Tag Archives: strength training

An Example of Workout Order Logistics

The order in which I do my Full Fourteen strength exercises isn’t necessarily dictated by appropriate muscle group. Often I order them based on the equipment available at the time, and I’ll bunch exercises together based on the equipment used. This makes my workout more efficient, and isn’t really any trouble.

I like to get to the gym on weekday mornings, or during a time on the weekend when I know the gym usually isn’t busy. Still, it often does get a bit busy, and so to minimize any disruption either way I order my exercises according to what best makes sense.

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Building The Full Fourteen Strength Workout

I took some time off from strength training, somewhat inadvertently. Following my 3 day and 21 day training cycles, I had a tough couple weeks with coming off antibiotics and ramping up run training.

So scheduled swolework days would come up and I’d make the judgment call to skip them. After a bigger 8/6/22 workout (which itself came after a 5 day break), I went two weeks until my next strength workout.

I’m not oblivious. During that time away, I realized my rotating strength workouts had become somewhat demanding. This was fine when I was not seriously run training following Vancouver 2022.

Now that I’m getting back to longer aerobic runs, the strength training sessions were a little too much. I wanted to scale back strength training but not train too infrequently, or go too long between training muscle groups.

So I made an adjustment

Right before my 8/21 workout, I decided to keep my current 3 day micro-cycle (strength + maybe cross train, running 2nd day, tougher running 3rd day, repeat). But instead of cycling between two workouts with 4-sets per group, I would do one set of every exercise. This reduces the demand a great deal, but also allows me to train everything more frequently.

Plus, with running now once again taking focus, strength is secondary and this volume better reflects that. I won’t get so tired or sore that it impacts my running, and reduces chances of having to skip workouts. Why skip what should be more easily attainable? Even if I dread an exercise, it’s just one set! I can do that!

I would maintain the overload progression I’ve been following to good results: Progressing from 8 reps to 12 reps over multiple workouts, then increasing the weight, dropping back to 8 reps, repeating. But now, it’s just one set, of every single exercise.

I did my central seven exercises, with some revisions. In my last such workout, I incidentally tried Overhead Squats with dumbbells instead of on the Smith rack. Since that felt considerably better, I decided going forward to do overhead squats that way. I also re-added Russian Twists, which would give my obliques some neglected work.

It went fine.

The 8/21 workout was fairly simple and went great, before I got on the spin bike for some low aerobic work.

Garmin Connect’s strength heat-map shows muscles worked. Red sections indicate groups that were primary movers in the workout. Yellow sections indicate secondary movers. Gray sections are untouched.

This workout was a nice snapshot of all the muscle groups I had been working over the last couple months. Everything from both workouts was for the first time together on one chart. (The exception is the obliques, as I hadn’t been doing Russian Twists in a while before this workout.)

It also provided a clear picture of what muscle groups were missing work. The workout was so easy, and I had only done 8 exercises, with plenty of room for more.

Connecting the missing links.

I decided to research a bit and try to get the whole picture red or yellow in one workout. I wanted every muscle group to work in at least one exercise. And then one set of all that can be my go-to total body strength workout.

In Garmin Connect, I’d go back to a prior workout that worked few muscle groups, then edit in different exercises to see the heat-map change. Then I’d delete them. This allowed me to find do-able exercises that would hit the different muscle groups.

  • I decided to re-introduce deadlifts, which I’d done in prior workout plans months ago. This addresses missing red work for the lower back core muscles. I injured my lower back doing them last December, so I had avoided them since. Some helpful feedback (from the Manosphere of all places) recently fixed my form issues that contributed to that injury. I decided to start deadlifts at a definite sub-max weight and progress from there. I also decided to avoid the Smith rack (where I suffered the December injury). Instead I’ll use dumbbells (DB’s), which I’ve done before with good results.
  • I mentioned re-adding the Russian Twists. I do these with one of the DB’s from my bench presses, so they’re done at half those exercises’ weight. This reds the obliques, so they’re staying in. I do these on the decline or flat bench after those bench presses.
  • I re-added triceps extensions on the cable deck. I had removed these, as my other upper body exercises were already involving triceps as secondary movers. However, I wanted one set of red primary exercises for triceps, so the extensions are back.
  • I re-added work on the hip abduction machine (your legs are in weighted clamps and you press them outward). They’re usually a skippable isolation exercise. But the abductors are a hard muscle to red out otherwise, and hip abductions are a red exercise for those. Abductions are not hard to do with considerable weight and proper form.
  • The hardest heatmap group to find exercises for is the neck. Exercises you think impact that group (like shrugs or neck extensions) don’t impact them on the Garmin heatmap. Randomly I thought of the levator scapulae muscles. I found a Garmin option for the Levator Scapulae Stretch (a neck stretch against resistance from your arms). It turns out that exercise turned the muscle group red! So I’m doing those now (no weight added).

I gave this a try this morning.

This morning I knocked out a total body strength workout. I did 1 set of 11 reps for all twelve (12) exercises, in this order.

Shown are the scheduled exercises for my 8/24 swolework session. Notice I messed up and accidentally did 12 incline bench presses. Whoops!

This workout, tough but do-able, only took 21 minutes.

After I finished, I updated Garmin Connect and then realized I hadn’t done or programmed anything for calves. Calves however are pretty easy to program. I just did a quick set of standing bodyweight calf raises, to get to 13 exercises total.

My heatmap for this morning’s workout then looked like this.

So, cool. I managed to work every single muscle group. And, a few of them are yellow. So, I now want to make the whole chart red. This ensures every muscle group Garmin calls out is a primary mover in at least one exercise. This is a total body strength training workout should do.

I had good energy in this workout (at 7am, despite no coffee, I might add!). There’s certainly room to add more exercises. (I’m currently not concerned about keeping these workouts to 20 minutes. It’s a total body workout rather than a split routine. These can now go 30 minutes if needed.)

The muscle groups in question:

  • The forearms
  • The hip flexors
  • The hip adductors (inner thigh and groin muscles).

It would be easy to just do specific isolation exercises for those groups. But finding other compound exercises that worked with other muscle groups would be more productive and better for run fitness. Isolation is better suited to bodybuilding, which needless to say isn’t a high priority goal of mine.

So I went to work:

I programmed a new total body strength workout, that would work every muscle group as a primary mover.

If you create a strength workout manually in Garmin Connect, you won’t get a heatmap for exercises. I just figured out that doing a super quick set and saving it on my watch allows me to freely edit that workout with a full heatmap.

So I did a couple squats, saved that “workout”, and went to town in Connect on swapping in/out different exercises.

The Hip Flexors

The Flexors are a hard muscle group to program. We use them a lot in our lives, but isolating them as a primary mover is another matter entirely.

Initially I was at a loss for what exercises to consider. But then I randomly thought of burpees, the classic ‘squat to full plank, do a pushup, jump back to plank, tuck jump straight up and back down to squat, repeat’. I entered that as a lone exercise, and found myself a mother-lode exercise:

The burpee works so many muscles. It does in one set what bench presses, squats, and calf raises would do. Plus it works anterior hip flexor muscles as a primary mover, not the easiest group to program. It does all that in one exercise.

So I definitely will add burpees, which I’ve done many times before. I won’t have trouble doing one set of 8-12.

Now, I could subsequently remove my bench presses, since this uses the pecs as a primary mover. But I still want to improve my incline/decline bench weights, as well as build my overhead squat. So I’m leaving those bench presses in. My chest will just get 3+ sets of work every workout at different angles, as will my quads and glutes. Plus, the overhead red-works my deltoids and traps (shoulders).

The one set each of those exercises isn’t a killer, and fronting those with burpees won’t be a problem.

So that only reds out the hip flexors and calves. It also eliminates the need for the hanging leg raises, which red-worked the abs and quads. The raises were always a secondary priority, and finding the captain’s chair free is often a pain anyway. That eliminates a hassle at the gym.

The Forearms

I always do Hammer Curls, a stiff-forearm bicep curl that along with biceps work the forearms as a secondary mover. I really didn’t want to waste time on separate forearm curls or similar.

It was while separately considering Farmer’s Walks (walking the gym while carrying weight at your sides, akin to carrying groceries into the house), seeking out an alternative to obliques and hamstrings, that I found the Farmer’s Walks actually red-work the forearms as its primary mover.

Yes, you are carrying weight with your legs. But your leg, shoulder and back muscles are actually secondary movers. It’s the forearms that do the bulk work holding and balancing the weight. So the rest of your body can capably walk with it.

This seems a lot more cumbersome than simple forearm curls. But its total body engagement is closer to what I’m looking for. Plus, it’s essentially a dynamic cousin of the deadlift. Most of all, it’s one of the more functional exercises you can do. Think about how often you’ve got to carry stuff this way in everyday life (e.g. I mentioned carrying groceries).

No matter how crowded the gym gets, walking across with a pair of weights has never been a problem. So Farmer’s Walks are definitely going in.

The Adductors

There’s pretty much no other exercise aside from the Adductor Machine that works the inner thighs as a primary mover, without being cumbersome and needlessly redundant. Doing burpees on the floor is fine, but I’m not doing clam-shells or weird squats/planks on the floor just to red out one muscle group, when I can just get on a machine and knock out one easy set in seconds.

I’ll just use the adductor machine, before moving to the abductor machine.

The Full Fourteen

From all this I have put together a sequence of what is now fourteen exercises. Below is the Full Fourteen, a total body strength workout (including sample reps and weights). All listed exercises are just one set, with at least 60 seconds rest (longer is OK as needed).

Entry of all these exercises into a sample Garmin Connect workout confirmed that every muscle group is red-worked.

Garmin Connect estimates this workout would take about 21-22 minutes if done efficiently. I’d imagine some breaks would run a bit longer as needed, so it’s more like 22-25 minutes, certainly less than 30 minutes even with some challenges.

Let’s do it.

This going forward will be my total body strength workout, done on schedule every three days (barring races or race taper timing requiring a day off).

I will follow my 8-12 rep and weight progression normally, and see how far I can go with all of the above. For new exercises, I’m using a known-do-able weight and will just progress that the same as the other exercises. This last workout was 11 reps of everything. So the next workout will start with sets of 12 reps. If everything’s fine, I’ll increase exercises’ weight by 5-10 lbs and go back to 8 reps.

Go ahead and give it a try.

Obviously, you’re free to take this template and use it as a workout yourself. Google and research any exercises as needed. From my experience, these are easily do-able exercises in a gym for most people.

Eventually, I will devise a total body-weight strength workout equivalent, and will post it here.

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The Working Class Strength Training Progression

I have fined tuned a strength training approach that I plan to follow going forward, and can be useful to many others. This is a gradual, sustainable approach to making consistent strength gains in the gym, without spending an excessive amount of time or effort in workouts.

This can be followed by people wanting to develop full-body strength, who aren’t lifting enough to have maxed out the cable machines at the gym (e.g. most people). If you’re strong enough that the available weight on these machines isn’t heavy enough to challenge you, then you’ll want to do a different workout, or do this progression with different, suitable exercises of your choice.

Each of these workouts are 20 minute strength workouts. No matter what, stop at 20:00. If you don’t have one, I recommend getting and using a fitness watch like a Garmin that will allow you to track sets/reps/weight. But it’s OK to use a phone or stopwatch or watch the clock if that’s what you got.

There are two rotating workouts, 4 base exercises each, with core/ab work to finish as time permits. They can be done once a week each, or almost daily if you can handle that (though I do recommend taking a rest day at least once a week).

Workout A: Pull Workout

  • Cable Lat Pulldown (either reverse grip or wide grip)
  • Seated Cable Row (any angle/grip desired)
  • Cable Face Pulls (rope or dual handles)
  • Dumbbell Hammer Curls
  • finish with Hanging Leg Raises, or sit-ups.

Workout B: Push Workout

  • Decline or Flat Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press (30° incline)
  • Overhead Squats (Smith Machine or barbell)
  • Cable Close Grip Tricep Press-Down (with two-hand grip of your choice)
  • finish with Hanging Leg Raises, or sit-ups

When starting this progression, decide on a do-able but reasonably demanding weight for each weighted exercise (the raises/sit-ups are done with no weight). You want 4 sets of 8-12 reps to be do-able, not a question. Tip for starters: Whatever your known max is for each exercise, divide it in half. Err towards making it a bit too easy.

(If the Hanging Leg Raises are too hard, or there’s no Captain’s Chair or pull-up bar available to you for them, I list sit-ups as an alternative. If you have the equipment but it’s too hard, you can start with Hanging Knee Raises)

Start at that weight with 4 sets of 8 reps for each exercise, or with core exercises do just 8 reps with no extra weight. Take 30 seconds rest between sets, and longer than that between exercises to transition and setup. Take as long as you need to. Usually it takes me about 1-2 minutes, but sometimes it takes me 3-4 minutes if machines are taken or equipment isn’t available and I need to adjust.

Do Workout B with 4 sets of 8 reps. The next time you do each given workout, increase all exercises to 4 sets of 9 reps. The next time, 4 sets of 10 reps, and so on until completing each workout with 4 sets of 12 reps.

The next time after that, increase the weight on each exercise, and go back to 4 sets of 8 reps, repeating the progression between workouts.

For most exercises you can increase the weight by 10 pounds or 5 kilograms. The face pulls should only increase by 5 pounds or 2.5-3 kilograms (the smallest increment available to you).

Again, core exercises are always done with no weight: This is supplemental work and doesn’t need to be progressed. Just go back to 8 reps with the other exercises.

Now, if you fail any of the base exercises in any workout, i.e. you fail to complete every rep, every set, in every workout of that progression (8 reps to 12 reps)… you must repeat the weight in that workout once the workouts revert to 8 reps. You also should repeat a weight if for any reason you don’t feel comfortable increasing the weight in that exercise. You want the increase for each exercise to not be a big deal.

You can follow this progression indefinitely, forever increasing weight until you hit your limits and have to repeat weights, or until you max out a given machine and have to switch to a different exercise.

Added notes:

If you have never done the Overhead Squat before, it’s a challenging but rewarding and underrated full body lift.

Presuming you’re on a Smith Machine, you will likely need to employ a wide grip to ensure full range of motion and be able to fully stand. If you’re taller than 5’10”, you may not be able to use the Smith Machine because even with a wide grip the bar will hit the machine’s top range of motion before you can fully stand. Use a barbell or similar.

You can use dumbbells for Overhead Squats but the demand of the exercise is a bit diminished with separate weights, and depending on how the weights are held overhead it may become a different exercise for the upper body and core. Still, if you must, it can work. Start with 5 lb dumbbells if so and get used to practicing correct form on both the squat and how the weights are held overhead.

On the Overhead I would actually recommend starting out with just the bar and doing only 3 reps per set. On a Smith the bar weighs 25 lbs; if you do it with a freestanding barbell an Olympic bar is 45 lbs; some freestanding bars may only be 10-20 lbs and that’s fine. This compound exercise will be sneaky-difficult enough to do.

Start with just 3 reps per set, progressing for each workout like the others (i.e. when they go to 9, the overhead goes to 4). Once the other exercises get to 12 reps, you should be at 7 reps for the Overhead. Then, when the other exercises add weight and go back to 8 reps, you’d increase the Overhead to 8 reps and it will now match the same progression as the other exercises.

Once you can do 12 reps with the bar, you then add 10 pounds and go back to 8 reps on the next workout, following the normal progression.

For the Decline Bench Press, please use a decline bench with the leg handles (which many mistakenly presume is just a sit-up bench). If you don’t have a decline bench, go ahead and just do Flat Bench Presses.

Please do not lay upside down on an inclined bench for Declines, as this is dangerous as the inclined portion of the bench may not be able to support that weight, and your hips can slide down or off the bench because your feet are not on the ground.

Many coaches will tell you with the Decline Press to just drop the weights on the floor when done. I actually recommend you don’t, that you use a light enough weight that you can sit-up, reach for and pick it up off the floor, and put it back down without dropping it.

On a Decline Bench, don’t ever pick up or put down the weight while laying down, nor remove your legs from the handles while laying down: Both moves are injury risks. Keep your legs in the handles and sit-up before putting down or picking up any weight. Yes, this basically makes it sort of a core exercise because you’re effectively doing a weighted Russian Twist, plus you.

If this is unsuitable or challenging to do, just do Flat Bench Presses instead.

Typically, presuming about 30 seconds per active set, you should finish the 4th base exercise in a workout at about 17-18 minutes, allowing time for about 2 sets of raises or sit-ups before 20:00.

Sometimes you may finish the last base exercise with less than a minute left: Typically you should just rest or walk the gym and let the 20:00 run out. The core exercises are supplemental and not essential.

In rare instances, I’ve finished all the base exercises plus 4 full sets of raises with enough time to spare for another set of something else, in which case if I’m not exhausted enough to just wait out the 20:00 limit I’ll do another set of an exercise of my choice, any exercise I want. You can repeat a prior exercise, just do more raises/sit-ups if you’re up to it, do an exercise from the opposite workout, or experiment with a totally different exercise. But in my experience, this usually happens when I’m doing quick sets, like the Overheads with fewer than 8 reps, and once you’re up to 8+ reps of all base exercises this pretty much never happens.

I will recommend for the Face Pull, the Decline Bench, and the Overhead Squat you do not go any higher than your bodyweight.

The Face Pull faces diminishing returns at heavier weights.

As mentioned, you need to be able to sit up and pick up or put down the weight on the Decline Bench, and once you’re lifting heavy this becomes very difficult. In fact, once you max out the dumbbells and/or need to use a barbell, the Decline Bench is probably no longer feasible and you should switch exercises.

The Overhead Squat is a challenging full-body exercise that can be dangerous at heavier weights beyond bodyweight, because the needed shoulder stability at heavy weight isn’t guaranteed. You’re better off progressing the reps beyond 12 at bodyweight than increasing the weight.

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Progressive Machine Strength Training: Modifying the Rapid Fire Sets

So since introducing the Rapid Fire Sets I’ve modified the approach in a way that suits my training and has benefitted me quite a bit. I should probably talk about it, and note that what I do now is not really true to the name anymore. I still think Rapid Fire Sets are valuable, but what I do now while similar is rather different.

First of all, this approach is exclusively used with strength machines at the gym, where the weight is set using a metal pin. You could probably use this with a Tonal or similar machine, if you have one.

But I don’t use this approach with free weights of any kind, as switching between them at the gym is too complicated and at times prohibitive. For exercises requiring free weights, I still continue to follow a standard four set block, with the first and last set 12 reps at a light weight, and the 2nd and 3rd middle sets 8 reps at twice the weight.

Given that, here is the (as of now unnamed) approach I follow for any given machine exercise.

  • I start with a light weight. On most machines I’ll start at the lightest weight possible. In many cases I’ll start several pounds higher as the lightest weight is so effortless that it’s not an exercise. (As I get stronger I imagine I’ll do the latter with every machine)
  • I do 8 reps at that weight.
  • I pause/rest 30 seconds, during which I increase the weight by 10-20 pounds, depending on how the weight is divided on the machine. In my case, some stacks are in 10 pound blocks, some are in 20 pound blocks. Whatever the next step up in weight is, that’s what I increase the weight to.
  • Then I do 8 reps at the new weight. Then I stop for 30 seconds, and increase again by one step. Repeat.
  • Once I’m at a weight that’s too heavy to finish 8 reps, or I finish an 8 rep set and know I probably don’t have enough to do the next weight up… I stop increasing. I rest another 30 seconds.
  • I divide the highest weight I lifted in half. I set the pin to that weight. Most machines have some way to let you do half increments, so if the half-weight is not an even number I use that to set the correct weight.
  • I then do 12 reps at the half-weight. After that, I am done with this exercise, and move on.

I now do this on machines for all my 20 minute workouts. I still restrict my strength workouts to 20 minutes, and find this way I can do two machine exercises, plus at least one regular 4-set block of a free weight exercise. I don’t always do 2-and-1… I might do all free weight exercises, or just one machine exercise. It depends on what I plan to work on that day.

Sometimes there’s enough time left over to do 2-4 sets of something else, and often I’ll do seated cable rows at a single light weight, hanging raises, or Russian twists, as these exercises work on muscle groups I incidentally want to improve. Which ones I do depends on feel. I’ve also mixed in odd exercises like farmer’s walks or goblet squats.

Since starting this approach I’ve found that if I leave a machine exercise for last, I often run out of time before I reach a weight too heavy to continue. I don’t go over-time: I just end the workout after the last set I’m able to complete before the clock reaches 20:00. So now, if I find maxing out an exercise important, I make sure to not do that one last. And I typically default to the old wisdom of “do the most important thing first”. Likewise, if I want to take it easy on a machine exercise, I’ll often schedule that one last, knowing the clock may run out before I can max it out.

Because I can only do about three exercises per workout, this allows me to spread my full routine across multiple workouts, without burning me out or leaving me too sore to continue in subsequent days. I’ve done a couple of 5-day splits and been able to strength train 4-6 times a week without problems. In the last month or so I’ve done this, I’ve made a ton of progress.

So while I have yet to codify this process (it is a bit complicated to clearly describe for others), I’ve found this progressive approach to strength training effective and repeatable.

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So, about those overhead squats

As advertised, the overhead squat is pretty tough.

At the gym, I started swolework with the overhead on the Smith rack, and started with a set of 3 reps at just the 25 lb bar. I progressed up to 45 lbs and after 3 tough reps realized that was about as high as I could expect to go yesterday. I unracked and moved on.

Dan John, like many strength coaches, sets a benchmark that you should be able to do the exercise with your bodyweight in pounds. I am clearly a far cry from my bodyweight, though granted I don’t bench or deadlift by bodyweight either (I did leg press it earlier this week though!). I’m strength training more seriously now, and we’ll see how much time it takes for me to progress and get within range of all that.

Since I follow a 5 day sequence of strength workouts (with days off interspersed every few days), one idea is to do the whole sequence, then for a 6th workout do the benchmark lifts as a test: Bench Press, Deadlift, Squat, and each time through the sequence see where I’m at. I would end up doing the test roughly every 8-10 days.

More to come. I’ll take it slow for now, and weave the overhead squats in with the workouts.

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Adding the Overhead Squat

Training right now feels great. Yesterday was a rest day, and all I did was walk on work breaks and go 45 minutes on the spin bike.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of Dan John, a long tenured strength and track and field throwing coach who has authored a few very insightful books on training. The best known of the bunch is Easy Strength with Pavel Tsatsouline, thouugh I’ve recently read Attempts, A Contrarian Approach to the Discus, and am currently reading through Can You Go?

There’s a lot of information and I obviously won’t go into all of it. In Contrarian, however, he references a lift that he found instrumental in developing athletes: The overhead squat.

It’s a typical Crossfit exercise, and simple in scope. You hold the barbell overhead. You squat, making sure your weight drops between your squatting legs, and then come back up with the bar still straight overhead.

John sums up the benefits as such:

  • You can’t fake or cheat the strength and mechanics required to do it.
  • It demands balanced strength, not just to balance the bar itself overhead, but all of yourself has to be strong and developed. This develops it
  • You develop strong, flexible legs, not yoga flexible/strong, but the ability to quickly, powerfully transfer more than bodyweight, e.g. a jumper, a thrower, a football or basketball player, a sprinter.

I like my five day strength circuit and I plan to stick with it for the next while. But I also have some redundant exercises in there, and swapping in a sub-max version of the overhead squat would be a decent addition. I’d start with light weight and gradually build up to see my current capacity.

Last week I briefly tested the overhead squat mechanics with the Smith rack at the gym and found that it would work just fine (I was lucky; if I were a couple inches taller or my arms were a bit longer, it might not have!).

John also mentioned the Power Curl, which is just a leveraged bicep curl using a full bar. I might mix that in, though it turned out the redundant exercises I mentioned were bicep exercises, and I may have enough for now. Adding in the overhead squat is probably enough for now.

More to come as I see how it works.

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Checking In 10/22/2021

This week I’ve strength trained almost every day, spreading the exercises I’d have split over two workouts across five, along with leg and ab exercises I’d have previously done occasionally or weekly.

Some of these exercises are modified Rapid Fire Sets. I start at the lightest weight possible, do 8 reps and then after a 15-30 second rest move the weight up one step until it’s too tough to finish a set (aka to failure). Then I do 12 reps at half the failure weight, and move on.

Some of these exercises are standard 4 set blocks, the first and last set 12 reps at a light weight, and the 2nd and 3rd sets at twice that weight.

If the exercise is done on a machine where the weight can be quickly adjusted, I do Rapid Fire Sets. If I have to do the exercise any other way, I do a standard 4 set block.

I plan on three exercises. If I finish them all before 20 minutes are up, I pivot to light weight sets of 12 reps of seated cable rows, an exercise I do need to focus on. I do up to 4 sets, until I reach 20 minutes. (If for some reason every single cable row machine in the gym is being used, I have other needed exercises for which I can do easy sets instead. But I have yet to encounter this since starting this plan.)

I threw together a 5 day plan before I started, but (while I’m still finishing that 5 day plan) I have since adjusted the 5 day plan to better spread out the exercises, and will follow that plan once I cycle back to day 1.

It’s not such a big deal that the current v1 plan is not as organized, as the primary goal was to start this almost-daily training and see how my body responded. In fact, it’s better to have multiple muscle-group exercises clumped together in one workout or on back to back days and see what my body tolerates. Then, once I start v2 and those exercises are more spread out, I know my body can bounce back from that, or can push harder on key days since there’s more recovery time and less to do per day.

The smart strength trainers can agree that the details of the plan you follow is not as important as you actually following a plan that allows you to consistently train. That said, I have certain development goals in mind, and these exercises all fit what I can do and things I need to work on.

As I iron out the plan, I’ll eventually show the layout and why I do what when I do it. But so far, so good.

In addition to this, I’ve been riding the elliptical for 30-45 minutes after workouts, maintaining aerobic fitness while my leg issues heal up. While my right hamstring has a bit of lingering soreness, overall I feel strong in my lower body. I’m giving myself all week to not worry about running, though I may take a work break run today and ride the spin bike tonight to see how it feels today and tomorrow.

I have a couple of casual 5K races coming up this next month, which will help me see where I’m at. At least after all the issues this year I am sure I’ll finish these, and can maybe even race one or two of them.

More to come.

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