A macro shot of just one of the dandelions that has obliterated my lawn.

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My Current Weekly Workout - 2010

Steph's Custom Split Modified Push/Pull Full Body Workout

This workout took me roughly four months to figure out. I've been fumbling around with weights at the gym for more that 8 months without really knowing what I was doing. Sure, I made gains but not efficiently and that has always driven me nuts. I mean, the gym is OK, but I don't want to spend all day there if I can get away with just 60 or 90 minutes. So I studied up (love that Internet) and finally as of 4 weeks ago, I think I've got this thing figured out. I can't see any problem with it. As far as I'm concerned it's the perfect full-body workout for the unemployed 40 plus male, who loves cardio and belongs to a gym...

Mondays and Thursdays (push)


Pectorals and Triceps - The rotary machine I use is slightly different than what's pictured in the link. Whatever. Using a machine pretty much isolates the exercise to the pecs and triceps, which is exactly what I want because I don't want to be working out any of the muscles that I'll be working the following day. (biceps, back, etc...) Rotary Chest Press - 1 set, 8-12 reps @ 115 lbs.

Anterior Deltoid - I have a history of shoulder problems, so any military style presses are out for me. I have worked hard to come up with decent front, side, and rear delt exercises that don't aggravate my troublesome shoulders. This one has worked wonders for me. I can play squash again! Dumbbell Front Raise - 1 set, 8-12 reps @ 15 lbs per dumbbell.

Triceps - I do an isolation exercise here. I'm not sure if I'm overdoing the triceps or not. Considering I am only doing one set, that's got to be unlikely. In three months, I'll decide. Tricep Extensions - 1 set, 8-12 reps @ 70 lbs.

Lateral Deltoid - I've recently added this isolation exercise so that there is more time elapsed between the chest press and the pushups. It's also obviously great for working the side delts :-) Lever Lateral Raise - 1 set, 8-12 reps @ 80 lbs.

Rectus Abdominis - The crunches I like to do are only similar to the ones pictured in the link. With mine, I lie on my back and stick my legs up in the air crossed at the ankles and knees only slightly bent, so I am like the letter "L". Then I lightly touch my ears with my hands and I perform a crunch, hunching my back. When I straighten my back to get ready for the next one, I dip my legs towards the floor. So it's sort of like a crunch plus a leg raise. Crunches - 1 set, 50 reps. (at 60 reps I'll start adding plates behind my head so I'm not doing crunches all day long.)

Pectorals and Triceps - my all time favourite exercise. Such exquisite agony. The pecs are a big muscle so I start and finish my workout with them. Pushups - 2 sets, 30/20 reps

This weight training only takes somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes. So I'll finish the workout with 30 minutes on the elliptical.

Wednesdays (cardio)

On this day I am supposed to be resting everything I worked on Monday and Tuesday, so that pretty much confines me to leg-based cardio which luckily is almost all of the cardio machines in the gym. Typically I'll do 30 minutes of elliptical, 15 minutes of stairclimber, and 15 minutes of treadmill. Or if I can get a decent bike ride in on Wednesdays, I'll skip the gym altogether. Interestingly (to me,) though I love riding my bicycle, I can't stand riding stationary bikes in the gym.

My goal in cardio is to get between my target heart rate (144) and my maximum heart rate (177) and stay there for 30 minutes. I don't worry about all that "cardio zone", "fat burn zone" stuff. Those of you who have seen me at the gym can vouch for me as to whether or not I'm getting there, because I know I look pretty scary when I do cardio. I'm always red as hell in the face and sweating buckets. Then I forget where I am and start belting out the lyrics to NIN's Closer as I listen to it on my iPod...I guess that's my trademark. I'm sure it drives the ladies crazy with desire...

Tuesdays and Fridays (pull)


Lats and Biceps - Again, I'm using a Paramount PL model rotary machine but the motion is laregly the same as in the picture. This is a lot of weight for me so form is really important. It's a good exercise. I can usually feel it the next day. Rotary Upper Back - 1 set, 8-12 reps @ 130 lbs.

Posterior Deltoid - This is one of two unusual exercises I got from a physiotherapist to aid in my shoulder rehabilitation. There are other exercises for the rear delt but I do this one because it's what the physio told me to do. Besides, it's pretty easy. My way involves grabbing a cable and sticking my arm straight out in front of me. I then pull my arm straight out to my side (like I am signalling a left turn on my bike) and then return that arm so that it's straight out in front of me again. It's the same as a Dumbbell Rear Lateral Raise, but I am using a cable machine instead of a dumbbell, I am standing up straight, and I am alternating arms... Cable Rear Delt Pull - 1 set, 8-12 reps @ plate #4 (which I think is about 8.5 pounds? It's got to be more!)

Infraspinatus - Teres Minor - Another weird one from the physiotherapist, but it feels like it's doing some good. The way I do it, I'm standing. My elbow is tight against my side and my forearm is sticking straight out in front of me, holding a horizontal cable. I swing my forearm out (not as far as the person in the link photo) and back again, always keeping that elbow tight to my side. After I do this, I feel it under my arm at the back of my rib cage? It's another easy exercise I don't mind doing. - Lateral Shoulder Rotation - 1 set, 8-12 reps @ plate #4.

Trapezius - Man, shrugs are pure agony. What I do is 10 reps and hold each shrug for 10 seconds, with a five second rest in between each shrug. That in itself makes this exercise one of my most difficult, but an even bigger issue is that my "grip" is so tired by the time I'm half way through the shrug, my hands are in agony for the last half of the exercise. Every time. So much so that I've asked some trainers what to do and, since we don't have a shrug machine at my gym, I'm going to have to buy some straps and use them instead. These inexpensive straps wrap around your wrist and the bar and offload the stress of holding the dumbbell to your forearm. I'm looking forward to getting a set...Shrugs -1 set, 8-12 reps @ 50 lbs. per dumbbell.

Lats and Biceps - For this exercise I am using the oldest machine in the gym. It's this ancient plate machine. I'm not particular on what kind of bar I use either. I prefer a just more than shoulder width grip and pull down to my sternum - It's heavy weight so I watch my form closely... Cable Pulldown - 1 set, 8-12 reps @ 110 lbs.

Biceps - Ah, the classic newbie exercise. I say this because so many people want big biceps and figure the concentration curl is the best way to get there. My motives are a little different. I know I've already worked the crap out of my biceps by the time I get to this point in my workout; I just want to make sure those biceps are good and wrecked before I leave. I could drop this exercise and it would probably be to my benefit in terms of overtraining and recovery...Concentration Curls - 1 set, (barely) 8 reps @ 25 lbs. per dumbbell.

This weight training only takes somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes. So I'll finish the workout with 30 minutes on the rowing machine.

Notes

  • I'm a big proponent of Low-Volume, Progressive-Intensity Training. I do just one set of each exercise. Well, actually I do two: a warmup set at 1/2 the weight of my real set, then I do the real set. I do 10 reps on the warmup to warm up of course, but also to check my form.
  • I'm old, so I need to rest more. I used to do a three-day-a-week full-body training. I trained my entire upper body on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The problem I encountered was that with just one day off between the workouts, I was never fully recovered. Ideally, an old fart like me should have two or even three days rest between workouts. So, I've achieved this by working certain muscles on Mondays and Thursdays and their "opposites" on Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • Each rep is very slow. Take my curl. I typically do 3 seconds on the concentric (the curl), then I pause for 1 second, then 4 seconds on the eccentric (the let-down), then another 1 second pause. During the pause I take care to ensure that I am not in a resting position (like if my arm was fully extended.) In this way, the muscles are under constant load throughout the set. I also take care to ensure good form and eliminate "bounce" from my motion. It's called the "perfect rep" and I'm constantly surprised at how difficult it is to do. You'd think a bicep curl would be just about the easiest thing in the world to do, but on any given day I'll do only 7 or 8 decent curls out of 10...
  • I don't workout my legs. Honestly, this is probably a mistake. But I do ride my bicycle a lot and most of the cardio machines at my gym work the legs exclusively. So my legs look pretty good although I'm sure my hip abductors and rotators could use some attention...maybe in 3 months I'll integrate a little leg work in twice per week.
  • I keep a log. Man, that's so important if you are at all interested in making efficient use of your time at the gym. Plus, the act of recording in your log gives you something to do between the warmup set and the actual set. If you don't keep a log and you use too much weight, your form may suffer and you'll get injured. If you use little weight, your body does not have to adapt to an overload and you don't make gains. Plus, I'm a big believer that it's not the aches or fatigue that's the measure of a good workout, it's what you can see in your log. I use this shorthand log which make recording a snap. Some days, I don't have to write anything - but I've still kept the log!
  • Lastly, I know. Those weights are embarassingly low especially since it's only one set of each exercise. I don't know what to say except the slow motion really takes it's toll by the 7th rep. It could also be because I've been exercising for only about 10 months now. I had never really set foot in a gym until last May, so I didn't really have a lot of muscle to begin with, and gaining mass after forty is pretty hard to do. I console myself with the fact that I rate excellent for my age on the pushups calculator, so I can't be that weak...
My Current Weekly Workout - 2010

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