Monday, September 28, 2015

Workout F #1: Oh, yeah!! (I feel like the Kool-Ade Man) (Workout 28)

My first time with Workout F was a success -- I need to make
some things harder. But the Step Ups are killers. 
I did well with my first time with Workout F for real. As with Workout E, my practice run-through to work out the kinks and figure out what to do with my arms and legs (last Wednesday) was a *huge* help. Though once again, I did have to adjust some of the starting weights I worked out last Wednesday. I'm okay with that. 

There's a guy who is there on weekday evenings -- he's a middle-aged guy, maybe a bit older than me, and he's usually either back working on the abs benches (in the area where I warm up) or on the cable machines. He does these huge, two arm, two cable machine things that just impress me immensely. He's also been quite helpful and nice -- he taught me how to move the adjustable pulleys (lift up a little, then pull the pin out to move them). I don't know if he even recognizes me, he's pretty well in his own space when he's working, but he's kind of an inspiration. Maybe someday a novice lifter will be there and I'll be able to help and they'll see what I'm doing and be inspired to keep going. 

Sorry about the digression. I had a kind of trying day at work (computer issues on a day when I didn't have the time for computer issues) and it was nice to see a familiar and friendly face at the gym. Of course, the most familiar and most friendly face was Patrick, who was back to lifting weights after a couple of weeks off (for too-much-work and a cold). I love walking through the gym and being able to say "hi" as I walk by him. And warming up on the elliptical machine next to him. That makes it all much much nicer. 

There are links to videos of many of these exercises in the Workouts E and F #0 post.

Today's workout was:

  • Cross-body Mountain Climbers - 2 x 10, 20. My plan was to do 10 of these, but that was way too easy and way too quick. Like exercisus interruptus. For the second set, I did 20, which was better, but still too easy. I'm thinking of either going up to 30 next time or going for two sets of as many as possible in 30 seconds. 
  • Elevated Explosive Pushups - 2 x 8 - I think the railing I used today was lower than the bar on whichever machine I was nearest (maybe the triceps press machine) because these were a lot harder than they were last Wednesday. I did two sets of 8, but only just barely. The high end of the target range (10) would have been entirely out of the question.  
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Dumbbell Front Squat - 3 x 10, 12, 12 - I was absolutely right about the 15lb weights for these. Having the weight that far above my center of gravity really increases the challenge. It also makes the need for really perfect form that much more necessary, so I have to totally concentrate on squatting by pushing my hips back but keeping my chest as up as possible and my upper arms parallel to the floor. So it's a mental strain as much as it is a physical one. The reason I did ten on the first set is that's how many I was doing in Workouts C and D and I'm used to going to 10. It's going to take a little while to get my brain used to going to 12. 
    • Rear Lateral Raises - 3 x 10, 12, 12 - Last Wednesday, I figured these for 5lb dumbbells, which is almost sort of embarrassing. I mean they feel so light when I'm carrying them. Almost like nothing. And the first set (when I only did 10), they really felt too light. So for the second set I went up to 10lbs and that was too much -- well, I made my reps, but I couldn't have made them for all three sets. Probably not for two. For the third set I went back to 5 lbs and with 12 reps that felt pretty good. I'll start with 5 next time and see if it feels too light. I bet it will. (Or maybe I hope it will.) 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Step Ups to Weight Bench - 3 x 12 - Oh, my stars, y'all! These are hard! That's a high step (the weight bench is only a couple of inches below my knee) and the surface is padded and therefore a bit wobbly and unstable. This is in the program as a hamstring exercise, but with that high a step it hits my quads like crazy as *well*, so my thighs are getting it front and back. Yowzers!! With the high step, I don't need anything more than my body weight. Probably for *months*. 
    • Single-Arm Cable Chest Press - 3 x 12 - I worked through these last Wednesday to get clear on how my arms move and where my legs should be, but I did't quite get to it feeling like I was getting it right. I think I figured out that I was not lined up quite right with the machine. (The pulleys are on a hinge that lets them swing side to side and it would seem like it should be pretty much the same if I've swung to the side so I am out of someone else's way. In practice, it seems to make a big difference with these, though not with the Coordination Rows or the Reverse Lunge and Cable Rows (see below).) The third set, I finally felt like I was doing them just right -- the main trick is to have the pulley stick straight out and to have the weight straight behind me. Once I did it right, it felt like I need to raise the weight. I did these at 15 lbs today. I'll go up to 17.5 next time and see if I want to go up more. 
  • Reverse Lunge and Cable Row - 3 x 12 - I did these at 20 lbs and found them quite hard. This is one of those whole-body, coordination exercises that are so good for me and so challenging for me. This one requires doing a reverse lunge, a move I've done plenty with dumbbells, while maintaining tension on the cable machine line, then doing a single-arm row as I stand back up. Multiple muscles moving at once, in the right order, producing a coordinated response. These are not as hard as the Coordination Rows (at least I don't have to balance on one foot) but they're taking some getting used to. Once I get the move down, I should be able to raise the weight, but 20 lbs was pretty good for now. This actually puts a fair amount of work on the stabilizer muscles in my back to keep the weight from pulling me forward and out of shape for the lunges. 
  • Cardio Intervals - 9 x 20:40 Intervals of Insanity on the elliptical machine. I was so wiped out from the Step Ups and figuring out what the heck I was doing with the Reverse Lunge and Cable Rows, that I didn't want to have to think about what I was doing with these. So I went for the elliptical, which has the big benefit of being very un-complicated. (There's a timer om the machine, I start each interval at the start of a minute and go for 20 seconds. I don't have to think much.) They went a little better than they have been, which I was kind of not expecting given how tired my quads already were from the Step Ups. 
It was a good, hard, sweaty workout and I loved it. Some of the exercises are brutally hard but there's definitely room for some of them to get harder, which is *good*. I want it to get harder and to keep getting better. I'm not putting myself under the pressure I had in Phase 2 to be improving either the weight or the number of reps or *something* every workout, but I don't want to just cruise here either. If it's not hard enough, it needs to be harder. Enough said.

Next workout is scheduled for Wednesday. Goal for the Workout: Make Workout E work when the gym is  going to be *crowded*. It worked great when the gym was empty, but I'm still a little concerned about how the logistics are going to work out when it's full. (Though I think it would have worked out okay tonight. I think.)

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