Tag Archive: quads


8 Oct 2016

Finally back in the gym! Giving Thanks this long weekend for some gym time.

Low Bar Squats (long rests, knee sleeves, Romaleos)

135 x 5
225 x 5
260 x 8
260 x 8
260 x 8

notes: long rests was not the original plan, but I had to help with some gym upkeep and packing away stuff into storage in between sets.

SSB Squats (sleeves, shoes, medium rest)

225 x 6
225 x 6

Box Deadlifts (medium rest, constant tension)

205 x 10
205 x 10
205 x 12

Yoke Walk (very short rests, speed runs)

340 for 25 ft
340 for 25 ft
340 for 25 ft
340 for 25 ft

notes: empty yoke; I was partnering up with another guy so we left the bar at his height. this kept my rests shorter but the pickup was awkward so I kept the yoke unloaded and kept the runs under 6 seconds

Prone Leg Curls (short rests)

140 x 15
140 x 15
140 x 12

notes: running out of gas now

alternate between Hyperextensions & Inverted Rows (short rests)

12xt, 8 rows, 12 xt, 10 rows, 12 xt, 10 rows, 12 xt

notes: I wouldn’t call it a superset, I sat for 30 seconds here and there, but otherwise I just went back and forth from station to station

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Sunday Hot Yoga and Legs

First time going to hot yoga in months!  But it was free!  How could I not go?

Free classes meant it was very busy for a Sunday at 8 am.  No real time to socialize or catch up.  How was class?  It was good!  Went by a little too fast maybe.  Felt like an appetizer though, I should go to hot yoga more often and really experience the full banquet.  My plate is so full already though.  We spent the hour going through lots of different moves, my only regret is that I couldn’t spend more time in each pose.

Went home, napped, got up, went to the gym for a leg workout!  I was pressed for time so I had to trim out the cardio.  Aw shucks!

Legs (60 sec rest)

Superset Leg Extensions and Lying Leg Curls; leg extension set is followed by partial reps

130 x 20 + 20 partial reps & 120 x 15 curls

140 x 20 + 15 partial reps & 130 x 15 curls

150 x 20 + 15 partial reps & 140 x 15 curls

Superset Hack Squats & Standing Leg Curls

4 plates X 50 reps & 80 x 20/20 (20 each leg)

4 plates X 50 reps & 80 x 20/20 (20 each leg)

4 plates X 50 reps & 80 x 20/20 (20 each leg)

4 plates X 50 reps & 80 x 20/20 (20 each leg)

notes:  I haven’t played around with partial reps as a set-chaser in a while, felt good!  I always get nervous people will walk in and think I am an idiot and don’t know what a full ROM is though.  The hack and curl superset was BRUTAL.  It even felt harder than my lunges and curls superset last week.  I had to rest a for a second or two multiple times for each set for both squats and curls, I was dripping sweat, out of breath, it was perfect!  Just what I needed.

And that was my Sunday!  How about you?  Did you get out to the gym?

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

IMG_2531

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

IMG_2538

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

IMG_2541

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.

Tuesday I made it to the gym for 6, then did some back work while I waited for 7 am spin.

Tuesday AM Back  (30 sec b/w sets)

assisted pullups:  widegrip x 15, 12; underhand x 12; hammergrip x 10

widegrip machine row:  225 x 12, 8, 8

narrow pulldowns:  180 x 15, 12, 10, 9

hyperextensions:  2×25 plates x 12, 10, 12

SPIN

notes:  my focus wasn’t really there this workout, and I had recently increased the weight on most of the exercises, so in the end I didn’t push it too intensely, I just got comfortable with the increases.  The pullups went well though, I was happy with those.

 

At lunch I slipped out of work to go do some biceps at the office gym.  It was totally empty!

Tuesday Noon Biceps  (30 sec rest b/w sets)

spider curls:  30 x 15/15, 15/15, 12/12, 10/10

incline curls:  30s x 12, 8, 4

EZ curl:  75 x 12, 12, 12

cable curl drop set:  105 x 12, 75 x 12, 60 x 12, 45 x 12

notes:  spider curls felt really good, but I just had no energy for the inclines.  This was disappointing, and in some way it got me worked up, and came at the EZ curls really aggressively, since no one else was there.  I nailed those sets!  I was quite happy with those sets, I went quick but stayed flat against the wall and didn’t cheat and/or swing.  I was feeling some tendonitis again in my left forearm, so I did cable curls for the drop sets instead of preacher curls.  Those felt light, will go heavier next time.

 

Wednesday morning I made it to the gym about 6:30 am… I just wasn’t motivated for spin.  So I did legs, then some cardio after.

Wednesday AM Legs  (30 sec rest)

warmup:  10 min on elliptical

45 degree leg press:  2 warmup sets with 540; 720 x 15, 15, 15, 15

stationary lunges:  90 lbs x 12/3***

stiff-legged deadlift:  185 x 12, 12, 12

leg extensions:  180 x 12, 12, 12, 12

seated leg curls:  180 x 15, 15, 15, 15

cardio:  elliptical at 65% resistance, incline 9, burnt about 660 Cal

notes:  The Leg Presses felt stiff, but good.  When I went to do lunges, on the first set with my right foot forward, my left ankle just gave out and rolled!  Luckily it wasn’t my weight-bearing foot!  That left ankle had been sore since Sunday, so I knew it wasn’t a fluke.  I cancelled lunges (screw you lunges!) and moved on to SLDL while I gathered my thoughts.  After SLDL, I decided to throw in some leg extensions, leave the weight off my ankle.  After those I did some leg curls.  Have to say, the hamstrings felt strong this workout!  They are really coming in nice, not sure if they look any different, but they are getting much stronger, something is clicking.

 

At lunch, I slipped out of work with a coworker to go to the office gym.  He did cardio, I did shoulders.

Wednesday Noon Shoulders (30 sec rest, you know the drill)

seated smith machine shoulder press:  2 warmup sets; 80 + bar x 15, 15, 12, 9+4

cable lat raises:  45 x 10/10, 8/8, 8/8

reverse cable fly:  90 x 12, 12, 11

db shrugs:  170 x 15, 15, 15, 15

notes:  this workout was super quick, made it easy to get back to work.  With the presses, on the last set I did 9, then paused a few sec, then busted out 4 more.  Some minor progress since last Friday, so its all good.  Lat Raises was a big jump in weight, so I was conservative with the reps while I let my shoulders get used to it.  For the shrugs, I tried to apply the advice Les had been drilling into me:  pull up and back, not just up.  Use your traps, not your neck.  So I did that, and they went pretty well.  Grungy ass 85 lb old school dumbbells were murder on my fresh calluses though!

 

And those were 2 days worth of workouts!  How about you?  Any good workouts?

Lunchtime Workout

Wednesday morning I woke up at the customary time, humped down to the gym.

Took in a 6 am spin class, got my cardio on.  All the while, I was debating if I would rather do legs or shoulders in the morning, then do the other one at lunch.  As I got off the bike, my sore hams and glutes made me think ok let’s do shoulders now.

Morning Shoulders: (30 sec rest b/w all sets)

one hour spin class

db shoulder press:  80 x 15, 15, 15, 12

one arm cable side lat raise:   30 x 10/12, 10/10, 7/9

reverse pec deck:  60 x 12, 12, 12

db shrugs:  150 x 15, 15, 15, 15

notes:  The cable raises were tough! My left shoulder was tired as heck.  Some dude was on the cables fit for reverse flyes, so I hopped in the pec deck backwards and used that.

I went to go shrug dumbbells, and some guy was using the 70s I wanted to use.  So I grabbed the 75s and used those.  He looked at me, walked away for a bit, then came back and shrugged with the 80s.  That’s all well and good, but by the time he was starting his Set 2, I was already done Set 4.  I roll my eyes at the one-up-manship.  Just do the work – get in, do it, get out.

Work today was a special day!  I convinced a coworker to try out a different gym with me!  It was a gym in another one of our office buildings, a building I go to rarely, with a gym I have never visited.  My coworker had not been to the gym in 3 months, and had not eaten all morning, so I could tell he was going to be a wuss today, haha.  He wanted to do chest.  I was gearing up to do legs.  So we shook hands and went our separate ways within this gym.  It was a small gym, cardio machines overlooking the busy street with tinted one way glass.  A scattering of machines.  Dumbbell rack, a bench, smith machine, some cables.  It was small, but I can’t deny they packed a decent selection in there.  I had been thinking of squats, but they had no squat rack.  I could have squatted in the Smith machine, but I think someone was doing incline bench there.  So 45 degree leg press for me instead.

Noontime Legs:  (30 sec rest b/w all sets)

45 degree leg press:  360 + sled x 15, 15, 15, 15

leg extension machine:  195 x 12, 12, 12, 9

stiff leg deadlift:  135 x 12, 12, 7

prone leg curl:  75 x 15, 15; 90 x 15; 105 x 15

standing bodyweight calf raises:  90, 90, 90, 90

notes:  I got 18 sets done in an hour!  Sweet!  For the SLDL, I grab the barbell off the bench press and found an empty spot and did it there.  My last set was messed up by my coworker, who got bored and wanted to chat in the middle of a set, so whatever, haha.  I will get to redo the SLDLs soon enough.  Prone leg curls were easy on this machine, so I played around with the weight so I could hit the right tension.

As I started the workout, the tops of my hams felt kinda sore.  And by the end, my upper hams and my glutes were seizing up!  I was so sore I couldn’t walk right all afternoon.  It wasn’t just the legs workout on Sunday and Wednesday, I also had acupressure on Monday, and he cranked on my legs a bit.  So sore!!

And that was my day!  How about you?  Any good workouts?

Legs and Shoulders day is the biggest day.  It takes the longest, super grueling.  Usually legs can fill a workout just fine all on their own, but I like quarantining shoulders off from the other days so I can keep them under observation.  But when it’s legs and shoulders day, it’s like a meal and a half.

I rested up on Saturday and headed out Sunday morning to get some iron action.  I did 18 working sets of legs (7 single leg type presses, 7 sets of pulls, 4 sets of calves), and THEN headed off to do a Spin class to finish my legs off, THEN went to go do shoulders (10 sets, minus the rear delt flys I did Friday), THEN some abs to finish me off.  Killer! 2 hours and 15 min of work!

Legs & Shoulders: (30 sec rest b/w sets, unless otherwise noted)

single leg presses: (back and forth leg to leg, no rest)  270 x 15/15, 15/15, 15/15, 15/15

lunges w dumbbells:  90 lbs x 8/8, 8/8, 8/8

stiff leg DL:  125 x 12, 12, 12

seated leg curls:  210 x 15, 15, 15, 13

standing bodyweight calf raises:  85, 85, 85, 85

SPIN – 60 min

machine shoulder press:  100 x 15, 15, 10, 9

machine lat raise:  60 x 12, 12, 12

cable upright row:  90 x 12, 100 x 12, 110 x 12

hanging knee raises:  8, 7, 5

notes:  ahhh I hate lunges.  seated leg curls felt hard!  possibly because single leg presses, lunges and the SLDL already hit my hams, hahaha.

Finishing the legs off with Spin seemed like a good idea at the time.  It was a tough class!  I wanted to stop, vomit and run away about 15 min in to the class, lol.  Even more dire:  I wasn’t sure which of those 3 I wanted to do first… But after about 40 min the pain went away and it felt REALLY GOOD.  It turned out to be an awesome class.

Shoulders were good.  My front delts didn’t feel any pain, but were sort of tired.  I didn’t crush that weight.  I think the reason is I am gunshy about getting aggressive during shoulder work, I don’t get intense because I am always observing how it feels.  The sprain still has me a little timid, one year later.  My form last week on the lat raises with db’s was crap, so this week I used a machine to help with my form.  It worked well!

Traps were strong though.  Ab work was good, I could have done more but my grip was burning on those hangs!  I had to blow on my palms in between sets, friction burns from the rubber grips.  I need to either get gloves, or develop some sweet calluses!  Protect my palms!

And how about you?  Any good workouts today?

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?

TRX Legs & Core

So tonight I wondered:  what if I took my 2 least favorite workouts out of my home TRX kit and did them back to back?  Legs & Core

 

So… definitely challenging.  I might not have been in top form heading in either.  I had been struggling with headaches all day, and on the walk home from work I had prickly pains in my forehead, and lost my headphones while I was on the bus.  So I wasn’t feeling awesome.  Oh, and I also had about a pound of steak about 30 min before the workout, HAHAHA.  It sat heavy in my tummy.  But it was too late to turn back now!  Sweat it out betch.

 

TRX Legs & Core

A. Hip Press x 10, rest 15 sec

B. Hamstring Curl x 10, rest 15 sec

REPEAT A and B 2 more times

C.  Lunge x 15, switch legs, rest 15 sec, REPEAT 2 more times

REST 15 sec

D.  Single Leg Squat:  right leg x 10, left leg x 4*, rest 30 sec*, left leg x 10, right leg x 5*

E.  NO TRX – bodyweight full squat x 18, rest 15 sec, x 20

REST 30 sec

F.  Resisted Torso Rotation x 10 (each side), rest 15 sec, x 8* (each side)

G.  TRX Crunch x 10, rest 15 sec

H.  NO TRX Extended Side Plank x 30 sec (each side)

REST 15 sec*, REPEAT Crunch x 10, Side Plank x 15 sec/30 sec*

I.  TRX Pike x 10, rest 15 sec

J.  TRX Mountain Climber x 10 (each side), rest 15 sec

REPEAT Pike x 8*, Mountain Climber x 8 (each side)*

K. NO TRX Prone Straight Leg Raises x 20, rest 15 sec, x 20

 

notes:  I didn’t use TRX when I didn’t feel it necessary, ie. regular squats, side planks, leg raises

For the hips and ham curls, I kept my butt off the ground the whole time (it’s a bit harder)

For the lunges, I opted to keep my backwards lunge extended and just lowered up and down.  I wanted to work the muscles not the full coordination, and I was worried it would use up my energy before I got to core.  And… the less I moved around the less I felt like puking up a giant steak hahaha!

Wherever there is an asterisk, I deviated from the plan, haha.  Most of the time I was getting super tired so those were the number of reps I did before my form got bad and I had to stop counting.

With the one leg squats for example, I could muscle through the first leg but when I went to the second leg, I kept popping up on the balls of my foot, so I stopped.  To test out if it was mechanics or fatigue, I reversed leg order the second time through, and same thing, first leg can do it, second leg can’t.  So, it was fatigue.

A few rests were also slightly longer than I wanted but I needed to catch my breath.

With the side planks, I was supposed to rest a minute, but I could feel myself fading, so I kept the rest down to 15 seconds.  After I couldn’t hit 30 seconds on one side, I got mad and made it happen on the other side, haha.  So maybe that was a lack of focus.

I also started getting more headaches during the squats.  Prickly forehead too.  It hurt!

I was hurting by the end, sweating like crazy, my yoga mat was slick with sweat, I needed a shower.  But it felt good!

Sometimes you just gotta take your most hated exercises, roll them up in a tight little ball, and force them down your own throat.  Has to be done.

 

See you soon!

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!