Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Workout D #1: Coordination? What's that? (Workout 17)

First time with new Workout D -- after a brief hiatus.
This feeling-my-way stage with Workouts C and D is kind of a drag. I'd gotten good and confident with Workouts A and B by the sixth time through -- I knew what I was doing both in my head and in my muscles. I knew where to go in the gym and it was all quite smooth.

Workouts C and D are like being back at stage one. In particular, they introduce some elements that are totally new and challenging -- like today's single-leg single-arm cable rows, which require coordination and balance, both of which I totally fail in. The wimpy "stay in my comfort zone" part of me wishes I'd just stuck with Workouts A and B for another month or three. It felt good to know what I was doing. :(

I'm just kicking that wimpy side aside -- I'm not going to learn to do different things and to be coordinated and to have better balance unless I do different things that require coordination and balance. I'm not going to get better and stronger and healthier unless I work it.

I was planning to do Workout D (#1) on Monday, August 24, but Patrick and I went for a nine-mile hike on Sunday and both of us got blisters on the balls of our feet. (If we'd gone for a seven-mile hike we'd have both been good, I reckon.) We also got some joint tweakiness from walking trying to avoid hurting the blisters. I drained my blisters on Monday and was totally feeling up to working out tonight. Patrick is more reluctant to open blisters than I am, so he waited until Tuesday and his feet and calf still feel a little off. He did not workout tonight.  

Anyway, I went to the gym on my own and sort of fumbled my way through round one with Workout D. 

Today's workout was: 
  • Spiderman Plank - 2 x 10 reps - To do this you get into Plank position then raise one knee at a time toward your elbow, alternating sides until each side has done all of the reps. Aside from my tush getting too high, this went pretty well. Tiring, but definitely doable. In addition to concentrating on doing it, I need to remember to concentrate on keeping my butt down. 
  • Single-Leg, Single-Arm Cable Row - 2 x 10 reps - Oh, lordy kittens! This must have been totally comedic street theater for the other people working on the cable machines. The really big, really competent, really ever-so-serious people working on the cable machines. And then there's me being entirely unable to stand on one leg and, you know, move at the same time. The 15 lb weight stack on the other end of the cable was almost entirely irrelevant. I was just trying to get the movement coordinated and didn't really care about the weight except that it provided a bit of resistance (so it helped keep me from falling over in a weird way). I'm probably going to spend all of Phase 2 (the next month or so) just getting so I can do a set without having to support myself or put my foot down. (It's gonna be a long month.) That said, I did do my reps. I just did them haltingly and rather clumsily and with the coordination of a newborn baby giraffe. 
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Offset-Loaded Step Ups - 2 x 10 - The idea with these is that the weights are off-center, so they require more effort from the core muscles to maintain posture and suchlike. This is all probably true. I failed to take into account when picking my starting weight that I'd been using 2 20lb weights for these (for a total, obviously, of 40 lbs). I should have gone for, probably 40 lbs at least, though that would be hard for me to hold. As it was, I went for 25 lbs and it did feel like work. So maybe I did okay after all. I'm going to go for three sets rather than boosting the weight next time, then see how I'm doing. I also need to remember to keep my elbow up when I'm holding the weight -- upper arm parallel to the floor. There's a lot less strain on my elbow that way.

      Planet Fitness, in its wisdom, has declared openly a policy that the 30-minute circuit area is to be used only and exclusively by people doing the 30-minute circuit. People using the equipment in that area in other ways are at risk of forfeiting their gym membership. As you may recall, those are the only step boxes in the gym. Sigh. So I can't use the step boxes there for my step ups. Dammit. I wound out doing the step ups on the deck of a treadmill - which I've done before and works just fine. Though it's crazy inelegant. 
    • Single-arm Shoulder Press - 2 x 10 - These went really well -- I used a 20 lb weight and they were some serious and genuine work. I'd like to add a third set and will do that before I boost the weight.  
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Squats - 2 x 10 - I was supposed to be doing front squats but just couldn't. My arms had already been extensively worked by the time I'd done all the planks and step ups and shoulder presses. No, this is not a arm exercise, it's a quad exercise and a good one, but to hold 30 lb dumbbells at your shoulders, you have to be able to lift them there. Which I could not at that juncture. If I ever get these weights to my shoulders, this is another one to remember to keep my elbows up and upper arm parallel to the floor. I'm going to go up to three sets with the same weight next time.
    • Kneeling Cable-Machine Lat Pulldowns - 2 x 10.  I was going to do these standing and had figured on a 25% weight increase from what I'd been doing in Phase 1, because of the fewer sets and a good, braced split-stance position. It did not work out that way  I had some problems with these because the highest overhead pulley on the cable machine wasn't quite tall enough for me to not feel like I was dropping the weight stack at the end of my release (or whatever the proper term is for relaxing the tension and releasing the weights in a controlled manner) when I was standing. So I went back to kneeling. With the slightly less braced position, 75lbs was rough. I did my first set with 75, but could feel my form utterly breaking down by the 10th rep, which seemed sub-optimal. For the second set, I lowered the weight to 65 and that was better. This was definitely another case where I didn't take into account the difference being rested (vs. not) would make. Next time I'll try 70s. If I can do 70s kneeling, I'll try again standing from a different high pulley to see if standing can possibly work for me. 
  • Cardio Intervals -- 7 x 20:40 Intervals of Insanity. I went back to the elliptical machine because I really feel like I'm getting a great workout when I do my Insanity Intervals on the elliptical. I've now experimented with doing cardio on both the upright bike and the recumbent bike and on each of them it was almost impossible to feel like I was putting out a max effort which is the whole point of the Insanity Intervals. I did use the recumbent bike for my cardio warm up and learned that it burns about half as many calories as the elliptical (as I use the machines) and didn't feel like nearly as good a "get your heart going" workout. Also it shook somewhat alarmingly as I was trying to go faster. I really don't want to get locked into doing my Insanity on the elliptical machine, but I haven't liked anything else I've tried. I'll have to look into other options for this.  
I'm definitely feeling my way along again and I'm sure by the end of Phase 2 I'll feel good and strong and confident and all like that. I'll get better and more coordinated (and have better balance) as I work on these things. I'll get there over time. I just need to be patient.


This is where I stopped writing on Wednesday night because I kept falling asleep while I was typing (which leads to utter gibberish, because I don't actually stop typing until after my brain has gone bye-bye).

Next workout is scheduled for Saturday. So is a trip to the Maryland Renaissance Festival (for me, Patrick is staying home). :D My plan is to get up early, leave Patrick happily sleeping, go to the gym and work out, shower at the gym, and get breakfast on the way to the meet-up place for the Ren Faire (someone else is driving!!). Because I'm going to be traipsing all over the Faire all day, I'm planning on skipping the Insanity Intervals and just doing a little bit of cardio cool-down at the end instead.

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