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Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

Working Out

Returned to lifting weights, upper body only, about twice a week in the afternoon or evening, in conjunction with doing morning cardio for about half an hour starting at 6:30 or 7 am.

The weight lifting follows a stretch where I completed Phases I to III of the Core Performance program before embarking on a long summer trip that required me to simplify my workout to pushups and pullups. Kept up with those after returning home, but after roughly five-six weeks of doing pushups in increasing numbers (pushups got up to 40+ a set, using hand-bars, for maximums of 150-160 in single session) my left shoulder started to bother me constantly.

So I switched back to a pretty simple workout. Bench presses alternating with one-armed dumbbell rows, then pullups alternating with standing overhead dumbbell presses. I shoot for five sets of each exercise, though if I’m really tired in a given workout, I pay attention to that and stop at four sets of the final pair of exercises. Shoulder is feeling better.

Anyway, last night I set a new 5R max of 195 pounds lifting on my own in the basement. Over the summer I did a 1R max of 225 pounds at a gym with a friend spotting me, and I think that gave me some renewed confidence. At the same time, my weight dropped down to 195 pounds, so that’s nice.

I passed on the leg weights because the squats were bothering my knee if I also tried to do much cardio and the deadlifts did the same with my back. Doing one or the other (squats/deadlifts OR cardio) seems to be okay, but in conjunction they are too much. I get more pleasure from being able to move around freely, so I stuck with a rotating program of running intervals, jumping rope, running stairs, hiking steep hills, doing burpees, doing some Tae-Bo routines, and assorted plyometric speed drills from the Core Performance program. I try to mix it up, doing whatever I feel like doing each morning before or after driving the kids to school, as my schedule and the weather permits. So far it has been enjoyable.

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First Week of Walking

Started wearing my pedometer again (it got washed in the laundry and was not working for a month or so until I ensure that it was completely dried out, then I forgot to bring it on our summer trip) starting in the morning when I wake up until the evening when I go to bed. This tracks both everyday steps (taken during activities like mowing the lawn, grocery shopping vacuuming, walking up and down the stairs to do laundry, etc.) and “focused” steps (taken during hikes, walks to the library, running, morning cardio routines, and so forth).

My results for the first week were, in steps(total miles) format:

14,411 (6.82), 10,779(5.1), 13,357(6.32), 10.060(4.76), 15,380 (7.28), 10,049(4.75), 10,545(4.99)

For averages of 12,083 steps and 5.76 miles per day.

I’ll admit that on at least one occasion I looked at my pedometer before bedtime, realized I was a few hundred steps short, and decided to walk up and down the stairs for a few minutes to get my count past 10,000 for the day! Pretty silly from one perspective.

On the other hand, hitting a minimum of 10,000 steps a day does give me a small but meaningful sense of accomplishment. And in the two weeks since I started doing this in addition to my regular workouts, I have managed to lose about 4 pounds, which may be correlation rather than causation, but still feels good.

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Weights Day 11

Left knee was really hurting the last couple days, so I decided not to do squats. But I didn’t want to keep sitting around.

Ultimately I decided to try the old upper body/lower body split. So I went with pullups/chinups, bench press, and overhead press, with some situps tossed in (for a breather and because I think I’ve fallen behind a bit on ab work). I know this isn’t quite the prescription in Starting Strength, but I’m experimenting slightly to go with what my body is telling me.

Pullups: 1×15

Bench Press: 1×5 (75), 1×3 (125), 1×2 (145), 3×5 (190)

Getting closer and closer to being able to bench my weight for a 5RM. Normally I rest about 2 minutes in between sets on the work reps, but it’s getting tougher, so I bumped that to 2:15 to 2:30 between sets, which is still within the range allowed in Starting Strength.

Situps: Physioball crunches w/medicine ball, crunches. leg lifts

Chinups: 1×15

Overhead Press: 1×5 (45), 1×3 (65), 1×2 (75), 3×5 (102)

Trying to nurse my left shoulder a bit so that it feels okay. For some reason, the entire left side of my body always breaks down first. (I’m sure it’s something weird with my biomechanics; I use to have an orthotic insert many years ago but it didn’t make my left knee or hip feel much better and it made my right side feel worse!)

Situps: Elastic cable crunches, three-way crunches

Pullups: 1 x12

All in all, not too bad today. Neck had a bit of a stinger in it. Have to see how switching up the sequence works out when it comes to the leg day.

41 minutes total for the workout.

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Weights Day Ten

Pullups: 1×15 pullups

Squats: 1×5 (75), 1×3 (125), 1×2 (145), 3×5 (180)

Set a new personal best for squats at 5RM. Squats are starting to catch up to the bench press a bit, which would finally make my exercises make a little more sense. Everything felt pretty good on all the reps here.

Bench Press: 1×5 (75), 1×3 (125), 1×2 (145), 3×5 (187)

Getting to the point with these exercises where I like to back off a bit on the increase in the weight increment. I figure if I can still average +5 lbs a week for the 5RM max for a bit, that I’ll still make good progress. 187 here felt pretty easy, to tell you the truth.

Deadlift: 1×5 (75), 1×3 (95), 1×2 (115), 3×5 (150)

Gotta say, I’m still not 100% at ease with deadlifts compared to the other two lifts. However, so far, so good. I think I’m getting much more used to the strain involved. As I noted earlier, at some point in the next few weeks I’ll probably drop deadlifts back to twice a week to offer more rest in between sessions. Might sub in some back extensions or reverse hypers on the off day, might just rest, not sure. Could consider incorporating those power cleans, but I’m not convinced that I have a suitable setup for that downstairs unless I cobble together some makeshift mini-platforms for the barbell.

Pullups/Chinups: 1×15 chinups, 1×10 pullups

Took 57 minutes total. All in all, a pretty good workout day. I definitely think I prefer working out closer to noon than early in the morning or at night. Not sure about the late afternoon.

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Weights Day Nine

Started at noon on Sunday.

Pullups: 1 x15 (!) This surprised me, a new one set high.

Squats: 1×5 (75), 1×3 (125), 1×2 (145), 3×5 (177)

Increased the weight by a smaller amount. This is my highest ever squat that I’m aware of, even for 1RM, ’cause I haven’t done it all that regularly.

Overhead Press: 1×5 (45), 1×3 (55), 1×2 (65), 3×5 (100)

Deadlift: 1×5 (75), 1×3 (95), 1×2 (105), 3×5 (147)

Pullups/Chinups: 1×15 chinups, 1×10 pullups

Definitely my best day ever for the chinups and pullups.

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Weights Day Eight

Ended up skipping the Tuesday workout when I got a late call from my folks right after my first couple warmup sets and then we ended up having a very nice conversation during which I didn’t pay any attention to the time. By the time I was free, it was too late to get started again.

I felt very tired this morning and my left hip and calf felt pretty sore. Not really sure why, though the weather took a sudden temperature drop recently and got quite wet (we had some snow flurries that melted) and sometimes that seems to affect certain joints.

Anyway, I was a bit concerned about whether I would have any energy to work out today.

I warmed up with 7 minutes of “regeneration” work with a high density foam roller, working over my hips, thighs, and hamstrings to loosen them up. I also did a 1×12 set of pullups.

Squats: 1×5 (75), 1×3 (125), 1×2 (145), 3×5 (175)

This was tiring but went just fine. Set a new 5RM max of 175 pounds.

Bench Press: 1×5 (75), 1×3 (125), 1×2 (145), 3×5 (185)

Last set of 5RM was really tough, barely finished it out, but I completed the full work set. Probably bump the bench press weight up by 2 pounds the next time, just to be safe.

Deadlifts: 1×5 (75), 1×3 (95), 1×2 (105), 3×5 (145)

The 5RM work sets were tough, but I got through them.

Pullups/Chinups: 1×12 pullups,1×10 chinups

I moved the first set to the beginning of the workout, trying to get in a fair number of reps while also giving myself some more time to rest. That last set of chinups was really hard.

The total time for the workout was 58 minutes total, including the warmup. I feel quite tired, but had more strength than I expected. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow!

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Weights Day Seven

Competing with the Final Four for my attention, so my pace this late Saturday afternoon might be a little slow. 🙂

Squats: 1×5 (75), 1×3(125), 1×2 (145), 3×5 (170)

These went okay. Bumped up the warmup weights a bit to allow for the work sets getting heavier. Hit 170 without too much trouble; possibly some soreness in the left knee, have to keep an eye on how it feels later and tomorrow. You’ll notice that I bumped by +5 pounds on Tuesday, then basically split the +5 increase between the Thursday and Saturday workouts.

Overhead Presses: 1×5 (45), 1×5 (55), 1×3 (65), 3×5 (100)

Still fiddling with the positioning of the bar and the seat to get a better starting point for this exercise; I think the latest tweak was actually the best. Left shoulder definitely felt a little weak on the workout.

Deadlifts: 1×5 (75), 1×3 (95), 1×2 (105), 3×5 (140)

The deadlift is so strange for me. From workout to workout, it feels good, mediocre, or shaky, and I can’t quite figure out what is causing the variation. Today was average; didn’t feel particularly strong or fluid, but there were no warning twinges or weird tightness.

Pullups/Chinpus: 1×12 pullups,1×9 chinups

I’ll be honest, I had no interest in doing the pullups or chins today, but I made myself get on the bar for a couple sets. Not too hot, to be honest. Not sure why I ran out of gas. 🙂

56 minutes for today’s workout, just long enough to see almost the whole first half of Butler-VCU.

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