In last week’s workout log I talked a little but about changing things up. I’ve spent the past 8 weeks focused on high repetitions in the weight room and nearly an hour of steady state cardio. While I was seeing progress in certain areas, I wanted to refocus my efforts on building strength and stamina while spending less time in the gym.
I’ve ironed out my plan for the next three months and feel pretty good after the first week of my new workout regimen.
Up until this week my focus in the gym has been on performing high repetitions. I would pick one of the main lifts, setup in the rack, and get down to business. Often times I’d do 5 warm up sets ranging between 5 and 10 reps per set. Once warmed up I would then do 5 working sets, again ranging from 5 to 10 reps per set. Last I would begin pulling weight off the bar and do a drop set down to an empty bar.
There were days when I would perform more than 200 reps on a given exercise (the squat comes to mind). While I did see strength gains from this type of workout I felt like I was making more progress with muscular endurance.
With eight weeks of this type of training under my belt I thought it was time to change things up. I headed over to T-Nation and looked up the Wendler 5/3/1 Boring But Big template. I programmed the workout into my phone and got to work on Monday.
One of the nice things about this program is the structure. I perform the four main lifts using a specific rep scheme and weight progression. While the volume is down from my previous program, I feel like the intensity has increased.
The Boring But Big template is actually a 3 month challenge. The weight structure changes from one month to the next, which makes it significantly more difficult as you progress. I intend to run this program for at least the next 3 months.
To go along with my previous program of high repetitions I would bookend my weight training with cardio. It was always the same and, to be honest, it was tedious. The first 30 minutes of my time in the gym was spent churning away on the elliptical. I would program the machine for intervals and walk away soaked in sweat. It was a great workout that burned an estimated 500 calories.
After strength training I would make my way back over to the cardio area and climb onto the stair stepper for 20 minutes. I think the estimated caloric burn was in the neighborhood of 250 calories. Thoroughly sweaty, I would make my way to the door and close out my two hour gym session.
I decided to move away from this type of cardio for a couple of reasons. The first, and most important, reason for the change is that I won’t have time for two hour gym sessions anymore. My wife’s maternity leave ends very soon and my daughter is set to start Fall Soccer in a couple of weeks. Cardio is going to need to happen at home, when I can squeeze it in between sports and caring for a newborn.
Focus T25 is a program that I’ve had great success with in the past. It is also short enough (25 minutes) that I can slip away and get in a workout without having to leave the house.
So you’re doing Wendler 5/3/1, Focus T25, and DDP Yoga at the same time? Are you trying to kill yourself!
I know, 3 programs at the same time sounds pretty rough. Whats worse is that DDP Yoga is a 3 day per week program and I’ve been stretching it to 5 days per week. As far as time is concerned, these three programs take up about as much time per day as my previous program used to – now I just spend half of that time working out at home.
If you’ve been following along with my blog lately you are probably aware that I’ve been suffering from back pain. It was severe at times but has gotten significantly better this past week and I’m attributing that to the incorporation of yoga into my routine.
I feel foolish when I Hulk It Out! but my shitty mobility seems to be getting a little better. The nice thing about this particular program is that the poses aren’t overly challenging (at least not in the first week) and I can easily back off the intensity by reducing dynamic resistance.
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