Friday, 11 September 2009

Body by Science Session 13: Decision Made to Increase Rest

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

Thirteenth BBS Big 5 session:

Session 14*Session 13*Session 12Session 11Session 10Session 9

Session 8Session 7Session 6Session 5Session 4Session 3Session 2Session 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
851:32 *851:1485(1:10)901:13951:03
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
8 mins8 mins11 mins14 mins10 mins

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

9 days11 days6 days8 days7 days7 days8 days
No leg press because recovering from race. *Chest press not on ususal machine so may have affected time. Still feel like stagnation rules. No leg press because race on Sat. Stagnation on all exercises suggests 7 days rest no enough. Or not enough calories?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), 40 minutes later.

The mountain race on Saturday hit my body pretty hard. Yesterday, 5 days later, was the first day my legs had stopped hurting. On the basis this probably meant they were still not fully recovered, I reluctantly skipped legs a second time. In the past I would have done them anyway. In the past I was permanently overtrained.

But I had a faint sense of weaknes on the upper body too, which may have been my imagination, or it may be residual recovery.

Either way, don't read too much into all that blue. It still felt like a session without much progress. Seated Row was the only increase we can attatch any significance to. Chest Press was on a different machine (once again, the only other gym-goer in the building had gravitated to our usual machine at the very moment I was due to use it!) so I am not sure it was a genuine improvement and on Pull Downs it was not a big enough TUL increase to be significant. As for Overhead Press, don't get me started on that.

Rest Changes
I will kick this off by doing only legs next week, since they are owed a good session. This will be my shortest workout ever. Walk in, 2 minutes on the legs machine, stagger out.

The following week I will do a full session - which will mean my upper body had 14 days rest. From then onwards, I will take at least 9 days rest between sessions. Everything else I will keep the same.


Anonymous said...

This method of training will not provide hypertrophy. It is useful for those wishing to maintain basic muscle strength whilst avoiding joint fatigue. i.e. the injured or elderly.

You will witness a steady decline using this method. I have trained using similar techiniques. If there was a way to achieve what it claims to achieve on 15 min workouts every 7 or more days, we would all be versions of adonis.

Deline said...

Hey regarding the overhead press, I'm just going to throw this out there, take it or leave it, because I too am struggling with gains on it.

But the thing I've noticed is that you've kept it at 60lbs for weeks now. As far as I understand, you body will actually adapt to that weight level after a while, which could be the reason you're seeing what you want from it.

Setting aside that your race probably eat into muscle tissue, there's two options I would consider.

1- Look around the gym for small block weights that fit into these machines. Mine look like little rubber half weights. When I found this, I saw that I could add 5 lbs, even 3.5 lbs, instead of jumping to the next plate which was in increments of 10lbs.

2- Consider pushing as far as you can with the 60lbs. Then before getting up, bring the weight down to 30lbs, or even less, and try pushing that into inroad.

The second option I saw in some BBS videos as a technique.

So far I've been doing the 2 option for my overhead and while it hasn't progressed like other areas, I have seen progress nevertheless.

Methuselah said...

Anon - it's strength increase I am looking for mainly, although hypertrophy would seem a likely corollory and would not be unwelcome. We shall see what the results are. My training partner, who appears to require less rest than me, says he is getting bigger. He also appears to be getting stronger. I am not convinced by your suggestion that we would all be adonis-like if this approach works. For a start, very few people appear to know about it. Second, it's a pretty intense and painful way to train and my experience is that however much people like shortcuts, the one thing they like even more is not being in pain.

Deline - thanks for the suggestion. Action is certainly needed on OH press, although I am first going to give the rest plan and post workout nutrition plan a chance. Although I have remained at 60, I did reduce the rest period by a large margin at one point, which may mask at least some gains. But the ideas you put forward will I think be my next step if rest and post workout nutrition make no difference.

Deline said...

Hey Methuselah, here's my Week 13. I should probably ask if you if you find it of marginal value for me to continue my posting my progress on your blog. If you rather not I do that, no worries here, just let me know.

For some reason my exercises posts are being moderated on, so I don't have a place right now for them. And the terrible thing is that I can't find any contact info regarding their blog. Dr. McGuff has no email or contact us page.

Here's how things went for me this week:

This week I used some workout gloves, hoping to improve my grip but they actually made them feel weaker than before. In fact my grip nearly slipped in Pull Downs and Seated Rows which caused me to have to drop the weight faster than I wanted. That accounts for slightly slower times than I thought I could get. I think I will go back to no gloves next week.

Here are the numbers:

Overhead Press 130/ 57s 95/ 38s
Pulldown 167.5/ 54s
Chest Press 165/ 1m3s
Seated Row 165/ 44s
Leg Press 400/ 55s

Methuselah, you and I both still struggle with overhead stuff, but I am seeing minor increases so I'm happy with it as it were now.

I increase weight significantly from the previous week based on the the lack of “half stepped” weights available. This is 6 days of rest, and I saw progress.

My leg press suffered a bit because I actually lowered the angle of how far my legs had to push. I expect to see improvements here next week though.

One thing I noticed above all is that with several of the exercises, I would reach complete inroading, where I couldn't move the weight at all.. and as I kept pushing, the weight actually started to move against me. That is I no longer was able to keep it stable, but rather that my muscles losing strength and slowing dropping the weight.

Tough stuff!

But my arms or more so my triceps felt the biggest than I have ever had them before (post workout). I can’t remember having them this big, so this is a new milestone for me.

I think I'm sold it. I think this really works.

Anonymous said...

Methusala, I take your point - my comment was glib. there are plenty of efficient ways of training, like tabata for example, which are too intense for most people to use effectively. No doubt this could be the same, although personally I still have my doubts!

Good luck with it anyway - interesting to see how it pans out.

Methuselah said...

Hi Deline - please do keep posting your results, if you have time. Even better if you can include the previous week as you have done before, so that progress can be seen. Your leg press seems to still be going from strength to strength! I am doing just leg press this morning since I skipped legs last week and want to give my upper a longer rest. Hoping my mountain walking/running at the weekend will not have affected strength. I will bring upper and lower back together next week then start 9 days rest minimum. This means my training partner and I will not always be training at the same time, but we will probably go to the gym toghether anyway. That's the beauty of this routine - it gives you so much spare time you can affort to do that sort of thing!

Methuselah said...

Thanks Anon - I hope I will be able to report positive gains for me as well as my training partner!