That’s my sweet husband, encouraging me to lift heavier things at the gym. Lifting heavy things is one of the philosophies of Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson, and with that in mind I asked my husband to start coaching me in deadlifts and squats starting around Thanksgiving time.
Then, last week, my 13-year-old threw down a gauntlet. He has been CrossFitting twice a week to condition himself for lacrosse season, and when we picked him up from a workout, we asked what he had done. Deadlifts, he said. Oh? How much? Eighty-five pounds, he said. Wow. The first day I did deadlifts I started off at 65 lbs and worked my way up to 85. My kid could smoke me! Even though I was now deadlifting 105 lbs during my last workout, I really felt that I wasn’t doing as much as I could.
So today, I started my regular routine. I did a 10-minute warmup on the treadmill at a moderate walking pace to get my blood pumping without exerting myself. I did some assisted chin-ups on the machine. In four workouts I have improved from the 70 lb weight to the 48 lb weight. My goal is to do unassisted chin-ups at some point, and I have definitely made a lot of progress.
Then the corner of the gym where there is room for doing deadlifts cleared out, so I set up to start working out. My husband is a great sounding board for how heavy, and how many times I should be lifting, and gently coaxed me into lifting up to 135 pounds today! Here’s how I got there: 95×2, 105×2, 115×2, 125×1, 135×1 and then I did 95×6 to finish off the workout.
Here are a couple of things to think about while you are attempting this kind of workout. First, attire is important if you are female! You must be comfortable in your clothing. Last week I had on pants that didn’t have spandex in them, and it felt like they were slipping down when I would do reps in the deadlift. That made me self-conscious about bending over. Believe me, it’s not a free show when you look like I do; it’s more like a visual assault. Second, it’s not a ladylike motion – you start off kind of in a froglike position and then push through your heels and engage your quads and your core to lift the weight up. However, it’s a heck of a lot more ladylike than those “hip abductor/adductor” machines you see women on all the time! Finally, when you are lifting heavy things and then put them down – a few seconds later you will get a serious rush – your heart will pound like you have been running a sprint, only without being on a boring treadmill. I think that feeling is a little addictive.
I am enjoying my workouts with my husband immensely; it’s our “weekly date” to spend time together. He is so kind and encouraging; he wants me to be fit and strong so we can actively raise our children together, and then (if the money is not all spent on college for them) have many good years left to travel the world together. I want the same for him, which is why I take the time to carefully shop for and cook our meals 6-7 nights a week. I have to say this lifestyle has strengthened our marriage in so many ways!
I will leave you with a parting link from Mark Sisson’s Weekend Link Love post. It is a comparison of the quadriceps muscles of a couple of triathletes and a sedentary person. It was these images I held in my head while deadlifting today. I am sad to say that, for the past couple of years, I have probably been a little closer to the sedentary person’s image. I am happy to say that I am working very hard to build muscle and improve my bone density with rapid success! Which image do you want to look like at 40 or 74?