New Fitness Self-Experiment No.3

OK, here’s the program I started May 21.

For aerobic and cardiovascular endurance:

  • twice weekly 15-minute treadmill high intensity interval training
  • FYI, it took me three months to build up to this starting from a sedentary baseline 18 months ago.

For strength:

Twice weekly…

Why dumbbell weights?  ‘Cuz that’s what I’ve got.

I chose push-ups over bench presses because the former probably uses more muscles.  I thought about including pull-ups/chin-ups, then decided I’m already working those muscles enough in the other exercises.

Rather than counting sets and repetitions (e.g., three sets of 10 push-ups), I’m going to continue using the exhaustion technique Chris Highcock taught me in Hillfit:

  • 90 seconds on each exercise
  • use enough weight that I’m exhausted after the 9o seconds
  • 10 seconds up and 10 seconds down for each repetition

I can probably get the resistance training done in 20 minutes.

My current fitness measurements are recorded elsewhere.  I’ll recheck after about six weeks.

None of this is etched in stone.

My goals are here.  Comments?

Steve Parker, M.D.


My fitness experiment No.1 was Mark Verstegen’s Core Performance.  No. 2 was Chris Highcock’s Hillfit.

Update May 22, 2012

The first workout went well.  I need to review the various types of dumbbell presses and decide which one I want to stick with.   I hope I’m a little sore tomorrow.  These are the dumbbell weights I used today:

Dumbbell squats: 25 lb (11.4 kg)

Push-ups: 25 lb (11.4 kg) in backpack

Dumbell presses: 15 lb (6.8 kg)

Romanian deadlift with dumbbells: 30 lb (13.6 kg)

Bent-over one-arm rows: 25 lb (11.4 kg)

Update May 25, 2012

I was sore in the back, quads (anterior thighs), and arms the day after the first workout.  I even postponed my second workout of the week for one day to allow lingering right arm soreness to resolve.  For my workout today, I reduced the overhead press weight from 15 to 10 lb.

Update May 27, 2012

Right arm/shoulder soreness is gone.  Now I’ve got soreness in my left hamstring, likely a strain related to the deadlifts.  Started 24 hours after my second workout in this experiment, and persisting 36 hours at this point.

Update May 28, 2012

Right hamstring soreness almost gone.  Instead of 30 lb dumbbells with the Romanian deadlift, I cut to 25 lb to avoid aggravating that hamstring.  Probably back to 30 lb next time.  With bent-over rows, I’m ready to progress to 30 lb.

Update June 9, 2012

It’s going well.  No injuries; no unusual aches.  Here are the dumbbell weights I carry in each hand: for squats – 30 lb; for push-ups – 25 lb in backpack; for dumbbell presses – 25 lb; for Romanian deadlifts – 40 lb; for bent-over row – 30 lb.  The set of dumbbells my wife got for me (used) in CraigsList was from 5 to 30 lb.  So I had to go buy a 40-lb pair, which set me back about $80 (USD).

Update June 26, 2012

Going well.  No injuries.  Haven’t missed any sessions.  Had to decrease backpack push-up weight from 25 to 20 lb  about 10 days ago—I just couldn’t keep up the exercise for 90 seconds at the higher weight.  A couple weeks ago I increased the bent-over row and squat weights to 40 lb.  I’m noticing much use of back and shoulder muscles when I’m doing exercises that superficially seem to target other muscles. E.g., the Romanian deadlifts and squats target the buttocks and thighs, but having to carry 40 lb in each hand works out my arms, shoulders, and back.

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