Posts Tagged ‘fighting’

The Next Thing

I haven’t updated much about my weight lifting program, primarily because it isn’t very exciting. My focus is mostly on my arms and shoulders and back; I know it’s a fallacy but I tend to want to let all my miles do the lower body strength training. I know that isn’t a good idea, but it’s where I am at right now. It’s hard to want to do squats when your legs are worn out from an interval workout the day before. I am just inherently lazy.

My schedule has been running on Monday, Tuesday (speed/quality workouts), Thursday, and a long run on Saturday. Wednesday and Friday are in the weight room. Sunday is my rest day. With 4 days spent running and 2 days in the weight room, you can tell my focus is still on cardio endurance, and since I have a couple of races coming up in the next 2 months (Corporate 4 Miler and Dauber Dash), that seems appropriate.

I call my weight room workout my Michelle Obama Shoulders Plan (MOS Plan) for what should be the obvious reason (hint: it has nothing to do with politics). I want my back, shoulders, arms, and chest to look awesome, but I also want real strength. I want to get back into SCA fighting, at least melee fighting. I have no idea how to arrange that yet, but Grace is getting older and it is getting just slightly easier to let her be a little more independent. Aside from the fact that I need to get back to practicing technique and just getting helmet time in, I need to make up for my lack of physical mass with strength and endurance.

My lifting list is usually compromised of:

Bench presses
Bent over and Bench Rows
Lateral Raises
Pectoral Flys

I aim for three sets of each, and I like 10 reps per set; if I go up in weight, I might drop it back to 2 sets or I tend to find myself hitting failure around rep 7 or 8 on the 3rd set. I try to rest a minute in between each, or sometimes I double up lifts, like doing bench presses (if I am using dumbbells) followed immediately by bench rows, and then rest. Time and equipment usage are both issues in the weight room at the James Center Y, which is crowded every day with the same crew of gym rats. Doubling up saves me time and helps me vacate a bench faster so someone else can use it.

The lightest weights I am using are 7.5 pound dumbbells for those lateral raises. I finally reached a 50 pound bench press last week when I actually got to use a barbell and bench press rack (this rarely happens when there are 4 or 5 guys waiting to use it and all benching between 175 and 240 pounds). I am up to doing my shrugs with 30 pound dumbbells in each hand. I am being very cautious with deadlifts (Romanian Straight Legs lifts to be specific) because a back or hamstring injury would drop me for a good long while, but I am up to 50 pound deadlifts. I should probably do my planks first rather than last because depending on how my lifts went, sometimes my planks don’t make my full 1 minute rep because my arms are trashed. I do them last because they are done in another area and I try to be among the first of the lunch crew in the weight room or the crowding becomes an issue.

Now, I have been coming to this weight room for almost 18 months, but admittedly, not consistently. When half marathon training gets deep or I am heavy into Pennsic or Gem Joust prep, weights fall by the wayside. But there are coworkers of mine in there, and they know me and I know them. So what makes it weird is that no one, even the people who know me and see me at work, ever acknowledges my presence.

On one hand, I am okay with this. I am the only woman I ever see in the weight room at the James Center between 12-1 p.m. Period. I don’t exactly want to be singled out and I don’t want to waste much time chatting about football or work or anything. At the same time, it is kind of awkward to be completely ignored; particularly by people who know me and talk to me outside of the gym.

Last week, the cone of silence was finally broken. One of the trainers came up and spoke to me. He talked about how he wished he saw more women in the weight room and it was encouraging to him to see me in there. I told him how I had heard derisive comments about “Man Land” in the women’s locker room and that I wished it wasn’t so myself. That said, I get why women would avoid that particular weight room. Like I mentioned, there is a core group of rats in there every single day, and they seem close knit and they lift really heavy, and male or female, that can be an intimidating scenario to enter. But the compliments the trainer paid me did make my day.

Ultimately, I have seen progress in how much weight I can move around and I have seen progress on what my arms, shoulders, chest and neck look like. The next area I want to see progress in is my will to put armour on and go out and fight. If I can will myself to run 13 miles, and will myself to lift 50 pounds, then I can will myself into putting on my gear and facing my friends with a sword in my hand.
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