A seriously effective workout

Well, I wasn’t expecting this. Those four exercises yesterday are very effective, because I’ve got almost full-body DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) today. I even managed to get a fantastic ab workout without doing any ab-specific exercises.

So, what did I do?

  • Negative chin-ups
  • Underhand grip lat pulldowns
  • Barbell Split Squat
  • Push Ups

What hurts?

  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Abs
  • Pecs
  • Triceps
  • Lats
  • Bicep, slightly
  • Traps, slightly
  • Forearms (Brachioradialis?)

This actually reminds me a lot of Starting Strength; only 3 exercises each day, but a full body workout nonetheless.


End of Stage 5, and Stage 5 Awards!

I finished Stage 5 this morning and am quite pleased to have done so! Here are some thoughts on this stage now that I have properly finished it:

  • Workout 5a takes too damn long
  • The High Intensity Interval training remains in Workout 5b, and the weightlifting part is shorter, which makes this workout a more reasonable length
  • It is basically Stage 3 all over again, but with lower reps (yay!)

Things I did not do:

  • All the sets in Workout 5a (still too damn long without them)
  • YWTL (neck issues)
  • Swiss Ball Crunch (neck issues, subbed with side planks)
  • Prone Cobra/Supermans, most of the time (time issues, and you feel a bit retarded doing it. Yes, I’ll suffer for it later.)

I’ve decided to bring back the Workout Awards for this stage, because there are some exercises I feel strongly about!

Most Improved
Partial Single-Leg Squat

  • 16 June 2013: BW/4 reps
  • 15 July 2013: 25kg/4 reps

Least Improved
Reverse Wood Chop

  • 24 June 2013: 28lb/4reps
  • 11 July 2013: 28lb/4reps

New Favourite
Partial Single-Leg Squat

How’s this one for a butt workout? I really enjoyed pushing my limits on this exercise.

Least Favourite
Barbell Bent-Over Row

This one frustrated me the most because my forearm strength limited this lift. I didn’t feel like I got to work out the muscles the bent-over row is supposed to work out because the weight that I could hold wasn’t challenging enough.

Surprise Favourite
Reverse Crunch

I used to do these when I did boxing training, and really enjoyed them this time. Normally I am not big on ab exercises (Supermans? No thanks!) but this was a fun one – especially with legs straight out!

Impending end of Stage 5

Yesterday I did the last of the “Workout 5a”s, and on Monday I’ll finish Stage 5 for good! Hooray! In honesty, I should have finished today, but with my frustrating eternal sleepiness I took last Friday and Monday off from working out, and went back to the gym on Thursday. Feeling much better now.

So, I have a confession to make: I run out of time to do these workouts. I haven’t done a proper Body Weight Matrix in any of these workouts. I have cut out sets so I can have time to do the first BWM round, then had to go to work (late. Sigh.) The truth is, Stage 5A takes ages. Even with sets cut out and half the BWM, it takes me over 75 minutes.

I did manage to increase my weights on pretty much everything; my dumbbell snatch is now at 14kg/4reps (from 8kg at the beginning of the stage)! And my single-leg squat is at 20kg (from bodyweight). My forearm strength is affecting a lot of the lifts, and I feel like I would benefit more from using a barbell in many of the dumbbell exercises as a result. Bent-over rows are one exercise with no or little progress – mainly because my forearms give out. I tried out a supine grip this week and it was a little better.

Stage 6 will begin next Wednesday, and it sounds interesting – it trains us to do a chin up! Looking forward to it…

Stage 5b

I really enjoyed this workout when it was in Stage 3. Here in Stage 5, I think I prefer 5a, even with the bodyweight matrix. It starts off with Romanian Deadlift/Bent Over Rows. I love deadlifts, in all the variations I’ve tried, but I find rows to be one of the most boring lifts I’ve tried. I’m not a huge fan of the lateral and hip flexion moves either – I am probably not doing them quite right because they are not much of a challenge at all. To Google and Youtube!

However! I have been naughty… I’d never done back extensions before. There is no picture in the book so I didn’t actually know what the back extension machine looked like. I did Google it at home but there are weird similar machines at the gym so I didn’t know which was the real back extension machine. This morning I plucked up the courage to ask a trainer which one it was, and how to use it. I tried it with a 4kg medicine ball and got things working best holding it above my head. Only four reps, remember!

We’ll see how Stage 5 continues.

Measurements, June 2013

Before I start each stage I try to get myself measured to see how my body has changed. I always ask the same trainer at my gym, because I like her, and to also keep things as consistent as possible.

So, here are my measurements in November 2012, January 2013, March 2013, and June 2013 (today)…


And, as you can see, everything is pretty much identical. There have been slight variances of one or two centimetres, but it’s hard to say whether that is due to actual changes or simply being measured in a slightly different place to last time.

However, just because my measurements haven’t changed, it doesn’t mean my body hasn’t changed. As I was saying last week, what was once soft and jiggly is now becoming firm and strong.

I’ve also decreased my weight slightly, from 65kg in November and January, 64.4kg in March, to 63.7kg now. Not sure if this is a trend or just fortunate timing. Let’s hope it’s the former. Muscle may weigh more than fat, but 63.7kg is still a bit high for someone of my height!

Starting Stage 5

So, Stage 5 is Stage 3 all over again… Except with much lower reps, and one more set for each exercise. And can you believe it, having only 4 reps per set makes a huge difference. Higher weights seem more achieveable, and I feel more prepared to push myself. I was very pleased this morning to push my One-legged Romanian Deadlift to 10kg, and my Barbell Bent-Over Row to 25kg! I feel like I’ve gotten a good and challenging workout at last, something that I find difficult to do with even just eight reps.

And oh yes – the dreaded Bodyweight Matrix is back. It is still horrible but this time, after getting a bit stronger, it’s the slightest bit easier, and I finished one set in 4min 1sec. Woohoo!

I’ll check in about Stage 5b on Wednesday. Happy lifting!

Stage 4

Eek. I can’t believe I’ve finally made it past Stage 3! There is no Body Weight Matrix in this stage, but wait… This is all very familiar. Push presses… Bulgarian Split Squats… Various lunges… This is Stage 2 all over again.

I did Workout A2 today, and noticed some issues with my neck and quads again. Nothing serious… I just need to take it easier and work on form on the neck-affecting exercises, and let my left quad get over whatever it is (it makes lunges incredibly painful! Squats are okay though…) I really like the horizontal cable wood chop. I kind of want to have an adonis belt, and I’ve read that the twisting motion is the way to build up that area. It makes sense, right, when you see so many wakeboarders and snowboarders (apparently?) with them. Low fat helps with muscle visibility, too.

So, after my month of pretty much no exercise, I am really feeling the effects now. I’ve had DOMS for about four days straight – butt and upper hamstrings, to be precise. Stairs have been a challenge. Definitely an incentive to keep on track, if possible! I’ve reduced the amount of kcals, and don’t feel too bad – maybe a little tired. I probably won’t reduce them any more – I’m aiming for about 1800 on workout days, and 1500-1600 on non-workout days. Let’s see how it continues.