Sunday, July 13, 2008

Evaluating My Workout Design - Oh, and RUNNING!

Four days straight, now time for a day off.

Yesterday's workout was kind of mixed.

LIFTING - this workout needs some tweaking

I increased my number of assisted chinups - came within one of finishing 3 x 5. I also was able to do Calf Raises for the second day in a row. I'm not using any plates at all yet, so there's only the 20 lb weight of the machine on my shoulders, but it still feels good to be able to do them again. Assisted dips went fine. I will decrease the counterweight once I can finish three sets of chins. It's just easier than jumping down and moving the pin six times.

Deadlifts. Here's 'Becka Swanson schooling the boys at the gym.

World Strongest Woman - "becca Swanson" Deadlift - More amazing videos are a click away

My own efforts went ok but I need to warm up more gradually. I only did two warmup sets at 95 and 135 before starting my 5 x 5 @ 185 and the increase in weight was too fast. I need to get the blood flowing into that lower back before pulling the heavy weight. I'll put at least two more sets of two or three at maybe 145 and 165 before starting the working sets.

I don't think I wrote this workout very well. It just didn't make kinetic sense to me - it didn't feel right. Doing Deadlifts and Bent Over Rows and Good Morning's together set off warning bells in my lower back. No harm, but too close to the red line for my taste.

Three of the exercises in my plan were just odd. I tried doing Forearm Curls with a barbell, but just could not find a way to stabilize my arms to isolate the forearms, so I switched to Dumbell Wrist Curls with my elbows on the bench instead.

Doing Pullovers with two dumbells was hard work, but strangely, I could not feel which muscles were working. I concentrate on keeping my elbows at a fixed 90ยบ angle so my triceps do not get involved in the movement, but couldn't really feel which muscles were actually rotating my shoulders. I need to do some research on this one.

Friday I forgot to do pullovers. Yesterday I forgot to do barbell curls. It was an oversight, not a deliberate cut. The only reason I can think of is that they don't make any sense to me in a workout designed to increase my performance in the Deadlift. I do not remember what the rationale was in putting them in in the first place, but I think I'll move them or lose them.

I'm going to make some minor changes to this day's plan. The order is very important here because the lower back is so involved and I have a history of bulging disks and Sciatica down there. I also want to take a good look at the actually exercises I'm using. I would like to be more focused on muscle groups that 1) are critical to performing the Deadlift and 2) are not hit very hard on any of the other three days. Since today is a rest day, I'll take some time to work on this and try putting the changes into next week's routine.

RUNNING!!! -Listening to my heart.

I planned to ride the recumbent bike yesterday. I just couldn't do it. I didn't want to sit down. I went for a walk on the treadmill instead. To my left, an athletic young woman was running intervals. To my right, a handsome young dude was running at a pretty impressive pace for someone as muscular as he. I reached out my hand and touched the speed button on the console. 3.2. 3.5. 4.0. 4.8. I was running again.

At first I ran carefully, taking inventory of all the parts that had ached and torn and screamed over the past two months. No alarms. No twinges. I glanced up at the television where someone was talking about something. I don't remember what. I looked out at the mirrors, all the way across the gym, but I don't remember looking at anything in particular. Mostly I was just hearing the footsteps of the people around me.

I forgot I was hurt.

I forgot I was running.

It was the greatest feeling! I don't know how else to describe it. I just sort of went somewhere else. From time to time I would start to feel winded, and I slowed down to an easy walk for a while. When I felt better, I would speed back up. I ran intervals like that for half an hour, setting an easy 15 minute pace. Just about what I ran in the 5K when I got hurt. Only this time I was run/walking without looking at the time or the distance. When my body said slow down I slowed down. When my heart said go, I went. Thank you Jeff Gallaway. I have been waiting for this run since I tore my calf on May 17th.

Oh happy day. Pennsy's running again.


The weekly check in was encouraging. My weight has been up and down this week, but yesterday was resting nicely at 352, as low as it's been since I started working out. My body fat percentage is also at its lowest, 31.1%. My lean mass is up slightly to 243. Next week I'll get out the tape measure and update all the my body composition numbers. I expect that I'll see some big changes there. Base on the fit of my clothes and the comments of folks at work and the gym, I look a lot different than I did a few months ago.


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