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
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
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
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!
Image source: http://d3vs5ss8iow0ry.cloudfront.net
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
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...
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
|Side Lateral Raise|
Image source: http://lateralraises.com
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 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!
Image source: http://www.orbitnutrition.com
|Plank with Ball|
Image source: http://www.menshealth.com
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.