Arm day! Feeling quite strong with my arm work recently – It’s really encouraging. Feeling positive.
- 10 x bent over barbell rows (25 kg, 35 kg x 3)
- 10 x dumbbell bench press (10 kg each hand x 3, 12 kg each hand x 1)
- 10 x TRX angled rows/pull-ups
I think this was possibly the latest in the evening I’ve worked out before (6:30 pm) and that combined with having moved house across the weekend made for interesting energy levels. Still, a good workout!
- 10 x Kettlebell clean and press each arm (8 kg, 10 kg, 10 kg)
- 20 x wall ball slams (20 pound ball, so that’s… 9.07 kg)
- 8 x barbell cleans (20 kg)
- 8 x barbell presses (20 kg)
- 8 x barbell bicep curl (20 kg)
- 8 x dumbbell hammer curl (6 kg per hand)
This arm day was challenging, both physically and mentally. Mostly mentally. My PT got me doing some new arm-based exercises that, while I’ve done similar moves before, really pushed my comfort zone in terms of seeing what my dodgy shoulders are capable of. The only reason I completed the movements and allocated sets and reps is because I completely trust my PT in terms of what he knows my body is capable of and when it’s ready to have its limits pushed, and because I completely trust his spotting.
He got me doing bench pressing today, which I’ve definitely done before, but today we really worked on technique. Turns out I’ve been starting with my arms angled back (towards my face) and bringing the weights down on an angle (towards my face), so moving the weight towards my hips more was a big adjustment. He also reduced the weight I used for my second set of reps on the dumbbell bench press, so that I could work on the technique.
The horizontal flies were a super new thing for me, and very scary from a mental perspective. PT originally handed me 4 kg weights but we dropped them back to 3 kg – if I’d been doing less reps 4 kg might have been a go-er, but not doing 24 in a row! Ultimately I needed the 3 kg to push through my sticking point at the bottom of the movement, but could have gone up a few kg for the rest of the movement.
- 6 x barbell overhead presses (20 kg)
- 12 x dumbbell side raises (4 kg each hand)
- 24 x dumbbell overhead presses (4 kg each hand)
- 6 x barbell bench press (25 kg)
- 10 x dumbbell bench press (8 kg , 7 kg each hand)
- 24 x horizontal flies (3 kg each hand)
On a day that I’m still very stiff and very sore from my last arm/back/shoulder day (damn those pull-up negatives!), I hit leg day with limited enthusiasm. Luckily I really enjoyed the session, with thanks to a new barbell – the safety squat barbell. As I’ve said before, I have issues with back squats. I can’t get my weight in the right spot, I lean way too far forward, and my depth is shocking. Experimenting with front squats has helped – with those I can squat deeper and with better technique, but I have to drop the weight. Fine for technique, not so great for my legs.
The safety squat bar sits on your back, but has handles across your shoulders that you hold at the front of the body. I knew straight away we were going to be friends. With this bar I could squat deeper, with better technique, and still maintain a decent weight. In fact, I ended the session feeling that if I did a few more sessions at that weight, I’d probably be able to increase the weight pretty soon. I even feel like I might be able to squat unsupervised with this bar.
I know it’s not the solution to just stop back squats all together, but it’s nice to know that I can improve my depth, technique and weight in my squat.
- 10 x safety squats (30-35 kg, 40 – 45 kg x 2 sets) – we weren’t sure how much the bar weighed!
- 20 x walking 2 pulses lunges (no weight, 10 kg each hand x 2 sets)
- 25 x leg extensions (25 kg)
- 25 x hack squats (raised heel squats)
Arm day! My arms are pretty much jelly right now – I’d planned on washing my hair post-workout this morning, but the jelly arms meant that definitely didn’t happen. It was one of those workouts that was ok – nothing earth shattering, didn’t feel amazing, but also didn’t feel shocking or completely break me.
- 10 x cleans from hanging position (20 kg, 30 kg, 25 kg x 2)
- 10, 10, 8, 8 x jumping negative pull-ups (final two sets being held by my trainer at the top for an increased negative)
- 10 x inclined barbell press on smith machine (smith machine bar plus 15 kg)
- 10 x standing Arnold dumbbell press (10 kg each hand)
La-la-la-la-leg day. Boy, am I copping body karma for not going to the gym for a week. Despite doing no lower body exercises on Wednesday, when I hit the gym yesterday my glutes were sore from doing the dumbbell snatches. Yesterday’s workout included what I can the ‘jelly maker’ – the 45 degree free weight leg press. I enjoy this machine so much more than the standard 45 degree leg press machine – I feel like I can get greater depth, hit better weight targets, and push myself further on this one. I’m pretty sure my PB on this machine is 190 kg at the moment – here’s hoping I’ll break the magic 200 kg mark soon 🙂
This workout also contained barbell box squats. I was reflecting on these last night – at 45 kg, I felt like some reps were super easy and some were super hard. My form is just too inconsistent to go up in weight right now, and I find that really really frustrating. If I could get some consistency in my squats I could increase the weight, but right now I just wouldn’t trust myself to get back up from the bottom of each squat!!!
- 10 x barbell box squats (40 kg, 45 kg x 2)
- 20 x weighted alternating step ups with top leg staying on bench (10 kg each hand, 12 kg each hand x 2)
- 8 x 45 degrees free weight leg press (110 kg, 140 kg, 160 kg)
- 20 x jump squats
Back in the gym after a week and a half off. My trainer was on holidays, and I said I didn’t need a replacement trainer while he was gone because I could look after myself for a single week. Turns out I was wrong. Anyway, back on the horse now for an arm day!
- 10 x wide grip lat pull-downs (25 kg, 30 kg, 35 kg)
- 10, 10, 8 x single arm barbell snatches each arm (12 kg, 14 kg x 2)
- 10 x raised push-ups (on bottom rung of pull-up machine)
- 10 x bench press (20 kg, 25 kg)
- 10 x single arm bent over rows each arm (12 kg, 14 kg)
Yesterday I compared doing squats with Opera singing. When I first finished high school, I jumped straight into a Bachelor of Classical Music (opera singing). Ultimately I never finished it, and this story probably indicates why.
I wasn’t (still aren’t) a fan of opera. I didn’t (still don’t!) know what good opera technique sounded like, and I certainly didn’t know what it felt like. When I was singing in a way that felt comfortable and ‘right’, I was told I was doing it wrong. When I sung in a way that felt physically odd and sounded (to me) bad, I was told I was doing it right. But only sometimes. I could feel odd and sound bad in many ways, and sometimes I was told I was wrong and others I was right – but I couldn’t tell the difference.
To me, squats provide a really similar experience. I’ll do 10 reps and none of them will ‘feel right’, but at the end of the set my PT will tell me that reps 6, 7 and 8 were good. But to me they all felt different, and certainly none of them felt right. I explained this to my PT yesterday (including the classical singing anecdote) and he looked at me kind of confused, but also like he kind of got it. We talked about my absolute discomfort with back squats, but how my (rarely practiced) front squats felt better. We did squats san-the barbell, which my arms in back and front squat position, and ascertained that even without the barbell I couldn’t do a squat with my arms in back squat position to a decent depth or with decent technique. Holding my arms in a front squat position was better though, so we went down some weight and played around with that.
My PT realised that if he verbally cues me at the right time I push my weight back where it needs to be, and I did some really decent low squatting reps like this. Unfortunately I couldn’t do very many, and (luckily my PT was spotting me closely!) I ultimately ended up losing power and falling over backwards. But that’s ok – I felt like it was my best squat session in a really long time. I had a technique breakthrough, and although I’m a long way off being able to confidently do them on my own with good technique, yesterday’s session took me a step forward.
- 10 x back squats (40 kg, 50 kg)
- 10 x high jump squats with arm thrust
- 9 x front squats (30 kg) – failure and rest at rep 5, failure and stop at rep 9
- 10 x high jump squats with arm thrust
- 10 x horizontal leg press (80kg) with wide-legged stance, and angled toes
Arm day! A five car pile up on the freeway meant I arrived 10 minutes late for my half hour training session today. I started my workout with my PT, then he gave me instructions for the rest of the session and left me to it. Normally in these situations I have a tendency to reduce either sets or reps, telling myself that I have to get to work and don’t have time to finish. Today I finished the full sets prescribed, with the right number of reps, without blowing out my rest time. It’s tiny, but I feel proud of myself for doing it.
- 20 x raised push-ups (on a bench)
- 20 x angled pull-ups
- 5 x jump pull-ups (jump, aim to pause at the top then have a controlled lower)
- 10 x barbell clean and press (20 kg x 1, 25 kg x 4)