So a morning’s training session with Jon, Mr Commando Active. My 3rd session with him since I starte up training again in the last month, and I’m sure during the first one he said something along the lines of relatively easy sessions to ease back into it all as I approach Christmas….I’m not sure that today’s session was ‘relatively easy’…it certainly didn’t feel like it had been easy by the end.
My training sessions with Jon always begin quite relaxed, consisting of some limbering up, loosening up exercises (although he does insist on sneaking press-ups into the mix every week!). Today after warm up I had to do five sets of pull ups interspersed with five sets of overhead weighted squats. Now that might all sound pretty easy to anyone reading this, but pull ups have never ever in all my years of training come easily to me. One pull up is normally my limit and then my arms are dead and I can never get the second one. Well, Jon has a sly way of making me do at least 5. I balance on a thick elastic band that gives me some sort of purchase, resistance to help me get into the momentum of the pull up. On the first two I can just about get my head above the bar right up above me, and it takes quite a lot of gritting teeth and puffing to do it a further 3 times. On sets 4 and 5 I did actually manage to hit 10 reps, but I think that Jon’s goading has something to do with that, especially as he knows how competitive I can be. The overhead sqats are another matter, holding a 15kg weight I had to squat low holding the weight in front of my chest then push up to standing and raise the weight high up over my head – bleurgh. 15 times in each set…a couple of minutes rest and then back to the pull ups! This is all meant to be making my upper body as strong as my legs – but my arms have always been weak and it never feels like they will improve – I certainly can never envisage doing a pull up more than once without an elastic band bouncing me up! But to be fair I did once say that about press ups, which I can now do several in a row without collapsing in a heap – I just protest loudly everytime I am made to do them.
That all seemed relatively easy when faced with Jon’s next activity for me. The club where I train with Jon has in its vast facilities very long thick ropes. Jon attached one of these at one end to a fairly heavy metal sledge like piece of equipment. I had to sit at the other end and pull the sled towards me, as fast as possible, then immediately push it back down to where I had pulled it from…from that I had to go to the next piece of rope which was looped round a pillar so that was holding both ends, which I had to bounce the ends to make big ripples down the lengths of the rope – sounds easy, well I assure you it isn’t, especially when your arms are beginning to feel tired. I had to do this with alternate arms for 10 on each arm, and then 20 times with both arms together, with Jon demanding really big ripples when using both arms together. After this I had to go straight to a table that is about 3ft high, and stand up onto it leading with the right leg for 10, and stepping down with the right leg….and repeat on the left leg for 10. And then breathe…. gasp for breath, gulp down water, mutter something derogatory to Jon about not planning on taking thick heavy ropes with me to the desert, or pulling a sledge in the sand (let alone round the London Marathon!) I had to do this not once, not twice or three times, but five times. However, the 4th & 5th times I had to do back to back without pausing for breath! And, very sneakily, when pushing the now extra weighted sled back to where I had pulled it from I suddenly felt it get tougher to push – this would be because as it was still trailing the long thick rope Jon thought it a good idea to hold onto it and add himself as extra resistance!!! He’s kind and thoughtfu like that.
All in all it certainly didn’t feel like a relatively “easy” session. But, I have to say that with the Atacama Crossing once again almost 10 months away, I sort of feel like I’m vaguely back on track or at least heading in the right direction, even if I’m not planning on lugging a sledge across the desert! What felt good, was when another trainer smiled and said to me “you’re a machine”…I assume in fitness terms this is something akin to a compliment – Jon assures me that it is 🙂