Shake It Off

Monday was such a good day. It was a long, busy day, but it was a good one, with exciting results in the gym. Yesterday wasn’t exactly a bad day; however, it was very long and chaotic, draining. It didn’t help that I had maybe 5 hours of sleep Monday night, but that is going to be a Monday night norm for a while. So, after 10 hours of decent sleep last night, I was looking forward to my training session this morning. I was feeling rather strong on Monday, so today was going to be another good, strong session, right?

One of the first things Michael asked me was how my legs were feeling. Yes, my legs were feeling some pain. My quads, my inner thighs, and my glutes are all sore from Monday’s session, but Michael wanted some light and easy front squats today. I won’t say no to squats, even when my legs are sore, although I won’t be very thrilled to do my body-weight squat homework later today.

1a. front squats

warm-up: 45 x 8, 95 x 5, 115 x 4,

main event: 135 x 4, 135 x 4, 135 x 4

I like front squats, I really do, but these were a little on the tough side today, even with keeping them light. They were really only tough, because of the DOMS in my quads and glutes, but that was certainly enough. I wasn’t going to complain when Michael said to drop the planned fourth working set.

1b. chin-ups with small green band, neutral grip

x 8  I felt like I could have easily done another 2-3 reps this first set, but Michael wanted me to leave 2 reps in the tank, and I know how quickly my reps can drop from set to set.

x 8, x 6, x 5, x 5

1c. face pulls with red band

x 25, x 20, x 20, x 20, x 20

At this point in my training session, I was feeling not too bad. Michael had already made a comment about how much upper back focus there was going to be today (cringe), but the chins felt decent and I survived the front squats. It wasn’t a glorious work-out, but I was still optimistic that it would be a good one. That feeling didn’t last very long at all…

2a. single arm kettle bell presses, followed by walking 4 lengths with the kb raised overhead

10kg x 9 presses each side; 2 lengths with left arm, only 1 length with right arm

My attitude train derailed at this point. This is not a foreign exercise. I have done this before, and it has never been as challenging as it was this morning. The presses themselves sucked, although, when I remembered to tighten everything, the action was slightly easier. But holding the kettle bell overhead and walking…Michael may as well have asked me to do a handstand push-up.

10kg x 8 presses; 1 length with left arm, maybe half a length with the right

There was just no stability with the walk at all. Although I was supposed to lock my shoulder down, it was a real struggle to do that. I couldn’t keep my arm straight.

10kg x 6 presses; 2 lengths each arm

The difference with the walk this set was that Michael had me hold another 10kg kettle bell in the opposite hand as a counter-balance. That helped somewhat, at least enough to get two lengths done, but the raised arm still felt weak and shaky.

2b. prone kettle bell rows

16kg x 9, 16kg x 9, 12kg x 15

Yes, these were also heavy and basically sucked.

3a. diamond push-ups, on my knees because I am a girl, first time doing diamond, and my arms were essentially noodles by this point

x 10, x 10, x 10

The first set was the toughest of the three, because it was something new and I need a set or two to get the hang of something. While the last two sets were easier, I’m still glad they were done on my knees, or I might have fallen on my face and never got back up.

3b. hammer curls

Michael told me to use the 25 pound dumbbells. I was highly doubtful but grabbed them anyway, did half a rep, then Michael said to use the 20 pound ones. No argument from me!

20 lb x 10, x 10, x 10

The first set was ugly, and I wanted to quit after the sixth rep. Michael pushed me to finish with ten. The next two sets were marginally better, or I just used a little bit more body and as much speed as I could muster to get through the reps before I died.

3c. rear laterals

In the midst of my frustration with the kettle bell presses, I told Michael that I would almost rather do rear laterals, which says a lot because I hate rear laterals. It’s almost as if I could foresee my future, because here were those pesky rear laterals. Despite my earlier claim to prefer these, I lied. I will never prefer rear laterals, unless they are the very first thing that I do when I get to the gym. Maybe I would feel differently about them if my arms and back weren’t already beaten to a not-so bloody pulp by the time I got to them.

8 lb x 15, x 12, x 9

Before I started the final set, Michael asked if I wanted to go up to the 10 pound dumbbells. Sometimes he says the funniest things! I could barely lift my left arm to do these blasted laterals with an 8 pound dumbbell…an extra 2 pounds probably would do me in.

It wasn’t pretty or smooth or easy, but I definitely worked hard. When I commented about how weak I felt doing my rows, my new training buddy said that she felt weak compared to what she was seeing me do! I assured her that she would be doing the same thing one day. I suppose it is all about perspective. A tough work out doesn’t wipe out a good one. The tough work outs are just as necessary as the fun, supposedly easy ones. To be a good squatter, to have a good bench press or deadlift, you need to have a strong upper back, which means you need to do the sucky exercises that make your back stronger. What is difficult today, with practice and consistency, will one day be easy. My coach is not trying to kill me. He is helping me become a better, stronger me. One tough work out will not kill me, nor does it mean that every work out is destined to be a struggle.

At the end of the session, I have to believe that even a tough work out is a good one! That and I should have probably worn my “FIGHTER” socks today.


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