Dumbbells in the gym

And she’s back!

Happy Sunday everyone, and welcome to my weekly fitness recap post where I talk about my gym workouts and other fitness-related activities of the week.

This otherwise grey week was when I got back to my former glory(ish) in the gym and reached an important PR! I planned to go for that long walk that never happened last weekend, but have been busy with work issues, and the weather hasn’t been particularly… inspiring, so I’ve done some cycling and other things at home instead.

Here’s a summary of my fitness work this week:

Monday – gym
Tuesday – indoor cycling + high step-ups
Wednesday – gym
Thursday – high step-ups, deadlifts of sorts
Friday – gym
Saturday – walking
Sunday – high step-ups, lunges, single leg squats

Monday – gym day

This week I was back to the heavy program, which means… heavy, with fewer reps – 4 sets by 6 reps. When we do this heavier program I get split sessions, and today was leg & shoulder day.

Jävlaranamma blog

These heavy squats felt very challenging and required a lot of focus on form. It took a few reps to get used to the weight but then I felt ok doing them. The hardest part of this workout was the lunges (as expected) and the shoulder press (also expected). However, I did better with the shoulder press than I thought I would, and generally I had a lot more energy during this session than last week.

Tuesday

The weather was not particularly inspiring and I was busy with work issues so I only did my high step-ups, and later got on to the indoor bike for 14,2 km in what they called the Rolling Highlands in Scotland (on Zwift), with virtual highland lakes and castles along the road. It was a good ride as always with some hills and good sprints at the end.

Wednesday – gym day

Today was back and chest day with some good lifts.

Jävlaranamma blog

I felt quite good during this session, this dumbbell row is a beast so after that, the pullovers felt easy, even with 17,5 kgs! The bench presses were a different story. The struggle was very real!

Two variants of bench press is quite hard for me because my triceps still tend to get upset too easily. But after a few wobbly initial reps with the dumbbells I got into a good flow and finished all sets. Then with the barbell I gathered all the focus, jävlaranamma and everything else that I had in order to manage, and did better than expected, with failure on the 5th rep (of 6) on the last set. All of it very much over my expectation and I felt quite badass leaving the gym!

Thursday

Today the weather was actually lovely despite quite a humble temperature, but I had to stay home for a delivery. Besides work, I did my high step-ups and later what I call functional sumo deadlifts. 😀 We got a delivery from a Swedish whisky distillery where we’ve bought a private (30 litre) cask 6 years ago, and it has now been bottled and was finally delivered to our door. That meant taking four boxes of whiskey bottles inside the house… great exercise! This is what deadlifts are for, right?

Friday – PR day!!

This leg & shoulder session was mixed in terms of performance, but – I reached a huge milestone and did a personal best in lifting!

Jävlaranamma blog

After the hex bar deadlifts which are so far always manageable although heavy, my trainer loaded the bar for squats and said…50 kgs. Like, WTF? I lifted 45 kgs on Monday and it was quite hard, so…hmm. But also, I know this guy knows what he’s doing and I tend to trust his judgement.

I braved up, engaged the core, took the bar on my shoulders and… what? This wasn’t so hard. It actually felt easier than the 45 kgs on the Monday. After my first set I said “You certainly must have meant 40 kgs?” and he said “No, definitely 50”. I have no idea how this was possible! I did another three sets and just felt – great. Easy? Definitely not. But I felt good doing them.

The Bulgarian squats were as hard as you would expect! 40 kgs didn’t seem too bad, but there is that moment when you stand on one leg only while you place your other foot on the bench – I felt VERY wobbly, but after much hesitation and support I got in position and could do 6 reps on each leg.

I managed 6 more reps on the right leg but lost it after only two more on the left. A bit disappointing but I also realised that I felt more stable with these than the last time I did them, despite heavier weight, so I was definitely happy about that. And – how could I be disappointed about the Bulgarians, with those previous 50 kg squats still in my head?! Any self-doubt has to go, and I have a plan on how to crush those Bulgarians in the future.

The shoulders agreed ok with the last three exercises, except the overhead shoulder press that probably is my new nemesis at least when heavier weights than usual are involved.

Saturday – walking

I finally went for that long walk! My body craved some movement and despite some rather unpleasant cold weather I decided to walk down to Ring village and back. When I used Fitbit, it said this route was 9,6 km and that time (in November) I got mighty achy feet from walking it. This time, my Garmin said 7,7 km. What the..?? I wanted to walk longer than that! At least I enjoyed the walk. It was very cold to begin with, 3C (about 37F) and cloudy but I soon got warmed up. And I finally got the camera out again!

Sunday

Today the sun was out again and ideally I would go for a walk, but needed to be home for the weekly egg delivery from a local farmer, so had a soft morning with a video chat with a friend in Italy, and practised concertina for the afternoon Zoom music session. I also threw in some high step-ups, lunges with my light bar (6 kgs), and bodyweight single leg squats. The latter is part of my strategy to eventually be able to conquer those Bulgarian squats again.

That’s it for today, folks! How was your week? What was your fitness highlight of the week?

Thanks Kim and Deborah for hosting the Weekly rundown link-up!

22 responses to “And she’s back!”

  1. Coco avatar

    Oh, what a great feeling to surprise yourself with what you can do! That’s awesome!

    These days I’m happy when I find challenging moves that don’t aggravate my hamstring. It’s interesting to see what it gets involved with — like, sumo squats are find, but front squats are dicey.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Oh yes, I can totally understand that there are a lot of moves that you can’t do for your hamstring. I tend to get tight in my hamstrings now and then (from more challenging walks & heel raises etc), although obviously nothing compared to what you have, but some of my regular exercises get quite challenging then! Sumo squats are an excellent exercise though so I’m glad you can do it.

  2. Kimberly Hatting avatar

    Way to go, Susanne! Congrats on all those great workouts, and the heavy lifting!

    I’d have to say my favorite workout this week was just this morning…100 flights on the stairway, but I mixed it up and did some single-steps and triple-steps (OUCH!). I had not done the triples for a long time, and boy did my quads and hammies get some serious work.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Oh my goodness, you’re really serious with your stair climbing!! That’s so cool. And isn’t it wonderful how something so ordinary can be such a good exercise (like my whisky deadlifts, lol)?

  3. Darlene S Cardillo avatar

    Congrats on your lifting PR. I admit. I’ve never lifted a thing.

    Always love your pix esp the cat one.

    My favorite workout was yesterday… a run/walk 5k in the gym!!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Darlene! Well, at least you do your machines in the gym and that’s good too.
      I’m so happy for you that you can do some running again. Hope the ankle continues to accept it.

  4. Chocolaterunsjudy avatar

    Not a whole lot of fitness highlights, just chugging along. Such lovely photos!

    Congrats on all your hard work — it’s certainly paying off.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Judy! Hope you’ll have a good week with snow free roads.

  5. Deborah Brooks avatar

    Doesn’t it feel good to lift heavy stuff? Looks like you are really coming along with your gym workouts and getting stronger

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, I can barely believe that I can do all this. I was thinking on Friday evening that it was only 4 months ago I started doing squats again after the injury, very careful stiff squats, and now I squat 50 kgs. Amazing. It’s a wonderful feeling! I’ll do another week of this heavy program and then we’ll see.

  6. Wendy avatar

    Your strength sessions are impressive! 40kg for Bulgarian split squats? I’m lucky if I can do 22 kg! I struggle with balance on those. They are definitely not my favorite move, which means I need to do more of them, lol. By the way, those dumbbell pullovers–we call those skull crushers at CrossFit, lol.

    Nice work all around!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Wendy, but hold your horses as they say, lol! I was VERY wobbly on those Bulgarians. But I must also say that if my balance had been more decent, I think the actual lifting would have worked ok. I really have a love-hate relationship with these, and especially the fact that it’s mostly the balance that holds me back. It’s interesting how I’ve come to this “F*** it, I’m going to work on this until I can do it” attitude, in the past I always chickened out from hard things. I think this is part of why my strength training has improved my self-esteem so much.
      That’s hilarious about the pullovers and I can totally get why you call them that!!

  7. Jenny avatar

    Wow, that is an amazing PR. Congratulations on that, and I agree with Wendy that you Bulgarian split squats are impressive as well. You had a great week of strength and it’s inspiring me to get more serious about my gym sessions. AFTER my race in February though- I don’t want to switch anything up right now.
    I love that cat photo.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Jenny! As I said to Wendy, I didn’t do particularly well with the Bulgarian split squats… but the issue was primarily balance. At least I had the feeling while I was able to stay in place, that the actual lifting worked. It was VERY challenging and 200% beyond my comfort zone. But the back squats felt great and they made my week!
      One of the greatest benefits with my personal trainer is that he has always challenged me to lift a bit heavier than I would have done on my own, and to do exercises I previously thought I couldn’t do. The result now is that I’ve worked up a good bit of strength and jävlaranamma.

      I’m so happy to have inspired you!! I do this heavy program now and then (first time I did it was last summer, after 1,5 year of training) with 4 x 6 reps for a few weeks, and otherwise I usually do 3 x 12 with lighter weights. With 12 reps, my max weight on squats has been 35 kgs.
      Very wise to wait until after your race, however!

  8. Michelle avatar

    Congrats on your PR! All of your hard, and consistent work is definitely paying off!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Michelle!! Yes, I’m in a good place right now!

  9. Jenn avatar

    Welcome back and way to go!

    I think we’ve all been struggling with some less than appealing weather! We just have to do the best we can with what we’ve got!

    But what I want to know… when are you breaking in to that whiskey? I LOVE whiskey, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a Swedish variety! I’d love to know more!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Absolutely yes about the weather! Although I think ours has been quite fine compared what everyone else (except Jenny, probably) has had to deal with.

      Oh yea, whiskey. We cracked it open the same evening, of course! How could we possibly wait? 😜
      This is from Mackmyra, the oldest (but still quite young, 25-ish years) distillery in Sweden. Much of their profit comes from their private casks and that’s also, in my opinion, their best whisky. They are quite well-known for innovation and experimenting with unusual cask types. Our whisky is a triple distilled single malt matured in a mixed wood sherry cask. Feel free to e-mail me for more detailed info (Otherwise I can keep talking about whisky forever, lol), I assume you have my e-mail address from my comments on your blog. Also, I plan to start writing on my whiskey blog soon again, I’ll make some new posts about Mackmyra to begin with, so if you’re interested in that you can visit https://whiskyqueen.ie.

  10. Lisa @ TechChick Adventures avatar

    Congrats on that PR! I have started doing split squats (no weights!) as part of my PT exercises. I am challenged by them, but I do love the feel of that burn when I know I am working hard!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Lisa! Split squats (in all their forms) are such good exercises. They work wonders for your glutes! Plus all the balance challenges too.

  11. Anne avatar

    Wow, Susanne. You. Are. STRONG. I am astonished and amazed. Have you gone back to see where you were when you first went to the gym? I imagine it would be pretty amazing in terms of how quickly you have gained strength (despite SO MANY SETBACKS). Your grit, as usual, is admirable. Keep it up! (I know the flu is coming down the line, since I am so far behind on posts, but I know you will be back, too!)

    1. Susanne avatar

      I felt amazing doing those squats. And most other things described here, but especially the 50 kg squats because the number is so special!
      I really regret that I didn’t start documenting my weights earlier. And I’ve ditched some blog posts (my running posts, just too depressing having them there). But since I bought my Garmin, everything is in there. I do remember that early on, I did squats with a 10 kg sandbag on my back!

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