Since the end of October I have re-awakened my inner gym rat, hitting the weights five or six days out of the week. I fairly closely abide by three specific sets of exercises to do on consecutive days: day one chest, back and calves; day two quads, hamstrings and abs; day three biceps, triceps and shoulders. I have tracked my strength gains in each exercise on an excel spreadsheet. On almost every lift, I’ve increased by at least 25% already, although my initial benchmark was while I was still getting back into the weightlifting routine and I was purposefully trying to use conservative weights.
Now that I am back into a gym routine, I get to add to the basic lifts with fun things like plyometric or explosive movements after weighted lifts. For instance gauntlet or deep barbell squats followed by box jumps or squat jumps, chest press followed by clapping pushups, or even slow and controlled dumbbell hip extensions followed by a high repetition of kettlebell swings.
Training like this keeps you from getting bored and gets your heart rate up in the middle of a lifting session. Also, explosive and plyometric movements tend to use your whole entire body- think burpees which involve a pushup, squat and jump. All of this helps to not only increase strength, but also retain the functional motions used in the three disciplines of swimming, biking and running.
Speaking of running, although I have taken a break and just run a couple of 5ks for fun, including the Dallas Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, I will be returning to running regularly in December. I will be focusing a lot on my running form and building up my mileage safely while keeping an eye on the inflammation in my foot that I developed at end of triathlon season. By the end of December I will decide on whether to run the Asheville Marathon in March.
What’s your gym routine?