I think my circumstances have changed enough to warrant a look at what my goals actually are.
Priority was the most amount of strength I could have at the smallest size. Big girls tended to like shrimpy dudes for some reason, making it look like the furniture is hard to lift (even if it was easy) got me pity dollars in excess of what I charged, being underestimated in a fight landed more knockouts, and if you’re running away less weight to push meant more distance covered with the same energy.
What actually seems to be problematic:
tl;dr- I’m switching from an explosively-concentric powerlifting focus to an eccentric-upperbody-focused lifting program, and performing cardio with my lower body, until I achieve sufficient leanness that my legs are too small to exaggerate how small my cock is. Then I’ll start squatting again.
In truth the switch has already occurred as this post is a retrospective on my month, but in specificity the transition is “in progress” because I keep tweaking the nipples of the program while basically leaving the overall chest mass intact.
I seem to have settled into doing two cardio workouts and three lifting workouts, but I think as I start to encounter recovery issues with the lifting I’ll flip the distribution of volume. I’m definitely working well within my recover-ability in the cardio I’m doing, but I’m still seeing “gains” in that department. Meaning, the cardio isn’t making me look better most of the time, but I’m no longer wheezing like a bitch (as much) when I go out on hikes. I’m pretty happy with that given my delayed progress thus far.
Let’s take a look at the fundamental layout:
So while my caloric restriction should handle my waist measurement for the foreseeable future, the aesthetic counterpoint to is my shoulder measurement. The shoulder measurement occurs as a circumference, using the middle of the lateral head of the unflexed deltoids as the end points of the diameter.
I personally favor compound exercises because it’s what I’m most familiar with and they tend to be the easiest exercises to progress on. Particularly with barbells, as distributing 5lbs. across several muscle groups is an imperfect approximation of a smaller incremental load on an isolation exercise (it’s more inconvenient to load 1lbs. onto a front raise than it is to add 5lbs. to a military press.)
Mechanistically, I understand the purpose of a muscle is to contract and stretch, so looking at a muscle diagram I can easily and accurately determine what direction I would have to move a limb to engage a given muscle. I can do this all mentally, but I think having an image to show you where I want to have bigger and smaller circumferences would help.
You could basically say I want to increase the width of the red line and reduce the width of the topmost blue line.
Priority, in a lifting sense, is “which lifts benefit the most from doing first.”
Another way to put it, am I going to be too tired to perform this beneficial movement if I do it later in my workout?
When training for strength, priority means doing the thing you want to get stronger at first, when you’re freshest.
For me, a compound barbell exercise requires absolute focus and clarity of purpose when performing, as I have the largest potential to drop some shit on my shit and wreck my shit with that shit.
Isolation movements do still require focus and intent, but it’s much more obvious to me when stupid-failure is occurring.
If I’m tired, I might not notice my military press has turned into a weird ‘bent-press into reverse good morning’ monster and just think I won because the weight is over my head.
If I’m tired, I’ll still notice if I’m not using my biceps in a biceps curl, but the worst that might happen is my wrist isn’t positioned optimally and I’m not hitting the long head as effectively.
Not as bad as throwing out my back or dropping a bar on my head. Personal preference.
All right enough exposition:
The immutable foundation of the program is 1 and 2. I tried switching their order and I wasn’t stronger on Chins and I was weaker on Press.
Aside: After I wrote this post I did a workout with wide-grip Pull-ups and it felt way better. Rear delts resolved.
3 is always going to be in the program, and it always has to be after 1 and 2 because it’s HARD to go up in weight on this lift and getting some kind of pre-exhaust on those muscles during my compound is a likelihood anyway. I try to pretend that every 5lbs. I go up in Press, my lateral deltoids are lifting 0.25lbs. of that, so even though I’m stuck on 10’s or 15’s for lateral raises, they’re still eeking ahead every week.
Where I’m considering moving 3, though, is after my bicep-and-tricep work, because I’m working the long head of the muscle in both groups. The long head of the bicep is what gives you the “peak,” or height, when you show off your guns. The long head of the tricep is not the more evident of the two muscles you’re likely to see when showing off the back of your arms, but they do add the contrasting height to the upper arm, making the “guns” pose look even bigger. Both “long heads” are called this because of how they connect through the shoulder.
Again, I want to emphasize shoulder development, so it feels like brownie points to me. I think I’ve decided to have my lateral raises right after my compounds for time efficiency. If for some reason I can only get three lifts done in a day, I’d rather those lifts be in the same sequence/priority as usual. If I had arms before laterals, then if I have to skip arms on a given day, I might trick myself into thinking I’m stronger on lateral raises and screw up my full days.
Rather than do a strict curl, I squat down and “clean” the bar to my collarbone, pause, and then do a 3-4 second negative for about 10 reps. I have really poor mind-muscle connection with my biceps because I’ve never really cared about them before, I’d train my grip and leg drive and just throw people who were bothering me. I flexed by sending someone over a fence, not just standing around with my guard wide open.
Incline DB curls are also good for me, and they’re much better for getting that juice supination at the end of the curl for brachialis activation… but I want to have a baseline of connection and strength to prevent a habit of involving too much of my core and shoulder. I want my incline curls strict and I’m not strong enough yet. These cheat curls have already put size on my biceps sufficient for me to touch them with my off-hand and feel the muscle flexing as move my hand around, which is pretty exciting for me.
The cheat curls will have to be abandoned eventually anyway because, though I am enjoying the mass they’re putting on, they’re not actually helping me perform the guns-flex. The positive contraction isn’t being trained, obviously, so I can’t positively contract.
It does amuse me how much harder it is to push my hands down, now, though.
I really can’t decide how I want to do this, but the one that seems like I’m getting a good full contraction behind my body without excessive shoulder cheating: single-arm rope.
The hand that I’m not working, I use to grip the bottom of the rope, and grip with my active hand about an inch above that hand. Together with little waist twist, I cheat the rope down to my starting position to ensure my active arm will remain under tension even at the end of an eccentric motion.
I let go of the rope with my off-hand. I imagine I’m holding a torch, that’s my starting position.
Then I imagine there’s a giant serpent wrapped around my calves and I have to dash it in the face with the torch, wham!
I don’t let go of the rope of course, but the image of throwing helps remind me to follow-through. The line of motion doesn’t stop when my arm is parallel to my thigh. I bring my hand behind my body, my wrist stays locked. If the arm doesn’t extend behind the body, it’s not fully utilizing the long head.
You want that horseshoe popping through, you do them in front of your body, or diamond-pushups or something like that.
Once I have better mind-muscle connection I might do close-grip bench press. I’ve avoided doing close-grip bench out of shoulder injury paranoia, and honestly I didn’t want to develop a psychological habit of benching that way and mess up my form on my traditional bench… but I still think it’s worth considering once I progression gets more difficult.
I really like doing triceps after biceps.
If I ever do biceps without triceps, I feel like I can’t straighten my arm the day after. I’ve never have a problem with my arm being too straight, and I guess being too straight has never really been an issue for me anyway, but getting all my work done in a day and assisting my recovery immediately is just so nice.
It’s hard to figure out what I want to do here. I do wrist curls because it’s just the easiest/fastest way to gain some mass there. I do reverse wrist curl because some day I’m going to want to do pull ups and not chin ups, and that forearm muscle worked this way is often the bottleneck for plucky young pulluppers.
The twists are controlled, and feel more like I’m stretching the muscles and tendons back out rather than contracting them. The motion of the DBs in my hand is more challenging than a static hold (same reason for doing farmer’s walks) while letting me keep my feet planted. I find that I have a pleasant tingle in my arms and recover much quicker than if I just do the curl/reverse curl with my wrists.
You basically set it up like you’re going to do a bent-over row, but instead you just rotate your wrists (NOT YOUR SHOULDERS, that’s just momentum and will probably out-torque your wrists which would be really, really shitty.) It’s like a weighted version of jingling your watch on your wrist, for you older bastards out there with classy watched than wind this way.
You could probably do this in a hammer grip while standing upright, arms bent (it’d slam your thighs otherwise.) However I’m in no shape to be curling anything by the time I get here, I probably couldn’t curl it in the first place, and if my grip fails I feel better dropping a DB from the lower height.
I’ve been pretty erratic about my rep range.
I think I’m getting to the point where I’m ready to check my ego and focus on quality muscle contractions.
To that end I’m going to just keep doing reps until I can’t do good reps anymore, each set. You might call that “to failure” but I’m not going to grind it out that hard. Good-faith failure, perhaps, where if I have to start cheating at all for a rep I just do not complete that rep and stop.
I do not think “oh I gotta get 12 next set so I shouldn’t keep going.” No. If I am at a given weight for a lift and I can keep going after 12 or whatever, then the weight was too light but it’s also too late to have started the set heavier. I will exhaust at that set, rest, and lift more the next set. If I couldn’t get a good number of reps that set (let’s say eight) then I went too heavy and I’ll decrease the next set.
I want to fully exhaust the muscles I’m targeting. I’ll know it when I feel it, and I won’t push myself into injury territory with volume just like I’m not going to do an exercise incorrectly just to perform with more weight/intensity.
I don’t have any horizontal pulling (or pressing, for that matter) which limits the activation of my posterior delts. The tricep pushdown incorporates it somewhat, which is why I extend behind my body, but I think at some point I will have to include face-pulls or bent-over rows which go to my nipples instead of into my guts. W-raises are a better option for mind-muscle connection, but are hard to load very heavy.
When I start to notice my shoulders being pulled forward and spoiling my posture, I’ll know my posterior delts are too weak and will begin training them directly.
Intervals on an elliptical crosstrainer because:
I’m using a phone app to do all the thinking for me. It just barks in my ear when I should walk or jog, and logs it all. It seems to be creeping up on my jogging duration each workout, which makes sense because the whole point of the training app is to be able to run a 5k. That’s a little over 3 miles
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