Tuesday, February 16, 2021

My lockdown home workout

As is the case with most people, my gym has been closed for many months and for even longer than that I haven't felt comfortable going. So, last year I bought some dumbbells and started a home workout plan that I basically do twice a week these days. It's pretty simple, and definitely not optimized, but there is something nice and freeing about not having to think about what your workout will be and just doing it.

Lockdown home workout (current):

with 8 kg dumbells, 3 rounds of

{bent-over row x 20

overhead press x 20

bicep curls x 20

goblet squats x 20

pushups x 20

crunches x 20}

As I said, it is not optimum at all. The bent-over rows are very easy and the bicep curls are very difficult, and to be honest the rep range of 20 is not the best for building muscle (although I notice good toning and it is a nice rep-range for overall health since it gets my heart-rate up). I will probably try to optimize it a bit by getting some heavier dumbbells for the rows and press, and maybe even using lighter dumbbells for some added shoulder raises!

Lockdown home workout (goal in a couple of weeks):

3 rounds of

{bent-over rows x 20 with 14 kg dumbbells

overhead press x 12 with 14 kg dumbbells

bicep curls x 20 with 8 kg dumbbells

shoulder raises x 12 with lighter dumbbells

goblet squats x 20 with 16 kg in hand

pushups x 20

crunches x 20

plank x 30s}

We'll see if I do indeed get the heavier dumbbells and how that goes.

In addition to this twice a week I am trying to do at least one run and one bike ride, but in the winter that has been tough. And as always I could be doing massively more stretching and yoga than I am now...

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

On Taking a Long Break

After running the Paris Half Marathon (see previous post) I took about 5 weeks off before running for the first time. I was very sore and it was well above average temperature for an April day... so after that first run I didn't run again until late June. I was planning to take a break, but it ended up being much longer than I would have liked.

Running is a very natural activity and it is good for the body in ways that other workouts can't accomplish. So needless to say, I think my body and mind missed running in some fundamental way. So, I'm getting back in to running more intensely, starting with short distances. I'll try to run a mile (1.6 km) in 6 minutes and then start running 5 km after that. I still have the same training goals as before - 5k in 20:00 and 10k in 45:00 - but I understand that neither of them will come quickly.

We're expecting a child in October, so I don't expect to have much time at the end of this year anyway. A nice potential deadline is to be back in shape for the 20 km de Bruxelles at the end of may next year.

Monday, April 8, 2019

2019 Paris Half Marathon

I ran the 2019 Paris half marathon on March 10th, and completed it in 1:50:45. I was really happy with how it went, and with my time in the end. I paced very evenly, with my speed always being quite close to my average of 5:15 per km. The last 3-5 km were really tough, especially with the strong wind on that day, but I actually felt very good considering it was the longest I had ever run.

Many people ask if I feel like running a marathon now. The answer is definitely (still) no. I feel like the amount of training and suffering necessary to run a marathon is just too much. Some people are built for it, but for me it just doesn't sound exciting. With that being said, I respect the people that do it even more now.

I've spent the past few weeks relaxing and now getting back in to lifting. I may shoot for some running goals - 5k in 20:00 or 10k in 45:00 - but for now it is just to stay in shape.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 Plans

I have a few ideas for 2019, but the main plan so far is running the Paris half marathon on March 10th. I've only run 15 km before, and with 2.5 weeks in New Zealand planned for February, the training will be interesting. But in any case I'm excited for that. Besides the half marathon, I hope to run one more race at some point, maybe just a 10k, and generally to do some bouldering at a gym nearby to my work.

Half marathon training looks something like this:
Wk#: Tu/Th/Su runs in km
Wk01: 5/8/10
Wk02: 5/8/10
Wk03: 5/8/12
Wk04: 5/8/12
Wk05: 5/8/14
Wk06: 5/8/16
Wk07: 5/8/18
Wk08: 5/8/20
Wk09: 5/8/10
Wk10: 5/8/21 race!

And I hope to still lift weights, go bouldering, and do one longer yoga session at least once per week each. Maybe a perfect week would look like this:

Mon - evening yoga
Tue - evening weights and 5 km run
Wed - (rest)
Thu - lunchtime 8 km run, evening bouldering
Fri - (rest)
Sat - morning upper body weights
Sun - long run

I'll update at least after the half marathon, and we'll see what else 2019 has in store!


Some random goals for weights, mostly based on the available dumbells in my gym. I'm trying to do more practical training, so using less complex equipment, more dumbells, and more signle-leg.

3x6 un-assisted pistol squatsDeadlift up to 120 kg x5bench press 5x10 with 28 kg DBs, OHP 5x5 with 28 kg DBsbent over rows 5x12 with 28 kg DBspullups mixed grip 3x8, pushups 5x20

Friday, August 31, 2018

Yesterdays workout

Something about this workout felt great.


5m assault bike warmup

10m dynamic warmup

Circuit #1:
10-10-10 front-side-side medball throws onto trampoline 12 kg
24 kg KB swings x10
7.5 kg squat jumps x10

Circuit #2:
Pistol squats with help, each leg x5
SLRDL 16 kg DBs, each leg x6

Circuit #3:
standing OHP 20 kg DBs x5
bent over rows 24 kg DBs x5

Ab and stretch circuit:
10 leg raises
30s plank
30s “child’s pose”
30s “back to India”
30s “Hero pose”
30s hamstring stretch



Saturday, March 24, 2018

No squat rack?

I have been living in Paris now since January, and only just now made the decision on which gym to get a membership for. The problem was multi-fold. They are expensive, small, crowded, closed on Sunday, or just in general strange. But these are all minor points, and my fiance and I had the choice of two gyms nearby that are not too expensive and seem reasonable. But, the main draw-back was that only one has a squat rack, and it is the gym that is less convenient for the both of us. So in the end we got a membership at the gym without a proper squat rack, Neoness Denfert-Al├ęsia.

To be more clear there are Smith-Machine squat racks, but I essentially don't count that. The Smith-Machine is where the barbell is fixed within a rack where it is guided so that it can only travel directly up and down. My guess is that this was invented to somehow optimize the process of doing squats or bench press or overhead press, but as far as I can tell this only manages to take away control of the weight and potentially put weird shear stresses on the spine. I will not step foot in a Smith-Machine.

There are also weight machines that can be used for squat-style movements. There is a plate-loaded squat machine where the weight is on your shoulders (good), but because there is still a fixed pivot point it can feel strange. I will use this for sure, but because of the awkward positioning I can't load it very heavy. There is also a machine for lunges where one holds the weight suitcase-style (also good), and one does single-leg style squats or lunges. This is something I haven't seen before, and I will also try to use it often, but again it can't be loaded heavy and a fixed pivot point takes away the need for full balance control. The last machine is the standard leg-press machine, but the former two are both better options in my opinion.

So, although there are some good options for doing some type of weighted squat movements, they are still machines. Luckily the gym has some kettlebells and 'power bags' (sandbags of different weights with handles). My plan is to use these to do weights goblet squats, lunges, clean/swing movements, and eventually start doing weighted pistol squats. Long story short, I will miss doing heavy back squats, but at least I have options.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Office Exercise

A 2013 YouTube short by Casey Neistat. Exactly the type of thinking I love.