So on Sunday I attended a free workshop run by Strength Ambassadors. It was facilitated by Sally Moss who is the founder of Strength Ambassadors and they also run this cool (would love to attend one day) programme called Ladies Who Lift. The workshop was going to cover the basics of squat/deadlift/push up/pull up. Just up my alley.
Thankfully I saw the advert for the free workshop on Facebook and got a space when I applied. Yay! I was very excited and slightly nervous when I set off on Sunday for the gym as I wasn’t sure what to expect. What if she thinks my form’s crap? What if everyone else can already do pull ups? What if my boobs start leaking because I’ve run out of breast pads? Yes, I seriously think these thoughts.
Well, I arrived and there were 2 others there and another who walked in at the same time as me. The group didn’t get much bigger and there were just 6 of us. Perfect. This meant that Sally was able to give us some individual attention and feedback on each of the exercises that we did.
Squat…First we did body weight squats to ensure that we were getting the right form and keeping our butts aimed at the ceiling. Ha ha. Strange way to put it, but it worked. We worked in pairs and our partners stopped us when we lost the curve in our backs and therefore good form. Then we were ready to do our first set which was with the Olympic bar only. Then we were free to add as much weight as we wanted for the next 2 sets. I was squatting 40kg when Sally told me to try to get a little lower. In my head I was saying “seriously?”, but I tried and did go lower than ever before. Ah, the amazing things we can do when we have the right support and the right people nudging you forward.
Push Up…I’m quite proud of the fact that I can do 15 push ups in a set, especially since 6 months ago I was complaining to The Special One that I’ll never be able to do any. He encouraged me to do one, then two, you get the picture. Then Sally challenged us to go into push up position and try to come down as slowly as possible. The last one down was the winner. Guess what? I won! There wasn’t a physical prize but the pride of winning was the best thing. Especially since I looked like the least fit person in the room. Next drill was to lay flat on the ground and push with hands and feet to get about an inch off the ground. In other words, getting into the bottom of the push up position. Not easy! That is definitely something I’ll be practising at home each day. Finally we were encouraged to use whatever equipment was around and do a set of 10 perfect push ups. I opted for a bench and did my 10 but it was difficult. Again, I’m going to be doing more of these on my off days and get that form right.
Deadlift…My favourite of the big lifting exercises. I love deadlifts. I love adding more weight and being able to lift it. Feedback from Sally was that my form was good and…wait for it…she thinks I can definitely do more than the 60kg that is currently my personal best for reps. So now what am I going to do? Lift more, that’s what!
Pull Up…This is probably the exercise that I dread the most and the one that I really want to be able to do. But, time ran out so we didn’t cover the pull up. However, Sally pointed us in the direction of her YouTube channel where there are loads of videos including ones about training for that first pull up. One I was home that Sunday and Baby Girl was settled in for the night, I watched and watched and watched until I couldn’t keep my eyes open!
My 3 takeaways:
1. I would make better progress working with a good coach. I realised this without a doubt on Sunday. Just a few words from Sally and I was squatting better and would lift more in my deadlift instead of being over cautious and worrying about what I must look like and thinking that if anyone’s watching then they probably want to see me fail (again those stupid thoughts that pop up).
2. I can squat pretty low, I just have to do it.
3. I can deadlift more weight, I just have to have a little faith in my abilities. I am strong. I am getting stronger each time I train therefore I can lift more and more and more.
What I did next
I kinda stalked Sally. Online, that is. I followed her on Twitter. Made sure that I was following the Facebook page. Googled her to see what other words of wisdom I could glean from other articles that she’d written. Then I stumbled upon this page. Oh Em Gee! For those not clicking on the link, it’s about strength standards and what she classifies as good/very good/excellent for certain exercises. Of course then I had to go and work out my strength standards. Um, I’m not even CLOSE to good 😦 but at least this gives me something to work towards. I’ve got lots of work to do!
I’m so grateful for people like Sally who make workshops like these accessible to by offering them for free now and then. After my teaching course finishes and I start working, there’s definitely going to be a ‘Training with Sally‘ savings jar.
Thanks for reading x
Ps. I know that I’m linking to Sally and her business a lot in this post. I haven’t been asked to do this, I just think that she’s a great coach and has a lot to offer – I mean check out her videos and you’ll see what I mean. Hugs x