Time for a program, finally!

Time for a program, finally!

After spending the past few months stumbling around the gym with no real plan in place, I finally have a training program to follow. When I decided to enter my first strongwoman competition, I had only 8.5 weeks to prepare. As my trainer put it, I didn’t have time to follow a proper program as my goal was to push my numbers up as quickly as possible in an unconventional way. He even allowed some of my technique to get sloppy, as long as it meant bigger lifts.

After my first competition, I only had five weeks until my next competition, so again I didn’t have time for periodisation or a proper peaking cycle. I put my faith in my trainer, and it paid off. That three month period was the most intense training block I’ve ever been through, and I’m not in a hurry to repeat it!

Now, given I have 6-12 months until my next competition, I have time to follow a proper training program. As I mentioned in my last post, my goals are centred around the log press, deadlift and squat. I will be increasing my volume and working with lighter weights, really hammering my technique.

I am sticking to a four day split. I will hit deadlifts once a week (and might throw in a second day of deficits or rack pulls occasionally), squats twice (back and front squat variations), and pressing twice (one heavy day and one light technique day). I am laying off the cardio completely until the weather gets nicer (May?) and I can train my events outside.

I hate working on technique – it’s so tedious, I don’t like lifting light weights and my body just wants to revert to normal habits. Last week marked the first week of working on technique, before I start my official program this week.

Tuesday – with trainer
Deadlifts: 50kg x 5, 60kg x 5, 80kg x 3, 90kg x 3, 100kg x 2, 110kg x 1, 120kg-F, 110kg-F
Log press with less knee bend: did about 10 sets working up to 42.5kg, failed 45kg
Strict log pressing with 30kg for max reps (think I got about 9 in 60 secs)

UGH. This workout sucked. We switched my grip to a double overhand grip for deadlifts, and changed the way I wear my straps. I prefer to lift without straps, but most comps allow them so it’s better to get used to a tool that everyone else will take advantage of. I had the two strongest men in the gym helping me, and my brain kind of overloaded. I was getting used to the straps while trying to move my hands closer, position my feet differently, change my breathingย and engage my back differently. So not only did I fail 120kg twice but I couldn’t even get 110kg up again.

We then moved on to log pressing and as my trainer said, it was “time for some Karate Kid shit”. Ha. I had to stand with my feet against an upright box, and Iย couldn’t knock the box over (which meant that I could barely bend my knees). I’m using too much leg drive to get the log up (which is dangerous – it’s how my coach tore his ACL multiple times!), lifting my heels off the ground and not engaging my glutes properly. By the end of this pressing session, I was tempted to throw the log through a wall.

I tried to think back to when I first starting learning the double dip motion for the log press, and how uncoordinated I felt. Now that feels completely natural, so I hope that this new way of pressing soon becomes second nature.

Random gym selfie, why not?

Random gym selfie, why not?

Wednesday – Back
Chin-ups: 4 sets of 3 reps with a boost from Rob
Inverted row: 3 x 10
Single arm dumbbell row: 17.5kg x 12, 20kg x 12, 22.5kg x 8
Prone incline DB row: 8kg x 15, 15, 15
Superset with incline DBย curls: 8kg x 10, 10, 10

Whose idea was it to do a back workout 12 hours after deadlifts and log presssing? So stupid!

Friday – Legs
Back squat: 20kg x 5, 5, 40kg x 5, 60kg x 5, 5, 70kg x 3, 3
Front squat: 20kg x 5, 40kg x 5, 50kg x 3, 55kg x 3
Superset with purple band chin-ups: 5, 5, 5, 5
Snatch grip deficit deadlifts (off 3 mats): 50kg x 5, 60kg x 5, 80kg x 3, 3, 3
Glute bridge: 80kg x 12, 80kg + 2 10kg chains x 12, 12, 12
Step ups: 25kg x 10, 10, 10

Squats felt rough today – see why I have to take PRs when I can?! I decided spur of the moment to throw in some deficit deads, and thought I’d increase the pain by making them snatch grip. Fun times!

Sunday – Pressing and Cardio
Narrow log, toes against box: 30kg x 5, 5, 35kg x 4, 4
Wide log: 40kg x 1, 1, 1, 1, 1
Single arm dumbbell press: 17.5kg x 4, 20kg x 3, 3, 3
Sandbag carries: 35kg x 40metres x 2, 60kg x 20 metres x 2
10 rounds of 20 metre sprints

I have been slacking big time on the cardio lately! I thought it was time to hate life a little and do some sandbag carries. These are the absolute worst. I could have cried tears of joy when it was time to sprint.


My training partner is competing in England’s Strongest Woman in two weeks, and I am going along to watch. I’m not strong enough to compete in it just yet – I have the speed events down, but my strength sucks. The deadlift event is max reps at 130kg, and the log press medley is 45, 55 and 65kg. Given I can’t even press 55kg, I have no business attempting 65kg.

What training program are you currently following?

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