Thursday, October 14, 2010

Back to the Gym

Given the current state of my feet, I have been out of the workout regime since Saturday just resting.  As of today, I'm walking fairly normal.  There is still a little pain in my injured toenails, but I can walk on it fine; I just tend to walk a little light.  Due to this, running is out of the question.  I will get back out on the road once my toes are fully healed and I'm convinced it's safe.

Therefore, for most likely the next two weeks I will be forced to work on the rest of my body; the upper body.  Today I went to the gym.  I have a membership at Planet Fitness because it's only $10/month and I signed up during a $1 special.  Most gyms around here charge a minimum of $20-30/month even with student or low income discounts.  Anyways, I went to the gym and started back in with an upper body workout that I had got in the habit of doing since this past February.

1.  Dumbell Press:  This is a bench press performed with free weights, individual dumbbells for each arm.  The benefit of a dumbbell press over even a typical free weight bench press is that it completely separates your arms, forcing each to do its own work.  On a machine bench press, one arm is able to compensate for the weaker counterpart.  A free weight bench press eliminates most of this, but a dumbbell press does so completely. This exercise works the pectoral muscles and depending on the positioning of the bench and form, to a degree the shoulders and biceps/triceps.

2.  Bicep Curl:  With a free weight in each arm (again, to eliminate the possibility of arm compensation), alternate curling the weight.  Focus on keeping the elbow stationary; do not let the elbow drop behind your chest or this becomes a shoulder exercise.

3.  Gravity Rower:  From a standing position, bend at the hip to 90 degrees while holding the dumbbell weight in one arm.  With as little movement in your shoulders and back as possible, pull the weight up against gravity towards your shoulder.  Alternate arms.

4.  Horizontal Overhead Lats:  From a horizontal position, hold a dumbbell with both hands vertical above your head.  Keeping your elbows as straight as possible, lower the weight to a horizontal position behind your head (or further if your flexibility allows) and return to vertical.  This exercise works the latissimus muscles, but also helps to keep your arms stretched.

5.  Tricep Bench Dips:  Using the bench (or chair) you've used in the above exercises, set your hands on the bench holding your body over the ground.  Your gets are straight out in front of you while your feet may rest either on the ground for beginners or on another bench for stronger weight lifters.  Using your arms, lower your body to just above the ground and then return up to the starting position.  This works the tricep muscles.

6.  Pull-Down Triceps:  Using a pulley system, hold the bar as a position where your elbows are at your sides (upper arm should be vertical).  Pull down on the bar with your tricep.

7.  Vertical Overhead Lat:  Using the same pulley as above, hold the bar with your arms straight.  Pull the bar down until your arms are vertical (hands pointing down to your feet).  

Reps & Weights:
Warm up: 1 mile on an elliptical (raises your heart rate, readying your body for physical activity)
1.  Dumbbell Press (10 reps with 50lbs/arm)
2.  Bicep Curls (10 reps with 25lbs)
.....** Repeat 1 & 2 for a full three sets

3.  Gravity Rower (10 reps with 45lbs)
4.  Horizontal Overhead Lat (12 reps with 35lbs)
5.  Trecip Bench Dips (20 reps)
.....** Repeat 3-5 for a full three sets

6.  Pull-Down Triceps (10 reps with 40lbs)
7.  Vertical Overhead Lats (5 reps with 60lbs)
.....** Repeat 6 & 7 for a full three sets

It felt great to be working out again, though this is certainly more the strength training than endurance training, which will take some getting used to.  Today I took it easy; I chose reps and weights that I felt were not "easy" but still able to be completed in full.  Once my body gets used to the weight training, the goal will be to maintain a rep/weight that I am unable to complete three sets of.  Once I manage to complete the three sets, it's time to up the weights (strength training advantage) or the reps (endurance training advantage).

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