That’s one way to sum up last week’s workouts, and the first week of my official strongwoman competition training. It’s been a while since I’ve worked with a trainer, and I was definitely pushed beyond my comfort zone. I trained almost every day, which I would have never have done on my own. I create the workouts under Mike’s guidance on the days I don’t train with him.
My week’s worth of workouts looked like this:
Monday: back – with trainer
Wednesday: shoulders – with trainer
Thursday: strongman class
Friday: ‘active rest’ (light back) day
Saturday: off – hallelujah!
We started on Monday with a back workout. I wrote all about it here, including the insane weights I have to lift for competition. I have also since found out the unknown weights: the truck weighs 7.5 tonnes, the shield is 75kg and the keg is around 12kg. I did the following workout with Mike:
Deadlifts: 50kg x 5, 5, 70kg x 3, 80kg x 3, 90kg x 1, 100kg x 1, 105kg x 1, max reps at 90kg (7)
40kg log cleans: 2 sets of 3 reps from the floor, 2 sets of 5 reps from the floor with a max hold for last rep
45kg atlas stone: 4 sets of 5 reps, bringing the stone to my chest only
Explosive bent over row: 40kg x 10, 10, 50kg x 8, 8
My back was absolutely fried after doing this. I could already feel it mid-way through this workout. Under normal circumstances, I would have taken the next day as a rest day but Mike told me to do legs, of all things.
I could barely move when I woke up the next morning but I dragged my sorry ass to the gym. I did the most pathetic leg workout ever. I will only be training legs once a week in the lead up to competition – my legs are relatively strong so I need to focus on upper body lifts. It’s not necessary to back squat, but I will be practicing front squats as it helps with the stones and cleans.
I’m also doing a lot of single leg work to a) practice for the truck pull (I know, a step up is SO like pulling a 7.5 tonne truck behind you!) and b) bring up my increasingly frustrating weak left knee.
This is what I managed with a screaming lower back:
Front squats: bar x 8, bar x 8, 30kg x 8, 40kg x 5, 5, 4
30kg log press using mostly legs: 4 sets of 5 reps
Single leg step ups: 4 sets of 20kg x 10 (per side)
Chin-ups: green band x 10, 10, blue band x 5, 6
It felt good to get the blood moving, but by Tuesday evening I was toast – I couldn’t sleep because my back hurt so much. I then spent Wednesday hobbling around like an old woman, wondering how the hell I was going to manage heavy presses. I hit the rumble roller for 20 minutes before our session and, although I wanted to cry like a little baby, it helped. Mike said the pain is completely normal, and I will miss it in a few weeks (unlikely!). We did a shoulder-focused workout (my shoulders are my weakest body part by far, so I need a lot of help to reach a 50kg press!):
30kg log press: I spent time trying to learn how to keep my arms loose and press with my chest rather than my arms, and then practiced a double dip movement which involves me basically snatching the weight above my head using my legs. I felt extremely uncoordinated doing this! After practicing technique for about 20 minutes I did 3 sets of three presses with the double dip at 30kg, and then moved up to 32.5kg for 3 sets. We tried 35kg but my mind was stopping me. It is very hard trying to snatch heavy weight above your head, knowing that if you drop it, you can’t dump the log forwards or backwards like a normal bar and therefore will knock yourself out. We then finished with max reps at 30kg, and I hit 7. SO lame considering I’ve hit 14 at this weight before, but my shoulders were exhausted by this point.
Single arm dumbbell press: This event often comes up in competition, so it’s another ‘just in case’ practice. I did 10kg x 5, 5, 12.5kg x 5, 15kg x 4 (per side). My right side has no problem doing this, but my left side is weaksauce.
Seated barbell strict press: 15kg x 10, 25kg x 8, 8
Tyre (6kg) and kettlebell (8kg) throws: Then we went to the park and I threw some weights around, literally. This was so much fun! After an initial fear that I wouldn’t be able to throw the weight high enough and would therefore knock myself out, I loved chucking the weights around and scaring all the park-goers. We did this for 15-20 minutes.
Thursday was strongman class, and you all know what that involves! We only do these classes every two weeks, which means I will be doing an events day with Mike on my own during the other weeks. If there’s only two of us, it could take potentially three hours to set up/pack up, plus about two hours of work time, so we need to think of a plan!
By Friday, I could have cried with happiness when Mike said I could have an ‘active’ rest day. Here I am naively thinking I could do some walking or yoga, when he instead tells me to have a ‘light’ back day. Here’s what I reluctantly did, with only the thought of having Saturday off keeping me going:
Deficit deadlifts (off two mats): 50kg x 5, 60kg x 5, 70kg x 5, 80kg 5, 4
40kg log cleans: 5 sets of 3 reps from floor, hold last rep 5 secs
Single arm dumbbell row: 17.5kg x 1o, 2okg x 10, 10
45kg atlas stone: 4 sets of 3-5 reps, bringing to chest height only
High to low cable woodchop: 3 x 10
On Sunday, I hit legs again. I kept it light as I’m saving myself for tonight’s brutal back workout with Mike. I did:
30kg log: 8 sets of 3 double dip drop presses from the floor
Back squats: bar x 10, 54kg x 3, 62kg x 3, 69g x 3 (squats felt brutal!)
Front squats: 40kg x 3, 3, 3, 30kg x 8 (again, awful – my forearm has been hurting since Wednesday so using the clean grip is impossible)
Single leg step ups: 3 sets of 20kg x 10 (per side)
So that’s it – my first week’s worth of strongman workouts in a nutshell! I should also note that despite how simple these workouts look, three of them (class and the two sessions with Mike) took two hours as they involve a lot of technique. I am not used to being in the gym for longer than an hour, so that has definitely been a shock to the system as well. Even in only a week, I can already feel a huge difference in my log presses, among other things.
I don’t track calories/macros, but I have intuitively raised my calories over the past week. If I had to guess, I’d estimate around 2200 calories a day. Given my energy expenditure, that’s still low enough for me to lose weight to meet my comp weight. I lost half a kilo last week and I’m still feeling stronger!
Meals weren’t that interesting last week. I’m still keeping things simple because of the hot weather!
I can’t stop eating fruit either!
I’m not really thinking in terms of cheat meals/clean meals at the moment, but I guess I’d call this a cheat. A beef burger with bacon and avocado:
With a side of sweet potato fries and bacon aoili.
That’s it! Feedback from my last post was that you guys really enjoy hearing about my strongman training, so I’ll try to keep it as interesting as possible 🙂
Have you ever had to force yourself to go to the gym? What’s the worst DOMS you’ve ever experienced?