Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The week in workouts

I haven't been so good about logging them this week. But I've been doing them, never fear!

Monday was an ETK day: clean & press/pullup ladders, 3 rungs to the ladder, 4x, followed by 7 minutes of snatches (10 R/L, rest 1 min, repeat until 7 minutes is up). I felt pretty good about how the practice went, and didn't get any new dings on my wrists so I think my technique is getting more solid.

Tuesday was a lower body strength day:

superset: DB deadlifts, 3x5x45's; 1x5x50's; BB front squats, 3x5x65; 1x5x75

The 50's were no problem on the DB deadlifts, so that's the weight I'll start with next time. Wasn't crazy about my form on the front squats with the 75, so I'll keep my weight where it is for now. I hate that thing you always see in CrossFit vids on YouTube, where they squat below parallel using too much weight, and have to do this weird little tailbone wobble maneuver to come up from the bottom of the squat. I'd be so much happier if they lightened the weight and used perfect technique, though of course I applaud their desire for an intense, challenging workout.

Next superset was BB split squats, rear leg elevated, 3x10x75; BB step-ups, 3x10x65

Then, a triset: back extensions, 3x10; BB SLDL, 3x10x85; BB standing torso rotations, 3x10x45

The torso rotations are a little hard to explain; the set-up is kinda like a T-bar row, except you're standing up straight, and instead of pulling the bar in you rotate it from side to side, keeping the torso square as if you were doing a Russian twist sorta kinda. Anyway, it's not actually a stupid exercise, even though that's not obvious from the name. I just wouldn't want any of you to be thinking I was slinging a barbell across my shoulders and twisting from side to side the way you sometimes see people doing.

(What just kills me is when I see women at the gym doing all kinds of heavy weighted side bends and torso twists and crunches and so forth, using way more weight than they would ever dream of using for, say, a lat row or chest press. I tend to think most people are much better off being very selective about what weighted core work they do. Mostly they want to be smaller in the midsection, not bigger, so why do routines that'll cause the muscles in that area to hypertrophy? Not saying there's anything wrong with that as a goal, just that it's not what most people seem to want.)

After my leg workout I taught my cycling class, and that was it for the day exercisewise (as though that wasn't enough!) Well, except for my clients' workouts, but you knew that.

Today was another ETK day: same clean & press/pullup drill as Monday, followed by 8 minutes of Death-by-Swings. 50 swings, rest 20 seconds, keep going until time is up. I sorta lost count of how many sets I did, but since my usual cadence is about 40 swings per minute, that means I did a set every minute and 35 seconds, roughly, so about 5 sets? Of course I think my cadence was somewhat affected by the fact that I was listening to music during the workout, which I don't usually do during kettlebell practice because I find it harder to focus on my form when there are tunes going in the background. It certainly made the time pass more pleasantly, but all the same I think I will get more out of my practice if I skip the soundtrack for now.

Also, while I love music and moving to music, I also enjoy the way a workout can become a moving meditation of sorts when you skip the music and tune in to the sensations in your body. I think that comes from my yoga practice. Yoga is, in essence, a moving meditation, a meditation on the breath, and it's about learning to be equanimous in the face of physical discomfort. As you work deeper in the poses you learn to remain calm and focused on the breath even though you're balancing on one arm with your right foot behind your left ear. You acknowledge the sensations of discomfort in your body, and then you let them go. And if you can't let them go, you don't go quite as deep in the pose. It doesn't matter. The poses don't matter. What matters is finding that edge where you're aware of but not distracted by what your body is doing.

That's my take on it, anyway. I actually think it has a lot of carryover to other body disciplines, including kettlebell training. In fact, it's a good life skill, being able to acknowledge discomfort without letting it throw you.