Oh boy, am I mixing up totally with my latest road test. This one is all about the dirty work of heavy lifting! Yep, I'm talking about competitive Strong Woman training. What's that, you say? Well you've heard of Strong Man right? You know, big fellas deadlifting 200+ kgs, pulling trucks, carrying cars and throwing around 100kg Atlas stones? Well guess what, there's a whole group of awesome ladies all over Australia doing pretty much the same thing? Enter the emerging sport of competitive Strong Woman.
So where am I? I'm hanging out at one of Melbourne's premier strength sports gyms, Iron Revolution and it is Strong wo/man Saturday. The place is buzzing with an air of energy and excitement and as I walk in the doors and through the light haze of chalk delicately falling around the assortment of shoes and weight belts, I see guys and gals of all shapes, sizes and ages grouped around all kinds of heavy looking objects, some more familiar than others and all equally enticing for a barbell girl like me!
I meet with my buddy and owner of Iron Revolution, Aaron Scarborough (pictured here). Now this guy's been in the fitness industry for a loooong time. Which is your first clue that he really knows what he's doing. He's also a straight talking Coach and stickler for form and function who boasts his own competitive background in Strongman and Strength training to boot! So basically, if Aaron tells me something...I'm listening!
We head over to the first toy, called the Log. Aaron introduces me to the group of girls who are all happy to have a chat between lifts and promise that they wouldn't laugh at me as I immediately adopt my 'Olympic lifting form' in order to lift the log...which I'm told is basically not the way you lift the Log! Aaron helps me with the correct method and next minute, I'm doing a bunch of strange feeling actions but managing to roll a 50kg log up my body and jerk it to the roof. Check.
As I quickly discover, the girls lifting with me are training for various Strong Woman competitions, Some are beginners and some more advanced. Some are from Power Lifting and CrossFit backgrounds while others are just naturally strong girls who gravitated to this because, well let's face it, they are just born to do it!
The feeling in gym is really relaxed despite the heavy weights flying around, I mean one guy was loading up a frame that looked remarkably like the size and weight of a car...and then lifting it!! But what I quickly pick up from Aaron is that although it can look intense and utterly back breaking, This type of Strong Woman/Man training is not about just ripping something off the ground and hoping for the best...in fact to really be successful in this sport it requires knowing exactly how to tackle each apparatus. I mean, you don't just bend over and pick up an Atlas Stone...there's a pattern of movement. A clear technique.
Learning and perfecting these movements is clearly what I would love about this sport, if I ever decided to pursue it. Even after just one day of training it, I was feeling muscles switch on that I didn't expect.
After the stones, which were a little scary, I moved over to the Yoke. This was the one I was the most interested to try. As you can see, a Yoke is basically a frame that fits over your back and shoulders and can be loaded up with weight. But get this, in Strongwoman, you need to be able to pick this up and carry it as quickly as possible! By the time I had done a few laps to work on my footwork and pace, the Yoke had me huffing and puffing, with burning shoulders and trembling abs. Unreal!
To cap it all off, I had a go of the Farmer's Carry.
With a similar pace of the Yoke Carry, participants are expected to reach a certain distance as quickly as possible carrying as much as possible!
At this stage, I couldn't be bothered taking the plates off, so I decided to have a go carrying 55kg! Ohhh I think my poor forearms didn't appreciate that...and again with the huffing and puffing!!
But it was great finale to wrap up my Strongwoman experience.
Think you can find you fit with Strong Woman?
Why not contact Iron Revolution and check out their awesome membership packages where you can access expert coaching and personalised programming to suit your goals.
Also there's more information, along with a great community, over on Facebook at Strong Woman Australia
Do you know someone in the fitness game who is super motivating and inspiring?
Or perhaps you would like your gym or fitness class road tested?
To be featured in an upcoming blog, send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org