Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Pulling the Circuit

We finally finished assembling it last night, probably 8 hours all told including breaks, and with thanks to the able, and much appreciated assistance of Kommander and JohnOC.

So I did my first full circuit tonight on the machine, and man I am really hapy with it.

I started off with a stretch, then a shot warmup on the bike followed by 20 minutes in the zone (with the heart rate control program keeping me around 135) and a 3.5 minute cool down; then I switched off to the circuit for 40 minutes.

I was really happy with the speed I was able to run the circuit. My heart rate never really dropped, and by the end of it I was POURING sweat, but still breathing well.

The point of circuit training is to use light weight, as fast as you can with good form, and keep your heart rate up; and believe me I managed it.

I don't have the routine down yet, but what I did was pretty much this (mostly in order, but I don't remmeber 100%):

1. military press, 15 reps
2. leg extensions, 15 reps
3. pec flys, 15 reps
4. Leg curls, 15 reps
5. deltoid flys, 15 reps
6. behind the neck lat pull downs, 15 reps
7. Back squats, 15 reps
8. Seated row, 15 reps
9. back row, 15 reps
10. Front push downs, 15 reps
11. Preacher curls, 15 reps
12. leg press, 15 reps
13. Crunches on the decline bench, 15 reps
14. shoulder shrugs, 15 reps
15. Bench press, 15 reps

Doing all that, the only configuration I had to change was to move the bench out of the way for the floor excercises, and adjust the bench back and preacher pad settings; and the whole circuit took me 40 minutes.

I'm thinking about adding hack, chest, and dumb squats, and some elevated calf raises; because I need to add more leg to balance out the arm and chest work. I'd love to add lunges just for the heart rate benefits (lunges are VERY hard if done properly) but I really can't because of the knee strain. I should note, that I do a ham squat, where the back of my hamstring is just below parallel to my knee, because any lower causes knee strain (any higher causes knee strain as well, dont think a half squat is any better, it's actually worse).

Also, it's important to note that you shouldnt do heavy back squats on a smith machine, because the restricted range of motion is bad for your knees, hips, and lower back. Hack squats on the other hand work reasonably well on a Smith.

I may also add some decline presses to balance the upper, lower, and mid chest work.

If I was strength or size training, I would have slowed things down a lot, used a lot more weight for less reps, and varied the weight between excercises a lot. As it was, I just left the same weight in place for the whole circuit, because I wanted to change from excercise to excercise as fast as possible.

I didnt do any rep to failure; and during circuit training you generally don't want to. That said, doing some limited range of motion leg presses to failure is a really great way to kick up your overall muscle production, and toning; because putting so much stress on the large muscle grounps involved kicks your bodies anabolic reaction into emergency mode. When I feel better about my knee strength, I'm going to add some leg press to failure into the routine.

When I was done, I felt great; and I almost got back on the bike for another 20 minutes; but I had to make dinner. I'm definitely thinking hard about doing two circuits and two rides a day at this point.

Oh, and yeah, I definitely need to pick up more weight. I think at least another 320lb set. I'll probably pick up another full weight set without the bar (I've already got two, the rail bar, and a free bar), which is actually 275lbs, an easy curl bar, and two dumb bell bars; and then 4 more 45lb plates, for a total of 730lbs. That way I can get some good squats and leg presses going, I can leave enough weight on the various stations and not shift the plates from station to station; and also have the variety of smaller weights for use with the dumb bells and preacher bar (especially for Mel).

Oh, and I definitely need a new pair of lifting gloves now (the knurling tears up my hands, and I need the wrist support); and a belt and straps for when I start to go heavy again (probably in the spring).