Tag Archive: slow reps

Posers in the Gym

Posers might be misleading.  I don’t mean they were literally posing in the mirror, which is a very real gym condition that affects millions.  I mean they were just a bunch of pretenders.  But more on that later.

I slept in pretty hard Thursday morning, I was exhausted from my Wednesday activity.  So no morning gym for me.

After work I headed to the gym, with a shot of pre-workout in my stomach and fortified with carbo-loading.  Quite honestly, I would feel like a wanker if I ate carbs and DIDN’T go exercise, so it was good incentive.

I signed up for a spin class with Crystallina.  She was also teaching a yoga class right after, and I could have done that, but I wanted to finish my back workout then go home.

Spin class was good, but I was still feeling some lead in my legs.  It all sort of loosened up by the end though.  I did feel a lot of tightness in my hamstrings as well, so a massage might be warranted on Friday… Cross your fingers!

Crystallina plays a lot of Glee covers.  I have learned to deal with this.  At one point she also offered the class a choice – pyramids or tabata.  There was a vote, and tabata won, which I vocally protested.  I think people hear “20 seconds of work” and they assume it’s easier.  It is not, tabata is HARDER.  It’s harder because you go ALL OUT BANANA BLAST CLUSTERNUT CRAZY for 20 seconds, just 100% of your possible effort, then only 10 seconds of rest, which is purposefully not enough time to recover, then you hit it again.  We did that for 8 rounds, and by round 5 I was aching and dreading trying to make it all the way through, but somehow I made it.  If you weren’t wrecked after 8 rounds of that, you were not really going 100% all-out.  You just phoned it in.


So after spin I needed to catch up on my Back work, maybe some Traps.  I was good and warmed up, so I jumped right from the bikes to the weights.


Widegrip Pulldowns (60 sec rest):  180 x 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 7

Straight-Arm Pulldowns w/ rope (4-2-4 tempo, 90 sec rest):  50 x 5; 30 x 12, 12

Dumbbell Shrugs (60 sec rest):  180 x 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8

notes:  With the pulldowns I still had that Tabata mentality in my mind – 8 rounds of all-out war, punctuated by brief rests.  I was pretty intense with it, and super-focused.  Sometimes I get the feeling people are looking at me when I get intense with the exercises, but whatever.  I wasn’t screaming, probably a lot of grunting 🙂  It helped me get more reps done, maybe they should try a little intensity too…

Straight-arm pulldowns slowed it down a lot, so that was good.  It was weird, 50 pounds going slow like that wore me out immediately, but when I dropped to 30 pounds, it became way too easy.  Hmmm, maybe I just needed to warm up.  I will try 40 next time for slow reps and see how it goes.

With the shrugs, I quickly noticed how many POSERS had accumulated in the gym.  I say posers because it is more gentle than saying losers, haha.  You’ve seen them, a bunch of young guys in pretty good shape, hanging out together in such a large cluster you would think they were scared of getting separated and lost.  They appear to think the goal of the gym is to pick the largest weight possible, and do the LEAST amount of work possible.

I saw a couple of guys, they were doing incline bench with 185 pounds, which is pretty respectable when they look like they probably weigh about 160.  BUT, they only lowered the weight about 3 inches, then pushed it back up.  Shameful!  Then they go back to their friends and say they incline bench 185 for reps, then their friends have to cheat by any means possible in order to compete for bragging rights, and the vicious cycle continues.

So, I was doing shrugs with dumbbells, easier ROM for my shoulder.  There were no free benches, but the dumbbells were all scattered haphazardly in the 100 pound and up dumbbell section, and noone was using them (another sign of bros at play), so I used the empty rack for my 90 pound dumbbells between sets.  The rack was high up enough that I could save my energy for just doing the shrugging, not lifting 180 pounds off the ground, haha.

So in between sets, I see this bro looking for something, then he just comes over and grabs ONE of my purposefully racked 90 lb dumbbells and walks back to his chair!  I walk behind him, I was going to wait until he was getting set-up and then offer to sub in and out with the weight with him, but to my surprise, he just drops the weight by his claimed chair and walks away!

I am thinking, okay, do I now chase after him, excuse me mister excuse me mister let’s share?  Do I just grab my dumbbell back and keep doing work with it?  Then I notice there is another 90 lb dumbbell rolling around on the ground, so I shrug (pun!) and get back to doing actual WORK.

When he comes back, he loads it up for a behind the head seated 2 hand tricep extension, squirts out 1 solitary rep.  then sets it down and walks away to a different bench, sits down for 3 min, comes back to the weight, puts it BACK on the rack, then walks away again and rests for 3 more minutes…

The lesson I took away from this?  Karma is a bitch.  That guy was a loser.  He went too heavy, got embarassed, and isn’t getting anything at all done.

Here is a thought, young bros of the gym:  THE ACTUAL WEIGHT DOES NOT MATTER.  Form matters.  Reaching for the 60 pound dumbbells to curl 3 shaky swing reps when you could grab the 40s and curl 10 good reps, makes NO sense.  Stop lifting with your ego.  do you think I liked not being able to do more than 5 slow reps with the straight arm pulldowns?  Nope.  But working the muscle requires good form and consistency.  Focus on form and control.  Stop trying to show off.  You only impress the other people who don’t know what they’re doing.




So how was your day?  Any good workouts?  This was my last work day before the spin marathon!  EEEKK!  So excited!  Friday I just rest.  And Saturday I spin.  Wish me luck!

post-illness workout

My apologies for not posting sooner.  I have been feeling sick all week.  Some sort of flu.  On top of that, sometimes when I am fighting off a bug, my digestive system just shuts down,  Food doesn’t move through me, I get all backed up.  Over time this forces me too eat less and less, so I start to get weaker, and have less energy to fight off the bug.  It is a vicious circle.

I have been making extensive use of fibre and digestive enzymes all week to help me get right on the inside, and lots of rest to fight off the flu.  Unfortunately, all that fibre and the enzymes, they really wear on my stomach a lot, it turns the gut into a battleground.  By the end of the week, my stomach was sore, it hurt.  Like it was in shock and needed a lot of rest.

Anyways, not a lot of spin this week, which is unfortunate, as I have the spinathon next week!  I did a chest and back workout on Wednesday, but I was pretty wobbly at that point, so it was a pretty lacklustre workout.

By Saturday, I was ready to test the wheels out again.

Spin class was crowded!  They only put up the signup sheet 15 min before the class, and there was a lineup of about 30 people!  Zoinks!  I stood in line and got a spot (my friend was not so lucky, and was denied, looks like I am on my own this time).

By the time I made it to the bikes, there weren’t a lot of choices left.  The one I grabbed had no straps, you needed the hard shoes you click onto the mounts, so I had to trade with a neighbour for foot straps (he had the hard shoes).

The class was being led by Mandy.  I have mixed feelings about Mandy (sorry to call you out Mandy! I am sure you wont see this).  She has been teaching for a while, and her curriculum is solid.  But Mandy “demands” a certain level of enthusiasm in her class.  By that I mean if you don’t start hooting and hollering on command, she nags you.  She starts to whip out the sarcasm, “REALLY feeling the enthusiasm in here today!”  she singles people out and tries to talk right to them.

My objection to that is that if the teacher chatter isn’t related to the spinning, then to me it’s just noise, and I try to tune it out.  You may as well be speaking to me in Chinese, I just don’t respond.  I don’t hoot and holler when it’s asked for, I don’t respond to queries about whether we want it easier or harder.  I am not a “participater”,  just tell me how to run the course and I will do it.

Unfortunately, Mandy eventually zeroed in on me.  She asked some question to the class, I don’t remember what it was, something meaningless, and then she turns to look at me, and she waits for a response.  I just stare back at her.  She starts to make little motions with her head, little micro-nods and rhetorical “yeah?”s waiting for me to talk back.  I just stare at her, I think at one point I shrugged.  Mandy tried to engage the class in my silence, “does he want us to RANDOMQUESTION?  Nope?  He’s more like, NO, stop looking at me.”  A few people in class chuckle at my expense, and we keep going.

After that fairly irritating class, I decided not to do 2 in a row.  You’re a fine RPM instructor Mandy, but being an enthusiasm nag is NOT my style.  Your class seems popular though, so more power to you.  Just not for me.

I went to the other side of the gym to try out a new shoulder and arm routine.  Let the brutality commence!

shoulders & arms:

barbell military press (2 min rest):  65 x 5, 95 x 5, 115 x 5, 5, 7

seated DB press (60s rest):  100 x 8; 90 x 8, 6; 80 x 8, 8, 8, 8, 7

cable reverse flyes (4-2-4 cadence, 90s rest):  55 x 8; 33 x 12, 12

face pulls w/rope:  (10s rest!):  28 x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

DB skullcrushers (60s rest):  60 x 6; 40 x 8, 8, 8, 8, 8

seated 2-handed DB extension (4-2-4 cadence, 90s rest):  50 x 7; 40 x 7; 30 x 7

incline DB curls (60s rest):  30 x 8/8, 8/8, 8/8, 8/8, 8/8, 8/8

concentration curls (4-2-4 cadence, 60-90s rest):  25 x 5/6; 20 x 10/10, 8/8

notes:  time really got away from me while doing this workout.  It felt like allout war!  I was totally mentally absorbed in it.  Even though I looked at the clock to take note of rest times, I didn’t check the overall time.  When I finally did, I realized this was like a 90 minute workout!  Zoinks!  60 min Spin followed by 90 min weights, no wonder this workout was kicking my ass.

And it WAS kicking my ass.  I took a shower, crawled out of the gym, came home, and took a long nap on the couch.  This one was nasty!

I made it rhough the shoulder presses, but the ultra-slow cable flyes were murder on my rear delts.  Then I powered through some marathon face pulls, but the damage was done, I had little to no gad left in the tank for my arms workout.  This shoulder workout would have been perfect for me by itself, but with arms added in, it was BRUTAL.  I had to keep dropping the weightson the arm exercises because I couldn’t make it happen any more.

I tried the “twisting” during the incline curls, like I did last week, but I wasn’t feeling it this time.  I think my biceps were more warmed up by that point last week, so the twisting worked, but my biceps were still warming up during this workout, so there was no “pump” to twist off of.  Oh well, still learning.  I stopped the twisting for Set 3 onwards.

This one had it all, some good 5×5 compounds, lots of volume, slow rep isolation finishers.  Scary workout!  But worth it.

And how about you?  Any good workouts today?