Tag Archive: lats

Sunday Back

Saturday was a day off.  I did a spin class in the morning, did some shopping, generally rested.

Sunday I got up and went to the gym for some spin and back.

Spin was alright, once again I sweated extra hard, I think the humidity in the gym hasn’t been addressed yet.  It definitely is not air conditioned like the rest of the mall.  After spin I got ready for Back work.  I was actually a little nervous, this back routine was going to be a monster one, and I was nervous taking it on at full strength, much less post-cardio.  But no way around, just gotta do it.

Back (30 sec rest b/w all sets)

widegrip pulldowns:  2 warmup sets, 195 x 12, 12, 12, 12

underhand pulldowns:  180 x 12, 12, 12, 12

t-bar rows:  115 x 10, 12, 10, 6

closegrip machine row:  195 x 12, 12, 12

closegrip cable row:  195 x 12, 12, 9

hyperextension machine:  300 x 15, 15, 15, 15


notes:  this routine was heavy and volume and fast-paced.  I pretty much had to get aggressive right from the start, and grunt just to build up the momentum that will carry you through.  Working out is always a balance of finding just how much you can break yourself down without stopping you cold.  You want intense, you want a routine that fills you with a bit of fear, but not too much fear.  You want to push the limit, not trip over it.  You know you hit the sweet spot when you realize your routine is so insane that if you stop to question yourself, you will lose your confidence and drop out.  Maybe 22 working sets is nothing to the next guy, but for me, this workout was pretty much all I could handle, and if I stopped to come up for air, I wouldn’t be able to keep up the momentum.

The t-bar rows are deceptively heavy.  The weight doesn’t seem like much, but it was tough!  The setup is also a little too small for me, I can’t fully rest against the pad, and end up crushing my groin to try and get into position, which is distracting.  I failed out on the cable rows, not purely due to the weight, but the handlebar was really rough and tearing up my calluses.  Next time I will go look for a rubber grip, at least until the calluses thicken up.

I walked away from that workout COVERED in sweat!


What about you?  Any good workouts?

form is everything

Thursday I slept in.  Lazy!  I think as I get older, sleep feels BETTER AND BETTER.

sleep feels so good!

So that meant I had to do my gym after work.  I also wanted to get in some more yoga, so that was pretty much going to be my night.  Back and biceps today.

assisted chinups (palms in):  8, 6, 6

one arm bent over dumbbell row (no rest): 60 x 12, 6, 5, 2

closegrip row (30 sec rest):  210 x 8, 6, 7, 4

pinwheel curls (2 min rest):  75 x 5, 5, 5

seated dumbbell curls (30 sec rest):  45 x 12, 8, 6, 6, 6, 6, 5

cardio: 20 min arc trainer, 75% resistance, incline 9

notes:  my chinups continue to feel stuck, like I am not improving.  maybe I just need to lose weight, haha!

Intensity built up with the DB rows, then I was nice and warmed up for the machine rows.  I am finding I like the pattern of start heavy with longer periods of rest, then transition into medium to heavy with short rest.  By the end it feels like all out war!  The machine rows felt great, and that particular machine is running out of plates for me.  As always, I try to keep my shoulders down and back, and not rely on my upper traps.

getting intense!

By the time I got to biceps, I felt this mix of fear and heightened agitation.  The rows had given me something to think about, I knew the curls would be killer.  I warmed up with the pinwheel curls.  I got through them, but I wasn’t totally comfortable with my control, so I will keep the same weight next week, and try to tighten up on the form.  Form is everything.  A little body english can be ok with the heavy weights, but it can be a slippery slope to “sloppy”, and you have to be brutally honest with yourself as to the difference.

Then it was showtime.  My biceps run out of gas early, so the limited rest curls last week were intense, and I knew these would be too.  I alllllmost got the required number of reps, but my form was getting sloppy (at least in my mind), and my grip had been toast for the last 3 mini-sets, so I restrained myself from trying to pump out a crappy looking 50th rep, and will work on it more next week.  I didn’t feel like I had mastered the curls at this weight, so I can still reap the benefits of progress by doing it again.

the weight is the same… how come we look so different?

Went home, napped for about 30 min, then headed to yoga.  It was a Yin class, which meant deep stretches, which is great, because I felt too pooped to do anything active.  Passive all the way baby!

To my total delight, the instructor chose to focus on the back (spine) for this hour-long class.  This meant I could give my back a great stretch after the workout a few hours before, and minimize the recovery time.  Bonus!

We decompressed, we compressed, some seated cobbler (which I love, first time I touched my face to my feet was a thrill), some Seal pose, some Snail pose, all stuff I love.  How lucky was I to get this lineup?




After yoga, I went home loose, tired and happy, and fell into a deep blissful sleep.  I knew right away I was damn well going to sleep in the next morning.  And the circle continues 🙂

f ya

consulting with a trainer

I was offered a free consultation with a trainer at my gym, so I decided to give it a try.


We spent about an hour together, first discussing my shoulder troubles, and going over what my goals are.  I wanted to build strength, I wanted to drop about 50 pounds or so, weigh what I did in high school, do a chinup, lol.  All that good stuff!


Her first comment?  “You’re stronger than I thought.”  HAHAHA, fat man bends the iron to his will!!  Or maybe she was blowing sunshine at me, meh.  I crave the attention 🙂


She showed me a range of shoulder stretches I could do – mostly variations of things I do in yoga.  Then she had me do a couple of planks, and some back strengtheners.  Again, things they have us do in yoga: planks, side planks, extended planks, dolphin something or other.  And instead of supermans, we do baby cobras and half locusts, full locusts.  All this reminded me how much I miss having a regular yoga practice, it covers so much fundamental stuff!  Never doubt it.


Her big advice for me was that she thought I was a little imbalanced, too much push and not enough pull with the weights, which I suspected to some extent.  I put chest on Monday, when I am all revved up for the week (at least the workouts, not so much the office job, lol), and “back”on Friday, when I am most tempted to skip the workout and get the weekend started!  haha, I am such a male cliche, pumping up the chest and biceps and neglecting the rest… tsk tsk.

So her advice was to really pull back (no pun intended) from the chest work for a while, and get in a good back workout twice a week, do this at least a month and rebalance my development.  I don’t know… I love my dumbbell presses!  She suggested instead of chest work, just do more planks, lol.  That’s no fun!  I was crying on the inside, but spraining my anterior delt hurts worse than skipping a chest workout.

I… guess… I could try it… SIGH.  Pushing will be on the backburner for a while I guess, this makes baby Arnold cry… all part of the rehab.  Well, more than rehab, more than recovering from the injury, more like rebuilding up the wall so the injury doesn’t come back.  She is a paid professional, and seemed keen enough, I owe her at least a solid try, at most I lose a month.

So less chest, less shoulder, more back.


While doing rows, she also noticed my traps were really tense, and I was underusing my lower traps.  I believe this is really common, and is consistent with shoulder tension I have had in the past, as my masseuse would agree with.  So we practiced a number of t-bar rows with my upper traps relaxed.  Could this have contributed to my sprain?  Most likely.  So that observation alone is worth its weight in gold!  I love working out alone, but having a professional evaluate you will sometimes uncover these little hidden gems, and every little wrinkle smoothed out adds up!

So remember to relax those traps and pinch the pencil between your shoulderblades!  Reverse flys, 1 hand dumbbell rows, row machine, lots of fun ahead of me with my form adjustment!


She was also worried about my rotator cuff, so she took me to what I suspect was her “go to” exercise for showing a potential client something new – archery pulls with a resistance tube.  You wrap up some tension, and go through the archery motions slowly.  They felt good after about 30 or so!  I can’t complain.


At the end of the hour, it was time for the sale.  I broke it to her, sadly, that I don’t feel like I am ready for a trainer right now, I feel like there is a lot of self-work I still want to do, I want to “fix myself”, at least for a while still.  I have lost a bunch of weight so far, and part of me feels if I rent a crutch now, I will never feel the satisfaction from conquering my bad habits myself.

I mentioned though that I thought she was good, and so if it was possible to just buy a handful of sessions, I would like to do that.  She mentioned, unfortunately, that this gym doesn’t let trainers do that, they can only sell you a package for like a year of visits or something like that (Goodlife), so we shook hands and parted ways.  I told her though that if they ever have a promo for a try and buy type thing, I would take her up on it.

I just feel like I have to do it myself still, the added expense being also an added deterrent, lol.  I would never turn down free training!  I am not stupid!


Not surprisingly, my middle back and core have felt sore and beat up all day!  It felt like fatigue had stabbed me through the chest, it was caving me in on both sides!  She killed me with isolation exercises, lol.


I need some serious sleep if I am going to hit it again tomorrow, the trainer kicked my butt!  Total credit to her for that.


Feeling some nice soreness in the chest today.


Went to the gym after work.  Yay for some Friday night exercise!

Back work:

Wanted to do deadlifts, but the squat racks were busy – a girl and her trainer, and 2 guys on the other one.  The 2 guys were wasting a lot of time, chatting away, squatting very little, then chatting for 5 more minutes.  I hate that.  But why bother trying to sub out with them?  Fixing the amounts on free weights is time-consuming, and these guys were idiots.  So I just moved on, can get more done if I avoid these time-thieves.

One arm DB row:  60×12, no rest, 60×12 (so back and forth, 12 on one arm, 12 on the other, 12 on the first, 12 on the other)

Pull-ups:  7 1/2 wide grip, 7 close grip, 6 1/2 hammer grip

T-bar row machine:  105×40, 105×40


I am happy with the pullups, getting more and more comfortable with them.

Then time for some cardio:  arc trainer for 30 min, 65% resistance, incline 9


Quick and fun back workout!

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.