Tag Archive: stretching

Back, Cycle 2 Week 1

Dec 9

Cycle 2 Week 1 deadlifts (no straps, double overhand unless otherwise stated)

Cardio 15 min Elliptical, incline 25 degrees, variable resistance

Warmup (1-2 min rest)

130 x 5
165 x 5
195 x 5

Main (2-3 min rest)

210 x 5
245 x 5
275 x 4… rest 45-60 sec… 275 x 3… rest 60 sec… (Sumo) 275 x 3

notes:  FAIL!

I was cruising along, and my grip was going by the 3rd rep, I managed to do the 4th rep with it hanging from my right hand fingers, but then set it down for the 5th rep, took a minute to collect myself, tried again, grip went again.  Rested another 60 sec, tried switching to sumo stance, grip went again – could not keep my hand closed, EITHER hand now.

My thoughts?  First off, I probably punked out, I should not have reset on the first set, just set it down, reset my grip and immediately ripped it right away.  I tried to get it clean 5 in a row touch and go, but SHOULD have just reset and went right away.  Not like my grip was getting any stronger at that point.

Also, that Friday epic arm workout might not have done me any favours, even though it was 3 days past.  My triceps are STILL sore, it was brutal.

But still, failure on only the second cycle???  On some level, I am paying for the sins of the past – the PR I used to set my training weights for this program was done with straps, so why wouldn’t my grip give out before I get back to that point?  I was doing heavy singles with straps and hit a new weight, and tried to use that as the benchmark for no straps.  Duh, genius.

As repentance for these sins, I will reset my TM benchmark back to what it was last month and redo the climb back up.  I am only losing a month.  As it was last month, only Joker sets will use straps.  Gotta build these forearms up!  They are the weak link.  Maybe some people don’t care about using straps, but I want to get strong all over not just my back, so only on Jokers.

backoff sets (60 sec rest)

210 x 8
210 x 8



notes: I was just mad and grumpy at this point.  Thankfully, my trainer was there to keep me on course.  We decided to do some core.


Superset Hyperextensions and Roman Chair Bent Leg Raise (30-45 sec b/w sets)





Trainer led me through some yoga-style stretches:  windshield wipers, wind-relieving pose, held glute bridge, ham stretch with the strap assist, pigeon pose

post-workout massage

One treat for myself is that there is a massage studio next to the studio gym, so I got my biweekly acupressure treatment.  It HURTS.  But it feels good when you are done

I had the dude work on my IT bands, and on my back and forearms, since they had failed me

He found a lot of tightness in my right hand (that’s the one that gave out), and a massive deep knot in my right lat that he thinks would start to cause me pain if I didn’t get it worked on a few times.  IT bands tight, as I expected

So training was a failure, but sometimes you need to learn those hard lessons.

Leg Day Squat Clinic

I hear it is Memorial Day down in the United States!  Hope you are enjoying the long weekend, to all my American brothers and sisters.

Today I took a lot of rest, got a lot of TLC, then geared up for lots of squats.

In the morning I took advantage of a free fascia stretch service this trainer was offering, at the gym.  She took my legs and hips through various range of motions exercises and worked on stretching out my fascia, which is the sheath that covers the muscle.  Most stretches only stretch the muscle, but stickiness between the fascia and the muscle can lead to all sorts of issues, so specialized fascia TLC is often a good idea.

In the afternoon I went for an acupressure treatment (this one was not free, haha).  I had him work on my neck, traps and shoulders for an hour.  Super painful!  But needed.

Right after that, I headed to my appt with the personal trainer.  Today was leg day, and I had a special request for Leslie:  my squats are lagging pretty hard, so let’s just do squats for an hour, and I can work on my form.  Start light, work the weight up slowly, low reps, decent rest between sets.  Just keep building.  Right away Les could see my core was giving out when I got to a certain advanced depth, so she had me do almost all of my sets onto a bench – go all the way down past parallel to the bench, tap my butt for a second, then drive back up.

Leg Day Squat Clinic:  (60-120 sec b/w sets)

115×5, 125×5, 135×5, 145×5, 155×5, 165×5, 185×5, 195×5, 205×5, 215×5, 225×5, 235×5, 245×5, 245×5

Assorted Ab work

notes:  As you can see, I kept the reps low, started light, just kept slowly adding on more weight, and observing how it affected my form.  Yup, 14 sets of squats!!  It was no joke, I was sweating up a storm.  After set 14, I almost physically ran away from the squat rack, I could take no more, lol.

Les was a great set of eyes and spotted me the whole way.  This is the priceless bonus of a trainer, right around set 11 or so I was really dreading the next set, and her encouragement really kept me going, helped me push my way to a PR!  245 is a PR for me, I don’t think I have ever even TRIED to squat more than 225, so I am very happy!

Proof it was a good session?  In the locker room I could see a barbell shaped bruise across my shoulders, check it out!


At that point, squats had taken 45 minutes, we went at it hard but there was still some time left so we did 3 sets of ab exercises, kind of a Turkish half-get-up for each side, then some straight leg lifts with hip lifts at the top.  I was SOOO tired!  I went home, and could feel my legs turning into noodles.

Simple workout, yet deadly!  How about you?  Any good workouts?

Time to take it easy??

My neck was real sore on Monday, so I took it easy all that day.  In the late afternoon I went to the massage acupressure dude for a session, and had him focus exclusively on my neck.  He suggested there were lymph node blockages in my neck, and lymph node blockages where my skull meets my neck, so when he worked on my upper neck, it didn’t drain properly out my lower neck.  I… guess it makes sense???  Welcome to Chinese medicine!  So this time around he worked a lot on little internal lumps in my lower neck to clear the way before moving up to my upper neck and base of my skull.  I won’t know if it took hold really well until Tuesday, once I sleep on it and let it recover.

I told him about my schedule, and he seemed concerned for me.  He suggested I “take it easy” in the gym this week.  I don’t know… I NEED this.  It bores me to tears when I don’t do it.  So, I told my trainer about this advice, and made a pact that if I feel worn out, I will take a rest.  So if I feel out of it, I skip training that day, I don’t force it, otherwise I go at it with the same gameplan as if I was feeling 100%.  That is my definition of “light”.  It is my hope all this nonsense is behind me by June, so I am free to dial it up to a new level.

But now I was done with my massage, my neck felt pretty good, and I was ready for some back and biceps!   I met with the trainer, and off we went!

Back and Biceps (30 sec rest b/w all sets)

cardio:  20 min elliptical, variable resistance

assisted pullups:  widegrip 15, underhand 15, hammergrip 5, widegrip 10
widegrip cable row:  240 x 12, 12, 12


closegrip pulldown:  210 x 15, 15, 15, 15


hyperextension w/ a 50 lb dumbbell:  12, 12, 12


spider curls:  35 x 15/15, 15/15, 10/10, 8/10


incline curls:  60 x 10, 9, 8

EZ bar curls:  75 x 12, 12, 12


cable hammer curl with handles: DROPSET  90 x 8, 70 x 10, 50 x 10, 40 x 15

notes:  With the pullups, we used a giant orange rubber strap to support me, but it made the hammergrip sort of awkward, it wrapped around those handles, so when I tried to use that grip and pull up and into my lower back, it just wasn’t happening.  I tried though.

Unfazed, I applied some good intensity and aggression into the rest of my back work.  When it was time for biceps, I wasn’t feeling the aggression any more, so the first few movements I did were sort of lacklustre.  I mean, they were hard, but I gave up right when they got hard, which is the point where aggression should take over, but I just had none prepared for the moment.  I was able to get some going for the EZ curls though, and I feel like I busted those out with intensity.  Maybe not picture perfect tempo or control, but I was trying to get myself psyched up to carry me through.

Unfortunately, this left me totally spent when it was time for the hammer curl drop set.  It was heavy as heck, felt heavy as heck, and I whined and bitched and moaned the whole time, lol.  I need to work on my intensity!  I had it for about 70% of the workout, I need it revvin and buzzin fulltime!

After the workout we still had 2 or 3 min, so we did some upper chest stretches to keep me loose and work on that front imbalance.

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

hot yoga on a cold day

It felt like the summer would last forever.  But this past week especially, I could feel winter was here to stay.  How fortuitous, then, that this hot yoga challenge is going on, every single cold, scary day I get to run into a steamy sauna packed with people and sweat it all out.  When I go from the hot room to the cold outdoors, it feels good.  Apart from the physical activity and the afterglow of all that, I feel the temperature change in my skin.  My face for example, I sweat like crazy, take a shower, scrub my face, then step outside and feel my pores tighten back up against the wind.  It really does feel quite nice.

Today, Day 2!  After work I had this hankering to go to the gym and lift, but I realized I had some non-exercise stuff to do, to take care of myself.  So right after work I booked a massage, haha.  It was an hourlong session, and felt great.  She focused mostly on my legs and shoulders.  My legs especially were tight, she said she could have spent a lot more time on my calves, and I wanted my poor shoulders to get a lot of TLC.  My only regret is I wish she had done some ART (active release therapy) on my shoulders.  Oh well.

Then I headed home, cooked up chicken for the rest of the week (PCC – perpetually cooking chicken), took a nap (glorious!) then headed out to the yoga studio.  Another latenight session, this one a yin class.  Vanessa was teaching!  I had never had a class with Vanessa before, so I was looking forward to it.

pre-class shot w Vanessa

Class was a lot of fun!  Deep, stretchy fun.  The room was packed and humid as heck!  I guess latenight yin is a big draw.  We did seated butterfly, windshield wiper knees, square pose (LOVE the square), some dangling pose to garland back to dangling, some sphinx and some seal (including lifting my feet off the ground during seal, which I have never done), a few spinal twists, and maybe more that I can’t remember.  It was an hourlong class and I felt focused and in the zone the whole time.

Came home, watched some tv, and fell asleep.  And that was my day!  See you next time!

back to the mat

I put my game face on today.

got a good sleep the night before, went off to work, ate well, headed to the gym after work.

shoulders & triceps first

I grabbed the 25s, and supersetted front raises and side raises.  Then I supersetted front raises and reverse flys.

12 front, 12 side, rest 2 min

12 front, 12 side, rest 2 min

12 front, 12 reverse, rest 2 min

12 front, 12 reverse

Then I grabbed the 50s for some slow shrugs.  Shrug, hold for 4 seconds, then lower.

12, 60 sec rest, 12

Then triceps (60 sec rests)

close grip bench 135×10, x10

T-bar pushdowns 130×12, x12

DB kickbacks 30×12, x12

dips…. ugh, let’s talk.  1, 1, 3

I am not used to doing kickbacks so I kept the weight low.  They didn’t feel comfortable, so I am going to borrow a trainer friend next chance I can and get some pointers from him on form.

Dips – I used the dip station, and I normally do them seated.  I was VERY uncomfortable, lol, I kept swinging and I coulnd’t lower all the way, so I stopped.  I became worried about how they felt on my shoulder as well, dips are risky for me, so if I am not comfortable with the form, if I am unstable, I wouldn’t continue.  So my reps really suck.  Next time I will do assisted dips so that I can work the triceps without risking my shoulder.

Then I loosened up:  joint circling, then as the mat was full of people stretching, I tried one-arm fingertip pushups against the wall, lol!  Those were hard!  2 sets of 5, on the pads of my fingers, moving the hand closer to the center of my body for the stability.

Then 2 sets of 10 eagle claws.

Then I went to go hang from the chinup bar.  25 seconds widegrip, 18 sec closegrip, 15 sec hammer grip, 12 sec widegrip.  Widegrip was really the most comfortable, the other grips I was too close to the backpad, and I had to pull my legs back when they hung, which made my hamstrings want to cramp, lol.  But the times weren’t too bad for me.

But it’s not over!  Then I headed to Spin class, 1 hour.  At the end we did some HIIT Spin: 1 cycle of 7 repetitions, 2:1 ratio.

But it’s not over!  Then I went to a yoga class right after, not hot yoga like I normally do, some regular temp stuff.  It was my first time back on the mat in close to 3 weeks, since I hurt the shoulder.  It felt good, but downward dog was wearing me out, and my chaturanga was pretty sad.  But considering I had a shoulder workout before, I didn’t judge myself too harshly.  We had some great stretches for the hips, Pigeon feels good!  Reverse Warrior also felt really good, decent backbends on my Warriors.

So yeah, I pretty much ran wild all over that gym tonight, lol.  Let’s see if I wake up dead tomorrow…

hanging in there

Went to a 10 am spin class at my gym with my neighbour.  Not bad, teacher was a little chatty.  Sometimes they try so hard to get you hooting and hollering, it seems a little silly.  I like to stay quiet and focus, can’t force the enthusiasm.

After an hour of spin, I decided to give my shoulder another test.  I grabbed some 45 lb dumbbells and some 22.5 dumbbells and alternated between bench press and front raises, for 15 minutes continuously, no rest.  By the end, my shoulders were burning, both of them.  My chest itself felt fine, 45s are too light, even for an aggressive series of sets like those.  But my shoulders were screaming, in a good way.  I started off doing sets of 10, back and forth, but by the end was more like sets of 4 or 5 on the raise and 7 or so on the press.

This is a variation on the “zero rest alternate” technique.  Normally, it would be two shoulder exercises, not a shoulder and a chest, but instead I chose to continuously superset the presses and the front raises because I didn’t want to extend my shoulders over my head while I heal, and I am convinced that one of the ways I sprained my shoulder was from frequent presses off the floor.  So this was a revisit.

But if you ever want a really good and quick workout, take some light weights, and alternate between complimentary exercises for the same body part, keep going for 15 minutes.  Leave a comment below if you would like any specific suggestions.

After that, I stretched out.  I took my joints through range of motion for about a minute, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips.  Then I did 2 sets of 5 fingerpad kneeling pushups.  Those felt pretty hard on the fingers!  Then 2 sets of 10 eagle claws.

Then I went to the chinup bar, and just hung by my grip.  I did it for about 30 seconds, then decided to stop.  Probably could have gone longer.  Then I did an L-Sit off the dip station, then held a short bridge for 30 seconds, then a minute or so of seated twists.

I follow the commonly held theory now that you warmup BEFORE the exercise, then stretch AFTER the exercise.  The thought is with stretching beforehand you run the risk of shortening the muscle, and inhibiting performance.

Came home, and crashed hard.  The last two days must have taken a lot out of me.  When I woke up, my triceps were sore (which I don’t understand!) and my forearms were sore.  If you want a good forearm workout, do like I did, after you finish your upperbody routine, do some grip work like hanging off the chinup bar for as long as you can.  The forearms will burn!

testing the shoulder out

Today I did some more just general flushing and stretching.

While at work, I did some rehab type stuff for my shoulder:

– isometric pushing and pulling on my left arm with my right, 10 sec push 10 sec pull

– taking my arms through range of motion, 10 seconds at shoulder height, 10 seconds above my head

– bending at the elbow and sweeping my left forearm across the desk for 3 sets of 10

– standing up, lowering my chin, relaxing my shoulders and squeezing my shoulderblades together for 10 seconds, 3 sets of 10 reps

– placing my hands closer than shoulderwidth against a wall and push on the wall while squeezing my shoulderblades together for 5 seconds, 3 sets of 10 reps

After that I did an L-sit above my desk chair for 20 seconds, then held a short bridge for 30 seconds, then a seated spinal twist for 30 seconds on each side.

My quads were getting really sore after the squats from yesterday, I usually have a 24h DOMS turnaround, so I went for a walk to flush them out.  I decided to walk to a grocery store 30 min away, bought a bunch of groceries, walked 30 min back, so I could see how my shoulders felt carrying a bit of weight for a long period.  That went well, no pain in my shoulder carrying stuff.

Came home, swung my arms and elbows and wrists and legs through about a minute of range of motion (joint circling), then did some fingerpad pushups, 5 against the wall, 5 off of the back of a recliner, then 2 sets of 5 fingerpad pushups on the floor on my knees.

Then 2 sets of 10 eagle claws.

I was going to do regular pushups, but my shoulder felt really tired actually, so I am deciding to get some rest and see how it feels in the morning.

It was a super light day, but shoulder focused, with some light cardio, so I got what I wanted.

Bent Out of Shape

My fears were realized today – I have sprained my shoulder.  The doctor at least believes it isn’t any worse than that, range of motion is still good, just some pain.  Luckily, I have some strong anti-inflammatories at home I can use while I refresh the prescription.  I was told to wait about a week, take the a-i twice a day, then check back if I don’t feel better.


So, unfortunately, I have to put upper body on hold for a while.  This means pushups on hold, yoga on hold.  Well, the Vinyasa and Moksha and other flows are out, I might go to a few Yin here and there and just stretch out the legs and hips.  I was signed up for a charity yoga event on Friday, 2.5 hours of Shiva Namaskar flow/sadhana.  Very disappointing to cancel out of that.

I took Tuesday off to just rest and do nothing, but today I decided to at least do some squats.

34 squats, 60 sec rest

40, 60s

34, 60s

34, 60s

49, DONE

Week 4, Day 2, Level 3 of the 200 squat challenge complete, on to Day 3.


Yoga was a big chunk of my cardio, so I will have to start signing up for more Spin classes to keep active.  I hope my IT band stays strong, because my legs have to carry the burn for a while.