Monday, January 18, 2010

Go swimming

Workout of the Day:

In the morning

250 m constant motion/anystroke

Rest as needed

4 x 50 m sprints w/:45 seconds rest

Rest as needed

250 m constant motion/anystroke

In the evening


5 x 5 weighted dips (4,0,1 tempo), rest as needed

5 x 3-5 single leg DB deadlift, rest as needed

On the minute elevated HSPU progression ladder

4 x max time extended arm planks, 30 seconds rest

0800 and the first time back in the pool since last summer. As is inevitable, the body rejects that which it does not know. The warmup 250 was a struggle, both trying to maintain a smooth, clean stroke, and trying to avoid pre-mature muscular/cardio-vascular fatigue. It never fails to amaze me how different the fitness requirements are between disciplines.

Once I finished the 250 meters, I took about 3 minutes to relax and prepare for the sprints. Ideally, I’d like to get to the point where I can do 10 of these at :45 second rest intervals before hitting the wall. Today, 4 was enough. My times for each sprint were not exact, and I chose not to flip turn, but they looked something like this. :35, :37, :37, :40. Not bad with a push start, I thought. I could feel my stroke crumbling the last 15 meters or so on the last one especially. Also, I was HEAVING for air. My heart rate must’ve been around 200 BPM. If you haven’t done it, know that sprinting in the pool is much more taxing than sprinting on the track.

The last 250 meters were considerably slower than the first, as was expected, but they felt nice. Walking home felt amazing as well. I felt warm and light all over, and couldn’t wait to eat. It took less than 30 minutes door to door, but this morning’s routine had me as motivated for the next few months as has anything I’ve done so far in Paris.

This evening I did some WORK. Starting with the dips, I used the heaviest dumbbell at my disposal (33 kg) to do 5 sets of weighted dips. The tempo sequence I mentioned above means that 4 seconds were spent on the down portion, 0 at the bottom, and 1 second on the way back up. The weight turned out to be about right, because by the 4th and 5th sets I was really fighting to finish.

For the single leg deadlifts, I retrieved my dumbell’s partner and proceeded to an area in the middle of the floor where I had some space. T-O-U-G-H. First of all, just getting to the bottom is a bitch. Then digging your way back up without using the other leg takes some serious strength. Finally, balancing during the course of the movement is hugely challenging, especially at the bottom. All in all this was surprisingly hard and shockingly effective. I only got through 4 sets because my hamstrings were so toasted. My repetitions for those sets (each leg) were: 4, 3, 3, 3. I suspect doing a few weeks of these will have a big impact on my deadlift strength when I return to a barbell.

The HSPU ladder was a welcome reprieve for my quivering lower body, but short lived. I used 4” bumper plates to elevate my hands, then started with 1 repetition in the first minute and added a repetition per minute until I couldn’t finish the prescribed number in the prescribed minute. I made it through 5 full rounds, plus 3. This was not what I was hoping for. I had some issues with the wall (kept having to avoid a raised molding running horizontal across the wall), and my recovery just wasn’t good enough. I'm hoping the effects of the morning swim and the heavy dips had something to do with this.

The extended planks were a great finisher. Using a yoga mat for my hands, I started in a pushup position and slowly allowed my hands and feet to slide apart, trying to control the motion as slowly as possible. The first set I was able to touch down softly. The second I dropped from a few inches up. The third and fourth were worse, and I collapsed from probably six inches or so. Still, I felt the effect.

I feel like I really got it done today, nothing left on the board. Tomorrow morning I’m heading to Notre Dame to see some history and sample some of old Paris. Sans baggette of course.


  1. Hi there! Swimming is tricky, I´m just learning the crawl :)

    You talked to my buddy Martin Altemark about buying gymnastic rings from us (, cost: 60 euros). I´m going to Paris on thursday, so I can bring a pair if you´re still interested.

    To contact me, please send an email to

  2. Hey Bear! Going to Paris again, you like that place huh?! I haven´t been able to use my rings at home yet but I´ll try to arrange something in a near future. Meanwhile I just bring them to my globo-gym. Take care. /Richard