I am feeling rather sorry for my poor wee self today. After being to the dentist for a filling I have been in pure agony on and off all day. And I wonder why I haven’t been to that evil place in 4 years?!! OK OK, I should have gone for my check ups, but I hate pain and I hate injections! It got so bad on my way to the gym that I had to turn and go home (via the Pharmacy to get me some drugs!). Surely after a filling, things should be better?? The Dentist did say I may need a root canal – pooh!
Anyway, I have a some exciting happy news for you too. My friend and fellow Girl Gone Strong, Nia Shanks and I have been listening to our readers and we are collaborating on an exciting product for, as Nia would say, “Y’ALL”! I don’t want to give too much away at this early stage, but we plan to help you take your training to a new level by combining our skills and our experience while considering the needs and goals of our audience. I am very happy to be working with Nia as she is one of the most honest, caring and funny people I know. Not only do we share the same sense of humour, but also the same philosophies when it comes to advising people on training and diet. So we will provide you with nothing but informative, useful and honest material that you can benefit from in the real world. Stay tuned!
Now for a little reflection and evaluating on one of my past videos. In March 2010, I filmed a gym-based workout; I did many of the same exercises I do today but since then I am much stronger and my form is 200% better! What I can’t believe, with all the YouTube Fitness Video Critics out there (plus my mysterious “disliker” for all my newer gym-based videos), is that there are no “dislikes” on this video. I actually cringed so much when I watched this that I want to “dislike” it myself, and then delete delete delete! Instead I thought I would turn my negative feelings about this Video, into a little lesson, or a little reflection on the journey gone by.
Here is the video in question.
Things to look out for:
- My lower back rounding and pelvis “tucking” on my back squat
- My round-back deadlifting, tugging the bar; letting the bar drift forward; using very little hip drive and mostly my back to lift.
- Going too heavy and not understanding the movement patterns of each exercise.
- My single-leg “deadlift” looks more like a squat to me as I clearly have yet to learn a proper hip hinge movement.
- Chin-Ups weren’t the worst, but all I cared about was pulling myself up and had no understanding or consideration to form. My shoulders drift up and I am only getting my chin over the bar, rather than sternum to the bar.
- Dips – what a difference in my strength but otherwise not too bad.
- Finally, my hair was so blonde and I had no arse!
Now, here are a few examples of my improvements. You have probably seen these before, but I just want to show how, even when you think you are good (like I did back then), there is always room for learning and improvement! But also, it’s easy to think you aren’t improving at all until you look back to where you used to be.
My Survival Challenge Back Squats. Still not perfect, but I at lease have much better lower flexibility and hip mobility.
My Sumo Deadlifts. It may only be 70kg on the bar, but you will notice how I use my hips, pull back as I stand up (keeping the bar close) while keeping my back and neck neutral. Also I now place my hips higher to allow me to take advantage on my lever lengths; before I started in more of a squat style which I find very difficult!
Here are clips of my Deficit Deadlifts, weighted Chin-Ups and Weighted Dips. Form is much better on all 3 exercises.
Although I am not using a bar in these here I am doing my new favorite exercise, the KB Single-Leg Deadlift. See the difference in my ability to HINGE. Two years ago, I didn’t know what “Hip Hinge” even meant!! Ok, so it’s not perfection, but see the progression?!
Why am I writing all this? To highlight the fact that none of us will ever have all the answers, but that doesn’t stop us progressing. We move through our life like the “Mario Brothers”, “Sonic The Hedgehog” or your wee puppet-man from “Little Big Planet”; we gather information, skills and understanding along each level of our journey and use it to tweak our form, our diets, our outlook or goals. Two years ago I thought I was good, but I wanted to be better. So, I asked questions, researched different sources, tried a variety of new things and found that the only way to “have it sussed” is to realised you’ll never have it all sussed. This is a great realisation because it helps us keep bettering ourselves, rather than sit arrogantly thinking you know it all. Imagine I had done that two years ago!! Never stop seeking answers or wanting to improve – you can see from the evolution of this blog, how much difference a couple of years can make, not just to a booty ;), but to a whole body, in strength, in appearance and in movement! I may not be ready to face “Robotnik”, or own all the stickers in the Planet, but I think I spend a little more time searching for the tools first. Come to think of it, Neghar Fonooni wrote an article “Are You Using the Right Tools”, which ties in nicely with this.
Hopefully by illustrating my own experience will show you how much difference it really makes to keep learning, especially if you are struggling to master some exercises, break a strength plateau or just feel good that you are improving. Learning and applying knowledge is the only way forward.