Workout 07/04/2016 – and some musings about squats and leg press

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!!!

3 sets:

  • 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)

3 sets:

  • 8 x 45 degrees free weight leg press (110 kg, 140 kg, 160 kg)
  • 20 x jump squats

Workout 17/03/2016 – squats and opera singing

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.

2 sets:

  • 10 x back squats (40 kg, 50 kg)
  • 10 x high jump squats with arm thrust

1 set:

  • 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

3 sets:

  • 10 x horizontal leg press (80kg) with wide-legged stance, and angled toes

Workout 18/02/2016

Leg day!! My PT said it would be a hard one – when he says that he’s normally right, and it also normally means he’s got a fairly high-cardio circuit planned for me. That was all true today. He’s been saying recently that I’m working harder, and I do feel like that’s true. I’m completing sets I’ve struggled with before – don’t get me wrong, I’m still struggling, but I’m pushing through just that tiny bit more. It’s nice. So here’s today’s workout:

4 sets:

  • 20 x raised-heel squats
  • 20 x negatives lunges (from an approx. 5-8cm platform)
  • 20 x jump squats
  • 20 x bulgarian split squats (with back leg on the tallest of the plyometric boxes – 60 cm)
  • 1 minute fast walking on treadmill – treadmill at greatest incline (15), and at various speeds (5, 5.5, 6, 6.2)