Yesterday was my normal Sunday easy whole body workout. Well, except that it wasn’t all easy.
This year, Guido has done away with the bench press that made me so very happy last year, and instead is advocating a variation on the chest press.
(why? because he believes that the bench press causes many people to have their shoulders round forward, where this variation develops strong chest and back muscles without the shoulder rounding. And my shoulders naturally round forward enough, TYVM.)
All well and good in theory. I find the technique not quite intuitive; and I still have to monitor my form while I’m doing it; but, I am finally getting a bit comfortable with the technique and not hating every time I do it. I almost enjoy it on the flat bench and that is where last week I managed to complete my sets with 20# dumb bells.
The problem comes in when I go to the incline bench. I swear I am dropping weight in order to maintain form and do this exercise. Still, it doesn’t feel right and I struggle. Yes, it’s normal to have to lower the weight one step or two when moving from flat bench to incline bench, but I’ve had to decrease the weight even more since I started.
Yesterday I was fighting to complete sets using 10# and 12# weights. Fighting for all it’s worth. Frustrated that it’s so hard at these lower weights now when I was managing to do it at 15# a few months ago. When I can crank out the sets at 20# on a flat surface.
I was frustrated enough that while I re-racked my weights, I was near tears and mumbling: it shouldn’t be this hard! It just frakking shouldn’t be this hard! (brownie points for identifying the origin of frakkin’).
The guys all around me had watched me fighting with weights. They stared as I mumbled and refused to cry in frustration. Their faces said it all: I’ve been there, girl, and I know what you feel. There was a sadness and empathy that I rarely see on the gym floor.
Was it because I’m a woman, and expressed what they have felt? Because they saw me struggling (even with puny weights) and trying to not give up? Because they wanted to offer encouragement but didn’t know how?
I don’t know.
But the looks on their faces made me feel more sorry for the men than I did for myself.