Workout (07/06/09)

Monday was my first day back to the gym in a week and I wanted to blow out my legs. Really, that’s my main goal for the next 12 weeks: grow huge quads. Not that my wheels are embarrassing by any means, but they lack the fullness I’m looking for. There are two ways to get big, full quads: 1) Squats and 2) Squats. I decided to go with the former. The planned workout was:

  • Squats: 225 x 50 reps in as few sets as possible (AFSAP)
  • Ham fallaways: 30 reps AFSAP
  • Hyper Extensions: 65 lbs x 3 sets of 12
  • Turkish Get Ups: 15 lbs x 2 sets of 10 on each side
  • Cable Crunches: 50 lbs x 2 sets of 25
  • Ab Wheel: 2 sets of 10

You’ll notice a lot of finishing ab work. That’s primarily because my left psoas is deactivated, probably because of postural problems when I’m sitting at the computer, like right now. Secondly, I want to balance out the work load placed on the lower back. Thirdly, you can unload disk compression in the spine from the squats by performing abdominal work (1). (Although it should be interspersed between the loading sets, I still believe there’s benefit from performing the ab work after the loading is complete.)

What really happened was:

  • Squats: 135×10 (warm up), 135×10 (warm up), 225×15, 225×13, 225×12 (all with less than a minute between sets)
  • Lying down: 20 minutes of lying on the ground with my legs elevated to stop myself from puking.

Obviously not a shining moment in my workout history, but it taught me some good lessons.

  1. My cardio sucks.
  2. Don’t eat sausage less than an hour before lifting.
  3. Next time, throw up and finish the workout.
  4. Bring a bucket in case I need to perform 3.

I plan to fix my cardio issues by spending 30 minutes on the stationary bicycle every-other morning performing sprint intervals (30 seconds all out, 4 minutes of rest, repeated for the duration). This is as effective as performing high-volume steady-state endurance training for 90 to 120 minutes (2-4): same benefit, ridiculously less time. The other three lessons will take far less work to implement.


  1. Nahhas Rodacki CL, Luiz Felix Rodacki A, Ugrinowitsch C, Zielinski D, Budal da Costa R. Spinal unloading after abdominal exercises. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2008 Jan;23(1):8-14.
  2. Burgomaster KA, Howarth KR, Phillips SM, Rakobowchuk M, Macdonald MJ, McGee SL, Gibala MJ. Similar metabolic adaptations during exercise after low volume sprint interval and traditional endurance training in humans. J Physiol. 2008 Jan 1;586(1):151-60.
  3. Gibala MJ, Little JP, van Essen M, Wilkin GP, Burgomaster KA, Safdar A, Raha S, Tarnopolsky MA. Short-term sprint interval versus traditional endurance training: similar initial adaptations in human skeletal muscle and exercise performance. J Physiol. 2006 Sep 15;575(Pt 3):901-11.
  4. Burgomaster KA, Hughes SC, Heigenhauser GJ, Bradwell SN, Gibala MJ. Six sessions of sprint interval training increases muscle oxidative potential and cycle endurance capacity in humans. J Appl Physiol. 2005 Jun;98(6):1985-90.
  • Caroline

    Good post. I appreciate that you include citations.

  • Clutch


    What are your thoughts on doing sprint intervals while fasted if your main goal is fatloss/muscle preservation?

    • Kiefer

      @Clutch: please define sprint intervals for me. What I take them to mean and what others sometime think don’t always match up.

  • Clutch

    Hill sprints. 15s sprint, 45s walk back down the hill. BY the third set it’s not a full sprint but I still try to move as fast as I can. I’ve just started doing these first thing in the morning (fasted) and for some reason I feel almost euphoric afterwards (that’s after I’m able to pick myself up off the ground).

    • Kiefer

      @Clutch: Sprint intervals of this type are a little too taxing if your goal is fat loss and preservation of muscle, especially if you’re fasted when doing the sprints. What I would recommend is to try an interval like this (I prefer to do this on a spinning bike at the gym): 30 secs all out sprint followed by 4 min, 30 secs of rest before doing another 30 second sprint. Do 4 to 6 of theres intervals while fasted, particularly if you’re eating low-carb.

  • Will

    man, i’ve been on my back a few times, (to keep from puking) and i have to agree, it’s better just to puke and get it over with. the nausea is a crappy feeling, and puking isn’t much fun, but who cares?

  • stelbel

    I bet EVERYBODY on this site would kill to see Mr Kiefer’s and Miss Alex’s food log written out, honest, like this….putting out an honest food log would be another 1 st in this industry!