Saturday, January 1, 2011

12/31/10 - Murph, abbreviated

For time:

Run one mile.

100 pullups

200 pushups

300 squats

Run another mile

Wear a weight vest, if you have one. I wore my 20lb vest.

time: roughly 40 minutes
works: Endurance, back, arms, chest, legs
difficulty: 9
my effort: 9

At first glance, this workout looked easy. Running is easy, and I've always been pretty good at pullups, pushups and squats. I was wrong. This was a very hard workout, and I didn't even have time to complete it all (the gym closed as I finished my last set of squats).

Of course, you can partition these lifts as needed. For example, my pullups ended up breaking out like this: 20-15-10-10-7-6-5-5-5-5-6-1. The weight vest really added a large degree of difficulty to these for me. Normally, I could have setted about 25-23-20-20-12. Not so here. So adjust your sets as necessary.

I ended up super-setting the pushups and squats, due to the early closing time of the gym. In other words, instead of doing staight sets of 200 pushups and then 300 squats, I did rotating sets of 20 pushups and then 40 squats. This gave my muscle groups rest, but made the workout very tiring, as the actual aerobic resting time was very short. After I was finished with this, I must have been looking pretty pathetic, as the girl at the front desk asked me "are you ok?"

I wanted to finish with a thought on "setting" long reps of any movement. In light of the idea of maximizing effort, one might be tempted to try and "max out" each set of reps. Let's say your PR on pullups is 17. When working through a long set like today's proscribed 100 pullups, you might be tempted to just go for it, and max out each set. Some might disagree with me, but I think that you're better served by stopping a rep or two short of failure. The reason for this is that the whole point of the exercise is to perform the maximum number of proper pullups in the shortest time. When you tax your muscles to failure, you are forced to increase the amount of rest time between each set, to allow your muscles to recover to the point where you can perform another rep. This increases the amount of rest required in the long set overall. Now, I'm not suggesting that training to failure is always a bad thing. As I approach the end of each long set, I allow myself to rep closer to failure in each set, until I'm almost positive that the last rep I perform is the last rep I could manage in that set. In other words, you want to aim to end in failure.

This approach is for long sets only; it would not apply to short sets (say, 3 sets of 10) where you are taking a minute or two of rest between each set. To properly recruit your muscles in that type of set, you do want to aim to achieve failure (with the help of a spotter, if you're using weights) each set.

Happy New Year!

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