Those of you who read my post on Monday will know that I was feeling just a little not earlier in the week.
In fact, I was so not that I skipped an exercise and, instead of focusing on my workout, put my energy into watching the clock, counting down the minutes until the session was over.
So, come Thursday, I was ready to put myself in a better headspace and throw myself into my arm day workout. Not more not for me.
As I mentioned in Monday's post, exercise is just as mental as it is physical and if you're checked out mentally your physical performance will suffer for it. So, it was one thing to say that there would be no more not, but how did I go about making that happen? Words are powerful, but when it comes to exercise it is action that gets you results, not words.
Barbell Dancer's Pre-Workout Prep Routine
The secret to getting ahead is getting started. - Mark Twain
1. Athlete's Visualisation
I learned about the Athlete's Visualisation in a meditation app I use regularly, Insight Timer (incidentally, download it, it's the only meditation app you'll ever need!) and adapted it for my lifts. I find a spot where I can sit comfortably, take ten deep breaths, and then really focus on what I want for my session. On Thursday, I visualised myself doing my deadlifts, succeeding at them, and kept that picture firmly in my head for two whole minutes. I know this is a strategy that works for me, as other times I have done it before a session I have really 'levelled up' in my workout, and I find a combination of eyes closed to fix the image and then eyes open to take in the space works well for me.
2. Back Stretches
Back pain has been an unfortunate companion for me these last few weeks, although I'm pleased to say that some wonderful advice from Hilal on Monday has been extremely helpful. I actually have been doing these stretches morning and evening since Monday which excellent results - less pain and more mobility - and I can already see they are going to become a standard part of my pre-workout arsenal. I hold each stretch for between 30 - 45 seconds, and then stretch for the same amount of time on the other side.
3. Roll It Out
Once I'd stretched, I grabbed a foam foller and proceeded to roll out the back of my body and then onto my front. A foam roller gives tight muscles a massage and further loosens warm, stretched out muscles. Everybody is different, but I personally like to make sure I am at least a little warm before I use a foam roller, as using it on cold muscles is too painful for me. However, nothing feels better than the firm press of a roller across my back once I've stretched it out and it always feels excellent over my legs too.
Once I've rolled it out, I go into my warm-up. My warm up can include anything from further stretches, to skipping, to using a resistance band. I make sure I'm feeling warm and mobile before I jump into my session (both to prevent injury and to maximise performance), but engaging in my little routine pre-workout yesterday really helped me get in the zone and bring out my #wintersoldierarms at the finest!
So, before I sign off, how did my arm workout go yesterday?
See for yourself.
Arms: Week 5
I do three sets of ten trapbar deadlifts on arm day, and Thursday night I set new PBs, sucessfully lifting 70 and 70kg for ten reps. I've been quietly dreaming of 100kg for four reps by the end of this program, and last night made me feel that it's possible, but if I want it I have to work for it.
My final deadlift of the night - 75kg - with Pat egging me on.
I broke another personal record last night, doing six out of twelve assisted pull-ups with just the band. Pat jumped in to help me achieve the last six in the two sets that I did, but I successfully did the first six in each set with just the band. This is a 50% increase from last week, in which I did the first three in each set with just the band, and I'm determined to be able to do the full twelve with just the band by the end of this challenge.
My first six pull-ups with the band.
And then came the famous #armsbypat finisher. On Thursday night it was three sets of ten push ups... with a twist.
So there you have it! After the near-disaster that was leg day, I brought back my #wintersoldierdetermination for arm day and nailed it!
You don't find the willpower - you create it.
Me With No Apologies.