Workout Selfies: Weight Lifting Going Well

>> Tuesday, December 17, 2019

After getting injured in August, I started lifting more. A lot more. As I was a few weeks into growing my beard in mid-November (about exactly a month ago), I was feeling so good/egotistical at the end of a workout that I snapped a selfie in the Hamline locker room mirror:

I think this is the biggest my arms have been.

A few weeks later, I snapped one that showed off the boobs a bit better:

No full frontal, but here's some nips for you kids.

I commented in a post that I had 2 weeks in the past 3 years (before August) that had 7+ hours of strength work. Well, since then, I've had 11 out of 13 weeks with 7+ hours of strength work. The only 2 weeks that didn't hit 7 hours were the week of Thanksgiving and the week we were camping for 5 days up north.

Here's the ultimate "dude compliment." An acquaintance from high school (who's been a Facebook friend for years) is about to be re-deployed overseas for 6 months and wants to work on building muscle. He wrote me noting that I was looking beefier and wondering what I do. I wrote him a long note. Long-story-short, here's what I've been doing lately:

Slower "supersets" of opposing muscle groups. So chest/back/chest/back/etc. And bicep/tricep/bicep/tricep/etc. In the past few years, usually 3-4 sets of each was a decent workout. In the last few months, I've been just doing more: usually (and regularly) 5 sets. (A "quick" day is 4 sets, and it's not uncommon to do 6 sets.) And I've been moving up in the weights I've been using.

It's been a simple combo of not being afraid to move heavier weights along with more time in the gym that has been adding some muscle. In the last few years, a decent upper body day was 40 minutes or so. Now it's an hour.

I usually alternate between the bench press for chest, and then some sort of rows for the back (dumbbell rows, machine rows, or cable rows).

Then I do lats and shoulders. I have a swimming injury with my shoulder, so I do some physical therapy exercises for 8 minutes as my shoulder routine. For my lats in the past, I've usually done normal cable pulldowns. But I've started doing a LOT more pull ups in the last few months. I've done more pull ups in the last 3 months than I've probably done in my lifetime before that. Seriously. (Every so often in the past, I'd do a set of pull ups. Maybe not even once/month. In the last few months, they started becoming nearly all I do for my lats. Thinking back to my last week of workouts, I think I did ONE set of cable pulldowns, and I've done 20 sets of pull ups!)

Finally, I end by alternating biceps and triceps. I have a forearm issue that makes "regular" curls a bit painful, so I do hammer curls for my biceps. And then cable pulldowns and/or a dumbbell over my head and/or body-weight dips between 2 benches for triceps.

So recently, I did:

- Bench: 135x8, 155x8, 155x8, 165x8, 135x12
- Back (machine row): 100x15, 115x15, 115x15, 100x15, 100x15
- (Alternating sets between bench and back)

- Pull ups x10, x8
- PT shoulder exercises
- Pull ups x10, x9, x8
- (Earlier pull ups are not QUITE to exhaustion, but the last few sets are. They get brutal.)

- Hammer curls: 30lb x36, 35lb x22, 35lb x24, 30lb x34, 30lb x30
- Tri cable pulldowns: 60x16, 60x15, 70x14, 70x14, 60x16
- (The hammer curls I do 1 arm at a time but alternating as I count: so ONE is left arm, TWO is right arm, THREE is left, FOUR is right... until I hit over 20 reps with 35 lbs or over 30 reps with 30 lbs)

As you've maybe noticed, I add weight throughout each muscle group, and then end with a slightly lighter set with slightly more reps. Generally.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Lately, I've been lifting 3 days/week very regularly, and once/week (or once every-other week) I'll do something a bit more "circuit-style." I'll do something like (chest, back, lats, biceps, triceps) x 6. That's a totally different burn. I did that this last weekend, and it's great. I generally use more machines doing this because they're easier to hop around on.

When I did that circuit-style workout this past weekend, I did 52 pull ups, which might be a daily PR (I MAYBE did more a few years back when I did crossfit-like workouts in my garage, but I don't think so). I did rounds of 9, 8, 9, 9, 9, and 8 pull ups. (I can't do as many at a time with the circuit workouts - I move between the exercises a bit faster, and I'm never that rested.)

That same day, I focused on slightly lighter weight and higher reps, and I did exactly 200 bicep curls over those 6 rounds.

So if nothing else is going right (as I'm not swimming, biking, running, or stretching right now), at least I'm doing OK in the gym. If I have a day I have to miss a workout, I might consider coming back and trying to set a pull up PR. I think years ago (when I was about 15 lbs lighter), I could do 12 pull ups. I'm pretty sure I can break that now, but I'd have to try it to be certain. I'll report back if I do.


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