Saturday, September 26, 2015

Workout E #1: Good start! Good stuff! (Workout 27)

Workout log for my first go with Workout E. I wound out
raising some of my starting weights and did really well. 
My first go with Workout E went really well -- there were no logistical problems and it was very smooth all the way through. Of course that was helped by the fact that the gym wasn't very crowded at all because around noon today. It might be a little more challenging on a busy weekday evening. I'll find out Wednesday. I'm not sure I have an awesome backup plan if it's going to be difficult to find a spot on the cable machine on a weekday evening -- maybe switch to Romanian deadlifts to alternate with the scaption and shrug, so I'm still working hamstrings and glutes but doing it with free weights. Anyway, I'll burn that bridge if I come to it.

Today it went excellently and I was very pleased. I worked really hard and even moved up some of the starting weights I'd worked out the other day. Most of them were just right, though. I'm not going to be so aggressive pushing the weights this phase -- this phase is about feeling athletic, coordinated and like I'm good at this. Pushing the weights up every time I make my reps won't serve that. Though I'm not going to let the weights get too light for me.

There are links to videos of many of these exercises in my previous post.

Today's workout was:

  • Half-Kneeling Cable Chop - 2 x 10 - As I mentioned after Wednesday's test run-through workout, this is a core stability exercise. The whole point is to hold one's core stable as the arms move the weight across and in front of the body. I wasn't sure I felt like this was doing much on Wednesday when I was doing it at 20 lbs. I went up to 25 lbs today, to put a bit more work on my core. This is a core stability exercise, but your *arms* are moving the weight. I'm not sure that I'll be able to raise the weights too quickly because that was about as much as my arms could take this time. 
  • Dumbbell Squat Jump - 2 x 8 - I did these with a pair of 20 lb dumbbells (this time, they'll come back around again later). They are a lot like work and the extra weight really does make a difference. I did go to the full reps with these - my range was 6-8 - so I'll go for 25 lb dumbbells next time. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Cable Pull-Throughs - 3 x 12 - These felt really weird the other day and I wound out with the weight *very* low (20lbs), especially compared to the 60lbs (two 30lb dumbbells) I'd been doing Romanian deadlifts with in Workout B. They felt a little less weird today and I felt like I had a better sense of what I was doing, so I was able to move the weight up some. I wound out doing all three sets at 30lbs. I'll probably go up to 35 next time since I didn't have any real trouble with making my reps at 30lbs. 
    • Scaption and Shrug - 3 x 12, 12, 11 - These are *hard*, y'all. Hard. I need to work on remembering to keep my shoulder blades back where they belong with these, rather than rounding my shoulders. It makes raising the 10lb dumbbells harder, but it's better for my shoulders and back. The shrug at the end is kind of a killer too. I barely made 12 in my second set and just couldn't do it in my third. So 10 lbs is the right weight here. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Offset-loaded Reverse Lunges - 3 x 12 - I never really felt like the offset load did much with the Step-ups I was doing in Workout D -- it felt like it was increasing the resistance but I didn't feel any sort of core challenge with it. These really do feel a lot more challenging with the weight unbalanced and I have to work to not wobble. The middle set I was barely able to do 12, but did better with the third set, possibly because my form was a little better. I did have a little hint of the quad problems I was having way back in August -- like an excessive stretch on the down-leg -- but I didn't hurt myself and didn't have any real problems with it. I need to do some extra stretching between now and Monday. I used one 25lb dumbbell and I'll stick at that weight at least one more time. 
    • Kneeling Cable Lat Pulldown - 3 x 12 - I used the bar with the good grip width for these, so I was able to do 72.5 lbs for 12 reps each set. It's the same weight I've been using, but with two extra reps each set, which makes a difference. It was still a good weight today. I might move up to 75 lbs next time (because I can raise the cable-machine weights in 2.5 lb increments). 
  • Coordination Rows (Single-Leg, Single-Arm Cable Rows) - 3 x 12 - This is a *lot* more of these than I've been doing. I'd been doing 2 sets of 10. But this isn't exactly a strenuous exercise though it is a very difficult one for me. I have to say I did really well with it today. This thing requires coordination and balance and muscles moving in concert with one another and in the right order and I'm slowly, but noticeably improving. I'm not yet up to being able to go through a whole set balanced on one foot, but I got through *half* of the first two before I had to put my foot down to keep my balance. When I started I couldn't do a single row. I'm still at 15 lbs -- I figure that sometime in December I'll be to the point of working on increasing the weight with these. (The first goal with these is to do all the reps with good form, which means remaining balanced on one foot throughout the set. The second goal is to establish a rhythm and then speed up the rhythm so it's smooth and fast. The third goal is to make the movement powerful by really firing your hips and pulling on the cable hard. The *fourth* goal is to then start increasing the weight. After a month, I'm still not close to the first goal.) 
  • Cardio Intervals - 10 x 20:40 Intervals of Insanity -- (Just a reminder: that means I did 10 rounds of 20 seconds of all-out, crazy intense effort followed by 40 seconds of rest.) I've been wanting to move away from doing these on the elliptical machine, because my legs become the weak point and I really want to work my cardiovascular system with these. Today I did alternating Insanity Intervals of Jumping Jacks and Squat Jumps. I need to figure out something to do to keep moving at least a little during the rest period -- on the elliptical I don't stop during the rest period, I just go into an easy cruising speed. The Jumping Jacks weren't too intense at first, but I went really fast with them which helped. The Squat Jumps (body weight only, I was too tired by that point to be jumping around with weights in my hands) were hard right from the start - I've got a fair amount of body weight to be launching even a little bit into the air. I was worried after the first couple of rounds because it hadn't been too tough. But as I went on, it just kept building and getting harder. By the end it was great. As these things always are. 
It was an excellent workout and I really feel like the time I spent Wednesday working out How To Do These New Things totally paid off. I didn't have much of the Baby Giraffe Awkwardness while I was working out today, which let me focus on what I was doing and making sure I was doing it with good form. And on how it *feels* -- I like the feel of my muscles working and moving, even when they're hitting the limit of  what they can do.

Next workout is scheduled for Monday. It'll be my first time with Workout F and I'm excited. Looking over it, Workout F is going to be a total snap as far as  the geography of the gym goes, which is nice. It would be nice if they both were, but it's good that one is. :D Goal for the workout: Kick off Workout F with gusto and awesomeness!

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