Friday, 10 July 2009

Body by Science Session 5: Verifiable Progress

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Date: 10th July

Fifth BBS Big 5 session:

Week 6*Week 5*Week 4Week 3Week 2Week 1
Seated Row115
Chest Press95
Overhead Press60
601:49601:37601:38601:4480, 700:35, 0:25
Leg Press290
2802:12260-2503:02230, 2704.312002:57

TUL = Time Under Load; Red = got worse; Blue = improved; Black = weight changed

Post Workout Nutrition: none - fasted until dinner.

Total Time: 25 minutes.

This BBS workout was actually 8 days since the last one, for practical reasons. As you can see, I improved on the three exercises for which the weight remained the same...and the TUL for those on which the weight was increased was certainly good enough to imply improvement.

So I have noted that it's possible 8 days is a better recovery time. However, I will continue with 7 days for the time being.

I wasn't sure whether to do legs this time, after the hammering they got on my recent mountain walk/run; but they did feel fine this morning so I risked it - and I'm pleased to report that it felt like the right decision once I got into the exercise.

Since I exceeded 2 minutes on chest press, pulldown and leg press, I will increase the weights next week to the values under week 6 in the table. It can be difficult to judge the correct weight increase, as demonstrated by my continued failure to get my leg press TUL below 2 minutes.

I am also finding pulldowns tricky to judge. During the set it's tempting to think that as long as I get close to my chest with the bar, I haven't reached positive failure. I then have to decide how close I must get it to my chest for it to count as a valid rep.

That aside, I feel this has been the first week where genuine, verifiable progress has been made.


Eric said...

Interesting post. I'm meeting with a local trainer next week at a gym that specializes in this approach. Excited about getting started.

Have you noticed any changes in your physique yet?

Bryce said...

Maybe I read this wrong, but it seems you are unsure about the level of failure you're supposed to reach? Do you have a spotter, because having one would enable you to go to absolute failure, which is what virtually all of the BBS youtube video's I've seen display.

For example, on the chest press, you should reach such a level of fatigue that even if someone helps you push the weight out for a final rep, you can't even slow the weight down as it tries to come back. That's the level of fatigue that I routinely see in these BBS videos. Are you achieving the same level of fatigue?

Sorry if you knew all this and I'm just preaching to the choir.

Methuselah said...

Eric - difficult to tell. Ask me again in 5 weeks :)

Bryce - I think I am going to failure in the way you describe.

Essentially, I continue the movement until I literally am unable to push the weight. Sometimes this means it's very tough to control the negative movement and I then fail pretty soon afterwards on the next positive movement. At others I get part-way through the positive movement then slowly grind to a halt.

I was unable to stand properly after the leg press this time, which I am taking as a sign I had reached the desired level!

I know there is another level I could start exploring with my training partner, such as spotting through sticking points and holding the failure point statically for a period of time, but I am thinking we should wait until we need something to boost progress and in any case are more used to the routine.

The videos of Doug McGuff doing the exercises it pretty much how we are doing it... have you seen those? Is he doing it the same as the people in the videos you have seen?