Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Change Up

Today I was reading about the benefits and downsides of treadmill running when I got reminded (yet again) about the necessity to keep changing your workout around.  The general advice is to change your workout every so often in order to keep your body from getting used to it.  As many people know, if you do one thing for awhile, your body adapts and you have to do it a TON more to get the same result.  This is why things like the concept of "muscle confusion" in P90X and elsewhere came about; workouts revolving around the idea of always doing different exercises to target one or multiple regions of the body.

One thing I have been noticing is that I feel less sore the morning after (or even immediately after) a workout).  This kind of made me think that I need to change things up a bit.  Therefore, today I threw in a few new exercises that I've been meaning to try.

New Exercise(s):
1.  Squats:  These are quite straight forward.  Generic squats can be done without weights.  Start in a standing position and squat down to a position similar to the motion of sitting down, but keep yourself balanced.  The lower you go, the more work your legs do.  This exercise uses many muscles in your legs included your quadraceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes.  Many people will do this with weights the bar used for free weight bench presses. 

2.  Side Pulley Lats:  This exercise uses a pulley system with the handles set at a level equal or above your head.  I use two systems, one for each arm.  I start with my arms pulled out to opposite sides, generally perpendicular to my body.  You will finish with your arms down at your sides.  The idea of this exercise is to pull down on the pulleys without bending your elbows and keeping as much to your side as possible; don't pull your hands in front of your body or the exercise will begin to rely more heavily on your shoulders and pectoral muscles.  The correct position will rely heavily on your lats and a good amount on the pectorals as well.

3.  Pulley Bicep Curls:  Using the same pulley system, turn your palms so they are facing up in the starting position.  From here, do a bicep curl while keeping your upper arm perpendicular to your body.  Do your best not to allow your elbows to move forward; this will allow you to use your pectorals instead of solely the bicep.

4.  Recline Bench Press:  Much like an incline bench press which is done at an incline with your head above your feet, the reclined bench press is the opposite incline; your head is now below your feet.  This change of position allows you to work your lower pectoral muscles.  As a general rule, the further you move from a reclined bench press to a miltary press, the highter the muscle focus goes as well (lower pecs up to shoulders).

Today's Workout:
1.  Warm-Up:  Elliptical - 1.0 mile forward, 0.2 miles reverse, 0.2 forward, 0.1 reverse)
2.  Dumbbell Press (3 sets of 10/7/7 with 60lb/arm)
3.  Squats (3 sets of 10 with 90lb + the bar)
4.  Side Lifts (3 sets of 10 with 25lb)
5.  Treadmill (0.2 miles [4.0], 1.0 mile [7.0-9.0], 0.1 [4.0], 0.1 [10.0], 0.1 [4.0])
6.  Side Pulley Lats (10 reps with 50lbs/arm)
7.  Pulley Bicep Curls (10 reps with 40lbs/arm)
...Repeat #6 and 7 for a total of three sets

8.  Vertical Calf Lifts (3 sets of 70/70/57 with 80lbs)
9.  Crunch Ups (3 sets of 10 sit-ups & 10 crunches)
10.  Side Plank Twists (2 sets of 15 reps on each side)
11.  Stretching
12.  Recline Bench Press (4 sets of 10 reps with 50/100/110/120lb)
13.  Vertical Straight Leg Lift (10 reps)
14.  Tricep Vertical Dip (10 reps)
15.  Pushup (10 reps)
...Repeat #13-15 for a total of 3 sets

Today I gave the four newly described exercises a try.  I was not a fan of the squats, but I believe that is due to weaker muscles.  I will stick to it to see if I can get better at it.  I've wanted to focus more on the lats, so the side pulley lats may stick around in one way or another.  The bicep pulley curl worked very well; I could feel the pull in my upper bicep even better than the seated bicep curl, so I bet that will be incorporated quickly.  The reclined bench press may take over for the dumbbell press for awhile as well, or at the least make an appearance in that place every other time.

I have an issue of finding myself locked into a specific workout because I like to see myself improve.  If I can do more reps this time than last, I automatically see an improvement.  If I keep switching exercises, it takes me longer to come back around to see any improvement.  I acknowledge, however, that I need to switch up the exercises when I stop getting the 'morning after' feeling (or simply need to up the intensity).  So I will try my best to incorporate these new exercises and change ups.

Until tomorrow, Ciao!

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