Today was my first legs workout. As with any new exercise, I tried to not push it too hard. I took it easy with the upper body workouts to give my wrists, elbows, and shoulders time to get used to the added stress. This time I'm easing into legs to give my ankles, knees, and hips time to adjust. Diving head first into any new exercise can be optimum time for injury; I've learned that fact first hand more times than I'd prefer to count. haha
Anyways, without looking up interesting leg workouts, I went ahead and used every machine the gym had available. As you'll see below and in the following weeks, I certainly pinpointed some exercises that will be more difficult than others and some that will need to be adjusted due to my current level or preference on free weights vs. machines. I can already max out the adductor machine. Also, the calf extension machine puts too much strain on the metatarsals by bending your foot backwards. I'll find my niche in a week I'm sure.
1. Leg Press: This is an extremely common exercise for most leg workouts. You can do this on a machine as I did or use free weights and do squats, which are relatively equivalent. It's simple. For the machine, you begin with your legs bent (the better you get, the closer your legs can start to your chest) in a sitting position and you push forward with your legs. For squats, you begin standing with the weights on your shoulders and you lower your body keeping the weights on top of your center of gravity. With work, you can bend lower and lower. This exercise works a myriad of muscles in your legs; the quadraceps, hamstrings, and gluteus.
2. Sitting Leg Curl: Beginning in a sitting position with your legs extended straight out in front of you, you bend your legs at the knees pulling your feet under you and towards your butt. This exercise focuses on your hamstrings.
3. Sitting Leg Extension: This exercise switches starting and finishing positions of the sitting leg curl. Begin with your legs bent at the knees and curled underneath you. Press the legs out until your legs are straight. This focuses on the quadraceps.
4. Sitting Calf Extension: In this exercise, your legs remain straight and in front of your body. The bend here is in your ankles as you use your calves to push on the weight. When your knees are straightened, this exercise focuses on the gastrocnemius. When the knees are bent, the load is shared between the gastroc and soleus muscles. At a ninety degree bend in the knee, this exercise focuses on the soleus alone.
5. Back Leg Extension: This exercise begins with your upper body horizontal to the ground, face down. Your leg is bent ninety degrees to your core and the knee is also bent at a given angle. One leg at a time, you push backwards until the leg is straight. This exercise again uses multiple muscles; the quadracep, hamstring, and gluteus.
6. Adductor: In a sitting position, this exercise has you squeezing your legs together, which focuses on the adductor muscles in your legs. This is a must-do exercise for swimmers who focus on breastroke (me!)
7. Abductor: This is the opposite of the adductor where you will push your legs apart, which focuses on the abductor muscles in your legs. If this machine is too difficult, feel free to use a free form version. Lye sideways on a mat with your legs extended straight out. Lift the top leg as high as you can and repeat. This works the abductor muscle with only the weight of your own body.
Reps & Weights:
Warm up: 1 mile forward and 0.5 mile backwards on an elliptical (heart rate up to ~155/160)
1. Bench Press Machine (3 sets of 10 reps with 90, 110, 120 lbs)
2. Leg Press (3 sets of 10 reps with 150, 170, 190 lbs)
3. Sitting Leg Curl (3 sets of 10 reps with 85 lbs)
4. Sitting Leg Extension (3 sets of 10 reps with 90 lbs)
5. Sitting Calf Extentsion (3 sets of 50,50,40 reps with 110 lbs)
6. Pectoral Fly Machine (3 sets of 10 reps with 90, 110, 130 lbs)
7. Back Leg Extension (3 sets of 10 reps with 70, 90, and 110 lbs)
8. Adductor (3 sets of 10 reps with 90, 130, 150 lbs)
9. Abductor (3 sets of 10 reps with 90 lbs)
** Stretching **
10. Crunch Ups (3 sets of 10 sit-ups and 10 crunches)
11. Side Plank Twists (15 reps on each side)
12. Military Press (3 sets of 10,10,9 reps with 60 lbs)
As with any workout, I'm all ears for ideas of other new, fun, interesting, or killer workout sets that you think I'd like to try. My bet (depending on how I feel) is that I will take tomorrow off, fyi. I feel great right now, but I don't want to run myself into the ground by not taking the time to rest/recover.
On another note, for those who think my races or ideals are a bit odd, crazy, or down right idiotic (you know who you are!), I talked to a friend today who had run the Hartford FULL Marathon back on the 9th of this month. We were asking each other whether we were back into training yet or not (you figure after a big race, you usually take some time to recover and rest). Well, she has been taking time to rest just as I had, but still decided to head to Newport, RI to run another marathon this past Saturday. That's two marathons in a week. I couldn't help but react with "that's fuckin' awesome!" She didn't do as well as she had hoped, but on the other hand, how many people expect to not slow down a bit with that schedule. haha She still finished and without injury. So props to her and everyone out there like her running races and training sessions non-stop just because your body can!
Time for dinner before a Fried Oreo Party. You heard me right! The Big E inspired some friends to attempt frying various types of oreo cookies; and why not make a party out of it?! But I need to get some real food in me before I hit the sugar.