Striving for Strength and Consistency

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    #31
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    Hi guys and gals! More of my shenanigans in the weight room. Today was back day. Back day is possibly even harder than leg day, thanks to the magical deadlift.

    Baryl Thanks for the support, my American friend.

    Today's routine:
    Deadlifts: Maxed at 160 x 2 (I only did two sets. Didn't feel right doing more... More on that below)
    Underhand grip barbell rows: 4 x 5
    Machine one hand rows: 4 x 5
    Machine overhead rows: 4 x 5
    Close grip pull ups: 4 x 5

    I was supposed to do Strength Protocol Day 18, but I came home rather late from a DnD session last night. Tomorrow I'll take a break from the gym and do it.

    Going to wax thoughtful for a minute.

    It's important to seek help, if you need it. Experience is a tough teacher; I was self-taught for many years.

    For example, I don't really believe in doing sets to failure. I know, I know, strength protocol dictates that I do. I used to... I thought that by taxing myself in every set, I was pushing the limits of my muscles and making the most muscular gains I could (we'd call this hypertrophy). Even though I do have some bulk now, it's obvious that I'm too pudgy to be a bodybuilder. My strengths lay in being... well, strong. I competed in the bench press for a few years, and I found that my best gains were when I succeeded in my goals/lifts. If I didn't succeed in a lift, I stopped, and moved on to the next exercise. No harm, no foul.

    I'm personally big on perfecting the exercises individually before tackling the workout. I see many people at my gym hitting up the bench press or squat without really knowing how to do them. I see guys blast out three reps on the bench and need a spotter on the fourth. Then they just drop the exercise entirely. What's the point? Why not know your limits, work up to them, and/or follow the guidance of a program? It's obviously that nobody trained these guys, or that they didn't bother to learn.

    That's the beauty of this website. The guidance has been provided for you. Cocky as I was, I picked a few Level 4 workouts. Natch, I got my ass kicked, and humbled, tried some easier ones, and found my niche, working my way back up after working on my form and admitting I needed to improve.

    There's so much variety in the workouts that if you feel you've gone way too far, you can take a step back and try something different. It's like a fitness buffet, almost.

    Whew, that's a lot of verbiage for one post. I'll leave it there. Good night, and good luck, my fellow Bees!

    I was blasting this in my cans




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      #32
      A lot of us here interpret "to exhaustion" as something more like fatigue. If it is pushups then I will just choose a number and go somewhere near it.

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        #33
        CaptainCanuck What you're describing is sensible and productive. When I try a new exercise (like when I did burpees for the first time), I have to experiment and see how many will wind me. You described setting a target. I do the same thing for my weightlifting; set a number, and if I don't reach it, work up to it.

        What I was trying to say in my lengthy spiel was that it took me a long time to learn that training to failure is a lousy idea for strength lifting. I only succeeded when I achieved my goals rather than

        *120 x 5* OMG I hit my goal... Okay this was pretty hard, I've got nothing left in the tank, but lemme go heavier, try for five reps and see what happens!
        122.5 x 3 hurdeehur not done yet
        122.5 x 2 keep going
        122.5 x 2 must carry on
        122.5 x 1 can't... give... up
        122.5 x 0 mmkay just crushed my collarbone i ded

        And the kicker? You're going to try the same workout the next week and you won't be any stronger. It doesn't work. If it did, every powerlifting and olympic lifting athlete on the planet would train to failure.

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          #34
          I'm a bit late to the party but I love your style of writing and your little insights into your inner workings
          Keep it up

          And regarding 'to failure' I have this weird psychological problem that when I think at rep 2 'I probably can't go over 10 today' that's when my muscles magically give up. Always makes me wonder if I could go further if I'd picked a higher rep count for my defeatism

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            #35
            Nihopaloa Thank you so much! I think belief is definitely a part of it. There's probably some huge science to what our minds think when we're doing our reps... I've had many times where I started strong and then kerplut, so I know what you mean.

            Today was leg day. I expected to make GREAT GAINS (I want to make this a thing, like JOLLY COOPERATION and EVERY SINGLE DAY) but it didn't exactly happen? My squat did go up by 5 kg, and... yeah.

            Routine:
            Squats: Maxed at 107.5 x 5
            Leg Press: 4 x 5
            Barbell split squats: 4 x 5

            + Strength Protocol Days 18 and 19.

            I really have to incorporate calf work again! I know Hong Kong is hilly by nature, but I miss doing heavy calf raises. It's just a drag to have to lug a pile of 25 kg plates over to the Smith machine, rack them incrementally, and then unrack the stupid thing all over again. And for the next few days my thighs and my bum are going to feel pain. How long have I been enduring this nonsense again?

            Long days and pleasant nights to you, Bees!

            Today, I blasted


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              #36
              Ha, I knew what song that was just from the screenshot in the video. It was on one of the very first CDs I bought myself, many many years ago.

              How's work going with the Smith machine? On another fitness board I frequent I've read countless horror stories of that thing that sometimes end with people in wheelchairs

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                #37
                Nihopaloa Haha I'm a big fan of So Whatcha Want and stuff like Sabotage!

                I don't often use the Smith Machine, for many reasons. Racking it, or putting it back is risky unless you've made sure it's "safe" ahead of time (safety clamps). So using it is kind of limited to certain situations and exercises. Truth be told, using any form of barbell exercise is dangerous, even when you're careful and experienced.

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                  #38
                  Today was arm day! Everyone loves arm day! But... today just dragged oooonn.

                  I didn't really have a firm plan, and just tacked on exercise after exercise to blast my arms. So here's what my bizarre routine looked like.

                  EZ bar curls: 4x5
                  Close grip bench: 4x5
                  Preacher curls: 4x5
                  Dumbbell overhead extension: 4x8
                  Incline flat grip curls: 3x16
                  Rope extensions: 3x10
                  Hammer curls: 3 x 16

                  + Strength Protocol Day 20 at home

                  It was just too much. I did it all because I love working arms, but... overdoing it much?

                  While we're on the subject of arms, I'll add my two cents. I have no idea how people do these awesome transformations and get massive, chiseled arms (Chace Crawford, anyone?). It took me years of eating and lifting and my arms look... somewhat bigger than before? I see all these people trumpeting mAsSiVe aRmS workouts that get you results within _____ time period. A workout's good, but I'm assuming steroids, macros, and genetics help. /rantover

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                  I also went for a walk. It feels like I'm playing a human video game, what with dodging all the crowds. But I love walking the city streets.

                  Take care of yourself, Bees.

                  I lifted like a viking thanks to

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                    #39
                    I was thinking about steroids immediately when you mentioned arms and how others get those huge guns. From my experiences the shoulders often give it away (and the skin, roid acne is... something else). From the pics you've posted I'd genuinely say your arms look good so far. Definitely wouldn't go for steroids if I were you.

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                      #40
                      Nice picture. Looks to be a pretty city by my standards. I think some of the transformations are good cuts to low body fat percentages and good lighting to really provide definition. Genetics probably helps some and certainly steroids don't hurt in that regard (they obviously have some long term negatives so this isn't an endorsement). Short term though. Hard to keep that low body fat for too long. You are looking pretty defined though so keep up the good work. Slow and steady will win the race.

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                        #41
                        Nihopaloa I assume that most people use that junk! I've heard stories about the disgusting side effects. I also consider them cheating; when I did my competitions, they tested us for that stuff, so good thing I never took them. Thank you for the compliment! I read bodybuilding magazines as a kid and wanted my arms to be huge, but now, I'm happy that they're just right.

                        Baryl It doesn't have the space and the outgoing charm that I love whenever I visit the States or Canada, but it's home. Yeah, I've never done one of those radical transformations; they seem too difficult to maintain. It's like my body (and everyone else's) has been in one constant transformation. Thank you for the kind words... My lower belly kind of juts out sometimes, but it's a work in progress Slow and Steady indeed.



                        I took the weekend off, had some Chinese hot pot. I'm doing Strength Protocol's upcoming days on Mon and Tue so as to coincide with the bodyparts I'm working.

                        Really need to change the thread title; preferably to something sexier and more appealing

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                          #42
                          It's my favorite workout day: Chest!

                          Today's routine:

                          Bench Press: Maxed at 120 x 5. Yay for gains! Failed terribly at 122.5 x 2. Eh, better luck next time
                          Incline Press: 4 x 5
                          Machine Shoulder Press: 4 x 8
                          Chest Cable Flyes: 4 x 10

                          And Strength Protocol day 21 at home... still can't do L-sits. Bah.

                          I've always loved the Bench Press. I think it started the day I went into my high school gym when I was sixteen, and out of sheer curiosity, wandered to the bench, and started with the bar. Since then I've worked hard to perfect the movement, and seen my progress go up and down, but there's always been something satisfying to the motion, as opposed to certain others *cough* SQUAT *cough*. I have a similar love of pushups, but until I took up darebee's workouts a few months ago, I hadn't done a bare pushup for years. Sure, I did dips and I did push ups with weights, but I never did the original version for sets. I kind of brushed it off as unimportant. Boy, did the level 4 workouts show me otherwise.

                          Also been playing lots of Hades. It's literally one of the best Rogue-style games I've ever played; I'm astonished at how much quality the game is packed with. Gamers of Darebee, if you're into 3rd person action games, it's worth your while to check it out.

                          I kicked butt because I listened to this today:


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                            #43
                            Heya Bees!

                            Tuesday is Back day. As you might've guessed, I'm not proficient in performing bodyweight exercises: in plain English, my pullups suck. Hence, I don't really do that many of them. I choose to focus on other weightlifting exercises to build muscle. Today, all the weightlifting platforms were hogged for 20 minutes (yep, I counted), so I just decided to move on with the rest of my routine sans Deadlifts.

                            Today's routine:

                            Wide Grip Rows: 4 x 8
                            Machine Pull Downs: 4 x 8
                            Dumbbell Dual Grip Rows (I'm not sure what to call these): 4 x 8
                            Cable Rows: 4 x 8
                            + A 20 minute run on the treadmill.

                            I did Strength Protocol Day 22 at home.

                            Had a lot of fun playing tabletop DnD with some mates later on; we raided a temple and got into a scrap with a bunch of wererats.

                            Peace out. May your workouts be as enjoyable as mine was!

                            This track was my preworkout:


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                              #44
                              Which edition of DnD are you playing?

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                                #45
                                Nihopaloa Are you a fellow DnDer? I'm not sure which edition it is, I'll have to ask our DM. I think it's up to date. It is a very different experience from my years of playing Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale on PC.

                                Yo, everyone!

                                Today is Leg day! I hate Leg day!

                                I didn't break any records today. Some days you're not at your best, which happens. I also didn't properly warm up. Have to remind myself that heavy lifts are not the kind of things you rush into... even when I impatiently want to.

                                Today's workout routine:

                                Squats: 6 x 4 (I really felt like pushing my luck today)
                                Front squats: 4 x 5
                                Barbell Split Squats: 4 x 6

                                + Strength Protocol Day 23. Those Leg Lifts are murder, for some reason. I found them even harder than the half-way pistol squats!

                                A tense day for Hong Kong today. I'll just say I'm grateful that I and my family are okay, that we aren't wanting for anything, and that I have a great community here.

                                Because I've been on a Hades spree, this was my preworkout:

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