small. short. woman. lift. small. short. woman. lift.

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Thread: small. short. woman. lift.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    94

    Default small. short. woman. lift.

    • phoenix arizona seminar date
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    Hmmmm. After poking around in this forum a little while, I thought maybe I should try doing a public training log, both for the usefulness it might bring to others with similar profiles (probably women, small women, and people who think too much) and for the possibility I might learn something by thinking aloud in a public forum and having someone answer back. Plus itís possible that my boyfriend doesnít always want to be listening to me thinking aloud about the weights I just tried to lift, so maybe this will actually help me to talk about other stuff. (Heís very nice about it, and seems to be attentive as I blather on, but Iím somewhat obsessive about whatever Iím into at a given time. If itís not heavy lifting blah blah blah, itís gardening blah blah blah, fermented foods blah blah blah, goaltending blah blah blah, etc, etc.. The hockey stuff makes for more two-way conversations at least.)

    Iím starting this public log a number of weeks into my training. So I guess Iíll need to post a summary of progress thus far before I get too deeply into this log, just for the sake of completeness. Or maybe not.

    Background:
    Iím a woman - chromosomally and hormonally, 46 years old as of this spring. Iím 5 feet tall (more like 4í 11.75Ē but when Iím running out of banks and seven-elevens Iím sure theyíd say 5 feet). My current weight fluctuates between about 112 and 115...the rolling average is about 113.5 or so.

    Bodyfat (because some of us think about these things): 23.9% by DXA scan as of the end of May; currently 20.2% by Navy circumference method (down from 22.3% as the end of May.) I also have bodyfat estimates using one-site calipers but they seriously underestimate the bodyfat percentage (by about 10%). I, like many women, carry most of my fat mass in my lower body. The DXA scan was pretty funny.

    I have short legs and a long torso. My boyfriendís 13 year old son is now taller than me, but Iím still taller than him when I am sitting down. My parents are both Japanese. My relatives from my motherís side are strong, block-shaped women and men with short legs, broad builds (broad shoulders, thick torsos, thick legs) and blocky heads (I think this is a classic Japanese physical type); the folks on my dadís side of the family tend to be lean and wiry and anxious. Iím somewhere in between, but I definitely have my dadís anxiety.

    My work is sedentary...I work from home, sit at a computer all day, and mostly get up to procrastinate or look for food.

    As far as physical activity goes, I play recreational ice hockey 2-4x a week (out as a forward 0 to 1x week and in as a goalie the rest of the time), cycle commute around town (for appointments and errands), and do a little martial arts. Iím currently doing stuff at a local western martial arts school that teaches swordplay and related arts (longsword, rapier, sword and shield, quarterstaff), wrestling, and (now) bartitsu. Historically Iíve been more of a dabbler and enthusiast than a diligent student; Iím trying to be more diligent these days but the thing that gets my best attention is goaltending. Other stuff Iíve dabbled in over the years: wrestling, boxing, wing chun, Crossfit. I even started this program a ways back, but I got distracted (I think I got sick or something and then went chasing other butterflies) and didnít follow through. I used to play a lot of ultimate frisbee until a couple of years ago, but I find itís much harder on the body than hockey and too much of a time-suck the way the league runs in my town.

    What Iím doing, SS-wise:

    A modified version of SS. Donít know if one could say Iím truly doing the program because of the substitutions, other recreational activities, and the inability to drink milk, but whatever: Iím getting stronger.

    Subs
    1) Subbing dumbbell presses for bench presses because Iím on my own, donít have a spotter, and donít want to crush myself under a bar. Iíve got a wussy grip and questionable arm strength. Iím also trying to correct some R/L imbalance issues. I have some weights that I tie on to the dumbbells to make the increases more manageable.

    2) Using hang power cleans rather than straight on power cleans on the advice of a local Crossfit trainer here, who also runs powerlifting classes at her gym. It does make the mechanics simpler because I donít have bumper plates and Iím still trying to work out the timing of the transition between the deadlifting to the hang position and the clean. I held the weight at just the bar for the longest time because (a) the bar was probably too heavy for me anyway, at least to start, and (b) I wasnít sure of my form.

    Warmup and cool-down varies.
    Generally I ride my bike to the gym, maybe row a few minutes and/or do some dowel stretches and a few pullups or chinups (2 sets, 5x each, so just to practice). Dips if I have to kill time while waiting for a rack.

    Afterward, I usually do a few one-legged squats (2 sets, 5x each) to practice the skill and because I have a left/right imbalance Iíd like to address, and maybe a few pullups to reassure myself I can do them. I donít go to failure, I just do a few. Also do some stretches to work on the splits and to loosen up the hips.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    94

    Default Weights

    I wrote this while waiting for my posting privileges to be activated:

    Start Weights:
    Squat - 85 lbs
    Dumbbell Bench - 50 lbs (25 lbs @ side)
    Deadlift - 95
    Press - 50
    Power Clean - 45 (probably better to have started with lower, but I am using whatís available in the gym)

    Most Recent Weights before last workout (15/16 sessions in):
    Squat - 135 lbs
    Dumbbell Bench - 64.5 lbs (32.25 @side)
    Deadlift - 155 lbs
    Press - 65 lbs
    Hang Power Clean - 53

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    94

    Default Thursday August 19

    Was in a hurry on Thursday. Trying to get a workout in before joining my bf to meet his 80-something year old mother at the airport. This led to an error.

    Squats: 136.5 lbs
    Dumbbell Bench: 66.5 (33.25 @ side)
    Deadlift: 170?, but done essentially as singles.

    The error:
    I was supposed to deadlift 165 Thursday, but I had an embarrassing math-is-hard Barbie moment. 45-45-45-10-10-10-10.... wasn't that 165?

    Anyway, I tried a couple of times to lift 175 and could barely manage to grip it to lift it slightly off the ground. Was really surprised (because I still thought it was 165), so decided I should back off 5 lbs to what I thought was 160. My memory of what I in fact did is fuzzy now but I'm pretty sure I only backed off 5 lbs. Anyway, lifted what I thought was 160 but was noticing form breakdowns and a need to pause longer to reset between lifts. But I was already past my deadline to leave so I had to clean up and go.

    Realized my error in the car, on the way to the airport.

    I am thinking I should re-do the 165 next session, just to make sure I can do that weight properly.

    ---

    Squats
    As for the squats, meh, not completely happy with my form and speed this session and wonder if I should keep it at this weight next session and work on really nailing the form and hip drive.

    I am not sure if this is a smart thing, but the last couple of sessions I have added an extra set after the working set with a slightly lower weight (115 lbs). I do the reps while thinking hard about good form.

    Dumbbell Bench presses
    Today I could really notice the weakness of my left arm relative to my right arm. I am not strong enough to stabilize my wrist joints well, and I am now at the point where this is really showing as a point of weakness. I think my chest muscles are capable of producing bit more force yet, but my forearms and wrists are the wiggly weak link. I don't like it. Wondering if I should work a little on strengthening the forearms specifically.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    2,250

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chibichibi View Post
    What Iím doing, SS-wise:

    A modified version of SS. Donít know if one could say Iím truly doing the program because of the substitutions, other recreational activities, and the inability to drink milk, but whatever: Iím getting stronger.

    Subs
    1) Subbing dumbbell presses for bench presses because Iím on my own, donít have a spotter, and donít want to crush myself under a bar. Iíve got a wussy grip and questionable arm strength. Iím also trying to correct some R/L imbalance issues. I have some weights that I tie on to the dumbbells to make the increases more manageable.

    2) Using hang power cleans rather than straight on power cleans on the advice of a local Crossfit trainer here, who also runs powerlifting classes at her gym. It does make the mechanics simpler because I donít have bumper plates and Iím still trying to work out the timing of the transition between the deadlifting to the hang position and the clean. I held the weight at just the bar for the longest time because (a) the bar was probably too heavy for me anyway, at least to start, and (b) I wasnít sure of my form.

    Warmup and cool-down varies.
    Generally I ride my bike to the gym, maybe row a few minutes and/or do some dowel stretches and a few pullups or chinups (2 sets, 5x each, so just to practice). Dips if I have to kill time while waiting for a rack.

    Afterward, I usually do a few one-legged squats (2 sets, 5x each) to practice the skill and because I have a left/right imbalance Iíd like to address, and maybe a few pullups to reassure myself I can do them. I donít go to failure, I just do a few. Also do some stretches to work on the splits and to loosen up the hips.
    The dumbbells are clearly a near-perfect sub. I wouldn't worry there. It might slow down your progress slightly, so if you get concerned about bench progress, remember that heavy dumbbells are hard.

    Regarding the clean, hang cleans still have the explosive element which is of highest value. How much experience do you have with cleans? If you don't already know it, ask your CF trainer friend to teach you the Burgener warmup, (as designed, it's snatch-specific, but can be modded to train the clean).

    Have you bought the Starting Strength book?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    424

    Default

    Want to hear something sad? I use a calculator to figure out my weights since I
    fear making a loading mistake.

    Yep, shoot my brain-dead ass.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    94

    Default

    hey slowjoe,

    thanks for the reassurance about the substitutions. I was starting to waffle about it slightly after my last workout, but they do expose my weaknesses, so I think that's a good thing.

    I don't have much experience with cleans, although I've done kettlebell cleans with lighter (9 to 12 kg) kettlebells. I actually booked a session with the Crossfit trainer here because I wanted some feedback at my attempts at the power clean. I was trying to learn from internet videos, written instructions, and a little advice from a helpful guy at the next squat station at my community centre gym, but I didn't know if I was doing it well and was reluctant to increase the weight. After watching me with some light bars, she did say that it looked like the cleans were my strongest lift, which came as a surprise.

    Her Crossfit facility offers powerlifting classes so I am thinking of going to those once a week for some feedback, at least initially. And so perhaps I can learn more about the Burgener warmup.

    And yeah, I have the Starting Strength book. I sort of read the first edition ages ago, and had been carrying around and looking at the pictures in the 2nd edition. However, I had this idea that I already kinda sorta knew something about squatting and deadlifting so I didn't review much when I jumped into the program this summer. Which is kind of embarrassing, but sometimes I have a tendency to overprepare and I was trying to get past that. So I knew less than I thought I did when I started.

    I'm now reading the second edition more carefully, and just received my copy of the DVD.
    Last edited by chibichibi; 08-20-2010 at 11:08 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    94

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Moving_Target View Post
    Want to hear something sad? I use a calculator to figure out my weights since I
    fear making a loading mistake.

    Yep, shoot my brain-dead ass.
    heh, I'm first in line. On the way to the airport, I was entering "45...45...45..10..10..10..10..." into my calculator just to be really really sure that it really was 175 that I'd tried to lift (no, I wasn't driving). And then I had to enter it again, just to be really really really really sure.

    I'm going to have to make a little checklist with diagrams for each workout, I think. Might have to use crayon.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    424

    Default

    Crayon or a dry eraser and white board.

    I don't feel too bad now seeing how someone else can be defeated by simple
    addition too.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    94

    Default

    For some reason, the so-called simple stuff tends to elude me. I used to handle algebra no problem (but that was decades ago), but give me a column of actual numbers to add and I'd find some way or other to mess up.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    283

    Default

    starting strength nutrition camp
    I don't know what it is about lifting that does it, but simple math becomes more difficult in a strenuous workout.

    I'm a real math whiz, but still like to use 3x5 cards with my loadings written down on them.

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