We interrupt this art blog for a little fitness discussion…
Today was “Back Day” at Renegade Fitness, the local gym where I have been working out for several years now. About 10 minutes into the workout, a delivery guy drops by with the gym’s newest piece of equipment… an Olympic hex bar. Good timing, since dead lifts were the next lift for the workout.
A hex bar is so called because it’s shaped in a hexagonal form making it easy to step in and out of the bar and centering the weight on each side, ideal for shrugs and dead lifts. Doing dead lifts with a regular bar really places a lot of stress on your lower back, because no matter how strict your form is the weight is still slightly in front of you, making your center of balance hard to maintain directly over your feet. The heavier you get, the harder it is to “stay back” and keep your lower back from taking too much of the load. In my case, once I got tired during a heavy set my rear end would raise up slightly before I started pulling with my back, and then the low back and hamstrings would get too involved as the dead lift became a partial stiff legged version. Additionally, the skin on the front of my shins would get scraped raw from the textured bar grips rubbing as I stood up during the lift and I’d start bleeding all over the place.
This was my first time using a hex bar, and it was great. The weight is located directly in line with your torso as opposed to being in front of you. No low back involvement, I was able to stay back and keep the stress on my glutes, quads and lats. In the video above, I did a last set of six reps at 385 lbs. Not a huge amount of weight yet, but I’m still working my way back after shoulder surgery about 18 months ago.
Actually I am about as fully recovered from my rotator cuff repair as I am likely to get. The shoulder will never be 100% again. There is a smaller range of motion and it gets sore after doing pressing and shoulder work, but it’s manageable and I am hoping I can get back to the point where I am doing the kind of weight I was prior to the injury. Right now I am doing about 85% of that weight.
For anyone interested, here are the details of my back day workout. We are doing a descending reps routine, 4 sets of each exercise with 12, 10, 8 and 6 reps respectively as the weight goes up with each set and some core stuff supersetted in:
- Wide Grip Lat Pulldowns– 4 x 12,10,8,6
- Dead Lifts– 4 x 12,10,8,6
- Superset: Close Grip V-Bar Pulldowns– 4 x 12,10,8,6 / Medicine Ball Slams 4 x 12
- Superset: One Arm Dumbbell Rows– 4 x 12,10,8,6 / Side Raises 4 x 20
- Superset: Wide Grip Bar Rows- 4 x 12,10,8,6 / Hanging Knee Ups 4 x 20 / Back Extensions 4 x 20
- Shrugs– 4 x 12,10,8,6
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