Final Indianapolis Topic: The Workouts
Before we left for Indianapolis, I called the hotel to ask about the gym situation there. I was told that their workout room contained “8-10 treadmills, a bike, and barbells.” As I am not dim-witted, I didn’t believe that the gym actually had barbells. I was, however, optimistic that they would have several treadmills and that the bike was probably real. The actual situation was disappointing: 2 treadmills, no bikes, 2 of those ellipticals made for giants, a cable machine, and some dumbbells. (In my opinion, there should be a mandatory seminar given to the world on the difference between barbells and dumbbells).
Our first night in Indianapolis, Chris and I went to the hotel gym to make the best of it. We both switched up our normal exercise routines and improvised a workout with what we had available. It was fun. Chris did pull-ups supersetted with push-ups, flys supersetted with incline rows, lat raises suppersetted with dumbbell presses, incline dumbbell presses supersetted with diamond push-ups, and ended with push-ups suppersetted with being my assistance for assisted pull-ups that he suggested I do. (I only remembered Chris’s workout from this day as the workout where he did a million push-ups and I just went into his room to verify the facts of this workout -yes, this is a blog of high standards where we verify facts- which I described to him as “the workout where you did a million push-ups” and he looked at me innocently and said something like, “What? I don’t think I did that many push-ups that day.” But clearly, he did. He gave me his workout log and I just counted TWENTY-ONE sets of push-ups of between 8 and 12 reps. Yeah Chris, not many, you lazy sloth…
So for my workout that night, I did a variety of things not nearly as impressive as Chris’s (no push-ups for me) but, as I just mentioned above, I did do a bunch of assisted pull-ups with Chris assisting me. I can do maybe 3 non-assisted pull-ups so, to get more reps in when just a pull-up bar was available, I needed assistance and Chris was able to assist me (and to supplement his workout with Lindy lifts).
He’d lift me up just enough so my arms screamed and it was very hard to do the pull-up and then I’d slowly lower myself, I suppose unconsciously stalling so I could delay the pulling-up again part, because pull-ups are very hard. This stalling during the eccentric phase, I believe, became my undoing as you will understand shortly.
I was shooting for 5 sets of 8 but ended up doing roughly 5 sets of 5 and was thoroughly fatigued by the end of it. (So fatigued that at one point, to get some extra oomph, I accidentally, rather violently, kicked my legs behind me and hit Chris in an unpleasant place, making him groan and drop me and suggest that I keep my legs still in the future).
So why did I bother telling that story about my pull-ups? Well, because that pull-up workout appeared to create the most muscle damage my arms have ever, EVER, experienced. I’ve run marathons and I’ve competed in powerlifting, and NEVER have I experienced the kind of reaction I had to that workout. I did this workout on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, my arms hurt badly. On Thursday, my arms hurt very, very badly and I could only partially extend my elbows. On Friday, my arms hurt like crazy, I really could not extend my elbows, and my biceps and forearms were huge! I have never in my life had a workout that caused swelling like that a full two and half days after the workout. That’s the Chris Fahs assisted pull-up method for you! Seriously, he’s got to market this thing; I think “Insanity” or whatever has nothing on this method.
A great part of the situation was that we were at the American College of Sports Medicine Meeting where I heard nice talks about how muscle damage doesn’t equal hypertrophy so I couldn’t even console myself with thinking that at least my biceps must be growing tremendously if I was that incapacitated. (I did feel good knowing that, should my arms have exploded that Friday, I was surrounded by Sports Medicine-ists who had surely dealt with pull-up induced arm explosion before).
If you’ve never seen my arm before, the picture above might not look too impressive, but trust me, that arm is swollen. I was waiting to take a comparison picture of my arm at its normal size but, as my arms are still sore 9 days later, I’m not sure right now would be a true baseline.
Ok, so how else did we workout there? Well, one day Chris found this bridge and suggested we run very quickly back and forth over it. (He did sprints. As my absolute fastest speed really can’t be identified as a sprint, I just ran back and forth quickly with breaks in between). It was unclear why we were running on the bridge but that was the Chris-defined best spot in downtown Indianapolis to do it so that’s where we did it.
I really enjoy running and I really like when Chris runs. He only runs during contest prep (in sprint form like the bridge workout) or immediately following bodybuilding shows (in 5k race form) when he is still lean enough for the runs to not be too hard and (I hypothesize this is the case) when he feels like he owes me for making me just sit through 12 hour bodybuilding shows (yes I exaggerate the time but that’s what it can feels like).
So I suppose Chris’s running with me on the pretty bridge made up for his destroying my biceps. Having a superhuman machine man around in Indianapolis, thus, had its dangers and benefits.
And that wraps up the three blog post series of highlights from Indianapolis.