I get a lot of questions about the workouts I do. So I decided to share what I do. These workouts I describe are suitable for me and I can not take responsibility if you attempt them without guidance first.
Over the last year I’ve been training much more differently than previous years. Prior to 2017, I used to train for muscle and strength with some emphasis on activation/prep of key muscles pertinent to that workout. After mid 2017, I had to make some big changes. I’ve always done a mix of powerlifting, bodybuilding, Olympic lifting and calisthenics. Here are the changes:
-I had just recovered from intensive pulmonary valve surgery and a condition I had would have got worse if I did not adjust my breathing method. I do not hold my breath anymore (no Valsalva manoeuvers) and only train in the 5+ rep range. 1-4 reps are out of the question unless it is a submaximal lift. Lastly, I rarely train to failure as that can lead to a struggle that really elevates blood pressure. I have to avoid that. So if you ever see me training, I will be doing pursed lip breathing and taking continual breaths. I also avoid isometric exercises that require constant tension as they can raise blood pressure significantly. Part of the issue I was born with is that with increased blood pressure through activity, more stress goes through my pulmonary valve due to higher levels of blood coming through thus my right ventricle has to compensate leading to an enlarged right side (it is not scar tissue, however.).
-In addition to the surgery, I developed some postural deficits: kyphosis (the chest gets quite tight with a lot of scar tissue forming), anterior rotation of the right pelvic side (where they performed a heart lung bypass through the femoral artery), and some femora internal rotation (mainly related to the tightness associated with the incision at the femoral artery). Thus, I perform more dynamic movements including fascial stretching, have to stretch my lower body more especially the hip flexors and groin and in addition to that, I have to work my mid back to prevent forward head posture.
I have not disclosed the above details to most individuals but I think it would be a good idea to know where I am coming from and where I will be heading with my training.
2019 was quite a busy year for me since I’ve been doing a lot more driving for work and for some courses I’ve been taking (related to medical training). I trained anywhere from 2-7 days a week with an emphasis on strength and muscle (wait, that’s the same as before?!?!). I spend anywhere from 30-120 min per workout. I do not do much cardio and when I do it is either for competition prep (a 5k, 10k or half marathon) or do sprint intervals with metabolic conditioning.
I made sure to know what my week would look like ahead of time and plan accordingly.
Training 2x a week? Full body workouts with cardio in the beginning followed by a dynamic warm up with postural emphasis:
5-10 min cardio (as warm up)
-Banded lat stretch
-Banded hip flexor stretch
-Kettlebell groin stretch
-Lunge with rotation 2×12 per side
-Shoulder dislocations 2×12-15
The above takes about 10 min
Barbell Squats 3×6-8
Dumbbell incline press 4×8-10
Pull-ups superset with Romanian deadlifts: 4×6-8, 4×8-10
One arm dumbbell row: 4×10-12
Hanging straight leg raise: 3×10-15 with 1-2 left in the tank
Training 3x a week? If the workouts are back to back, I would split the workouts into push pull or lower/ upper. The other workout would be full body. I typically use the same warm up exercises and adjust as needed.
Training 4x a week? 2 days of legs and 2 days of upper body with more focus on pulling.
An upper example:
10-15 min of rowing up to 1500m
-QL press with kettlebell 2×6-8
-Front lever pulls 2×6-12
-Hanging scapular depressions 2×15
-Straight arm pulldown: 2×15
-Pec/ scapular mobilization, time based
Above takes 10-15 min
Leaves me with about 30-40 min, so I would pick 4-5 exercises. My go to exercises include incline presses, lat pulldowns, pull ups, dips and rows. If I have additional time, I would do some isolation exercises like triceps pushdowns and some curls for fun.
A lower body example is as follows:
5 min of rowing/ elliptical/ stairclimber
-Banded hip flexor stretch
-One leg step up with band around leg (for hip stability work)
-Leg abductions (using machine): 2×12
-One arm kettlebell swing 3×8
-Barbell Squat: 5×8, 8, 12, 5, 6 (varies depending on the time available)
A lot of stretching happens between sets during my squats; much more than before.
-Romanian deadlifts: 4×8-10
-Dumbbell Walking Lunges: 3×12
-Angled seated leg press: 4×8-12
-Lying leg curls: 3×8
-Leg extensions: 3×12
-Weighted sit ups: 3×12
And a 5/ 6/ 7 training week involves standard body part splits and I can do more cardio. I usually do 2-3 cardio workouts depending on the season (sometimes I may run outdoors and if I am playing soccer during the week, I will perform low intensity cardio on some days and do some bike sprints on other days).
I employ high intensity techniques as well but I’ll save that for another post.
So that’s it! The key things to remember are:
–Plan the week before. I know life gets busy for some of us so we should not feel guilty in missing workouts
–Focus on your main exercises, especially the ones that provide you with the most benefit. Some people do well with squats (especially often) while others prefer lunges and have success.
–Depending on the injuries you have or your age, a proper warm-up is key. There is no need to spend 20 minutes warming up unless you absolutely need it but that would also suggest you should be training differently. I’ve worked with some clients who have certain injuries and we may do about 8 mobility drills, 3 rehab based exercises and end up doing 2 main lifts (like Romanian deadlifts and dumbbell rows) for instance.
–Have fun doing it! Try to look forward to your workouts and even if you spend 20 minutes working out, you’ll enjoy it. I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’d like to know more about my training methods, let’s chat. You can book a time with me here.