Friday, 2 January 2009

Bicep Curls

I am not a big fan of muscle-isolation exercises like bicep curls. Why would you bother with this when you can do chins ups? But sometimes it's handy for circuits to have an extra exercise to throw in, especially when you are too tired to be able to do many chin ups. There are many varieties of bicep curl - straight bar, z-bar, dumbbell, hammer, seated, standing, 'preacher' curls - so for now I will just post videos of the one I have recently done, then add others when I have time.

My own experience is that using a straight bar is not good and can cause injuries over time - the ez-bar seems to offer a more natural angle for the wrists. Others say that you need a straight bar to fully engage the biceps. I'd rather have smaller biceps and be injury free. Dumbbells, of course, allow your arms to move through a range of motion that suits their geometry, so I would favour these.
Hammer Curls
You can do these standing up or sitting down. This video talks about slowly lowering and strict form - I tend to just do these fast as part of a circuit and not worry about form too much.

Barbell Curls
It's only practical to do these standing up. This guy does not have perfect form - but then I rarely do either - as I said above, for circuit work there's little point. I prefer to avoid burnout by cheating - it's a lot more convenient than running off to get a lighter bar. Note: there are some aspects of form that are important - such as a good stance and straight back - I am not advocating the abandonment of all aspects of good form!

... Read more

Pistols (One-Legged Squats)

This can be a difficult one to master, but it's likely to be much more valuable than two-legged, weighted squats as a training tool for sports because it forces you to maintain stability and balance. Couple of videos here showing how it's done and some tips for progressing. For most people it's going to be a while before they are easy enough that you need more than your own body weight, so the beauty of pistols is you can do them anywhere. This is my favourite hotel-room exercise.
Basic Pistols
Here's a video of Steve Maxwell making it look easy.

Assisted Pistols
There are a couple of ways you can do this - putting something under your behind...

...or holding onto something with your hands. Steve Maxwell is using something he rigged up here, but you could equally use any stable object at waist height to steady yourself, such as a bed.

Weighted Pistols
If you get good at pistols, maybe you would want to make things harder to bring the reps down. I think the best way is to use a weighted vest (or chains round your neck) - but you can also hold dumbbells or kettle bells in your hands. I am not good enough to have tried any - but here's someone who is...

... Read more

Sandbag Lift, Squat and Press Combo

I have no video of this yet - but it's an easy movement. You pick up a sandbag from the floor, then press it above your head. Then bring it back down to your chest and hold it there, resting it on your pecks. Do a squat. Then put the sandbag back down. That is one rep. ... Read more

Front Lever

This is the natural partner to the planche, and uses primarily the upper body 'pull' muscles as opposed to the upper body 'push' muscles used by the planche. You need a horizontal bar (or gym rings!) at least at waist height and at least as wide as your shoulders for this. The front lever has a number of progressions - too many to show in the videos - so I show the easiest and the hardest. The easiest form, the tuck front lever is not too hard. Also included are some links to good tutorials where all the intermediate progressions can be seen.
Tuck Front Lever
This is not the greatest form, but it gets to the point and shows how my tuck planche looked when I got started. I suggest looking at some of the tutorial links to get an idea of the perfect form.

Full Front Lever
...and here's where we're aiming to get to. I picked this video because once again, it gets to the point - but it also illustrates that you can really improvise! It's pretty clear that this dude has spent so much time practising his front lever that he had no time to tidy his bedroom.

Dragon Door: tutorial on progressing through the front lever and planche.
: tutorial on progressing through the front lever.
... Read more

Dumbbell Snatch

The video shows this being done with great form.

... Read more

Handstand Push Ups

Against the Wall
The video shows me using barbell plates to create a defined point I can lower my head to. This makes it easier to gauge progress. You can use anything you like - you may prefer to find something softer if you are not confident about lowering yourself slowly!

... Read more

Push Ups (Press Ups)

Push ups and their many variations are a great addition to a flexible training program. I've never been in a hotel room where you couldn't find room to do this exercise. There are many variations, which can be as easy or as hard as you want. Some of these are shown by these videos and links - I will post a wider variety in due course.
Basic Push Up
I have removed the basic push up video because it now includes an annoying commercial at the start. Instead, take a look at the weighted push up video in the next section. This shows how a correct push up inludes a full extension at the top - something people rarely do, but which really adds to the value of the exercise. This last bit of extension is sometimes done in isolation, and called a 'scapula push up.'
Weighted Push Ups

Close-Grip Push Ups
These emphasise your triceps. Also known as the 'triangle push up', apparently.

Inverted (Decline) Push Ups
You can do these by elevating your feet. There are two variations I have used.

Inverted 'Pike' Push Ups - where you flex at the hips to place more emphasis on the shoulders. With this approach it is actually possible to use a flat wall, maintaining your feet in place by pushing backwards with your hands.

Normal Inverted Press Ups - where you maintain the rigid body position as with a regular press up. This isn't the best form I have ever seen, but I like the fact he's doing it outside rather than in a gym.

Plyometric (Explosive) Push Ups, with a Clap
This guy has good form, I reckon. I have seen videos of people doing 2 and 3 claps, or even claps behind the back - but in most cases they appear to flex at the hips to obtain the height (and therefore time) necessary to do this. I am not sure what the point is - I would rather do fewer claps and leave the hips out of it.

Jack La Lanne Push Ups
These also give your abs some work to do!

... Read more

Hanging Leg Raise

You can work your abs pretty hard with this one, especially if you maintain good form. The guy in this video has it pretty well nailed. The important thing is to avoid swinging - a wide grip helps with that, but it also takes a lot of additional effort from the abs to control the downward movement. If you just let your legs drop under gravity, you will swing wildly.

Engaging the lats is also important with this exercise, as you can help to stabilise your body and power your hips upwards by squeezing them and also use them to control the hips on the way down.

How straight you keep your legs affects how hard this is - I find I must keep my legs at least slightly bent to do even one rep - and to do 10, significantly bent. Simply bend your legs as much as you have to for the number of reps you want to execute. When you are very tired - as this guys is towards the end of his set, you can pretty much move to knee-raises. Or if you prefer, just raise your legs only as high as you can get them.

... Read more

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Compressed Volume, Upper Body Focus

The idea of this circuit is to complete a high volume workout in a short period of time by cycling through the sets, thereby giving the different muscle groups a chance to rest. It's quite demanding, but great for muscular conditioning and satisfying the need (if like me you still have it) to just throw some iron around and behave like a bodybuilder. The difference is, you don't stand around talking crap for a couple of minutes between sets, so you can still keep the workout short and intense, as it should be.

10 Dumbbell Bench Press
10 Single-Arm Dumbbell Bent-Over Rows
10 Single-Arm Dumbbell Snatch
An Ab exercise you can do 10 - 15 aggressive reps on - e.g. Hanging Leg Raise, Russian Twists

Repeat for 5 rounds as many as you want. Rest for 30 - 60 seconds between rounds.

It's important to pick weights that are not too ambitious. It's tempting to go for something close to your 3 x 10 weight - but bear in mind that when you do 3 x 10 you are resting between sets, not doing some other exercise! It soon takes its toll. I would suggest about 80% of your regular 3 x 10 weight.
... Read more

Cleans / Power Cleans

This is a good video of the strict technique, but my view is that you can choose to involve as little of your legs as you choose according to how much emphasis you want to put on them. As a rule, the heavier the weight, the more you will need the legs.

Single-Arm Dumbbell
This is a slightly unusual video, but it's the only one I could find that illustrates what I believe to be a single-arm dumbbell clean. Some people seem to think other, more controlled, rear-delt targeting movements can be classed as cleans. I disagree.

... Read more

Muscle Ups

I think this exercise, strictly speaking, should be done using gymnastic rings. I will find a video of this being done, but for now am focusing on the version that uses a bar, since that is what I do.
Using a Bar
This is the basic form using a bar - he does swing a little bit, but not enough to classify this as a 'kipping' muscle up (see lower down.)

Jump-Assisted Using a Bar
I don't have a video of this, but essentially this involves standing on a box under a bar and jumping into the movement so I can provide additional momentum to allow me to perform the muscle up. By reducing the size of the box, then the extent to which I rely on a jump, I hope to progress towards the unassisted version.
Swing-Assisted, Uneven Muscle Ups Using a Bar
This was how I achieved my first muscle up - by swinging and then doing an uneven muscle up so that my strongest arm took priority. In other words, I just did my damnedest to get up there. Now I can work backwards from here and try to tighten up the form.

These are a lot like dips - you start in the normal end position - arms straight. Find a wall or other platform and then get yourself into the position as if you had just done a successful muscle up on it. Then lower yourself as far down as you can go whilst still comfortably then pushing back to the straight-armed position. To progress, increase the depth to which you go before pushing up.
... Read more

The Clent Hills, Worcestershire, UK

Submitted By: Methuselah
Location: Worcestershire, UK (map)
Website: Wikipedia entry
Workouts: from workout diary

I am going to keep this brief, because my experience of the Clent Hills is limited to a single outing, following a single route which I suspect to be the route taken by the hordes. I have no doubt there are walks of great beauty and relative isolation to be had on the slopes of the Clent Hills. However, if you plan to park at the Fountain pub and follow the popular trail that leads to the café and car park, might I suggest you make plans to have your shoes disinfected when you return and don't take along anyone who is nervous of dogs.

That said, provided you have no qualms about dog faeces, the standard trail makes for good running. I hope to explore and report back on other routes in due course.

For those based in the Birmingham in the UK, this represents a closer option for hill running than The Wrekin or Malvern Hills, albeit with less challenging terrain.
... Read more

Dumbbell Swings

Single Arm
If you also watch the reflection of this dude in the mirror, you can figure out the full movement. I picked this because this is exactly how I perform the exercise. Like this guy, I also tend to use it as a finisher.

... Read more

The Plank

Basic Plank
The plank is simple: lie on your front, then raise yourself up onto your elbows and make your body rigid, so that you are straight - like a plank. Remaining in this position requires your abs to remain under tension.

Outstretched Arms Plank
I invented this one, inspired by Jack Lalanne Push Ups, which I noticed hurt my abs as much as my chest and shoulders. Get into the basic plank position, then raise yourself up onto your hands instead of your elbows and walk your hands forward as far as you can whilst still maintaining your plank-like rigidity.
... Read more


This one works mainly the lower back. The two variations I use are floor and machine. The videos show these. If you are using a machine, you can also explore adding resistance by holding onto weights, wearing a weight vest or some other approach.
Machine Hyperextensions
I find using the machine gives the most control, since you can keep your legs stable during the movement. Not always practical though, since it's not the kind of equipment you keep at home.

Floor Hyperextensions
I often do these simply because there is no machine available. It's annoying that the legs also move, but once you get used to the movement it is possible to minimise that, as this guy demonstrates.

... Read more

Russian Twists

Go to 2:20 in the video to see the great Ross Enamait performing these. They can be pretty tough and I find they give my legs almost as much work to do as my abs, not to mention the upper body effort required to keep the weight stable.

... Read more


Barbell Squat
I haven't done proper squats for a while, since I now focus on pistols to work my legs - however, here is a gratuitous video of a very strong guy squatting an awful lot of weight on a barbell.

Barbell Plate Partial Squats
I am not sure whether anyone else does these, so here is a video of me doing it. It's a great way to throw in a controlled set of partial squats at the end of a routine, simply to get the cardiovascular system working. I like the fact that the plates determine how far down you can go and that the centre of gravity is different from when holding dumbbells. The plates seem to stabilise the body more. I typically do 50-100 reps as a finisher with a 20kg or 25kg plate.

Swiss Ball Squats
I was told to do these by my physiotherapist while recovering from knee surgery - without the dumbbells initially. I think this variation puts less pressure on the knee because of the stability offered by the ball and the fact it allows you to lean back as you perform the movement.

... Read more

Val d'Azun, The Pyrenees, France

Submitted By: Methuselah
Location: Val d'Azun, The Pyrenées, France (map)
Workouts: from workout diary

As I write in 2009, we have just returned from our first visit to the Pyrenées, where we stayed in this valley. I am not going to try to tell you everything there is to know about it. Instead, I will just briefly outline why it's a good workout location, based on my own experience.

There are lots of mountains ranging from small to huge - so hiking, running and climbing are all on the menu.

In winter there is snow, so all the associated activities are possible.

In fact, there is a great summary of all the things you can do in the valley on the website of the place where we stayed. Once you get to the site, click on the Activities link.

One of these activities we did take part in was the adventure park. It sounds twee, but believe me, the hard bits were truly hard.

There are also lakes you can swim in - a personal favourite of mine. They are stone cold, of course, since they are fed most of the year by snow melting from the mountains - but of course this makes it all the more invigorating, not to mention the physiological benefits.

Look in the workout posts (link above) for more detail about my workouts there and some photos.
... Read more

Inverted Rows

This is a great substitute for bent-over rows if you want to workout with bodyweight and/or cannot make it to a gym. Ways to make this exercise harder:
  1. Raise your feet by placing them on something like a bench
  2. Wear a weighted vest (as in the second video below)
  3. Ask your training partner to put a weight on your chest
  4. Any combination of these!
With Bar
This could be a barbell or smith machine bar in the gym (second video) or, as in the first video, any horizontal pole or bar at roughly the correct height.

Under Table
I started doing this version when I was in hotel rooms or at home. Here I am doing it in my apartment.

... Read more

Seated Knee Raises

This is a nice exercise to include in a circuit between harder exercises, but not a good way to build mass or strength. It works the lower abs and feels like it also works part of the upper legs. The short video shows someone sitting on a bench but you can just as easily be on the floor.

... Read more

Sandbag Clean and Throw

Use the technique shown here to clean the sandbag, then throw it into the air as high as you can, slightly forwards, so that it doesn't come back and hit you. This adds a plyometric (explosive) element to the movement you cannot get with a dumbbell or barbell because of the damage you would cause if you released them!

Clearly you need a sandbag that's not so heavy that it cannot be thrown - the one being used in the clean and jerk video is perhaps a little heavy...
... Read more

The Gym Tiburon, Tiburon, San Francisco Bay, California

Submitted By: Methuselah
Location: 1751 Tiburon Blvd., Belvedere, CA, 94920 (map)

I used this gym because you get a free pass for it when staying at The Lodge in Tiburon, San Francisco Bay. Mrs M and I were staying there when on our Great Cake Porn Tour last year.

This is not a large gym, but the range of equipment was good. They have a smith machine, a facility for dips and pull ups, a small but complete set of cardio machines, dumbbells and free weights. They also have some good quality toilets and changing facilities.

For a small gym they also have an unexpected selection of more specialist training equipment, including resistance bands and a 'power plate', which I will do a post about at some point. They also have a stretching 'cage', which proved useful.
... Read more

Two-handed, Single Dumbbell Lift and Press

This is a home-spun exercise, although that's not to say no one else has thought of it before. The video shows me executing a couple of reps. I just invented it independantly. No doubt someone, somewhere has done it before. The key is to be methodical about each step, especially the change in grip on the way up and down.

... Read more

Dumbbell Stair Climbs

This one is simple.

Grab some dumbbells and carry them up and down the stairs. To get heavy enough to really tax yourself, you may need to use lifting straps or the grip will fail long before your legs or cardiovascular system. I like this because of the sequential effort. With stepping or box jumping there is always a point where you can rest. Stair climbing adds a new dimension to leg training - especially if you live on the 3rd floor, as I do!

... Read more

My (Ex) Apartment, Birmingham, UK

Submitted By: Methuselah
Location: Birmingham, UK (map)
Workouts: from workout diary

[Update: 12/12/2010 we moved to our new house.]

I have a small area into which you will see I store a lot of equipment for use on the occasions when I cannot make it to the gym or I fancy a workout I can only do at home - such as climbing the stairs with dumbbells. I use the limited floor space for various exercises, but do have to restrict myself to exercises and weights where I remain firmly in control, since the wooden floor would not tolerate any significant shock.

I also use our sturdy dining table for inverted rows and inverted pull ups.

The best thing about my apartment is the 3 flights of stairs leading up to it, which I often use for dumbbell stair climbs.

... Read more

Bench Press

Barbell Bench Press
I don't the barbell anymore because I found it aggravated my shoulder over a period of time. I was told that there were better grips I could use, but I opted instead to go for dumbbell bench press, so never got a chance to see if that would work.

Dumbbell Bench Press
I have been doing this in preference to barbell press for a while now. I find that allowing my wrists and arms to find their own preferred planes of motion has eliminated various overuse injuries I used to get with barbell work.

I just had to use this video of Ronnie Coleman to illustrate this exercise. Needless to say I usually use a little less weight!

One-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press
I use this when I have no one to pass me the dumbbell and I want to use a weight which is too heavy for me to get into position on my own - I just use both hands to get the weight up, then switch to one hand for the reps.

... Read more


The headstand is a basic gymnastic move. There are different variations - I have seen a number of videos showing a yoga version where you rest on your elbows. For now I am posting this single video of the basic headstand because it most closely approximates my approach and I have not yet attempted any other types.
Basic Headstand
This can be done with a wall for support or at least to catch you if you over-balance. You can also move into a and out of the headstand much more slowly - after a few consecutive slow headstands you can certainly feel it on your lower back and shoulders from the effort of stabilising.

... Read more

Other Equipment


Lifting Straps
Whilst I would not recommend relying upon these too often, since it can lead to a grip that's disproportionately weak in relation to the rest of the body, these are nevertheless a great piece of kit. Sometimes you simply need to do an exercise that insufficient grip strength would hinder - or perhaps do a circuit that has too many consecutive grip-taxing exercises to be viable without this support.

If you are new to lifting straps, this sequence of photos should guide you on how to hool them up to assist the grip of a dumbbell.

The sandbag is a versatile piece of kit. You can lift them, throw them and run with them, which cannot be said of dumbbells or kettlebells. Well, I suppose you could throw them, but you'd need a certain type of dumbbell and a certain type of gym!

You can buy them (for example here) but you can also make them - which can be fun. My own sandbag (seen in the photo) is a pretty crude effort, knocked up by a builder friend of mine using tape and canvas. It's 28kg. It leaks and is not robust enought to withstand throwing. I use it mainly for lifting and pressing.

Here's a good tutorial on making sandbags from Ross Enamait.
Weighted Vest
This bad boy has served me well. There are many varieties of weighted vest, but this Reebok version, the one I own, allows you to remove half pound inserts from pouches to vary the weight between 1 and 20lb. You can also buy additional inserts to get up to 40lb.

You can use it to make bodyweight exercises harder - press ups, burpees, pistols, ab rollouts - anything, in fact, where the range of movement will not be affected. For pull ups and chin ups I would instead recommend the weighted approaches detailed in those posts.

It's also good for making running harder - I like to use it on short hill runs.

From workout diary: weighted vest sessions
Ab Wheel
This is an alternative to using dumbbells or a barbell to do ab rollouts. It actually makes them harder because the single wheel makes maintaining stability more of a challenge. They are pretty cheap to buy and useful if you want to do some ab rollouts at home.
... Read more

The Malvern Hills, Worcestershire, UK

Submitted By: Methuselah
Location: The Malvern Hills, Worcestershire, UK (map)
Website: Wikipedia entry
Workouts: from workout diary

The Malvern hills is a spine of hills varying in height up to about 400m, which is reached by it's highest peak, the Worcestershire Beacon. The land around is almost entirely flat, so the range is particularly distinct when seen from afar.

It's a great location for hiking or fell running if you live in the Midlands in the UK and don't have time to travel to more mountainous regions. It's less than one hour to drive there from our base in Birmingham, so perfect for a Sunday morning outing.

From a fitness training perspective, it's an ideal playground - I like to start at one end of the spine and work my way along, which entails a variety of gradients, hill sizes and under-foot terrain. There are even some steps at the northern end, which can be ascended quickly if a sprint effect is what you are looking for.

Here is a photo taken by Lightning from the air, showing the full 'chain' of hills, which makes for a great 'out and back' run of about 3 hours.

... Read more

My Dad's Garage, Cheshire, UK

Submitted By: Methuselah
Location: Cheshire, UK (map)
Workouts: from workout diary

My Dad's gym has probably the lowest ratio of venue to equipment quality ever seen. His single garage houses gardening tools, a table tennis table, a lawnmower and various household items like a fridge and vegetable storage rack. Somehow he has shoe-horned into the remaining space a top quality power rack and top quality pull down machine. Accompanying this are several Olympic bars, a pair of adjustable dumbbells, a good range of plates and two weights benches.

He deserves an award for ingenious use of garage space alone, but more to his credit is that with this this equipment he continues with exercise routines that would tax most people half his age.

No prizes for guessing the source of my own fixation in this area.

... Read more

Pull Downs

Reverse-Grip Pull Downs
... Read more

Reverse Hyperextension (Reverse Leg Raise)

The video shows this being done with a Swiss ball, but you can improvise - any method is fine if it allows you to keep your upper body stable and sufficient range of motion for the legs.

... Read more

Kneeling Rope Crunches

If you do crunches and are sick of having to do dozens to feel as if you have done some work, this might be for you. You use the weight stack with a rope attachment to add resistance to the crunch movement and can get a really good squeeze on the abs. In the video, this guy is facing the stack. We tend to face away from it, but I don't think it makes much difference.

... Read more

Upper Body Alternating Sprints

15 Press Ups
50 yard sprint
20 Seated Knee Raises
50 yard sprint
20 Bent Over Row (with dumbbells)
50 yard sprint
20 Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press
50 yard sprint
20 Dumbbell Hammer Curls
50 yard sprint

I created this circuit because I wanted to do sprint intervals, but also wanted a way to simultaneously challenge my cardiovascular fitness. I find that my legs become fatigued before my cardiovascular system has been really pushed if I focus solely on sprinting.

I pick a single set of light dumbbells - usually 6kg - and use it for all the upper body movements. At this weight, it is fine to do the bent over rows with dumbbells, I find. I like to do all the exercises and the sprinting at maximum effort - as if each one were a tabata interval. The idea is to combine a variety of movements into a sequence of intense but brief efforts, punctuated by pauses as you move into place for the next exercise or sprint. One round usually takes me 2 - 3 minutes.
... Read more

Box Jumps

Jump up onto something, ideally a box. Then do it again. Box jumps are simple and can be done anywhere you can find a stable platform. They can be very demanding and challenging if you want them to be - just choose a height and rep pattern accordingly. As well as the basic jump, I had to include some videos of more incredible jumping feats!
Basic Box Jump
Very High Box Jump
Even Big Guys can do it!
Thanks to Chris from Conditioning Research for this one.

... Read more

Buttermere Valley, The Lake District, UK

Submitted By: Methuselah
Location: The Lake District, UK (map)
Workouts: from workout diary

This a fantastic place for a truly primal/paleo workout. Mountains, trees, a lake, rocks, logs - what more could you possibly need?

The Lake District is one of the most beautiful places in the UK and Buttermere is considered one of the most beautiful places in the Lake District. We try to visit at least once a year, and almost always stay at the Fish Hotel.

I highly recommend this place to anyone who wants to truly get away. There is no mobile phone signal and no TV. Truly a joy.
... Read more

300 Single-Round Upper Body Finisher

50 Press ups
50 Inverted rows
50 Seated knee raises
50 Upright rows
50 Shoulder press
50 Bicep curls

I came up with this as an upper body-only finisher when my knee was giving me problems. I tend to choose relatively light weights and go for speed. Even so, it's hard to feel as though your fitness is being taxed when there is no lower body work involved.

It borrows from the '300' workout insofar as you complete all reps of exercise consecutively rather than in multiple rounds. So this is a one-round circuit. You can make this as hard as you like by increasing the weight.

You can use dumbbells or a barbell for the last 3.

For the inverted rows, I prefer to use the smith machine.
... Read more

Throw, Sprint and Climb

This sequence of exercises potentially mimics the fast, intense effort required to escape the clutches of an attacker by pushing them away, then fleeing to the nearest tree. Obviously, therefore, it should be performed at maximum intensity. You can then repeat with a minute of rest or more between sets.

... Read more

Body by Science Experiment

In June 2009 I tried out a method of training detailed in Doug McGuff's book, Body by Science. Details on the book and the exercises it involves can be seen here.

I have been recording my progress (and lack of it!) week by week, but am now just updating this page after each session to save time and space.

Session 25Session 24Session 23Session 22

Session 21Session 20Session 19Session 18Session 17Session 16Session 15Session 14Session 13Session 12Session 11Session 10Session 9

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



Pull Down150
Pull Down1551:401551:411551:421551:501551:431551:451551:48155-1551:551551:511551:491502:131501:51
Seated Row1201:441201:421152:021151:561151:311102:021002:15803:08
Overhead Press60
Overhead Press601:32601:32601:35601:39601:32601:43601:5060-601:36601:44601:48601:38601:36
Chest Press951:37951:52951:39902:01901:391001:111001:17901:28
Seated Row105
Seated Row1051:331051:401051:461051:301051:261051:421051:48105-1051:481051:391051:381101:291201:04
Pull Down1451:561451:461402:091352:111302:151301:561252:151102:26
Chest Press80
Chest Press851:20851:19851:21851:15851:24851:19851:2085-851:32 *851:1485(1:10)901:13951:03
Overhead Press601:33601:28601:37601:49601:37601:38601:4480, 700:35, 0:25
Romanian Deadlift (dumbbells)74.8
Leg Press----3402:153400:553401:33--3302:193301:42330-330-3301:333202:14320-
Leg Press3102:303002:012903:242802:12260-2503:02230, 2704.312002:57
Total Time
13 mins14 mins14 mins
Total Time9 mins8 mins12 mins10 mins11 mins9 mins11 mins3 mins8 mins8 mins11 mins14 mins10 mins

25 mins14 mins25 mins25 mins22 mins28 mins27 mins
Rest period
9 days7 days11 days
Rest period8 days9 days11 days7 days9 days13 days14 days (8 for legs)20 days (for legs)7 days7 days7 days7 days8 days

9 days11 days6 days8 days7 days7 days8 days
Now have all exercises in the sweet spot. After a week of plenty of calories and no crutching, I expected more gains than I saw. Something weird with pulldowns. Right arm weak. Crutching-related? Day 2 of calorie switch so maybe next week effects will be felt. And I will drive to the gym. Pulldown machine broken so forced to do 150 lbs. Suffering cumulative effects of 'crutch-cardio' & lack of calories.Doing deadlift until knee ready for leg press again.
Notes Times amazingly similar to last session. Truly, this is maintenance. Leg still in brace so no leg press. Almost no change at all.Had knee surgery 6 days previously but having to keep one leg straight not really a problem for upper body exercises. Rope climbing may have affected pull downs, leg press improvement may be limked to back rest position. Still in calorie deficit. Low sleep & low calorie week & only seven days rest. Yet no other exercise between. Leg press first rep burned me out: maybe seat position wrong. Running at the weekend, swimming on Tuesday and bad sleep may have eroded benefits of longer, 9-day rest. Could have done more on legs but demoralisation set in. No leg due to recent fell face and another on saturday. snagnation across the board. Fatigue from race? Rest period too long? Calorie deficit? In spite of alcoholic weekend, some good progress. Could legs have benefited from the weekend laziness? Chest is blue because it's the best time on the correct machine. Leg press only this week due to recently skipping it - but no upper body because seeking longer rest period overall. Full session next week. 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 =
worse than last week
Blue =
best time ever on that weight
Black =
no TUL change /weight changed / improvement not exceeded a previous best ... Read more