Feels like wanting to reflect back on powerlifting in the past full year. I started Base Strong class around October last year. This post is probably going to be boring and irrelevant for those who don’t do powerlifting. But it’s been such a big thing for me in the past year, and I’m pretty much writing (rambling?) this for myself, so that I can look back on my first year.
Started last year = 35 kgs.
July 2019, 1 rep max = 85 kgs.
So…that’s around 140% growth? Wow, this has changed so much. I felt like I didn’t “get” squat for many months. Used to have this fear of squatting more than my bodyweight. Just started feeling slightly more confident in the past few months, really.
The key really is about staying super TIGHT throughout the whole movement. I was wobbly for sooooo long. Just started to understand the importance of taking BIG, deep breath, holding it in, going down SUPER TIGHT just a couple months ago.
My problems to fix are probably staying in control the entire movement and don’t bounce at the bottom of the squat. Also I’ve been told my bar is uneven between left and right shoulder. Hmm…
Overall, started to love squat more now. Feel like my squat progress has been quite steady which is pretty amazing.
Let’s aim for 90 kg squat next. A 100 kg Squat was the goal I thought definitely unattainable, but started to see more possibilities!? Not anytime soon, though.
Started with just a bar, 20 kgs
July 2019 – 1 rep max = 35 kgs
Oh…my biggest enemy, upper body strength! I am SUPER weak for this! For the longest time I hated bench and felt like there was no way my bench could ever go up. Been playing around 22.5 to 25 kgs, to at some point 27.5 kgs for so many months.
Just feel like everything about bench is SO awkward. The entire set up felt very uncomfortable for me. Won’t get into details here because there are SO many. Before I came to Base I’ve never done bench press before, because my PT never said I should do it (Because I’m a girl!?). Who said a girl shouldn’t bench press, by the way? These days I started to see more of its benefits. It could help reduce your bra bulges! Less fat hanging around that area as it turned to muscles instead. Pretty cool if you ask me. And nope, it’s almost impossible for women to get “bulky” Just forget about this.
My tiny goal used to be bench with a 5 kg big plate per side. Now I’m repping 30 kg bench press. As of today I could do FIVE sets (of 4). Never, ever thought I could do this. Sounds like a super small goal for many, but for me bench is so hard.
Overall, feel less awkward. More used to it. Of course more room to improve on techniques, as with other main lifts. I would be SO happy if I could touch 40 kg bench at some point, hopefully sooner than later.
Started last year with 50 kgs
July 2019 – 1 rep max = 102.5 kgs
Ah, the most dramatic one of all. The one that makes me doubt myself BIG TIME. The one that makes me feel such a failure. Wrote about all of it here.
I really don’t feel like I’ve made much progress with deadlift at all. In the beginning it was my most favorite lift. But as we progressed, somehow I felt like I was kind of stuck. Back when we tested in July, it could have been at least 110 kgs. Or the very, very worst would have been 105 kgs. But couldn’t lift it up AT ALL. This killed my confidence so much.
Still feel that way but try hard to focus more on small wins now. Watched and read a lot on deadlift tutorials trying to figure out what went wrong. Got lots of tips along the way and I suppose I had my answer that lack of back strength is probably the issue here. So now I really try to focus on technique and slowly work my way up from there.
Good news is, my working set around 80-90 kgs feels pretty smooth. 100 kgs could be a hit or a miss depends on the day though. And my upper back is still rounded. Better than before though. Gotta stay patient and work on it I suppose.
Overall, meh. Not satisfied. But I learned a lot from this as I was down earlier about my failed deadlift. Then tried to relax and get back to it and so on. Good lesson in the end.
Overall / What I’ve learned
Ah, mindset is everything, isn’t it? Good technique is one important part, but though this first year of powerlifting I’ve learned so much more about the mind – how to keep pushing myself, how to stay consistent with training, how to work on your goal and try to get there (your numbers never lied!), how to not give up, how to NOT be too hard on yourself (It’s ok to fail!), how to stop doubting yourself, how you CAN achieve the “unachievable,” how to keep trying again…and again…and again, how to not let one bad day of training get you down, how to believe in yourself.
And so much more. I could keep talking about it for hours, not joking. Feel like this changed my life.
Apart from the mind, I keep repeating it feels amazing to be strong…and get stronger. Love the changes in my body. Feel like this is the best me I’ve ever been.
Definitely going to be more challenging next year as we are no longer beginners anymore. It’s impossible to hit PRs every week or month! Everyone keeps telling me how sleep and eating are SO important to improve your performance. Stress is also another important factor. And I always have issues with insufficient protein intake. Training is fun, what is SO much harder is eating! Hmm…
Let’s see what 2nd year of training will bring!