Week 4 begins with a 5X5 lower body day. I’m still doing 135 lbs for my barbell squat, which is not an improvement over last time, but this time I am focusing on going deeper. I am at war with my sticking point! I also remind myself that this workout takes place after a really poor night’s rest, and indulging a bit from Memorial Day weekend. I’m at the point where my body is truly a well-oiled machine. It knows when I’m not feeding it or resting it right. If you eat clean you know what I mean! My deadlifts do see an improvement, which is great. 10 lbs more on the bar than last time. The best feeling is after a heavy leg day, you just feel so strong!
For my Hybrid HIIT day (and this day never gets easier!) I do 20 minutes of HIIT (5 minute warmup with 30 second all-out sprints and 1 minute recoveries) on an elliptical. I decide to switch up the order of the circuit to do chins first, then squats, and finish with the bench press. I vary the grip on the chins this time, using the short rope extension that normally attaches to the cable pulley apparatus. I wrap this around a high bar and am able to get 10, 9, and 7 reps this way. An improvement! I also go a little heavier on the squats 90 lbs (15 reps) and stick with 65 lbs for 15 reps on the bench. I finish with a 15 minute incline walk (8.0) on the treadmill at a speed of 3.7. I think about really squeezing the glutes here with each step and I can feel the difference the next day!
Upper body hypertrophy day does NOT begin the way I planned. I start with the 40s for an incline DB press (last week I picked these up for set 3), so I figure I should start with them, but can only get out 6 reps for sets 1 and 2 before having to drop to the 35s for the final set. I’m so mad at me, but for some reason it’s hotter than normal in the gym today and I don’t have the same awesome spotter that I had last time, so maybe something else is up. I do much better with the Hammer machine flat bench press, though! Comparing set 3 from my last upper body hypertrophy day, I finish with 125 lbs for 8 reps this time (last time it was 115 lbs for 7 reps on set 3). I feel better already! The weighed dips are still kicking my butt. I don’t see an improvement, but at least I’m not getting worse! Just goes to show you, you can’t always see improvement EVERYWHERE, but you got to celebrate the little successes that you do get!
I finish up the week with a lower body hypertrophy day. I decide to shorten the rest periods to 45 seconds to make my life more difficult. The hybrid program encourages rest periods for hypertrophy days of 60 minutes or less, so I’m going for less today. For the front squat, I’m able to squat more than before (10 lb increase) but with shorter rests and more weight, I’m doing 2 fewer reps. I come out even with last time on the straight leg deadlifts and leg extension, but again, less rest is making the weight a bit more challenging. I am thrilled to see an increase in my lying hamstring curl (8 reps for 65, 60,60,60 lbs) compared to my last lower body hypertrophy day (where I stuck to 50 lbs for 12 reps). All in all, I’m getting stronger, though I know tomorrow I might have trouble walking up the steps!!
OK time to go eat! Please leave some comments below!
–Sumi Singh is a Personal Trainer in Austin, TX and an online diet coach. Her website is www.shailafitness.com