Anyone that trains in our personal training gym knows that we are big on HIIT or high intensity interval training for cardio and fat burning but there is another reason we like this method of training. We like this method because we also work our abdominals during a HIIT session, effectively killing two birds with one stone. Using this methodology the old argument of “I don’t have time to do fat burning cardio and abdominal work” loses its relevancy.
We do offer two hour long HIIT sessions a week in which we program in multiple abdominal exercises. For our shorter HIIT workouts we usually do 1 or 2 abdominal exercises. My wife and I do the short HIIT workouts every day and therefore do 1 abdominal exercise in those workouts. We then work out abs 6 days a week but with a low enough volume that we recover for the next day.
Our after weight training HIIT workout would contain 5 exercises and our intervals would be 30 seconds on and 15 seconds off for a total of 15 minutes and total of 4 rounds. On another day we might do 5 exercises for 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off for a total of 12 minutes and 5 rounds. The possibilities are endless.
A list of the exercises we might do in a fifteen minute HIIT session might be tire flips, Kettlebell swings, rowing on the rower, medicine ball slams and a leg raise with the stability ball. Again the possibilities are endless.
On a final note we always chose safe exercises for our HIIT sessions. Everything is controlled and we don’t use heavy loads. We save the heavy lifting for our weight training sessions.
Last week I explained how I had found a cure to my deadlift blues. I had a horrible deadlift workout last Monday and I needed a solution. So, I got out some of my workout journals and specifically looked for times when my deadlift was at its best.
What specifically had I been doing at times when my deadlift was at its best? The answer was found in my journals.
I have been keeping workout journals since my early teens so I have roughly 35 years of workouts written down. Even when I am not looking for a specific workout or progression I like to look back over what I’ve done. Sometimes when doing this I will run across a forgotten exercise, workout, rep sequence or other workout element that I was very successful with.
After 35 years it is very hard to remember everything I have done. In my case I train many clients throughout the week and even remember my own workout front he previous week can be difficult. This is where a workout journal comes into play.
I have always liked to chart progress. To have something concrete in front of me that I can look at to gauge progress.
You don’t need a fancy leather bound, gold leafed book to record your workouts. Any notebook will due but if you plan on keeping it long term a notebook of better quality is recommended.
I also recorded my diet, cardio, and body weight along the way. I wrote down whether I was sick or on vacation or trained at a strange gym. Maybe I used a new piece of equipment that I felt really helped my workout. Maybe I wasn’t able to bench press because there wasn’t anyone to spot me. I would make note of this. Then when I looked back I would see why I had jumped from a board press to a dumbbell press the next week.
As a personal trainer it allows me to draw from my successes and failures and to pass this knowledge on to my clients. Then they don’t have to go through all the mistakes I did as I learned to work out.
So, do yourself a favor an start keeping a workout journal. You can fill it in after your workout if you are doing a fast paced workout or in between sets if you have longer rest periods. The benefits to recording your successes and failures are numerous and continued growth in your workout endeavors will be your reward
I had a frustrating deadlift day yesterday. I’m sure everyone who has deadlifted has had a workout where the weight just seems extra heavy and doesn’t want to seem to move off the floor. What I thought would be an easy top set of 3 reps was a struggle for 1 rep.
Immediately after my set I began to blame being tired and my busy schedule and a million other things. I was frustrated. I had a restful weekend and had felt very motivated to deadlift that day. So, what went wrong?
I began to analyze why I had such a lousy deadlift day. I was rested and ate well so those were not the reasons. I thought about my technique and although I am always working on improving my technique I didn’t think that this was the culprit. I then went back and looked at my log books to see what I had been doing at times when my deadlift was at its highest and although my assistance exercises changed quite a bit I noticed that in most cases I had been doing heavy Romanian deadlifts building as my deadlift went up.
One week I would do sets 4-5 of 10 and stay with 10’s for consecutive weeks until the 10th rep on my lest set got very hard. This was usually 2-3 weeks. Then I would move to 8’s and use the same progression. I would do this with 6’s and 4’s too. Since I am not competitively powerlifting I don’t schedule this out but go by feel. When my Romanian Deadlift started to peak out my deadlift would too. Then I would take a break from deadlifting for a few weeks and repeat this sequence.
In recent months I had gotten away from doing Romanian deadlifts. I added in other auxiliaries and I didn’t think much of it. Everyone knows you can only progress so long with the same exercises and workout plan before you stall out and I guess I was looking to change things up. In this case I think it would have been better served changing the rep and set scheme, do pauses, add chains or some other technique to keep progressing.
I will be adding back Romanian deadlifts back into my sumo deadlift routine next week!