As I mentioned in my last training recap, last Wednesday my gym buddies and I trained with Laurence Shahlaei, Britain’s 2x strongest man. I took Monday and Tuesday off and even had an epic 90 minute deep tissue massage in preparation.
Training with Laurence took up the entire day. I left the house at 8.30am and didn’t get home until 8pm! We started with a massive breakfast to fuel up.
The waiter even told me I was the only person to finish that meal! There are a lot of potatoes hidden under those eggs. We also shared a litre smoothie and amazing greek yoghurt concoction between the two of us.
We had a few hours for the food to digest as we sat on the train, getting excited and nervous as we made our way to Pro Strength and Fitness in Swindon.
The gym was completely awesome. It had every kind of strongman equipment imaginable (viking press, Hercules hold machine, etc). And so much space! I wish it wasn’t so far away so I could train there more often.
For the first hour, Laurence took a look at our overhead press, deadlift and squat. We attached resistance bands to the bar for overhead pressing. I’d never done a band-resisted exercise before, and it’s bloody hard. When we took the bands off, I felt like the bar was going to fly through the ceiling – which is the desired effect. I push pressed 50kg with a little help from Laurence (all with “I can’t believe Laurence Shahlaei is spotting me!!” running through my head).
We then moved on to deadlifts. We worked on explosive singles at 100kg. He told me what I already know – I’m strong at lockout but need to work on my speed off the floor. I blushed when he called me strong!
Then it was time for squats, and I nearly ran for the door. My squats have not been going well lately, and all I need is Britain’s strongest man critiquing my form. Thankfully, we didn’t go past 50kg (or maybe it was 55kg?). We did sets of 3 reps, just focusing on exploding out of the hole as quickly as possible. He said my form and depth are fine but I need to work on speed. My homework is to do 6 sets of 3 reps at 50kg, adding 2.5kg every week.
In the second hour, we did farmers walks, tyre flips and yoke walks. We did a few warm up sets of farmers, and then I did the distance (about 20 metres) in 15.53, 14.46 and 13.9 seconds. What can I say, I’m competitive and like beating myself 😉
I then tried 10 metres with 75kg in each hand, which was surprisingly speedy. I wanted to do more but I held back because we had the tyre up next.
We all desperately wanted to practice the tyre flip because we don’t get to at our current gym, but Laurence warned us that the smallest tyre they had was a mega beast of 300kg (661lbs). He said that only one woman in the gym had ever managed to flip it before, and that even his male aspiring strongman competitors struggled with it. I was not expecting to budge it at all, but knew Anna would get it over (she is a beast and had just done 100kg farmers!).
I think to all of our surprise, we all got it over multiple times (I probably did about 10 flips in total). I was so excited and proud of myself, not to mention seriously impressed by Emma-Lee who was dwarfed by the thing. We did a little circuit where we had to flip it once and then jump on to it twice, before the next person flipped it back. I kept waiting to face plant into the tyre in front of Laurence, but thankfully that didn’t happen.
We finished up with yoke walks aka the drunken stumble. I’ve only practiced this event twice before and only for light runs with 80kg, so I was impressed I got up to 160kg for two runs. I think the highlight was when Laurence chalked up my back before my last run! #fangirlmoment
None of the events were particularly heavy, as Laurence was observing our technique more than anything. He said it’s more important to work on technique and speed at a lighter weight than go heavy all the time for events training. He believes there is no need to do events training more than once a week, and in the winter he doesn’t practice events at all.
He said I was speedy and athletic (I still laugh every time someone says this, because I used to be the girl coming up with every excuse in the book to get out of sport in high school!) so I just need to work on building up my overall strength by following a powerlifting-style program.
I was so buzzed afterwards that I couldn’t sleep. It took me back to the very first time I tried strongman training. I love this sport so much and can’t wait to improve!
I actually didn’t feel sore the next day (mustn’t have worked hard enough!) so I went to practice my new overhead and squat technique. I was in the gym for 2.5 hours but kept it relatively light. I took Friday and Saturday off and then did the usual Sunday pressing session with the girls.
What sport gets you buzzing?