Strength Training and Recovery Ride

Today we are back in the gym, aka the living room, and doing some strength training. The prescription workout is for 1 hour of various exercises to strengthen the entire body. 2 sets of 20 reps per exercise is what is called for but I would lose my mind doing 20 reps of anything. It also calls for core work and stretching.

I mentioned yesterday that last year I did my bodyweight routine when doing these workouts. There are a few issues I currently have with the bodyweight routine:

  1. It’s still cold here. It was 13F this morning and the bodyweight routine needs to be done outside with my pullup bar. Thats what they call a no-go for probably another month, or a third of the 12 week Training Program.
  2. The bodyweight routine is the same workout every time. I have done that routine over 100 times at this point. I need some variation and there are proponents of using variety to get even more gains from strength training.
  3. You need to track your progress on the bodyweight routine. The focus is on progression of strength by increases in reps and then altering the exercise to be more difficult, and continue. This means you need to count during the workout and then write them down. I use Google Sheets on my iPhone and its not a huge deal, but it is still one more thing to do.
  4. Pull Ups are still my kryptonite. I have been working on my pull ups off and on for a few years now and while there has been some progression I am still in the 2 to 3 rep range and its frustrating.

The good news is that Apple Fitness+ workout’s solves all of these problems.

  1. I can do them inside.
  2. There is a lot of variety: The category of workouts are: HIIT, Yoga, Core, Strength, Treadmill, Cycling, Rowing, Dance, and Mindful Cooldown. There are 21 coaches many of whom teach multiple categories. The sheer volume of classes that Apple started with and continues to release is very impressive.
  3. Tracking is done by my Apple Watch. Sure I can see the numbers while I am working out; it can be interesting to know what heart-rate I have when I am in total agony. A bigger benefit is that I can then send that data into TrainingPeaks and compare things to what my Training Program wants me to be doing.
  4. There are no pull up bars, and therefore no pull ups in Apple Fitness+.😎

Today was the second day that I used the Fitness+ classes for my prescribed strength workout. There are no 1 hour long classes in Fitness+. The longest classes are 45 minutes but the longest Strength classes are 30 minutes. So I build a combination of classes to get my workout done.

On Monday I did a 10 minute Yoga class to warmup, then a 30 min strength class, followed with a 10 minute Core class, and finished with a 10 minute Cooldown class. It was challenging though never discouraging.

Most classes have 3 people in the video with the main coach and 2 coaches from other disciplines to the left and right. Pretty much always the coach to the left on the screen is doing easier modifications of the main move.

Today I changed it up and started with a 30 min Strength class, then two 10 minute Core classes, and closed with a 10 min Cooldown. This was a good challenge, and while I enjoy my Yoga I am also trying to adhere more closely with my overall Training Program. While some Yoga has a lot of strength work it is proportionally less than a specialized Strength or Core class.

In the Strength classes the coaches use light and medium weight barbells most of the time. We do not currently own any barbells so I have just been clenching my fists. We are in the market for some barbells so I will eventually have those, but for the moment it seems like a benefit to not yet have them. Let me explain.

The Strength classes are based around repetitive compound movements. You are squatting while holding barbells by your shoulders. When you stand up you also extend your arms up. You are working many major muscle groups at the same time.

Using weights allows you to push the upper body workout further and there are studies that show it helps strengthen bones and all types of good things. They also allow you to overtrain and injure yourself especially if you haven’t been working out with weights in a long time. Right now I can go through the motions, focus on my form, and let my legs get torn up first.

The amount of leg soreness from the Monday workout was still with me when I started todays classes. One good thing about working out though is that as soon as you start the soreness becomes a memory. (If it doesn’t then you are overtrained and need to take a break immediately.)

The Core classes were challenging but kept things changing up enough that you didn’t dwell on how out of shape things are. The Cooldown class is becoming my favorite. They are like Yoga but even more simple movements and then a couple of minutes of stillness and meditation at the end. It definitely helps calm the mind and reflect.

Then Kate and I went for a 30 minute recovery ride this evening just before sunset. A recovery ride is a really easy ride for letting the legs move and get the blood flowing. You get into a really easy gear and just let your legs fall over the pedals.

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