Friday, March 25, 2011

Hit the gym after work? Not really feeling it today...

I forgot my musing thought for today. :( I think it had to do with women and working out, but what exactly? Next time...

Thursday night workout: Primarily back/(biceps)
Ah. I forgot to mention most of my past workouts since October have incorporated jump rope. Helps warm me up and help in maintaining a lower body weight. More on this another time.

Knocked out 12 overhand pull-ups to start and deemed that too easy, so today I did weighted overhand grip pull-ups to kick off things... grabbed my dip belt and a 25# plate. Much more difficult, as I had been more accustomed to neutral grip weighted pull-ups. Training all grips sounds important, though I'm trying to be better about working more of them in my routine.

-Weighted pull-ups - 3 sets, 5 reps/25#
-Back extensions! 3 sets 15/25#
-Hang clean - 4 sets, up to 115x3
-Deadlift (conventional) with mini bands -because I didn't feel like busting out the big weight today, 3 sets... 165x3 for two sets
-Good mornings?! This is a new one for me, but I got some really good hamstring activation with these. Still learning, so lighter weight. 4 sets, up to 50x8
-Incline curl - 3 sets, up to 25x5
-Face pulls - also a new one, but I would like more lower trapezius fibers, rhomboids and rear deltoid... I'll devote more time to these next time so it's not at the end of the workout. 2 sets, 30x10 35x10 testing.

Tried various concentrated curls and bar curls in an attempt to feel a stronger contraction in my inner bicep head. Failed miserably, but we'll see how sore I am tomorrow.

People watching at the gym; greatest leg day in awhile... some technicalities.

I'd like to say that I focus solely on my workout and nothing else... but really, not true at all. There are days at the gym where I find myself wandering around and questioning things I see. For example, there were three young guys at the T-Bar row, taking turns. I swear, ever since I started having back pain, I keep thinking back to the glorious time when I didn't have it... and then I see the craptastic form of these people crazily rounding their low backs just trying to get a couple plates up. Maybe they don't know any better, maybe they don't care, it could be a lot of things. I really just had to look away before something happened... I think about that while I'm working at the gym as well.

The other wonderful pair of people I stalked between sets would be the buff guy with lifting straps and his lady... with lifting straps (at the Smith Machine, no less.) Really? I want to walk up to the girl and say, "Don't use those... You want to get stronger? Ditch them 'till you need them and just grip your weight in your hands. If you can't hold it, it's obviously too heavy for you." Way for that guy to instill bad habits early on. I DO have straps, but I can honestly say that they are seldom used. Maybe just for very maximal sets on deadlifts or for training myself to get used to holding 100lb. dumbbells, but that's about it. They have their place, as I now believe with most additional equipment, but I feel like it's important to have established grip strength in the first place.

Yesterday's (as in Wednesday's) workout: Legs
Squats... learning from my videos from last week, I tried to make my whole movement fluid instead of with an obvious "sticking point." Tried to place the bar slightly lower than I'm used to on my back - it's just below what I feel is my natural groove. However on one of the videos, the bar really looks too high! =/ Definitely trial and error here, but I need to not mess around with my maximal weights if I'm just adjusting form. The big Korean guy I saw squatting 455 all the way down last week was impressed at my squat, yay, haha! He offered a tip of his to widen my grip on the barbell. "More power," he says with a heavy accent. I tried that (ring finger at the edge of the knurling), but despite feeling somewhat more stable overall, it's very different from what I'm used to... combined with the fact that I'm also not used to keeping the bar as low as I did, I think I need to give it another go. Next time - try combo of normal resting place on the bar, "wide" grip.

-Squat (back squat) - 6 sets, up to 185x5 last two sets. Knee sleeves used.
-OHSQ Squat (barbell overhead) - 3 sets, up to 100x5. These are awesome for my middle back, woo hoo!
-Pull through with cable - 4 sets, up to 150x10. I think I need to add weight to the stack? Hmmm...
-Romanian DL (Deadlift) - 5 sets, up to 145x5 and 145x4.
-Hanging Leg Raises - 4 sets x10 reps
-Random pullups 3 sets x5 reps
-Jackknife V-Ups on the bench 1 set x30 reps

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Finally got the blog up and running!

Hello there, and welcome to my blog!

I intend to use this as a personal outlet to track things about myself, my training and adventures in the fitness world... plus anything else I can think of. I've been meaning to use an online journal (again) for the longest time, but only recently have I decided to put my thoughts out on the web. It doesn't matter if anyone else reads this, but I was inspired to put down some thoughts since I read numerous sites and forums, and so that I don't keep running the same, tired topics with my boyfriend. Online forums are fun to browse through, but it's not a sufficient outlet for me when I want to rant on my own. I'm not used to writing like this, but I thought it would be fun for myself.

Last night, I decided to look for a possible powerlifting meet to compete in the future, and I found one - the Quad City Power-Palooza meet in Moline, IL on August 27, 2011. Five months prep to heal up and try to break some personal bests? Do-able. Am I going to compete? Not completely sure yet, but I'd been slacking lately. Sometimes I have a bad day keeping my energy levels up, or I had a late night and hardly any sleep... Sure, that's attributed to some poor sleep planning, but other days I'm just missing that inspiration. Watching random videos and talking about working out might get me wanting to hit the gym and do my body good.

Today though, I had to draw on some other kind of focus. Life isn't terrible for me, but certain things can bring me down pretty quick. I've wanted to become physically strong- really strong- for as long as I could remember. Why? I grew up playing with my brothers, and can be described as "tomboyish," though more of my feminine qualities shine from time to time. It probably stems from my competitive nature, but I believe that the strong survive; strong of body, mind, and heart. At the very least, I want to be physically strong enough to help others, especially those I keep close. I feel passionate about my lifting because it really, really feels like something  I am good at, and that feeling is currently lacking in other parts of my life.

I look to draw my inspiration from wanting to perform well at that meet, as well as increase my overall strength. I hope that even if I don't go through with competing in August, I can maintain a productive routine for myself.


4:55AM. On a different day, I would be on my way south to workout with Abigail, but here I am, starting my new blog... I have to write something about my workout last night at least! I track my stats with GymBuddy on my iPod while I'm at the gym, but I don't put down much feedback besides my sets/reps, exercises, and minor comments in the app. At least I've disciplined myself to tracking my work and backing up the database! It's pretty cool to see my logs from months ago compared to now... plus, you have to figure out if you're progressing or not, right?

A personal goal for myself - Get better at organizing workouts! I have a bad habit of thinking about a general group of muscles for the day (typical chest/triceps/shoulders, back/biceps, legs breakdown) and using it as an outline... a very, very rough outline. BAD! In the words of Alton Brown, "Organization will set you free!!" At least the exercises are grouped into the general muscle groups...

It's a bit late so I'm going to make this brief.

Workout for tonight included:
-Barbell bench pressing in the power cage (inspired by wanting to train for the meet), wrist wraps for last sets up to 130#(pounds)
-Overhead barbell squat (OHSQ) up to 95x5x2 (weight/reps/sets) ...or 5x2/95 (sets/reps/weight)-"T" Pushups
-Flat dumbbell benching x3 sets, up to 65# with wraps (felt like I could use the stability today)
-Dips with 50# weight, last set supersetted unweighted
-Shoulder press DB one arm Arnold-style
-Anterior DB raise, left arm only. Seems like after the dips, I noticed that my left arm wasn't getting nearly as pumped in the front, and the tricep doesn't seem to activate quite as well as the right...
-Hanging leg raises, legs slightly bent
-Twist with DB on stability ball, two sets only, mentally burned out.