So, on Saturday I did my first every hour-long personal training session (they’re normally half an hour). I also learned an important lesson. While coffee is the perfect fuel/stomach liner for a half hour session, I need more than that for an hour. Perhaps some food. At the 40 minute mark I was feeling good, and if we’d called it a day at 45 minutes or even 50 I might have walked away feeling like I had a top session. Those last 10 minutes though? They got hard. At one point I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to vomit or faint, and the frustrating thing was that I knew that it was likely just a result of not eating anything before I came to the gym. Grr!!! Anyway, it was a good one:
- 10 x safety squats (45 kg, 55 kg x 3) – NB: still not sure what the weight of this bar is. I know I had 20 kg added for the first set, and 30 kg added for the rest.
- 10 x clean and press (20 kg, 25 kg x 3) – super happy with these. I managed to do 7 reps in each set without bouncing to get the press up – I did strict presses
- 20 x walking lunges, with wall ball carried above head (no weight, 2 kg x 3)
- 10 x raised push-ups
- 20 x raised heel (hack) squats, 2 second lower and 2 second raise (final set was normal lower and raise)
- 10 x lat pulldowns (30 kg, 35 kg x 2)
I missed blogging about Tuesday’s workout this week – it was a bunch of exercises that I wasn’t sure how to describe, using weights that I forgot to check. Oh well!!
On to yesterday’s leg day. This should have been a standard one – instead I found myself struggling with some sets, and my legs are really feeling it today. Unusual!! My PT did get me started doing lunges from a raised surface (negative lunges? Step-off lunges?), but since we hiked Bogong I’ve had a slight twitch on the sole of my foot that’s triggered by weight being placed on the ball of my foot. The lunges weren’t really suiting it, so we switched to Bulgarian Split Squats with a pretty low raised foot to ensure a deep squat.
- 20 x horizontal leg press (80 kg)
- 20 x raised heel squats
- 20 x step-off lunges (1 set)
- 10 x Bulgarian split squats each leg (2 sets)
- 10 x hamstring curls (25 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
Today was the last leg day before Bogong. Although I was tempted to make this even earlier in the week, I decided that Thursday, Friday and Saturday is enough time to recover fully. That, and I asked my PT not to absolutely kill my legs. The really nice thing is that while the workout didn’t kill my legs, if I’d done the same workout a few years ago it absolutely would have smashed me. And I wouldn’t have been able to do the weights I did today.
- 24 x walking lunges (no weights, 2 sets x 10 kg each hand)
- 1 min x jumping step ups (step up jumps?)
- 8 x hamstring curls (25 kg, 27 kg x 2 sets)
- 20 x raised heel squats (not coming to a full upright at the top of each rep – keeping the legs slightly bent)
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:
- 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)
Leg day with PT. Got to the gym this morning and got a minor visual migraine – given that there’s no pain associated with it there was no reason not to work out, but what I discovered was the for some reason the visual migraine seemed to trigger lots of dizzy spells. So it was an interesting workout- but it’s a workout that I finished, so that’s positive!
- 10 x free weight leg press (100 kg, 120 kg, 140 kg)
- 20 x jump box squats
- 12 x raised-heel back squats (20 kg – barbell only, no additional weights)
- 20 x side lunges
This was a leg day with my PT. I’m not sure I got weights exactly right for the hamstring curl here, but it’s in the ballpark.
– 10 x 45 degree leg press (90-100kg)
– 24 x walking lunges
– 10x hamstring curl (20kg?)
– 20 x raised heel squats