Saturday, August 22, 2015

Workout C #1: Went well, but feeling my way (Workout 16)

First time through workout C -- some successes, but definitely
feeling my way a bit.
Workout C went very well today, though I was kind of working things out and getting used to what I'm doing. 

One of the things I need to work out is the weights to use. I'm doing fewer reps per set (and more sets once I get the weights calibrated), which means more weight. See, you're kinda supposed to be *done* when you get to the end of the set, so you can move more weight to get to that *done* point if you're moving it fewer times. In Phase 1 I was doing 15 rep sets; in Phase 2, I'll be doing 10 rep sets. 

I talked with Patrick and his suggestion, which made a lot of sense to me., was to go up by 25% from what had been my final weights (or final good weights) in Phase 1. I could have gone up by 30%, because that's how many fewer reps there are per set, but that seemed like it would be a bit aggressive for starting out. I'll raise them until they're right, no worries, I just didn't want to risk hurting myself. 

Today's workout was: 
  • Side Plank -- I was supposed to be doing a Side Plank with a reduced base of support (in other words lifting one of my legs while in a regular side plank), but I couldn't make that work. I really couldn't get my leg to raise -- I think I need to experiment with it a bit just to see how that works. So I wound out doing regular side plank, which is plenty hard, for 35 seconds each side the first set and 40 seconds each side the second set. 
  • Jump Squats -- 2 x 5-8. (You can see these, including a video, here.) This is my first experiment in New Rules of Lifting for Life's Power category. This is all about generating explosive power. So the jump squat has you go down into a squat then jump straight up as high as you can from there then, when you land, go straight down into another squat. I did 8 of these in both sets. I might add some weight, but the book suggests to do that if you're not winded after 5 or 6 of these, and I was plenty winded. I want to see about starting to jump higher before I do that. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Reverse Lunges - 2 x 10 -- (You can see these here.) When I was standing up from one of my warm-up exercises, I over-stretched my left quad again. So these were kind of tricksy. I take a shorter step when I do them with the sore leg down (which is when it hurts) and all the work is done by the other leg. It's good, but not quite how it's supposed to be and feels a little awkward. I used 25 lb weights, which was good. When I do this workout next (Wednesday, most likely), I'll do three sets with 25lbs. Then see if I want to move up. 
    • Single-Arm Rows (neutral grip) - 2 x 10 -- I've also seen these called 3-Point Rows. (You can see these here.) The "neutral grip" thing is with the palms facing inward toward the midline of your body. Neutral grip is a good one for power and the extra support of having the hand and knee on the weight bench means that one can get kind of aggressive with the weights because there's good support and help from additional muscles. The last time I did rows (without such a strong position), I used 20 lb weights. Today I used 25lbs for the first set (25% increase) and it was too light, so I went up to 30 for the second set. That was good and I'll start there next time. 
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Dumbbell Deadlifts - 2 x 10 -- (You can more about the kind of deadlift I'm doing now here, though these are with a barbell and I'm using dumbbells.) I was doing a 60 lb barbell for the Straight-legged deadlifts I was doing. Going up 25% would be 75lbs, but there's no way to get there with a pair of dumbbells. These present more of a risk to the lower back than the ones I was doing so I went low and used a pair of 35lb dumbbells. As it was, I didn't put any strain on my back, I just had to be attentive to my form and what I was doing. I think I chose wisely -- I could probably have deadlifted more, but I'm not sure my *grip* is strong enough to hold onto 40 lb dumbbells for all my reps. Working with the 35s a time or two will let me get a really good feel for the right form while my grip gets ready for the 40s. 
    • Push-ups (with the Plus I talked about last time I did Workout A) - 2 x 10 -- I did these off the windowsill which is a few inches higher than my knee. Way lower than the hip height bar I've been using. That was a good height for these, but I realized just at the end of my second set that I probably had my butt too high so my form was somewhat compromised. I'll try to do better next time. Still, I managed all my reps and it felt good. 
  • Cardio Intervals - 7 x 20:40 Intervals of Insanity. I did my cardio warm-up on the elliptical machine so I could be next to Patrick, but did my Intervals of Insanity on one of the exercise bikes. I wanted to mix that up, see. I have to say that I absolutely hated the exercise bike -- it hurt my tushie and I didn't feel like I was getting nearly as much out of (or into) the Insanity intervals and it was just kind of ick. Maybe if I adjusted the height better (it was definitely too high when I started, but maybe I made it too low) and adjusted the resistance somehow, but I'm not especially motivated to try when there are other things I can do. I'm going to try the recumbent bike next time -- it's got a more comfortable seat and maybe it will be more satisfying. I really don't want to only training myself to do this sort of interval thing on the elliptical machine. 
So on the whole Workout C went well for my first time with it -- but there are definitely areas for improvement. I need to figure out how to reduce my base of support with the side planks. I really need to figure out what's up with these sore quads. (I also need to remember to stretch them Every Day -- I forgot on Friday at work.) I am looking forward to getting more certain of (and comfortable with) my form on the deadlifts, so I don't have to concentrate so hard on not straining my back. I think I need to tweak some weights still, but the 25% guideline was a good one and I'll apply it when figuring out starting weights for Workout D. 

Next strength workout is scheduled for Monday -- it will be my first time with Workout D which is going to be squats and lat pulldowns, step ups and shoulder presses. And attempting to move while in Plank, which may be trickier than I originally thought it would be. Goal for the workout: Get a sense of what weights to go with for 3 sets. 

Before that though, we're going on a hike tomorrow. Patrick had a good cardio workout on the elliptical machine today and I worked out well all over, so we're going to be going on a kind of easy hike on the Western Maryland Rail Trail -- an old railroad that parallels the C&O Canal. We're heading out toward Hancock, Maryland, because it's supposed to be very scenic out that way. 

Note: I'm changing the way I name posts, because the numbers weren't actually all that informative. 

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