Saturday, June 30, 2012
Quest for "Sarah Connor pullups" continues...
I found a way to simulate assisted pullups: the swimming pool.
The DH and I went for a walk along the beach, wading in the water. The Georgia beaches are packed today because of the heat. We stopped in downtown Savannah for lunch, then headed home, where we jumped in the pool. In a moment of epiphany, I grabbed the side of the pool and found a way to do an assisted pull-up.
The motion of grabbing the side of the pool, then chucking yourself over the edge is not too unlike a pull up. As I am unable to do a pull up, I am also unable to pick myself up over the edge of the swimming pool gracefully. I have to throw my leg over the edge and flop over like a seal. Saving myself the embarrassment, I usually swim over to a ladder.
I tried to focus on the muscles being used. I attempted both a wide grip and narrow grip, and I could notice the difference. The narrow grip made my triceps and lower abs/back burn. Wide grip burned more of my rear delts, but also lower abs/back.
Yesterday I took a break from pushups because I was a bit sore. From my 'assisted' pullups results today, I'm going to add tricep kickbacks and core exercises. I'm thinking yoga and swimming are fun ways to build up core strength.
Friday, June 29, 2012
I did more research on pull ups and found that the most important muscle are the front, side, and back deltoids (shoulders), and biceps. Pushups are excellent for training the front delts, pecs, and biceps, but I need to add more training for the side and rear delts.
Last night was Day 0. It was just an evaluation of where I'm at in order to get to my ultimate goal of doing a "Sarah Connor pullup".
I basically just did a light circuit of various strength training exercises to find out where I'm at. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I do resistance training using mostly my body weight on the elliptical machine, treadmill, and stretch bands. My lower body is very strong - squats are no problem - I love them! But my upper body, well, it's kinda mixed.
I tested my core strength with planking. I usually plank on my forearms because I can't put extended pressure on my wrists, but with the contour bars I bought for pushups, I found I could modify my plank straight arm. That is a lot tougher, and revealed my upper body weakness. I held the plank at 1 minute, and my arms gave out before my core.
Next, the pushup. I haven't done pushups in a long time because of my wrist. With the contour bars, I gave it a try. I was able to do 2 sets of 5. 5 was the most I could do before fatigue. So 10 pushups total. Not great. However, I don't think my arms were the problem here. I can definitely feel the burn in my front delts this morning, so this is obviously my weak spot, and why I can't do a pull up.
I also tested my arm strength with 2 pound weights. I did sets of 20. Arm curls (bicep) was too easy - I didn't feel the burn at all. Next was lateral fly (shoulder - side delts) - terrible. I reached fatigue at 20.
Apparently my biceps are strong from carrying 20lb bags of groceries up 3 flights of stairs, but my shoulders are wimpy.
My plan of action is to continue dropping my overall bodyfat. Lower weight means less mass I have to pull. Now I need to put together a workout routine to strengthen up my shoulder muscles, which seems to be grossly out of balance with my arms.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
I'm someone that needs goal to work for, or I fall off into slackerhood. Getting ready for my wedding was obviously a big motivator, but now what?
Weight goals are ambiguous. "I want to lose 10lbs". Usually that means we want to lose 10 lbs of fat. But even if I lose 10lbs of fat, it may not give me the results I want.
An example. A professional fitness model who is 5'2 130lbs, versus me, 5'0" 128lbs.
If I lose 10lbs of fat, I still won't look like her. Why? If we assume she has 14% bodyfat, that means she has approximately 18lbs of fat, and 112lbs of muscle.
NEILITHICMAN correctly stated that I forgot to account for muscle, bone, blood and organs:
"A person with 15% fat will have their skeleton weighing about 15% of their body weight muscle will be about 45%, with the remaining 25% being organs, skin, hair blood etc.
So if she weighs 130 pounds then she's got around 58 pounds of muscle."]
I am 128lbs and approximately 28% bodyfat. That means I have roughly 36lbs of fat. 20 extra pounds of muscle makes a big difference on body shape!
I don't care what I weigh, I want to be strong. I can't measure strong on the bathroom scale, so what can I do?
I've got it into my head that I want to do a pull-up. Maybe even 2.
Why pull-ups? I've never been able to do one. It was the bane of those stupid presidential fitness tests when I was a kid. I had to get in front of everyone and just hang pathetically on the bar until the gym instructor said I could get down.
But Janette Goldstein (Vasquez) in Aliens, Demi Moore in GI Jane, and Linda Hamilton in T2 all did them.
Will I ever be able to do one? I don't know. I've read that even some competitive female bodybuilders can't do unassisted pull ups. It's not just muscle, but something specific about how all those muscle groups interact during the pull-up.
Alright, this is going to be tough, but I'm going to give it a shot.
I've been researching what muscles are involved in a pull up to get a better idea of how I need to train.
There are multiple types of pull ups. They all use basically the same muscle groups, but some are stressed more than the others. There's pull-up or chin-up. Both use back muscles, lats, shoulders, chest and core. Overhand grip (palms facing away) emphasizes biceps. Underhand (palms facing toward) emphasize the shoulder muscles. Altering the width of your grip also changes which muscles are working harder. Narrow grip is more bicep, wide grip is more shoulder.
Vasquez in Aliens had a wide overhand grip - shoulders and bicep. Sarah Conner had a narrow underhand grip - bicep-shoulder. I don't remember GI Jane.
All of those muscle groups are used, but the type of pull up/chin up varies which is emphasized.
I've decided on a Sarah Connor narrow underhand pull up. Why? Because Sarah Connor did it! And it seems to be a less common type. I never saw anyone do it until T2.
I can't do standard pushups because of a wrist injury from when I was a kid. I can't bend my wrist back and support my bodyweight. A personal trainer once had me doing pushups with contoured bars.
Because the bar elevates the body higher than a standard pushup, it is harder. You can dip below the bars for extra range of motion, which works more shoulder muscles. Fantastic.
The contour pushup bar also has an extra advantage for my pull up goal. The bar allows for doing dive bomb pushups, which is an intense workout on the core, shoulder, and biceps. Excellent.
I'm an upper body wimp, though. That's going to take a while to work up to on its own, nevermind the pull up.
Here's why everyone should consider at least adding a normal pushup to their routine. It works out your core, arms, chest, and shoulders. It's like exercise multitasking. Do more, in less time.
I'm still working out my full routine. I've got to add a lat-pull down machine in there somewhere. I don't have access to an assisted pull-up machine, which is a major bummer. I have a pull up bar, but I can only hang (it's like being in 6th grade again!).
I'll keep you updated on my progress!
Thursday, June 28, 2012
I'm feeling less worried today. They had a good day with the winds yesterday, and a little bit of rain. Not nearly enough, though. The fire isn't contained, but it isn't spreading either. Part of the panic on Tuesday was because of the wind gust in the Canyon, the fire doubled in size in a short period of time.
Yesterday I posted a picture of a familiar feature of my hometown. Here's a comparison photo of what it's supposed to look like, versus what it looked like on Tuesday:
This is why I paniced!
They didn't know how much faster or farther it would spread. The houses closest to the mountains are still in very precarious situation, and hundreds of homes have been lost. Some of my friends can't return to work because the smoke makes it too treacherous. Air quality is bad because of the ash and smoke. The local YMCA near my parents' house is being used as an evac shelter, so that's a good sign they consider that area a safe zone for now. It is wait and see, but less dire today.
It's been really incredible that despite the devastation, not one life has been lost. The firefighters and emergency response teams have been superb in getting people to safety.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
I'm from Colorado Springs originally. My parents moved there when I was 4, and I lived there until I was 28. Colorado Springs isn't a big city, nor is it a small town, though it was a lot smaller when I was growing up.
In the school years, my friends and I used to dream of moving away. Maybe we would go some place exciting and glamorous like LA. Or maybe go some place cosmopolitan like New York. It seemed like almost anywhere would be better than where we were. We just thought that COS was boring. Nothing exciting ever happened there.
When I moved to Seattle, I went there without ever having visited first. My life had fallen apart, and I figured if there were ever a chance for me to get out of there, that would be the best time to do it. Blank slate. Go to a town where no one knew me, and couldn't make judgments about who I was based on who I had been. But I would have to do it on my own. No family or old friends to run to if things got tough.
And that really was the best thing for me. Being an only child, I was often sheltered. I was protected and made safe. But I never really knew who I was, and what I could do, until I had to stand on my own. When my life had fallen apart, I either crawled out fighting, or I stayed there and withered.
I moved to Seattle because I had to. Those moments when I discovered sides of me that had always been there were immeasurable. I discovered I'm someone who loves to hike mountains. I never learned to ski in Colorado because I didn't have the money. I would be too chicken spit to kayak the Colorado rapids, but I loved sea kayaking. These were things I could have done in CO, but I learned to do in WA. Perhaps I never thought of it because I grew up with the Rockies, and took them for granted. They had always been there. They would always be there, in my mind.
But every time I went back to Colorado, it always felt like 'home'. It felt comforting and familiar. Even as things changed, it still felt the same. Even if I had been away, I could remember a dozen different roads, like an ant trail.
Colorado is pretty lucky in terms on natural disasters. We don't have earthquakes, tsunamis (that would be something else!), or hurricanes. The tornadoes only happen on the eastern plains, which is basically Kansas. But now I know what people who go through these disasters must feel.
I'm looking at pictures, and it takes my breathe away. These are pictures where I am connected. I recognize the landmarks as I recognize the back of my hand. I grew up with it. It had always been there.
What's particularly significant about this picture is you can see the mountain scarring from the strip mining a long time ago, from the 70s I believe. Notice how very little of it has healed over. I dread to think how long it will take the forests to recover from this fire.
When I visited Mt St Helens in Washington, I was speechless. There was an abrupt wasteland of a barren, treeless landscape. I wonder if my Colorado will look the same once this is over. Will I even recognize her?
The fire has spread way too close to where my family and friends are. They aren't in immediate danger, but they can't open windows because of the smoke. This is particularly bad because Colorado has been getting 100 degree weather, and not everyone has air conditioning.
My parents aren't in the immediate evac zone, but it's a lot closer than I'd like. Only 13 miles now. This is one of the times when I feel the distance between Georgia and Colorado. I feel so helpless, because I can't help them if they needed it.
Get An Email Alert Each Time VHALKYRIE Posts