I’ve been meaning to write about music on this blog for awhile, and well now I have a reason. I purchased Sleigh Bells’ album Treats yesterday and I gotta say, this is the most amazing workout album I’ve heard since Prodigy’s Fat of the Land. Definitely check it out if your current gym playlist is starting to sound flat.
What do Sleigh Bells sound like? Imagine a mix of The White Stripes with Prodigy and maybe a little N.E.R.D. Great album for those grueling hill runs.
I started a new push-up routine. Using the Vipr bar at my gym, this is what I do:
I place the bar to my right (horizontally) and then assume push up position. I do two push ups, and upon finishing the second push up, I maintain a plank position and using my right arm/hand, I grasp the Vipr bar and throw it to my left. (It should be clear of my torso so that I can do a push up without my body hitting the bar.) I do two more push ups. Then using my left hand/arm, I throw the Vipr bar to the right. (Again, it should be clear of my torso.) That is one rep. Repeat.
This works out your chest, shoulders, and abs. It’s intense and very difficult, but in a twisted way it’s also kind of fun. It easily works up a sweat and increases your heart rate. I highly recommend it. I’m using the 12-lb. bar and doing 5 reps (10 push ups).
I decided to give my body a bit of a surprise today. Rather than do my quick abs/legs routine, I hit the treadmill for an intense run. I did interval hill runs with the hills at 5.0 incline. What I did different was this — I instantly hit the 5.0 incline (after a 4-minute warm up) and kept it that way for 30 minutes. So it was two minutes of no incline followed by two minutes of 5.0. It was actually easier than I thought. My heart rate maxed at 174.
When I was done I went for pulls ups. I did two sets: the first set I held my weight above the bar for 10 seconds and lowered myself very slowly. The second set I held my self just below the bar for 8 seconds and lowered myself slowly. I was actually shocked at how quickly I managed to get above the bar. This negative pull-up routine must be working. I’m beyond psyched! Tomorrow is my day off and Friday I’m back at the gym doing chest.
Well, my pull-ups routine continues. I did 4 back exercises today and as a 5th exercise, I did 4 sets of negative pull ups. I used the closer grip (I believe it’s called the neutral grip — like the grip in the picture) since I was at the gym and I must say, I find these a lot easier. I feel like I use my biceps a lot more with this grip, which helps me pull up all my weight. (When I’m at the gym in my house, I do the wide grip pull-ups.) I held each rep for 10 seconds, although toward the end I maxed out at 8 seconds. At any rate, it felt great and I walked out of the gym feeling invincible.
One more week and I have to switch up my exercise routine. The problem is, I don’t know what to do next. I think maybe I’ll focus on heavy weights and low reps. We’ll see how things play out.
A lot of people dislike running on the treadmill. Personally, I don’t mind. Yes, I prefer to run outside, but living in New York City, it’s hard to find accessible, hilly terrain (aside from Central Park). Plus, I personally hate running in the cold. Which is where the treadmill comes in. Today I started doing manual hill training. I ran for 30 minutes at a minimum incline of 1 and a max of 6. I ran at 4 incline for 6 minutes and quickly followed that by 2 minutes of 6 incline. It was very intense and I think I did a good job of disciplining myself. That is, I only lowered back to 1 when I really couldn’t keep up. All of this is part of my New York City Marathon 2011 training. I’m psyching myself up to run it. Bring it!
PS: I did my pull up routine today as well. One set. Held my weight above the bar for 10 solid seconds. Will repeat again tomorrow.
So in addition to my normal back routine, today I did some negative pull-up exercises. I’d basically pull my weight up, hold it for 10 seconds, and then slowly bring myself back down. The benefits of this routine is that it builds endurance, teaches your body to resist fatigue, and it works out your back muscles in a totally new way so you burn more fat. They’re difficult, but afterwards my back felt so pumped that I kind of wanted to do more. (And I did.)
So with each back exercise I did today, I focused really hard on pulling the weight toward me, holding it for 5 seconds, and then slowly letting the weight go back to starting position. I’m really psyched about this routine. Hopefully it’ll get me on the right track with my pull-ups goal.
So it turns out I injured my finger the other day during my personal training session. I let the Vipr drop down on the ground and because it’s made or rubber, it bounced upward and folded the finger next to my pinky on my left hand. It was very swollen last night, but it’s gotten better. By the end of the weekend I should be 100% again. So for my chest workout today I couldn’t go too crazy. I did the following routine:
4 Sets of dumbbell flies
60 lbs. 8x
40 lbs. 12x
60 lbs. 6x
40 lbs. 10x
4 Sets of incline flies
50 lbs. 8x
45 lbs. 12x
60 lbs. 6x
45 lbs. 8x
4 Sets of Dumbbell bench press
60 lbs. 10x
45 lbs. 12x
60 lbs. 10x
45 lbs. 12x
4 Sets of decline bench press
90 lbs. 10x (two sets of 45-lb. weights)
90 lbs. 10x
90 lbs. 8x
90 lbs. 8x