10/12/2009 - bob
Bodybuilding Over 40-Starting Back Up
Bodybuilding Obstacles Had Taken Their Toll
It has been a full three weeks since I worked out last. Back-to-school for the kids came with the requisite colds. I got one immediately and after a week, had a definite relapse. For two and a half weeks I did nothing. Last week, I started moving again riding my bike by myself. Then I took a couple of bike rides with the boys in the bike trailer Friday and Saturday, each time in a bit of a sprint. So I got my heart pumping and out of breath enough to clear out my lungs.
Weightlifting Routine Progress
My progress had been pretty good. Before the break, I got the five sets of five rep routine down to 50 to 55 minutes. In my post where I essentially whined about Bodybuilding Over 40 Obstacles I noted that I had raised all the weights for all the exercises out of frustration, and that the routine was taking a full hour and fifteen minutes as a result. It was tough… and I almost hurt myself.
I maintained the same weights for a few weeks and recorded the exact time I finished various sets. When I began recording the time, the first superset had taken just eight minutes, the second, ten or eleven, with the fifth taking nearly 20. Just before I got sick, I was finishing the second, third, and fourth sets exactly ten minutes after the end of the previous set, and twice did so for the fifth set as well. I had vastly improved my aerobic capacity as I tried to shorten the workout each time I did it. Pushing through five sets trying to keep to that schedule kept the intensity peaked. I ended each workout drenched in sweat and gasping for air.
Re-Starting a Bodybuilding Routine
Surely I’d be setting myself up for failure if I tried to do the exact routine in the same time as I had before the break. So I decided to ease back into the workout habit. I vacillated between starting a six-week cycle with two weeks of three supersets of 15 reps, and three or four sets of ten reps. I settled on three sets of 10, moderate intensity (lower weights, not freaking about the “schedule”). I got two done.
I’ve read a few accounts on one of the “steroids is great” web sites, and laughed cynically to myself when reading the “what’s your favorite exercise?” section. Mine? Sleep. There, I’m busted. Every single exercise in the superset hurt a little more than I expected it to. I didn’t feel like working out, but I pushed myself to do something. With perfect timing, one of the boys got hurt playing outside just as I finished my first set, and I had to play dad. I almost didn’t go back for my second…. it was dinner time. For some unknown reason, I decided to get through one more.
It turns out that two sets of ten at a moderate pace was enough to start back up. I guess I didn’t lower my weights all that much, and approached failure at the tenth rep most of the exercises… I feel every muscle now, and am thankful I didn’t push myself for the third because I would surely suffer tomorrow. Maybe I will anyway. I’ll let you know.
So, in conclusion, if you are forced into a break in your routine, I’d strongly recommend changing it up a little, like reducing weight and increasing reps, and plan to ramp back up to your previous intensity. Move through the supersets at a moderate pace.
Even though I wasn’t completely gung-ho about lifting today, I’m glad I did. It’s going to take a successful week or two before I set some ambitious goal for myself.
One other thing worth noting: I changed my bent-over row to a standing cable row exercise. I get a better squeeze on my lats, and less lower back strain. Doing the cable row while standing engages a lot of muscles to keep you standing without excessive stress in any one spot, like lower back.