Tag Archives: London Clubs championships

Post-competition plans

100kg squat face

I didn’t think that anyone had got a decent shot of my 100kg squat, then this one appeared on Facebook courtesy of David McWilliams. Hurray! There I am squatting 100kg, with an appropriate squat face.

Also this photo is proof that the term “two plate squat” means bugger all in competition terms. (Personally, I dislike the one/two/three plate terminology. Yeah, I know, I’m a miserable sod.)

I’m back at work today and had intended to start the week by eating more protein! Then I managed to come to work with protein powder but no shaker again, bloody hell I really am a genius. I guess I’ll start over tomorrow.

The British Classic is on September 20th, so I have just under 2 months to cut just over 3kg of weight. I’d like to be comfortably under 72kg on competition day because I suspect I may have an afternoon weigh-in. There’s no way I can go a whole morning without eating/drinking before an afternoon weigh-in so I need to be light enough to have breakfast on competition day.

I plan to do this by…. well, I dunno. For starters all the sugar/pasta/bread I’ve been eating for the last couple of months needs to be cut down. That won’t be a huge ask because, frankly, I’ve really gone to town on sweets & desserts recently (cheesecake 3 times in the last week? why the hell not). I also really want to get back to doing conditioning more regularly because I feel so damn good when I do that class. Last week, when I didn’t do any holistic or conditioning classes, I really felt slow & sluggish.

So, the plan is to go to Pilates & conditioning this week, and head back to BGWLC on Thursday & Saturday (I’m having tonight off!).

As for the grip issue – god, I really have to address it. Yesterday I ordered a Hand X Band from Pullum Sports, and I need to dig my gripper out of the box it’s been buried in since I moved house. And I will renew my vow to do static bar holds/dumbbell holds at the gym when I can, even if it makes me late home. Godammit, I don’t want to keep failing my deadlifts before of my stupid right hand!!

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GBPF London Clubs Championships

I’m trying to think of an interesting start to this blog post & failing, other than “So yesterday I competed in the GBPF London Clubs 2014…” So! yesterday I competed in the GBPF London Clubs! This is a different competition to the GBPF Greater London Championships which happens in November – the purpose of this competition was originally to establish the best powerlifting club in London, but it’s now grown to be something much bigger. Yesterday’s event has 75 entered lifters, and by the time I left (at around 5.30pm) the 93kg men + above had only just started lifting. I have no idea what time it all went on until, but hopefully not too late!

As I mentioned in my last post, this has been the oddest competition prep ever. Since I didn’t have to make weight, and because I’d been off work & out of my usual routine during the preceding week, my eating had been all over the place & I hadn’t been to Yoga or Pilates. Instead, I spent the week doing DIY in sweltering heat and eating 2 meals a day (mostly sugar, crisps and pies). My aim to eat more protein in July has really gone out of the window.

Still, I got my bathroom floor tiled, which was the week’s goal:

My freshly-tiled bathroom floor

My freshly-tiled bathroom floor

By the time Friday evening rolled around I felt shit. Tired, unhappy guts, craving vegetables (me! craving vegetables!), sore and achy.

My traditional pre-competition meal is a Nando’s, but since I didn’t go into town at all last week we had a faux Nando’s cooked at home. It definitely hit the spot – we have this sort of meal pretty often at home and it’s always a favourite.

Faux Nando's

Faux Nando’s

On Saturday morning I work up feeling pretty rubbish. I had a bad night’s sleep and on the walk from Bethnal Green tube to the gym my legs felt as weak as shit. Not a good sign. I wasn’t even convinced I’d get my 90kg squat opener.

I weighed in at 74.4kg, putting me at the low end of the 84kg class; there were two other ladies also lifting in the 84kg, and four ladies in my usual 72kg class along with 8 other lifters. We had 5 Bethnal Green women lifting altogether, which is a great turnout! Powerlifting has got so much more popular than when I started – I used to be one of maybe 2 or 3 ladies in total, at most.

The gym was roastingly hot, and luckily someone had thought to install some fans, otherwise I would have completely melted. Still even with the fans, it was hotter inside the gym than out, and my singlet felt like a sweatsuit.

I warmed up to an 80kg squat, then opened with 90kg on the platform, which in the end felt completely fine. 95kg was next, again no problems; then the magic 100kg! Which went up like an absolute dream – in fact I reckon I could have had a decent bash at 102.5kg. I will save that for the British Classic in September!

After a 1-hour break while two groups of boys did their squats, we warmed up for bench. I opened at 50kg, which was fine as usual. Then 52.5kg, which was tough but I got it. I then really had to put down 55kg, knowing I didn’t have a chance in hell. And yep, 55kg went down and then didn’t even move off my chest – much to the amusement of the refs. Ah well, you’ve got to give those guys a little comic relief, eh?

After another hour break, it was deadlift time. I really do not feel good about my deadlifts any more. I had told the refs that I wanted to open at 112.5kg, but I wasn’t sure I’d even get that. I warmed up to 110kg, though, and it felt alright enough that I decided to go for it. 112.5kg on the platform went up fine, so I asked for 117.5kg for my next lift. And…yeah, fail. I failed on grip on my right hand, again.

For my third attempt I went for the same weight, and decided (controversially!) not to chalk my hands, as it felt like I’d chalked my hands too much on the second attempt and that had contributed to the bar slipping. Again, I gave it a really good go, but as soon as I was fully upright the bar slipped from my right hand before the down signal was given.

I’m quite cross with myself, really. My left hand is fine, my legs & back are strong (honestly, the 117.5kg went up without my legs even really straining) but my right hand lets me down. And I know this, I’ve known it for months and months but I’ve been too lazy to work on my grip (because it adds another 15-20 minutes to my workouts and I want to go home, blah blah excuses).

Anyway, my total was 265kg, which is 15kg more than my previous totals at <72kg. Not bad work for a 2.5kg bodyweight increase. Unfortunately I was 5kg short of the British qualifying total for the 84kg class, so I won't have a choice & will have to compete at 72kg in the British classic.

The biggest surprise of the day, though, was that the organisers decided to do placings for each weight group for the women. Normally, they only do placings by weight group for men, and overall placings for women as there aren't very many women. Ergo, I usually come last!

But this time there were enough women to justify weight group placings and… I got second place in the 84kg class! Trust me, no-one was more surprised than me. No #TeamLast for once!

Say cheese! Me with 52kg champion Rachel

Say cheese! Me with 52kg champion Rachel

I got a pretty awesome trophy to add to the pile, and a reminder from the refs to work on that grip.

Overall, I’m thrilled that I got my 100kg squat, my 52.5kg bench and a new big total; but I’m disappointed I didn’t get a deadlift pb and that I didn’t get a qualifying total. But that’s me being hard on myself, as usual. In squat terms alone, I’ve come a long way. Just gotta work on that grip (or start doing deadlifts one-handed?)

Next competition is the British Classic on September 20th, which I have to cut weight for. More on that later.

Back to training & new program

[I feel a need more exciting titles for my blog posts, they’re all a bit… well, the same.]

So I’m 3 sessions into my new program, in the run-up to the Greater London clubs championships. The program is a 4-day one, which I’m doing over 3 days a week, so each “week” of programming actually takes me more than a week. Confused? Me too. But the boys at the gym who didn’t take part in the Farm Open have been doing a similar cycle for a while.

I didn’t have time to write up my workout last Thursday due to OMG I’m talking at a conference!!! stress, but better late than never:

15th May

  • Bench press: 20kg, 2 sets of 5 reps; 30kg, 2 sets of 5
  • Narrow-grip press to 3 boards: 40kg x 3; 45kg x 3; 50kg x 1; 45kg x 3; 47.5kg x 3; 50kg x 1; 45kg x 1

(Strange progression there due to my inability to keep my elbows in when narrow benching, and Martin & I having a bit of a barney about it)

  • Narrow decline tricep press (i.e. bench tilted backwards; really not pleasant!): 20kg, 2 sets of 7 reps; 30kg x 7; 35kg x 4; 37.5kg, 3 sets of 4 reps; 40kg x 4
  • Tricep pushdowns: 10kg x 25; 2 sets of 15kg x 20
  • Dumbbell upright rows: 7kg, 3 sets of 8
  • Incline dumbbell holds: 10kg x 8; 2 sets of 12.5kg x 8
  • Cable crunch: 30kg, 3 sets of 10

Not surprisingly, my arms were like noodles on Thursday night.

19th May

  • Concentric rack squats (walk bar out, squat below parallel to rest bar on pins, pause, explode up): 20kg, 2 sets of 5; 40kg x 5; 50kg x 5; 60kg x 3; 70kg x 3; 80kg x 1; 90kg x 1; two failed attempts at 92.5kg

I’m a bit annoyed I didn’t get either of the 92.5kg attempts, but on the first one I was damn close (second time I lost all power). 92.5kg is my best competition squat, so it’s nice to be approaching that sort of level in ordinary training.

  • Bent-over rows (bar): 20kg x 7; 30kg x 7; 35kg, 2 sets of 7
  • Gym walks (laps of gym holding dumbbells): 20kg, 4 laps, 2 laps, 1 lap
  • Glute & ham raises: 2 sets of 15
  • Pullthroughs: 2 sets of 12
  • Cable crunches: 30kg, 2 sets of 10
  • Shoulder dislocations, stretching etc.

Today I’m so sore. And I managed to bring protein to work but no protein shaker, DOH. One day I might be more organised with my work food, but today is not that day!

Just like starting over

I finally got my new lifting program yesterday. It’s sad but I’m very excited about it. The GBPF London Clubs championships are on July 26th, so I have just under 11 weeks to go, which is ages. Therefore, the program is starting me off pretty light.

  • Box squats with red bands (aiming for a ratio of 25% bar weight; 75% band weight): 20kg, 3 doubles; 25kg; 10 doubles

Given that I was squatting 60kg for 3 tens & 50kg for 5 x 5 during my “play” sessions, dropping back to this sort of weight probably seems bonkers. And yes, I did question it, but at the end of the day you’ve got to trust your coach. Do other strength sports have programs like this, where you dial back the weight/deload etc? I have no idea.

For my box squats, I had to concentrate on perfect form & speed, and no matter how quickly I felt I was shooting off that box, I don’t think I was ever quick enough. I’ve always had issues with my explosive squats not being fast enough (no matter how hard I try).

  • Good mornings: 3 sets of 4 @ 30kg
  • Glute & ham raises: 3 sets of 10 + 5kg plate
  • Hyperextensions: 3 sets of 10
  • Chin ups (or, “an approximation of chin ups” in my case): 3 sets of 5 with the heaviest band
  • V-sit-ups: 3 sets of 10 with a 5kg plate
  • Russian twists: 3 sets of 10 with a 5kg plate

My back is still bothering me a tiny bit, mostly on things like good mornings & sit-ups. I’m not going to worry about it for now, though; I might book myself a massage for later on this month, though, and keep on with my stretching routine of course.

I got halfway to work today when I realised I really feel like working out today – I feel so out of condition & fancy some sort of HIIT/intervals. But, I don’t have my kit with me; and besides, I have a lunchtime meeting & tonight I have to work on my slides for Bacon. Boooooo.

Do you ever back right off on the weight for your programs? Or so you always keep adding weight, no matter what?