While I’ve been deep in the detox, I have neglected to talk about my current workouts – well the currently constantly morphing workouts. And they’re not changing so much in content these days as they are configuration.
As you know I’m a progress hound, and probably always will be. I’m never satisfied with the status quo in terms of programs, and I don’t know if that makes me innovative or insane. Either way, it’s ALWAYS an adventure, and the last few months have been no exception.
As I noted a good while ago, my focus has shifted intensely to glute work. I have been consistent with that goal and so far have achieved some decent results. However, my previous program requiring twice-worked body parts each week coupled with the new lower body requirement of 3 times has caused a few issues, namely time.
Looking at my sticky board you can see that there is just too much workout for the time slots available – some days weighing in with 3 muscle groups. And yes, I know I could bleed into day 6 (and I really would like to because I pretty much would take up residence at the gym if 1. I could keep The Real Housewives in solid rotation on the mounted TVs 2. An affordable lease rate with food service could be negotiated) however, as a mom, teacher and entrepreneur, that just isn’t an option for me right now.
All in all I was looking at distributing 13 sessions (by muscle group) over 5 days. I’m no statistician, but extrapolating that out over the long haul was looking and feeling like over-training city. And that didn’t even include sessions 14 and 15 – 2 rounds of calves. SO, I did a little research on compound vs. isolation work because I have labored INTENSELY this fall and winter to build back the upper body mass I’d lost over the summer.
This is what I’ve discovered. Compound upper body moves that work the back, chest and shoulders generally require more recovery time when executed with proper intensity. That is at least for me. Right now. And even though these big lifts also recruit the biceps and triceps to a great extent, it doesn’t seem to be enough for me personally. No matter how hard and heavy I lift, I still have to hit both the bis and tris twice per week to keep my booth registration at the gun show. Therefore I have decided that I will reduce back, chest and shoulders to once per week, and continue with my bis and tris twice per week.
By the way, I gleaned some great info on this topic from this article on T Nation. I know the site may look a little bit intimidating because it’s clearly aimed at dudes, but tough chicks can totally benefit from the content out there. It’s one of the first sites I stumbled across when I started this journey 2.5 years ago, and I’ve learned a lot from it.
Given the unrelenting necessity for gluteal focus in my program, I will continue to work my lower body three times per week. The cool thing is that I have gone from doing 8 lower body exercises in 1 session down to 4. Now, the first 3 of the 4 moves in each series literally kick my butt (and quads and hams too), so I haven’t felt deprived. And if you know about me and legs, you’ll be excited to learn that not only are my glutes perking up, but my hamstrings are more defined than ever, despite my utter lack of attention to them. An additional observation is how awesome my hips feel. No soreness, injuries or issues whatsoever. Wow, this glute stuff is pretty amazing!
MON Lower (4 exercises varying sets/reps), Chest (3 exercises @ 4×8)
TUE Biceps, Triceps (3 exercises/group @ 4×8), Calves (1 set @ 4×8)
WED Lower (4 exercises varying sets/reps), Shoulders (3 exercises/group @ 4×8)
THU Triceps, Biceps (3 exercises/group @ 4×8), Calves (1 set @ 4×8)
FRI Lower (4 exercises varying sets/reps) Back (3 exercises/group @ 4×8)
With my new sticky arrangement I’m back to 2 muscle groups per workout with a tad of calves sprinkled in – totally manageable on the body and the clock. I thought about detailing out each exercise, which I’m happy to do at some point if you, kind readers, would like me to take it to that level. However, for upper body I’ve had to substitute a lot of my favorite moves from free weights to machines, and I’d rather promote the plans on the Workouts page or Original Transformation Workouts post because I feel these have been the most beneficial for me, and will likely be the most beneficial for you. These are the plans that brought me the most success, and the plans I’m always striving to get back to.
In terms of lower body, I have replaced a lot of the isolation work with hamstrings in favor of big, compound moves including any and every squat you can imagine, along with deadlifts, big glute moves consisting of mainly hip thrusts, glute bridges (body weight and weighted), 1 day each week of unilateral work (exercising each leg independently) and mobility moves for the hips (which I sorely need). That is not to say that one cannot gain substantial strength and definition using my old lower body plans above, but my genetic footprint and never-ending crusade against Father Time have required me to change things up a bit. The variation is vast and challenging because every workout is different. If you haven’t already, I would highly suggest securing a copy of Strong Curves, subscribing to bretcontreras.com, or at the very least liking his Facebook fan page for great tips and tricks on building your bum.
I have yet to implement the new sticky splits, and can’t wait to get at them first thing on Monday. I’ll report back with my findings as they present themselves. In the meantime, it’s always very exciting to change things up, and keeps the lifestyle spicy!
What ingredients are you adding to spice up your goals this year?