New bench PR!
For quite a while, one of my strength goals has been to bench my bodyweight. My upper body has always been significantly less strong than my lower body (which is, of course, very natural for a female!), but even more pronounced in me because I have very developed lower body musculature and strength (all that cycling!).
Since I started training consistently again after a few months of inconsistency (when I was very sick with a Grave's disease relapse), I've been working to even out the playing field a bit, and work on some upper body strength, the primary functional goals being: pull-ups (getting to 5 full range bodyweight pull-ups), and benching my bodyweight.
A few days ago, I FINALLLYYYY! reached my bench goal and did a 1RM of 68kg (which is my current bodyweight).
I just (re)signed up to a Crossfit Box here in Copenhagen, and this was the first week of a 7 week strength cycle. So every Tuesday for the next 7 weeks, I'll be following the the cycle for bench press. When the 1RM test rolls around at the end, I'll be really happy to bench +5kg, so aiming for 73kg.
My previous approach of heavier and heavier lat-pulldowns and using bands and the pull-up assistance machine did not seem to help in the slightest in translating to a strict bodyweight pull-up. What EVENTUALLY allowed me to get to do my first ,and now 5 close-grip, pull-ups was:
1) Working only with my bodyweight and the bar, and starting with eccentric pull-ups. This is where you jump up, and bring yourself down as slowly as possible on the second part of the movement, and
2) Doing pull-ups EVERYDAY. This is how I really saw progress. Yes, really! Not to failure, but a few sets of 1-2, and then fixed days in the week where I would work on getting my sets up. Doing pull-ups everyday is for only for a certain time period in the beginning, with the intention of training the neuromuscular pathway to get used to the movement pattern.
But now I find that I am at a plateau with the pull-ups, having reached a few perfect form full bodyweight pull-ups, I'm going to adjust my approach. My pull-up day will include a few sets with a light band for increased reps. I've also started doing weighted 1 rep sets, holding a 5kg dumbbell between my feet - might not seem like much, but I find that incremental growth and progress is where it's at ;) Super fun stuff! :D I love working on pull-ups, and find them so empowering as a women do be able to just bang out a few sets with no sweat ;) Here's to pull-ups!