Random thoughts on strength training @$HOME

Monday, April 27, 2009

#9 Short Update

  1. Ordered a Jumpstretch Band yesterday to increase my Pull Up strength
  2. Deadlifts are getting heavy and I'm only at 50 kg at a bodyweight of 68/69 kg
  3. Getting some spacing problems in my workout room (= room for everything else)
  4. Need to find some blocks for deadlifting
  5. Started soft tissue work with the DIY Foam Rollers, seems to help my ITB issue a lot
  6. Thinking about getting a longer barbell (~2 m)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

#8 Off-Topic: Made my first picture for failblog.org

I like failblog.org very much, so I sent them a picture of my Power Rack yesterday. You can find it here. Enjoy ;-)

#7 Short Update

  1. bought my first pair of 20 kg barbell plates, each for 36 Euro
  2. this motivated me to increase my workload on deadlifts by 10 kg in one workout, so I'm slowly heading against deadlifting my own bodyweight (sumo style)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

#6 Review: Whey protein powder by EAS

Today I received my second delivery of the vanilla flavoured EAS whey protein powder. I got the recommendation from The New Rules of Lifting: Six Basic Moves for Maximum Muscle (actually Lou recommends EAS Myoplex, not Myopro) and gave it a try because I heard there are lots of powders out there that taste like crap.

I never used whey powder before and this one really tastes great. It's also easily soluble. Inside there is a scoop included, pretty handy because people usually don't have such things in germany.

I recommend you give it a try if you haven't already found your brand. You can buy it here: EAS 100% Whey, Vanilla 2 lb

As a suprise, the delivery contained a UltraProtein Bar:

Maybe I'll review the bar sometime, if I survive the whopping 42 grams of protein :-)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

#5 HowTo: Build a Foam Roller

For my version of the foam rollers you need:

  • waste pipe
  • insulation for water pipes with same diameter as the waste pipe
  • duct tape

(note: the waste pipe is only smaller because I had no other one left for the HowTo)

Start putting the pipe into the insulation. This will work even if the diameter is the same because the foam is strechable. As you progress, it will get harder because of the friction. Some sunflower oil could help here, i just slammed the pipe to the ground while holding the foam.

When you are done, it looks like this:

The foam I used has some sort of cutting, like this:

To prevent ripping the foam I sealed the cutting with duct tape.

When you are done, the DIY foam roller is very robust, it does not bend at all when I step up:

Here is another one with a bigger diameter for doing thoracic extensions:

I used a bigger waste pipe with a mat we had left to protect the glas of an aquarium where it stands on the table. You can measure the perimeter with a measuring tape or calculate it. Then you cut the mat and adhere it to the waste pipe with duct tape. I recommend you use a little more mat than you measured or calculated so you completely cover the pipe.

Have fun!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

#4 The mysteries of nutrition

Yesterday I listened to this conversation at the supermarket:

Cutsomer: What's this meat?
Employee: It's Omega-3 meat.
Customer: ?
Employee: That means it contains 50 % less fats from animals.
Customer: ?
Emplyee: It's also healthier.
Cusomer: I take it.

For most people, me included, nutrition seems to be one big mystery. I always thought of myself to be a "hardgainer", until I learned that's just another word for "undereater". As I read more books about strength training, something new came to my mind. Since not been eating 6 times a day, that must have been the secret reason why I was not progressing and the only true constant in resistance training.

Last week I found this post at jcdfitness.com. So there is a debate about the frequency? Well that's just great, I was not very happy with my plastic things to carry little portions of food around all day and using the microwave at 10 a.m at work to make some oatmeal.

Speaking of nutrition, here are some stats since I began training four weeks ago:

BW: 65.8 kg
BF: 12.5 %

BW: 68.3 kg
BF: 14.5 %

Thursday, April 16, 2009

#3 My current training routine

In 1998 I became a gym member for the first time. Unbelievable for me now, but the gym didn't even have a barbell. Only fancy machines and spinning classes. So I started the standard 3*15 whole body routine and stayed with that for about three months. I never put more weight on, but had some little newbie gains.

Because the progress stopped so fast, i stopped training at all. Several years later I became a gym member again, in a gym with free weights and a squat stand. Without any plan or any idea what to do, I made my first squat ever with 60 kg (~132 lbs) - at a bodyweight of 56 kg (~123 lbs). This must have looked hilarious - three partial reps. I did not squat again for 5 years.

After those years I joined another gym, one with free weights - just to start the 3*12 routine with machines. Doh!! As soon as I progressed to the free weights (they were in a seperate room in the basement(!)) I had to face a new problem: other gym members. Some muscleheads may think it is funny when skinny guys get their workout by unloading the barbells which had been used by the muscleheads before. Others think it's appropriate to do some fake reps of dumbbell chest presses and then drop the dumbbells to the floor to show everyone in the room how heavy the are.

Fast forward to now. Four weeks ago I started a very basic routine at home which I hope is what I was searching for all the time: the beginner program taken from Practical Programming for Strength Training
by Mark Rippetoe. It takes the big compound movements and adds pull-ups. That's it.

I try to update some data (weight, stats etc) soon to see if the routine is working for me. Feel free to follow my progress at http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=pWQE3D_zUkrqkiJPC_W2URw

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

#2 DIY: T-Bar Handle for doing swings

I saw this idea at rosstraining.com and built one myself, the parts cost about 20 Euro (~26 $). Today I embedded some swings with light weight into my warmup routine today, still not sure if it fits my needs, though it was fun to build it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

#1 DIY: Homemade Foam Rollers

Today I made my first homemade foam roller. Making the foam roller myself was caused by the fact that you cannot buy them in germany. The only similar things are called "Pilates Roller" and are pretty expensive (40 Euro, about 53 $), I also don't know if they can be used for soft tissue work. Amazon.com does not ship these things to europe.

So I went to the hardware store and bought a pvc pipe (1 m length, about 40 inch) for 96 cent (1.30 $) and a piece of foam that is made for isolating water pipes (1.50 Euro, 2 $). Putting both things together was pretty exhausting because I had to slam the pipe to the floor for about 5 minutes (the foam was not made for the measurements of the pipe). After that I secured the seam of the foam with some duct tape.

The pipe is only 40 mm (1.6 inch) in diameter, but with the foam around it, it seems to be enough for my first experiences with foam rolling, especially when you compare the 53$+ shipping costs to the 3 $ for the DIY.