Training Updates and Other Stuff!

by Marianne  - July 26, 2011

Hey everyone,

I had intended on doing a workout today but I trained so hard in the gym yesterday that I need an extra days recovery. I also have a feeling that for those of you who tried my last workout may be glad of it LOL – I have even seen reference to a Zimmer Frame related to that workout haha! So it’s a welcome break πŸ™‚

Yesterday I did one of the best training sessions in a long time – I was so motivated and focused! When I arrived in the Strength Room, I noticed they had finally got new Platforms and Olympic plates and it got me all excited to try them out, so I got stuck in to my Deadlifts (Conventional Style). My form has really improved in these by focusing on a few basic mental cues: “chest up”, “pull back” and “knees then hips”. It seems to have really helped me from losing good form in my back, and I tended to keep my chest too low, my hips too high and the bar too far from my shins, so I am pleased that these are going well.

So this post is more of a workout Post Mortem and thinking out loud than anything else. As some of you know, I don’t follow a training programme and I kind of just do my own thing, so it might be good to show you my thought process, or not LOL. I do take on board the advice and teaching of other trainers and coaches, I just can’t seem to follow a set programme, I train instinctively. Or, maybe I am too big a rebel and prefer to do it MY way haha!

Anyway, my (sub max) Deadlift sets went like this:

  1. Warm Up Set (60kg) x 15 reps
  2. 70kg x 12 reps
  3. 80kg x 8 reps
  4. 90kg x 6 reps
  5. 100kg x 5 reps (singles)

Decided to stay at 100kg today because I was focusing on improving my form a where it usually starts to break. So I’ll stick around 100kg – 107.5kg until I am happy that my form is great, then I’ll go for a MAX lift again.

For added Deadlift and pure strength inspiration, Nia Shanks posted this clip of her new Sumo Deadlift PR. Check it out below! She seriously rocks the Deadlift!! Great girl and I can’t wait to meet her next month πŸ˜€

I then stripped the bar back and began my Glute Bridge sets. I could do these all day, but I wanted to reach a goal of 300lbs (136kg), so I made sure I only did 4-5 reps as I got up to the 115kg mark.Β  My sets went like this:

  1. Warm Up/testing the position (80kg) x 15 reps
  2. 90kg x 12 reps
  3. 100kg x 8 reps
  4. 110kg x 5 reps
  5. 120kg x 4 reps
  6. 130kg x 3 reps (in video below)
  7. 137.5kg ( 302.5 lbs ) x 3 reps (in video below I only show 2 out of the 3 reps, because during the second rep I had a seriously embarrassing facial expression, which just didn’t need to be seen AGAIN, so I sacrificed a rep for the video … but I did do 3!!). I don’t think this exercise would be good for someone who has high blood pressure, because even my head was purple :-/ LOL

Anyway, I am so pleased with my new PR on Glute Bridges! This is the main reason why I am taking today off, my butt has DOMS πŸ˜€

Next, I went to work on my quads and did some of my Front Loaded Reverse Lunges (I love these because I really feel it working my inner quad, which used to be crap). Sets went as follows:

  1. Warm Up (30kg) x 12 reps each side
  2. 35kg x 10 reps
  3. 40kg x 8 reps
  4. 45kg x 7 reps
  5. 50kg x 6 reps
  6. 55kg x 3 reps

My form was MUCH better with these. I tend to take more care over the weight increases for my quads, as I have it in my head that they are weak?? Don’t know why I think that, but my squats still need work. Next time I will do front Squats or low box squats for a change with either the reverse lunges or Bulgarian Squats.

Then I did an upper body Push and Pull routine with Pull Ups and Dips. I love Pull Ups (as you all know), but Dips have always been my favorite Upper Body Exercise. Even though I feel super strong and Badass when I do Pull Ups, Dips top them when it comes to showing upper body strength. I think they require more control as you lower into the dip and have to push out of it. Most people seem to perform the eccentric phase too fast , or fail to reach the full range of movement. But what’s new, as long as you can pump out a million super-speed partial reps, that’s all that matters, right? Here is my first set and below that is my Push and Pull routine:

  1. Dips x 13 (the first rep was missed by the sacked cameraman)
  2. Pull Ups x 7 (these were tough on my grip after the deadlifts)
  3. Dips x 8
  4. Pull Ups x 5
  5. Dips x 6
  6. Pull Ups x 4

That’s really all for today. I am sorry I don’t have a new workout πŸ™ But I will soon, I promise!

I almost don’t want to mention it (incase I jinx it) but we are having a little heat wave here in Ireland this week and I am looking forward to some active recovery outdoors. Going up the coast later today and going to do plenty of beach walking and sight-seeing, because The North Coast of Ireland is stunning!! I will try and get some pictures to show you all the sheer beauty of my home πŸ˜€

Well, that’s it for today. Hope you all have a good one.

Before I go, what are your favorite exercises and why? Doesn’t matter what it is, I am just wanting to know more the reasons why we like certain exercises. I know I like any exercise that makes me feel “Badass” or stronger. So what are your thoughts?




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  1. Hi Marianne! Thank you so very much for your site, I love it! I have been doing a lot of interval training/circuits lately as workouts. I really want to get more tone to my body though, and I was just wondering what your typical training schedule is like. How often do you do the interval training like in your videos, and how often do you personally lift weights? Do you have a specific rotation of lifts throughout each week? (Also – do you do a lot of “olympic style” lifts? Sorry for all the questions πŸ™‚ Any advice you can provide would be great…thanks again!!

    1. Hey Kara, thanks for your comment πŸ™‚

      My typical training schedule for each week goes like this:
      2-3 blog workouts
      2 gym sessions (heavy lifting)

      I used to do additional classes, but they have stopped now. When I go to the gym, I tend to do what I feel like and try to push myself to do better, but I don’t have a set programme that I follow. The olympic lifts have been on the back-burner. They are good to include for more power work, but I don’t believe they are the best type of training you can do for shaping the body, because the muscles are not under tension for long enough.

      My advice to you is to include more strength based training into your programme, along with the interval training.

      I hope this helps guide you a little πŸ™‚

  2. Marianne,

    Hi. Favorite exercise….pull-ups. Unassisted pull-ups I can manage about 7 full range. About a year ago I could only do one. Whenever I would pass by my pull-up bar i would do as many as I could(of course assisted and unassisted). It is a great feeling to know I can do them.


  3. Hey Marianne, you are one strong girl. I’m impressed with your performance of the glute bridges… last set 55 KG, that’s how much I weigh πŸ˜‰
    My absolute favourite exercise is the push up. Especially the burpee push up combo, so simple but yet so effective. And the workout which I enjoy the most (outside the gym) is running. There’s nothing which makes me feel more free and strong than a poweful run in the morning πŸ™‚

    1. Hey Becci, thanks!!! The 55kg was for the reverse lunges. My glute bridges were a little more 137.5kg πŸ˜‰ But I can lunge as much as you weigh hehe!

      Push ups rock! I agree about the burpee with push up. What a great strength and conditioning exercise! Wish I could enjoy running, I just can’t get into it. Maybe one day.


      1. i am trying to start running, i have always hated it, but someone just this week, told me to start walking/running,,,, walk a minute run two -three minutes. I actually ran a little longer than that each stretch. I did two miles in 28 minutes, which is good for me, then a hour or so later, tried again, did it in 23 minutes.. i hope to do it in 20 within the month, without killing myself…..

        i hate pushups, i almost always have to do them on my knees. i can do them on my toes but not too many.

      2. Allright you are even stronger then I thought πŸ˜‰ 137,5 KG crazy !!! Yeah you should definitly try to enjoy the running.. I now it’s hard in the beginning but after some time I’m sure you will love it. I think I mentioned it in a post before but the right music is helpful… I always listen to the foo fighters when I run… “the pretender” is my favorite running song πŸ™‚
        Also love,love,love pull ups but right now I can only 3 in a row…. working myself up to do more…
        U Are such an inspiration for me … keep up πŸ™‚

  4. OOPS LET ME TRY THAT AGAIN. i have been watching videos of KB exercises today and i don’t see the difference between the goblet squat and the front squat, is there a difference?

  5. Great Job Marianne! Keep up the great work! You are my hero!
    I can’t express enough how much I love your blog! :)I love that you don’t follow a strict schedule, and continue to challenge me in new ways with every workout (btw, those windmills are surprisingly tough. I felt them for days). I have been increasing my weight by going to the gym more (I have weights at home, and the famous KB kid), since my current weights are getting a little light at home. I went to the gym today as a matter of fact, for some heavy lifting, and used your workout as a guide. Still working on the pull ups/chin ups, did some assisted and negatives. I am up to 12 dips now. πŸ™‚ Thank you for being such a good resource for information, and for putting an emphasis on proper form and technique. I have been focusing on my form (specifically my deadlift and glute bridge), as well as my flexibility, even adding a few yoga sessions a week. Which I really think it has improved my performance overall. I cant wait to see what you have in store for your next workout! πŸ™‚


    How do I join the forum? I would like to post a picture for you of my KB kid, and be more involved with the community you have here. πŸ™‚

    1. Great to hear Amanda, and thanks for sharing your successes πŸ˜€

      In the forum, you’ll see a “register” tab at the top and you can do so there. I will need to activate your account, so if you tell me your username I will look out for it, so it doesn’t get lost in all the SPAM.

      Keep up the great work, you’re doing great so far πŸ™‚

  6. Most guys would probably pick the bench press, but not me — I am partial to the squat myself (regular ole back squat). I know a lot guys who can bench more than they squat, which seems totally backwards to me. I took some time off from squats due to some nagging injuries, but I’ve returned with a vengeance recently. I’m trying to get back to 225 lbs for reps, but not quite there yet.

    I also really like weighted walking lunges. They really work all the leg muscles and hit the glutes, even without “thinking glute”. Plus they are great for balance & stability, and get the heart-rate going, too. Do you ever incorporate those into your workouts?


    1. I agree Tom and I am chuffed to hear of a man who ain’t scared to work his legs! There are far too many men walking about with huge arms and chest and piddley little stick-man legs πŸ˜‰

    2. Tom, sorry I forgot to reply to you :/ Walking lunges are great!! I haven’t done them in a while, but they are a great “all-rounder”. Thanks for the suggestion πŸ™‚

  7. Hi Marianne!! Wow! You are so strong!! I would love to one day be as “badass” as you.

    My favorite exercise is actually the very basic push up. When I first started to exercise (and even going back to gym class in middle school) I could only do push ups from my knees. I always thought “I will NEVER be able to do a full push up… that’s only for strong men.” Then, one day, after I started working out regularly, BAM, I did it! I did a full push up. The one exercise I was so sure I would never be able to do, I conquered, and not long after that I was doing up to 10 full push ups in a row. I felt amazing and super “badass”, hah. Now, looking back, I can’t believe I couldn’t do one single full push up, much less, think that they were so hard. What my experience with the push ups taught me was that I can do anything I set my mind to and not to be afraid of any exercise because with practice I know I can do it.

    My next goal is to be able to do a full chin up! It seems super hard and unattainable at the moment but I KNOW (because of my push up’s experience) that one day I will be posting in your blog that I did my first full chin up, and eventually, one day down the road, I will post that I did a full pull up… and then a few of them in a row! All it takes is practice and hard work. I apologize for the super long comment but I started writing and got inspired!

    By the way I have been trying to register on your blog but it seems that I never get approved πŸ™ (I tried twice)

    1. I think I have approved you now πŸ™‚ Sorry about that, just some names look like spam and others don’t. Hope I have activated the right name.

      Don’t worry about long comments, it’s nice for others to see your though process and your goals. The fact that you are meeting them is very encouraging for everyone else πŸ˜€

  8. Hi Marianne,
    I think one reason I’ve taken to your site is that I share your training philosophy…kind of all over the map, but in a good way. always something new, and I can’t argue with the results. for me, very positive. I’ve learned so much from you and so many others on this site, i rarely do the same workout twice in a week.
    My favorite excersises, I’d have to say, renegade rows, vertical swings, pullups, i do alot of pushups, both conventional and lately from gymnastic rings..really nice…I like the snatches and shoulder presses. I love my sandbag,,I’ve found it to be very beneficial as far as gaining practical strength as well as endurance. Some recent disc problems have limited my lower body work, as far as squats and such go (vacuum disc phenomena Im told…MRI results today)but I hope to be back plugging away at those soon..
    One thing I did find out recently, and if you have time for some advice :-)..I had always thought it was my hamstrings that were limiting my progress in squats and lunges, but I’ve been told its my adductors/abductors that are the real culprit in hindering my progress….any suggestions as far as stretches or excersises to help this?
    thanks again!

    1. Hey John, sorry i am only replying now. I’m sorry to hear about your back! Hope you recover soon. Best wishes from me πŸ™‚

      Can I get back to you about your question? I’ll be honest in saying I am not 100% sure about the answer, so I will contact someone who may be able to help answer it better πŸ™‚

      Thanks for your your comment and I hope everything else is well with you πŸ˜€

  9. I have not been on ur site for a looong time as I have not had internet access, since I saw you last you have changed a lot. you look amazing. good work!!

  10. Hiya Marianne,

    I’m pleased to report I’ve now recovered the use of my legs – zimmer frame no longer required LOL. My favourite strength moves are deadlifts because I feel really badass doing them and Bulgarian squats because they give me the biggest burn in my quads. I love lifting, but I’m not massively keen on the atmosphere in the weights room. I think my gym manager is putting testosterone in the water coolers – LOL! Trouble is, I’m always, always, always the only girl – ho hum. Still, you are certainly doing your bit to promote lifting for girls. You’re progressing so fast it’s amazing πŸ™‚

    Keep up the good work!


    P.s. Love that necklace you are wearing in the pic

    1. Cheers Emma πŸ™‚ Got that necklace in River Island about 2 years ago. I love it!

      Glad to hear you no longer require your zimmer πŸ˜‰ I think most weights rooms have an element of that, otherwise so many girls would not be intimidated πŸ™ Sad that most of the guys are just grunting at themselves LOL!

  11. Hi MariAnne,

    Did you ever have trouble with grip strength? I cannot seem to hang onto anything heavier then 30kg before my wrists and forearms etc feel like they are on fire. I was watching a youtube clip by Mark Rippetoe on how to hold the bar, but wondering if you have any ideas??

    1. Laura, I think a lot of people struggle with grip endurance and strength. Sometimes the issue is that you grip the bar/KB with too much of your hand and too hard. You should use the strength in the tendons in the fingers to take most of the weight so you don’t “pump” the forearms too much (which make them fatigue quicker).

      To build your endurance you can include exercises such as static hangs, farmers walks/holds etc into your workouts, say 3 times per week. Gradually increase the time that you are holding for each time. You are maybe anticipating the weight to be more fatiguing than it is and so are holding on tighter as a result.

      There are several different types of grip you can use, so it can get confusing. I may be able to write a post on this, because this question seems to be appearing more now and it’s a good topic πŸ™‚


  12. Six months ago I was bored with my entire exercise program and physique; years of pump, attack and spin had left me deflated. It was time to move on, but where..?

    A few cannon balls with handles landed near by and eventually I succumbed to their calling. I instantly fell in love with the kettle bell, found a group of like minded people via this blog and the rest is history. I’ve now have a gluteal, abdominal and heavy session in my schedule too; all thanks to the people I have befriended here.

    I’ve also learnt that I know very little about anything, but that if I entertain new ideas and actions it can sometimes be a catalyst for a fantastic journey.

    Glad to have you all with me whilst trudging the road to happy destiny.


    1. Nicely put Adam πŸ˜€ I feel the same way, especially about “knowing very little about anything” – it’s true for me too, but it’s enough! Because although we may be a jack of all these trades, we are a master of our own journey now because of them! Does that even make sense?? It does in my head haha!!

      Great thoughts and I am glad to be a part of your journey as I am glad you are a part of mine πŸ˜€

  13. HI Marianne, I’m at work right now and can’t view the vids, all I can say is your weights are awesome, way to go! I wanted to ask about the front loaded reverse lunge, is that done with a barbell and with a front squat type of grip/hold?

    My favorite exercise pre-low back surgery was the DL, my 1 rep max was 195lbs. I wanted to hit that 200 pound mark so bad, but ended up with a cyst in my spinal canal, so I have not returned to heavy DL’s yet, or forevever, who knows. But those were my fav!

    1. Hey Dawn, sorry to hear you had to give up your DL for a while. I am no expert, but I know of plenty of people who believed they would no longer DL after back surgery or back problems. Obviously this is specific to the individual, but I would investigate further into the reasons why you can’t. After all, the Rack Pull DL and Sumo DL, work the low back less, but still strengthen the prime movers (quads, hammies and glutes) and get them moving in sync. Just my opinion (which is not expert), but I think actually Bret has a similar story from his early days.

      As for the grip/hold for the front-loaded Reverse lunges, you are correct, same as front squats πŸ™‚

      1. Thanks Marianne! No, I’m determined to deadlift again and I have, just not real heavy yet. Unfortunately, I think some docs/surgeons don’t know much about exercise. Mine told me I should never do any heavy lifting from the floor again, since my L-5 disc is not in the best shape and I’m desitned for problems with that. I kind of just rolled my eyes at the you should never do that again comment. I’m not a quitter, but at my age (47) I do need to take care a little more. πŸ™‚

          1. OOps, I could have found my answer to the “front Loading” yesterday, but the comments weren’t showing up for me for some reason. Sorry for the duplicate questions! πŸ™‚

          1. can you give me a date of one of the workouts so i can actually see what you are referring too, on the front loaded and doubling up on the kettlebells, sorry to be a pain but i really want to make sure i’m doing the movements correctly. thanks

          2. Tempest please check out my Kettlebell Reverse Lunge Tutorial. You will see that “front-loaded” only really means the KB is in the rack position. Goblet is when you hold the KB with both hands by the horns. Goblet hold is easier than rack hold πŸ™‚

    1. energym, yes I always used to do the back squat and it served me well. But what I realised was that I front squat WAY better and it reaps better results for me. So I have been sticking to that. I find that my tight hip flexors can be an issue with the back squat, so I use a box with it so stop me going too low – again, this exercise flares my SI joint.

      This is why I like my instinctive training, because you find what works for you and what doesn’t. Not just what you like and don’t like. I still do the back squat, but I have adapted the style.

      Sorry for my long winded answer LOL


  14. Hi Marianne I like the videos.It is nice to see you working hard, something that I have been doing myself, and I am noticing the results, for some reason it is giving me a lot of confidence which is really helping me on the race course (sailing).

    I really like the Turkish get up, rows and the dips are also a great one, I think I would also enjoy the glute raises (heavY) I don’t have access to a set up like yours. I also of course love skipping rope and running.

    1. Cheers Mickela. I thought you’d get your jump rope in there πŸ˜‰ My new workout has some jump roping in it btw!

      Great to hear that your training is helping your sport! I think sailing is a great skill to have and I would love to learn one day. Maybe when I come to NY, you could teach me πŸ˜€

  15. Fantastic! I love that you train instinctively and buck convention. You are super strong and an inspiration! One of my favourite “badass” exercises is the Turkish Get Up – it’s awesome to be able to lift a lot of weight with just one hand πŸ™‚

    1. Hey Alex, thanks! Great choice. Yeah there’s something about the TGU that makes you feel amazing. Just lifting that weight and moving yourself around it from the ground up, is totally Badass! Cheers πŸ™‚

  16. Hey, girl! Thanks for sharing the video. ; )

    You DOMINATED those glute bridges! I don’t think I’ve ever gone over 200 on those. Time for me to step it up. : )

    So looking forward to meeting and training with you next month!

  17. Hi Marianne

    For me I love the Tricep pull down (with the rope) i love the burn on the Triceps that it gives,I train RPT style, so afer my warm up set I can now start with the whole weight load, really gives me a good feeling.

    Chin ups for the biceps (hopefully soon ill be doing weighted chins), for me these are the best for biceps, i get a fantastic pumped feeling after a set of these. I dont even bother with curls anymore.

    Finally Deadlift. When im finished with these, i have a real sweat on, I feel it in the whole of my body, feel great. I think my form definitely needs improving, as some of the more “wiser” gym members correct my stance etc. But im learning πŸ™‚

  18. Marianne – a couple of silly questions for you!
    How do you get under the bar to do those hip thrusts? LOL. Maybe I missed that somewhere?
    Also, the front loaded reverse lunges you say are good for the inner thighs? Mine are crap!
    Tx – Gina

    1. Gina, these aren’t silly questions and I am glad to help. To get the bar over me I just straighten my legs and roll the bar away from me. It is a lot harder getting the bar into position for a Hip Thrust, which is why I have been doing the bridges. Plus I can lift more weight.

      Any single leg or wide stance exercise will target the inner thigh, but I was referring to the “tear drop” part of the quad to the inner part of the knee. This is where I want to develop a little. But these lunges would also target my whole quads, as do pistols (which I avoid, because of my SIJ). Bulgarian squats are also great.

      Hope this helps a little

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