My final week of training before England’s Strongest Woman is done! I will do a super light session today, and maybe another on Thursday depending on how I feel, but my pre-comp training cycle is officially finished.
Just yesterday the organisers announced that they have replaced my favourite event, the loading medley, with a car pull. It’s a last-minute change due to logistical reasons, which is unfortunately very common among strong(wo)man competitions. It’s too late for me to practice now, so I’m just going to have to wing it on the day. I haven’t pulled a vehicle since my last competition in September, so it should be interesting.
I think this is the most calm I’ve ever felt going into a competition, and I think it’s purely because I have so much else going on in my life. I have been training for this competition since September last year, and it’s a national qualifier, so I should be feeling super nervous considering what is at stake, but I’m just not.
I want to place high enough to qualify but, at the same time, I don’t even know if I’ll be able to make it to the final – which is in August – so I won’t be devastated if I don’t. My only real training-related goal for this year was to crack the top five at the final, but I just don’t see how it’s going to be possible for me to train properly to do that.
I’m basically viewing this competition as my last UK contest, and my last competition for a long time. I definitely want to compete again, but I just have no idea when that will be.
In light of all that, I’m viewing Sunday as more of a fun training day with my strongwoman family, rather than a make-or-break competition. However, I am super competitive by nature so I’m sure that when the day comes I will want to qualify.
My last training week went well really well, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so pleased with a training cycle overall, which is comforting considering I did all my own programming this time around.
Monday – Squats
Squats: 20kg x 10, 10, 40kg x 5, 60kg x 5, 75kg x 3, 88kg x 2 x 3
Paused squats: 67.5kg x 5 x 3
Barbell lunges: 35kg x 8 x 3 (per side)
Good mornings: 40kg x 12 x 4
Standing cable crunches: 15 x 3
Nothing remarkable to report, other than the fact the lunges gave me glute DOMS which lasted four days!
Tuesday – Bench
Bench press: 15kg x 10, 10, 35kg x 5, 40kg x 3, 47.5kg x 2 x 2, 52.5kg x 2 x 3
Board press: 57.5kg x 3 x 3
Lateral raises: 6kg x 12 x 3
Tricep pushdowns: 20kg x 40 x 2
Overhead rope extensions: 25kg x 20 x 2
Em and I did our first two working sets and thought everything felt super easy… and then we realised we were using a training bar which only weighs 15kg! It was super annoying to realise we weren’t as swole as we thought we were, and it meant we had to do all of our sets again.
The only good thing about using the lighter bar is that I could do my board presses with the big plates!
Thursday – Deadlifts and Events!
Deadlifts: 60kg x 8, 80kg x 5, 100kg x 5, 112.5kg x 3, 126kg x 2 x 3
Max reps with 115kg in 60 seconds: 9
Farmers walks: 37kg x 2, 47kg, 57kg, 67kg, 72kg, 67kg
Yoke walk: 117kg, 137kg, 157kg x 2, 137kg
Loading medley: 3 rounds with a 40kg sandbag, 40kg keg and 70kg keg
I was a little nervous going into this session, mainly because of the weights I had to pull, and also because it was my last chance to practice my competition events.
On the way to the gym, I stopped at Borough Market and had a steak and blue cheese pie and cheesy mash from Pie Minister. I have set myself the task of trying every food stall in Borough Market before I leave London – after I safely make weight, that is!
Deadlifts went really well! My form isn’t perfect but it’s pretty close to my max so I can’t complain. I was more excited about the fact that I pulled 115kg for nine reps! Now, I’ve just got to hope that I can hitch 135kg on Sunday for a couple of reps. Hopefully I can win some extra points for hair flipping.
I screwed up the weights on my farmers walks, meaning I did far too many warm-up sets. I only did one set with 72kg, but that was more than enough for my poor hands! My speed isn’t bad considering I’m carrying my bodyweight in each hand.
The yoke is not my friend. I didn’t realise until the next day that I forgot to wear my knee sleeves, which is probably why it hurt so much. I also had the bright idea of doing 137kg without my belt on, which did not help that lovely yoke feeling of having your spine compressed.
I am dreading this event on comp day, and just praying that the other ladies will move slowly.
Last up was the loading medley, but I needn’t have bothered with all that cardio given it has now been cancelled! What are the chances that they take out my all-time favourite event – why couldn’t they get rid of the stupid yoke?!
Afterwards, I headed back to Borough Market (what, it’s next to my flat!) and had a brownie from Bread Ahead.
It was National Burger Day, so naturally I had to celebrate. I picked up some angus beef burger patties, wild boar bacon, French gouda cheese, and a ciabatta roll from BA.
Friday – Overhead
Log press: 30kg x 8, 35kg x 5, 40kg x 3, 45kg x 2, 47.5kg x 2 x 3
Max reps with 45kg in 60 seconds: 4
Incline bench: 30kg x 8, 35kg x 8, 37.5kg x 5 x 2
DB bicep curls: 10kg x 15 x 3
Cable curls: 30kg x 15 x 3
DB side bends: 14kg x 15 x 3 sets (per side)
I have never felt happier with my log pressing. I don’t know if it’s because this is the first time I haven’t tried to work at my comp weight week after week, or if it’s because I’ve actually been bench pressing and seeing some carryover, but every session has felt really good.
That said, I may have dropped a very loud F bomb when I failed not one but two of my reps during my 60 second attempt. If I can get two reps at 50kg on Sunday, I will be very happy indeed.
On the weekend, I danced for far too long on Saturday…
… and worked far too much on Sunday. At least I had this little guy keeping me company.
Monday – Squats
Squats: 20kg x 8, 8, 40kg x 5, 60kg x 5, 75kg x 3, 90kg x 2 x 3
Pull-throughs: 50kg x 15, 55kg x 12 x 3
Cable crunches: 55kg x 15 x 4
Cable woodchops: 20kg x 12 x 3
I might as well recap yesterday’s workout. Let me tell you, waking up on a Monday morning and not having to go into work is the best feeling ever! I am naturally a bit of a night owl, so being able to stay up until 3am on Sunday night without worrying about going to work the next day was blissful.
I was surprised at how easy the 90kg squats felt. The last time I had such a heavy weight on my back, I had someone very special spotting me <3 So I was happy to hit these numbers pretty easily without having any pressure on me.
After my session, my flatmate made me dinner. This was seriously the best thing I’ve ever eaten, even though it didn’t photograph very well. She made osso buco with beef shins fried in bacon lard, and then slow-cooked it for eight hours before adding it to freshly made pasta (all from Borough Market #boroughmarketwhores).
I had two bowls and seriously could not move for a good half hour afterwards because I was in a food-induced delirium. She made tiramisu as well. She is trying to convince me to stay in London by bringing Italy to me! Haha.
Once this competition is over, I’m going to do a mini three week training cycle and then break every rule in the book and test my maxes in the gym before I leave London. I’m aiming for a 105kg squat (I have squatted 107.5kg before, but in wraps), 60kg bench and 140kg deadlift.
What is the best thing you’ve ever eaten? Have you ever tested your maxes in the gym?