Damn it was cold on Sunday.  And windy, too; especially on the upper deck of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.  Not much of a problem, though, if you dress properly.  Now, I may not be (OK, I’m quite sure I’m not) the most fashionable guy around, but I damn well know how to keep my narrow ass warm when it’s cold and windy out.  I’m including the picture Meesus TTP took of me prior to my heading out for Sunday’s bout of fixie huckin’ and stadium fun.   Yeah, yeah — go ahead and yuck it up — my so-called facebook “friends” are doing so as well.  Might as well join them in their cheap thrills.

“Rico Suave” strikes a pose, just prior to a 2-mile interval sprint on his beloved fixie.

Fashion optional
Fashion optional

Anyway, once at the stadium, I proceeded with the following:

* Ramp sprints (approximately 7 x 35 meters, @ a 5% incline?), to the top deck. I’m not sure of the standard incline for a ramp of this nature. Any structural engineers out there?

Then,

  1. Dual-leg hops (3 steps/hop.  13 “hops”/round).  Think standing broad jump, here — clearing 3 steps every jump.  Also think hot steps, i.e., limit “reset” time between jumps.
  2. Decline ballistic push-ups x 10 reps, in a “push-up vert.” fashion, i.e., feet and hands clear the platform on every rep, attempting to get “max air” each rep.  Each “catch” was “stuck” in the down position.  One second hold/re-stabilization in the catch position between reps.

I completed seven rounds of that.  I have no idea how long it took, but I allowed myself a full recovery between each round.

41 steps of the upper deck
41 steps of the upper deck. Nice, steep incline.
The remains of a season
The remains of a Bowl-bid season. Memphis, here we come!
In the Reflection of the Murphy Center
In the Reflection of the Murphy Center
TTP's GPA booster
TTP's GPA booster?

And a Fast …

Also of interest were my eating patterns over the weekend.  I ate dinner Friday night at approximately 8 PM.  Saturday I chowed-down at 3 PM and 8PM, and then not again until Sunday at 8 PM.  I did not consciously alter the amount I took in at any one meal, but ate, as is my usual, until pleasantly satiated, and no more.  Notice that my stadium run came amidst the 24-hour fast, and that I did not eat, post-run, until 8 PM that night.  Again, I did not deviate from the amount (nor the make-up of) what I normally eat at a given sitting.  I suffered no real hunger pangs either — even in those hours following the workout — though, I did keep myself very busy during the post-run period, and this may have “kept my mind off of it”, so to speak.

Fast-Forward to Tuesday morning ~

I wanted to hold-off posting this until today, so as to make sure I was able to include this morning’s workout.  Now, take notice, if you will, of the contrast between this weight session and Sunday’s bike/stadium workout.  I like to mix things up as much as I can until I identify what I think might be a weakness.  At that point, I’ll put more steady emphasis on the “weak-link” modality, ramping-up the direct targeting (increasing the frequency) of workout “hits” on that modality until it has, in my mind, been brought back in line with the whole.  I’m not really emphasizing any one modality at the moment, but if I’m true to form, something — some kink in the armor, if you will — will crop up soon.  It may be overall speed, it may be overall power or strength, for example.  And this can be tough to decipher without a coach or other such impartial input.  You’ve got to really know yourself and be honest with yourself about your shortcomings.  It is so very easy to default to your strength (or to what is routine) — especially in the wee hours of the morning, when the absolute last thing you want to do is think.  Just something to keep in mind as you assess your own workouts.

This workout was as tough as they come for a weight session:

  1. Front Push-Press.  Emphasis on max strength, i.e., some of these reps were “grinders”,  x2’s
  2. Regular-Grip Pull-ups, x 4’s.  Same emphasis on max strength
  3. Glute-Ham Raise with slow eccentric (fast as possible concentric, ~5 sec eccentric) x 3’s

3 rounds, at working weight.  Then,

Front Push Press, 5 singles (long, rest-pause fashion), followed by another round (at the same weights) of #2 and 3 above.  Then,

3 sets of 7, of reverse incline push-ups on a pair of Swiss balls (get your mind out of the gutter).  Picture this: lay in an upright plank, with your spine/shoulder blades set in the valley created by a pair of Swiss balls set side-by-side.  Your arms will be positioned as if you were going to do a set of incline dumbbell preses.  Now, instead of pressing up, contract your arms back toward, and into, the Swiss balls, thereby raising yourself (and,specifically, your chest) up a little higher, then hold for a three-count or so.   The same exercise can be done by sitting backwards on a Pec-Deck machine, but I prefer the added instability aspect of doing this on Swiss balls.  Now the bigger question is why do such an exercise? Well, in short, I’ve felt a tad bit of an imbalance in my shoulder girdle and, looking back over my notes, I see that I’ve neglected my rear deltoids region just a bit.  This is a swing at trying to fix that perceived imbalance.  We’ll track it and see what, if any, improvement comes from a few sessions worth of this exercise.  Then we’ll re-assess and go on from there.  This “game” is all about continual improvement.

In Health,

Keith

14 COMMENTS

    • Sure, Bryce —
      “Rest-pause” is a method by which you perform one full rep, rack the weight, rest ~3-5seconds, then perform another rep…until your reach your desired total. I chose to go at about 90% of my max, here (after the earlier sets), so I was only able to squeeze out 5 reps. Sometimes I’ll choose a weight that will allow me to get up to 20 or so reps. I really like this method, but, as I’m sure you’ll see, it does work better with some exercises than with others. I’ve never had much success using this method on the squat variations because that movement (and maybe it’s just me) requires a little more “set-up” after un-racking the weight, thereby making it impractical to repeatedly rack & un-rack the weight. Art DeVany employs a version of this method. Also, you can search for the Dog S*&% (not kidding) method of training. Stupid name, great method for gaining strength & hypertrophy.

  1. How did you notice a shoulder girdle imbalance?

    In the Tuesday workout, were going for a push/pull sequence – and why the glute-ham raises added in? Just trying to get a little more insight.

    My next challenge is figuring out how to put some exercises together. I like the WSFL idea of a strength move (concentrating on the push-press, squat and deadlift) coupled with a metcon circuit or two or some supersets.

    Thanks.

    • AT22,

      How did you notice a shoulder girdle imbalance?

      A nagging “pain” developed in the area surrounding my left rotator cuff. I say “pain”, in quotes because it was not a “show stopper” per se, but something more like what a slightly strained/overtrained joint might feel like. Experience has taught me that this usually occurs when one muscle “over-powers” (can’t think of a better term at the moment) another in the affected joint’s proximity — classic muscle imbalance. I also know from experience that , just due to the nature of my workouts, that I neglect my rear deltoids (and to some extent, my rhomboids).

      In the Tuesday workout, were going for a push/pull sequence – and why the glute-ham raises added in? Just trying to get a little more insight.

      The push-press is actually as much a hip extension exercise (if done correctly and with adequate weight) as it is a “shoulder” exercise — and probably more so. In the “push” part of the exercise, the weight is thrown, via action of a forceful hip extension, to just above head level. Then, in a seamless fashion, the weight is pressed to lockout. Think of the GHR as the “pull” companion to the hip extension portion of the push-press. It’s not a perfect antagonist, but it’s close enough for my purposes and time contraints.

      My next challenge is figuring out how to put some exercises together. I like the WSFL idea of a strength move (concentrating on the push-press, squat and deadlift) coupled with a metcon circuit or two or some supersets.

      Sounds like a good place to start. Keep tabs on your progress so as to ensure you don’t drift into an overtrained state. It’s easy to do, especially when you’re eager for results. Enthusiasm is a fantastic gift. Just be sure to temper it with listening to your body. Personally, I would pair strength and power modalities together and leave the Metcon circuit(s) for a dedicated workout. But that’s really getting down to splitting hairs. My thought is, though, that if you’ve got the reserve to to a Metcon circuit following a strength and/or power session, you couldn’t have really gone all-out on the former. Does that make sense?

  2. That does make sense. Would you focus on one strength/power move – if you were me, not you – per session or go ahead and combine one or two (say a push/pull) per session?

    • I’d say that you’d do well to start with 1 or 2 push/pull pairings (4 total exercises). I wouldn’t exceed, say, 6 or 7 total push/pull sets. And you might want to ease into it by choosing weights that will allow you to perform in the 5 -6 rep range for each exercise. Now, I’m assuming that you’ve been at this a while already, and so you know what it feels like to push yourself pretty hard. Don’t leave the gym exhausted, but you should definitely feel like you’ve pushed it. The thought of immediately following up this session with a Metcon circuit should at least make you shudder 😉 Attempt to perform each concentric portion of the lift as fast as possible (that doesn’t mean the weight will actually move fast, just that the effort to do so is there), but avoid any “grind it out” reps — for now. Nice and controlled on the eccentrics. Next workout do a Metcon circuit or two (or sprint) — same thing here as far as effort — whatever modality you choose to do, do it will all of your day’s effort. That’s how you get the most bang for your workout buck. Next workout after that, do a power movement, followed by another push/pull pairing, like before (for example, tomorrow I’m doing DB snatches, followed by a db floor press/db row push/pull). Keep it mixed like that for a while. Your likes and dislikes will begin to appear and you can then adjust appropriately. And identify what your true goals are. There’s a world of difference in training methods (and lots of room for gray) between “healthy & fit” and fitness competitor. And remember — you don’t have to be perfect right out of the gate. Think “continuous improvement”. I still think that way.

  3. I definitely will get more “bang” out of separate strength and metcon circuits. The WSFL program is designed to exhaust you on the strength days – it’s based on the whole EPOC/raise metabolism theory (which I don’t totally buy – us skeptics 🙂 Anyway, I’ll give it a shot in the coming weeks and keep you updated.

    By the way, the diet portion is going great. Your tweaks of my understanding have done wonders. I’ll post when I can catch my breath!

    • Dive right in, AT22, then let me know if you have any questions/concerns/comments and we’ll see if we can get them hashed-out. Keep in mind that for every situation, there is an optimal >>best>>better>>adequate solution, defendant upon your overall goal and your given resources.

      Stay strong & focused, AT22! And keep us updated on your progress 🙂

  4. Keith,

    I gave the rest-pause method a shot for my press workouts (the one area I’m focusing on improving right now) and I wanted to know what you thought.

    3 sets (5 minutes between each set) of:
    7reps, 5reps, 3 reps, at 90%1rm, dropping and recleaning the bar between each single, doing each rep on the half minute.

    I followed this by a metcon circuit, which you can see here if you choose to: http://www.bjjbryce.blogspot.com

    thoughts?

    • Bryce,
      I’m currently working on a post that I think will more full address your question. I should have it ready in a few days, if I can get just a little bit of time to work on it.

      In short, though, kinda along the lines of what I advised AT22 to do, I’d advise you to keep your strength and power work separate from any metcom work. Give each day it’s own, and really push the modality you’re hitting that day. Ideally, at the end of a power and/or strength session, you shouldn’t have enough left in the tank for a metcon circuit. Give the metcon work its own day so you can pour everything you’ve got that day into it. Same for the other modalities. Now, let me say that there’s nothing inherently “wrong” with what you’re doing in this example — and it may be that given your circumstances this is the best fit for you. I’m just saying that it could be better. Optimum>>best>>better>>adequate. Optimum would be to give each and every modality its own workout. Adequate would be just to shotgun whatever you can think of in each workout. Does that make sense? If not, maybe I’ll better explain it in the upcoming post.

  5. Keith

    Though I’m looking forward to the post, I absolutely know what you mean. The problem is it is very difficult to combine multiple strength elements together in a workout for me. Mixing Squats w/ weighted pullups w/ presses is usually impossible for me, because the gym on my ship (Navy) is always very crowded, and working through three pieces of equipment isn’t feasible. Normally I’ll dedicate a whole session to deadlifts, squats, weighted pullups, etc. However, after the heavy presses, because shoulders are a pretty small muscle group, I can tax the hell out of them and still have a lot left. This is the only lift that I follow with a light metcon circuit (usually).

    Thanks much and i look forward to your post on this.

    -Bryce

    • Hey, what ship are you on? I was on the South Carolina and the George Washington. I got out in ’93. Anyway, so I definitely know what it’s like to try to workout in the ships gym.

    • Hey, Bryce —

      I was a nuke ET. I left the navy in ’93 and went to work for a pharmaceutical company here in Greenville, NC.

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