Dumbbells in the gym

Keeping up the good work

This week started with the news that Cillian Murphy from Cork was awarded an Oscar as best actor for his role in Oppenheimer. Very well deserved and his name is all over Cork news and social media. I love seeing the Cork people be so proud!

This is what we call St Patrick’s week and our local area is getting ready not only for St Patrick’s day but also for the big chaos, aka the West Cork rally. This year our road isn’t closed – as far as we’ve been told. My neighbour had heard differently!

For myself it’s been a good week with good lifting and continued work with my Bulgarian split squats. Regarding my wiggly knees, I’ll just keep up the good work in the gym and with my step-ups and other things I do at home.

This week we finally got back some spring-like temperatures. I’ve been out walking, folks! It’s been raining quite hard but 12 degrees! That’s a big improvement.

Let’s get into the details of the fitness week!

Monday – gym day

We’re still on the heavy strength program, so today was leg & shoulder day. A bit of miscommunication made the squats a bit lighter than they should have been, because they were supposed to be sumo squats. But that’s ok – my glutes were quite tired after all the Bulgarian squats, and I could focus on stability and form and go a bit deeper.

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There were no exciting new weight plates on the bar but I enjoyed doing two variants of deadlifts. I know that “enjoy” may not be the right word for everyone in this context but… after my injury, being able to load my legs and let them work hard brings me joy.

My trainer commented that I should go deeper with the RDL.. I think I’m a bit insecure with that heavy weight but I’ll see what I can do next time.

Tuesday

Tuesday was a quiet day when I mostly stayed inside, got some work done, and of course my Bulgarian split squats. I also did high step-ups and crab walks with a resistance band.

Wednesday – gym day

Another good session in the gym!

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Kicking it off with the Renegade row kind of sets the level for the rest of the session! I felt quite good with these, but hit my limit on the 5th rep (of 6) on the last set.

I didn’t feel as strong with the bench press as I did on Friday, but still quite good and managed all reps. I would never be able to do this weight without a trainer/spotter. How lovely it is to be able to work to your very limit, both for benefits in strength gains, and the feeling of achievement which shouldn’t be underrated!

Thursday

What a lovely day! I woke up to rain and fog, but it cleared up a little and there was only some drizzle so just before lunch I went out for a walk. This was the first time since two or so weeks! The Irish weather is normally quite variable (unstable is a positive word for winter weather!) – you get cold days and warmer days and if it’s bad, there’s always hope it will be better in a day or two! But this winter it’s been stuck a lot on freezing temps and I’m not a fan.

I also got my Bulgarian squats done, along with high step-ups, crab walks, and soleus heel raises.

Friday – gym day

I expected a heavy leg & shoulder day, but to ease into the St Patrick’s weekend, I was put back on the full body program, and 3 sets of 12 reps on all exercises. Soft? Not really! When you’ve been doing 6 reps for a few weeks, going back to 12 reps is really hard!

Also, after a period of heavier weights, the endurance program will always include heavier weights than before on many exercises.

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45 kg standard back squats are my heaviest for 12 reps so far. They were doable but also definitely heavy enough to be challenging. But I felt confident doing them – I believe my daily Bulgarian squats are making a difference here.

The chest press were a lot more difficult, but these are the same weights as I used for 6 reps so I did quite well considering that! I think I managed one full set of 12, then 9 and 7 reps on the remaining sets. The flyes and pullovers were really hard but I made it, and likewise with the shoulder exercises.

After coming home, there was more work to do. We’ve had some nasty weather during the past month, and parts of trees have been falling here and there. This was our Friday evening a few weeks ago:

This Friday instead we needed to go over to our neighbour to remove a part of a tree that fell over from our garden. Squats and deadlifts were involved. And I still had Bulgarian squats to do! But these are becoming so much easier to do, both the right and left leg seem to be improved with stability and I mostly don’t wobble when I shift to the left leg.

Saturday

I had a very well needed rest day. My legs were so tired! I did two sets of Bulgarian squats and that was it. I would have enjoyed a walk between the rain showers, but… the West Cork rally was going on down the road. With better weather I would have gone down to take some photos.

Ireland won the Six Nations rugby, and we enjoyed a lovely, party-like evening in the local pub.

Sunday – St Patrick’s day

A busy day ahead!! It’s St Patrick’s day, and after Bulgarian squats and probably some high step-ups, I’ll prep to go to town and join the festivities there.

We’re going to see the parade, where I’ll play with my 45 mm lens that specifically bought for that kind of event (and landscape), and afterwards we’re joining the music session. It will be mad but fun! The evening plan is to join the small parade in the little village where we play music on Saturdays, and then actually to hang out with a friend in Sweden and do some music via Zoom. We haven’t been in touch for a long time and I’m really looking forward to it.

Thanks to Kim and Deborah for hosting the Weekly rundown link-up! I won’t be able to visit your blogs until tomorrow – but I’ll get there!

In the meantime…

Happy St Patrick's day

14 responses to “Keeping up the good work”

  1. Melodie avatar

    Sounds like a good week, glad you are getting to get outside more! Good work with your bulgarians! Sounds like you have a fun day today, enjoy it!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Today was a lovely day, both weather-wise and for the St Patrick’s day festivities. I’ll really appreciate going for proper walks again!

  2. Kimberly Hatting avatar

    It’s great to see all the progress you’ve made with the Bulgarians! Admittedly, I’ve been slacking on lower-body strength work recently. With my weekly stair workouts, though, my guilt is pretty minimal. My stair climb event is April 7th, so I’ll get back to more consistent glute work after that (pinky swear).

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, with all your stair climbing, running and walking you shouldn’t feel you’re slacking with your lower body. Sure, runners need to keep up strength work for glutes and feet and whatnot, but you definitely keep busy! How cool with the stair climbing event!

  3. Deborah Brooks avatar

    You have made some serious strength gains! do you notice the difference? Please share your real St Paddy’s Day photos with us!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, I’ve made some incredible progress over the last few months. I mostly feel the difference in my upper body, especially my back and shoulders, I feel overall stronger and more balanced in a way. Then of course I see a difference in the mirror too.

      I hope I got some decent photos from the parade! I didn’t take so many but I hope some are ok.

  4. Wendy avatar

    I have been impressed with your persistence with the Bulgarian split squats. I don’t like them, which means I need to do them more often. I just don’t like that feeling of being unstable. SInce I’m not working with my trainer anymore, it’s on me to do them on my own…

    I hope you share some photos from your St Pat’s day parade!

    1. Susanne avatar

      That feeling of being unstable is so awkward, and I guess that’s why I do this. I always avoided hard things in the past but now I want to challenge myself to see how far I can get, and if there’s something I can’t do that I think I should be able to do, then I just set my mind to working on it. I’ve switched mindset completely in the last few years, whether it has to do with midlife or simply that I saw myself being able to get results from training? Recently I’ve seen how hard work has paid off both when it comes to lifting weights consistently and in guitar playing. But I also know that it’s much easier to get things done when you have an appointment with a trainer!

      I took a few photos at the parade, and that lens was the perfect tool for it!

  5. Jenny avatar

    You inspired me to to Bulgarian spilt squats this week- I’m only doing bodyweight and it’s still really hard on my left side (the injured ankle side.) But they don’t hurt- that leg just feels weak and unstable. But that means I need to do them!
    Nice job this week with all your workouts! And, I hope you’re enjoying the St Patrick Day celebrations. We’re doing an Irish-themed dinner just for the fun of it (no one in our family is Irish) and I have Guinness in the fridge. So it will be a festive night!

    1. Susanne avatar

      How fun with a St Patrick’s day dinner! I just heard from a friend that St Patrick’s day is becoming so popular in Sweden that there’s no more Guinness to buy!!
      I can totally relate to the weak and unstable leg bit. I had success with Bulgarian squats last spring, even with a weighted barbell, but with my injury I lost all that and even after intense physiotherapy there’s SO MUCH work to get back to where I was with that leg. And you’re just coming out of your injury! Something that could help you is to do step-ups if you’re not already doing them. That helped me a lot to bring back some stability to my injured leg. That type when you have one foot planted on the box/step-up board/whatever, and repeatedly push yourself up on the same leg for 10 reps, than switch to the other leg and do the same. My high (about knee height) step-ups are still hard but I feel it’s a very good exercise for both strength and stability.

  6. Jenn avatar

    An amazing week, and I hope Sunday was even more amazing!

    I have yet to watch Oppenheimer. While I am sure Cillian Murphy was amazing, I’m struggling with the story/narrative of the film and Just haven’t had the headspace to devote.

    Your Bulgarian split squats are looking better and better every day!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Sunday was busy but very nice!
      Well, Oppenheimer isn’t the most cheerful story of course. I wasn’t a big fan of the movie itself but I liked Cillian Murphy in it.
      Thanks for your encouragement about the Bulgarian squats! I made so much progress last week but now I feel I’m going backwards! I guess it’s just to keep going, and focus a bit more.

  7. Anne avatar

    You are really making progress, even though you don’t think you are. It’s fun to watch from afar! I cannot do Bulgarian split squats but I am consistently working on balance – I have chronic mechanical issues that will never resolve, so need to learn to work with them, not against them. Sigh.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, I actually saved down all my IG reels and watched a bit of all of them, and realised there’s a huge difference!
      We all need to work within our own limitations, and balance work is very important for all of us, whether we want to use it for strength exercises or daily life (or both, obviously).

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