Sometimes I seriously think that my coach must spend hours upon hours dreaming up new ways to torture me, and upper body days often tend to be the most gruelling of training sessions. I realize that Michael doesn’t really spend 23.5 hours planning my torture. I also realize that he is only thinking of ways to work on my weaknesses and make me better, stronger, and more flexible. It’s just that some days it really does feel like cruel and unusual punishment. Seriously?! You want me to do that?!
1a. handstand push-up practice
After how amazing these felt last week, this first set was a little disappointing in how tough it felt to get two reps. Michael pointed out that my hands might have been a little narrower than last week, which would mean an increased range of motion.
This set was better with my hands just a little bit wider.
This set was also going well and we thought I could get a fifth rep, but I couldn’t.
The fourth rep just wasn’t going to happen today.
And then just a handstand hold. I have no idea how long I held it for, although it felt like an eternity, which means it likely wasn’t more than 20-30 seconds.
1b. rope climb practice
As Michael was hauling out the rope for this, he joked about me not liking him much today. I wasn’t really having unkind thoughts about my coach at that point; however, this was one of those moments when I was questioning his sanity in expecting me to climb a rope. I am sure that skepticism was evident all over my face as he demonstrated what he wanted me to do. I don’t think I have ever climbed a rope in my life. It didn’t matter that this one was only as high as the top of the squat rack…I just knew that I couldn’t do that!
x 3 reps of pulling myself from a seated position to a standing position
x 5 reps of pulling myself from laying on the floor with knees bent to standing x 2 sets
And you know what? While I wouldn’t say that this was the easiest thing to do, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I expected it to be. I won’t be doing actual rope climbs anytime soon, but I actually could do these!
2a. chin-ups, underhand grip
2 micro movements at the top + 4 at the bottom
2 + 4
3 + 5
I have been doing these with a neutral grip, so using an underhand grip was a bit different. I think this grip helped me most at the bottom but made the top harder. I wish that these would start to feel easier, but they just aren’t. Honestly, if any of the goals on my current list are unlikely to be achieved, I feel like this is the one. I am feeling confident that the handstand push-up is going to be a reality. Even though I don’t practice dips very often, I am fairly confident that I will be able to reach that goal. I am not certain but I think that if I was rested and fresh that I just might be able to knock out 25 push-ups in a row. I am highly confident that I will be able to deadlift 3 plates when my next competition comes around, and I am equally confident in my ability to break my own records and those records that are waiting for me to call my own. But this goal of doing more than one unassisted chin-up feels as insurmountable as climbing Mount Everest. Okay, so I know that people have climbed Mount Everest, which means that anything is possible, even doing 2 chin-ups, but there is a lot of distance between where I am now and the top of that mountain.
2b. standing single arm dumbbell presses
20 lbs x 10 each
25 lbs x 8 each
25 lbs x 6 each
The left arm…almost always the left arm! I could have done a few more reps with the right arm, but that left one just wasn’t going to cooperate.
3a. bodyweight skull crushers
I wasn’t even counting during that first set, but I think it would be safe to say that I did at least 10, maybe a few more. This was a new way of doing these, so the first set was all about nailing down the movement.
x 11 or 12…I forgot to write it down in my log until just now.
With each set Michael lowered the bar a notch on the rack, because that makes it just a little bit harder.
3b. chest-supported rows using 16 kg kettle bells
x 11, x 12
with a thumbless grip: x 11 with a 5 second hold on the last rep
3c. TRX bicep curls
Apparently I can’t count reps while learning something new!
Seriously? I only did 3 reps that last set? That’s what I have written down, so it is most likely correct, but that seems so weak. I know that last set was a challenge but seriously?