Tuesday, June 23, 2009

1.5 minutes to nausea

Over the past month or so, I've managed to pick up some new workout toys. They're nothing fancy, but they sure are effective. What did I get? A stopwatch and a round/interval timer. I've been keeping track of my rest/work periods during my workouts to do a little energy system training during my strength training. I though I'd go a little conservative with 1.5 minutes of rest between sets of pull ups and dips. Oof. That was tougher than I expected. By the time the 4th set rolls around, I'm not feeling so great. Fortunately, I'm pretty good about not actually working out hard enough to hurl, but boy do I feel queasy by the end of the workout.

As an added bonus to training my anaerobic capacity, timing my rest periods has made my workouts significantly shorter. That's a decidedly good thing since I only have access to a gym which closes at 6:45-7:00ish (damn summer schedule, there's one downside to going to a college gym). We may only roll into the gym a little before 6. That doesn't leave a whole lot of time for an extended workout. So, it's a quick 20 minutes of cardio, and a timed 15 minute strength workout. Even with just 30 or so minutes for my complete workout, I feel like I've had a good session and my muscles certainly feel mildly sore/tired the next day.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Crunches suck

Not only are they completely boring, but they also apparently aren't good for your back either. All that flexing puts unnecessary strain on the back. People usually do crunches to tone their abs and get closer to the six-pack stomach, but ironically lots of crunches don't accomplish that. Nutrition and total body exercise (i.e. dropping your body fat percentage) play a bigger role in the ab aesthetic than tons of crunches. Plus, overdoing crunches just overdevelops the rectus abdominus relative to the other ab muscles. The result of a rectus abdominus being a lot stronger than the transverse and obliques would be? Right. Poochy belly. If the other abs are too weak to hold the hypertrophied rectus abdominus in place, you may get that great looking six-pack from the front, but from any other angle you'll have the distended gut.

I stopped doing crunches ages ago mostly because I got bored with them. The last thing I want to do at the end of a workout is 100+ crunches. Now, having my workout partner throw a medicine ball at me while I'm on a situp bench and then proceeding to swear to high heaven while throwing the medicine ball back... that sounds a lot more fun to me. It hits my abs harder and takes a whole lot less time than crunches. Swiss ball planks, leaping push ups, dragon flags, L-seat chin ups, L-seat dips, front levers, etc. are all better choices for hitting the abs. There are plenty of other core exercises which are more effective, efficient, and just plain more fun.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Injuries Galore

Well, my wrists feel a little better after basically a month off. Granted, I did cheat on my "no gripping exercises" policy just a little. Not much though. Just the occasional set of pull ups and dragon flags. I started doing the agility ladder to offset my lack of time on the jump rope. The ladder was a heck of a lot more of a workout than I was expecting. I also started doing medicine ball throwing exercises. Three rounds of varying exercises using of 30s effort and 30s rest pushes me to the edge of feeling queasy.

On the down side, I've been having on and off pain in my left foot. It's sharp pain for a few days, which then disappears. But it's recurred twice, which is not a good sign. After a bit of reading, I think I have a sprained ligament in my foot. My foot only hurts when weighted and in certain types of motion. There's also the fact that I've been doing more unfamiliar plyometric type exercises, which is probably stressing my feet in new ways. All I have to say is "bleh." Walking around gimpy puts a real damper on my conditioning. But oddly enough, it doesn't prevent me from teaching my I-Liq Chuan classes. I can still demonstrate applications while gimpy.