Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gym Happy! =)

Whew! It has been a long time since I posted. A lot of different topics to write about have come into my mind and then filtered back out like wisps. That’s the strongest “dislike” I have about not being a daily blogger anymore. I’m blogging tonight mainly because it relaxes me. Why relax? Tomorrow I have to drive 2 hours, sit for a 4 hour exam that will make, break, or be a neutral factor in my admission or lack thereof to graduate school and then drive 2 hours back home.

I’ve put my time into studying so I took the weekend to prepare myself in the best way possible: doing the things I love most with those I love most. My son, my boyfriend and I made our own pizza last night and it was delectable. I’ve made pizza dough from scratch in the past, but we took the easy route and bought a bag of whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe’s. Consider this a five star endorsement of that dough! I was in charge of proofing and stretching the dough, Rich was in charge of the sauce spreading, Charlie was in charge of the cheese sprinkling, and we all topped it. Yum =)

Rich and I got in a solid workout yesterday that my abs are still very sore from (2 person abs exercises kick the butt of most self-administered ones. I wish I had a workout partner on weekdays too =) Today all three of us hit the gym and I met one of my current goals! I got my one rep bench press max up to 135 pounds. That’s 96% of my bodyweight, awesome! I did 4 reps at 115 lbs just prior or I *might* have been able to bench my bodyweight. I want to get strong enough to do a set at 135 lbs for 6-8 reps. Then we switched and I spotted Rich for 2 reps at 305 pounds. That’s 149% of his bodyweight. Sure, he has testosterone on his side and he has been doing this for A LOT longer than I have (about 15 years longer despite only being 2 years older), but I’m can’t resist feeling proud of him. When you lift with your boyfriend, girlfriend, son, daughter, friend, husband, wife, etc. you can sponge a secondary endorphin high off of their lifts just by feeling pride in what someone you love has trained themselves to be capable of. I feel really blessed to be with someone who loves this hobby / lifestyle as much as I do. Beyond that, I feel very blessed to see my son influenced by this hobby of ours. He smiles when he talks about going to the gym, as do I =)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Triceratops! aka Triceps are Tops!

I’ve been doing a three day split this last week. Saturday was chest, triceps, and abs, Sunday was off, Monday was legs and glutes, Tuesday was shoulders, back, and biceps, and today was back to chest, triceps, and abs. Are you detecting a pattern here? =)

I’m not biased when it comes to grouping body parts, so next week I might do chest and back together and biceps, triceps and shoulders together with abs on leg day. You get the idea. You can change it up a 3 day split invariably. Beyond that combination you can change up what you’re doing to work each muscle group invariably. This will keep your body guessing and your muscles growing.

Triceps really exemplify the variety principle. They’re the one muscle I don’t find myself getting bored with =) I’m a big fan of various triceps moves you can do on a cable station: rope pushdowns, a single arm variation of the former, straight bar pushdowns, single arm with a D handle, dips on the assisted pull-up machine. There are more, but those come to mind at the moment. There are various machines that hit your triceps, although personally I’m not a big fan of machine weights for biceps, triceps, or abs, but I’ll mix in some for chest, back, shoulders, and legs. To each their own =) When it comes to triceps I’m a big free weights fan.

Today I managed chest, triceps, and abs as follows:


15 minutes Stepmill
Triple Set repeated three times with no rest:
20 dumbbell pushups
30 medicine ball wood chopper squats
40 second side planks – 1 each side

2)Flat Bench Press in a Smith Machine
(best substitute if your BF is unavailable to spot you ;)
Set 1: 75 lbs x 12 reps
Set 2: 95 lbs x 7 reps
Set 3: 95 lbs x 6 reps
Set 4: 85 lbs x 8 reps

My bench weight is not something I’m a fan of disclosing. It’s embarrassing! I’ve just started doing chest 2x week instead of only 1x. That and always including classic bench should help me build up my numbers. I’ve made a bad habit of subbing dumbbell benching too often. DB benching should ideally be used to augment classic bench, not replace it. My goal is to be able to bench 135 lbs on a free bench (not smith). Why that number? So I can have a 45 lb plate on each side and consequently actually look semi-buff. No, really. That’s my reason! =)

3)Triceps Time! Circuit Style
– circuit repeated 3 times
1. Overhead Triceps Extension – 20 lb DB (sometimes I do 25, as in the video, but I’m not always feeling strong enough) x 8-10 reps
2. DB Triceps Kickbacks – 15 lb DB x 10-12 reps each arm
3. Skull Crushers – 30 lb BB x 10-12 reps
4. Bench Dips with Plates (45 lbs + body weight) x 8-12 reps
5. Single Arm Overhead Triceps Extensions – 10 lb DB to failure 4-5.5 reps per arm per set today)

The skull crushers aren’t a regular part of my routine. I used to do them a lot as they’re a primary move in most Body Pump triceps tracks, but I’ve done them little since I took up with free weights. I’m doing them now to shake things up a bit. Kickbacks make my triceps feel really swollen in a good way; they seem to pump blood in most effectively and make the skin feel really tight. The extensions are a classic standby and the bench dips with plates are my favorite because they’re fun. I also love doing the same move, no plates, just body weight. That way you can go to failure which always puts a smile on my face. I just love it when a muscle gets stuck at a half rep and you literally can’t budge it without an assist from your other arm, another person, or just quitting at the partial rep. That’s why I do single arm overhead extensions to finish the 5 exercise set. My triceps always fail early at that point and it is easy to take down the little 10 lb DB with your free arm when the active arm gets stuck =)

4)Abs Circuit – repeated 3 times

1. Shoulder Crunches x 30 reps
2. Reverse Vertical Leg Crunches x 15, 15, 25 reps
3. Mini Crunches x 15 reps


20 min Elliptical

I don’t know what will be up next, but I think I will make a point of doing a video for each muscle and a corresponding post. In case you were wondering from tonight’s video…..yes I belong to 3 gyms. If you’re thinking of pointing out my gym “problem” it’s a little late, everyone already knows about that =)