Florence training update

Florence training update

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about what I’ve been doing in the gym – so long to the days where I posted a weekly recap!

In Rome, I trained four times a week with a powerlifting/bodybuilding split. Squatting and benching were not a problem, but deadlifting was awful as there were no bars with knurling and no bumper plates. I did a lot of timed singles instead of reps, but I definitely felt like I wasn’t lifting as heavy as I could have been.

In Naples, I trained exactly three times – and I wouldn’t consider any of them proper workouts. I was mostly dicking around with a friend of mine and was not lifting heavy at all.

Since I arrived in Florence 3.5 weeks ago, I’ve trained almost every day. I live right next door to my gym, so it’s hard not to, and it gives me a nice break in the middle of the working day. I train six days a week, and always rest on Sunday.

50kg (110lb) bench

Em arrives on Thursday so we are obviously going to train together – woohoo! Then, next week, we are travelling to Cinque Terre and Pisa together. From there, she will head home and I will go to Venice for three days, followed by Trieste for a week, and finally to Croatia. So, from the end of this week until I arrive in Croatia, I will not be training at all.

I’m not going to lie: it has been difficult to keep up my strength with all this moving about. Taking weeks off training, combined with a less than optimal diet, has made me feel sluggish and weaker than a kitten at times.

My first week of training in Florence was miserable. I had essentially taken 2.5 weeks off and everything felt heavy. I began questioning why I was even bothering with any attempt at powerlifting at all.

But then I reminded myself that the hiatus was only temporary – as is my upcoming break. When I get to Croatia, I’m staying put in Split for three months (or at least, I plan to!). I will leave Italy having visited six cities in three months and, although it has been amazing, it has been tiring. I know the next few weeks are going to be particularly exhausting, especially because I have a crazy amount of work on at the moment.

85kg (187lb) squats

My only goal during this period was to maintain my strength, and I think I have done that. I don’t know if I would be able to squat 120kg or deadlift 140kg right now, but I don’t think I’d be too far off.

Once I get to Croatia, I can follow a normal training schedule once again – provided I am training at a decent enough gym, of course. There are only three gyms in Split, one of which is a Crossfit box. You never know where I might end up… joking. Em has promised to disown me if I take up Crossfit.

All that word vomit to finally get to the details of what I’ve been doing in Florence. I’ve been training much more like a bodybuilder and my workouts are much shorter than normal (45-60 minutes, max), so six days a week isn’t as bad as it sounds. I’ve even been doing some cardio!

I am still cycling my weights for the main lifts, because I need some kind of structure. I don’t strictly plan it out in advance, but I just try to add a little extra weight to the bar each week and base the number of sets and reps on how I feel on the day.

40kg (88lb) push press

This is what I did in Rome:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Squat

80kg – 5 x 5

85kg – 5 x 5

88kg – 5 x 4

90kg – 5 x 4

94kg – 5 x 3

Bench

45kg – 5 x 5

50kg – 5 x 5

52.5kg – 3 x 3

52.5kg – 5 x 4

54kg – 4 x 3

Deadlift

100kg – 4 x 5

110kg – 5 x 2

114kg – 8 x 1

118kg – 8 x 1

Overhead

40kg – 5 x 5

42.5kg – 5 x 4

44kg – 5 x 3

45kg – 4 x 3

When I arrived in Florence, I took a week to get back into things, and then either repeated or slightly increased the weights I did in Rome. This is what I have done, or plan to do:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Squat

80kg – 5 x 5

85kg – 5 x 5

90kg – 5 x 4

95kg – 4 x 4

100kg – 3 x 3

Bench

45kg – 5 x 5

47.5kg – 5 x 5

50kg – 5 x 4

52.5kg – 5 x 4

55kg – 3 x 3

Deadlift

100kg – 5 x 5

107.5kg – 5 x 5

115kg – 4 x 3

122.5kg – 8 x 1

Overhead

40kg – 5 x 5

42.5kg – 5 x 4

45kg – 5 x 2

47.5kg – 4 x 2

My gym here is much better. It has lots of space, two squat racks and some slightly more decent bars and plates. However, last week I struggled holding on to the bar during deadlifts so I will switch back to timed singles this week.

115kg (253lb) deadlifts

As I said, I’m following more of a bodybuilding approach, which looks something like this:
Monday: Bench press, one DB press variation, one flye variation, two tricep exercises, two core exercises
Tuesday: Squats, paused squats, three glute/hamstring exercises, one unilateral exercise
Wednesday (what I call my “shoulder fluff” day): seated DB press, Smith machine (!) shoulder press, lat raises, front raises, rear delt and rotator cuff work, 10-15 minutes of HIIT on the bike
Thursday: Deadlifts, one row variation, pulldowns, shrugs, two bicep exercises
Friday: Overhead press, incline bench, DB snatches, two tricep exercises, two core exercises
Saturday: Front squats, hip thrusts, one to two machine exercises, 10-15 minutes of some kind of plyo circuit
Sunday: Rest!

Last weekend was the final of England’s Strongest Woman (which I qualified for back in June), and it was hard not to feel sad when I saw all the updates on my Facebook feed.

I was toying with the idea of still competing in the British Champs in November, but I just don’t think I’m going to have enough time to prep for it. Unless I can beat the PRs I hit at my last meet (and I don’t think I will, other than on squats), I don’t think there’s any point in flying all the way to Manchester to do it. Maybe I will take part in a Crossfit competition instead 😉

How many days per week do you train?

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