This past Wednesday, I finished up a four-week weight training cycle. All. Done.
Recall that I had reduced my weight training sessions from four times a week to just two. In part, because I’ve been trying to make time to address my lack of flexibility through yoga, but also, because I had plateaued in my strength gains and thought that a change might stimulate new growth.
For the past month, I’ve split my training time over two days; one day for chest, back and triceps, the other for legs, shoulders and biceps. I’ve kept the exercises the same each week, but manipulated the loads and repetition numbers. (For those of you new to weight training, this is called progressive resistance training. To continue to make strength gains, you need to continually add weight (or difficulty) to an exercise.)
And boy, did it work!
Below, I’ve listed my start and end performances for just the chest and back exercises (don’t want to bore you with all the numbers!). Notice the increase in load over just four weeks! The chest press, bent over row and cable pec fly represent all-time personal bests! Hip, hip hooray; let’s hear it for change!
- Dumbbell chest press: 25 lbs x 8 reps x 4 sets TO 30 lbs 8 x 10 reps x 4 sets
- Single arm bent over row: 35 lbs x 8 x 4 TO 40 lbs x 10 x 4
- Lat pulldowns: 70 lbs x 8 x 4 TO 80 lbs x 10 x 4
- Cable pec flys: 25 lbs x 8 x 4 TO 27.5 lbs x 10 x 4
- Seated row: 65 lbs x 8 x 4 TO 75 lbs x 10 4 4
- Pushups: 30 (total over 4 sets) TO 57 (total over 4 sets)
However, I don’t think I’ve gotten everything I can out of this training schedule. So for the next four week cycle, I’ll be following the same schedule. Still splitting my training over two days. Still grouping chest with back and triceps, legs with shoulders and biceps. Only the specific exercises will change (I’ll post details next week).
As a consequence of the heavy rows and presses I did on Wednesday, I’ve been feeling very tight and constricted through the shoulders. Although I did stretch thoroughly after my workout, delayed onset muscle soreness hit me hard this morning. Since the gym is closed today (Remembrance Day in Canada), I thought I’d head to the yoga studio for a more intense stretch.
The instructor must have read my mind. We spent the entire class on chest and shouldering opening poses. I left feeling thoroughly relaxed with no hint of tightness remaining. Serendipity always makes me smile!
Have you made a change in your exercise routine lately?
Tell me about it!
If not, why not?