#OperationIdris – Month 7 – July*19

For those that read last month’s entry, welcome back. For those that are new to #OperationIdris, welcome. You can check out the previous entries here. Last month’s entry I alluded to a situation where in frustration, an innocent bollard had the misfortune of meetin’ my already injured right leg. What’s the relevance you enquire? The injury meant I was bed-bound the first week of July, thus endin’ my perfect record of trainin’ every week since the Operation’s inception. Not. Impressed. One. Bit. That being said, the show must go on. I’ve just surpassed the half-way point in the year ‘n’ I’m still goin’ strong. Half full Demz. Half full. This month, I introduce to you: #OperationIdris – Month 7.

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Seein’ as I’m still injured (yes, same knee), I decided to split PPL into two sessions. The idea was simple. Let’s train as smart as possible to minimalise further injury whilst strengthenin’ the knee. Makes sense. Now, before we jump in raw with excitement like a male virgin on his weddin’ night, as per, let’s address the table.

S1: Session 1

S2: Session 2

S1 CHEST / SHOULDERS: Flat barbell bench press / Incline barbell bench press / Flat dumbbell press / Incline dumbbell press

Military press / Seated dumbbell press / Upright rows / Dumbbell lateral raises

S2 CHEST / SHOULDERS: Decline bench press / Straight arm pullover w Dumbbell fly / Around the world / Cables 

Seated barbell press / Dumbbell shrugs / Seated dumbbell press / Plate truck driver

S1: BACK / BICEPS: T bar row / Bent over barbell row / Single arm dumbbell row

Preacher curls / Standing E-Z bar curl / Seated incline combined curl

S2: BACK / BICEPS: Machine reverse fly / Diverging seated row / Seated cable row / Lat pull down / Pull ups

Hammer curls / Ropes / Alternating dumbbell curl 

S1: LEGS / TRICEPS: Leg Press / Leg extension / Prone leg curls / Seated calf raise

Close grip press / Skull-crusher / Individual dumbbell tricep extension

S2: LEGS /  TRICEPS: Leg Press / Leg extension / Prone leg curls / Seated calf raise

Individual dumbbell tricep extension / Ropes / Dumbbell kickback 

ABS – S1: Leg raises / Flutter kicks  / Obliques / Weighted decline bench

ABS – S2: Scissors / Windshield wipers / Plank / Hollow hold 

I gotta say, the month break from PPL last month did wonders. Like I mentioned before, it’s easy to get bored when the routine is monotonous. That bein’ said, this is my favourite split. Hittin’ each body part twice a week works for me at present as I’ve dedicated the time to do so. I decided to take it one step further to implement a ‘session 1’ ‘n’ ‘session 2’ as you can see above. That was my way of keepin’ the mind engaged when trainin’. But also, the added benefit was the incorporation of new exercises such as ‘decline press’, ‘plate truck driver’, ‘n’ a defined session 1 ‘n’ 2 for abs.

Let’s break down each split.

CHEST ‘n’ SHOULDERS

You know what, I had a solid month with this new split. With the inclusion of decline (an exercise which I’ve never really catered to), plus cables, my chest was definitely ‘hurtin’ after a few sessions. Even though we may increase the weight or rep range, shorten or lengthen the time it takes to complete an exercise, the body adapts. When the mind, body ‘n’ soul connects, it really is a genius bit of kit. Yes, you gotta have your ‘bread ‘n’ butter’ compound lifts. They are of the utmost importance. Yes, you could have been trainin’ for years – but throw in some isolation movements ‘n’ see if the DOMs doesn’t scream in protest the second day after the fact.

“Ay yo bigman, we been hittin the iron-house for a minute still. Should we be hurtin’ like this?”

“Yes. Now stop actin’ like a ‘newb’ n crack on” is the response.

So, remember way back in ‘Month 3’ I had that light-bulb moment near the end of the PHUL split wherein I realised power sessions were counter-productive to chasin’ ‘n’ maintainin’ the year-round lean aesthetic? Ahh you’re a new reader? I’ve got you. Check it out here. Since then, I’ve been workin’ at the hypertrophy range (10-15 reps) at around 70-80% of my 1RM. In theory. So boom, day 152, week 29 comes around. In truth, it should have been S2, but seein’ as I only did shoulders on day 149, I said nah, let’s hit flat bench. Now it was a ‘rush-hour’ session (6pm) post work. I was tired, but as soon as I walked to the bench, I said to myself: “let’s see what I can do”. Quick FYI, for about 5 weeks or so now, I’ve been doin’ abs everyday in between exercises (see the abs splits above) instead of takin’ the usual rest-time. Why do I mention this? I think the weights I’ve been movin for 10-15 reps, plus the strenghtenin’ of my core made it so I did what I did.

So boom, I did my usual 10-12 reps (x2) with the Olympic bar to warm up whilst doin’ windshield wipers in between sets. I was ready. I slapped on 95kg. Pushed it for 1 rep. Eaaaaasy. Did my windshield wipers again – (each set is x 30 i.e left, 1, right, 2 continue). Slapped on 110kg. Pushed it for one rep. Eaaaasy. Did my last set of windshield wipers. Slapped on 120kg. For peace of mind I asked someone for a spot – ‘just in case’. I settled in ‘n’ told him: “I’ll lift it off – don’t touch it.” Eaaasy. A little ‘too easy’. At this point, I admit, I thought: “Am I gonna equal my PB today?”. Did my first set of flutter kicks (4x1min) – Each ab exercise is 4 x reps or time. Slapped on 130kg. This time, I asked someone to film it. Eaasy. Checked the footage. This guy didn’t even record the rep. Fumin’ I thought, I gotta hit 3 plates. Did my second set of flutter kicks.

Slapped on 140kg. Easy? You tell me…

It’s upside down for some reason. Figure it out yourself.

Did my third set of flutter kicks. At this point, I was mentally speakin’ to myself.

“The 140 went up clean still.”

“You did 150 at uni” – (3 years ago)

“Slap 10 on ‘n’ see what’s good”

“Maybe slap 2.5’s each side for the 145 to be safe”

“F*CK DAT”

The ego kicked in. Like the young men who see football as their religion, their clubs as their chosen houses of worship, the managers as the priest, ‘n’ the club players as the choir, I saw the glory in the 150. Mentally, I likened it to scorin’ a last minute winner in the world cup final. The cup was mine.

“Hit the 150 or die tryin.”

So, I sat there. 150kg loaded, I looked ‘roun the gym for someone I deemed ‘capable of savin’ me a trip to the hospital. Though I already spotted my spotter, It took me a few minutes to further compose myself for the lift. I walked over, asked for the spot ‘n’ he offered his assistance. There was a youngun opposite my station doin’ military press I asked to film. He obliged. As I laid back, my spotter was reachin’ for the bar which I politely declined. “I’ll lift it”, I asserted.

So I did.

I’m not gonna lie. I FELT that 10k jump. The descent was controlled as per. As it touched the chest, I knew the ascent was gonna require more than physical strength. You can see where he lowered to offer the spot which I shunned with a barely audible: “leave it, leave it”. But it went back up! I’d be lyin’ if I said I wasn’t immensely proud. But I kept it inside. That’s the second time I’ve ever made that lift. The first was with a light spot at a lower body-weight. Think I was around 90kg when I first made this lift. I’m now sittin’ at around 93kg last time I checc’d  – word to Nip – rest easy. Regardin’ shoulders, no new pb’s or anythin’ just kept it calm as per usual.

BACK ‘n’ BICEPS 

This month was difficult to accept on this split. Due to the renewed injury, I haven’t hit deadlifts all month as the mobility just isn’t there. I can’t fully bend or extend the knee. The reason why I’m a tad miffed is I also wanted to test my strength. I hit 190kg a couple months back for one rep which went up with a little resistance – similar to the 150 on the bench. That was also equal to my pb. You know how long I’ve been chasin’ 200kg. But, we train smart – ‘n’ we train for longevity. I’m gonna test out the knee this month (at the point of writin this, we’re now in August). Biceps are biceps. I don’t think I’ve seen much growth since I’ve started tbh. But I see myself everyday so, who knows. I’m both my best ‘n’ worst critic. In the last week on arm days, I started super-sets to keep the pump workin’ with moderate weights for reps.

LEGS ‘n’ TRICEPS

Here’s the kicker. Squats have been MIA from my program since the inception of the Operation. Again, knee. Not because I hate them. I actually enjoy the lift though admittedly it’s always been my least fave of the ‘BIG THREE’ – (Flat barbell bench press, Deadlift, Squats) –  in that order. Since I’ve still not been to see a specialist, I decided to do some self rehab. So after the week off, on the first leg session I decided, I’m gonna do the usual leg lifts, but single leg to isolate and build the strength back individually.

So boom, leg day rolls roun, I hit the gym ‘n’ head straight for the press. No one’s there. Brilliant. As I’m about to start, shawty hops to and asks: “how many sets?” I told her I’m just startin’, jump in. Now I’ve used this machine with her before, n let me tell you, Ma’s no joke in the gym. Some of my female friends who use the gym straight up tell me they avoid the free weights area / leg press / squat areas for reasons rangin’ from not feelin’ confident/comfortable, not feelin’ they belong, or too shy to ask how to use somethin’. I say to them: “We’re all in the iron-house to better ourselves on not just a physical level, but mentally and spiritually too – handle that!” – Ma ain’t shy. She always come to the gym, headphones in ‘n’ throws down in the free weights section. My G.

Before I re-injured the leg, the session I worked with her once, I was doin’ 160kg – 4×15. After my first set, I jumped up, placed my hand on the 20 whilst simultaneously askin’: “what do you want on?” Her response: “leave it on.” We went back to back. I did 4×15, she did 3×10. Moral of the story, male, female, it don’t matter. The fact you’re already in the gym, that’s a major step. Anyhow, jumpin’ back to the day in question, she went first with 30kg each side doin’ single leg presses. Set finished, she jumped up, I got in. I placed my right leg on the machine, unhooked the safety levers ‘n’ brought it down slowly. The pain that shot through my right knee. Nah. That wasn’t it. She could see the discomfort ‘n’ earnestly asked what was up. Told her bout the knee ‘n’ she concernedly suggested removin’ the weights. So I did. Moral of this story, leave your damn pride at the front door hahaha! Triceps, similar to biceps, I just hit supersets ‘n’ caned them.

ABS

You know what, I love trainin abs. I’ve said this before ‘n’ I’ll say it again, you can train abs all you like but if you’re not in a calorie deficit ‘n’ includin’ regular cardio in your workout, they won’t show. But I already know that. The reason I like trainin’ them is I can feel my core get stronger each time. Now I’ve been doin’ abs everyday for aroun 5/6 weeks now I think. Initially, I was doin’ S1 (scroll up) in between sets of whatever I was workin’ that day. Leg raises – 4×40 reps, flutter kicks – 4x1min, plate obliques – 4×30 reps (15 each side), decline bench – 10kg 4×20-30 reps. However, after about 2 weeks, I started feelin’ a twinge in my left groin area when doin’ declines, so I stopped doin them. This was the same spot I had a hernia when I was 19, so I’m not takin any chances. When I initially started these exercises way back, I wasn’t doin’ them for that many reps or for that long. It’s been a gradual progression. What’s funny is my body adapted. As it does. 40 reps and 1 minute started to feel… ok. This is when I knew I had to switch up.

In a conversation with Boag, I expressed this ‘n’ he said the same: “switch it up”. So I did. Hence the inception of S2. I’ve been doin’ these for two weeks now ‘n’ let me tell you. That first time I hit those excercises, my body was miffed. Similar to how I shocked the muscle with new isolation movements on chest, it wasn’t reeaaddy… but I had to heart to see it through – word to Kevin. I’m enjoyin’ the change even though it hurts, but who said this game is easy?

Anyhow, I just checked my word counter ‘n’ realised I just did a third-year English Literature Fantasy assignment without battin’ ‘n’ eyelid. I remember the days I thought 2000 words was takin’ the pea eye double snakes.

I’m out.

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“Constant repetition is the path to progression.” Nipsey Hussle