Thursday, 24 December 2009

15-Minute Superslow Session with Free Weights

Location: My New House
Date: 23rd December

My gym was closed yesterday, so I improvised with some free weights at home instead of doing the normal BBS workout.

We've just moved house, where I now have a room semi-dedicated to training. Once set up, I'll add some pictures to the workout locations section.

For this session I used the BBS superslow protocol with free weights - something I've not tried before:

Dumbbell Bench Press - 20kg / dumbbell - 127 seconds to failure
Barbell Bent Over Row - 38kg - 108 seconds to failure (sort of)
Dumbbell Shoulder Press (seated) - 15kg / dumbbell - 85 seconds to failure
Romanian Deadlift with dumbbells - 37.5kg (82.5 lbs) / dumbbell - 92 seconds to failure

Total workout time: 14 minutes

Post-workout nutrition: scrambled egg, apple puree, cinnamon, 15 minutes later.

On the pushing exercises, the superslow felt natural... but for bent over rows it was awkward. First, because my back was not used to the exercise. It has become lazy with the machine version and I was not able to take my lats to failure because the stabilisation muscles gave up first. It is also difficult to get a squeeze in the same way as you can with the machine. The temptation is to jerk the bar, which of course you cannot do with superslow.

Romanian deadlift with dumbbells is the one exercise I was able to replicate at home, and I managed to increase the weight to 82.5 lbs from 74.8 and just get into the 90-120 sweet spot.


madMUHHH said...

Hi there,
when you talk about the "90-120 sweetspot" you are reffering to the Time Under Load, am I correct there?
If so, why 90-120 and not 45-90 as BBS seems to recommend? Just confused me a bit as it seems like you're pretty much exactly doing what BBS recommends, so I wondered why you would deviate from the 45-90 seconds.

Methuselah said...

I have been working on the basis that 90-120 IS what BBS recommends. I thought that's what I read in the book. I will go back and check... would be embarassing if I got it wrong, since I have been basing the last several months of workouts on this!

Lightning said...

Hello M , I've got your BBS book at the moment . I still haven't read it . Remind me and I'll bring it over N/Y

Methuselah said...

Thanks for reminding me about that Lightening - I would probably have torn the house appart looking for it, given the state of our possessions at the moment! Yes, that's two things you need to bring on NYE then...

madMUHHH said...

Well, I don't know whether that part of the book is the only one that discusses the exact TUL, but on page 56 there is an paragraph about "time as a factor in optimal stimulation" and there it says:
"...Consequently, depending on the protocol you are using, as well as the cadence with which you are lifting the resistance[...], the fatigue rate should fall anywhere between forty seconds and two and a half minutes. Opptimally we're looking at a forty-five to ninety seconds for a particular exercise as the desired time frame for reaching a maximum level of fatigue..."

madMUHHH said...

Oh, and I just found another passage at page 91:
"if you find you have misjudged the resistance you should be using and are performing the exercise for too long (more than ninety seconds), keep going until you hit positive failure, and increase the weight [...] to get you back under the ninety-second time under load."

So, I guess you actually did get that one wrong.

arlojeremy said...

I'm extremely impressed that my local library bought Body By Science at my recommendation. I've read it through once and plan to do so again.

I haven't been working out much lately, but last week I tried the super-slow protocol. WOW! I couldn't believe how different it was, and I have to say I really liked it. It was like having a cardio workout along with lifting. I absolutely burst out in sweat and was panting like a dog, and loving it. :)

Can't wait to try it out with a new gym membership next year.

Methuselah said...

madMUHHH - I've been looking back at my old posts to figure out how I arrived at the 90-120 seconds sweet spot rule. I think this is the point where I decided.

I now remember the logic. I knew that I was aiming for 90 seconds on each exercise, but wanted to put in place a rule that gave me something to aim for and put a structure around progression. So the rule I came up with was that if I could get TUL to be more than 2 minutes for a weight, then I was allowed to increase it. So TUL would always fall between 45 seconds and 2.5 minutes, as per your first quote.

However, over the months, I forgot about the underlying message of the book (45-90 = optimal) and decided that 90-120 was the sweet spot, wheras in fact it was just a range I had decided upon myself that lay withing Doug's overall boundaries.

So: it looks like 45-90 is the sweet spot. I think I will switch the rule in a few weeks so that getting more than 90 seconds on a weight means an upgrade. Thanks for pointing this out!

Methuselah said...

Hope it works out for you Arlo - appart from Tabata it's certainly the quickest way to destroy yourself (in a good way) I've ever found.