Tag Archives: tattooed and strong

Training Week Commencing 25/4/16

OH Press
50kg x 8/8/8
Floor Press
50kg x 3/3/3/3/3/3/3/3 – 30 seconds rest
Inverted Band Row
4 x 8

137.5kg x 2
145kg x 2
152.5kg x 2
110 x 3/3/3
Banded Lying Ham Curls
1 x 100

95kg x 3/3/3/3
80kg x 8/8/7
Tri Machine Dip
3 x 12
Tri Press Down on Cables Super Set Face Pulls

60kg x 10/10
100kg x 5/5
120kg x 3
140kg x 3
150kg x 3
160kg x 3/3/3/3
100kg x 8/8/8
Hyper Holds
20kg x 10seconds x 3

Hench Bench Wench – How my strategy is changing.

At the weekend I competed at the Irish Pro Invitational in the Bench Bash. I was originally down to compete full power in what was a superb line up of women. Unfortunately, due to ‘hipgate’ I had to pull out of that. After speaking to the promoter he agreed that I could jump in the with boy’s raw bench bash.  This gave me the opportunity to play a much higher risk strategy than I usually would when I lift.

My usual game plan is to gain every 2.5kg that I can as this is the difference between first and second or as was the case at GPC Worlds in Vegas 2015, between Silver & Bronze when I pipped it by that precise amount. I plan carefully what jumps I am going to take from first to second attempt and then from second to third. I also know what increments I am able to take on each lift. This varies with each lift. I can confidently take bigger jumps on deadlift than I can on squats and the smallest increments are on bench. I practice these jumps in training so that my body knows what to expect.

My usual increase on bench press has been 5kg. I will also have an idea of what I optimally would like on the bar for my third attempt. So if I want 115kg on the bar for an ideal third attempt then I will open at 105kg with the plan of 110kg and then depending on how that moves I have two options of 112.5kg if the 110kg was a struggle or 115kg if the bar moved well.  My third attempt will be a weight that I have never lifted in training. To note I have never hit the numbers I hit on platform in training, the most I have ever benched in training is 112.5kg.


This quote from Swede Burns is one that many lifters should take on board and one that I have added to my coaching artillery.

I am of the opinion that increments must be practiced, that your second attempt is just the stepping stone between first and third to get you where you need to be for your final total. This means I usually take a bigger jump from first to second attempt and then a smaller one from second to third. This has worked very well for me and everyone I train to get on platform.  I always have in mind where I want to finish and work out the steps in between.

As powerlifters we are restricted to the 2.5kg minimal increase on the bar and often for women bench is more restrictive because it is commonly the ‘weaker’ lift. This means that for many the only options available will be 5kg and 2.5kg increments because this is what their current strength capabilities dictate. So for example if you are a novice and you want to finish on 40kg then your lifts would look like this 32.5/37.5/40kg. If this was the plan for one of my novice lifters then they would have hit the 40kg in training and their goal would be to get these lifts passed on platform. First you must achieve before you can over achieve (Thanks Swede Burns for that gem.)

As I have progressed as a lifter I have been able to change my strategies and this year one of the strategic changes I wanted to make was 7.5kg jumps on my bench as this is the only way I would now be able to push the numbers without having to risk a stupidly high opener. At Tattooed & Strong 2016 at the beginning of March I entered bench only last minute as training had been going well as basically due to injury bench was all I could do. As the event organiser I was pretty rushed off my feet for the days prior to the comp so I expected it to be pretty hit and miss depending on how tired I was.

As we were able to set international records I checked what they were and in the 90kg Open class the record was 118kg and in 82.5kg it was 120kg (in M2 I would break it on openers in both cases very easily). I knew 120kg wasn’t happening just yet but thought I could have a bash at 118.5kg on a 4th attempt and weighed in at 82.9kg. My then standing PB was 115.5kg. I thought the 118.5kg was going to be a long shot but what the hell I had nothing to lose and I could use this opportunity to practice the bigger jumps on platform. So, plan was 105/112.5/115 or 117.5 (BIG jump, SMALL jump) and then look at fourth 118.5kg. The third attempt would be dictated by the tempo of the bar on the second attempt. I even had a back up ‘shit day at the office plan’ of 105/110/112.5.(BIG Jump SMALL jump) I believe one of my strengths is adaptation and knowing there is a plan B and even a plan C gives me confidence, I function well on a good back up plan.

Yet as life has it non of the above is what actually happened. On the day opener of 105kg was as an opener should be, confident and to the letter. Bar tempo was excellent and we chose 112.5kg for the second. As mentioned I have done this in the gym but it has never been an ‘easy’ lift however on this attempt it literally flew up. By the time my handler had passed out, removed himself to the back of the platform, turned around I was literally locking out with it. With that I thought fuck taking the 118.5kg on 4th, why waste a lift? 118.5kg went on the bar for third attempt and I got it. NOW it was not ‘easy’ but it was a strong lift, my left shoulder lagged slightly but at no point did I think it wasn’t going.  This was a 3kg PB and that little step closer to cracking 120kg AND I had successfully taken bigger jumps on both attempts.

This is actually 112.5kg NOT 118.5kg as stated on the video by your truly!

THIS is 118.5kg for the 90kg Open GPC Women’s Bench Only WR/ER/BR

Fast forward to last Sunday. As the only woman in the bench bash I literally had nothing to lose. It was actually really nice to go into a competition with no self induced or externally perceived pressures.  So the game plan was simple. Get 120kg on the bar for third attempt, start higher and take 7.5kg jumps to get there. So we opened at 107.5kg which is the highest I have opened at, 115kg was on the bar on the second attempt, it was again a good solid lift, at this point I was pretty confident I could nail a 117.5kg but I had nothing to gain and so stuck to the plan and put 120kg on (see Big jump to SMALL…you get the idea). Unfortunately that was just a gnat’s fart too much on the bar that day, the bar came down solid and controlled and I fired it off the chest after the press command but it stalled around a third of the way up. It just wasn’t there, but I had it on the bar and it didn’t bury me, nor did I technically unravel at any point, it was simply too heavy that day.

115kg  solid second attempt.

120kg so close and yet soooooo far! 

The month of March has been super for me for making progress in terms of implementing different strategies that I can now use. For most people competitions are just about hitting PBs and I get that but I like to pick my battles. By setting different measures for judging my performance and how to improve it I feel I can constantly fine tune myself as a lifter. This is something that I drum into all my clients time and time again. Look at different way of measuring your progress, look at what strategies work for you, have a game plan with all options covered, know what increments on the bar you can do and practice them.

For more information on my coaching services and approach to training please email me info@nodumbelles.com.gridhosted.co.uk

Be Proud Of What You Do.

Dear GPC-GB Nodumbelles 2015 Lifters,

I would like to thank you all for joining us on platform on Saturday. I know that for many of you this was your first powerlifting competition and I feel honoured that you chose GPC-GB Nodumbelles Women’s Open 2015 to pop your powerlifting cherries.

I know you were nervous. In fact I know many of you were terrified. So many things were running through your heads even before you sent off the entry form. The thought of being up on platform in front of so many people made you feel sick. What if I make a fool of myself? What will people think? OMG I am just going to be a laughing stock. The other girls are going to be so good. SHIT! SHIT! SHIT!
The times you thought of pulling out. The ‘reasons’ you could give yourself for not entering running through your mind as you lay in bed at night. No one would know it was just an excuse would they? No one but you.

How will I know what to do? What if I get it wrong? How do I pick my numbers? Where will I warm up? HOW will I warm up? What if I need to pee? What if I don’t get my lifts? What? What? Who? Where???? AAARRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And Jeeeeeeeeezzzz I am going to have to wear a singlet!!!!!! Why do I have to wear a singlet? I think I will actually DIE. This has to be the most unflattering garment known to mankind and I have to wear it IN FUCKING PUBLIC!!!!! SERIOUSLY?????? Yes I will ACTUALLY DIE of embarrassment.

But you didn’t die did you?

No. Far from it! You actually thrived and grew with each passing moment.

You felt the fear and you did it anyway.  No one laughed. No one jeered. And you know what even if they had have done would you have cared on the day? I don’t think so. You see that is the thing about pushing outside of your comfort zone, you just can’t lose. Whatever happens you have won.  You have put yourself in a place you have never been in so whatever the outcome you will walk away with something you didn’t have prior to it.

Every year I stand back and I watch as each one of you literally grows as the day goes on and it is AMAZING. I see the shy, body conscious women who come to weigh in become these powerful singlet clad Amazonians in a matter of hours. I see empowerment of self and of others. I see friendships made. I see coach athlete bonds that are truly unique. I see that fear turn to elation and I see trepidation turn into absolute determination. I see body language change from self-conscious wall flowers trying to hide in the crowd turn into absolute puffed out peacocks of pride with glorious tail feathers on show strutting their stuff and I FUCKING LOVE IT!!!!!!

I want to thank each and every one of you for giving your all on platform. You were incredible. Not one of you came to just make up the numbers. You came here to be powerlifters and powerlifters you are. From the first-timers right through to our seasoned lifters each one of you gave your all. You conducted yourselves in a fashion that make me proud to be on the same team as you. No tears or tantrums. No divas. Just solid athletes getting on with what they came to do.  You lifted out of your socks. You supported each other with shouts, cheers, words of support and advice and when needed a good old kick up the arse.

Roarsome HD 2015

There is no shame in being competitive. NON at all. The difficulty sometimes comes in making sure you don’t take it personal. You can be competitive and not be a bitch. You should want to beat your opponent but you should never want them to fail. The better they become the better you become. Do not compare yourself but push yourself and those around you. Leave the ‘fight’ on the platform and be gracious in victory and defeat.

For many of you this is just the start. You are on page one your powerlifting story. Turn each page and enjoy it. Sometimes you may have to reread a chapter but never be tempted to miss a page. Sometimes it is a hard read and you may want to put the book down because you just don’t get it. Please persevere, one word at a time….one training session at a time, one lift at a time, a day at a time. This book has no end.

On Saturday for many of you your lives will have changed forever in ways that yet remain to be seen. For me the memories are many but I want to leave you with one of the reasons that for as long as you and others like you keep wanting to lift I will keep providing a platform.

At the end of the lifting a lifter came to thank me for the day, as many of you did. As she hugged me she said

 ‘I am so proud of MYSELF.’

The power of these words are the reason I do what I do.

 Be proud of what YOU do.

Power Beth


Tania x

First Powerlifting Competition – What do I need?

I had the pleasure this year to put on the very first GPC-GB Nodumbelles Women’s Open Powerlifting competition. It is the 2nd Nodumbelles competition I have run but this is the first 3 lift and federation affiliated comp. Both competitions were hosted (as will future ones) to encourage new and novices female lifters onto platform. I just love organising stuff. If I wasn’t in the business of big and strong my next choice of career would be event organising, so I am a pretty happy chump whenever I get to combine the two.



Deadliftng at my first ever powerlifting competition Feb 2011

I am also kind of a list keeper because I am forgetful. This apparently is because I am strong, and a  scientist told me that, so I am taking it as my excuse for being a tad dim sometimes (Thanks Polley!) I remember not really knowing what to take to my first competition and just kind of winging it, which I do A LOT! I basically took everything! And then some more! And didn’t take other stuff that I never knew I would need. As I did more comps I managed to refine what I need to take to cover all eventualities. We actually managed to go to the WPC Worlds in Prague last year with only hand luggage for 2 lifters. I am still a tad unsure how this happened.

There was also a ton of stuff that I didn’t know about the whole procedure of entering a powerlifting competition. I was pretty lucky to have some really experienced lifter friends who helped me muddle through. To be honest, though, I was in blissful ignorance. I am pretty sure this is the case for most first time lifters. So I thought I would share a little list that I compiled for the lifters at the Women’s Open. I hope you found it as useful as they did (I think lol).

Now not all items will apply to everyone and you can of course add in your own personal stuff but I think it is a pretty could starting point for any level of lifter.


1.      Athlete Responsibility

Send of entry forms with correct payment.
Ensure all membership subscriptions are up to date.
Obtain a current copy of the federation rules. AND READ THEM
Book time off work if necessary.
Confirm weigh-in times & location.
Make all necessary travel & accommodation arrangements.
Confirm arrangements for coach or handler.
Locate venue.
Check qualifying totals/records if necessary.

2.      KIT BAG

2 T-shirts
Knee socks
Squat Shoes
Deadlift Shoes
Wrist Wraps
Knee Wraps
Knee Sleeves
Squat Suit
Bench Shirt
Nose Torque/Smelling Salts
Slip On or plastic bags for squat suit & bench shirt
Baggy sweat pants
Zip fronted hoodie.

3.      Support Bag

Membership Card
Plasters & tape
Muscle Rub
Cold Spray
Copy of Federation Rules
Copy of Qualifying Totals/Records
MP3 Player & earphones

4.      ON THE DAY

Turn up on time for weigh in
Have you openers to give in at weigh in
Have your kit ready to be checked if there is a kit check
Check your flight and flight schedule.
Locate where you will be lifting and the warm up areas.
Set any rack heights that you will be requiring.
Locate toilets and changing rooms
Find an area to leave your kit etc
Talk through your plan with you coach/handler


Peace Out

T x