Saturday, July 13 – Friday, August 23

Incremental changes.

That’s probably the best term to describe my current approach to the gym. Looking back, for too long I was more or less content with staying at the same levels. Not that doing so is bad, not necessarily, but it’s a way to be complacent and see little or no progress. On the other hand, trying to increase things too much too fast can be counterproductive.

What I’ve been doing is making small increases. Incremental, to harken back to the post title. For instance, I do lying dumbbell pullovers every week, and over this time I’ve gone from using a 60-pound dumbbell to a 70-pounder. Ten pounds in two months is not what you’d call a rapid change, but it’s a steady increase and more to the point is sustainable. Sure, I could jump up to an 80-pound dumbbell, but my form would suffer and my motivation would be at risk. No one wants to handle maximum weights in every session.

I’ve made similar slow but steady progress in other exercises too. For instance, in neutral grip pull-ups I’ve gone from sets of four to an opening set of six followed by sets of five. I’d like to be able to knock off sets of ten, and I figure these slow increases are the best way of getting there even if there is not much in the line of immediate gratification.

All in all, I’m pleased with the way things are going. I’m not being complacent and haven’t plateaued on anything, not yet at least.

Published in: on August 24, 2019 at 2:16 am  Comments (1)  

Thursday, July 11 – Friday, July 12

Thursday was a bit of a wasted opportunity. Although I got back from my main job at a reasonable time and didn’t have any work in the evening at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, I still didn’t make it to the gym. I really wanted to go, but I was just so exhausted it wasn’t happening.
Friday was much better. It being a day off from both jobs, I made it to the gym in the late afternoon and had a pretty decent back session, if I may say so. Seated cable rows came first, 5 x 8 x 150. This is up five pounds from last time. Although I was considering barbell rows, I decided instead to do dumbbell pullovers, an exercise that works both the back and chest, 6 x 8 x 60. I’d almost forgotten what a hard exercise that is. Next came a session on the seated back machine, 4 x 10 at level 12, followed by seated cable pulldowns, 3 x 8 x 145. Finally, to end the session, I did just a few neutral grip pull-ups, 2 x 4. Guess it’s time to get back into these.

Published in: on July 16, 2019 at 12:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, July 8 – Wednesday, July 10

Work sometimes can interfere with the gym. Usually I say that about my second job at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, but on both Monday and Wednesday it was my main job that got in the way. On Monday, my usual seven-hour workday turned into almost ten hours, so heavy was the workload. While there was still ample time for the gym by the time I finally got back, I was just too beat out.

Wednesday was the same story with a couple changed details. I didn’t work quite as long at my main job, a bit over eight hours, but I had a shorter window for the gym because I had to be at the Major Home Improvement Retailer at 6 for a four-hour shift. By the time I got back, unwound a bit, diddled around on the computer and so on, it was past 4:30 and I would have had time just for an abbreviated gym session followed by a dash to the MHIR. That just wasn’t happening.

Ah, but Tuesday, that was a (mostly) much happier story. I got back from the main job at the usual time and didn’t have a MHIR shift. What I ended up doing was a bench-only session. Decent numbers too: 6 x 135, 6 x 155, 6 x 185, 4 x 205, 5 x 225, 3 x 235, 1 x 245, 4 x 225, 2 x 225, 8 x 185. It took quite a bit out of me so I decided to skip the other upper-body work I had planned. That really shouldn’t matter.

Published in: on July 13, 2019 at 2:59 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, July 6 – Sunday, July 7

Only one gym session this weekend, as I was working at the Major Home Improvement Retailer for eight hours both days. As Saturday I wasn’t starting until 2:30 in the afternoon I went to the gym shortly after noon. Nothing  too heavy, just some leg work on the incline press and an extension machine. I wasn’t really keeping track of weights, just trying to get a decent level of resistance that wouldn’t leave me too beat out for work/ Sunday’s shift started at 10:30 am and I just didn’t have the motivation to go to the gym beforehand.

Published in: on July 13, 2019 at 2:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, July 5

A mid-afternoon gym visit on the last day of my week off from my main job. Though, come to think of it, because Fridays are my normal day off this really wasn’t part of the week off. Not that it really matters.
Today was back day. For the first time in basically forever I did barbell rows, 4 x 8 x 145. In doing them I was reminded why there’s not one of my favorites: they are awkward and it’s a constant struggle not to go too far upright and turn the row into shrugs. Weak shrugs, that is, as they normally involve much higher weights than rows. Though on second thought the struggle to maintain good form actually may increase the value of the exercise.

Next came cable rows, which unlike their barbell counterparts definitely are much less awkward-feeling. I did 5 x 8 x 145, a decent level. I finished the weight part of the session with the lower back extension machine, 5 x 10 at resistance level 12 of 16. Finally, I ellipted for 20 minutes, nothing earth-shattering.

Published in: on July 10, 2019 at 1:54 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, July 4

As the gym closed early on the 4th of July I made a somewhat unusual late-morning trip. To my mild surprise it was quite crowded, I suppose people’s plans for cookouts and so on were for later in the day. In any event, I wasn’t really in a weights sort of mood, so instead I did a variety of other things: 20 minutes ellipting, at a moderate resistance level, 20 minutes on the stationary cycle, once again at a moderate level, and finally a 20-minute fast incline pace on the treadmill, I topped off at a 4% incline. Now, 4% may not seem like too much, but when you’re on a treadmill – or, for that matter, on a road – it seems like quite a bit. Even without any weights work this was a decent session, no complaints here.

Published in: on July 10, 2019 at 1:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, July 3

I wasn’t able to go to the gym on Tuesday because I had other activities scheduled. To make it up, I had a fairly long session on Wednesday, going earlier than accustomed because I had to be in the Major Home Improvement Retailer at 4:30. I started out with bench presses, doing better than last session: 6 x 135, 6 x 155, 6 x 185, 4 x 205, 2 x 4 x 225, 2 x 235, 2 x 225, 8 x 185. This was two more reps at 225 than for my last bench session. Progress. My triceps still being a sticking point, I worked them with narrow grip bench presses, 4 x 8 x 145. Last time I had the same set and rep count but at 135.

As my shoulders were a bit sore by this point I decided against  increasing last session’s weights on dumbbell shoulder presses. As a result I did 4 x 8 x 30/30. One thing I liked is that I was able to snag a bench with a chair-like back that provided better back support and discouraged leaning. Finally, I ended the weight session with some pec deck flies, 3 x 8 x 135, up five pounds. With weights done, I then ellipted 20 minutes at a moderate resistance level and moderate pace, nothing earth shattering.

Published in: on July 5, 2019 at 3:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, July 1

No gym on Sunday, as I had an 8-hour and rather draining shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. Lift, carry, lift, carry, rinse and repeat. One unfortunate consequence is that it left me with a very sore muscle in my side. When I went to the gym in late afternoon on Monday, it being a week off from my main job, my activities were rather limited. All I could manage, or dared to manage, were some light machine exercises, pec deck and shoulder press in particular.  It was a slight setback but really nothing too bad.

Published in: on July 3, 2019 at 7:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, June 29

In a somewhat unusual move, I decided to go to the gym around 10:30 in the morning, prior to a 12:30 to 9 shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. I didn’t want to miss a day, and even if the gym were open after my shift (it wouldn’t be) I knew that after eight hours at the MHIR any semblance of motivation would be entirely absent. So a morning trip it was.

I did some fairly light back and bicep work. First came cable rows, 5 x 8 x 145. I tried to concentrate really hard on the stretch and contraction to increase the results. Next came a session on a Life Fitness lower back extension machine that hardly anyone except me ever seems to use, 3 x 10 x resistance level 12. Hey, it’s not used much, but I like it. I finished the short set with some cable bicep curls, 4 x 8 x 42.5. All in all a quick session, but it will help.

Published in: on June 30, 2019 at 3:35 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, June 28, 2019

Yes, I am aware it has been months since an update. You need not remind me. Thanks.

It being my day off, I got to the gym about 4pm for a nice long session. I’ve been rather negligent about going for the past several months, partly out of laziness and partly because between my main job and the Major Home Improvement Retailer I’ve been working long and rather exhausting hours. With my birthday just having passed, I’ve come to the realization that while I’m hardly old and decrepit, I’m not a teenybopper either and if I don’t be careful I could be looking at declining strength and fitness in a way that a 25-year-old would not.

With that out of the way, I had a pretty decent session considering my relative lack of practice.
– Barbell bench press: 6 x 135, 6 x 155, 4 x 185, 4 x 205, 4 x 225, 2 x 235, 4 x 225, 8 x 185. I would have wanted more reps at 225, but that’s something I have to work on.
– Close-grip bench press: 4 x 135. This targets the triceps, which I believe are my weak point on the normal bench press.
– Seated dumbbell shoulder presses: 5 x 8 x 30/30. Not much weight, I know, but enough for now. My main concern with shoulders is that my range of motion isn’t what I want it to be.
– Pec deck flies: 8 x 130, 3 x 8 x 145, 8 x 130. One of the better machine exercises, in my opinion.

I finished with 20 minutes on the stationary cycle, moderate resistance level and a 15 mph pace.

Published in: on June 28, 2019 at 10:15 pm  Comments (1)