Saturday, August 1, 2015

Workout Seven: Side Plank is much harder!

I love this workout! And I love this workout log book --
it's all handwritten and low tech, which means it's
whatever I need it to be today.
This morning was my first time with re-vamped Workout B -- as with the revamp of workout A, this is basically the same exercises, but this time with free weights and the cable weight machine (for the lat pulldown). (And no ab-machine-I-don't-like.)

After Wednesday's workout, I was worried that I was going to be sore -- I felt really achy after Monday's. If I did I was going to have to rethink something, or a few things, because sore all the time is no way to live your life. But the new recovery program -- a few stretches while still at the gym, a high protein snack when getting home -- and the warmup exercises (some stretches and range of motion exercises after a few minutes on the elliptical machine) made a huge difference. I felt great on Thursday. 

I did the same warmup and recovery stuff today but also did some work with a foam roller today when we got home. (You can see some exercises you can do with a foam roller here.) Using the foam roller is a bit of work, but it's like a massage as you roll over the dense foam. I'm interested to see how I feel tomorrow -- right now (about 6 or 7 hours hours after the workout) I feel awesome. I feel like I worked hard, but there is no achiness at all. 

Today's workout was: 
  • Side Plank -- 2 sets of 30 seconds on each side. (You can see how to do it here, though they call it Side Bridge.) This is another one that doesn't have reps -- just hold the position for 30-45 seconds on each side. It's harder than the front plank, probably because of the asymmetry. The first set I did a "modified"  side plank, where I had my knees on the ground (rather than the side of my foot). I did all 30 seconds in that, so for the second set I did the full side plank. I'm not at all sure of my form with that -- it really is *hard* -- so I'll be working on that lots. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Split Squats (dumbbells) -- 2 sets of 15. Last time I did these with 10 pound weights, but I didn't feel like my form was all that great, so for the first set I backed down to bodyweight only. I did have better form with bodyweight and felt like my body had a better grip on what to do, so I went with 15 pound dumbbells and that was good. Very good -- I worked hard. 
    • Kneeling Lat Pulldowns (cable machine) -- 2 sets of 15. I invaded the province of the Serious Lifters (or at least serious-acting ones) who use the cable machines today. I had to screw up my courage a bit, but I'm glad I did. For one thing the guy using the other side of the machine was pretty nice. For another, I really loved this exercise, though I need to increase the weight next time. You can see about the cable lat pulldowns here, but instead of sitting (with padded bars on the bench to help hold you down), I was kneeling. Kneeling makes it more of a whole-body exercise, which I prefer, and more of a core workout. You can lift more sitting, but work harder in ways that are important to me standing. (Sources are in consensus on this.) Because I'd heard that you can't lift as much with the kneeling pulldowns, I backed down the weight some. I did 45 pounds with the pulldown machine (which is has a seat and the padded bars to hold you down) last time. 30 pounds was way too easy, so I went up to 35 for the second set. Next time I'll go up one more step -- which will be 42.5 lbs.
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Deadlifts -- 2 sets of 15. Instead of using dumbbells this time, I used a fixed-weight barbell, which was a little easier to wrangle. I used a 30 pound barbell, which is the same weight as the two 15lb dumbbells I'd used before. I was thinking of taking the weight up a notch, but I wanted to work more quickly today (more on this below) and decided to stay at the same weight. I liked the barbell (much easier to wrangle) but next time I think I need to move up a notch. (Though from 30 lbs to 40 lbs is quite a big leap, so we'll see how that goes.)
    • Shoulder Presses -- I planned to do 2 sets of 15, but was a little aggressive with the weights so I wound out doing 1 set of 15 and 1 set of 11. When I did these on Monday, I used 10lb dumbbells and thought it was a bit light maybe. So I went with 15lb dumbbells today. The first set was *hard* -- I barely eked out the 15 reps. I thought about backing down to 10lb dumbbells for the second set but decided I'd rather see what I could do with the 15lbs. Only doing 11 was okay, given the situation. I'll go with 15s again next time and see if I do better. (I bet I will!)
After the weights, I did my Intervals of Insanity again. Goodness, I love those. Once again it was five rounds of 20 seconds of insanely all-out effort on the elliptical machine followed by 40 seconds of easy going. This time it was five *full* 20 second stretches though (Wednesday it was more like four and a half and on Monday I missed a few seconds of one). I thought about doing a sixth, even got started on it, but after like five seconds I was done. My legs were wobbling. 

One of the big changes today was that I moved faster when lifting. I've been extremely deliberate with the weights -- pausing after each rep for a beat or two before doing the next one. I thought that was what you were supposed to do (for some reason). Sources indicated that not only is that not necessary, it is really not as good because one doesn't tire one's muscles as effectively. So I was consciously working more quickly today -- I still took rests between sets, but I didn't stop to reset (or even pause) between reps. I liked that a lot -- I could feel the difference in how I was working my muscles. 

Unfortunately, the faster work wasn't reflected in how long it took me to do my workout. Patrick wound out having to wait for me. I think he did 45 minutes on the elliptical (he was doing a cardio day) and he probably waited another 15. I suspect I'll get quicker as I get more confident and comfortable. As I get more familiar with my warmup sequence, that will get faster too.

All in all, it was another excellent time in the gym. I really love the two Workouts I've built. I'm figuring I'll do these for another four or five times each, then move on to new challenges. I don't think I need to do any more tinkering with these, though.

Next workout is scheduled for Monday. I'll be doing Workout A -- plank, squats, bent-over rows, step ups, and pushups. I'm looking forward to it. I've already got my first set weights picked, though I need to figure out how I want to make the step ups more challenging (given that there's only one height of steps at our gym). Goal for the workout: Keep getting better! 

No comments:

Post a Comment