Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Some Surprising Results

So, during my training this week there were some interesting and surprising results. The most surprising of which is a rather large jump in the amount that I can bench press. I was a bit surprised in a couple of other sets, but none of them were as drastic as that.

Now, for a few weeks I was doing sets of two for my bench press. This allowed me to push more weight then I could with 5 reps. Well, the Strong Woman training I'm doing uses 5 reps for that. On Monday I had to do that. I made it to 115 pounds. Previously, when I did 5 reps on the bench, I was only able to get to 80 pounds. That is a huge jump in only a week of this new training.

My Front squats were also high then what I did with my 2 rep sets. I got to 165 pounds with those. The last time I did two reps it was only 160 pounds. I also had to do a different type of dead lift then I normally do. It's more difficult and requires that you use straps, which I hate. I got over 200 pounds with that, though, so I was happy.

There are more things I had to do, but I'm only going to give out bits here and there to show that there is progress. So far, though, I'm very happy with how this training is going. It's hard, but it's worth it. Of course, most things that are worth doing are difficult.

Anyway, thank you for reading again!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Pretty Good Week

My training went very well overall. There were some disappointments, but for the most part my lifts were about where I expected them to be. Saturday was triumphant, though. Last time I tried to do Strong Woman I ended up stopping because of the training Saturday. I made it though.

I'm sure you are wondering what I had to do, and I'll tell you. I wont give distances, but you'll get the gist of it. I got to hump around a 100 pound sandbag forever. I'll post a picture from that later. I also had to push the car around a bit. Unfortunately, there aren't really pictures of that since my husband had to steer the car while I pushed it.

Some interesting things did happen. We discovered that one of the YMCA's has bumper plates. This is great news for us considering that some of the lifts sort of require that you be able to drop the weight. However, we have seen some people doing some things with the bumper plates that was rather annoying.

The first thing we saw was a group that we call the 'Three Man Bench Machine" using them to do skull crushers. These are done using curl bar while laying on your back and bringing it down to their head. This is not what they were meant for. The second thing I saw was someone using the bumper plates to do shoulder shrugs.

There is also this aerobic training group that comes in there and uses the lifting platform for their stuff because, you know, that's totally what it's for. Oh, that group was also doing chalice squats in the squat rack. To be fair the squat rack does have this odd platform. I didn't know what it was for. Anyway, they had a dumbbell and were holding it down in from of them while they did their squats. At least I didn't have to do squats that day.

Right, now for horrible sandbag carry pictures. I figure that if I'm going to compete I may as well get used to unflattering pictures circulating the internet. So, here you go! The bag is 100 pounds. Thank you all for reading, as always.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Back in the Strong Woman Game!

Alright, so I'm doing Strong Man again. It's going well so far. Yesterday I did squats and dead lifts. Usually my back has started to hurt by the time I get to my dead lifts. That didn't happen this time. It didn't start to hurt until well after I had finished. So, I'm happy about it. It means that my back is getting better.

My squats were able to go up, and I'll post a video below of that. I went up to 230 lbs. So, that's a plus. I was also able to get up to 225 lbs before I realized that I should probably have been wearing a belt. That's another good sign. The further I can go without a belt, the better.

I did a little worse Monday on one of my sets then I did the first time I started Strong Man. I agree with my husbands assessment that I probably put a little body-movement into it the first time then I did this time. It was a different type of press then I normally do, and unfortunately the way I did it this time meant that I did not push as much weight. Still, it was higher then the normal press, so I'm happy with it.

Overall, I'm pleased with how this week has started off. I hope that tomorrow goes just as well. Saturday, though, will be the real test. Saturday is what showed me that I had to stop last time and work on my back. My back is doing so well, though, that I don't honestly think I have anything to worry about beyond getting used to the movement of the weight.

I'm sorry that I couldn't give you much information. Again, this is proprietary training stuff, though I now have permission from my husbands coach to do the program. After my husband told him my numbers and that I was interested in the Strong Man stuff he said that I should follow along on his programming. So, that's a huge bonus!

Anyway, here's the video. This is 230 lbs. Some of you may have already seen this on my husbands face book page. Thank you for reading, and I hope you like the video!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

An Extra Rest Day

I know I didn't update yesterday, like I normally would, but that's okay. I opted not to train today, since my back is doing so well, so that I can start on the Strong Woman training on Monday. I think the extra day of rest will do me a lot of good, and that I'll be ready to take on the training then.

We went to a different YMCA on Thursday because it had the bumper plates that my husband needed for his training. It was interesting, it had better equipment, but not as many areas to train in. At least, not for the type of training that I generally engage in. Still, it was nice. There weren't a lot of people interested in using the squat rack. I did have to ask a lady that was doing aerobic style stuff to move so that I could do my front squats.

We met a gentleman there that was doing some strength training as well. He said, circuitously, that I was the strongest woman he's seen in person. It started off with a comment about the amount that I could front squat. Now, I keep making an error with my warm ups for my front squats that has me doing 185 pounds, but my work sets haven't even gotten to that point yet. I can do it, but it's still a bit high to do for reps.

It's not that big of a surprise, though, that I'm the strongest woman most people have seen in this area. Not many women actually strength train. I've seen a few other women doing barbell work, but none of them have been able to pull the numbers that I can. Honestly, though, I hope to see more working on gaining strength. It's a fun sport, and my body is changing so much faster then it did with anything else. I realize that may not be true for everyone, but if I get even one more woman to strength train then I'll be happy.

Anyway, I guess I'm at that point where I post my numbers. I'm proud of how things went this time. My dead lifts still did not progress, which isn't a surprise. However, with all the work I've done on my back and shoulders, I was finally able to break through the minor wall I had with the overhead press. My back, also, didn't start hurting until my last two attempts to pull my dead lifts. That's a huge victory. Usually I would of had to sit down a couple of times by that point.

Right, no more delaying though. I've only got two sets to post, but I'm happy with both of them. Now, on to the numbers!

Front Squats: 160x2x8
Overhead Press: 82.5x2x8

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Slow Day

Well, the training yesterday could have gone better. I didn't make any actual gains in my weight. Though, I've had a bit of trouble sleeping for a few days, so that could have played a role in my inability to move some of the weights. Some of it may just be that I've hit an overall wall with linear training. I suppose it's good that I'm just doing this until my back is better.

I also had to take some videos of my husbands work sets so that he could show them to his coach. Between that, and needing so much time between my own sets, I ended up running into some time constraints. What I would normally do, if I don't hit at least parallel on my squats, is just do the set again. I just didn't have time for that if I wanted to do my bench press or rows.

Unfortunately, I only made actually completed one of my lifts, and that was the Rows. My form was poor on them, though, so I can't really count them as being done. Overall, it was a bad day of training. I think there were reasons for it, though, and tomorrow should go better. Except my deadlifts. I'm pretty sure I'm still not going to be able to do 260 for reps. I'll try, though.

My back is doing better already, though. It takes longer before I feel the twinges of pain in my lower back from standing for a while. That should be a good sign, and hopefully it'll mean that I can go back to doing Strong Woman next week. I've been doing mobility work every day to help loosen the muscles that are causing the pain.

I've also been working on other areas that have caused problems in the past. My shoulders, my calf, and so on. With any luck I'll be able to go into next weeks training without any problems. That's the dream at least.

Anyway, I'm sorry that I don't really have numbers to post. Thank you all for reading anyway, though. It's always appreciated.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Delay in Strong Woman

Well, training went well on Thursday. I had a bit of back pain while doing the dead lifts, but I did better then I expected. Unfortunately, I was unable to do my training yesterday. For years I've had lower back pain, usually it only reared it's ugly head when I did dishes or folded cloths, but since training started it has gotten worse.

Now, before I continue it's not an injury. It's a mixture of having poor posture for years now, sitting to much, and a very large knot of muscles in my glutes. We discovered that was the actual issue thanks to information from the book Becoming a Supple Leopard by Dr. Kelly Starrett. That book is proving to be an extremely good investment.

The pain was bad enough, though, that I couldn't do my training yesterday. What I'm going to do is take a week or so and go back to the linear progression I was doing before. It's not as strenuous as the Strong Woman training, and should allow me to recoup my back. The book has suggestions on how to stand properly, as well as sit.

I'll pretty much have to put myself in a lot of pain every day to loose the knot of muscle that's formed in my glutes, though. Hopefully, it wont take more then a week for me to work it out. It took years for it to get to the point it's at, though, so I'll be surprised if that's all it takes.

Anyway, you'll all start seeing numbers again next week when I start on the linear progression. Heck, maybe there will be some improvement on the numbers that I got stuck on before. I doubt it, but it would be a nice surprise if I could hit 260 lbs on my dead lifts.

As always, thank you all for reading. I appreciate it.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The New Training Begins!

So, I've had two days of my Strong Woman training now. Today will be the third. I can't really give a lot of details about what I'm doing, though, because the training is proprietary. I'll give you information on my numbers here and there as best I can though.

This week isn't really about progression, though, it's about finding what my working numbers for this training is. Monday was a couple of overhead lifts, and I did better on both of them then I had thought. Yesterday was squats and a type of dead lift that I hadn't done before. With the squats I was able to go up to 225 pounds, so that's good. I made progress even though it wasn't necessary for me to.

The dead lifts, because they are so different from what I've done before, were quite a bit lower then the ones you all saw in the video I posted. They are a lot of fun, though. Unfortunately, as I said, I can't really go into to much detail on what it is I've been doing. I'll keep you posted on the normal moves you see, though, whenever I make progress in them.

I think that this training is going to be a lot of help. There is a lot of variety that's going to be working muscles that were largely ignored with the linear training that I was doing. For example, there wasn't enough upper back work, and my upper back is weak compared to my legs and lower back. I can't wait to see wait to see just how far this training will take me.

Anyway, I know there isn't a lot here to go off of. I do appreciate you reading this, though.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Another Change of Plans

Alright, after hitting the wall with my dead lifts for the second time, which is 260 pounds, I'm going to have to change the way I approach my training. Linear progression is no longer an option for my dead lifts, so I'm left with two options. Change to the Texas Method with my deads, or move on to Strong Woman training. The latter is something I've been toying with for a few weeks now.

I've decided on the Strong Woman training, which I start tomorrow. For the first week I'll be doing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. I'm just following the training that my husband got from his coach until I am employed and can do the same.  So, you'll see a change up in my routine, and you aren't likely to see consistent increases in my numbers.

Yesterday was filled with more time constraint frustrations as well. My husband went with me because there was one lift he had to do with the squat rack. Unfortunately, only one of the squat racks was open. Since it was the one that I am literally to short to actually do my squats in I decided to start with my overhead presses. I was not able to finish the set. It seems that doing the weighted sit ups the day before was a bad idea and I probably just should have skipped them until the next time. Live and learn, right?

Well, after I failed in the overhead press I let my husband do what he had to. I should have just gone on and done my squats, and then he could have used the rack while I did my deads but, again, live and learn. I was annoyed and wasn't ready to move on to the next lift yet. When I did get to my front squats, though, they went beautifully. I got a suggestion on changing my hold on the bar for them from someone we've chatted with a lot there, and it helped keep the bar from sliding down my chest.

I simply ran out of time before I could do the lat pull downs while I was trying to do my deads. I only managed to pull the 260 pounds once this time. Considering I did it twice, last time, it shouldn't have been an issue to hit the 5 reps. That's the sort of thing that happens when you hit the wall on a lift, though.

My dead lift, even though it was only one rep, drew a bit of attention though. A couple of guys, one a USMC reservist and the other about to go to Marine boot camp, said that I was making them look bad. Then, after I started taking the weights off the bar, and older gent came over and asked how much I ended up pulling. I told him and he said that it was pretty good. I had seen him staring at me before he finally came over and said anything, though, so I already knew I had his attention. It's nice to hear things like that, though.

My father also knows someone that has competed in Power Lifting competitions. He linked my blog post with the videos (The Need For Hand Care), and I got some rather encouraging comments. He said that my squat form was good, and that it was good that I go so low into the squats. He also said that the speed I come out of the squat with is perfect.

There was the suggestion that I use Chuck Taylors for my dead lifts, and he said that my form on those could use some work. I'm not surprised by that from the video, honestly. My form was a bit sketchy that day, but generally I get compliments on it. However, I do know that a lot of people don't use weight shoes to dead lift, or they do it bare foot, so I may go back to using my Chuck Taylor wanna be shoes for those. It's certainly not a bad suggestion in the least, and I appreciate constructive criticism.

I was told that I could include the gents nickname that made the comments above. My father, and likely some of his other friends, just call him Gymrat. Again, I really appreciate the compliment on my form, and the suggestion on my deads.

Now, I'll give you the numbers. Again, I only managed to get one lift done yesterday, so that's all I'm posting.

Front Squat: 155x2x8

Thank you all for reading, and wish me luck with my new mode of training.