FORTY KILOS AWAY FROM ONE HUNDRED!
Next Week's Goal: 65kgs
And... deadlifts are back! Thursday is deadlift day, so I once again hit the trap bar to hoist something heavy and test myself. Last week I did 50kgs for one set of twelve reps then, due to incorrect knee placement, two sets of twelve reps at 40kgs with a band around my knees. If you missed last week's post on this, you can read it here, and this week's goal was to hit 50kgs for three sets of twelve reps.
Everyone's mentality about a lift is different, some people like to go in knowing exactly what they're going to be lifting, so they can mentally prepare themselves for that, but I'm not that kind of person. I'd actually rather not know the exact weight I'm lifting, because then I can simply prepare myself to lift without over analysing the weight and asking myself the self-defeating question: Am I Strong Enough?
Pat knows I prepare better this way, so when we load the bar, he doesn't tell me what the combined total is, only that I'm going to lift it. Once I've finished my three sets, then he will tell me what I have been lifting.
So, did I lift 50kgs on Thursday night?
I hit 55kgs for three sets of twelve reps!
The above video shows my second set of twelve reps. I apologise for the way it goes blurry at the end, but you get the general idea: this is a 55kg trapbar deadlift. And there's no band! Apart from a few brief wobbles at the end, I keep my knees out and drive my feet into the floor throughout the whole set.
Technique, I believe, is the most important part of weight lifting, as there's no point being able to lift if you can't lift it correctly; it might work for a while, maybe even months or years, but, eventually, if your technique's wrong you're going to injure yourself. Possibly seriously. So, for me, the most exciting part of Thursday night's deadlift was not the weight, although that was pretty cool (I'm getting closer to 100kgs every week!), but that I got the technique almost spot on.
Next week's goal: 60kgs for twelve reps of three sets.
As I have stated numerous times, my FIRE goal is to beat my personal best deadlift, which was a 100kg, trap bar deadlift for one rep. On Thursday, I did my first lot of deadlifts in my second program, also using a trap bar. Deadlifting again was very exciting, but even more so because of the weight I started at this time. During my first FIRE program, I started trap bar deadlifts lifting only the bar, which weighs around 10kg, so building up to 100kg from there was a big achievement. On Thursday I started deadlifting again at 50kg, which is already half of my personal best and damn but it felt good.
As you can see in the above video (which includes a candid cameo from my trainer Hilal) I'm lifting well, but having trouble keeping my knees out. I've been plagued by this for most of my life, and it was one thing I was glad to overcome during my last FIRE program. To safely deadlift, you need to push your feet into the floor (which is why I'm not wearing shoes) and keep your knees pushed out; the knee will always want to turn in, particularly as you tire, so, with this in mind and with my determination to hit 100kg+ by the end of this program, Hilal modified my next deadlift, dropping the weight down to 40kg but adding another challenge to correct my technique.
The band tied above my knees adds resistance as I push out; if I feel the resistance I know my technique is correct, and if my knees turn in and I stop feeling the resistance, I know I've lost the technique and am reminded to push back out again. Some of you may notice that my breathing seems exaggerated in this video, but that's deliberate on my part; a hard breath out at the top helps with the lift and I have a bad habit of breathing through my nose only when I exercise, so exaggerating the out breath though my mouth helps ensure I don't fall back into old habits. Wonder what I'll be deadlifting next week...?
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.