- John Stone Fitness - http://www.johnstonefitness.com -

Excellent week in the gym, upper body is wasted; Abs training.

This is how my entire upper body feels right now.
This is how my entire upper body feels right now.

This is how my entire upper body feels right now.


My weight training workouts this week have all been excellent. After three weeks off my strength is a little down from where it was in mid-December, but my energy and enthusiasm is off the charts. I’m feeling real good in the gym, and very much enjoying my training.

Of course after three weeks off from training, muscle soreness has been an issue. I worked my legs on Monday, and they are still quite sore (although I’m no longer hobbling around like an old man).

I worked my chest, delts and triceps on Wednesday, and all of those muscle groups are still burning like crazy this morning. Actually my delts never get sore, but my traps are killing me. Between my screaming pecs, triceps and traps, putting on my shirt when I woke up this morning was quite painful.

So yesterday was my back, biceps and abs (!) workout (more on the abs in a minute). Just like in Wednesday’s workout, I have to admit that I caved in and did some isolation work (in yesterday’s case, biceps). I did a few hammer curl drop sets and some barbell curls. Even though my goals on this cut are athletic and not aesthetic, it seems I’m not quite able to completely let go of the “vanity” lifts. Oh well, I did the isolation work after my main workout, so it’s not like it detracted from the focus of my training.

As I mentioned when I started my cut, this year I’ve decided to start doing direct ab work again. It’s been many years since I’ve done any direct abdominal exercises, but I feel that focused ab/core training will not only help with my overall strength, stability and stamina on the mountain bike, it very well may help with the nagging flank pain I’ve been dealing with. Man, after each set I felt like someone had just hit me in the stomach with a telephone pole. I could only roll over, try to breathe and take the pain. I forgot how much I love to hate ab training. I only took a minute between each set (I did 3 sets of crunches and 3 sets of hanging leg raises), so each set was more challenging than the last…

Well, about an hour after my workout my abs were literally itching under my skin. Later that evening my abs cramped up while I was sitting up in bed, and then my forearms cramped up (thanks to the hammer curls) while I was turning my pillow over.

This morning I can’t even begin to describe how sore I am. My abs are on fire, and they are only going to get worse over the next day or two. The rest of my upper body is also very sore, but my forearms, back and biceps are particularly destroyed.

Of course after three weeks off from training this level of DOMS is to be expected, but the triceps, biceps/forearms and abs isolation work (which I’ve not done in quite some time–especially abs) are taking things to a whole new level.

My upper body is all but useless this morning. Mountain biking is definitely out for this weekend. Thankfully my legs are recovered enough to do high intensity cardio training on my recumbent bike (which won’t involve my upper body), so that’s the plan for today and tomorrow’s training. I’ll probably do one HIIT cardio session, and one extended (60 minute) medium/high intensity (sustained average heart rate of ~175 BPM) session.

Next week I won’t be anywhere nearly this sore, and I’ll finally be able to get back on the trails for some real mountain biking action. 🙂

I’ve received a lot of positive feedback on the recent “Fat loss 101” blogs I wrote over the past week (“The scale is not nearly important as you may think” and “Excuses“). Next week I’m going to continue that series and cover a subject that is old hat to many of you, but is still a major source of confusion and mystery to newbies: “How do I get a six pack?!”