On Saturday I finally did a strongwoman taster session with Strength Ambassadors; I was originally meant to do this back in April, but injuring my back made sure that didn’t happen.
I will straight up admit – I wasn’t really looking forward to the day. I’ve been feeling very down on myself recently (did you notice??) and I wasn’t really in the mood to go train at a totally different sport with a bunch of strangers. But I made myself go, dammit, and it was a good experience.
First event we did was tyre flips. I’ve been wanting to flip a tyre for ages and have not had the opportunity (closest I’ve got to tyre fun is slamming a tyre with a sledgehammer & pressing one overhead in a group, both at Urban Kings). We had three tyres to play with – two smaller ones and one big 150kg one. I flipped the smallest easily, and the second smallest was a struggle at first but then I managed to flip it quite a few times. As for the big one – I couldn’t even get it to budge an inch off the ground. Annoying, but I wasn’t the only one. I think 4 of the 8 ladies managed to flip it, which was impressive stuff.
Then we did yoke walks at 60, 80 & 100kg. I thought I might find these easier as I’m a fairly big squatter, but the position of the yoke wasn’t natural to me – I squat very low bar, but the yoke sits right on top of your shoulders. I enjoyed this event, though, it was good fun!
Then we did the log. Seriously, fuck the log. We had, I think, a 40kg log & a light practise one. I was the only person who couldn’t even clean the 40kg log, and at this point I seriously wanted to cry; in fact after dumping it for the third time I was mentally figuring out how I could grab my stuff and leave without anyone stopping me. But I stuck with it and… still couldn’t clean the log. The practise one was fine, empty; and with 5kg plates on it I did finally manage to clean it but it was messy.
I guess my issue with that is 1) my shoulders are my weak spot; and 2) I don’t train cleans at all, to the action of cleaning the log just wasn’t in my bodily repertoire, ISWIM. I’m pretty comfortable cleaning a 30kg bar (with fairly poor technique!) but the log has a totally different hand position and the “rolling it up your chest” movement is completely alien to me.
So, I was feeling pretty shit at this point. But the next event was the silver dollar deadlift, which was right up my street. In the absence of a proper set of silver dollar “cages”, we were using a high rack pull with chains. We were placed into groups according to our max deadlift, and I was in the highest group. This totally made me feel less of a giant failure, as up until then I was doing worse than anyone else.
I worked up to a 120kg+chains rack pull, which I was pleased with (it took me three attempts to get it up, though – stupid grip failing me again!!!) 120kg is my pb rack pull, and I’d have been disappointed with anything less.
Next, we had a loading medley. Oh god, I was shit at this. We were divided into two teams, and my team came last both times because of me. Cringe. We had to load & upload a variety of objects on a platform; one team had a higher platform & one a lower platform (but we swapped platform between rounds). I was the shortest person there & I really struggled with the higher platform (although I suppose that’s no excuse).
It took me FIVE ATTEMPTS to get this stupid 40kg keg onto the high platform (just over waist height for me). Five! I very nearly gave up, to be honest. I managed it eventually, but god – all those attempts really took it out of me. Plus I cut my poor little delicate hands to pieces on the edge of the keg. Once again, I was really embarrassed at how crap I was, but no-one else seemed to mind.
The other objects were OK, though – we had a water jug, plates & a kettlebell. The lower platform featured a 35kg keg, which was a piece of cake to load compared to the big one.
Finally, we had another race in two-person teams. I was tasked with pushing a 120kg prowler, then a 4kg crucifix hold. The prowler was a total disaster – I moved it about 6 inches in the allotted time. Once again, I wanted to burst into tears and go home, but I didn’t (it was too close to the end of the session anyhow!). I was OK at the crucifix hold, though, despite my wimpy shoulders.
Overall, I am glad I went to the session, despite the mental challenges (and the all-too-frequent desire to burst into tears!). I had thought there would be more carry-over from powerlifting to strongwoman, but I guess there wasn’t as much as I expected. All the other ladies there had trained in strongwoman before, so maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh on myself. But when did I ever manage that?!
The next morning, as I was ruminating on my shit performance, my boyfriend reminded me that I am trained in three very specific lifts, not for general strength/fitness/condition. Which is true. I just felt very embarrassed as at the beginning of the session I’d told people that I have been powerlifting for 5 years, and then I felt obligated to do well because five years is a long time, right? I must be an amazing lifter, right? Yeah, not so much. I might stop telling people I’ve been training for 5 years; I can’t actually live up to the image that forms in my head.
This training day, and my conditioning sessions at Urban Kings, have given me the idea that maybe I should think about working on my general fitness/strength than just training for those three lovely lifts. Where I will find the time to do so is another matter, as my schedule is pretty full up as it is. Plus I have no idea what my coach will say if I add even more training to my week (probably nothing favourable 😉 )
Big giant thank yous to Sally & Jess from Strength Ambassadors for the day – it was very well-run, and the venue & variety of events was excellent. You should check them out if you’re in/near London!