Phase 1, Day 12: Legs (aka Hello, Heart Rate)

It’s been a long day, so I’ll try and keep this short. And succinct.

Today’s leg workout will leave you wondering why on earth you’re breathing hard and can’t catch your breath when all you’re doing are straight-forward movements with weights. Seriously, it’s a bizarre feeling to not be running and jumping and yet have your heart pounding in your chest as if you were.

But such is the beauty of weight-training. And when you get your heart rate up lifting weights even though it’s not a cardio day, amazing things happen for your body and metabolism.

What to expect today? Do all exercises in a row for 10 reps each; then repeat all exercises; then repeat one last time. Three sets of 10, all the way through. With only three rounds, it’s not as long as the other workouts, but if you have any stairs to walk up immediately afterwards, consider using the support railing. Or at least keeping it close.

PRO TIP #A: Don’t immediately load up with super heavy weights on the first exercise in the first round; take a moment to see how your body feels before you decide to beast it up.

I include this because Autumn makes clear you should focus on lifting heavy today. But for me, personally, even though we do that good warm-up beforehand, I can feel my body just isn’t 100% warm by the time we get to the first exercise. And, because I have no interest in tearing something or throwing out my back, I tend to take it a bit easier on at least the first few exercises until my muscles know they’re invited to the party.

I have to be a bit cautious because the summer after my freshman year of college, I tweaked my back at the gym lifting super heavy while doing RDLs (rear deadlifts – sorta like the hip hinge movement in this workout). My natural reaction was to let my body recover by refusing to ever do that move again for the rest of college, much to the chagrin of our strength and conditioning coach.

Since then, if I don’t warm up properly, or if I pick up a weight wrong, or if I lift too heavy, I start to feel a pull in my back. Not a pain or an ache, but a warning sign that I’m on a precipice, and I either better keep my form perfect or lighten up on the weight.

So these days, I give myself an exercise or two or three to truly warm-up before going heavy.

With leg day especially, because it can be easy to try and lift heavy and then throw out your back, make sure you listen to your body. If the weight is pulling on your back or you’re feeling it in your neck or something just doesn’t feel right, take a moment to figure out what’s going on. Either your form needs to be corrected or you need to use lighter weights. I have this issue EVERY time I do the open lunges to the back corner; I never seem to feel the muscle being worked in the same place, or that I’m working the muscle very well at all. Yet I worry about increasing the weight drastically given the angle and my back. So I have to take that exercise slow. I put extra focus on making sure my knee is in line over my ankle – usually, that’s my problem. My knee wobbles so it takes the strain off my glute. Only by concentrating on keeping my knee stable and straight over my ankle/foot do I manage to feel the burn described by Autumn.

Also, if you’re wondering, yes you’re supposed to feel tired at this point. And maybe still a bit sore. The good news is the weekend is here and you know you can complete tomorrow’s workout, so you’re almost done with Week 2! Time flies when you get that heart rate up.

That’s all I got. It’s late and I’m in a different state. Tomorrow’s about to be the first true test of my flexibility and dedication as I finally navigate some real life FUN. Watch this space to find out if 80 Day Obsession can survive such shenanigans.

And yes I made a smiley face with my weights today. Gotta get my kicks in somehow.

All the weights
You know it’s Friday when you actually take the time to do something like this.

Link to the usual info.

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