Almost strong enough for Britain's!

Almost strong enough for Britain’s!

Yet another week of random workouts has passed, while I am still able to hit PRs. It’s time to step things up a notch because I have a new goal – and only three weeks to hit it!

Tuesday is always pressing day with my trainer. My technique is getting so much better. One of my trainer’s favourite things to say is: “Throw the log up like it’s nothing, as if you’re trying to throw it through the roof.” Easier said than done! When I’m working at max weights, my natural instinct is to stop using my legs and muscle it up with my shoulders, but I’m finally starting to duck under it.

In the previous week, we’d set a goal to do six reps with the wide log by the end of the year. Last Sunday, I hit four, so my trainer revised my goal to eight. Well….. we did a few warm-up sets and, because he was happy with my technique, we attempted a few max rep sets.

On the first set I managed seven reps and then six in the second! I did a happy dance and could have almost cried, as I remember the first time I tried (and failed!) to even clean the wide log, let alone press it.

Coach deemed my new shoes magic!

Coach deemed my new shoes magic!

Mike made me a deal – if I get 10 reps by the end of the year, I can enter Britain’s Strongest Woman! He says it will make me work harder, as if I wasn’t working hard enough already. He says if I can do 10 reps with the red log, I should be able to get 50kg up easily.

The overhead weights for BSW are a 50kg thin log (1 point) or a 60kg axle (3 points). There’s no way in hell I’m getting a 60kg axle over my head, but a 50kg thin log could well be possible.

We then tried a max weight attempt, and I was *this close* to getting 47.5kg up over my head. I was so close in fact that I wanted to try again, which I rarely do, but I was exhausted and it didn’t happen. We’d done at least 10 working sets, plus the two max rep attempts, so if I’d hit a PR it would have been pretty amazing. 50kg is so close I can taste it!!!

We also did some strict barbell pressing to failure and some dumbbell holds. I held the 42.5kg dumbbells for 60 seconds, which was another PR.

As you can see, I was happy!

As you can see, I was happy!

Front squats: 20kg x 5, 5, 40kg x 5, 50kg x 5, 55kg x 5, 60kg x 3
Axle deadlifts: 50kg x 5, 60kg x 5, 70kg x 5, 80kg x 5, 90kg x 5, 100kg x 3, 110kg – F
Dumbbell holds: 27.5kg x 20 secs, 35kg x 40 secs
50kg bag pick-ups: 5 pick-ups x 3 sets

This was my second session with my new training buddy, Emma-Lee. The gym was absolutely heaving! There were 3-4 people to a squat rack, and all the strongest people in the gym happened to be training at the same time so we looked weaksauce. I promised Emma-Lee it wasn’t normally like that – beast mode to the max! We had to do our deadlifts in a power rack, sharing with someone who was doing cleans, so it wasn’t ideal.

Front squats felt brutal but I couldn’t wimp out. I attempted axle deadlifts for the first time (BSW is a max axle deadlift, starting at 120kg) and holy crap, they were hard. I budged 110kg slightly off the ground but my grip kept slipping. If I do BSW, I would actually be most concerned about this event. I’d consider it lucky to get knocked out in the first round, given that I’m not even hitting 120kg yet.

I kept the dumbbell holds light given I’d just done them the day before. It was good to finish up with some “cardio”.

I feel like a bit of a twat trying to give Emma-Lee strongman advice, given that I’ve only been doing it for a few months myself. She is great to train with and is nipping at my heels, despite weighing a good 15kg less than me – tiny but mighty!

Fuelled by Nandos!

Fuelled by Nandos!

Bench press: 20kg x 10, 30kg x 5, 35kg x 5, 37.5kg x 10
Back squats: 20kg x 5, 5, 40kg x 5, 57.5kg x 3, 65kg x 3, 72.5kg x 5
Barbell walk-outs: 100kg x 20 secs, 110kg x 20 secs x 2
– superset with band-assisted chin-ups: 3 x 6
Light log work (practicing leg drive, no press): 30kg x 5 x 4
Barbell hip thrust: 40kg x 15, 60kg x 12, 12, 12
Dumbbell step ups: 20kg x 10 x 3
– superset with single arm dumbbell overhead extension: 8kg x 12 x 3 (per side)

It’s practically impossible to follow a program when you are training with other people three out of four sessions per week! On Friday, I tried to cram together all the exercises I’d missed during the week, hence why it’s all over the place (including tricep extensions, come at me bro!). I’m still sticking to a 5/3/1 set-up for squats, deadlifts and bench.

Thrilled to be in an empty gym again!

Thrilled to be in an empty gym again!

Axle clean and press: 27kg x 5, 32kg x 5, 37kg x 5, 5, 42kg x 3, 3
Axle clean only: 45kg x 2, 50kg x 2
Narrow log press: 30kg x 5, 5 (Viper), 40kg x 3, 42.5kg x 2, 2
Farmers holds (per hand): 40kg x 20 secs, 50kg x 20 secs, 60kg x 35 secs, 65kg x 35 secs
Crucifix: 6kg x 30 secs, 23 secs
Face pulls: 40kg x 12, 12, 12

Yeah, my man hands were not happy with me after all this grip work. It’s amazing how adding one kilo to my crucifix slashed my time in half. I would have to suffer with 8kg at BSW. I would also need to do 75kg farmers walks for the comp – scary but not impossible.

Have you ever hit a PR sooner than expected? Do you train with others, and if so, how do you stick to a program?

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