Friday, 28 August 2009

Body by Science Session 11: Progress on Overhead Press, at Last

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Date: 27th August

Eleventh BBS Big 5 session:

Week 12*Week 11*Week 10Week 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
11 mins14 mins10 mins

25 mins14 mins25 mins25 mins22 mins28 mins27 mins
Rest period
7 days7 days8 days

9 days11 days6 days8 days7 days7 days8 days
Finally got that 4th rep with OH press. Because the chest press was in use, did leg press before chest and chest press on a different machine. 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.

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

Post Workout Nutrition: Primal/Paleo Breakfast of Champions (recipe here), 90 minutes later.

Positives from this session:

Back in the sweet spot: All exercises are now back in the 90-120-second TUL range, after adjusting the exercise order in week 9

OH Press Elusive 4th Rep: it came in relatively easily - so although technically not an improvement because I achieved one second more in week 5, I suspect at the time that this was because I had done the exercise much slower that week.

Total workout time was slashed: to 11 minutes, for two reasons: first, I consciously forced myself to start each exercise immediately; second, because it just so happened that none of the exercises exceeded two minutes of TUL.

Greatest Muscular Inroads so Far: so I was breathing very heavily at the end and it felt like the most effective BBS session to date. It felt like I made significant 'inroads' into the muscle and that at least a week of recovery would be required.

Negatives from the session:

Machine hog wrecks chest press: we train in a university gym. It is holiday time. There was only one other person in the gym. It's a big gym. Guess what he was doing when I needed my 90-120 seconds of chest press? So I did leg press next instead, hoping he would be finished by the time I was ready. But no. It looked like he had set up camp. So I used a different chest press machine with a totally different movement. Either because of the different movement or because I was pretty much destroyed from leg press, my TUL was the same as last week, in spite of my dropping 5 lbs off the weight. So, I will keep the weight the same for next week.


So although there was no blue colour on this weeks results, I feel nicely queued up for a good shot at the title on each exercise except chest press next week.

From now on, I am going to judge an improvement on the basis of the history since the change in order and slashing of the rest time - i.e. week 9.

Meanwhile, it seems Deline is having the same experiences with leg press as me (see this comment on week 10) - moving inexorably up the weight stack from week to week, before finally reaching a weight for which TUL is under 2 minutes.

Deline, you mentioned problems with your grip - my partner has the same issue, and he uses lifting straps for the pull exercises - it seems to work for him. I would rather not do that myself, as I feel it's important to let my grip strengthen along with everything else.