Strength Work Showing Progress!

>> Saturday, November 09, 2019

I didn't realize it at the time, but last week was a PR for time strength training:

As I've posted about recently, I've been putting in some weeks with 7 hours of strength work, and that's been a lot. Well last week, I nearly hit 9 hours (8:52 to be exact). This added time lifting weights, doing core, and working on my PT leg exercises is becoming my new norm. And 2 of my 3 upper body days each week have been at the college where I teach, so I unintentionally push myself more in a college weight room where I'm much closer to being one of the weakest ones there.

And I'm noticing this added time and quality in the gym. Here's the 4 effects I've noticed from lifting more, with the first 2 being the BIG things I've noticed:

• Pull-ups: I used to do pull-ups maybe once a month during my "lat pull downs" at the gym. If I did a set of pull-ups, I'd get 7-10 reps (10 would be a good day), and then I was fried. Lately, I've been doing 1-2 sets EVERY day I lift with my upper body, and today (for example), I did a set of 10 reps, and then came back and did another set of 11 reps.

• Bench/Chest: In recent years, I'd start at 135 lbs, then move up to 155 lbs for 5-6 reps. Then I'd drop back down to 135 lbs for 8-10 final reps until I fatigued. Now, I'm able to do 165 for 8 reps (more weight AND more reps), and then close out with 135 for 12-14 reps.

(Those are the 2 main things I've noticed, but here are 2 more that are a bit more subtle...)

• Bicep curl: Yes, it's THEE most important exercise for runners/triathletes. ;) I do dumbbell hammer curls as my forearm gets upset from "traditional" bicep curls. In the last year, I've generally done most sets with 30 lb dumbbells for around 30 reps. I'd sometimes start at 25 lbs, and occasionally end with 35 lbs. Lately, I'll start with 30 lbs for 34-40 reps, and then generally do 2 sets with 35 lbs.

• More sets in general: I looked back through my training calendar from May, June, and July. I generally noted that "good" workouts were 4 sets of everything, meaning my "normal" workout was maybe 3 sets of everything. Now, 3 is a SUPER short day when I'm really crunched on time, with a "normal" day being 4-6 sets. That's a big jump that's added a lot to my increase in time. (For example: in June, I did 19 hours of strength work, with 17% of that being upper body [less than 3.5 hours]; whereas in October, I did 30 hours of strength work, with 31% of that being upper body [over 9.5 hours].)

My upper body lifting has been HIGHER QUALITY (not just trying to "get in the time"), LONGER, and with MORE WEIGHT.

Oh, also, that was a "recent PR" for swim distance. I noted in this post 2 months ago that I hit 6,700 yards one week, for my biggest "swim week" in about 4 years. Well, last week's 3 swims equaled 7,000 yards. So that's great.


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