, just frustrated at everything.  You don’t know how to handle these feelings, they are antisocial, improper.  You want to be alone, but as you sit alone you just get more cheesed off.

In the past, I would handle these days by playing video games, loading up on junk food, yelling at my screen until I got tired, and go to sleep exhausted and bloated with pizza and soda and what have you.

I am in better shape now.  But I still don’t know how to handle a slow-building rage, noone does.  I decided to go exercise.  I couldn’t go to yoga class, it would calm me down a ton, but I wouldn’t be good company.

I decided to make up for the gym session I missed in the morning (good decision!)  At the gym I could be alone and just grind out the burn until I worked the grumpiness out of my system.  I headed out to an all-night gym.  Got there about 9:30 pm.

chest & tri:

cardio warmup 5 min on the arc trainer

dumbbell presses (2 min rest):  55 x 21, 65 x 12, 75 x 8, 85 x 6, 85 x 6, 75 x 10, 65 x 12, 55 x 11

pec dec (30 sec rest):  130 x 23, 11, 6

two-handed dumbbell extension (30 sec rest):  75 x 13, 7, 3, 5, 2

pushdown machine (1 min rest):  170 x 10, 10, 7

cardio cooldown 10 min on the arc trainer

notes:  I was tired, it was the end of a long day.  I was also very distracted with all of my gripes.  I was able to pull it together for the sets, but between exercises, I needed slightly more time to cool off.  The gym was busy, which made it ambitious to monopolize the dumbbells like that, but thankfully it was a more casual crowd, and they weren’t messing with much past the 60 pound dumbbells.

 

less popular than the barbell, the dumbbell flat press remains an excellent exercise

Normally I go up 10 pounds if I can squeeze out 6 reps, but with the 85s, the 6th rep felt REEALLLY shaky, I was good until about 75% of the way up, then control was not all there.  I DID squeeze out the 6th rep, but I didn’t feel confident about it, so I compromised.  Instead of going up to the 95s, I did a second set of the 85s before climbing back down the ladder.  As far as I am concerned, form is everything, and if I can’t do 6 good reps, then I didn’t do 6 reps.

On the way back down the dumbbell weights, I actually did better on the 75s than on the way up, so I was happy about that.  But by the time I made it back down to the 55s, my left shoulder was plain tuckered out, so I couldn’t do more than 11.

The pec dec in this gym had free moving handles!  Oh glorious day!  The flys felt much more natural, and as a result I did slightly better than last week.

You can see with the tricep extensions that I struggled with the weight.  I rallied and hit my rep goal though, so it only gets harder.

Check out Scott Herman, he is pretty awesome and has a ton of youtube videos to watch.

My triceps were tired, so I went to a pushdown machine, and finished myself off.

For the cooldown cardio, I noticed the arc trainer in this gym felt different on similar settings than what I am used to, that is the thing with new gyms, speed 7 or incline 9 doesn’t mean the same thing between sets of treadmills or arc trainers or whatever.  I found incline 16 and resistance 60 worked quite well for me here.  On the plus side, the heart rate monitors worked!  Hooray!

I checked my heart rate every 5 minutes to see what my burn was.  After 5 min I had a pulse rate of about 145, which is the upper end of the aerobic zone for me.  I decided to go harder.  At minute 10 I was about 160, upper end of the anaerobic zone for me.  That is pretty much as hard as I should go, and by this point it was almost 11 pm, so I called it a day and went home.

On the way home I stopped at an all-night pizza place and had a slice of vegetarian pizza and a diet coke, haha.  Dirty calories!  But it was a crap day and I felt like I earned it *halo*  by the time I laid down to sleep, I was actually feeling much better.  I felt like I had dealt with my negative emotions in a constructive way, and that’s how you gotta do it.  Just exercise.

Later guys!

the beauty of inches

One of the things I like about weightlifting is that you can measure your progress in single digits.

I pressed 185 lbs 6 times last week, and I did it 7 times this week.  I have gotten better.

I pressed 185 lbs and waited 60 seconds before doing it again.  This week I only waited 45 seconds.  I have gotten better.

My arms are 1 inch bigger around.  I lost 2 pounds.  I swung the kettlebell 3 inches higher.  GETTING BETTER.

 

See what I mean?  inches, seconds, pounds, reps, sets  – it all becomes a game of single digits.  You can watch yourself incrementally, mathematically improve.  All very appealing to the meticulous, calculating mind.  Also a treat for the OCD crowd.

 

Monday was chest & tri day.

 

dumbbell press (2 min rests):  50 x 21, 60 x 15, 70 x 10, 80 x 6, 90 x 5, 80 x 6, 70 x 8, 60 x 15, 50 x 17

pec dec (30s rests):  120 x 13, 9, 8, 7, 3

2 hand dumbbell extension (30s rests):  70 x 15, 7, 2**, 5, 2

rope pressdowns:  120 x 6, 5, 5

 

notes:  I was running late, so brief cardio before and after, maybe 10 min before, 10 min after.

Once again climbing the ladder of dumbbells.  The weight keeps steadily going up every week not because I am gaining muscle every week, but because I am establishing the mind-muscle connection, getting used to the demands of this exercise in this way.

Whenever someone is new to lifting, or has been on a break, their weight goes up steadily.  5 pounds a week with no stopping is pretty normal.  That doesn’t mean it lasts forever, don’t think for a second you will be benching 400 pounds in your first year.  You aren’t Superman.

this isn’t you

 

No, your weight is going up steadily because your mind is “learning” how to use the muscle you have to its fullest extent possible.  You are finding your potential, so to speak.  Once the progress slows down to a crawl, and you are lucky to put 5 pounds on your bench every other month, THEN you are growing muscle and your potential has increased.  Then you start to measure your progress in terms of “one more rep”.

 

So during this “neural adaptation” phase at the start, be grateful for the steady progress, and focus on keeping good form.

so, I am adapting, and the weight is rising.  I couldn’t do more than 4 reps with the 80s two weeks ago, and this week 6 reps, then 5 more with the 90s.  Very exciting!  The 100 pound dumbbells are almost within my grasp!  It’s an awesome moment when a guy gets to use the 100 pound dumbbells, whether he is a featherweight or a lardbutt, he gets excited.  I can’t wait…

oh yes… you will be mine…

 

 

When it was time for triceps, I experimented with the rest-pause.  Normally it is 30 seconds but I was eager to go on my third mini-set, and I jumped back in after 20 seconds.  My triceps failed fast!!  At first I thought I was just running out of gas, but on my next miniset I waited the full 30 seconds, and felt MUCH stronger, finished out the macroset.  See what I mean about a game of single digits?  10 seconds meant sooo much to my muscle recovery, every inch counts, it is a constant struggle to overload yourself in a constructive way every time.

 

two handed extensions

 

So the extensions hit the long head of my triceps, then I did some pressdowns to hit the lateral head, but by that point my arms were pretty dead.  so I kept it slow and tried to squeeze them out.

 

See you later!