Friday, June 20, 2008 by Rebecca


It was a very very warm day today, and so we skipped our usual 6p yoga class in favor of going climbing a little later (when it would be a little cooler). Daniel's climbing partner wasn't able to meet him this morning, so he really wanted to get some climbing in. Today was also his 5x5 day which he usually does in the morning on fridays after climbing. So he was going to go a little earlier and get that done - except that he forgot he was going to go earlier so I got to do it with him - which ended up being fun.

Today was his back squats and bench press day.

I've practiced back squats with a dowel before, but I've never done them with weight. I tried the 45# oly bar. I got it up on my shoulders - barely - even with the help of a power cage - and i didn't feel at all comfortable squatting with it, so I grabbed a 24# bar that was *just* wide enough to sit in the power cage rack so I could at least practice the right movement. I think I might have done 2-3 sets of five - mostly just playing around with proper form. Daniel said that I was settling into the bottom of my squat too slowly - and that with heavier weight I wouldn't have any elasticity to help me get back up again. So - something to work on.

I also worked OH Squat form a bit with a 9# bar - more weight than a dowel, but not so much as to compromise form.

I've never done a bench press that wasn't a machine, so that was a fun first. I managed to do 5x 5 sets of the empty oly bar so 45#. The first 2-3 reps were fairly manageable - reps 4 & 5 were tough, with 5 being a real struggle. I suppose I might be able to go up to 50# next week - but I'm not sure I could get 5 full sets done. One thing I really need to work on is pushing with both arms equally. Not keeping the bar level makes the lift a lot harder.

When we were done I decided I wanted to try some deadlifts, too, and Daniel was kind enough to oblige me and help set up the bar, and gave me some good pointers about where to start the lift from: the hips not the shoulders. That tip made an immediate improvement in my form. Daniel said it was looking good, and it definitely felt good. I can tell instantly in the way it feels when i execute the lift whether i did it right or not. I think I could get up to 100 pretty easily. Getting the bar down is still hard though. I have a hard time keeping the arch in my back, and the right side always gets down well in advance of the left. I was wishing for bumper plates I could just drop.

By this time it was quite late but we still hadn't done any climbing, which was suposedly the reason we were there, after all ; so I climbed 2 climbs and he climbed 3.

My first climb was a 5.8+, on a wall I have never been friends with. It is negative incline most of the way up, and it has 1 - 2 overhangy bits (depending on how the route is set.) Negative incline and/or overhangs require more strength. I definitely had to rest on the way up, but I made it to the top, and without significant cheating, and a lot quicker than I probably would have before. I was pretty happy with my technique for the most part.

My second climb was a 5.9 called 'thriller' It wasn't graceful or clean, but I made my way up to the top, and figured out how to get past some tricky geometry problems w/o cheating which made me happy. The end was just sloppy because I was tired. My right foot kept slipping off holds, and I gave up form for just trying to power through to the end.

The most fun part of the evening though was just playing with the weights. I really liked having the time to just play with what was there without a super particular goal in mind and seeing what i could do. Usually I am in a class or in a rush with a very specific goal or a specific time limit, and this was a nice change of pace. Also the weight room had about 4 fans on, and the breeze was awesome.

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