Pre Workout musings
After yesterday+s workout I actually wasn’t sure what I was going to do at the gym at today. After the 6-8 workout yesterday, all of my muscles, including the biceps, were sore. And if you are splita onlly kind of a lifter, I can tell you full body DOMS are way more interesting!
And today is an 8-10 day, not way easier and friendlier than yesterday!
I have to admit I was contemplating skipping today’s workout. Normally, how I felt today would be enough for me to do this. I am not the one to come up with excuses, but I am the one to listen to my body. Sometimes the body tells you the next workout will hinder more than help and you should listen.
However, life also needs to be coonsidered: if I skipped today, I’d also have to skip tomorrow and that would be 2 consecutive days off weights. And I had a rest day 2 days ago.
This adds up to too much rest, so the conclusion was simple: grit your teeth and get to the gym, regardless!
Now mind this is my conclusion due to the fact my body as suffering with DOMS only. If I had felt in any way sick or otherwise unwell, I’d interpret that as coming near over training and skipped the workout anyway. I always find it better to add extra rest day or two than to earn myself a few rest weeks down with a serious cold or injury due to battered immune system or weakened joints and tendons.
So on to…
Considering I felt not up to the challenge, I figured I would make my workout easier by pairing big muscles with smaller muscles (ie, chest and biceps), or distant muscles (ie, legs and back) rather than do my usual antagonist supersets.
Another idea that came to mind was to use more machines than free weights. This makes the workout a little easier, but also a lot safer when you’re exhausted.
The fact the gym was packed full of meat heads didn’t help my case. This meant I had to be doubly creative on the spot. Here’s what I did:
- Lat pull downs vs barbell press
- Cable row vs side lateral raises
- Incline bench press vs hack squat machine
- Hyperextensions vs barbell biceps curls
- Narrow grip bench press vs db curls
- Cable crossovers vs side cable curls
- Somewhere amongst all this, dumbbell triceps extensions as supplemental sets
This was a hard grind. Lat pull downs were at 60 kg, barbell presses 33 kg, incline bench at 50, hack squat pyramid 90-100- 100, barbell curls 22 kg, cable crossovers 2×25 kg, dumbbell curls with 12 kg dumbbells.
I was surprised at how strong I was and how quickly the pain went away during the workout. In fact everything recovered to full power but my legs. This, combined with a planned cycling trip for tomorrow, motivated me to go a bit easier on the legs and do Hyperextensions as the second legs exercise.
One thing I haven’t cleared out are “supplementary sets”. So this was an 8-10 workout, and as such it doesn’t require so much warming up and working up to as yesterday’s one did. However it does require some warm up, For example I didn’t just load 50 kg on an Incline barbell press and pumped out 3 sets of 8-10. Before that, I did a set of 12 with only 40 kg. I also worked up to my hack squat weight, etc. While doing supersets, warmups often mess with the set dynamics (ie, I do 2 warmups and 3 working sets of one exercise but only the 3 working sets of the other). In order to avoid building up unnecessary volume and possibly over training, but also unwilling to sacrifice the superset dynamics, I’ll use an unplanned supplementary movement. So if I’m doing exercises A and B in a superset, where A has a warmup and B doesn”t, this is what it will look like:
- Warmup A vs working B
- Warmup A vs working B
- Working A vs working B
- Working A vs C
- Working A vs C
Why do this instead of just pairing two exercises that need a warm up? Well, because when execusitng a workout in real life and in real time; it often happens you can’t do this due to equipment availability. So I use “exercise C” instead.
Depending of my mood, current goals and level of energy, exercise C might be a simple isolation movement, like today; a heavy energy consuming power exercise or an abs exercise. The only goal here is not to add volume where it’s not due. Since typically I do only 1 triceps specific exercise, so adding one more wasn’t a biggie, and since I was already well worked yesterday it didn”t consume too much of my energy and hinder the actual workout.
Another day well utilized. I am surprised at how well I did today, but I am also fully ready for a rest day tomorrow.