Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Working Out My Workouts

Today was my first day back to work after a straight 6 days off. Man it's hard to get back into the swing of things! I had planned on upper body and spin today, by the end of the day, however, I was starting to think it'd be a rest day for me. I did manage to get into my workout clothes and tried Shock Cardio Hiit 40/20. It says it's 29 minutes, but it's really more like 24 minutes of cardio. Awesome calorie burn for the time though. My heart rate was in the 170's at some points. If you're looking for a short, super intense workout, this one is it. I imagine the other two workouts on the DVD are just as intense. Feeling more energized, I did another round of pyramids f or total upper body.

I must admit that I feel like I have been all over the place with my weights lately. In an attempt to combat boredom and to shake things up, I have been doing weights sans DVDs. I feel like my workouts have been more productive, however, I feel that I have no real schedule rotation in place. This is starting to stress me out a little. This is also why I have relied so heavily on rotations that I have found on Cathe's forum and using her DVDs.

Now I feel like I've hit some sort of weight lifting wall. Not making any gains at this point. I have definitely lost definition in my legs (but by golly I can fit into skinny jeans!). Just not sure what to do now.

A forum friend did send me an 8-week rotation that she used, based on at total-body training method by Chad Waterbury. I will admit that it is very appealing. However, I am not sure how to fit in some of the cardio that I enjoy (like spin) when legs are done with each workout. Ouch. Also, some of the suggested exercises (like decline bench presses) scare the crap out of me. I will have to do some of the exercises at the gym for certain because I don't have a proper weight bench or squat rack. So that takes me back to the "looking like an idiot" fear. I can handle dumbbells, got that one under control, but squat racks and other such contraptions...uh oh.

Here's a very general overview (see the full article for complete details of course)

The How
Exercises per Session: 6
Sets per Muscle Group: 2-4
Reps per Exercise: 5-18
Rest between sets for the same muscle group: 60-120 seconds, and 120-240 seconds (antagonist training)

The Why
The first thing you probably notice with the above parameters is variance. This is the key to your consistent hypertrophy success. A lack of variance is the single biggest reason why trainees aren’t still talking about the continuous progress they received from some of the most popular hypertrophy programs. Without consistent change, results will be anything but consistent.

The Explanation
1) Weeks 1,3,5 and 7 are to be performed with straight sets. In other words, perform one set of the first exercise, rest, perform your second set, and continue for all the recommended sets before moving on to the next exercise.

2) Weeks 2,4,6 and 8 are to be performed as antagonist training. Every session consists of six exercises so antagonist training is simple; all you have to do is perform three antagonist exercise groupings during each workout. For instance, perform quads/hams, chest/back, and biceps/triceps exercise pairings for the recommended sets and reps.

Example: Do one set for chest, then one for back, then another for chest, etc. Then move on to the next pairing, like quads/hams or biceps/triceps.

3) Choose four exercises under the list of compound exercises. Choose two exercises under the single-joint exercise list. Don't leave out any major muscle groups.

4) Constantly rotate exercises from each category. In other words, don’t always start your session with a chest/back pairing. You must keep rotating the body parts and exercises you begin each session with.

5) Don’t perform the same exercise for more than two weeks in a row. For example, if you performed a flat barbell bench press as your chest exercise for Weeks 1 and 2, you must switch to either incline, decline or dumbbell bench presses for another two weeks before switching again.

6) Increase the load 1.25 to 2.5% with each subsequent workout.

7) Perform all three workouts within a seven-day timeframe with 48-72 hours rest between workouts.

8) Be creative! I’m giving you endless options. Just be sure to pick four compound exercises and two single-joint exercises with each session. You can rotate exercises as much as you desire. All you have to do is follow the prescribed parameters.