12/11/08

4 weeks of hypertrophy hell is over...

I don't know how I made it through my final hypertrophy weight lifting session yesterday at the gym. I know I was ready for this phase to be over as 3 to 4 times a week for a month of these workouts puts some raccoon eyes on one's face and never gives the muscles a chance to rest and totally recover. So I went into the final session in this phase pretty tired and I knew it.

I started out with my usual squats which went okay, but as the workout progressed - and I moved on through my reps and various lifts - I wasn't feeling recovered from two days prior. I felt like I was having a mini-bonk. Of course, it didn't help that I had a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin earlier in the morning for the sugar spike and subsequent crash... . That may have been the culprit or at least partially to blame. Another factor is that one should really stay off the bike during this phase since it makes you so tired. However, I have been doing 30 minutes on the bike at each session to do some muscle endurance intervals and top end intervals the past 4 weeks. Normally that doesn't start until the strength phase (coming up). It cost me to do it, but I wanted immediate transition from the weights to the pedals. In the end, I cut the session short and skipped the leg presses as I had to go pick up Zack from school. Outside of the leg presses, I did everything else as scheduled. The good news is that I actually slept straight through the entire night for the first time in a few weeks. I was gassed. The good news is that I managed to build muscles mass, trim some fat and only ended up at 185 lbs. after the 4 weeks. Last year I ended up at 193 - 194 lbs. following the hypertrophy growth phase. I didn't want to gain all that weight this year and I'm glad I got the lifting and nutrition right for the month.

I'll lay low for a few days from the weights and do some recovery spins on the exercise bike before moving into the strength phase of lifting (2 weeks worth). That's when I get to pile on all the plates and heave ho with less reps in each set. Hypertrophy was 10-12 reps of 65%/70%/75% of maximum. Strength phase takes me up to 85% of maximum, but with fewer reps and fewer sets. I get to add my favorite lift back into the routine now that hypertrophy is over = the stiff legged dead lift. I don't know why, but I love that one.

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