Friday, 21 August 2009

Body by Science Session 10: When will Leg Press Slow Down?

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Date: 20th August

Tenth BBS Big 5 session:

Week 11*Week 10*Week 9

Week 8Week 7Week 6Week 5Week 4Week 3Week 2Week 1


Pull Down155
Seated Row1201:441201:421152:021151:561151:311102:021002:15803:08
Overhead Press60
Chest Press951:37951:52951:39902:01901:391001:111001:17901:28
Seated Row105
Pull Down1451:561451:461402:091352:111302:151301:561252:151102:26
Chest Press85
Overhead Press601:33601:28601:37601:49601:37601:38601:4480, 700:35, 0:25
Leg Press330
Leg Press3102:303002:012903:242802:12260-2503:02230, 2704.312002:57
Total Time
14 mins10 mins

25 mins14 mins25 mins25 mins22 mins28 mins27 mins
Rest period
7 days8 days

9 days11 days6 days8 days7 days7 days8 days
Lack of progress in pressing is mitigated by pulldown and leg success. Overhead felt better even tho TUL staticLess rest and a change in exercise order threw timings into disarray. Surprised by Overhead Press not being better

Baffling underperformance on chest and surprising improvement on legs, which may partly reflect increased intensity.Finally finding the sweet spot for leg press. Much less rest, so not surprised by overhead press suffering. Previous week's overhead press gains may have been due to slower reps. First real signs of progress now that I have stability on the weights.No leg press, hence shorter workout time. Was saving myself for fell race at the weekend.Still finding it hard to judge the right weight for leg press.Struggled to find right weight for leg press. Still finding the correct weight for all exercises.Had to change weight with overhead because misjudged it.

* no colour coding this week due to changes in running order and rest.

"TUL" = Time Under Load
Red =
got worse
Blue =
Black =
weight changed or improvement did not exceed a previous best

Post Workout Nutrition: Scrambled eggs, wild blackberries, cinnamon, 50 minutes later.

As you can see, this week saw progress on leg press and pull downs, so the weights are being increased next session.

I had dropped the weights for chest press and seated row, having misjudged the impact of the order switch last week. But I had clearly not dropped the weight enough - I want to get the TUL squarely into the 90 - 120 second sweet spot, then focus on progressing from there. So next week I am losing 5lbs from each.

I am starting to get used to the intensity of having 60 seconds or less of rest between exercises. It looks like 14-15 minutes is the quickest I can do these workouts, given the time it takes to move from machine to machine, write down my times and adjust the weight.

The rest between exercises varies because of the geography of the gym complex: the pull down, chest press and leg press machines are in one room, whereas the overhead press and seated row machines are in another.

This means very little rest between overhead press and seated row, and between chest press and leg press. It seemed to be less of a problem in the latter case, but I found seated row to be quite hard straight after overhead press.

Where I am least happy is with the pressing exercises. There have been changes to rest times and exercise order, so I will wait for some stability before taking any further action. In fact overhead press felt slightly better this time, in spite of the apparent lack of progress with TUL. That elusive 4th rep felt closer than usual. I think I can get it next time.

Finally, a thought on legg press. Like Deline, who shares some interesting BBS experiences in this comment on session 9, I am starting to wonder when my progess on this will start to slow down - I am running out of stack on the Cybex machine...


Bryce said...

I wonder if, after you max out the leg press, you couldn't use a different exercise:

A deadlift, or romanian deadlift, or a single leg step up to a high box. I've read up on a bunch of people who have made SS/HIT work using barbells instead of machines.


Methuselah said...

Bryce - that's exactly what I was thinking. In the BBS book they offer alternatives to machines, such as deadlift or squat. I am a big fan of both of these, so would not take much persuading to give them a go with the BBS protocol. Indeed after 4-6 months I think we'll switch over to something different anyway - whether to BBS with different exercises, or a more 'traditional' routine to see whether how BBS has improved us on exercises we did previously.

Deline said...

hey Methuselah...

I think we have some similar experiences here. It still feels like odd, but I'm still pumped about it.

So this time I went in and I decided to move the overhead press first. And finally, I was able to must the weight one rep overhead, but when I came down, I knew I would be able to push it over again. 130lbs must be too much. I held it for 30s, then dropped it 70lbs, and was able to move that a bit, and quickly held the weight into 40s. There’s no way to tell if the improvement is related to the order, or not, but I was able to do more with it (it felt) this time around. I’m going to stick with this order for now.

This time it also occurred to me to tweak my timer settings a bit. Instead of counting off at 1m30s, I brought it down to 1m10s as I decided to add considerable weight to all the exercises.

I figure if I stick above 60 seconds, I’m good. Next week I may keep the weight, but add my timer to step up to 1m20s as it seemed to work relatively well.

The pull downs where very controlled. I dislike my pull down machine because I recognize now I can’t safely crunch my abdominal muscles as well since the bar is angled directly above my head. So if I pull it down, and go for a “crunch” I have to lean my head out of the way of the cable, and suddenly the bar is under my face. If I lose grip by accident, that’s 150lbs worth of force coming for my jaw/face. No thanks.

I noticed this time, grip was becoming an issue. I need gloves I think. I don’t know. Going to ask the hired gym rats what they recommend.

After than, I the chest press. 150 lbs felt like a HUGE amount. Maybe I’m over doing it there. Time to separate the weights into their “weight divisions” it seems. I did what I could. Seated row was brutal, i had a different, wider grip. I realizing I tweak too much and it could be affecting my results.

By far my leg press is my favorite, or rather, my “wow” exercise. I decided since I did so well at 300 in week 8, I had my self set for 320 this week... I said f* it... dropped into 340lbs. This is the first time I didn’t do the full two minutes, or it felt like that. So I know I’m in a good spot there.

Walked out of the gym, again weird feeling of .. “did I do enough?” But my arms felt bigger.. yet again. So did my shoulders and back. in fact, I went into the gym with a little bit of a ‘crick’ in my neck, probably because I slept on it kind of weird. By the time I left the gym, all gone.

My biceps feel warm to the touch and are getting sore. Going to try to get 8 hours. Had pork chops today for dinner. No veggies. Don’t ask, no time for the store.

Next week I’m going to start the same order of exercises. All in all, pretty good. I did notice stages of “pain” in my exercises. It’s like 3 Phases... Phase 1, muscles under TUL start to sting/tingle, then it goes into a Phase 2 where they actually shake! My legs and pull downs (again scared of grip) and then Phase 3 where i call it the “Get Me The Hell Out of Here” phase.. intense desire to leave and I breath like crazy. The huffing I see people do, makes things feel better but it’s now on an almost involuntary manner.

Dunno know if that’s normal or not. Anyway... I’m excited as ever about this. I can definitely say I’ve never gone 9 weeks with any workout regiment and had said that about it.

Week 9
Overhead Press 130lbs 30s, 70 lbs 40s
Pull Down 150 lbs 1m10s
Chest Press 150 lbs 60s
Seated Row 150 lbs 1m15s
Leg Press 340 lbs 1m50s~

Week 8
Seated Row 135lbs 1m20s
Chest Press 135lbs 1m20s
Pull Down 135lbs 1m10s
Press 130lbs 30s, 90lbs 15s, 40lbs 30s
Leg press 300lbs 2m

Week 7
Seated Row 135lbs 1m10s
Pull Down 135lbs 1m10s
Chest Press 135lbs 45s
Press 130lbs 30s, 90lbs 10s, 40lbs 15s
Leg Pres 260lbs 1m30s