Friday, 14 August 2009

Body by Science Session 9: Different Order, Less Rest

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Date: 13th August

Ninth BBS Big 5 session:

Week 10*Week 9*

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


Pull Down150
Seated Row1201:441201:421152:021151:561151:311102:021002:15803:08
Overhead Press60
Chest Press951:37951:52951:39902:01901:391001:111001:17901:28
Seated Row110
Pull Down1451:561451:461402:091352:111302:151301:561252:151102:26
Chest Press90
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
10 mins

25 mins14 mins25 mins25 mins22 mins28 mins27 mins
Rest period
8 days

9 days11 days6 days8 days7 days7 days8 days
Less 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: Mixed seafood, wild blackberries, half a coconut, 45 minutes later.

Two big changes this week:
  1. We took it in turns to do the full workout, thus slashing the rest between exercises.
  2. We switched the order, as shown in the table.
I strategically upped the pull down weight by 5lbs in anticipation of first-exercise additional strength - this proved to be a good call as I remained in the sweet spot.

Surprising then, that I failed to make the same adjustment for seated row or chest press, for which I left the weight the same and, not surprisingly, only just broke the minute barrier. However, in recent weeks a couple of you have suggested operating in closer to the 60 second mark, so I was happy making the best of those sets. But it did feel a little as though I was cheating because they were over so quickly.

Overhead press continues to be a conundrum, as the expected improvement due to being earlier in the running order did not materialise; but we must consider the reduced rest in conjunction with pull downs being arguably the most taxing of the upper body exercises.

As I mentioned I would last week, I skipped leg press to let my legs rest after my weekend hiking and Monday tabata and in anticipation of some sprinting on Saturday. I think it's feasible this might even lead to greater improvements, because in the BBS book, they talk about occasional longer rest periods sometimes resulting in greater gains.


Deline said...

I’m having the same problem with overhead press. Next week I’m shuffling the exercises around, and starting with the overhead press first and foremost.

This week I kept all the weights the same as the week before, with exception of the my legs. This goes against what BBS does, in which they even add 5 lbs of extra weight if they have to. The main reason is that I don’t have the luxury. The machines have started to go up by 15lbs steps. So I have everything pretty much at 135, next up would 150 and from last week’s TUL, I didn’t think I was ready for it. Again, I have been trying to stay above 60s of load.

Well.. I went it, did my gym work, and walked out. I think the was the fastest I have ever done my exercises. I particularly focused on pushing through harder and keeping the time between exercises under 30 seconds. Up until I looked at my chart, I didn’t think I hadn’t do significant improvements. But low and behold.. I have..

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

I had my timer set to ring 60s and I held it pretty well past that. How far are just estimates because my timer doesn’t keep track. The overhead press gave me tons of trouble, I couldn’t even get it up over my head once at 130. So I held that for max of 30s, stepped the weight down to 90, and I wasn’t able to get that up either. I couldn’t get it up overhead until I was under 40lbs! And I managed to push that through about 30s.

My thoughts are better than nothing. But I was exhausted. I know my seated row was pretty sick. My muscles burned pretty hard on that one. The pull down was painful as well. All improved with exception over overhead press.

My Leg Press.. I initially had it 280 but I moved it to 300 and I still had over 2mins of effort! I’m looking at the stack of plates this machine and I’m thinking at this rate, I’ll be pushing all 400 lbs in what? Another month? It’s kind of crazy to go from 200lbs to 300lbs in 8 weeks and no signs of slowing down.

I’m feeling sore today. Starting earlier than I did last week think. I can’t shake the feeling that I’m not doing “enough” working out through the week though. Muscles feel bigger. My forearms looked bigger than I’ve seen them in years (yes!) and my shoulders feel more defined. So far, I’m pretty pleased after 2 months of this work. I am still conflicted on wanting to do more work, or somehow find a way to speed this process up. But if BBS is right, I’m doing everything I need to do just fine. We’ll see. I know for one thing, leading up to the gym I’m finding myself wanting to make the most of it. I’ve been more motivated than ever better by this, probably has something to do with the lingering thought that I won’t be back to the gym for another week (seems like a long time!)