Training #88 – Just like fire

Monday morning, training with J. Review day, the last of our latest lower body series. As usual, I love review day. As is also typical for Mondays of late, feeling it in the glutes today.

I learned a lot of little things today, stuff it seems like I should know but had either never thought about, never considered the difference exercises from the geometric planes of reference, and just other aspects of form that have been under emphasized in the quest to get the overall shapes down first. It was a fun session, for sure.

On today’s List:

  • Squat Machine “Frog Stance”
  • Stability Ball Reverse Hyperextension
  • Cable Glute Kickback
  • Cable 1-legged RDL
  • 1-legged Glute Pushdown
  • Adductor Machine

This is possibly my favorite lower body workout. But I also say that about every workout. So I apparently have undiscriminiating taste in exercise Lists. But oh well. Better I love everything. Or at least not hate everything.

We did the squat machine “frog stance” today. I have a love/mostly like relationship with this machine. Every time J and I do/review this machine I learn something new. Today it was how deep the deeper is supposed to be, the thigh parallel to the floor, and then the pause at the bottom and stay fluid and timing the cadence from the top. We also increased the weight today, and between the new cadence and the increased weight review day became almost a teaching day. Or maybe I’m giving myself a pass for taking a break in the midst of the set? Anyway, I am working at this, getting it, and as I am muttering inside my head 20 times per practice, it’s a process.

Had boatloads of fun with the stability ball reverse hyperextension. No, really, not being sarcastic – it was lots of fun. Learned some new tricks with this one as well today, like the half-second hold on the upswing and the positioning of ankles – positioned together or comfortably apart. Mermaid tail versus blue whale tail was the way I thought of it, but unlikely a cue J will use with anyone else. *laugh* Anyway, I am liking these more and more. Especially now that I have a much firmer grasp on how they are supposed to be performed and where the different “tail” stances impact on the glutes.

Still mixed feelings about the cable 1-legged Romanian deadlifts. They are not quite as powerful of an arch nemesis as they once were, but I feel like I should practice them day and night until I eventually get the balance right and then the return snap more strongly. I also feel that way about pushups, too, and am hit and miss on my extra time spent practicing those.  The cable RDL went pretty well today, finding my balance and got a better feeling for the pretensioning and hip snap at the conclusion of the exercise. More and more the message of practice, practice, practice is hitting home.

Super excited about the cable glute kickback. I am getting better at the set-up and then the higher kickback to feel the contraction. These are effective, because I can still feel them 14 hours later. I like the challenge the present to my mental practice. Push the leg up higher, feel the contraction in the muscles. Now that I have gotten the hang of it, know what I am supposed to be feeling where, and have my brain working overtime on the thinking through its part of the exercise.

My new favorite of the whole List, the 1-legged glute pushdown. I have had this one almost bite me in the knee joint – lost control of the pad setting up in one of my practices and it scared the crap out of me when it suddenly jumped up – but the experience made me pay attention to what I am doing when using this thing. Still, I like it. I like the way it makes my legs feel.

The adductor machine, my old friend. This one goes pretty quickly, staying focused on a steady pacing. I make myself go through a few sets on this machine each and every week or I will be feeling it for at least a couple of days afterward.

Over the course of this series of reviewing these 6 exercises, I learned some new things. J explained to me how the leg press machine and is very similar to the squat machine only on a different plane (sitting in the sled versus standing up in the squat machine) and the wider stance on the leg press is similar to the “frog stance” on the squat machine. Same for the power squats versus the sumo squats. Small details that had never occurred to me before today.

Somewhere I had read about something called the Smith machine and asked friend J about it in a casual email. He said not to worry about it, that it was unlikely to be something I would ever use, and I believe him. But I mentioned it to J this morning and he showed it to me. Nope, not likely something I’ll be using anytime soon, but I’m a curious person and like to know these things.

Personal training rates are going up at my gym, a trend I understand and accept. It has now been more than almost 18 months since I began this journey and a rate increase is to be expected. But as I had this month to take advantage of old rates, I renewed early and purchased my next block of 40 sessions. J is stuck with me I should be good, my session bank well stocked for another several months without having to worry about running out or renewing.

This has been on my to-do list since the email came out a couple of weeks ago, because the 8% difference should cover the cost of the training shoes I am trying valiantly to locate and purchase. My current favorites are not available anymore, which is practically a given because I have come to like them so much. Thus far I have been through 4 different pairs of New Balance and a couple of pairs of Inov8, a favorite brand of friend J that unfortunately do not want to work with my particular shape of foot. My point here is that I do not begrudge the gym their increase in fees, but if I have opportunity to save a few bucks on something I know I am going to purchase I may as well take advantage of it.

Things are going well for me in my exercise realm. I work at it every week, but there are weeks I do not do as much or feel as if I am putting forth 100% effort at my practices. I suppose I have matured to the point of feeling as if this okay from time to time. I am extremely fortunate to have not been sick or injured myself in all this time, and no way overtraining is a thing impacting me. But since I have not had to take time off for illness or injury, so my mind rationalizes a less gung-ho week as okay once in awhile.

I am again in the process of tweaking my eating, and between that and my workload overwhelm the periodic pull-back in exercise intensity is just part of my way of life now. But I am doing well on my consistency – I go every day and at least do something, even if I am not going full-steam on my pursuit of the List of the day.

Going back to eating more regular food for meals and using protein shakes for pre-exercise fuel and mid-afternoon snacks to keep my energy up. My blood sugar is staying stable and well within the normal range, and I believe eating a higher percentage of carbohydrates will not be sending me back to the diabetes medications. Steadfast commitment to the exercise is keeping me on this side of the insulin needle, and I like the way this commitment brings out the better in me. I do need to settle on a regular meal schedule, though, because the blood sugar drops are exhausting when I don’t.

It was a fun, exciting day. I am better at some exercises, and I am stronger than I was. It is good for me to be able to see the advances I have made, how much better I am now at things that used to frustrate the living daylights out of me a few months ago.

There is an infinite, undefinable sort of peace in being boring about my habits – getting up early and getting myself to the gym at least 6 days per week. I’m glad to be selfish and protective about my gym time every day. It is by far the best medicine.

 

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