Barre VS Bar #5

So its the last week. 

I have two main points to add in here as well

and a personal email I received from a friend that really summed up my friends experience.

Interesting stuff.

This week I had my first serious ‘dead-leg’ situation. I want to get into the science of this, purely for myself because I am still not really clear what happened to me. In the dance world, this would never happen?

Lets get into . . . . my understanding of ‘failure’ was to perform an exercise until the technique of the movment is compensated. In which case I am not sure that that is was happened to me. Hence , more reading is needed.

In  JUSTIN WILLIAMSON article ‘What is muscle Failure?’ he gives a really nice explanation. Here it is from me to you in the most simple terms:

Working to failure is a powerful tool in building muscle mass. Its about getting bigger and stronger muscle fibres.As we know breaking down muscle fibres is the key to making them stronger and bigger.


There are more then one try of muscle fibres (the horror). Each doing different jobs eg. you need to use all the muscles in the arm and shoulder to hit a tennis ball with a tennis racket, you also need those same muscles to nurse a baby. Very different situations that require the same muscles. The different movement comes from different fibres taking the helm. When our brain asks our body to create movement for a specific purpose say – carrying a tray of drinks – the message sent by the brain only recruits the appropriate muscle fibres to ensure the right level of power is give so that you are careful and don’t spill the drinks.

My favourite example: you go to pick up a box from the floor that you think is REALLY heavy. Your brain sends the message to your back, bum, legs and arms saying GET READY ITS GONNA REALLY HEAVY. All your fast twitch muscle fibres kick in to give the big powerful burst of energy to lift the box . . . . when actually the box is really light and you basically punch yourself in the face with z box. You stumble backwards with all the effort you put in and didn’t need. This is a great example of your brain sending messages to the muscles and the wrong muscle fibres being recruited.

Working to failure is a way to make sure that ALL your muscle fibre get a shot at the action. Lifting heavy weights requires your fast muscle fibres first, they are strong and powerful. However they get tired quickly. Once they give up your slow muscle fibres (those ones you would us to bounce a baby to sleep) will take over. Once those fibres are too tired . . . Thats failure. Its a way to ensure that all the muscle fibres are worked to total exhaustion.

(Upon reading this, this isn’t what happened to me)

Still good to know. I think what happened to me might have been Lactic Acid thing.

Here’s my storey …

I increased the weight of my squat. I was really good and took my shoes off and everything just felt fantastic as I popped my 40Kg bar on my back and did my 2 sets of 8 – lovely. Feeling great. Take a little rest . . . lah lah lah . . . have a little drink of water  . . . lah lah lah . . . set 3: bar on back – no problem. Bend knees a little bit – PROBLEM. Literally didnt even get half way down before I racked my bar and stood in disbelief. Where did that come from. I was totally fine before. I had a break. I was totally cool in the game?!

Whilst standing still I think that the lactic acid that was produced in set 1 and 2 hadn’t cleared properly and this ment that when i went in for round 3, my muscles where full of acid and not able to move. Angela told me this was likely the case and that next time this happens I should have a longer break between sets to let it all clear and the muscle recover before doing it again. PHEW.

THE OTHER EXCITEMENT is that, just like hips, numbers don’t lie.

The weights that I am lifting have gone up slowly but surely and its really exciting and rewarding!

Fellow Gatsby Girl and Personal Trainer Gillan Hatherall reached out to me

after my first blog post and heres a little except from her inspiring and motivational message:

I found I was very self critical when I was doing a lot of dancing.It was difficult to see progress within myself, even though I could see it in other people. I never felt my body was quite ‘right’ – not skinny enough, not flexible enough, not enough turnout etc. Not entirely sure what would have been ‘enough’.

The great thing about weights is that progress is completely measurable. A properly planned programme will get you a lot further than winging it because progress is more easily monitored, so you will ultimately end up pushing yourself more and achieveing more.

Going from dancing to weights was great. Dancing gives you the body awareness and mobility to be able to pick up movements and perform them with awesome form almost straight away. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that I was really strong!! Being strong feels awesome. Getting stronger feels awesome. From there, you’re just focussed on yourself. 

This is another thing I love. Dancing in a class you inevitably end up comparing yourself to everyone else in the class – that’s what made me so unconfident in myself. With weights, you compare what you do to what you achieved the previous session. That’s it. It doesn’t matter what any one else is lifting because it is about progression, not the amount of weight on the bar.

Body changes:

I lost about 5kg (11lb) in three or four months I think when I first started doing a proper structured programme. My legs have shaped up a hell of a lot – they did not look like this when all i did was dance! It has massively boosted my body image because i am constantly feeling my body getting stronger and seeing changes in my physique… and I am not in a leotard and tights. Which helps a lot.

I loved this email because I can relate to it so strongly, thanks for sharing Gill!

To conclude:

I am super happy I started this adventure. I have learnt so much about lifting and myself that its been a total success and I have a new love for lifting weights.

I will say this, side note, I finished my programme around 2 months ago and have been writing my blogs slowly to make sure they are proofed properly ect. Although my body changed very quickly in response to the strength programme i followed i did find that once i finished my programme I was abit lost. I tried to go back to dancing more and lift weights maybe twice a week with a little bit of structure but not a whole heap. I started to focus on other things and ended up taking a 3 week break. Those quick changes I saw – they changed. The prgression was very quick and so to is the regression. i can see how women and men get hooked. Once your body stops looking and feeling strong and lean – its kinda hard to except anything else. It almost traps you.

In the hang over from my plan, i am not lifting and dance alternately every day. Thats my plan anyway. I think this is how I can keep my body and my mind at its best.

I will be sure to keep you up to date on any new crazes or fads take my fancy 🙂

Thanks for all the support through this series of posts and I look forward to more blogging come 🙂

Thanks a million

(be my friend 😀 )

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