Tag Archive: volume training

New Toys

I had some fun stuff arrive in the mail this week!  Check it out

Fat Gripz

Fat Gripz

These are fat gripz (brand name).  You wrap them around a dumbbell or barbell to simulate a thick bar.  Holding a thicker bar makes it harder to close your hand around it (impossible actually with these, and I have big hands).  This makes holding your grip harder, so not only does it make whatever exercise you are doing harder, but it makes you work your forearms much harder.  The forearms help you maintain your grip, so this will build them up.  I thought it was a good idea, what with my forearm tendinitis, to build my forearms up a bit, put on a little size and muscle.  This will help.  so, if you see me mention these grips in an exercise, don’t be surprised if I am using a lower weight!  It is still quite hard, I promise you, just hard in a different way.

wrist straps

wrist straps

To balance out the forearm challenge, I also picked up some forearm support!  I ordered some wrist straps, I always used to borrow them in the past, but I figured I was now due.  In case I am doing an exercise with some volume, and I think my forearms will fail before the target muscle, these straps will help me keep going.  It happens – end of a work out, trying to do some stiff leg deadlifts, grip is going, so now I can keep on fighting!  They are nice and chunky too, won’t dig into my wrist.



And yeah, I ordered a treat, haha!  This is PB2 (pb stands for peanut butter).  Pb2 is a powdered peanut butter with very little calories (2 Tbsp are only 45 cal!!!).  So you mix the powder with some water and you get a delicious peanut butter treat!  And I tried it right away, it is DEELISHUS!  With so few calories, I mixed it with all kinds of stuff, greek yogourt, water, almond milk, unflavored protein powder, all passed with flying colours!  My fav mix is almond milk though, it creates an unstoppable creamy peanut butter that knocks you out!!  It doesn’t have the protein content of my P28 spread, but this is a great tasting treat that will slide into my macros with no difficulty!

Ok, so I also went to the gym today!

Chest & Shoulders (rest time varies)

incline fly:  (30 sec rests) warmup, 120 x 12, 8, 7

cable crossovers:  (30 sec rests)  160 x 12, 12, 12

decline bench press:  (30 sec rests) 135 x 12, 12, 12

bench press machine: (30 sec rests) 120 x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

seated military press:  (minimal rest) bar x 5, 65 x 5, 85 x 5, 95 x 5, 115 x 5 (60 sec rest), 115 x 5

reverse pec deck: (10 sec rests!) 60 x 10, 10, 10, 6; 45 x 10, 10, 10

face pulls w rope: (10 sec rests!) 50 x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 8, 10

dumbbell shrugs:  (90 sec rests) 100 x 50, 50, 50

cardio elliptical 30 min

notes:  ok, this was my plan.  I wanted to try different stuff, so I pre-exhausted the chest then some declines to work on my underdeveloped lower pecs (I don’t think I can even flex them! Criminal neglect), then a pump set on the machine.  7 sets with 30 sec rest!  They can get intense (inspired by FST-7).  All that isolation and low weight pump should leave my shoulders unmolested, and ready for their own work, followed by lots of low rest high rep for the joints and little muscles (rotator cuff and rear delts).

The flys felt HEAVY.  I was surprised, and couldn’t get them done.  But when I got to the crossovers, they felt easier than ever!  Maybe my muscles had warmed up?

The bench machine was too light.  I wondered if maybe it would get really hard by set 5 or 6 (reasonable assumption with the low rest), but they stayed easy and in control.  Yay!

I hadn’t done military press off the smith machine in a while, but the smith machine was broken (still!) so I used the rack and it worked fine!  I am working to find my low-rep weight, but 115 feels kinda right, at least for now.  By minimal rest, I mean only as long as it took to slide more weight on, but with 115 I felt like I wanted a rest, so that was a good sign.

I wanted to do cable rear delt flys, but those machines were popular (I need 2 cables, and this one guy was doing front raises for about 20 min straight, I kid you not), so I used the pec deck instead.  Those felt awkward and ugly, I stopped at set 7 in disgust.  Then I took one of the cable setups for my face pulls, and not surprisingly, 5 min after I grabbed the other cable, front raise guy ran away, I guess he wanted personal space, TS buddy.  Face pulls felt good, got so tough near the end I couldn’t do all 10 reps (see that 8 rep blip!), and out of anger at messing up my perfect run, I muscled through the last set.

By the way, since I am giving credit where its due, I got the idea for the 10 by 10s (10 sets of 10 reps, with 10 second rests) from the Musclepharm website.  Thanks Musclepharm!  Those are great for low weight isolations, helps build up the joints and get the blood flowing.  They are also tough as a beast if you have never done them before!  Word to the wise, first time you try them they will burn like a mother!

I felt like my traps had gotten enough rest from my sore neck ordeal, and I wanted to see what they could do.  I have found over the years that my calves are stubborn donkeys, and they prefer super high reps; I wondered if my traps might also be stubborn donkeys.  I keep adding weight to my shrugs, and I had almost outgrown the dumbbells, but the shoulder placement with barbell shrugs just looks like it will be rough on me personally, so I needed to keep dumbbells relevant.

I decided to try super high reps as well.  3 sets of 50 reps each!  I used the wrist straps for these, this was a trap burner, not a forearm killer.  I kept the straps loose while I saw what it felt like, and it actually wasn’t too bad, my forearms could probably handle it.  But 50 reps with 2×50 lb DBs was kinda scary, right around rep 30 my mind started telling me this was insane and just to put them down!  This tells me it was a good choice though, I got through them!  They were rather intense though, not for the faint-hearted, as long as you pick a solid weight, don’t grab paperweights.

Then I did some cardio!  Overall, a pretty fantastic workout!  Felt great!

How about you?  Any good workouts today?

For the majority of the week I had been feeling some discomfort in my right side.  I would feel it especially when I woke up.  It was enough to make me get up early, usually around 4 am, and stay up.  But once I started walking around, it was fine.  When I ate food, I didn’t feel any issues.  When I lifted weights or did cardio, no issues.  So I wasn’t entirely sure what it was, I just resolved to keep a look out for it.

Late Friday night, I was able to figure it out.  I had pulled some tiny muscle in my side.  Well, maybe pulled sounds too severe, it was some mild strain on a muscle in my side.






Was it the external oblique?  Not sure, that seems like an awfully big muscle.  Maybe the internal oblique?  The reason I think it might be the internal oblique was because I felt it at night when I sleep.  I toss and turn a lot when I sleep, often switching positions over and over during the night.  But it is winter, and I am wrapped in heavy blankets, they add resistance.  So it was when I was twisting my body around against the coccoon of blankets I was wrapped in, that I felt a fresh round of pain in my right side.  Rotations and side-bends are the job of the internal obliques, so ipso facto, my dear Watson!

This revelation also caused me to get up at 3 am, in pain.  I stayed up.  As the day progressed, I could also feel myself fighting off some flu kind of symptoms, some aches and pains of the non-DOMS variety were bleeding in to my chest DOMS from Friday.  Oh great, minor pull in my side abs, fighting off the flu, some DOMS.  Awesome!

I decided to just take care of myself Saturday.  Turned up the heat in my apartment, built a mound of blankets to drape my legs over so I would be less inclined to toss and turn, tried to mentally prepare myself to just sleeping on my back for a while, and relaxed.

Before I knew it, it was Sunday, the pain was less, but not gone, the flu was less, but not gone.  So I rested Sunday as well.

Before I knew it, it was 1 am leading into Monday.  I felt lots better.  I decided, oh good!  I will sleep in, get up go to the gym, have some fun.  And then it hit me like a brick, oh crap!  I have to work on Monday!  I normally go to sleep HOURS earlier on work nights, this wasn’t good.  All that weekend, for some reason I thought I wasn’t working Christmas Eve, even though I was.

So I popped a melatonin, went to sleep.  Woke up tired AS HECK hours later, tried to jump in the shower.  Oh look!!  No water!!  Awesome, maybe we blew a water main last night.  Life was conspiring against me.  Undaunted, I dragged my butt off to work.  It wasn’t horrible, actually, I had had a lot of rest that weekend, so I could handle one poor night’s sleep.  They let us go early from work, right around Noon.  I checked my local gym, it was open until 4 pm.  Score!!  I made my way over for some Xmas Eve gym fun.

I was tired, I hadn’t bathed in days, I was getting over various ailments and afflictions.  It would be so easy to go home and enjoy my Christmas Eve.  And yet here I was, time to workout.


shoulders & abs

Cardio:  1 hour elliptical

seated DB press:  (30 sec rest b/w sets)  100 x 18, x 7, x 4, x 6

DB lat raise:  (30 sec rest)  50 x 12, x 9, x 7, x 2

reverse cable flyes: (10 sec rest)  33 x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 8, x 8, x 8, x 10, x 8, x 7

rope face pulls:  (10 sec rest)  50 x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 9, x 10, x 9, x 10, x 9, x 9

superset upright row & shrug (1-4-2 cadence): (90 sec rest)  80 x 8/8, x 8/7, x 8/5, x 8/4

straight leg raises:  (45 sec rest)  20, 13, 14

superset double crunch and foot-to-foot crunch:  (30 sec rest)  10/30, 10/30, 10/30


notes:  I was pleasantly surprised at my progress on the dumbbell work from a week ago.  I smashed what I did last week!  I think my body just needed to get used to the strain of rest-pause work.  As for the 10 second rest cable work, those are still killer!  But they didn’t traumatize me like they did last week.  I think I am getting used to the grind.   Supergrind! 

It gets hard to bang out 10 in a row over and over, I tried to stay accountable for my form, since this is doing more than overloading a relatively small set of muscles, this is also building up my joints.  so as far as I was concerned, there was no rush.  So if I felt like that 10th rep was just sort of me throwing the weight around, and I wasn’t controlling it any more, then I didn’t count it.  This weight was too light for me to be yanking it around and cheating, this was slow grindy isolation work, form is king.

When it was time for the upright rows and the shrugs, I used the same weight but went right from the rows to the shrugs.  this is super light weight for the shrugs, so I used a real slow count:  up, hold it up for 4 seconds, lower it for 2 seconds.  To keep the tempo going in my mind, I would lift, hold it up top for 2 seconds, pack my shoulders back and hold for 2 seconds, then lower for 2.  I was able to keep the rows going, but my traps were burning when it was time for the shrugs!  I was real happy, that was what I wanted to achieve, I wanted to pre-tire them with a compound before breezing right into the isolation, and not even putting down the bar between exercises really keeps the tension on.  The shrugs became less and less, but this wasn’t a shrug contest, I might do that next week.  This was kind of me taking it through a range of motion and keeping the contraction going.

My only thought on that trap superset is that the barbell became very awkward.  I always pay close attention to how I do my upright rows, since I don’t want to screw my shoulder up again, and maybe dumbbells would allow me a freer and more natural positioning as I raise the weight up.  As for the shrugs, when I would pack my shoulders back, the barbell would bang into my abs and rub against me on the way down.  Dumbbells wouldn’t get in the way like that.  So next time I do this, will probably break out the DBs again.

Doing foot to foot crunches was a bold choice really, since I didn’t know how my obliques were doing.  But I gave them a try and guess what?  They felt fine.  Too easy.  I will still sleep on my back tonight just to be sure.

touch your heels back and forth with your shoulders off the floor

               That’s it!  Did you work out for Christmas Eve?  I would love to read about it!  Happy Holidays!