To Cardio or not to Cardio

HIIT is all the rage and for good reason in my opinion. It really makes conditioning and cardiovascular work interesting. It is intense and time efficient. I am able to push myself harder knowing my workout is going to be under 20min. It is easy to spot improvements in recovery, power, strength, and endurance when I am working with small consistent time intervals. (Oh my gosh! I did 19 jump squats in 20sec today instead of the usual 17!). Research shows there are plenty of cardiovascular benefits to be had from short intense bursts of exercise. But I have noticed that if I am trying to change my body, all the HIIT in the world doesn’t seem to make my body change like I want it too. My body is stubborn and bizarrely (and annoyingly) what it seems to need in order to change is some steady pace cardio. A respectable amount of steady pace cardio too. With heavy lifting, and a little HIIT on the side. I hate it. I am experimenting trying to find the minimal amount of cardio I can do while still moving forward because I don’t want to live on my spin bike. Ouch.

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Super sets . . ouch

Last night I actually tried to do super sets for real. I am now very sore. I have written out programs with super sets often in the past, but I never really did them properly. I would arrive at the gym with good intentions to do it, but those plans would always fall through. I would just do regular sets. I did it mostly because I started to to feel selfish at the idea of hogging two pieces of equipment at a the same time. I didn’t want to be that person at the gym that manages to use every good bar, bench, and dumbbell in the gym and spreads their belongings from the free weights to the pec dec to mark equipment in use like they were saving spots for their imaginary friends.

Last night I decided I would go gym and really do super sets. I went a little later so the people there would be at the end of their workouts. And I know from the past that the gym typically empties out between 8:00 and 8:30pm. I figured I would be able to hog two pieces of equipment at a time without getting in anyone’s way or anyone else getting in my way. Well it worked. I am already feeling the soreness set in. The super sets also made for a fast workout with a bit of a cardio effect because they reduced the amount of time I spent resting. I am looking forward to trying super sets on leg day tomorrow.

I also found out who keeps storing the lat pull-down bar on top of the cable pull weight stack thereby setting up the next user of the cable pull for an accident. I watched as a lady unhooked the bar from the lat pull down and very carefully laid the bar across the weight stack of the cable pull next to her ignoring the equipment rack full of empty hooks she could have hung the bar on instead. So many people leave their brains at the door when they get to the gym.

SQUEEE! My gym now has a squat rack!

You may be wondering what kind of gym does not have a squat rack? A small gym. My gym is small. I am impressed that they found room for a squat rack. I hope they didn’t scrap other equipment to make room. (Well, on second thought they could totally get rid of the Ab Bendy Bench 1000 thing in the corner. I would not miss that. Those things are stupid.) I just saw the online gym update today and will be running to the gym tonight to try the new squat rack. Because . . . well . . . I am sorry Mr. Smith Machine but you just don’t cut it when it comes to squats. It will be nice to be able to try some rack pulls and other squat rack necessary goodies.

Stuff to do with a squat rack:
-heavy squats of all variations: front, back, sissy, zercher, sumo, negatives, box etc.
-rack pulls
-deadllifts
-bench press (so much better than the smith machine!)
-bent over row
-parallel pullups/pullups/chinups
-shoulder presses/clean & press
-upright rows

Most things can be done without a squat rack, but having a squat rack really opens up the possibilities in terms of weight maximums. It makes the world of difference when you can pickup and put down weight just by walking under a bar rather then deadlifting everything from the floor and over your head.