Thursday, April 08, 2004

I got back to the gym for the first time since my trip this morning--I'm finally getting back on regular time now that I'm back from changing time zones, having the time change while I was there, and then changing back. Confused? Yeah, so was my equilibrium.

So I've been thinking for a long time that I might actually lay out some of my gym routine here sometime when I was stuck for blogging material, and you can guess what that means now.

Basically, I have three "days" that I try to do twice a week. When I'm super on-the-ball I actually manage to do so, and when I'm extra supr on-the-ball I go in on the 7th day for exercise bike only. My days are chest/back, abs/arms, and legs, and today was legs.

Legs days start with my cardio, which is 35 minutes on the exercise bike. It's the bike's "Cardio" setting, which is a three-minute warmup, a gradual 5-minute increase in resistance until you reach your target heart rate (mine is 140 bpm), and then for the remainder of the time the bike adjusts to keep you at that heart rate. Since my legs are my strong suit, I can do this at a pretty high resistance level, burning 450-to-500 calories in 35 minutes according to the bike's own stat-keeping, at between 80 and 90 rpm.

The next part is the part that will shock people who've known me for a while. For years I had a running gag line--"Stairs, my mortal enemy," and it was basically true. Now I do 5 of what I call "vertical wind sprints." The gym has a staircase that is 18 steps, a landing, then 19 steps. I take them two at a time, walk back down, and repeat. Stairs and I have, clearly, made a bit of a rapproachment.

Next I do machines. I start with squat presses. From a sitting position, you extend your legs upward at a 45-degree angle, with feet on a platform attached to a weight bar. At the top of the lift, your legs are fully extended; at the bottom, knees are at about a 90-degree angle, without letting your butt roll up off the seat. This is the same motion as a squat except seated rather than standing, so it's not so much of a core exercise, so it isolates the quadriceps and protects my bad feet (plantar fasciitis). Right now I do 8 sets of 15 reps each--4 at 360 pounds with feet apart followed by 4 at 270 pounds with feet together.

The other two machines I do are leg extensions--seated, the weight is relaxed with feet hanging straight down, and you lift by extending the legs to almost straight in front of you. I do 4 sets of 15 reps or until muscle failure (i.e. can't do another one in that set), currently at 75 pounds. Finally I do a lying leg curl which works the hamstrings, doing 3 sets of 15 at 80 pounds.

I finish off with two stretches. One seated, stretching forward to an extended leg, and the other lying backward with one leg extended and the other bent back under. I do each stretch on each leg for 30 seconds.

Total workout time, approximately 80 minutes. Tomorrow, abs and arms.

No comments: