12 weeks out and all’s well…

This week I started to come to terms with what I’ve signed up for. I also spent more money than I should on things that I NEED (!!) for training. Obviously I can’t kit out my home gym with all the Strongman equipment I could ever need – I don’t have the money or the space for that!! – but Amazon kindly helped me part with some of my hard earned cash and provided me with fat gripz and 20m of rope… Oh and then there was the new Olympic-style dumbbell bar and another set of fractional plates…

fat gripz

Fat Gripz. I will have scary grip strength!

Sunday – Training with my new buddy, Tara

A little while ago I contacted Tara “Sweat Like a Pig” Senic via her blog to find out more about her Strongman training as I wanted to do more! Since then, we’ve been emailing regularly and she invited me to train with her.

So off I toddled to Physical Culture in Putney to meet my new lifting pal and her regular training partner, Anna. I nearly walked past the place as you wouldn’t know it was a gym, but there, outside the front door, were two massive tyres and a selection of atlas stones. Inside, it was free weights galore.

Today was pressing day and looked a little bit like this:

  • Log clean and press:
    • 12.5kgx8 (Swiss bar)
    • 22kgx5 (Swiss bar)
    • 30kgx3, 4, 3, 4, 4 (log)
    • Amazing war wounds on my forearms
forearm bruise

The beginnings of this week’s war wounds…

  • Axle clean and press – Smacked myself on the chin and bit my tongue. Managed to refrain from swearing…
    • 27kgx5
    • 32kgx3
  • Continental clean work with axle
    • I tried to clean and press this bloody thing so many times, but I couldn’t do it!! So frustrating. I’m going to press the 40kg axle at Britain’s Strongest Woman, so next week I’ll start on the axle and try to get that bloody weight above my head!
  • Crucifix holds – at the comp, I’ve got to hold 6kg in each hand.
    • First go, I tried 4kg. I held it out for about 40seconds but my elbows were too bent so it wouldn’t have counted.
    • Second go, I tried 3kg in each hand. I managed about 40 seconds again. I’ve got a fuck load of work to do on this! Ouch!
  • Face pulls
    • 30kgx12
    • 35kgx12
    • 40kgx10
  • Hip thrusts – So Tara’s taking part in a barbell hip thrust competition so this meant we all had to have a go!! 😉
    • I warmed up with 42.5kgx10
    • Second set was timed – how many could I do in 90 seconds. 62.5kgx22. I think I got to 15 seconds before I had to stop. I sucked! Tara and Anna managed 82.5kgx30. Show offs 😉

Then there was a mad sprint to the pub that does the most amazing breakfast. Anna ordered for me, eggs rancheros, and 15 minutes later the most amazing pile of chorizo, avocado, bacon, eggs, refried beans, salsa and tortillas was placed in front of me. Despite the minute steaks and eggs I’d had for first breakfast at 8am that morning, I wolfed this down like I hadn’t eaten in a week.

Monday – deadlift accessory exercises

At the comp, I’ve got to axle deadlift 100kg and then 3 increases.

I can deadlift a 100kg barbell for 2…

There is serious work to do…

So I decided to do a day of deadlift accessories knowing I’d be training deadlifts with Tara on Friday (which then changed to Wednesday).

After 15 minutes of hip mobility and foam rolling (foam roll on IT band, hamstrings, adductors, flexors and piriformis; squat stretch, hip flexor stretch, clams, leg swings and fire hydrants), training went like this:

  • Rack pulls (rack deadlifts)
    • 60kgx5
    • 70kgx5
    • 80kgx5
    • 90kgx5
    • 100kgx4
    • 105kgx0 (FAIL!)
    • 102.5kgx1
  • Trap bar deadlifts
    • 60kgx5
    • 70kgx5
    • 75kgx5
    • 80kgx5
    • 85kgx5
    • 90kgx2
  • Sumo deadlifts
    • 60kgx5
    • 70kgx5
    • 80kgx5
    • 85kgx4

10 minutes of stretching followed and then I stuffed my face with lemon and pepper turkey steak, broccoli, kale and rice.

Tuesday – rest

I had intended on doing bench press and pressing accessories today but when the boyfriend said he needed to use the gym room at the same time I realised that actually I could do with a rest day: my shoulders and back muscles ached from the hard work on Sunday and Monday so, instead, I spent the evening icing my neck and shoulder (I think I must have slept funny on Monday night because the left side of my neck has been painful all day! Gah!)

Wednesday – Training with Tara again

The gym was busy! We managed to squeeze ourselves in and had to deadlift in a power rack. At least it wasn’t bicep curls..

  • Front squats:
    • 20kgx10, 10
    • 40kgx8
    • 50kgx8
    • 55kgx5
    • 60kgx3
  • Axle deadlifts:
    • 50kgx8
    • 60kgx5
    • 70kgx5
    • 80kgx5
    • 90kgx5
    • 100kgx1.5
    • 105kgx1 – although I thought it was 102.5kg and didn’t realise until I got home that evening!! LOOK WHAT I DID! YAY!!!!!
  • DB holds (grip work for farmer’s):
    • 27.5kgx20secs
    • 35kgx20secs
    • 35kgx30secs
  • Sandbag lifts:
    • 25kgx3
    • 35kgx3, 3
    • 50kgx2

And then there was NANDO’S: half chicken (mango and lime) and sweet potato mash. I’d been dreaming about this all day…


Sweet protein and carbs! I love you Nando’s!

Thursday – bench press and overhead pressing accessories

I woke up this morning to find my arms looking like this:

war wounds

At least the bruises are purple, so go with all my clothes and hair!

I’ve decided to keep following the 5/3/1 programme for bench press. So this is C2W1… I also need to make sure I work on my overhead pressing more than once a week! So Thursday’s workout looked like this:

  • Bench press
    • 20kgx5
    • 23kgx5
    • 28kgx3
    • 30kgx5
    • 34.5kgx5
    • 39.5kgx10
  • Push press – first time using my fat gripz. Forearms are KILLING ME!!
    • 20kgx5
    • 25kgx5
    • 30kgx5
    • 35kgx2 – went for a second set, but I couldn’t get it above my head!
    • 30kgx5
    • 32.5×4
barbell and fat gripz

Ahhh don’t they look pretty!

  • Dumbbell seated overhead press
    • 4.5kgx10
    • 9.5kgx5
    • 12kgx3, 5
    • 13kgx2, 1.5
  • Crucifix hold
    • 4.5kgx40secs, 35secs, 30secs

Friday – squats

I’ve also decided to continue following the 5/3/1 programme for my squats. Again, this is C2W1… I’ve found that my squats just suck so did a bit of research and came across this article on T-Nation written by the Juggernaut bloke Chad Wesley Smith on how to improve the explosiveness of your squat. On reflection, I won’t be following his suggestions again…

  • Squats
    • 35kgx5
    • 43kgx5
    • 52kgx3
    • 56kgx5
    • 64.5kgx5
    • 73.5kgx9
  • Speed squats (a CWS suggestion)
    • 60kgx4, 4 – took longer than 4 seconds!
    • 40kgx4, 4 – this was probably too light
  • Pause squats – hold the bottom position for 7 seconds (a CWS suggestion)
    • 40kgx5, 5, 5
    • I will NOT do these again! The amount of pressure on my lower back was ridiculous 😦 When I told the boyfriend that I’d been doing these, he was not happy with me!  Ooops!
  • Split squats
    • 40kgx5, 5
    • 42.5kgx5
    • 45kgx5
    • 47.5kgx5
    • 50kgx5

Saturday – rest

Today was a day of knitting and catching up with my close friends. And a lie-in. Kind of… I managed to resist cake, which I find nigh on impossible, although I did eat all the gingerbread my friend made for me. Ooops. Good job I’m bulking! Haha!

Sunday – training with Tara

Anna couldn’t make it this weekend so it was just me and Tara. This meant less rest 😉 I was determined to get a 40kg axle off the floor and above my head today. So that’s what I did…

  • Axle press
    • 27kgx5
    • 32kgx5
    • 37kgx3
    • 40.5kgx1
    • 40.5kgx2
    • 40.5kgx1
    • 40.5kgx1
    • 30.5kgx12 in 75secs. Killer!!!
  • Axle continental clean
    • 40.5kgx1 – first set using the axle at 40.5kg. Just couldn’t clean it 😦
  • Clean
    • 40.5kgx2 – was getting tired and couldn’t get it above my head!

Damn axle! Stings so much! Ouch!!

  • Log clean and press
    • 30kgx1 – too soon after the max reps axle clean and press. Was a bit worried…
    • 30kgx4
    • 30kgx4.5
    • 30.5kgx4
    • 32.5kgx2
  • Farmer’s holds
    • 39kgx20secs
    • 49kgx30secs
    • 59kgx35secs
    • 65kgx33secs – this is competition weight! At least I know I can pick it up! BOOM! Now I’ve just got to walk 20m with it…
  • Crucifix holds
    • 4kgx38secs
    • 4kgx30secs
  • Face pulls
    • 35kgx10
    • 40kgx10
    • 45kgx8

No breakfast this week as Tara had to get home, but I treated myself to a sweet onion teriyaki chicken Subway, a Starbucks skinny orange mocha and some blister plasters on my way back to the station.

And that’s my first week of training with competition in mind. I’m bruised and sore, but I have had so much fun! Deciding to compete was clearly a good idea as my motivation to lift has rocketed!!

I must admit, I’ve quite enjoyed not cycling to work this week! Ooops. I mustn’t get into the habit of just taking the train though. The problem is, I find cycling 30 miles and then trying to lift almost impossible as I’m shattered. Next week, I’m going to cycle half way to work every day (so to Putney) and catch the train the rest of the way. If I leave the bike in Putney I can always go to the gym before I go home!! Win!

If you’ve read the whole of this post, then thank you. I’ve rambled on and probably been pretty boring. Sorry! 😉



  1. How the hell did you do 50kg split squats?!?! I need to step my squats up 🙂 Oh and I love the sneaky Nandos shot! Mine is already on my Instagram hehe

    1. They were pretty wobbly!!

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