Friday, 7 August 2009

Body by Science Session 8: Time for some Changes

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Date: 5th August

Eighth BBS Big 5 session:

Week 9
*Week 8*Week 7Week 6Week 5Week 4Week 3Week 2Week 1

Pull Down145
Seated Row1201:441201:421152:021151:561151:311102:021002:15803:08
Overhead Press60
Chest Press951:37951:52951:39902:01901:391001:111001:17901:28
Seated Row120
Pull Down1451:561451:461402:091352:111302:151301:561252:151102:26
Chest Press95
Overhead Press601:33601:28601:37601:49601:37601:38601:4480, 700:35, 0:25
Leg Press320
Leg Press3102:303002:012903:242802:12260-2503:02230, 2704.312002:57
Total Time

25 mins14 mins25 mins25 mins22 mins28 mins27 mins
Rest period

9 days11 days6 days8 days7 days7 days8 days

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: scrambled eggs + cocoa powder, 45 minutes later.

Over the weeks I have been grateful for the suggestions offered by people reading the accounts of my BBS training. This weeks saw a mixed bag of results - some progress, but also some stagnation. So it's time to take some of that advice and mix things around a bit.

The reduced TUL on chest press came as a surprise. This had previously been the exercise with which I felt most comfortable and most confident. I did improve the time on both seated row and pull downs, although the 2-second increase for seated row could scarcely be regarded as significant.

Shoulder press
, as ever, was in a state of stagnation, whereas leg press continues to go from strength to strength. In the case of leg press, I suspect that this at least partly to do with increased intensity. I initially found this exercise unusually painful, and perhaps did not genuinely take it to failure....that is until this week when the final
complete rep left me on my knees unable to write my time down for 10 seconds.

So... we are going to take Skyler's advice from week 7 and switch the exercise order. As you can see, this means adding a column into the table to reflect the new order.

...and we are also going to take Bryce's advice from week 7 and take turns to do the session. This has two benefits:
  1. The workout is more intense and we get the metabolic conditioning benefits - we can then strive to decrease the amount of rest between sets without the constraint of waiting for the other person to finish.
  2. We have the option to introduce spotting to get through sticking points.
We are keeping in reserve the advice offered by Don in week 6, to increase the weight by 5% on shoulder press and operate in the 60 second TUL range.


Bryce said...

I think you're right to put the pull down and overhead press first, especially since, from a vanity perspective, these lifts contribute to the 'v' more than the other two. I think pressing stuff overhead is also a more important and germane skill to every day life.

I hope these changes work out for you! One suggestion I'd have about using a spotter to work through sticking points: any forced reps or controlled negatives you do with the assistance of a spotter will cause greater inroading and may necessitate greater recovery time between workouts. I've noticed with my rest pause training that if I want to train every week, I have to skip the extra reps at increased rest (similar in effect to a forced rep), or I won't be fully recovered when I get back in the gym.

skylertanner said...

Looking forward to the improvements. The possibility of operating in the 60 second TUL range is quite a jump; I'd recommend that as the next "step" if you are going to increase the intensity. Only 3-ish repetitions under good control with good turnarounds is harder than it would appear in text.


Methuselah said...

Thanks Skyler. We plan to give it 4-6 seeks with the new changes, then review - does that sound like a sensible timescale?

Jeff said...

Hey M,

I have been doing the BBS stuff for the last 3 months and I am finally zeroing in on how to do it. It is a knife edge where it is easy to do too much, especially for gym rats like us. Your progress looks really good to me.

I want to second Bryce's comments. I had been doing just that with my wife helping me with extra reps and long negatives after failure. Bad idea in my case. I could not recover in a week. I have found recently that even struggling against the weight after failure is too much and now only do it momentarily. The movies from the BBS website messed me up a little since I saw some assisted there. I, personally, can't do it. Fortunately there is feedback with the TUL measurements.

Another thing that helps recovery is to keep the TUL a bit lower. By going longer with lower weight it exhausts me more than heavier and shorter. I read that from a comment by Fred Hahn, who suggested not much over 50 seconds. Something to think about.


Methuselah said...

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the warning on that one - I am definately not going to try forced reps (or even the static, 'struggling' at the end) unless we stagnate with the other approaches. I am convinced that I have been overtraining for many years, so I want to avoid anything that could take me back down that road. That said, I am happy to take longer breaks between sessions, so if it comes to it, then I will probably experiment with up to 14 day rests between forced sets.

Deline said...

Glad to have found this blog. Just got done with my 7th week and I think this was my toughest week.

I have to workout by myself at the gym due to my available hours. So I've been trying different applications on my Blackberry Storm for tracking. Let me tell you, it's not easy! I want to keep moving from machine to machine, but I have fiddle with recording progress.

So my strategy has been keep a timer marking off 1m30s, and my goal is push hard enough to keep everything above minimum 60 seconds.

So far so good, most of the weeks I have been able to withstand that. My leg press was tough to get the right weight just like you experienced.

I also had some overhead press issues, where since the past two weeks I wasn't able to fully push the weight I set myself on. I kept the weights the same today, but tried to push harder.

I'm going to try shuffling the order.

Have I seen demonstrable changes? Yes! I feel bigger after every workout. I can't quite tell but it seems after day 5 or 6, I feel like my arms are slightly fuller than the weeks before.

Thanks for sharing.


Methuselah said...

Deline - thanks - interesting to read that are experiences have been similar. More similar that you realise, perhaps, since I am also the owner of a Blackberry Storm. I hate it. I had a normal Blackberry prior to that and it was great. I think the touch screen is a nightmare. I have just been using paper and pen, which is pretty quick. Let me know how the order shuffling works out for you.

Deline said...

Yeah, I've been very disappointed with the Storm. This device was far from ready for prime time and unfortunately, the delivery of the touchscreen is wrapped up with all the other issues with it.

I liked the concept, the push down on a screen thing, but this device just doesn't do it.

Aside from that, my second day after a work has always more soreness, that's what I've noticed and today has been equally sore.

I can't wait for next week. Will keep you posted if I figure out a better tracking technique.

Methuselah said...

Deline - yep, the pushdown screen was the one thing I liked too. Look forward to hearing how you get on.