07/19/2009 - bob
Getting in Shape Lifting Weights
Here I am, now a little over eight weeks into this effort, and I am in much, much better shape than I have been for a long time. Yet, I’ve only ridden my bike twice. That’s a shame in and of itself, but my two little guys just haven’t been chomping at the bit to ride with me. Unwilling or seriously discontent passengers in the bike trailer can be a problem. I guess I’d push the issue a lot more if I weren’t doing this bodybuilding routine.
So, I’ve been doing the superset routine I put together after watching the two free workout videos I got, and have become quite a believer in the approach.
A bit of a confession is in order…. I had heard of supersets a long time ago. It’s just that the guy that told me about them was not a great communicator… actually annoying… and didn’t seem to be getting any results from whatever workout he was doing.
When I came across the superset workout consisting of compound exercises, I thought it would be an “easy” workout to get more of my body exercising in a shorter time. I figured I’d be lucky if I could do three workouts a week, and in fact, I haven’t been able to at least three times in the last eight weeks… My hunch was right. Sometimes circumstances just prevented me from getting to it.
What I didn’t know was how hard it would be to do a single superset of ten exercises. I guess my old perception of a superset was just two or three exercises focused on one muscle, like biceps. My years of meager progress following the advice in the Mike Mentzer course I bought eons ago brainwashed me into thinking anything more than one set would be overtraining.
To be fair, Mentzer was on to the notion that most people can’t work out like professional bodybuilders. There was no middle ground, though. It was one set done to failure per muscle. Period. That didn’t do anything for cardio conditioning… nor did it intend to.
So, I had all kinds of mental roadblocks to overcome. I’m glad I did. Not only did the first “week” of three supersets of 15 reps prove to be brutally difficult for me, it was impossible!
The approach Vince DelMonte laid out, of 3 supersets of 15 for two weeks, 4 supersets of 10 reps for two weeks, and 5 supersets of 5 reps for two weeks really did something great… The lighter weight you start with to make it through 15 reps of any one exercise helps avoid injury. It also builds endurance in the muscles involved. Work capacity, I think it may be called. As I’ve blogged in earlier posts, it took me at least two weeks to be able to finish three supersets, and that was just because I was gasping for air. Only after running into that complete cardio wall did I realize this workout was great cardio exercise too.
My wife had been running intermittently prior to our starting to lift weights, and was therefore in much better shape from a cardio perspective. She was able to keep on going as I had to slow down when we finally attempted to do two sets…. The same thing happened in our third sets the first couple of times we did them.
Moving to 4 supersets of 10 reps allows you to increase your weights, but you know that that last superset is going to be tough… Finally, at five sets of five, you can put more strain on your muscles with even heavier weights, but still not enough to hurt yourself… because you KNOW five sets will be tough to finish.
My wife and I fell out of sync for two weeks, and Friday, two days ago, was the first time she did a 5×5, and my fifth time through. When she “complained” I was slowing her down, I got her to adjust her weights a little, going a little heavier, and we finished at the same pace.
The cardio benefit is stunning. The strength benefit is stunning.
Because I don’t have a belt for adding weight to do dips, I wanted to do “a little more” than the previous workout, and therefore did five sets of 10 dips. Fifty dips in a day, within an hour and ten minutes, actually, and I lived to talk about it!
To give you an idea of how far I’ve come (and I will post pictures… maybe in one week), when I started, I could only do three or four dips, and had to jump up and do negatives to try to get anywhere near 15 reps….
It’s a big deal to me… and I actually don’t care if anyone thinks otherwise. I use this as a particular example of building strength I’ve never had… a proof of sorts that this routine is great.
If you have read earlier posts, my wife and I started on this in part to test the theory posed by DelMonte that this kind of routine and intensity makes your body produce its own growth hormone, and that growth hormone is the best fat-burning catalyst we have. My wife is slimming down fast, too. Her coworkers have been asking her what she’s been doing, she’s fitting into clothes she hasn’t worn in a couple of years… and on and on.
Getting back in shape lifting weights has to be the best-kept secret out there… Really.