I’ve hit another plateau. I cannot get over 6 pull ups. (My goal is 12 consecutive wide-grip pull ups.) I practice them 5 days a week (usually as my warm up to my normal routine) and there are days when I hit 6 and there are days when I hit 4. (Truth be told, I hit 4 more often than I do 6.) But I simply cannot pass 6. Rather than do consecutive reps, I’m going to try do sets of 2. So a set of 2, rest, another set of 2, rest, and so forth until I can’t do anymore. Hopefully that will break my stump.
On a different note, all my push ups have paid off. I can now comfortably bench press with 85-lb. dumbbells. I think I can bench with the 90-lb. dumbbells and hope to do that on my next chest workout.
1st rep: do one traditional bench press (as shown in pic); lower barbell very slowly, pause at lowest point…
2nd rep: lift mid-way, hold, then lower barbell very slowly, pause at lowest point…
3rd rep: back to the traditional bench press; lower barbell very slowly, pause at lowest point…
4th rep: lift mid-way, hold, then lower barbell very slowly, pause at lowest point…
5th rep: back to the traditional bench press; lower barbell very slowly, pause at lowest point…
Essentially, I’m doing one full-extension bench press (without locking my elbows) followed by a partial bench press. The latter keeps constant pressure on my chest muscles — working them at their weakest point. I read about this routine in Men’s Health and figured I’d give it a shot. It’s a lot harder than it sounds and so far the danger I’ve found is that after that 4th rep, it’s hard to tell how much power I have left in me, so that 5th rep has been a struggle. This is the first time I’m doing this so hopefully it’ll give my muscles a nice variety from the routine I’ve been doing. From what I’ve read, the partial motion works out your pecs more, whereas the full-range uses your triceps more.
I hit the half-point mark in my mission to do 12 consecutive, non-stop wide-grip pull ups. Today I was able to do 6 reps! Earlier this week I did 4 reps at the pull up station at Equinox (which is a lot wider and T-shaped than the pull up station I have at the gym in my building). I’ve also been able to do 50 consecutive push ups for the last 3 chest exercises I’ve done. So overall, I’m hitting my goals (or getting darn close to them) slowly, but surely.
Last week (with an injured hand) I was able to do 50 consecutive push ups. This week (with a recovered hand) I could only squeeze out 45. Needless to say, I won’t be content until I do 50 consecutive push ups for two chest workouts straight. On the flip side, I did 3 very strong wide grip pull ups at Equinox yesterday and today. It felt really good doing those pulls ups — my arms felt strong like grappling hooks and with each lift my chin went way over the bar. I might’ve been able to squeeze a fourth, but I decided to “hold” my weight up after the 3rd pull up and slowly bring myself down.
So this week I’m taking aim at the magic number 50 again and I want to see if I can do 6 wide-grip pull ups at my gym at home. 6 would be the halfway mark to my goal of doing 12 consecutive wide-grip pull ups!
I hate not being able to workout because of an injury. That said, Tuesday morning I injured my right hand. As a result, my workouts this week have been somewhat less intense than normal. I’m still doing pull ups, but ever so carefully. Today I did chest, and despite my injury, I was able to hit 50 consecutive push ups. Hooray!! (I started this routine back in February.) My hand is about 60% healed so I’m eagerly awaiting to get back to 100%. In the meantime, I’ve reverted back to really super duper slow workouts. It feels good — it’s a nice way to keep the intensity high when you’re hurt.
I finally switched up my workout routine at the gym. I’ve moved on from doing super slow drop sets to doing super slow sets that increase in weight. Here’s an example from my workout today:
Incline Dumbbell Chest Fly
10 reps at 100 lbs
10 reps at 100 lbs
8 reps at 120 lbs
8 reps at 120 lbs
I could have gone heavier, but I want to maintain 100% control of the weights while doing these exercises. My next routine (while I’ll probably start in May), will focus on heavy weights. And then I’ll just repeat the entire process. I must say, I feel great. This weekend I got a great back and chest workout and I just feel very healthy and strong overall. It’s a great feeling. Saturday I even hit the abs! Hoping to find an ab routine I can stick to. As far as pull ups, I’ve been doing t hem pretty much every day (every day I workout, which is 5x/week) since my trainer session.
I increased my push up count by 5 this week. I can now do 40 consecutive push ups. I’m also at 3 consecutive wide grip pull ups. Not bad, huh! Slowly, but definitely getting there. I have noticed one odd thing though. When doing that last pull up, I feel that I use my right arm/side more so than my left side — to the point where I can see the right side of my body rise faster than my left. Not sure how to rectify this other than to make sure I pull equally with both sides.
In other news, it’s almost time to ditch the super slow workouts. I know I said I would drop them awhile back, but to be honest it’s been hard letting go. I really enjoy them. The question is what routine will I do next. Heavy with low reps? Or moderately heavy with slow reps? I’m leaning toward the latter.