Tag Archive: quad extensions


Forward Momentum

My mind has felt strong lately.  It makes it a good time to push forward.

I woke up again Tuesday morning at 5 am, and started the process of psyching myself up for a trip to the gym.  Do a leg workout at 6, then a spin class at 7.  It is never easy.  I was scheduled to do squats this morning.  Standing at the bus stop at 5:30 am, I started to make excuses.  OK, so when I get there, I will do leg press instead, and then I can do squats on Saturday.  Just do leg press and quad extensions, do stuff you like, then do spin.  You’ve done enough then, don’t worry about it.

Then when you get on the bus and your tunes kick in on the ipod and you start to get excited.  Your body starts to remember the activity, and it wakes up.  I get to the mall, and walk to the gym.  Normally my mind supports my body, but on the quick walk to the gym, my body supports my mind.  I get excited to workout, and this momentum carries me forward, until by the time I get into the changeroom, all I can think about is doing what I had written down as the plan, and I can’t devote the effort to excuses any more.

Not that my squats are heavy, I am not fooling myself.  They aren’t even heavy for me.  But I still don’t have a lot of experience under my belt doing squats, much less doing them without a spot, much less doing 4 sets back to back with only 30 sec rest.  My experience with this routine so far is that with only 30 sec rest, what starts out easy on set 1 becomes REALLY hard by set 4.  so I don’t go heavy, and try and get low and bang them out quick, then go do extensions quick, then go bang out stiff-leg deadlifts quick and tight then go do leg curls then calf raises.  Don’t give my legs a restbreak to slow down and get tired before spin.

Before I know it it’s spin time.  Les shows up to do her morning fasted cardio.  I am glad for the company because the teacher this morning is my least favorite, I have had some bad experiences with her.  The spin is kind of a grim affair, I don’t think the teacher is connecting with the class, and I know I am not feeling it, 50 min or so of just climbs, seated climbs and standing climbs.  But I push through it and flush my tired legs out.  When I look to my left, I can see Leslie is struggling hard as well.  The fasted cardio seems to be hitting her hard this morning.  It’s funny, I feel more upbeat all the time even on the low carb diet, but in the middle of a grueling cardio session, I don’t have the fuel reserves to feel happy, I just feel grim and miserable.  But it’s still worth it.

Then I went to work, and had a full day of work.  Coworkers tell me I look tired.  After work I go look for P28 peanut butter, I am curious about it.  I have tried the bread, and enjoyed it.

https://www.p28foods.com/baked-goods/p28-high-protein-peanut-butter

 

Turns out P28 nut butter isn’t available in Canada yet!  Oh well.

I haven’t done shoulders yet, but my left shoulder has been sore all day.  So I skip shoulders today, the risk of overtraining is still high with that recovering joint.  I was thinking of doing cardio, but when I got home the last 3 days of weights and cardio got to me, and I fell into a deep sleep.  So no evening cardio for me.

But I still have cardio tomorrow first thing in the morning!  And I keep moving forward.

 

Legs:

(30 sec rest between all sets)

Squats:  135 x 15, 12, 12, 10

Leg Extensions:  180 x 12, 12, 12, 12

SLDL:  115 x 12, 12, 12

Seated Leg Curls:  180 x 15, 15, 15, 15

Standing Bodyweight Calf Raises:  85, 85, 85, 85

Legs & Core w/ sore back

My lower back has felt sore all Sunday night and all Monday at work.  Just worn down, tired, needing rest.  I had a dilemma, because Leslie and I had legs planned Monday night.  My take on it is that I can still work out, just that my core is extra weak and recovering today.  My core is lagging behind my legs.  Les agreed with me, and we decided to isolate the legs first, then do some core-specific work.  Much as I love squats, I would have to decline this time.

 

Legs & Core:

 

Leg Press:  450 x 15, 15, 15

IMG_1920

Sissy Squats:  12, 12, 12

IMG_1921

Quad Extensions:  100×15, 120×15, 130×15, 150×15

IMG_1924

Lying Hamstring Curls: 50 x 12, 12, 60 x 12

IMG_1925

TRX Hamstring Curls:  10, 10, 10

IMG_1927

Core circuit:  Sit-ups/Side Plank/TRX Mountain Climbers

12 sit-ups, 30 sec side plank (each side), 20 Climbers; x 3

creepy!

creepy!

mountain climbers with feet in the TRX cradles

mountain climbers with feet in the TRX cradles

 

notes:  you can see by some of those pics that Leslie was trying to get my whole body in the shot, but my butt is just too big!  haha

Only 8 plates on the leg press?  Pfft, pitiful.  I feel in my heart I am ready for 10 wheels.

Sissy squats look dumb in pictures.  but they work!

With the quad extensions, we were experimenting with the weight.  Again, I think I have not hit my current ceiling yet on that machine.  Every quad xt machine is different, this one is harder than my normal gym, but still, more room for work.  It is kind of dumb it has no handlebars by my sides to grip onto… I end up balling my hands into fists.

The lying ham curls felt good until I felt my left ham about to cramp on me.  I think bringing my ham right up to the calf causes weird twinges, not sure if I want to explore that.  (I should mention that twinge does not happen during full squats)

You know what’s weird?  I think I find side planks easier than normal planks!  Is that weird?  I think most of my belly fat is up front, my side fat seems to go away very quickly when I hit the gym.  My obliques respond better to regular training than my abs.  how sad 😦

 

It was not a perfect day.  I felt battered and worn out most of the day.  But you have to do what you can with what you have.  It was easy for me to get discouraged when my lower back is groaning at me.  Some days I just feel like my time is so limited, I can’t waste even my weak days on quitting.

 

How about you?  Any good workouts today?

Wednesday Workout

After work I headed down to the gym, thinking of doing circuits, but waiting to see how busy it was first.  While it WAS busy, most people were either on the cardio machines or playing with the dumbbells, which left some solid open pockets of machine time.  I personally prefer free weights, but I made do with what was free so I would not have to wait for weight.

 

30 min cardio machine

Circuit 1:  1 leg Leg Press machine (do each leg), then 1 leg Leg Curl; 4 times through, no rest if possible

press/curl:  235×8,8/120×8,8/235×8,8/120×8,8/235×8,8/120×8,8/30 sec REST/255×8,8/135×8,8

notes:  this was a good warmup after the cardio machine.  I took a rest before the 4th time through because I HAD to, the machines were occupied.  It was only 30 sec and since it was the last runthrough, I also upped the weight a little bit for those sets.

 

Circuit 2:  shoulder press machine, then hyperextensions, then quad extensions, 3 times through no rest

shoulders/back/legs:  100×8/35×8/255×8/100×8/35×8/255×8/100×8/35×8/255×8

notes:  my lower back was a little sore, so I thought hyperextensions might be nice, and noone was on it!  Well when I was doing leg curls, I saw a guy doing bicep curls on them for like 1 set, then he wandered away – guess he lost interest.  This one was the riskiest circuit, since I had to walk all over the gym, but it worked out, no real delays except when I ran into a friend and his trainer doing chinups and I chatted him up for 20 sec or so, right around the 3rd time through the circuit.  Otherwise no rest except travel time to the station.

Actually before doing the circuit, I hung out on the hyperextension station for a second and just did a static hold for around a minute or so.  This was risky, since it put me in the path of everyone racking the dumbbells 30 lbs or lower, but just holding the flex in my lower back felt nice.  I should probably do that more often as a warmup or something.  Fat guys have sore lower backs 🙂  So when it was time for the circuit, I grabbed a 35 lb plate that was lying nearby.

The quad extensions felt fine, but the machine doesnt go any heavier, so I have to use 1 leg at a time next time I do it.

 

Circuit 3:  short bridge x 40, then calf raise x 40, then reverse flys x 20, then bicycle crunches x 30; twice through, no rest

a/b/c/d:  40/40/60×20/30/40/40/60×20/30

notes:  the gym was getting busier, so I found a corner by the pec dec that had a yoga mat, so I set up camp on the pec dec, and did 3 bodyweight exercises and sat on the pec dec in reverse.  I don’t find that machine comfortable in reverse, so I set the weight light and tried to focus on the squeeze.  I went through it twice with no issues, I think it might have been too easy a circuit, to be honest.  I know I picked it for its convenience, but if I went with those same exercises again I would add weight.

 

And that was that!  How was your day?

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!

Strawberry Moment

A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him. His arms started to tremble, he could not hold on much longer. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other.  It was the sweetest strawberry he had ever tasted…

What does this mean?  This parable can mean anything you want – it is one of those stories you think about for a while, pack it away, come back to it a few years later with fresh eyes.  For me, it reminds me to live in the moment, but even moreso, how SWEET that moment is.  It’s not just that you live in the moment so that you forget about the dangers around you, but you savour what life has to offer, sometimes its fleeting nature makes it even more precious.  A cool breeze on a hot day working outside, a beautiful dream seconds before you wake up. a child smiling at you on the bus ride to work.  These little moments must be appreciated for all their richness and splendour.

I have learned to apply them to my workouts.  30 seconds in between sets, 2 min in between exercises, 1 day off before I go back to the gym.  I watch the seconds tick down on the clock, and I know that during this rest, my body is gathering energy, its building me up.  I know that muscle gets built while you rest, I know that I have time to refocus and gather my strength.  Sometimes when I am wheezing and sweating after a rough set, Leslie will give me “10 more seconds” before the next set starts.  Those 10 seconds are a frozen moment in time when I can smile, and bask in the endorphins and the good vibes of a hard set.

I can lay on my mat after a grueling hot yoga session and lay in savasana, and let my body reap the rewards of all my hard work.  I can feel my breath, I can enjoy the moment.  I can surrender, and feel good.

On to today!  I knew I had both a training session w Leslie and a hot yoga class to accomplish.  I considered a morning yoga class, but I just HAD to watch Walking Dead and Dexter last night, so I slept in this morning 🙂

This meant I had to rush to work, and after work I had to rush to my PT session.  I could rush to hot yoga right after, but that means I wouldn’t eat for like 6 hours, which isn’t part of my fitness plan.  So the plan was to go to workout at 5:30, go home and eat, have a power nap, then go to a 9:30 pm 60 min hot yoga power flow class.  9 frickin 30 pm… who does power flow after 10 at night??  Good luck falling asleep after that, you will be all wound up!

Add to that, I have not done a really active hot yoga class since early September.  I felt very rusty, unsure of myself.  Add to that today with Leslie was leg day.  Last week leg day I walked into the changeroom ready to puke.  I was positive I was going to pulverized in the gym, then head to yoga and get pulverized even harder, maybe even embarass myself.  There was a tiger chasing me tonight.

Showed up to the gym.  Leg day:

10 min warmup on the elliptical

chatted w Leslie about our scheduling

squats:  135×15, box squats  135×12, x12

one legged bodyweight lunges with CX strap and a hand support (each leg) 10, 10, 10

not coordinated enough for free hands

leg extensions:  75×20, 110×15, 135×15

leg curl off exercise ball:  12, 12, 12

superset bodyweight bootstrap squats to standing calf raises 3 ways (pigeon toes, ballet toes, straight feet):  20/20/20/20 x 3

fat guys and their giant calves

bootstrap squat start

bootstrap squat finish

lazy V raises:  12, 12, 12

lazy because my back isn’t leaving the ground, haha

notes:  after a set of squats, Leslie noticed some rounding in my back, so we put a box under my butt to keep my spine stright.  You don’t sit down, you touch the box for a second then go back up.  It also helped with my timing, so it’s all good.

I am horribly uncoordinated with lunges, so having the pole for steadiness helped with the one legged lunges.

When we did leg extensions, we couldn’t adjust the pad, and it was too high, and put a ton of pressure on my shins (ok, maybe only 135 pounds of pressure, haha).  When I was done with my sets (which I can go heavier on), my shins were pushed in and slightly bleeding, lol!

Do the leg curls make sense?  You put your feet on the ball, and do a butt raise while rolling the ball under your elevated feet.

Do bootstrap squats make sense?  It’s like a bodyweight full squat but you keep your hands on the ground, ha.  Calf raises felt good, I am looking forward to doing more, I think my stubborn fatboy calves respond well to long sets of bodyweight work (60-100 reps per set); not weighted sets of 12, those don’t feel right.

I left leg day not wanting to puke!  Awesome!  My legs felt rubbery though.  I went home, ate some food, listened to music, got under a blanket and napped for 40 minutes.  And it was the sweetest strawberry ever…

Then I headed to hot yoga.

Katie was teaching!  Katie is great.  She knows about my shoulder issues, I think it’s always fair to let the instructor or guide know about your health issues.

pre-class

Man my eyes look sleepy from the gym and the nap!  ha.

Power flow was interesting.  60 min of some sun salutes, then flows, then flowing through warrior 1s to chaturanga, some core work, 3 legged dog, 2 legged dog (!), hip-opening dog to side plank, crescent lunge to crescent lunge twist, crescent lunge to half moon to wide legged forward bend, reverse warrior to straight leg triangle. side crows, garland poses, crows. pigeons and boat poses and spine twists.  And did I mention lots of one leg chaturangas?  LOTS.

I sat out a bit of the shoulder work, lots of the one legged planks and 2 legged dogs.  I just wanted to take it easy on my shoulder.  The sweat was still flowing though, trust me!  I had to sit out of boat pose, my tailbone just can’t take it right now.  I can do low boats, just no high boats.  No crows for me either, sadly.  One highpoint for me though, half moon felt really good!  You have to stack your hips, and I could feel my hips stack perfectly, it was all balanced on a hand and a foot and the other side of my body extended up and out.  Considering how rusty I was, such a RIGHT feeling half moon on each side was very gratifying for me.

I wasn’t pulverized.  I survived.  I stumbled home, sweaty and happy.  And that was just Day 1 of the challenge!  29 more to go!