Tag Archive: planks

Feb 22, 2016

I hope you like squats.  I got squats for you.

Tonight, the plan was death by squats. Light squats, but lots of them. And no belt.

warmup: dorsiflexions, TKEs

squat shoes and knee sleeves on

warmup squats: bar x 5, 135 x 3

Low Bar Squats (60 sec rests)

215 x 3
215 x 3
215 x 3
215 x 3
215 x 3
215 x 3
215 x 3
215 x 3
215 x 3
215 x 3
215 x 3
215 x 3

notes: yup, 12 sets of 3, with 60 seconds rest in between. counts as cardio, right??

High Bar Squats (2-3 min rests)

230 x 6
230 x 6
230 x 6

Low Bar Paused Squats (1 sec pause at the bottom, 2-3 min rests in between sets)

200 x 8
200 x 8
200 x 8

Weighted Planks (long rests)

25 lbs x 30 seconds
25 lbs x 30 sec
25 lbs x 30 sec

notes: the rests had to be long because I had to wait for someone to keep the plate on me – I didn’t want to have to awkwardly put it on and then get into position, and then dump it off at the end


March 30, 2015

I had to make a presentation across town in the afternoon (thank you Moore’s for having a suit sale!), so I ended up being late to the studio for my apt with the trainer. my own fault. had to cut most of the workout out.

Push Press (short rest)

65 x 8
95 x 8
115 x 8
135 x 7
135 x 8

notes: I suck at these, so I am still just doing weight I could strict press, lol.


hanging knee raises x 10 then Bicycle Crunches on the bosu x 20 … 2 sets of that
V-Ups x 12 then side planks for w/e the F number of seconds then a bunch of Supermans… 3 sets of that

post-workout LISS on the elliptical

Feb 3, 2015

Felt SO grumpy in the morning. I almost slugged someone on the bus. And then a union rep tried to give me a pamphlet outside my building and I thought they were selling something, so I went to bldg. security and tried to call the police on them, lol.

I must have been overtired. My mood tanks when that happens.

But I grinded my way through the day, and went to the gym after work for some shoulders.

OHP (30sec rest b/w warmups)

45 x 5
80 x 5
115 x 5

(inc rest to 2 min, elbow sleeves on)

135 x 8
135 x 7
135 x 6
135 x 5
115 x 6

notes: not used to reps this high on the OHP, my energy dwindled quickly. I tried to lighten the weight on Set 5, but to no avail, I was done. I would stop a set when the last rep was a grinder. I wanted smooth reps.

Upright Rows (wide grip, 60 sec rest)

95 x 8
95 x 10
95 x 8
95 x 8
95 x 10

notes: I tried closegrip, but my shoulder complained right away. Wide grip was still very tender on the right shoulder girdle, but made it work.

One Arm DB OHP (30 sec rest for warmups)

20 x 8/8
30 x 8/8

(inc rest to 60 sec)

40 x 8/8
40 x 8/8
40 x 8/8
40 x 8/8
40 x 8/8

notes: I decided not to go too heavy , get used to the movement, and get some smooth reps in. My shoulder doesn’t want a lot of grinder reps right now.

planks (on elbows, 30 sec rest or so)

60 sec, 45 sec, 60 sec

notes: Admittedly, I am never sure how shitty my form is, so I mentally play my trainer’s cues in my head the whole time to keep me from sagging.

post-workout LISS cardio: 1.23 miles on the elliptical

It was a light workout, volume wise, and I felt generally ok after it. not crushed like the last 2 days. thank gawd.

I missed the Thursday workout and needed to catch up, so I did my compound work at Noon, and then some shoulder health work at 4:30 PM.

To accommodate the fact I was working out twice, I dropped the volume to a minimum on the Noon workout, just one top set and one backoff set.

Noon Powerlifting

warm-up: nada

High Bar Squats (Romaleos, SBDs)

80 x 5 (narrow stance, ATG, 3 minimal rest)
130 x 5
180 x 3
205 x 2 (switch to medium stance and parallel)
235 x 1 (belt on, increase rest to 3 min)

259 x 6 @RPE9

245 x 6 @RPE8

Bench Press

bar x 5 (minimal rest, change weight and go again, Spoto)
55 x 5
90 x 5
125 x 3
145 x 2
160 x 1

180 x 6 @RPE<8 (sleeves on, change to paused reps, increased rest to 3 min)

165 x 6 @RPE<8

Deadlift (barefoot)

100 x 5 (minimal rest, conventional grip)
165 x 5
225 x 3
260 x 2 (change to crossgrip)
295 x 1 (belt on, rest went up to 3 min)

325 x 6 @RPE8

315 x 6 @RPE8

It was a good thing I minimized the volume – I was pretty short on time and had to take off. There was no work today but I had to run errands before the late afternoon workout.

As well, one side effect of having such irregular sleep over the holidays meant that my low back had not fully recharged – it got pretty sore during the workout. What I really need are really long marathon sleeps in my bed, not catnaps throughout the day.

Also, squats kinda hurt because I had cut up my heel a bit – I build up excess dead skin and scrub it off and went too deep so my heel was bleeding. Putting pressure on it while I walked was no fun, and it was also distracting during the squats.

PM Shoulder Health Workout

Same workout as last week, just a little more compressed for time.

Superset Scapula Stretch Pulldowns and Rotator Cuff Warmup (no real rest b/w sets, back and forth)

12 plates x 8 / 15 lb DB taken through ROM 15 times per arm
13 plates x 8 / ROTO
14 plates x 8 / ROTO

Stretched Rows (30 sec rest)

12 plates x 8
14 plates x 8
16 plates x 8

Superset Minor Chest Dips and DB Rear Delt Flyes (60s rest)

10 dips / 10s x 20
10 dips / 10s x 20
10 dips / 10s x 20
10 dips / 10s x 20

Superset DB Hex Press and Band Pullaparts (60s rest; flex each pullapart at peak contraction for 1 second)

45s x 10 / 15 pullaparts
45s x 10 / 15 pullaparts
45s x 10 / 15 pullaparts

notes: Used a heavier resistance band than last time.

Superset DB 6-Way and Band Over&Backs (60 s rest)

10s x 10 / 20 O&Bs
10s x 10 / 20 O&Bs
10s x 10 / 20 O&Bs

Prone Leg Raises (straight legs, 30s rest)

25, 25, 25, 25

Planks (30s rest)

30 sec
30 sec
30 sec
30 sec

Ugh, my throat is sore and I feel shaky. Hope I am not fighting off a bug. 2 workouts in one day might have been ill-advised.

Cut Day 2

The name of the game is burn calories, stop being a fluffygoat, become a leangoat.

warmup: foam rolled IT bands, Adductors, Piriformis; back roll to V sit; prone spinal twists; passive low back releases (about 10-15 min)

Circuit 1

DB Walking Lunges to Widegrip Pulldowns to Walking Side Planks

20s x 24 / 12 plates x 12 / 20 Side Planks

REST 30-60s

30s x 24 / 14 plates x 12 / 20 Side Planks

REST 30-60s

30s x 24 / 14 plates x 12 / 20 Side Planks

Row Machine 60 seconds


notes: Walking side planks meaning go from plank to side plank to plank to side plank, etc

Circuit 2

Exercise Ball Ham Curls to 1 Arm Rows to Weighted Reverse Crunches

12 curls / 60 x 12 per side / 10 lbs x 12

REST 30-60s

12 curls / 8 plates x 12 per side / 10 lbs x 12

REST 30-60s

20 curls / 8 plates x 15 per side / 10 lbs x 15

Row Machine 60 seconds


notes: We realized DB Rows are not heavy enough for me so we switched to the cable machine. Reverse crunches means keep the 10 lb medicine ball between your knees and lift your hips up in the air.

Circuit 3

Side Lunges to Seated Cable Rows to Weighted Core Twists

12 per side / 12 plates x 15 / 4 plates x 12 per side

REST 30-60s

Plus Barbell 12 per side / 12 plates x 15 / 6 plates x 12 per side

REST 30-60s

Plus Barbell 12 per side / 12 plates x 15 / 6 plates x 12 per side

Row Machine 60 seconds

notes: Side Lunges too easy, so we slung a barbell on my shoulders. Core twists were done by hooking a nightstick looking thing up to the cable pulley.

– 5 min of yoga stretches (Cobra, Sphinx, cat/cow, Dragon, ham stretches, Pigeon, Childs Pose)
– 10 min LISS on the Elliptical

Overall, not bad! This was a relatively easy test, a dip into the waters to see how chitty my conditioning has gotten. Not horrible, but clearly I need a lot of work!

We were so into the workout, we forgot to take pics and measure my weight! sorry brahs, maybe Friday?

Happy Canada Day!

While most people had a long weekend of relaxation and festivities, which is totally cool, I had set my own agenda.  On Holiday Monday, I went down to the gym to workout. Legs, Shoulders, Abs, cardio


Leg Press (10 sec rest) 260 x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

Glute Machine (30 sec rest) (think of it like kicking back with a single leg like a donkey) 80 x 6/6, 6/6, 6/6, 6/6, 6/6, 6/6

Superset Leg Extensions and Bodyweight Bootstrappers:  (60 sec rest) 160×20,BWx15, Four Sets

Superset Prone Leg Curls and Stability Ball Leg Curls (45 sec rest) 90×20,BWx15, Four Sets


Seated Smith shoulder presses (30 sec rest) warmup, 100 x 10, 10, 10, 10

bb front raises (30 sec rest) 60 x 7; 50 x 10, 10, 10

Arnold presses (30 sec rest) 60 x 15, 15, 15

Superset Seated DB Rear Delt Flys and Face Pulls (45 sec rest) 40×12, 70×12, Three Sets


Giant Set (45 sec rest) Stability Ball Foot to Hand Passes and one arm sit ups and static extended side plank:  15,15 each side, 15 sec each side, Three Sets

Cardio:  20 min on the elliptical, kept my heart rate in the “Fat Burning Zone” the whole time (65% of MHR).

notes: first time trying that glute machine, was kinda cool!  Beats the hell out of lunges, hahaha.  I know it will never replace lunges, but it was a fun diversion.

I had grand designs of also doing an arm session, but I was so destroyed after shoulders (which went really well, by the way, improvement across the board over last week) that I decided to get abs done asap and then bust out some cardio.

How was your day?  Did you workout and party?  Or just one?

Work up headed to the gym for some shoulders and cardio before work.

AM workout:

lat raises (30 sec rest) 80 x 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8

rope face pulls (10 sec rest) 70 x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

cable rear delt fly (10 sec rest) 33 x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

db shrugs (30 sec rest) 200 x 10, 10, 10, 10

cardio:  lateral elliptical 25 min, variable resistance, angle 8

notes:  the cables were crowded, so I couldn’t grab both cables for reverse flys, so I grabbed just one of them for face pulls, and sure enough the other guy got grumpy and left quick.  It goes to reinforce my theory that some people hang out at that cable station in the back corner just to be isolated.  Whenever I enter their bubble they lose interest.  I don’t ask to sub in with them, just by being colocated they are all of a sudden done.  guess they were never that serious.

Funny, the face pulls felt easier than usual, and then when I shifted to flys I realized it was because I did them in the reverse order of normal.  So the flys felt EXTRA hard.  Even light weight was no joke with that volume.


Then I went to work, grabbed a 6 min lie down in the tan bed at lunch.

After work headed to the studio for a special Thursday session with the trainer (she is out of town for the long weekend).  Weighed me… down only 1 pound, dammit!  Not spectacular, compared to previous weeks.  I guess my body is adapting to the new routine and I am gonna have to shock it into new loss.  Still, have lost a lot so far, lost inches all over too!

tan still working itself out

tan still working itself out

for once you can see my shoulder, hooray!

for once you can see my shoulder, hooray!

still plenty of back fat, injured shoulder hangs low

still plenty of back fat, injured shoulder hangs low


Then it was on to legs and abs!

PM workout:

bench bb squats 225 x 10, 7; 205 x 10, 10


kettlebell step ups (30 sec rest) 80 x 10/10, 10/10, 10/10

instead of lunges

instead of lunges

lying leg curls (30 sec rest) 95 x 15, 15, 15, 15


static extended plank (30 sec rest) 45 sec, 45, 45


stability ball crunches (30 sec rest) 25, 25, 25, 25

bicycle crunches (30 sec rest) 30, 30, 30


notes:  ugh, this workout, will go down in infamy.  During the first set of back squats on the last rep, I “stapled” myself.  I got pinned at the bottom by the bar.  I just gave out.  Thankfully I was going to a bench, so all it did was pin me to the bench.  But my trainer was starting to freak out because the bar was too heavy for her to lift off me.  so I was stuck there.  No way out.

OK, 2 ways out.  Shrug it off me and lunge forward.  Or push it back up, from a dead stop on the bench with a back hunch.  I chose to push up, and complete the last rep.

That rattled me a lot, kinda the trainer too.  We ended up messing around with the cage set up a lot, and I went cold a bit.  BUT.  Big but.  I still did 3 more sets.  Set 2 felt tough and I was starting to go by rep 7.  So we dropped the weight by 20 pounds, and I kept going.

I chalk that up as mental toughness.  You get your butt kicked, you just fail hard,  you get up and dust yourself off and keep going.  So I didn’t give up.  But I won’t lie, the intensity was totally gone, I was shaken, but undeterred.

My foot was sore from a chronic health issue I had, so we exchanged lunges for stepups.  Which I hate quite a bit also, so it was a fair trade.  I got through the rest of the workout, but that crapfest at the start plus the weigh in ate up a lot of time, so we had to cut leg exercises out AND I still had to do ab work on my own.

On one hand, I am proud of losing weight, losing inches.  I am proud I was tough enough to salvage my workout and not give up.  But on some level, I am pissed about that fail.  I am pissed I had to drop weight on an exercise I ALREADY do with a pitifully low weight.  I am mad my core is so weak it failed me on squats.  And you know what?  Being mad is ok too.  Being competitive will keep you going during the tough times.

And tomorrow it starts all over again.

ok! diet dialed in! routine dialed in! lunches made for the week! let’s do it!

and then the gym kinda sucked.

I showed up for the 7 am spin class, was pedalling along, clearing my mind, doing what the teacher said but otherwise meditating away, and a friend leans over to me and whispers “you should pedal faster”.  I am like… uhhh, you are pedalling slower than me, and all I get in return is a tomahawk chop pantomime straight ahead to the teacher, sort of a nonverbal “shoosh” move.  So, pedal faster and stop talking?  I thought I was completely silent and pedalling as hard as I could against the resistance I had it set on… who knew??

So after a quick blast of criticism out of nowhere, my zen moment was gone, now I was self-conscious.  I don’t know, cardio for me is sometimes a go crazy, pant as hard as I can and grunt and groan, and sometimes it is a chance to clean out my head space.  I would seriously doubt that even in the latter case, I am burning less than 700 calories, prob even 800, so… I will just scratch my head.  Sometimes being in a weight loss competition means it is open season to criticize you, I have to accept that as constructive regardless.

Went to work, slipped out at lunch for a leg and abs workout.  Was just getting started then my boss shows up!  mmmmmm, now I am self-conscious again.  He just showed up to work out, but that sort of made me self-conscious again, so the intensity didn’t really show up.

Legs & Abs:

dumbbell squats (45 sec rest):  180 x 8, 10, 10, 10

dumbbell lunges (30 sec rest):  90 x 12, 12, 12

dumbbell stifflegged deadlifts (30 sec rest):  180 x 6, 80 x 12, 120 x 12

dumbbell calf raises (30 sec rest): 140 x 25, 25, 25, 25

lying leg curls (30 sec rest):  105 x 15, 15, 15; 135 x 12

stability ball crunches (30 sec rest): 25, 25, 14, 16

static plank (30 sec rest):  45 seconds, 45 sec, 45 sec

bicycle crunches (30 sec rest):  30, 30, 30

notes:  The work gym has no squat rack, so I used DBs for the squats and the SLDL.  I will be honest, they were really awkward, ripped up my calluses a bit too, but that is unavoidable.  The squats, they kept scraping against my legs, but I pushed them out despite the scraping around throwing the weight off and making it slightly unstable.  The db SLDL I felt right away in my low back instead of my hamstrings, so I dropped the weight a lot so I could feel the stretch, and then worked up a bit.

For the ball crunches, my low back got sore again, so I cut those short.


Overall a sort of meh day in the gym.  Oh well, not gonna stop! Tomorrow is rest day! Hooray!

Rough Start

Monday before the challenge starts, Day 2 of the new Diet, Day 1 of the new workout regimen.

Diet is going ok.  I am trying lots of new things for this challenge – coconut oil, a food scale, prepping all my meals in advance.  Gotta give it my all!

The workout was trash.  My low back gave out early on and screwed up pretty much every exercise.  But at least I bought new shoes!


Legs & Abs (30 sec rest b/w all sets)

Squat to a Bench (45 sec rest here):  warmup, 225 x 8, 8, 8, 8

warm up

warm up

stationary db lunges:  45s x 12; 35s x 12, 12

stiff-legged deadlift:  185 x 12, 10; 135 x 12


prone leg curls: 95 x 12, 12; 85 x 15; 75 x 15


exercise ball crunches:  25, 25, 25, 25

plank:  45 sec, 45, 45

bicycle crunches:  30, 30, 30

prone leg raises:  15, 15, 15

weighted standing calf raises:  120 x 25, 25, 25, 25



For those who crap on squatting to a bench, form is king so if my trainer says my core is too weak in the pocket and I need to use a bench, then I will.  No ego, just work.  As opposed to a box squat, when you squat to a bench, you just tap your butt for a second, you don’t sit down and relax your hips.

Early on in the squats (Set 2), my trainer could see my lower back giving out, so she had me not go down as low as the bench.  I guess that makes them half squats or whatever, which puts more of the emphasis on the quads.  Again, it was a blow to the ego, but you can’t live inside your own head, you have to trust the process.

Slowing down the descent and keeping it in the quads made my inflamed IT band act up, and each time by rep 8 it was burning pretty good so I didn’t make it to rep 10.  I need some massage work on that I think.  IT band stayed quiet for the rest of the workout.

With wobbly burning legs and a weak core, the lunges were brutal.  They pretty much destroyed my energy for the rest of the session, I was doubled over and sucking wind in between sets, other people were asking me if I was okay, but I needed to keep pushing and get through it.  Not all workouts get to be awesome, some of them are just disasters, and you have to harvest what gains you can.

My form deteriorated on the SLDL, so I had to drop weight just to get the work into my hams.  prone leg curls were weaker than usual as well.

To try and make it up, I threw an extra movement into the ab work (leg raises).  Planks had to be downgraded from extended planks to standard planks to planks from knees as well, since my lower back was too worn out.

A rough day for sure!

Not going to stop!  This challenge might well turn out to be the hardest thing I have ever done, but I won’t stop – just stop thinking about it and push forward.

See you soon!


It Never Gets Easier

When you start out, it is wise to take your fitness slowly. You don’t jump in too deep too early, and overwhelm yourself – which would make you crash and give up and get extra UNfit. You EASE your way in.

But the flip side of that is that you are always ramping up. It never gets easier. I guess I had hoped it would be like boiling a lobster – I wouldn’t notice the heat rising until I am a fully cooked model of fitness. Sadly, it is the opposite, every new degree burns and scalds you.

That sounds grim. But after coming out the other end of the 30 day hot yoga challenge, after taking a vacation for a week, I have come back to find my workouts are waiting for me, ready to kick my butt. And there are always ways to tweak my progress, to turn up the heat a little more.

The shoulder workout on Sunday was tough! I felt roughed up the next day (today, aka Monday). My tank felt dry and I dragged my feet a lot at work. But it wasn’t a rest day, I had leg day with Leslie! And I forgot my preworkout at home! Blast it!

I dragged myself in, and warned Leslie I felt “bombed and depleted”, 2 shades short of half in the bag. She patted me on the shoulder, and proceeded to take me through a rogue’s gallery of the most draining leg exercises (most draining for me).


warmup on elliptical
squats: 135 x 12, 155 x 12, 155 x 12
step-ups with knee raise and 35 lb dumbbells: 12, 12, 12 (each leg)
vertical leg press: 360 x 12, 12, 12, 12
lunges with 25 lb dumbbells: 10, 10, 10 (each leg)
bent leg raises followed by double crunches: 10/10, 10/10, 10/10
side planks: 30 sec each side x 3

notes: maybe step-ups and lunges aren’t draining for you, but I am big and heavy, more grizzly bear than jungle panther, so they were draining for me… and that’s why Leslie picked them, haha. Anything involving throwing my bodyweight around is tougher than laying down and pushing iron – I would rather leg press 360 pounds over and over than do step ups with 35 lb dumbbells, lol!

Leslie said she was “taking it easy on me” by only doing 3 sets of squats. It was a trap!! It meant more step ups and lunges. (Actually, we did 4 sets of leg press, so it wasn’t all punishment.)

After the legs, some ab/core work. Although sadly, I still felt my thighs burning during the double crunches, I think it was because my legs were suspended in the air.

instead of working out, how about a pic of me catching my breath?

instead of working out, how about a pic of me catching my breath?

yes, yes, more leg press!

yes, yes, more leg press!

I struggled to maintain my good mood. When I tried to stay upbeat, Leslie would remind me that I need to tighten up my diet. I eat too much bread 😦 But it’s so delicious! I gave up pasta and rarely have rice, but bread remains a pleasure.

After dragging myself out of the gym, did I mention it had been freezing rain all night? Walking on sheer ice with wobbly tired legs is no treat, I promise! When I made it home, I wanted some bread so bad! I could swear I NEEDED it to reward myself for my hard work, to buoy my mood, to cheer me up, to relax. But I decided, “I was already in pain, why not reap the rewards and eat clean?” So no bread, instead some chicken, some veggies.

Looks like it’s gonna be a cold night tonight, gonna huddle under the blanket and hope for a sunny day tomorrow. But I won’t be surprised if it doesn’t get any easier.