Sunday, June 22, 2008

An Experiment in Intensity


"LIFE! GIVE THE FAT MAN LIFE!!!!" I have devised an experiment.

You get stronger by making the work harder. "Progressive Resistance" is one of the core doctrines of weight training. There are two ways to do this: lift heavier or lift more intensely. I've just started a two-week experiment in intensity.

One of the problems I have encountered recently is fatigue at the end of my workouts. I get through the first few sets under a full head of steam, but eventually start wearing down and am unable to complete my planned routine. I wind up doing lighter weight or fewer reps than I had planned. This slows my progress and leaves me exhausted, not energized like the guru's promised I would be when I started this fat man's journey. So I have a hypothesis...
One major cause of my fatigue is insufficient recovery time between workouts.
I ran a little test this week. My workout on Tuesday was more of a wash out. I couldn't lift nearly as long or as hard as I wanted to. My muscles just wouldn't respond. So I rested. I read. I napped. I cleaned up the old bike, changed all the cables, and tuned up the brakes and dérailleurs. I took short walks. I read some blogs. Yesterday I wrote a program.
Lift heavy, move quickly, rest completely.

DISCLAIMER
THE FAT MAN IS NOT AN EXPERT. THAT'S WHY HE GOT FAT IN THE FIRST PLACE! What follows is a description of an experiment. Don't take it as a prescription.

OVERVIEW
I'll be doing very heavy compound movements (ones that involve multiple muscle groups), chosen to work my whole body, then taking two days off from lifting. Because
this involves so many different exercises, I'm doing fewer sets and reps, starting with a very light warmup of twenty reps, then twelve reps of heavy weight and eight reps as heavy as I can possibly complete with good form. I'm minimizing rest between sets and moving as quickly as I can from apparatus to apparatus. Here's my program.

WARMUP & STRETCH
Light Resistance Bands, Crunches, Medicine Ball Woodchoppers, Pushups (this classic is going to take a lot of work for me. I'm still a pretty heavy load to heave. )

Once my heart rate is up and I have a good sweat going, I do a complete stretch from ankles to neck.

CHEST
Bench Press, 20/12/8
Dumbell Pullovers 20/12/8

UPPER BACK
Lat Pulldowns, Close, Reverse Grip 20/10
Lat Pulldowns, Medium, 20/10
Lat Pulldowns, Wide, 20/10
The pulldowns are a training regimen until I am strong enough to do chin ups. Arnold S says to do 50. Riiiiight.
Deadlift 20/12/8

SHOULDERS
Arnold Press 20/12/8
Lateral Dumbell Raise 20/12/8

ARMS
Preacher Curls, Reverse Grip, 20/12/8
Triceps Rope Pulldown, 20/12/8

BREAK
Yesterday I was pretty wrung out at this point. I had drunk a half gallon of water and was feeling like having something to eat. I'll probably throw something in my bag to nosh on and take a little walk outside to let the lactic acid clear out a little. Then back in for the really big muscle groups.

LEGS AND LOWER BACK
Squats, 20/12/8
Leg Curls, 20/12/8
Good Mornings, 20/12/8

STRETCH, SAUNA, SHOWER

That's the plan: repeat every three days. (It took me three hours yesterday to get through the whole thing.) Walk or bike on the off days. Stick to this for two weeks, and see what the results look like. Change weights on the heavy sets, but not the number of sets or reps. The first set will always be very light to warm up the specific muscle group and to set my form. In the next few days I'll write about each group of exercises and update my progress.

This is one of those deals where I use my blog to hold myself accountable. I'll report in every day on how the experiment is going with subjective observations and as much data as I can stand.

Let evil experiment begin! Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!



Peace,
Pennsy

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