Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Workout Five: Deadlifts and some crazy intervals

Workout Log 7/27/2015
Yesterday was my first go-round with Workout B -- the other whole-body workout I'm doing. (Workout A and Workout B are going to be alternating.) As I noted the other day, these are still works in progress -- new information is being integrated and I want to be responsive to how things make me feel.

I learned from Saturday's workout that I was conservative with the starting weights, so I went a little higher this time. That was successful -- I really felt like I was working almost the whole way through. 

I started out with 10 minutes on the elliptical machine -- we'd been starting with 15 minutes, but the elliptical machine kills my quads and I didn't want them giving their all before I started really working out. I also did a few stretches and things. I *totally* forgot to do a warmup set of anything, which I feel a bit bad about because I badgered Patrick about it a while  back. I'll do those going forward.

Yesterday's workout was: 
  • Deadlifts (dumbbells) -- 2 sets of 15. I used 15 lb dumbbells for both sets and that was probably right for my first time out -- I was able to do all my reps but I don't think I could have done more. I was a little worried that these would put strain on my lower back, but I remembered to lift from my hamstrings and glutes and that worked perfectly. They were actually more comfortable than the squats were on Saturday (until I figured out to tuck my butt). I'm going to start with 15s next time again and see how I feel after the first set. I don't know that I'll be ready to go up to 20 pound dumbbells so soon.
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Shoulder Presses (dumbbells) -- 2 sets of 15. I used 10 lb dumbbells for this and again felt like I was working pretty hard. I need to check my sources about form -- it took me a bit to feel like I wasn't doing something weird to my shoulder. Once I did figure it out (shoulders back, chest out and proud like Superman), they felt good. I was sharing a set of weights with a dude who was alternating using them with doing impressively hard looking things on a contraption that looked like something out of a dungeon. I managed to get my reps in while he was doing something else, both times. 
    • Lat Pulldown (machine) -- 2 sets of 15. I had the machine set at 40 lbs for the first set and 45 for the second. I really put my focus on working my lats and that was good. I'd like to do these on the cable machine at some point (rather than the one I was using) but for now, this is a lot less intimidating. And it's near where the dumbbells live, so alternating the sets works out really conveniently. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Split Squats (dumbbells) -- 2 sets of 15. I had originally planned to do Lunges here, but further research indicated that lunges are hard on the knees and my knees get a little tweaky sometimes. Split squats are easier in that regard. Which doesn't mean they're easy. I used 7.5 lb dumbbells (which were barely a noticeable blip compared to my body weight) and they were rough. I have this feeling my form went all to pieces toward the end there. I had a problem with my rear (non-working) foot getting crampy during the first set, but it was better in the second one. Maybe I had my feet down better. This was good and hard and I really worked on it. 
    • Ab Glider (machine) -- 2 sets, one of 15 (forgot I was only going to do 8), one with two mini-sets of 8 (took a little pause between, but 8 didn't feel like anything so I did 8 more). As predicted, this was another ab machine I didn't like. To be clear, it's not that I didn't like it because it was working me too hard, I'd probably be okay with that. I didn't like it because I don't feel like it was doing anything at all. The first set of 15 I did on the machine with bodyweight only and it was total meh. (The way the Ab Glider works is you have your knees on a swinging platform in a frame.  Lower arms are on the frame. Using abs, pull knees toward chest.) I don't know why, but it really didn't feel like anything. So I went to a machine pre-loaded with 40lbs of weight (in addition to the bodyweight on the machine) for the second set. It didn't feel like much more. I don't know -- maybe I wasn't doing it right, maybe I wasn't pulling my knees up as far as I should. Anyway, meh. Next time I'm going to do something else. 
  • Torso Rotations (machine) -- 2 sets of 15. I had the machine set at 40 lbs and that feels like it was probably about right. This machine targets the obliques and the general "twisting the torso" apparatus. I need core work like crazy, so I'm happy to do a little supplementing. Especially when I find an exercise that feels like it's doing something. Next time I think I'll start at 45. 
After I was done with the weights, I got back on the elliptical. Patrick was doing a bit more cardio and cool down. I decided to do some really crazy intense intervals as a finisher (recommended in both New Rules of Lifting for Life and The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises). After a minute of getting acquainted with the elliptical machine again, I went for 20 seconds at a crazy all-out max effort, then rested for 40 seconds. Then went crazy all-out for 20 seconds. Then rested for 40. Repeated that for 5 minutes (so five 20-second crazy all out stretches). Then cooled down for 2 minutes. That was just amazingly awesome -- I felt like I was Doing Something Outside My Abilities. Also, because the intervals are so short, I stayed alert and engaged the whole time. Loved it! 

I'll be doing that again. Almost certainly after every weight session. 

Maybe every time I go to the gym. That was cool! 

I have a tendency toward the creaky stiffness today -- I woke up pretty fine but feel like I've been congealing at work. We may need to invest in a foam roller (fortunately they're cheap) to help work out some of the kinks post-exercise. 

Next workout is Wednesday and it's going to be weights again. I've made some modifications to Workout A (to get rid of the ab machine I didn't like and the glute machine I didn't like). I'm going to be doing: Plank (2x30 seconds, at an incline if necessary), Squats (dumbbells), 2-Point Row (dumbbells), Step Up (with weights), Pushups (at an incline, though hopefully a lower one than I was at on Saturday). Plank is in instead of the Ab Machine -- it's a core stability exercise and I think will do me more good than the machines will. If I need to start out at an incline (which would be easier), I will. I'll be doing that crazy all out cardio thing again for sure. And if I feel like it, I'll get on the back extension machine again. 

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