Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Workout Fourteen: Last time with Workout A

Last time with Workout A went well, though I didn't get
as aggressive with the weights as I maybe could have.
(Note: I started this post on Monday then fell asleep and finished it Tuesday.)

I ended my time with Workout A well, but not as aggressively as maybe I could have. Or maybe it just feels that way because I finished all my reps of everything. I did move to a higher weight on the squats and added a little bit of an element to the push-ups, so I didn't go easy.

I feel really good after this workout -- I worked hard and I feel really good about it. 

Today's workout was: 
  • Plank - I was aiming for at least 2 x 30 seconds and did a little better than that (35 seconds the first time, 38 the second). I felt a little unstable in my footing (or toe-ing) like I did doing side plank on Saturday. I don't know what's up with that. Maybe I need to get my feet on the mat and my arms off. Or something. Anyway, I would have liked to go longer, but I wasn't being cheap or cheating myself either. However, I didn't do better than I did last time, which is a bit of a boo.  
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Squats (dumbbells) - 2 x 15. I moved up to 25 lb dumbbells today and that was really good. I remembered my goal of moving quickly with them, which (I think) makes them kind of harder. The first 10 or so of each set were pretty easy and fast, but by number 15 I was really working hard. I could maybe have gone up a bit more with the weight, but I'm not sure I could have gone up to 30 lb dumbbells (which would be an awfully big jump). And I was working hard, so I guess I'm happy.  
    • Bent-over Row - 2 x 15. I used 20 lb weights again. For the first set, I did these one arm at a time, but that went so well the first set that for the second set, I worked both arms at the same time, which seems significantly more exhausting, maybe because I can't brace myself with my free hand. I'm not sure I would have been able to work 25 lb weights for 15 reps at a time, so I think 20 was right for this set. 
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Step-ups (dumbbells) - 2 x 15. I used 20 lb dumbbells, which is a new weight for this exercise for me. (Maybe I pushed the weights more than I thought I did. Cool! Go, me!) I also re-read the instructions (because I was typing them up as part of planning phase 2) and realized that I was doing them subtly wrong. I'd been stepping up with Leg A, bringing Leg B to the step, stopping a fraction of a beat, stepping Leg B back down to the ground, then stepping Leg A back down and pausing for a beat. That gives the working leg some time to relax (in those brief pauses). Apparently it keeps more tension on the muscles to just brush the top of the step with Leg B, then lower it back down to the ground without ever putting weight on it at the top, brush the ground (but don't really put weight on it) then lift Leg B back to the step. Basically the idea is to keep tension and *work* on the working leg the whole time. (Leg A in the above examples is the working leg.) It made a difference -- -20 lbs was a lot of work, though not more than I could handle. 25 might have been a more gutsy choice. 
    • Push-Ups -- 2 x 15. Sigh. I did the step-ups on the step boxes back in the circuit area because all the stair-climbers were taken the whole time. This had me about as far away from the mid-thigh height windowsill I used on Saturday as possible. So I went back to the hip-height railing and added a bit of an extra (or "plus") to the push-ups -- I did what The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises suggests and added an upwards press at the top of the push-up -- which they say gives extra work to the serratus anterior muscle which helps move your shoulder blades back and down and helps posture. I'm all in favor of better posture. So, since I was on a higher surface than I wanted to be, I added that plus to ramp it up a bit. 
  • Cardio Intervals -- I did 10 of the 20:40 Intervals of Insanity today, which was awesome! I seem to consistently have been able to do more of the Insanity with Workout A than with Workout B. My guess is that it's because Workout B includes lunges, which really work my quads. Anyway, I did wonderfully well with the Insanity -- 10 (!!) of them!! That's more than I've ever done by two -- which doesn't seem like a lot except that they really are all out, everything on the table (or elliptical machine) effort for 20 seconds. 
And that is where I fell asleep Monday evening while posting. 

I realized when prepping my log with Saturday's workout that I was wrong when I said the other day that Workout C will be built on the same bones as Workout A. In New Rules of Lifting for Life parlance, Workout A has a stability exercise (plank), a squat, a pull exercise (rows), a "single-leg stance" exercise (the Step-ups), a push exercise (push-ups), and the metabolic/cardio intervals. Workout B has stability (side plank), a lunge (split squats), a pull (lat pulldowns), a "hinge" exercise (the deadlifts), and a push (shoulder presses). Those elements -- plus dynamic stability, power, and combination/whole body -- are still present in Workouts C and D but they get shuffled around and recombined some. 

Workout C  will have stability (side plank with one leg lifted), power (jump squats), lunge (reverse lunges), pull (rows), hinge (deadlifts), push (push-ups with the same extra "plus" I did today) and cardio intervals. Workout D will have dynamic stability ("Spiderman" plank, which is plank plus movement), combination/whole body (single-leg/single-arm cable row), single-leg stance (offset loaded step-up), push (shoulder press), squat (dumbbell front squat), pull (lat pulldowns)m and cardio intervals. Each workout will have one more element than Workouts A and B. 

I made some final changes to Workouts C and D yesterday and think I have a good starting point for them. The big changes is that I changed the power exercise from split-squat jumps to regular squat jumps. Split-squat jumps seemed like they had the potential to be rough on my knees, which can be a little touchy. They were also going to come on a day when I'm already doing lunges so I'm already putting a bit of stress on my knees that day.
I've still got the single-leg/single-arm cable rows to work on my coordination with. :D

Next workout is scheduled for Wednesday. I'll be doing my last time with Workout B (side plank, split squats, lat pulldowns, deadlifts, and shoulder press). This is the workout that so gloriously kicked my butt on Saturday and I'm hoping for that again tomorrow. Goal for the workout: End phase one STRONG! 

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