Having someone train you via online works pretty well except in the case where you need help right then and there with form or learning a new lift. I’ve had the option all along to videotape at the gym and then send the video over to Katherine but I’ve kind of been too lazy/shy to do that. I’m a person that does better with in person critiquing.
So it dawned on me that the Lift Big Eat Big team are only a short drive (2.5 hours- which is really short compared to how far all of their fans all over the country would need to travel) so I went out on a limb and ask Katherine if this would be a good idea. Obviously, she said, “OF COURSE!” so I went out on a limb and emailed them (well Brandon; the leader, coach, CEO, owner…not sure what his specific title is) if it would be okay if I scheduled a time to get some help from them with specifically squat and deadlift form and then learn olympic lifts. He emailed right back and said that they welcome drop-ins to get coached along side his team. Good enough for me! Any help is better than no help.
So last Thursday our family drop up to Seattle and dropped me off at their doorstep. I was beyond nervous because I know I’m not even 10% as strong as these guys (and girls!), so it felt a little embarrassing, but I had to swallow my pride and remind myself that everyone starts somewhere and I might as well have a correct start. As soon as I walked in the door, right off Brandon just says, “Hey! You Kat?” thanks for breaking the ice for me.
We wasted no time (just my style) and got right into warming up and stretching. I had been doing a lot of dynamic stretching before lifting but I was also doing static stretching, which I learned I should be doing that after and not before. After about 10 minutes of warming up and stretching, we headed to the squat rack. Around us, there are about 6-8 people throwing some heavy weights around but every single person came up to me and introduced themselves and was beyond nice. My fear and embarrassment literally washed away. I’m pretty sure they were nicer than any quilting group I could have dropped into.
So we started with squats. Probably the #1 thing I wanted to work on. Up until then, I had been squatting to parallel…or what I was thinking was parallel because it’s really hard and awkward to look in the mirror to see how far down you are while you are holding your breath and trying to concentrate on what in the world you are doing. Brandon had me put the bar on my shoulders and step back out of the rack, put my heels up on two plates and point my toes slightly out. I sat back and did my typical parallel squat. He then had me rack the bar and then explained that this time, he wants to forget anything I was ever taught and let me knees go over my toes and just sit straight down, chest up, elbows down. I was up for the challenge but not without asking him to stand behind me in case I fell backwards. I got the bar on my shoulders and sat straight down and stood straight back up. I have no complete my first ATG squat. Ass. To. Grass. I racked the bar and waiting for my critique. Before he said anything, that squat felt WAY more natural than what I was doing before. Harder? Yes. But WAY less awkward. He looked at me and said, “I’m not quite sure if there really is a such thing as a squat too deep, but you possibly could fit this definition”. I took this as a compliment. He added that if I had that kind of flexibility in my hips that I should squat that way so I can keep the flexibility I have. However, if I ever wanted to squat for weight (powerlift) then I wouldn’t want to get that deep.
So we add some plates to the bar and I get going on my 5 x 5 squats. During one of my sets, I heard from somewhere in the distant left, “Look at how far down she goes” and I think that is where my self confidence went from about a 3 to a 9 in that day. It continued later on when someone else needed to learn to go deeper and Brandon yelled over to me, “Hey Kat, air squat” took me about 4 seconds to figure out what in the world he was talking about and then busted out an air squat. Squatting deep: check.
Then we moved onto presses. I assumed chest presses but I was wrong, overhead presses. Not sure which one is worse because they are both pretty pitiful. Basically just practiced on moving my head under the bar as soon as the bar went over my head so I wasn’t using my chest the entire time to press and to allow my shoulders to help more.
After that we moved onto the deadlift. This is where I still have serious problems. There is something about my glutes or hamstrings that will not allow me to hold onto the bar with my hands and sit back (as opposed to having my butt high in the air and bent at the waist) and then stand up. Before I came in, I was 100% aware I was using mostly my lower back to pick up the weight. My goal today was to fix this. I’m not sure if it’s a strength thing or a flexibility thing but when I get my butt down, I start shaking and can barely hold myself in the start position, let alone stand up. We worked and worked and worked on this (while adding weight) and every time I felt 100% awkward. We worked up to my 2RM (~55kg) and I still felt super awkwardsauce about the whole thing. I need to practice is what it is.
So then we ran out of time to hit on any olympic lifts. I left the facility hoping I could come back in two weeks when we were up in Bellevue for a week but I needed to find a friend to watch the boys for me. Guess what? One of my friends is taking the boys on the 29th so I get to go back and work some more. On top of that, my husband and my sister are getting me some olympic weightlifting shoes for my birthday so I can scrap the plates under heels and not need to go barefoot during deadlifts.
I’m extremely grateful (this is the month of thanks, right?) for Katherine of getting me into all of this and having the connection with LBEB that ultimately let me to getting to train with some of the best of the best. I’m also thankful for my husband driving my butt all the way up there to do something that he thinks is kind of an odd thing for me to ever get into, “So how many mom’s were there???” haha. And I’m obviously thankful for LBEB for taking the time to work with me! If anyone ever gets the opportunity to get in on some training with them, you won’t regret it!