Had a very light session at Accion gym with Sam this past Saturday.
When I got there Sam had been riding a stationary bike for over 7 minutes. He was ready to go.
Just Tell Me ‘Bout Them Lifts, Bro
I switched things up and altered my routine. I decided to do front squats instead of regular squats because both the squat and the deadlift place stress on the lower back. And, because of that, progress in one exercise will mean the other stagnates if done on the same day. Unless you’ve been hitting the squats and the deadlift on separate days building enough strength in both areas until you’re capable to do both exercises on a single workout day, but usually that ain’t happening and we’ll either lack enough time to dedicate both exercises separately. Such is my case.
Front squats focus more on the quads and don’t require as much of the hips as the squat or the deadlift do. I need to boost my leg strength, 60 bodyweight squats are great for endurance, however if I’m going to be sparring at a high intensity – and everyone in my jiu-jitsu school does – I’ll need stronger legs, not just to benefit my jiu-jitsu, but mostly to prevent future knee injuries.
So, front squats 3×5, snatch grip deadlifts 3×5, reverse lunges 3×5. I felt good at the end of that so I “finished” with 13 pull-ups, 5 chin-ups and 16 dips. And I did my hip exercises too.
If you’ve never done front squats before, the hardest thing about them is the grip. Form’s easy. No flexion of the back as you would the squat or deadlift. Straight as an arrow. The grip on the other hand… jeez, to put it in jiu-jitsu terms, it’s like placing yourself in a pain compliance wristlock. Just the bar alone made me want to stop. So it was just 20 kilos for me, thank you very much. Until I get comfortable with the grip, I’m sticking to 20 kilos for now.
By the way, if you noticed I also switched my deadlifts. The snatch grip deadlift works more of the upper back muscles, I wasn’t sure of how knackered I’d be from switching exercises, so I went light. Today my DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness for you non-lifters) were non-existent. DOMS usually come after a hard session or with unfamiliar exercises. Since I nothing is as sore as it could be, I’m pushing my snatch grip deadlifts limits for next time.
Gimmie a Finisher, Bro
Sam on the other hand did a whole assortment of exercises. Since he can only make it to the gym once a week, his routine is a bit haphazard, targeting everything that gets worked out in jiu-jitsu. If he had the time I’d tell him to split his routine. He is making gains, he is getting stronger, but his progress would obviously be faster if he had an extra day in the week. He doesn’t though and he doesn’t let that get in the way of his workouts. I’m proud of him for putting in the effort he does now.
Oh, switching out my exercises weren’t the only thing I switched. As Sam was doing bench I asked him for some British slang that I could use when he completes a set so I don’t have to say “awesome” or “right on” everytime. So after he taught me a few, I settled on “wicked” and “safe” and did a horrible job of saying them in a London accent.
Sam wanted to give the sauna a try as we finished early, but as we mentioned that we saw a group of loud high schoolers fresh from the swimming pool head into the locker room. Sure enough we heard them in the showers and in the sauna. No one likes a noisy sauna so we passed – I didn’t have a towel as well – for next time. Safe.