Wednesday, September 17, 2008

moving forward again

313.7 today. New best. I'm 3.8 pounds from my next goal, which is set to expire on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, so I can't have a weekend blow up like this past one. Can't happen. Won't happen. Too important to be in the oughts, because once that's done? I'm like a stone's throw away from getting the hell out of the three hundreds. For good.

Today was chest day. In an attempt to keep things fresh and different, we didn't do the standard bench press. Instead, this time we opted for dumbbell press. Now typically our starting weight on the bench is the bar (45), plus 45 pound plates on either side. Yes, you can do more than me. No, I don't give a shit. But for the dumbbell presses, rather than divide that number in half, we just went with the 45 pounders. Oh. My. God. It wasn't that the weight was heavy (it wasn't), it was that I have all these little twitchy muscles in my arms and shoulders and chest, and I could feel them firing as I pressed the weight up, twisted the dumbbells at the top of the motion, then brought them down. They weren't working as a team. I was having control/stability issues.

Typically we tend to use machines for most of the workouts we do. And there are pluses and minuses to machines, just as there are for freeweights. The biggest plus for the machines is that they're fast. One quick flip of the pin and we have a weight change. And they isolate one muscle - you can really feel it when you're squeezing the isolated muscle. But because they isolate, all the little supporter muscles/tendons/whatever-I'm-not-a-doctor don't get worked. So when grabbing the dumbbells, these guys, that have been dormant while the big muscle has been getting stronger and building endurance, aren't ready yet.

After about three reps, I tossed the twist at the top of the motion out and just focused on control and form and stability. We went up to 50 for the second and third sets, then agreed that these were a fantastic addition and that we'd alternate weeks between bench press and dumbbell press, keeping things fresh and moving the exercises around.

I highly recommend that if you do three sets for a body part when you're working out, that at least one of the sets is a free weight set. I think that you'll see better gains in your other sets as a result, and I also know that I was sweating like a pig (do pigs sweat? isn't that why they roll in mud? to cool off?) while doing the dumbbells, so I'm getting a great workout. They just take so much longer when you're working with a partner and trying to get in the reps. But yeah, they're good.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, the dumbbell variations of lifts such as the dumbbell chest / bench press are killer for that very reason.

Thanks for the comment on my blog! I see you've been making the rounds to a number of other FAT Coalition bloggers, so I don't know if I'd be out of line to say, "Welcome!"

It's a great group of people.

RodeDaddy said...

Thanks Will. I've been looking around a bit more, opening up and seeing who else is out there dealing with my same situation and how they're doing. At 100+ pounds lost, I'd say that you're doing great. :)

Where I've Been and Where I'm Going