Saturday, 11 July 2015

Second PT session - Steve is now known (in my head) as The Punisher!

So I had my second session with my personal trainer Steve today and it was great, even though I am now mentally referring to Steve as The Punisher :). We're still in the try new things to see how I do stage and it's so much fun. This post is for my reference as much as it is to share the joys of exercising, so it's quite detailed.

I cannot stress how different it is working out with someone there to push you on. I had no idea until I tried and it is an entirely different experience from exercising alone. If I could afford it I would have Steve there every day, but I'll only be able to do that when I finally have a number one best seller on my hands ;).

First of all a little tip for the ladies - a sports bra is awesome. I've been doing most of my workouts with just a normal bra until today, since I only just purchased a sports bra this week and it came on Thursday. It is perfectly possible to exercise with a normal bra, but it was so much easier with the sports bra as it keeps everything tucked in. Mine is a New Shock Absorber Multi Support Sports Bra S4490 (eBay) and it is brilliant - for reference I am a 40GG and they go up to HH. Very comfy and great support, but you might need help getting into it :).

We did glutes first with some floor exercises, which is nice since they are on hands and knees I can do these just like your average person. First of all there was the straight leg toe tap. You settle on your hands and knees, stretch out one leg so you toe is just touching the floor, then lift that leg up without twisting your upper body. Next was the kick, same position then you bring your knee up to your chest and kick it back to straight and as far up as you can, again without twisting your body. The third Steve elegantly described as a dog cocking its leg :) - you take up the same initial position again and this time lift your leg out sideways until level with your body keeping your knee bent at 90 degrees and your lower leg level with your upper leg. Finally is the hard one, you stretch your leg out backwards again, then bring it in so it comes to the same position as the dog cocking leg, out the side.

Steve said normally you'd do 10 each of the first three and 5 of the last, but I was only doing 5 of each for speed. Once you have done one side you then do the other.

Then we moved on to hip thrusts on the small workout ball - which involved some hilarity because you put your feet on the ball, roll it so your feet are flat on it, then lift up your hips off the floor, trying to make sure the ball does not tip you sideways. I think I acquitted myself okay ;).

Yes my glutes are now letting me know they are there.

Steve has been really good about adapting exercises for me that I can't do because of the my disability (talipes - club foot, both feet). For example today we were looking at straight leg dead lifts, which of course you're supposed to do standing up. If I tried lifting weights standing up, at best I would end up on my rear, at worst there would be a rep bar through the window and I'd be sprawled across the weights machine :). My balance it not great because I walk on my tippy toes and my ankles don't move. Straight leg dead lifts exercise your hamstrings and Steve figured out how I can do them sitting down, using our cable weights machine (the poor thing is getting more of a workout these days than it has in all the years we've owned it ;)).

We purchased a rep bar and weights recently and it arrived last week, so it was the first chance I had to use them. Steve adapted the clean and press (good for everything :)) that is also done standing up, so that I can do it sitting down. I don't get the full benefit of the exercise that someone would normally get, but I do get a lot of it, so yay!

Next we did some bench pressing: flat, ascending and descending - we have a Reebok Deck which is so useful (a little while ago Amazon had them on sale and Rob snapped one up :)). I've never done bench pressing before and Steve is very good at explaining proper technique and why it is important. If you hold it wrongly you can put terrible strain on your wrists.

Then we moved on to triceps (since we did biceps last time). OMG, ow! I had no idea they are called biceps and triceps because the bicep has two heads (the end of a muscle at the site of its attachment (origin) to a bone or other fixed structure) and the tricep has three. The second head in the tricep is the strongest and so you have to wear that out before you can really exercise either of the others properly - so you do exercises that work the second most to begin with and then do others. I never knew any of this.

So we started with dumbbell overhead extensions - you hold a dumbbell above your head then lower your hands behind your head keeping the upper arm vertical. This one I have done before with a 7.5kg dumbbell and had to be rescued from it because my arms gave out. This time I did it with 5kg and it worked really well. Elbows in is important or you start brining in muscles that are not just your triceps.

Then we did the kneeling dumbbell kickback which really, really hurts. It's very hard to explain this one, so just go look at the video :).

Then we moved on to the delightfully titled skull crusher :). You lie down like you're going to do a bench press, but you hold the bar at shoulder width, keep the upper arms at right angles to the body and then bring the bar down towards your forehead. The trick is not to hit yourself in the face :P.

Finally there was the worst one of all! This one is the 45-degree lying tricep extension and boy does it hurt! You cannot do this without two people! You hold the bar shoulder width apart again and while lying down on the bench, put it behind your head, then push out at 45 degrees and repeat. I could do five!

We finished off with boxing and stretches. I love boxing - it works the heart and all my upper body and don't let anyone tell you it can't be done sitting down, because it can. Steve has been brilliant adapting his usual sets so I can do then from a chair, rather than standing up. Maybe one day I will have enough core strength to counteract my lack of balance, but until then, I have my bum firmly parked on something solid.

So there you have it, my Punisher session for this week. I really enjoyed it and I look forward to my next one. My only problem now is deciding what to do each day during the week since after my first session I just did all the exercises he had shown  me - now I know too many :).

Do you exercise regularly or play a sport? What is your favourite?


  1. Wow, that sounds like an intense workout. Triceps... I once got it in my head to do a bunch of exercises that work the triceps and the next day I could barely lift my arm haha.

    The only exercise I regularly do is running. I sometimes think I'd like to try something new like weight lifting or maybe kick boxing. I haven't gone for it yet, though.

    I enjoy these posts, it's inspiring reading about your progress. Keep up the awesome work!

    1. It's my pecs that are killing me at the moment - I think using the crutches might have activated my triceps a little in the past so they are not complaining as much :).

      I've always wondered what it must be like to be able to run. I've never been any good at it at all - no spring in the ankle so I was always very, very slow and these days it's just a no-no :). Do you get in the zone when you run?

      Thank you, I enjoy writing them. I want to keep a record so I can see how I progress :).

  2. Hi Natasha - sounds like Steve is a great teacher ... and you will benefit hugely in a few months. I used to play masses of squash ... but now don't play at all .. and after I spent time looking after my mother and my uncle my hip really played up. My new one works perfectly and now I DO need to exercise regularly .. stretches and walking places. It's on the mental list! Cheers and so pleased you've written out your exercises and the programme here .. so you can always come back and refer to it .. cheers Hilary


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