My triathlon friends seem to enjoy their bikes WAY more than I do and thus are enjoying their off season cyclocrossing. Is that a word? Myself, this is running season. But since I don't have a fall marathon ahead of me, I've decided to do some other things besides running and swimming. I've decided to give weight training another chance. For the last two Mondays Dave and I have been attending "Strictly Strength" at our gym. It's sort of aerobics-meets-weight training. It's small weights, high reps, and it's all set to music. Sure it's kinda a "chick" class, but if it will get me stronger then I'm in. The first week was killer since I haven't lifted a weight since maybe May, but this past Monday I totally kicked that class's butt. For every squat and lunge I kept thinking "this is going to make me a faster biker." And for every fly, pushup, and shoulder press I thought, "I'm going to be a faster swimmer this year." I'm not nearly as sore as I was the first week. I hope to keep Strictly Strength on the schedule for many months to come.
Tonight I tried something completely new: CrossFit. Some friends of ours from college have recently started doing Krav Maga (kinda mixed martial arts) and CrossFit. I have absolutely NO desire to do any contact sport so we said we would join them for a CrossFit session. While filling out the information sheet I said my goal was to have "Big ass muscles!" I don't know if the leader understood that as big muscles or ass muscles, but he set up the workout to be strength, strength, strength tonight. After a short warmup we got started.
4 X 50ft walking lunges with weight overhead: I joined the other girls in the class with the small bar--30 pounds. I did three sets at 30 pounds overhead and then moved up to the 45 pound bar for the last set. Thank goodness I would say lunges are a strength of mine.
4 X 2 each side Turkish get-ups with increasing weight: What the hell is a Turkish get-up? Well, it's part sit up, part squat, part don't drop the weight on yourself. :) Start laying on the ground with a kettlebell in one hand straight up above. Take the leg on the same side as the kettlebell and bend it with your foot on the ground (to push off of). Then roll to the opposite side onto your arm, pushing up to your elbow and then onto your hand. The weight is still up in the air and is now above your head. The whole time you're looking at the weight. Now push off your hand on the ground and take the leg that's not bent and sweep it under you until your kneeling. The kettlebell is still overhead. Now push off the leg underneath you until you are standing up, keeping the weight overhead. Now reverse everything...down into a kneel, hand on the ground, leg sweeps underneath and is put in front, elbow on the ground, roll onto your side, and onto your back, of course keeping the weight above your head. I started with 4kg (~8.8 pounds) for the first set and then went up to 8kg (~17.6 pounds) for next three sets.
5 X 5 front squats with increasing weight: After adjusting to the technique of holding the bar in front (see picture), I totally rocked the squats. Squats have always been a specialty of mine. I started with a 30 pound bar, then 45 pounds, 50 pounds, 60 pounds, and I maxed out at 80 pounds. It gave me great pleasure when the total stud of the class said I did really great on the squats.
4 X 100m sled pulls with increasing weight: Finally the last workout of the night. I started with 95 pounds on the sled and then the instructor went crazy with the weight. I have no idea what the middle two weights were but the last weight was 195 pounds. People, that's nearly two of me I was pulling! I felt like such a cartoon character. My feet were going so fast and I was going nowhere. I was leaning at a 45 degree angle. Had I stopped, I would have fallen over. And I felt like such a fool as Dave and our friend Dave were walking beside me giving me encouragement as I was "running" with the sled. Seriously, though, I was pretty impressed with myself with all that weight.
Well, we gave it a try. It was fun and I think we did well at it. Unfortunately it's a little too heavyweight for our triathlon training, but it's certainly good to have learned some techniques that we can incorporate into our regular weight training at lower weights, higher reps. I'd say CrossFit was a success.