Tuesday, 27 March 2018
Weight training, as I discovered during my last FIRE program, does not always include weights; some of the most intense exercises you will do involve using no more than your own body weight.
And it's amazing how incredibly heavy you realise you are when you've got to hold yourself up in some interesting position or another. It's a feeling I'm familiar with due to pole, as I'm regularly lifting myself up and even flipping upside down, but strength comes in all different forms and I discovered simultaneously on Tuesday that I'm both stronger than I thought in one area but not quite as strong as I believed in another.
The above video shows me doing a combined grip strength and abdominal (abs) exercise at EP on Tuesday night (Pat, one of my trainers, makes a brief cameo; he didn't realise I was filming). I have always thought I had excellent grip strength from pole dancing; it is, after all, an essential part of being able to pole dance, because if you can't grip the pole, you're going to fall off. This is my second set of ten, my first set I did drawing my knees up to my chest and then lowering them, but that was too easy, so I decided to try keeping my legs straight for the second set.
And that was where it got interesting.
I expected I would be able to hold myself easily on the bar and that the struggle would come from keeping my legs straight. To my great surprise, it was easier to lift and lower my straight legs than it was to hold onto the bar! While I never felt like I was going to fall, I was very aware that I wasn't gripping as tight as I felt I should be, and my hands were slipping ever so slightly. This shocked me and, for my third set, I reverted to lifting my bent knees up to my chest and focused on gripping the bar.
On the way home I reflected that, perhaps, it wasn't so surprising. I'd never hung like that before, and hanging statically requires a very different kind of grip strength than what is needed for pole, where I'm gripping from the side and don't need to hang from my wrists for any length of time (or, I don't need to yet, because I'm in Intermediate, that might change come Advanced). However the much more pleasant surprise was that I was clearly much stronger in my abs than I had given myself credit for.
So, new goal for this FIRE program: while working towards smashing my 100kg+ deadlift, I'm also going to work on increasing my grip strength. There's no point being able to grip one way and not another, and the more strength I have in my hands and fingers the more secure I will be as I progress to new and more advanced tricks in pole.
You don't find the willpower - you create it.
Me With No Apologies.