Pressing On

This  morning was my first upper body training session of the year. I wish I could say that I rocked it, that it was amazing and I felt strong and powerful. Nope…can’t say that at all. To loosely quote my coach at one point this morning, “The first two exercises were humbling.” And that about sums things up!

1a. military press

45 x 8 I had a moment of uncertainty as to my hand position, so I went with a narrow grip. It felt okay, but there was no weight on the bar and my arms were completely fresh. As I finished the set, Michael pointed out that this wasn’t the best position for me.

45 x 7 with a moderate grip. This did feel easier, so I stuck with this position for the rest of my sets.

50 x 6, 55 x 5

Just for the heck of it, we thought I could try out my new belt for the next set.

60 x 2 Yes only two reps! Michael said to finish with push presses, but I couldn’t even get a single rep.

45 x 6 push presses with belt

55 x 3 push presses without belt

There is some consternation with overhead pressing. I feel like it really shouldn’t be as difficult as it seems to be. I know I’m not the strongest person alive, but I am certainly stronger than my military press implies and that is frustrating. I know my technique isn’t always very good, but I also don’t feel like there are glaring form break-downs as often as there used to be. Fatigue seems to be a big factor, and I was alternating my presses with chins and band pull-aparts. Ultimately, I am sure that one of the biggest barriers is entirely inside of my head.

1b. chin-ups…of a sort

I don’t know the proper name for these, but I could easily call them evil forms of torture! I could call them that, but I won’t.

I am used to doing chins with a band, but there was no band involved with these. Michael gave me a boost to the top, and I had to lower myself so that my elbows were roughly 90 degrees then pull myself back up. I repeated those mini top position reps, then lowered myself under control to the lowest position and did as many reps as possible pulling myself up as far as I could, which really wasn’t very far at all! Do you understand now why Michael said I had two humbling exercises to start my day? He could read the frustration in my face as I struggled to pull my body up a measly centimeter or two. Actually, I don’t even know how far I managed to pull myself upwards, but it sure didn’t feel like much at all. The whole sequence of positioning is a challenge: leaning back, pulling the head forward, pulling with the elbows. Once again I am questioning my sanity for putting chin-ups on my list of goals. Why?

I managed 4 sets with 3 upper reps and at least 5 lower reps.

1c. pull-aparts with orange band…Y’s, T’s, and W’s

3 sets of 8 reps each

For the record, the W’s really do suck.

2a. double kettle bell presses, seated on the floor

8 kg x 10, 10 kg x 5 + 8 kg x 6; 10 kg x 6 + 8 kg x 4

2b. single arm kettle bell rows

16 kg x 10 each, 20 kg x 10 each, 24 kg x 10 each

3. parallettes push-ups

2 sets of 10

The second half of my training session wasn’t nearly as frustrating as the beginning. The push-ups are getting a little easier, and I feel like I am able to keep good form longer. The fact that I did them at the end of my session with fatigued arms makes me feel even better about them. Eventually I will feel good about my military presses and chin-ups, too!



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