Bodyweight High Intensity Training Part 4 (with a twist)

Lawrence Neal
A hairy post workout shot … Yes, I am flexing.

Well … that was horrible. If I do another push-up, I feel like my shoulders are going to tear off my torso …

This is Part 4 of a series of posts to journal my current training regime. Here’s Part 1-3:

Today I did Project Kratos condensed workout A with a twist:

  • TSC neck lateral flexion: 30/20/10 protocol for each side using manual hand resistance
  • Chin-up: H+4 72 TUL (really pleased with form on this hard partial range of motion)
  • Single legged squats: U+4 R 69 L 60 TUL
  • Prone trunk extension: H+4 60 TUL (NTF)
  • 100 Push-ups: 10 sets performed in a shoulder-width elbows-in military style (25, 10, 10, 10, 10, 8, 9, 8, 5, 5) – this was so hard after the fatigue from the previous exercises.

Total workout time: 30 minutes! (LONG for HIT … too long)

Notes: Single set to failure on each exercise. In this instance, no deliberate rest in between exercises but enough time to collect my focus and setup. No specific cadence. I just focused on very smooth turnarounds. My cadence probably started at ~4/2/4 and became progressively longer as the set progressed on all exercises.*

* None of the notes above applied to the push-ups, which were multiple set performed in a military style for rep count over form. Rest between sets varied between 1-3 minutes. Rest periods got longer towards the end.

Definitions:

  • ## = seconds
  • H+4 = hard range of motion / hard lever with 4s hold
  • TUL = time under load
  • U+4 = unilateral with 4s hold
  • L = left side/leg
  • R = right side/leg
  • NTF = not to failure
  • TSC = timed static contraction (e.g. 30/20/10 means 30 seconds 50% contraction, 20 seconds 75% contraction and 10 seconds 100% contraction / as hard as you dare :D)

The reason for the push-ups is that I’m currently participating in an N=many experiment to track my results along with many others. I’m using Track=Well to measure variables. Track=well was designed by Matt Maier and Dr Shawn Baker (Listen to our podcast here: Part 1 and Part 2).

My current N=1 experiment includes 2 protocols: 100 push-ups per day and cold showers (aiming for a 5 minute duration). I wanted to participate to see what all the fun was about and help contribute to a growing body of observational data. I don’t honestly think that the push-ups and cold showers will make any measurable difference to my body composition, since I’m already a trained individual and probably brushing against my genetic limits. I measured weight and waist circumference at the start and end in any case.

Furthermore, I’m due to speak with Dr Shawn Baker again in December and thought it would be fun to discuss our experiences and findings following some of the N=Many protocols.

Since it’s my 6th day doing the 100 daily push-ups, they have been getting progressively easier as my body begins to adapt to the protocol. BUT … that was until they were preceded by a full-body HIT workout, which I do not recommend …

I was pleased with my chin-up form but lost my motivation to really inroad during the single-legged-squats – I had much better TULs last week on these. During the early push-up sets, it became very clear to me that this volume wasn’t just unnecessary but potentially harmful. The feeling in my anterior deltoids (that’s a fancy name for the front of the shoulders) had progressed beyond muscular discomfort to mild pain. The type of pain that would typically prompt me to stop a HIT workout immediately. I’ve rarely experienced pain doing HIT, except when I mildly re-injured my upper back doing MedX lateral raises with poor form. I’ve never injured myself doing HIT properly and safely.

As a result of the push-up intervention, I decided to continue my condensed Project Kratos workouts once or twice per week but replace the overhead press / push-up exercises with the 100 push-up protocol to prevent overtraining and injury. Project Kratos is from Drew Baye (Listen to our podcasts here: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4, and Part 5).

The cold showers make for a fun challenge. Much like after a productive HIT workout, one gets a strong feeling of satisfaction, achievement and an improvement in mood. Matt reminded me that a cold shower helps reset the body’s reward systems hence the uplift in mood. There is something very romantic about lifting heavy things / generally working hard and topping it off with a cold shower. I feel like a fucking Spartan.

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