Breaking the Routine and Having a Little Fun in the Gym

Leg Press - 478 Pounds

Can you remember what it was like on the last day of high school? I don’t mean graduation, I mean the actual classroom time? If it was anything like my last day, it was very laid back. The teachers didn’t do any teaching and most of the kids found ways to have a little fun and enjoy themselves.

Yesterday was the last day of my cutting routine in the gym and in a lot of ways it was just like the last day of high school. I set aside my plan and decided to play it loose and have a little fun before I begin Starting Strength.

I started off the session with 30 minutes of cardio. From there I walked into the free-weight area of the gym and settled into a rack to work on squats. My cutting routine would have me do 15 reps with 135 pounds. This time, I wanted to see what I could do with something heavier.

My first order of business was to mimic the squat without a bar. I got into position, stretched a bit, and drove myself back up. After a couple of practice squats, I set the bar low on my back and repeated the process. The low bar squat is new to me and it took a little getting used to.

First I squatted 5 reps with the bar and 30 pounds (75 pounds total). The added weight felt like it helped to make the squat smoother. From there I went to 50 pounds, then to 70, then 90, and incrementally worked my way up to 185 pounds.

At 185 pounds my reps were beginning to slow and completing all five with good form was tough. So, I left the weight the same and did three sets of five reps. I gave myself about a minute between sets and had to really work to complete the last few reps.

With a slight wobble in my step, I made my way over to the leg press. I haven’t been using this particular machine all that long but I’ve grown fond of it.

The starting weight on the machine is listed as 118 pounds. Instead of warming up there, I put a 45 pound plate on either side and did 10 reps. I followed that up by adding another two plates and doing 10 reps. I stopped adding weight after completing 10 reps at 478 pounds (118 pound starting weight plus 360 pounds of plates). I completed three sets at that weight and was able to hit 12 reps on the last set.

Once the plates were re-racked and the machine was cleaned up, I made my way across the gym on shaky legs. I was very tempted to hop on the treadmill for fifteen minutes but I instead sat down at the rowing machine. With a resistance set at 6 and a 2,000 meter workout programmed, I got down to business.

Lately I’ve been killing myself on the rowing machine trying to beat previous times. Early on I found myself panting and out of breath just a few minutes into the workout. Lately I’ve been trying to hold a slow and steady pace. Fast enough to make me breathe heavy but slow enough that I don’t need to stop and take a quick break.

I crossed the virtual finish line in something like 9 minutes 40 seconds. It is my slowest time so far but it is also the smoothest workout I’ve had on the rower. I thought about hopping on the treadmill once again but a text message from my wife prompted me to wrap it up and get home. I had a very busy day ahead of me (actually, it turned out to be even busier than I imagined but that is another story)

This morning I woke up with some soreness in my glutes, hamstrings, abductors, and calfs. I have some stiffness across my shoulders where I placed the bar to squat but, all in all, I feel pretty good.

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