Tuesday, November 18, 2008

News on the gym front

Recently, Gen and I have been going to the campus gym, which I find... well, let's just say less than stellar. It's not actually bad or crappy or anything. It's pretty nice, but it just doesn't suit the needs of someone who's a little more serious about fitness and strength conditioning. I can easily clear the entire weight stack on the cable machine, and the dumbbells top out at 50lbs. Granted I usually don't train with the weights, but sometimes I like doing Turkish get ups; if I can already do the 50lb weights, I can foresee those weights becoming too light down the road.

Anyhow, I've managed to find one acceptable bodyweight exercise (actually progression of exercises) I can do in the gym. I start on the pull up bar, invert and hold a back lever, drop into skin the cat, roll back up and hold a front lever (or at least the 1-leg lever), drop into a dead hang, do a clapping pull up, readjust my hands into a false grip and do a muscle up. I tried adding a 180 degree release and turn, but I can't seem to grip the wide cross bar on the cable machine when I'm attempting that skill. I'm digging this dynamic strength series that I made up. Gen suggested I try it on the rings, but I fear that. Not only are my rings not rated for swings/catch-release moves, but I'm don't actually know if I'm strong enough (or even coordinated enough) to release and catch my rings.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pulling too much, but ignoring the dips?

Ok, for the first time in my life I can do more pull ups than dips. I think having a pull up bar in my home and no corresponding dip equivalent has really biased my training to stuff I can do while hanging. And I guess doing the rings (mostly hanging or straight arm support-type skills) is also biasing the type of strength I'm developing. I did weighted pull ups and dips again yesterday. I can do 70lb weighted pull ups, but I don't think I can do 70lb weighted dips. Plus, my lats and back still feel pretty fresh whereas my pecs are a little sore this morning.

I find it amusing that most people who strength train are too pec-centered in their training. Just look at all the meatheads in the gym doing way too much bench press. I used to overemphasize benching, too. Then I got a shoulder injury and listened to my PT about balancing out the strength in all my muscle groups. I don't think it's possible for me to develop a strength imbalance with all these pulling exercises, but I'll need to check to make sure.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sort of back into weight training

I've forgone weight lifting for nearly two years now, and amazingly, I've actually gotten significantly stronger. That's not to say I think weight training is crap, but I do think now that I was taking the wrong approach to it before. If only I'd started subscribing to the "train smarter, not just harder" mantra earlier, maybe I'd be a beast by now.

I've started supplementing my bodyweight gymnastics-style strength training with some weight training again. Since clapping pull ups have become easy for me now, and I've been able to do 45lb weighted pull ups and dips, I've decided to make weighted pull ups and dips part of my regular workout.

I had a big ego boost in the gym today. I put on the dip belt and hooked up a 45lb and 25lb plate for some pull ups. I wouldn't say they were easy, but I did bang out a solid 3 reps and 1 wobbly 4th rep. Pull ups with an extra 70lbs isn't too shabby. In total, that's pulling 150% bodyweight. And it's great for my vanity. It looks more impressive doing pull ups with plates strapped to you than doing pull downs on a machine.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

October gains

Despite working really long hours and not getting nearly enough training and workout time in, I've managed to make strength gains this past month. I went to the gym and banged out 10 clapping pull ups with ease. I was shocked that they were that easy, so I strapped on the dip belt with a 45lb plate. I did 3 sets of 5 weighted pull ups and dips. That's definitely stronger than I've been in the past. I used to only be able to do just 1 set of 5 (followed by another weak set of 4).

My handstands are getting better. I still can't do them away from the wall, but I'm getting less reliant on the wall. I tried handstand pushups on my parallelettes though. That was big ego deflater. Just when I was getting stoked over my improvements, I found out that I can't do full range of motion handstand pushups on the parallelettes. Those bad boys are tough. I guess I'm going to have to up my shoulder strength.

I went on a trip to NY last month and also had my parents visit me, so my October logs are a little incomplete for a few days. I had to guess some things when I was logging my food and workouts a few days after the fact. Oh well. My November log is now started, so I'm still keeping up my daily log. Only two more months until I've done a full year of logging.