EXERCISE: Mix It Up.

18-apr-2009-mix-it-up*Maintaining interest is a key component for successful physical training.  Working with a set routine for too long can become dull.  In the worst cases, it becomes drudgery.  Changing up your training is a good way to stay sharp and regain focus.  Additionally, mixing it up helps overcome the body’s natural ability to adapt to a particular workout.

*By January, as daylight dwindled and temperatures dropped, it got harder and harder to get motivated for outdoor work.  Rather than fight to maintain discipline, I decided to mix it up and move inside.  I had not done any significant weight training in a while and was curious to see where my body weight training had me on the weight pile.  At about the same time, I came across this article by Pavel Tsatsouline on Tim Ferriss’s blog.

*I have had some success with Pavel’s recommendations in the past.  Particularly with his advice on pull ups and stretching.  I also, have found lots of helpful articles at Dragon Door.  So, I was inclined to experiment with this program.  I liked the idea of cycling through five rounds of work with 5 rep sets.  Also, finishing with static stretches made sense, because I always get a better stretch, when my muscles are warmed up and a little tired.

*Because of work and other commitments, I had to tweak the proposed schedule.  I ended up with heavy Bench and Squats on Tuesday, heavy Dead lifts and Pull ups on Thursday, light Bench and Squats on Saturday and Light Dead lifts on Sunday.  As you can tell, I tweaked the internals of the workout too.

*I was not ready to totally commit to the three core exercises: Bench, Squat, and Dead lift and give up on other areas.  I ended up with the following program:

—Heavy Bench and Thrusters (I substituted Thrusters for Squats, because I prefer Thrusters)

5 Rounds of:

Bench x 5
Burpees x 7
Thrusters x 5
Wipers x 7

—Heavy Dead lifts and Pull Ups

Dead lifts x 5
Burpees x 7
Pull-ups x 5
L-sit Presses x 7

—Light Bench and Thrusters

5 Rounds of:

Bench x 4
Burpees x 7
Thrusters x 4
Wipers x 7

—Light Dead lifts and Pull ups

Dead lifts x 4
Burpees x 7
Pull-ups x 4
L-Sit Presses x 7

*With this program, strength gains were very noticeable.  I started out cautiously on January 1, 2009, doing pull-ups with a 10lb dumbbell and dead-lifts at 135.  Bench started at 135 and I did Thrusters with 15lb dumbbells.  I adjusted upward pretty quickly, moving bench and dead-lifts up to 155 on heavy days.  By February 8, I was getting through round 1 of my bench at 225 and then coming down from there to 205 for the last 4 rounds.   On March 21, dead-lifts were comfortable at 205.  Thrusters jumped up to 40lb dumbbells on March 24.  Pull-ups were getting done with a 35lb weight.

*I am very satisfied with the results from this program.  I would recommend it for those focused on strength gains.

*Now it is Springtime in Seoul.  The weather is getting nice and I want to be outside.  Yongsan Family Park is beckoning.  Time to mix it up again…

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