Personal Workouts

Personal Workouts

The Didact reflects a bit on his own personal workout, so I figured it was worth expanding on what I wrote in the comments.

Now, don't come to me for weight loss advice. I know the theory, but haven't applied it well.

That said, my weight has been stable for the last several years, and while I could afford to lose 50 lbs to get to 15% BF, that would still put me at 210-215 lbs.

I started with the 5x5 "Stronglifts" variant of the starting strength program, with not even a 45lb bar but a set of crappy weights. Over time I got a weight cage, and an olympic barbell, and have despite various household issues over the last several years worked my way up to benching 225, 155 for overhead press, and 275 for deadlifts and squats - though I've had to work my way up a couple times and was over 300 for squats and DL's a couple years back.

Dealing with various issues - creeping old age and the concomitant recovery times from sets of multiple lefts, taking care of elderly parents with dementia and the time limits imposed by that and other issues, caused me to shift my workouts.

First, an aside.

To all the assholes who made Nautilus a thing, who said "cardio, man" to a guy my size (and hey, I actually like to swim and rollerblade), and didn't point me in the direction of free weights and core exercises and lifts until recently, in a fit of trying to find something that would work to get me back in shape, fuck you.

I know some of you guys tried to help, and everywhere, much like the food pyramid, the wrong info was put out, so I'm being a bit unfair.

First of all, for the core lifts, go look on youtube for Rippetoe - he did a set of vids with the guy from the "Art of Manliness" blog that well illustrate the basic form.

Second, don't be afraid to start low. I started at 45 lbs, not because I was too weak, but because I wanted to build up my form and good habits, though it wasn't much north of 130 that I started having to work at it for squats.

Third, even if only for a few months, get some outside help to critique your form. When you're under load, even with spotter bars/etc., you do not want to screw up your form.

It's worth it, but you can't lie to yourself, because you either lift the weight, or you don't.

So these days, what do I do?

4-6 sessions a week. Usually five

Four of those are major lifts - Squat, OHP, Deadlift, Bench, alternating upper and "lower" body exercises. Keep in mind squats, and especially deadlifts, work out a lot more of the body than is obvious. Usually there's a lighter session between the overhead press and deadlift, and if there is a sixth, it's also a lighter session.

In between individual sets of reps I'll do grip exercises, curls with light (15lb) dumbbells, kettlebell swings (35 lbs), or even a fast walk for a couple minutes. Yes, it does help to have a garage gym.

Afterward, I'll do more kettlebell swings, heavier arm curls - the number varying if it was an upper day or not - and finish off with either a straight up tabata set of exercises such as burpees or a set of 100+ single-arm kettlebell swings (20lbs) So far the max I'd done is 120.

"Lighter" days have most of the other exercises - curls, swings, etc. - but I will also spend time doing Turkish get-ups, goblet squats, and sometimes jumping rope.

When I get up I start off the day with 10-20 bodyweight squats and 30 pushups.

Finally, about every six weeks or so I deload and do sets to maximum instead of 3x5 at full weight.

The point of the plan is to give adequate recovery time, but do the core lifts often enough to still make (slow) progress up until I hit my targets. The other point of the plan is to have some form of exercise, pushing myself, 4-6 times a week.

Is this a plan for you?

Well. The two factors pushing this for me were recovery times - I'd crossed a threshold where every other day for recovery, especially from squats, wasn't enough - and the fact that three major lifts, with warmups, took more time than I had even with a home gym. It was more feasible to get 4-6 40-minute workouts than three 1.5 hours workouts.

I also approached a point where the gains weren't coming as fast. Since I wasn't going to dedicate my life to being a powerlifter, I'm perfectly happy to stay in the 300 range for squats and deadlifts, I'll see where I end up for presses, I became less concerned with upping the weight than taking the strength I had and applying it to improve my endurance.

In short, it's what works for me, using what I learned starting with the basics, some coaching, and evaluating what was working, and what I wanted. What is the best for you will be different.

Good luck, and good lifting.

About Last Redoubt

Ex nuke mechanic, jack of all trades.