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Harriet’s Year of Transformation Act IX
: Hypertrophy Hubris


Harriet

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1 hour ago, Harriet said:


I do wish to add more quad work. I can't do pistol squats and front squats are very painful, but I could definitely do bulgarian squats and leg press. I've never used the leg press machine before. I'll ask someone to show me. Hopefully these exercises won't let my glutes/hams take over.

 

Or you can do wall sits. ;) 

 

Also, less common in these kinds of discussions, is the leg lift. Lay on your back on a yoga mat, activate your quads and use them to lift your leg to no more than a 45 degree, and lower it slowly back down. Repeat with other leg - this is one set. 

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Book Riot Challenge 2021

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

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31 minutes ago, scalyfreak said:

Also, less common in these kinds of discussions, is the leg lift. Lay on your back on a yoga mat, activate your quads and use them to lift your leg to no more than a 45 degree, and lower it slowly back down. Repeat with other leg - this is one set. 


I just tried these, and they don't seem difficult enough? I'm also doing sort of slow motion paused kicks, where I raise my knee, then extend the leg and try to hold it. I noticed my front kick (where I extend my leg to the front, obv) is much weaker when I slow it down. My quads sometimes cramp trying to hold it up, and at a much lower angle than my usual kick. Proof of quad weakness, I suppose. 

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33 minutes ago, Harriet said:


I just tried these, and they don't seem difficult enough?

 

Obviously they can be modified. When they became too easy for me, I would lift and hold for 60 seconds per leg. 

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Book Riot Challenge 2021

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scaly Freak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27

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Make sure your lower back is pressed into the ground if you are doing leg lifts on the floor. Or really any lying on your back floor core. 

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Today's workout was not good. I complained on Friday that my shoulder joints hurt. Well, they still hurt today. Maybe I shouldn't have benched, but I did. I did slightly worse than last time with only 3 reps at 100lb. Then I asked a staff member to show me how to use the leg press machine. First he wanted to show me some horizontal version of the machine that didn't look very convincing. He didn't want to show me the plate loaded one (the standard type, I think) because it was "complex". Still, he did show me. It's not complex. Though he failed to mention the stop device, which I figured out by myself. Also, I asked how much it weighs without plates and he said "light as a feather". The label says 118lb. Anyway, I figured out that 298lb (including the 118lb platform) is a good amount; I can do 12 reps with a bit of effort. It seemed to work my quads but also something just above and below my hip. Which is good because that's the bit that needs to stay strong in the squat so I don't fold. I think. 

I skipped the kettlebell bottom ups and seated cable row due to my shoulders (I tried the rows but it hurt). I then tried some light squats but my knee hurt. I quit and came home.


I'm not worried about the knee because I have on and off knee pain that seems to be getting better as my posture improves, as long as I remember to rotate properly when kicking at taekwondo. But I'm slightly worried that my shoulder pain hasn't resolved since Friday. I think the cause might be all the additional pushups. I started doing them off bars, which are not totally stable, plus sometimes the taekwondo instructors make us do them. So I'm doing something to stress my poor shoulders six days per week. I think it's just too much. I may have to change up my workouts to include more leg and core work and fewer pushups. 

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Okay... while I take some time off I'm thinking about my exercise choices. I'm still happy with doing full body rather than splits because fatigue within my workouts is a bigger problem for me than recovery between them. But I want to take the pressure off my shoulders, and bring up some other areas. I think I need some better mass and strength in the glutes, quads, and chest. I really liked the leg press and I've finally figured out how to do the glute bridge without hurting my back. I hate pull-up negatives but I think they're working well. The seated rows still seems to be the best thing for my lats. So I'm thinking it's going to be:


Workout A: squat/bench/leg press/pull-up negatives  Workout B: deadlift/OHP/glute bridge/seated cable row (I alternate the main lifts so one is heavy and one is moderate).

 

I want to do 5 exercises per workout, so I need a couple more exercises. I think what I need is something that works the chest without putting strain on the shoulders or wrists. I need to leave pushups out for now (especially since I may be asked to do them on taekwondo days). I'm not sure the bottom up kettle bell overhead press and the kick holds are pulling their weight, as it were, so I'd like to swap them for other things. Maybe DB bench? I'm unclear on whether I really need to do extra ab work or whether the deadlifts are fine for that. My abs and spinae erector have actually gotten noticeably bigger, and I'm hoping bigger legs/glutes will balance that out. Maybe I can just add glute bridges to workout A, since they don't seem to stress any joints or cause general fatigue. Then I could add DB bench or some other chest exercise to workout B. It's more legs than press and pull, but still more pressing than my previous programme, when I just did A: squat/bench/row and B: deadlift/ohp/pull-down. 


So maybe:

Workout A: squat/bench/glute bridge/leg press/pull-up negatives  Workout B: deadlift/OHP/glute bridge/DB Bench???/seated cable row

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You ever do lunges or walking lunges? I personally find those, with some reasonably heavy DBs, to be the best glute workout,. They also have the added benefit of extra quad/hammie work. I would personally replace glute bridges with lunges most or all of the time, especially if bridges aren't causing any noticeable fatigue (and therefore maybe no stimulus for adaptation). If you're doing the glute bridges for hip mobility or something else that lunges don't provide, ignore this feedback.

 

The thing about doing leg press on squat day is that you're just crushing your quads on 1 day and almost completely ignoring them in workout B, and vice versa with your hamstrings. Most patterns I see, including the one I use now, alternates between a main lift and a variation or accessory for the "opposing" muscle group for each workout. Squat + RDL, or deadlift + leg press, and so on. You're doing this for chest and shoulders, so why not for legs too? Doing variations of your main lifts on your "off" days allows you to double your training frequency and significantly increase your overall volume without as much fatigue (because you generally can't lift as much with variations, but they are still hard sets at lower weights). At the very least I would switch leg press to DL day, but I'd also consider exploring some DL variations or direct hamstring work like leg curls for squat day.

 

I think DB bench is a good choice. If you need to work triceps, close grip bench is easier on your shoulders than incline bench. I would recommend flyes or cable crossovers over trying wide grip; it's much harder on the shoulders and wrists.

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54 minutes ago, Deckard Gainz said:

You ever do lunges or walking lunges? I personally find those, with some reasonably heavy DBs, to be the best glute workout,. They also have the added benefit of extra quad/hammie work. I would personally replace glute bridges with lunges most or all of the time, especially if bridges aren't causing any noticeable fatigue (and therefore maybe no stimulus for adaptation).

 

I meant they don't cause general fatigue. They make my glutes burn. But lunges have the benefit of being single leg, so I will add some. You're right about switching the leg press and glute bridge, too. But I don't think my hamstrings need extra work, they never let me down.
 

54 minutes ago, Deckard Gainz said:

I think DB bench is a good choice. If you need to work triceps, close grip bench is easier on your shoulders than incline bench. I would recommend flyes or cable crossovers over trying wide grip; it's much harder on the shoulders and wrists.


Never seen flyes. I googled them. I expect you mean with dumbbells? Actually I always do a widish grip bench--the trainer said it uses the pecs more than the arms, and that since the pecs are a larger muscle group it will have more long term potential. I switched over to wide grip a couple of months back. Are the flyes better than DB bench, or just an equally good alternative? Not sure if I need extra triceps. I can't say I've ever noticed them. 

Okay, here's what I'm thinking:
 

Workout A: OHP/deadlift/leg press/DB flyes/seated cable row

Workout B: squat/bench/pull-up negatives/lunges/farmer’s carry

Workout C: deadlift/OHP/leg press/DB bench/seated cable row

Workout D: bench/squat/glute bridge/pull-up negatives/farmer’s carry

 

Each day has legs, glutes, pull, press. I'll try both lunges and glute bridges, flyes and db press. I've put lunges after heavy squats because I think I'll be too fried after light squats to do them properly. Not that doing them after heavy squats will be fun. I'll try out the farmer's carry, as recommended by Hazard, for core, though I suspect my grip will be the limiting factor. Also, whatever muscles prevent the weight from pulling on the shoulder joint. So they probably won't be heavy enough make my waist blockier.

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LUNGES! Yaaaas. They're terrible but also great. 

 

I really wouldn't worry about your waist getting blockier -- having a strong core is much more important for your health and longevity than a tiny waist. Plus the shoulders/glute gains will definitely help balance it out like you are hoping. :)

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OHP Day:
67.5lb x 5 (number five must have been the slowest rep ever performed, but it is mine. Now I must attempt 70lb)

62.5lb x 5

57.5lb x 5/5/5
Deadlift 145lb x 10/10/10/10/5 

DB Bench 20lb x 15/15/15/12/15
Leg Press 298lb x 12/12/12/12/12

Seated Cable Row: quit due to shoulder pain :(

So I tried the DB flyes, but my shoulders felt wayyy too unstable to even use 15lb. I just don't think I have the joint stability to do this move safely. I did DB bench press instead. My shoulders also feel unstable here, but I chose a light weight and did more reps. I think this may help me strengthen the join in a way that barbells don't. Maybe I'll be able to do flyes later. Interestingly the OHP and DB press didn't hurt my shoulders, but the cable row did. It was bad news and I quit at the second set.

 

Leg press felt good. But it felt like my hips were doing the work rather than my quads. Hmmm. We'll see what happens. 

Deadlifts were limited by my grip. I might go down to 140lb next time to make sure they're working my back/my ability to withstand exhaustion.  

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5 hours ago, raptron said:

LUNGES! Yaaaas. They're terrible but also great. 

 

I really wouldn't worry about your waist getting blockier -- having a strong core is much more important for your health and longevity than a tiny waist. Plus the shoulders/glute gains will definitely help balance it out like you are hoping. :)


Yay, I hope so. Mind you, if you told me I had to get blockier to have bigger lifts... I'd do it. I'd be a little sad, but I'd do it. 

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So my last few weeks have been really low motivation, which means a lot of tv. Which means lots of knitting. I'm going to use the next challenge to think about how to deal with the fluctuations in energy and motivation and start filling my days with useful stuff instead of computer procrastination. But in the meantime, here's my geiger cardigan. Keep in mind the phone camera makes me look more hobbit and less human than in real life.

IMG_6493.jpg.7daac047a83488c95e25b8061d930488.jpgIMG_6489.jpg.6f533025244861a5fbbfb758d5258280.jpg

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AHHH. That sweater is so cool.

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My gosh what a beautiful sweater.

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Not good. I went to taekwondo yesterday night after skipping Saturday and Tuesday. My shoulders STILL hurt, and they hurt when doing blocks and punches. Also, I felt normal until we started warming up, then my energy and mood really dropped and I felt depressed for no reason. I felt like I could cry but I wasn't upset about anything specific. So weird (I don't usually have depressive feelings when tired, they're two different things). Also, my hips hurt more than usual, and I was reluctant to go all out on kicks, as I usually do. I also found out that I'm currently not capable of doing a really good backstance. My hips can't open wide enough and I end up caving my knee inward to compensate. But there is a super awesomely experienced blackbelt who looked at me and told me I could narrow my stance to 1x shoulder width instead of 1.5, which helped. I'm more flexible than most of the other students in most other ways (I'm generally on the bendy side), but my hips are recalcitrantly stiff. I'm not sure why, or how to fix it. I do stretch them a lot. 

Anyway, I'm feeling a bit down because my shoulders still hurt today. That's a whole week since they started hurting, and I don't even know what caused it. It doesn't feel like a specific injury, it feels like a generalised inflammation. Ugh. Is there a sickness that causes inflammation in the shoulders, hips, and brain? Anyway, I'm going to take an ibuprofen and just do legs/posterior today. No pressing or pulling. Maybe I can just do more sets to make up for the lost work. I have an idea, let's do eight sets of heavy squats instead of five!!! That'll be fun!!! 
 

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1 hour ago, Harriet said:

Is there a sickness that causes inflammation in the shoulders, hips, and brain?

 

Overtraining does this for sure, though I doubt that's the only thing. You're pushing a lot of weight and volume; how long since you've taken a deload week?

 

Cool sweater btw!

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2 hours ago, Deckard Gainz said:

 

Overtraining does this for sure, though I doubt that's the only thing. You're pushing a lot of weight and volume; how long since you've taken a deload week?


Um... I involuntarily take breaks when we travel or when I get sick. Does that count? If not, the answer is quite possibly never. Unless you count deloading to fix form problems. 

I have a question about the leg press. What is it supposed to feel like? To me, it feels like muscles above and below my hips (hip flexors and lower abs?) are doing the work of trying to open up the angle between my torso and legs--both when I squat and on the leg press. I don't really feel my quads in either move. So I'm not sure if I'm feeling the hip flexors because they're the weakest point. Or if I'm feeling them because they're actually stronger than my quads and are taking over from them. I'm inclined to think my quads might be super weak because I struggled with an extremely light lunge today. I could probably wear myself out sufficiently with bodyweight lunges, actually. 

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Also, what are everyone's favourite exercises for delts? I have just realised I don't have any. My biceps have grown and are now the widest part of my upper body. Sigh, I'm starting to think focusing almost exclusively on the main lifts has made me a bit imbalanced. I may have to rethink my programme yet again. 

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Cool sweater! When I read geiger, my brain immediately jumped to HR Giger (the artist who designed the aliens and the spaceships and such from Alien) and I think a black sweater with some patterns form his artworks would be really cool for Halloween...

 

matthias-schmidt-giger-substance-02.jpg?

 

RE: Delts -- I used to do a circuit of front raises, side raises, and face pulls to work delts. BUT -- I had my best delts when I was doing Kung Fu, and that's just from holding my hands/arms in fight ready positions and punching. We also used to do a lot of static holds with our arms in various extended positions like...

 

belt-testing-3.jpg

 

"One of these things is not like the others..."

 

We'd be practicing a drill with a position like that, and our teachers would just stop us there and start talking for a minute or two, while we held our arms out... I can feel my delts burning and screaming just thinking about it.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Curl Brogo said:

Cool sweater! When I read geiger, my brain immediately jumped to HR Giger (the artist who designed the aliens and the spaceships and such from Alien) and I think a black sweater with some patterns form his artworks would be really cool for Halloween...

RE: Delts -- I used to do a circuit of front raises, side raises, and face pulls to work delts. BUT -- I had my best delts when I was doing Kung Fu, and that's just from holding my hands/arms in fight ready positions and punching. We also used to do a lot of static holds with our arms in various extended positions like...

 


That's a pretty cool wall of doom. Not sure I can turn it into a sweater, though. Thanks for the delt exercise ideas. I just never even thought of them until recently. Now I know why people were doing raises in the gym. 

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Challenge Summary

Weight: 71.0kg -- exactly the same as I have been the whole challenge (and perhaps not coincidentally, the weight I was before I ever attempted dieting). I could be optimistic and say I'm losing fat and gaining muscle. Or I could be pessimistic and say I'm just as skinny-fat as I was four weeks ago. On the other hand, it's not a bad outcome given I've been eating whatever I want and never going hungry. I counted calories one day just to get an idea of what I'm eating. I think my daily cal might be roughly 2700-2800. Wow. I guess I'm lucky because Mr Harriet eats about 2000-2200 to maintain at about 75kg. I might think about my diet a little in the next challenge. 

My only goal for this challenge was to get used to a new lifting programme with five exercises instead of three, with more light and moderate work, and to gradually increase the number of sets. I did in fact do this, but I was punished with inflamed shoulders, so I have to rethink my programme again. I went from doing one press and one pull per workout, to doing two presses and one pull. In addition, because of shin splints I have been refusing to do the standard warmup at taekwondo (jogging, sprinting, jumping), so the instructors have been asking me to do bodyweight exercises including pushups. Apparently I can't afford to do 9 pressing exercises per week. I think I also have to be super careful with the pull-up negatives because my weight/pulling strength ratio is low and I lose the ability to control the drop over the course of my sets. But they do seem to be rapidly improving. So I might just have to do fewer of them. Next challenge I'm going to have a legs/deload week and then ease back into my programme, with more focus on lower body movements. 

Despite swapping out half of my heavy sets for moderate sets I hit PRs on Bench and Deadlift. Yay. I also made rep PRs on Squat and OHP, so my strength continues to improve very slowly. 

I dropped most of my extra activities such as reading, sketching, and meditation due to low motivation. It's going to be a very long journey to doing these consistently. On the other hand, I've been doing writing every day (except Saturdays) thanks to the bet with my brother. Some days I just do the absolute minimum to get it out of the way, but some days I do a bit more. It would be nice to spend more time with it. I have an idea for the next challenge. 

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On 7/28/2019 at 9:35 AM, Harriet said:

That's a pretty cool wall of doom. Not sure I can turn it into a sweater, though. 

 

I feel like this needs to go in one of your future challenges.

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“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

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Getting in late but I love that cardigan! 

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