Tag Archive: FST-7


Tuesday Back and Biceps

Workouts aren’t always PR’s and rainbows.  Some days you just have to punch the clock, feel a bit of pain and just grind away.  It is an important lesson to learn, and one that wipes out most of the weekend warriors – persistency and consistency.  If you don’t stick with it, you will not change your body.  So… some workouts are just miserable.  This was the case with me on Tuesday.  No personal records, just putting in work.

Tuesday PM Back and Biceps (45-60 sec rest)

cardio 25 min warmup – lateral elliptical

spinal twists x 150

V-Bar Pulldowns:  105 x 10; 150 x 10; 225 x 10, 8, 7

1 Arm DB Row:  45 x 10; 60 x 10; 90 x 15, 12, 12

T-Bar Row:  90 x 10; 115 x 10; 155 x 10, 8, 9

Underhand Pulldowns:  225 x 6, 10, 8

Spider Curls:  25 x 10; 45 x 10; 65 x 6, 5, 4

Concentration Curls:  20 x 10; 30 x 12, 9, 11

Biceps Curl Machine:  (30 sec rest) 90 x 12; 80 x 11; 70 x 15, 13, 11; 60 x 15, 15

Cardio 25 min – Stepmill

Spinal Twists x 150

 

notes:  Maybe I am being too hard on myself, my weight for the V-Bar and DB Rows was actually good for me.  But my energy dropped out fast on the back exercises, usually I have more endurance than that.  Even worse, my tendinitis flared up in my right elbow (probably from Monday’s BB Curls), and Spider Curls just could not get going without pain.  So I did concentration curls, which supports the part of my elbow that was hurting, then I used the machines, which did not cause any pain.  I did an FST-inspired set on the machines, 7 sets in a row with 30 secs rest, you get tired fast!

 

But hey, at least the workout got done.  What about you?  Any good workouts lately?

Advertisements

New Toys

I had some fun stuff arrive in the mail this week!  Check it out

Fat Gripz

Fat Gripz

These are fat gripz (brand name).  You wrap them around a dumbbell or barbell to simulate a thick bar.  Holding a thicker bar makes it harder to close your hand around it (impossible actually with these, and I have big hands).  This makes holding your grip harder, so not only does it make whatever exercise you are doing harder, but it makes you work your forearms much harder.  The forearms help you maintain your grip, so this will build them up.  I thought it was a good idea, what with my forearm tendinitis, to build my forearms up a bit, put on a little size and muscle.  This will help.  so, if you see me mention these grips in an exercise, don’t be surprised if I am using a lower weight!  It is still quite hard, I promise you, just hard in a different way.

wrist straps

wrist straps

To balance out the forearm challenge, I also picked up some forearm support!  I ordered some wrist straps, I always used to borrow them in the past, but I figured I was now due.  In case I am doing an exercise with some volume, and I think my forearms will fail before the target muscle, these straps will help me keep going.  It happens – end of a work out, trying to do some stiff leg deadlifts, grip is going, so now I can keep on fighting!  They are nice and chunky too, won’t dig into my wrist.

PB2!

PB2!

And yeah, I ordered a treat, haha!  This is PB2 (pb stands for peanut butter).  Pb2 is a powdered peanut butter with very little calories (2 Tbsp are only 45 cal!!!).  So you mix the powder with some water and you get a delicious peanut butter treat!  And I tried it right away, it is DEELISHUS!  With so few calories, I mixed it with all kinds of stuff, greek yogourt, water, almond milk, unflavored protein powder, all passed with flying colours!  My fav mix is almond milk though, it creates an unstoppable creamy peanut butter that knocks you out!!  It doesn’t have the protein content of my P28 spread, but this is a great tasting treat that will slide into my macros with no difficulty!

Ok, so I also went to the gym today!

Chest & Shoulders (rest time varies)

incline fly:  (30 sec rests) warmup, 120 x 12, 8, 7

cable crossovers:  (30 sec rests)  160 x 12, 12, 12

decline bench press:  (30 sec rests) 135 x 12, 12, 12

bench press machine: (30 sec rests) 120 x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

seated military press:  (minimal rest) bar x 5, 65 x 5, 85 x 5, 95 x 5, 115 x 5 (60 sec rest), 115 x 5

reverse pec deck: (10 sec rests!) 60 x 10, 10, 10, 6; 45 x 10, 10, 10

face pulls w rope: (10 sec rests!) 50 x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 8, 10

dumbbell shrugs:  (90 sec rests) 100 x 50, 50, 50

cardio elliptical 30 min

notes:  ok, this was my plan.  I wanted to try different stuff, so I pre-exhausted the chest then some declines to work on my underdeveloped lower pecs (I don’t think I can even flex them! Criminal neglect), then a pump set on the machine.  7 sets with 30 sec rest!  They can get intense (inspired by FST-7).  All that isolation and low weight pump should leave my shoulders unmolested, and ready for their own work, followed by lots of low rest high rep for the joints and little muscles (rotator cuff and rear delts).

The flys felt HEAVY.  I was surprised, and couldn’t get them done.  But when I got to the crossovers, they felt easier than ever!  Maybe my muscles had warmed up?

The bench machine was too light.  I wondered if maybe it would get really hard by set 5 or 6 (reasonable assumption with the low rest), but they stayed easy and in control.  Yay!

I hadn’t done military press off the smith machine in a while, but the smith machine was broken (still!) so I used the rack and it worked fine!  I am working to find my low-rep weight, but 115 feels kinda right, at least for now.  By minimal rest, I mean only as long as it took to slide more weight on, but with 115 I felt like I wanted a rest, so that was a good sign.

I wanted to do cable rear delt flys, but those machines were popular (I need 2 cables, and this one guy was doing front raises for about 20 min straight, I kid you not), so I used the pec deck instead.  Those felt awkward and ugly, I stopped at set 7 in disgust.  Then I took one of the cable setups for my face pulls, and not surprisingly, 5 min after I grabbed the other cable, front raise guy ran away, I guess he wanted personal space, TS buddy.  Face pulls felt good, got so tough near the end I couldn’t do all 10 reps (see that 8 rep blip!), and out of anger at messing up my perfect run, I muscled through the last set.

By the way, since I am giving credit where its due, I got the idea for the 10 by 10s (10 sets of 10 reps, with 10 second rests) from the Musclepharm website.  Thanks Musclepharm!  Those are great for low weight isolations, helps build up the joints and get the blood flowing.  They are also tough as a beast if you have never done them before!  Word to the wise, first time you try them they will burn like a mother!

I felt like my traps had gotten enough rest from my sore neck ordeal, and I wanted to see what they could do.  I have found over the years that my calves are stubborn donkeys, and they prefer super high reps; I wondered if my traps might also be stubborn donkeys.  I keep adding weight to my shrugs, and I had almost outgrown the dumbbells, but the shoulder placement with barbell shrugs just looks like it will be rough on me personally, so I needed to keep dumbbells relevant.

I decided to try super high reps as well.  3 sets of 50 reps each!  I used the wrist straps for these, this was a trap burner, not a forearm killer.  I kept the straps loose while I saw what it felt like, and it actually wasn’t too bad, my forearms could probably handle it.  But 50 reps with 2×50 lb DBs was kinda scary, right around rep 30 my mind started telling me this was insane and just to put them down!  This tells me it was a good choice though, I got through them!  They were rather intense though, not for the faint-hearted, as long as you pick a solid weight, don’t grab paperweights.

Then I did some cardio!  Overall, a pretty fantastic workout!  Felt great!

How about you?  Any good workouts today?

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!

The plan for today was to do a leg workout in the morning, then a yin class in the evening.

No workouts with Leslie this week, so I thought it would be fun to try something new.  You have to vary it up every once in a while, keep your body guessing.  First you adapt to what you are doing, build the mind-muscle connection, then when you get comfortable, switch it up.

So this would be my week for trying out my backup workouts, and for legs I locked into a brand new one.  Sneak preview:  no lunges! HAHAHAAAAA

I got to the gym at 6 am-ish.  This was also novel for me, I hadn’t done a 6 am workout in a long time.  time to get busy.  Squats at 6 am, say whaaaaaatttt???

bodyweight sissy squats x12, x12, x12, x12 (90s rest b/w sets)

squats:  155 x12, x12, x12, x12, x12 (90s rest)

one-leg leg press machine:  195 x12, x12, x12, x12 (back and forth leg to leg, no rest)

leg extensions:  135 x12, x12, x12, x12, x12, x12, x12 (30 s rest!)

seated leg curls:  135 x12, 150 x12, 165 x12, 180 x12 (90s rest)

stiff-legged dead lifts:  95 x12, x12, x12  (90s rest)

seated leg curls:  90 x12, 105 x12, 120 x12, 135 x12, x12, x12, x12 (30 s rest)

bodyweight straight leg standing calf raise:  80, 80, 80, 80 (90s rest)

notes:  Your eyes don’t deceive you, that is a workout with some pretty beefy volume.  No time for chit-chat, just go after it.  The whole thing took about 80-90 min.  The sissy squats served as my warmup, and the calf raises served as my cooldown.  20 working sets for quads, 14 sets for hams, and 4 sets for calves.  Beefy.

5 sets of squats.  the weight isn’t high, but I wanted to practice my form, go at least as deep as parallel, get used to the feeling of dropping to that depth.  by the end I was dripping sweat.  Some stiffness in the right knee during leg press, it went away quickly.

Yes, your eyes read that right, I did 7 sets of extensions and leg curls with only 30 s rest in between sets!   Basically, I was trying out the FST-7 system.  I haven’t watched the dvd, but my rough understanding is you do a compound exercise, then an isolation, then a compound, then an isolation for 7 sets with 30s rest.  I didn’t do it in quite that order, mine was more like iso, compound, iso, iso.  But the sissy squats warmed me up, the squats were the taxing work, and the leg presses were me reducing the rest time to ramp up into the extensions for the climax.  And let me tell you, the weight was low on the extensions, but they burned!!  I was really feeling it by the end.

I didn’t know what shape the hamstrings would be in by this point, but they felt pretty solid, so I was playing with the weight a lot on the leg curls, finding something that was challenging but I could go the distance with.  I will say this, 90 is WAY too light, I think the pad was dropping just from the weight of my legs, ROFL.  Do my legs weigh 90 pounds?  Holy crap!  Next time I do this workout, I will be able to zero in on the perfect resistance.

SLDL’s remain really awkward for me, so I picked a light weight and worked on form.  They still felt awkward, but I took my time and hopefully built some of that mind-muscle connection.

Calf raises I like high rep bodyweight sets since my calves are big and stubborn, and respond better to massive pump sets.  If I load the weight on the calf machines, I either feel nothing or get a massive cramp, so w/e.

In the evening I headed out to hot yoga for a stretching session.  I walked into the hot room feeling like I was on autopilot, just drift in and set up my spot.  We did some straight wide leg forward folds, cobblers pose, half happy baby (AKA the most miserable pose on Earth, haha).  My mood became grumpy during half happy baby, I am just learning to really hate that pose!  While I dealt with all the negative stuff it dragged up, I noticed I started to fidget more and more during poses.  My mind became busy, I couldn’t hold my focus or maintain my steady breath.  Honestly, most of my yin class was spent just sorting through all the grump.

It was a 60 min class, so luckily the suffering came to an end quite quickly, ha.  But all that pain and discomfort and challenge is exactly what I need.

You have to throw yourself into discomfort and strain if you hope to get healthy.  It seems like it shouldn’t be that way, we fool ourselves into thinking that we get healthy by avoiding pressure, but it is the opposite – health flows from adversity.

On a basic level, you have my resistance training.  I push the muscles as much as I can both heavy and for a long time, to push them to suffer microtrauma, the muscles rebuild themselves bigger and stronger, tada! improvement.

Next you have yin.  You stress out the connective tissues, gently push it to a soft edge, cause microtrauma, little tears, then the tissues rebuild you more flexible than you were before.

But take it even further.  I read an article today on the medical benefits of infecting someone with an intestinal parasite.  No, seriously.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/11/whipworm-immune-regulation/

How’s this for a tagline:  “Scientists run tests on a lab full of monkeys with chronic diarrhea”   hee hee hee!

Sorry, back to my point.  Scientists are wondering if maybe our sterile healthy environment has made us more susceptible to certain conditions.  Humans as a species grew up on Planet Earth alongside a raft of weird microbes and parasites.  And they made us tougher.  That’s why companies are starting to advertise “probiotic” foods, because we are suspiciously lacking these days in sufficient friendly stomach microbes, that help us digest.

So the thought is that the intestinal parasites gave our immune systems something to do.  But in the western world we have largely eradicated such parasites, and we have also seen the growth of conditions where our immune system is attacking itself, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, inflamed bowels, ulcerative collitis, and other autoimmune-related conditions.

Testing is going on, but it looks like they might be on to something.  Some sort of controlled infestation has certainly cured the monkeys of their chronic diarrhea, they started putting on weight, etc etc.

You know that old adage about avoiding germs all the time makes you weak?  That might be true.  Just like weight training and yin, our immune systems need the occasional workout.  I wouldn’t suggest swallowing some whipworm eggs 😛  But these patterns just keep popping up in Nature, iron sharpens iron, strength through adversity.  You must go out and test yourself, push yourself, try new things, if you expect to get better, to improve.

Food for thought!  Day 16 down!