Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Preparation for REAL BBS Workout &Elliptical Tabata

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Date: 8th June

Light Bodyweight Activity
Swing-Assisted, Uneven Muscle Up - 1
Basketball rollout experiment - balancing the hands on a second medicine ball
Tuck Front Lever - slowly into position, held just for a few seconds, then slowly out

BBS Preparation
Then on each of these exercises I tested a few different weights to establish which one would take me about 90 seconds to reach failure (see videos below for how these exercises are done):

Seated Row (60lbs)
Chest Press (50lbs)
Pulldown (90lbs)
Overhead Press (40lbs)
Leg Press (150lbs)

Finisher: Tabata intervals on elliptical machine. Enforced 60% effort.

Post Workout Nutrition: Had planned to wait until dinner, but 4 hours later gave in and had this. Not something I am proud of, since that crappy chicken from supermarkets undoubtedly had a pretty ropey life.

Okay, so now I know the real deal on the Body by Science workouts. My previous workout diary entries, billed as Body by Science workouts 1, 2 and 3 were not really BBS workouts, which I did mention at the time.
Correct Body By Science Technique
Yes, I was...

1. Limiting myself to once-weekly strength training
2. Sticking to one set of 5 major compound exercises that covered the whole body

...but having read further in the book I now know that

3. Taking each exercise to absolute failure over a 1-2 minute period
4. Measuring progress according to increasing the TUL (Time Under Load) for a given weight
5. Spending at least 5 seconds on the 'up' and 'down' of each rep

...are also key.

I have now posted a full reference to the Body By Science Big 5 Workout under the circuits category, including videos of Doug McGuff doing the exercises. Body by Science Big 5 Workout.

So today, I decided I would play this by the book and buy into the whole deal - which means also using machines rather than free weights, as this makes controlling each exercise easier. I won't go into the detail here. I will perhaps cover an aspect of the rationale in future posts.

So I now have a plan for Wednesday, when my first REAL Body by Science workout will take place.
Bodyweight Exercises
In the meantime, today I did what you are supposed to do between BBS workouts, which was some light 'skills' work - in my case bodyweight exercises. I just wanted to confirm I can still do a muscle up, albeit with swinging and that the front lever is no less taxing than before. The basketball rollout experiment, by the way, was extremely taxing. I was not able to perform the movement itself - simply trying to balance on two balls was a challenge in itself - try it.
Elliptical Tabata - Don't Bother!
Since it was a day for experimenting with new ideas, I also tried tabata intervals on the elliptical machine. My rationale was this: it employs several major muscle groups through the pushing, pulling and leg movements. Swimming and rowing also do this, and I find them to be excellent tabata exercises because I can reach high intensity without fatiguing a particular muscle - just what we are looking for in an activity between BBS workouts.

However, the nature of these elliptical machines is such that it takes too long to get up to full effort and then down again for tabata or any other serious interval work to be possible. The use of momentum-based mechanisms means that it's almost as much effort to slow the damn things down as it is to get them going - by the time I got it to stop my 10 seconds rest was up!

Well, obviously, I hear many of you cry. Okay - I guess I didn't think that one through :)

More on Wednesday.


Asclepius said...

"I did what you are supposed to do between BBS workouts, which was some light 'skills' work - in my case bodyweight exercises."

This is sort of related to what I was trying to get across in our last exchange on my site.

To me the planche and lever are a 'skill' (so for sure, do them in between BBS workouts), but they take a massive amount of strength. Even a short hold of 10s in a frog planch feels tough. The same goes for Handstands - which I can hold for well over a minute against a wall, but doing them for 10s still feels pretty tough.

My concern is, how do you guage such skill work so that it will not 'inroad' in to your recovery (ie intra BBS workouts)?

I find this quite a hard level to identify! That is part of the reason I just go with how my body feels - which allows me to workout once every four days or so, and to take a rest week every few weeks.

Methuselah said...

Asclepius - I know exactly what you mean. Seems like the only way to know, is to experiment. I, like you, certainly don't want to forego all the fun stuff in the name of clinical progression. Did my first real session today and will post about it later. It hurts.