Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Training for the Hell and Back 10km

I'm doing the Hell and Back 10k obstacle course on the 27th of this month and shitting a brick doesn't even cut it! But, as with anything, preparation and training is key! I'm hoping that the training I'm doing and have done up to this point will be enough to see me through without coughing up a lung! I recently started in a new gym and although it may not be modern or big, it's the best gym I've ever been in. The instructors actually care about how you're doing and pay attention to your needs and abilities. I don't feel like they're just selling me a membership like all the others gyms I've been in, rather I feel they want to sell everyone who comes in the door a lifestyle. A lifestyle that they know will make you happy and they're just content to let you in on their secret! I have a gym where I go to college but I'm not back until early February so I didn't want to leave a whole month where I had no access to a gym. So after some recommendations I tried this place out and I love it! It's basically a weight lifting gym with a few cardio machines, nothing fancy but boy will you get results if you stick at it.

The first day, the instructor brought me around to assess where I was at fitness wise and he was fairly surprised by how strong I was, I was pretty happy when I heard that! I had been doing my own weight training in my other gym but to be honest didn't really know what I was at. I knew to lift as heavy as I could and do 3 sets of 12 reps and not take a long break in-between the reps. In hindsight, I was doing everything pretty much to the book even though I didn't have too much knowledge about weights. All the work appeared to have paid off anyway and he got me going on a really great workout plan that I believe will ensure my whole body is fit, strong and ready for the Hell and Back! I took a picture of the program he wrote out for me earlier so that I can pop it in here and explain how I'm getting on!


So to explain, I do 10 mins on the cross trainer to warm up.
 - Iso Row, Weight 5 (Don't know what weight this is, I'll check it out next time I'm there), 12 (reps) x 3 (sets)
- Lat. Pulldown, 35kg, 12 x 3
- Bench Press, 15kg, 12 x 3
- Pec Flys, 25kg, 12 x 3
- Thigh ext, 20kg, 12 x 2
- Thigh curl, 45kg, 12 x 2
- Leg press, 100kg, 12 x 2
- Dumbell seated shoulder press, 4kg, 12 x 2
- Side laterals, 2kg, 12 x 2
- Dumbell seated curls, 4kg, 12 x 3
- Tricep pushdowns, 10 kg, 12 x 2-3
- Leg raises, 15 x 3
- Reverse crunch, 15 x 3
- Plank

At first I was pretty overwhelmed, I'll be honest. And listing it all out there I can understand why, I've never had a workout solely based around weights before and I was pretty anxious but excited about it! I hope all of that is clear, but I know if I read that a month ago I wouldn't have a clue what it said so let me explain further. This is great research for me actually as I know I use all these machines but I've never looked into what every machines particular function is outside of the basic arms, legs, torso etc.

I think a cross trainer is pretty obvious to most people so I won't go into what that is!

Iso Row Machine

An iso row machine is a machine that mainly works your lats and secondly your biceps and middle back. You choose what weight you want and then pull the handles towards your chest and then release. I'm sure nearly all gyms have this machine but until I was shown how to use it I don't think I've ever really noticed one before! I like this machine for some reason, I really feel like I'm working my arms with it!

Iso Row Machine
Image from: http://www.bodybuilding.com




Lateral Pulldown 

This is probably the most common weight machine in any gym I'm sure! You pull down a bar above your head which is attached to a cable with weights on the end. Once again, this machine works your lats as well as your biceps, middle back and shoulders. I'm not a huge fan of this but I've been using it for around a year and it's a staple in any weight regimen. It's tough going as you really have to extend your whole arms. In the gym I'm in at the moment this machine is plonked right in the middle of the gym so I feel a bit on show when I'm doing it. I'd have every piece of equipment I use in a corner if I had my own way!

Lateral Pulldown Machine
Image source: http://3.bp.blogspot.com

Bench Press

Pretty straight forward really! The bench press in the gym I'm in at the moment is a fixed bench press, whereby the weights go up in 5kgs and you use fixed handles to push the weight up. They have the other normal bench presses too but I have never used a bench press with a barbell before, I really want to. I feel a little overwhelmed by it I guess. First of all, I don't even know how to go about fixing the weights on it without one side flipping up and knocking me out. Secondly, I think that guys will be waiting around for me to finish with it and I just hate being put on the spot. It's the type of equipment that is in very high demand in a gym and there's usually only one or two. I'll get there though not to worry! 

Bench Press
Image source: http://d3vs5ss8iow0ry.cloudfront.net




Pec Flys


A pec fly, or a pectoral fly, is when you use a machine or weights to move your arms horizontally out in front of you. Huh, it's called the butterfly too apparently! All I'm going to think about now when I use the machine is that I'm a pretty pretty sweaty butterfly. Anyway, you're using your chest and arms for this. I don't find it too hard but I think the weight I'm at at the moment is too easy so I'll probably go from 25kg to 30kg next time! 

Pec Fly Machine
Image source: http://www.bodypowerusa.com

Thigh Extension and Thigh Curls

They do what they say on the tin really, these machines work your thighs! My instructor calls them thigh extensions and thigh curls but they're really called leg extension and leg curls. The leg extension machine works by having a pad positioned on your shin when you're in a seated position and then you straighten your leg. This works the front of your thighs, your quads. The leg curl is similar but it works the back of your thighs, your hamstrings. You place your legs on top of a pad and then pull the pad towards the back of your thighs, as the name suggests, you're curling in the pad. I think these are great for strengthening my legs! I usually feel a little sore the day after but I think they're instrumental in having stronger legs for running. 


Ridiculously pleased with myself cos I found a gif of a leg extension!
Image source: http://4.bp.blogspot.com
Okay so apparently gifs of these sorts of things are not a rarity, who knew! Leg Curl Machine.
Image source: http://www.sparkpeople.com

Leg Press

It's basically a giant square you put your feet on and then push it away from you! I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this I have to say! After my 17km run last week I went to the gym 3 days later and could not for the life of me do my usual 100kg leg press so brought it down to 80kg. Goes to show how much stress you put your legs under when you run. I think 100kg is very heavy and maybe a bit too heavy for me, saying that, I can do the 12 x 2 but I don't even see some guys doing that much! It could be more that I feel like it's coming towards me and if I can't do it it's going to crush my legs or something...

Leg Press
Image source: http://www.sparkpeople.com



Dumbbell Seated Shoulder Press, Dumbbell Seated Curl and Side Lateral Raise

All these exercises are done with free weights. You just grab some dumbbells and a bench! For the seated shoulder press you sit on the edge of the bench with a dumbbell in each hand, raise the dumbbells to your shoulders and then raise them over your head. The dumbbell seated curl is where you sit down on the bench and place the dumbbells by your sides and then using alternating arms you curl the dumbbell towards your shoulder, making your arm good and tight. Side laterals are where you stand up straight and place your arms at your sides with the dumbbells. You then raise your arms up out to your sides, until they are straight out and parallel to the floor. I kind of hate all of these but I know they're great for the arms! I use the 4kg dumbells for the seated shoulder press and curl and I use a 2kg dumbbell for the side lateral raises. I think 2kg is pretty pathetic so I hope I can get that up to 4kg in a few weeks! 

Dumbbell Seated Shoulder Press
Image source: http://thepsychologyoffitness.com




Dumbbell Seated Curl
Image source: http://preventdisease.com

Side Lateral Raise
Image source: http://lateralraises.com


Tricep Pushdown

Very similar machine to the lateral pulldowns except there's no seat! You place your hands on top of the bar that is attached to the cable with weights. You pull the bar down towards your thighs and then release. I hate this machine more than I hate Monday mornings! I've always hated working my triceps, probably for a very simple reason; I don't work them often and when I do it hurts like a sonofabitch! 

Just look at the pain in her eyes! Lateral Pulldowns.
Image source: http://iknowsquat.files.wordpress.com

Leg Raises

Leg raises are when you hoist yourself up on parallel bars, place your forearms on pads and then raise yourself up so that your legs are hanging. You then raise your hanging legs towards your chest. This exercise works your abdominals, it'll get you a six pack gurl! I absolutely LOVE this exercise! I don't really know why, I should probably hate it but I feel like I'm really using my stomach, hopefully it'll help me along the way to the 4pack I reeeaalllly want! (even though I already have a 4 pack, hell, even a 6-pack, as does everyone... it's just under a snuggly layer of fat).

Look at her, having the time of her god damn life!
Image source: http://2.bp.blogspot.com




Reverse Crunch and Plank

For the reverse crunch you lie on your back and with your hands palms down, you roll your legs and torso as you raise your hips off the ground. At my gym we have a bar that you can hold onto instead of placing your hands on the ground for support. I much prefer the bar but unfortunately I don't think there's one in my gym in college! I also lie on a mat bench on the ground that can be raised up the bars to make it a decline reverse crunch, I did that today and it was much harder and I preferred it that way. I always really enjoy doing stomach work as I think I've done so many crunches and situps in the last few years that I have very strong abdominals and it takes quite a bit for me to feel that I'm really working them out. The plank is straight forward, you lie flat on the ground while supporting your weight with your toes and forearms. Like I said, I need a lot to work my abdominals and the plank doesn't really do it for me so my instructor made it harder by getting me to do it on a ball and my god does it make it harder, I do be sweating buckets!

Reverse Crunch
Image source: http://www.orbitnutrition.com


Plank with Ball
Image source: http://www.menshealth.com

And there we have it folks, my entire workout explained! I'll be hopefully adding more to my routine soon enough. I was at the gym today and was hoping my instructor would be in but he wasn't so I'll catch him again this week. All the instructors are amazing in the gym but I really like my own so I feel lucky he did out my program. He's going to change my whole routine up soon so that might mean a whole other post about what I'm at... I hope not cos this took me ages! I want to do a pull-up cos I am absolutely fascinated by them! I saw a girl doing one the other day and I was in awe! There was a kid, a KID, no older than 12 in the gym today and he did loads so I know I'll be able to do one in time. 

So my hopes are that all this will be enough for me to complete the Hell and Back! I'll go into detail about the course in my next post, it's pretty insane! I got worried that I'm not doing enough hill work and speed work so after my weight session today I was feeling pretty good so ran a 5km with a few speed intervals and a tough enough incline interval. I thought my lungs were going to burn through my ribs. No pain no gain I guess. I'm all too aware of a mountain we have to climb for the race and I know I need more hill work so I'll try to incorporate more of in the next week or two. That's all for now! Peace. 










11 comments:

  1. Great blog post Sarah!

    We have just had a gym open in our little village and it's very intimidating for a lot of people - me included - but this is a wonderful, honest post and should encourage all us Nervous Nellies to get over our embarrassment and get exercising.

    Thank you!

    Jenny

    PS I will now have to find out how you did with your Hell and Back - I can only imagine walking that far - and then I'd need to soak in a bath for a week!

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