Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Dumbell Chest & Ab Rollouts + O'Neill Rowing Test

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Date: 17th February

- 3 sets of Dumbbell Bench Press (8 @ 24kg, 6 @ 24kg, 9 @22kg)
- 3 sets of Ab rollouts from knees x 10

Dumbbell Chest and Ab Rollout sets were alternated with minimum rest

- O'Neill Test (4 minutes on rowing machine) - 1063 metres

Total Time: 16 minutes

Post Workout Nutrition: none - fasted until dinner.

I am doing a lot of fasting and exercising at the moment - both before and after workouts. It's not intentional, just the way the chips are falling. Since I am doing a bit more running and enjoying the ideas put forward in Born to Run, the idea of getting really lean is attractive and I am not sure I care too much about a few pounds of muscle here or there.

I am just working hard but short, looking for long, hunt-like runs and throwing some heavy around when I get the chance. If it suits me to fast, I fast. As you can see from my body composition chart, updated today, this approach seems to have led to a reasonable trend (body fat falling, weight falling.)

After this discussion with Natural Messiah, I decided to try the O'Neill Rowing Test, and was a little disappointed with the result - my comment at the bottom of his post explains my tactics and the context. I'll be re-visiting this one!

I avoided failure on the dumbbell chest press but ensured I relished the resistance on the sets, using good form and working hard on the final reps. My gym partner was busy doing leg exercises now that he's recovering from his own knee operation, so in any case spotting was not available.

Ab rollouts were tough-ish - it's been a while since I did these. It's about time I got my core doing some real work again.


Benjamin Nutt said...

Hi! I'm a big fan of your blog, I think your training and experimentation is really interesting. I was also a big fan of Born to Run. This post made me curious, though: When you talk about running in this post, are you still talking about sprint training like you usually do, or are you talking about more long distance runs? I ask because I'm a paleo eater myself, and I try to exercise pretty primal, but I'm also a distance runner. I know a lot of people in the paleo/primal community are against distance running for many reasons, but it's just something I love to do and it helps keep me lean like you were talking about. I don't find it difficult, strenuous, boring, or anything like that. Just curious about what you refer to when you say "running" in this post - guess I asked in a pretty roundabout way! Haha!

Methuselah said...

Hi Ben - thanks, glad you enjoy the blog. The question you ask is something I have been asking myself a lot recently, while reading the book. When I ran before I was Paleo/Primal, I did the kind of running that Mark Sisson calls chronic cardio - in other words regular, long, hard runs. Now that I have rediscovered a passion for running I am looking at it more in an evolutionary context I am realising that long runs, if done at an easy pace, or even at a varied pace whereby harder sections (such as inclines) are interspersed with an easy pace, perhaps as a persistence hunt would have happened, are entirely in tune with how we were built to operate. That was a roundabout way of saying that I mean I will be doing running that's long and easy or short and hard! Since races are such fun, I want to take part in plenty of those, but will simply so so at a pace that allows me to savour the experience rather than chase a time and stray into an persistent effort zone that my body is not necessarily programmed to deal with regularly.

Benjamin Nutt said...

Sounds like you and I share a similar opinion! I run a lot, but am by no means some intense distance athlete. All of my running is done at an easy pace, though I do like to throw speedwork into the mix every once in a while. I agree with you in terms of the evolutionary perspective - Born to Run made me realize that as well, thinking about long hunts done at an easy pace. I thought that whole section of the book was fascinating. I enjoy racing, too, but I really only race hard for the shorter distances - 5k, 10k, the like. Anything longer than that and I just take my time and take it easy. Feels just about right.

Methuselah said...

Benjamin - I also recall a couple of key points in The Primal Blueprint where Mark suggests that occasional hard runs of, say, five miles, or even busting out a half marathon as fast as you can, might have significant fitness benefits without consituting chronic cardio. So I feel as if I could, if I wanted to, sometimes run a long race as hard as I can. I may choose to do this on one or two particular races that I run each year, just to gauge progress (or lack of)

Benjamin Nutt said...

Really? That's interesting to hear. I haven't yet read the Primal Blueprint, but I've read Mark's site backwards and forwards. That's good information to have, thank you for sharing.

I've recently considered giving Crossfit Endurance a try. I don't know if you've heard of them, but they employ training based on short-yet-intense efforts to prepare for a multitude of events, from short distances to ultramarathons. It's pretty interesting stuff if you've never checked it out -
Sounds like it could be beneficial in several regards.

Methuselah said...

Hi Benjamin - thanks for that - I have heard about it but never read anything - will take a look. It sounds like something I could try by re-modelling my existing activities.