Gym Life

Bouncing back from injury

Injuries – we’ve all been there one way or another. But how we bounce back is everything, and how we prepare to ensure we don’t end up with a reoccurence is even more important.

When I was first taught how to lift I was taught the basic movements and told to practice that until it became natural. That approach did work during my “beginner gains” period. After a while, things started to go poorly for me because even though my lifting looked and felt natural, it wasn’t technically proficient which lead to some interesting issues. I don’t want to talk about these issues though – I want to talk about what happened next.

I had to go back to basics – I’m talking breathing, goblet squats, hinge patterning, etc! The sort of stuff that we now drill into our new lifters, but for me it was an important step that I missed; hindsight is a wonderful thing, and we’re so lucky to have a coach that understands nailing the basics! So today, I want to talk about how it’s important to accept that going back to the basics is not a step backwards, but should be seen as a massive leap forward.

Let’s talk about breathing as an example. We all get told to take a deep breath in before lifting, and to “push against your belt” – but are you actually doing it correctly, or are you causing more issues for yourself? One of our members recently discovered that she was struggling to breathe correctly and so she sought help from a physiotherapist. Our Valkyrie ended up being rather frustrated at how “basic” the exercises were and how she just wanted to throw the heavy weights around instead! I’m pretty sure we have all felt that way at some point with our training.

My advice is this: you need to think of your training just as you would think of building a house – you must lay the proper foundations first. Yeah, you can build a house on shoddy foundations just as you can learn to squat in an inefficient manner, but one day your walls will come tumbling down when your foundations fail you. Take the time now to work on all the basic movement patterns, to set yourself up for being technically proficient before you start adding huge amounts of weight.

From someone that has had to relearn how to squat, bench, AND deadlift, I know that I am stronger and wiser from taking the time to work on my breathing, and basic movement patterns – squatting, pressing, pulling, hinging and carrying.

Originally posted on VALHALLA Strength – South Brisbane

Gym Life

Finding your “people” in training

What many people don’t understand is who you train with can (and will) make or break your session.

I want to share with you something that I only just realised for myself this year. If you want to succeed at training, and if you want to give yourself a reason to turn up to the gym when you really don’t want to, I recommend “finding your people”. Some refer to this as “finding your tribe” but for me, that’s synonymous with the beautiful teenage girls I teach and so I use the term “my people” instead.

Having your people around when you’re training can be a game changer. I have had a bad session turned around just by checking in with one of mine. I’ve seen others experience something similar, over and over and over again. It’s a powerful thing. Why is this the case?

When we go to the gym, it’s easy to bring our work or personal baggage with us. It’s easy for our terrible days to drag us down. When you have your people expecting you at the gym it can be a motivator. When you rock up to the gym feeling like you’d rather be anywhere else, these people can remind you of your goals and push you to get your training done. And the best part? Your people don’t even have to be training for the same reason that you are.

When you find someone that understands your goals, that gets what you’re working towards and offers to share your journey, it forms a connection that is strong. I know that I personally have only been training consistently since the beginning of the year because I know that my people will be at the gym, ready to train with me and to get me through sessions when I’d rather not be there.

So for everybody out there who is lacking inspiration at the gym – go and find your people. It will be the best thing you ever do for your training.

Originally posted on VALHALLA Strength – South Brisbane

Gym Life

Strength Sports: In it for the “long haul”

As I was going through my rehab for a torn ligament in my ankle the other day, I got to thinking about how long I had been powerlifting for and what my future in this sport might look like. I’ve been lifting for almost 6 years now, but it hasn’t been without its ups and downs. I have hypermobility, which means that my joints easily move beyond the normal range. While I don’t have it as bad as some people I know, it does still cause me issues.

Over the past 6 years I’ve had minor surgery on my right hip and my left wrist. I may yet need surgery on my left ankle. These issues came about because I didn’t fully understand my condition, and I stupidly focused on getting certain numbers, not on having pretty lifts. I trained through pain and often told myself to “toughen up.” Since then I have become wiser and am now working towards pretty lifts. Although I am not there yet (I tend to end up doing silly things and hurting myself when I’m on a roll, like falling down stairs) I know that with my newfound dedication to technique my quality of life has improved drastically because my hypermobility is more manageable. Better technique = gains, which means more muscle, which leads to sturdier joints and less pain.

So why am I sharing some of my lifting story with you? Well, I had a conversation with one of our Valkyries last week about being in it for the “long haul.” This Valkyrie is relatively new to strength sports and she intends to stick around for a while. Because of her dedication to her training and her natural strength, we are expecting big things in her future. She had been suffering from some ongoing issues that were not necessarily preventing her from training, but they were making it difficult. We had a chat while she was training and after talking about her problem she came to her own conclusion that she intends to be “in it (strength sports) for the long haul” and that she’d seek help now before doing more damage. I was so proud of her for coming to this conclusion on her own – this was a lesson that I took years to learn!

And so, the point of my story is twofold. One: strength sports are great at helping you live your best life. It’s no secret that the health benefits of lifting weights for men and women, but especially women, are numerous. I know that my own hypermobility is far more manageable when I am training (despite encounters with stairs) and therefore my quality of life is significantly better. And two: when you’re hurting, and it’s not a good hurt, it’s a good idea to talk through what you’re feeling with someone that has been doing this for a while, because we understand what you’re going through and can be that little voice of reason that says “stop now, get it looked at, work towards pretty lifts”. I can guarantee that you’ll still get stronger, even if it takes a little bit more time.Valkyrie (Transparent Background

Originally posted on VALHALLA Strength – South Brisbane