fashion · fitness · weight lifting

Moving from involved to committed

By MarthaFitat55

Image shows two bent tubes of neoprene fabric in black with red accents
Martha’s new gear! Image shows two bent tubes of neoprene fabric in black with red accents

What’s the difference between being involved and being committed? The business fable uses bacon and eggs to explain: the pig is committed, while the hen is involved.

When we talk about fitness, it’s a bit of both. This week, I made the leap from involved to committed. I bought a pair of knee sleeves.

For the last three years, my fitness clothing has been nothing fancy. I originally started with a pair of ratty yoga pants and a tee shirt. Then I graduated to a pair of capris found on the sale rack.

Occasionally when it gets superwarm in the gym during the summer, I rescue one of my old rowing tanks. And while I’ve always invested in good footwear, when a friend offered a pair of deadlift shoes at a discount, I bought them to save her the hassle of returning them. Luckily they turned out to be a good fit, and if I ever decided to stop lifting, they could probably work for something else.

So my approach to workout gear has been minimal at best; involved if you like.

But these knee sleeves are the first thing I have thought about, tried out, and decided to expend the funds necessary for me to have my very own pair so I can lift well and with the proper support.

That’s because these sleeves are simply miraculous, and I don’t use that word lightly.

This winter, my trainer and I have been working on developing greater depth for my squats. I have a regimen of exercises to strengthen my hips, and over time, I have been able to drop lower and lower.

It’s been all good. Except when I watched videos of fabulous women lifters getting their “ass to grass” in squats, I admit I felt a wee bit jealous.

During a cold spell last month, my knees became cranky. My trainer suggested I try the sleeves when we reached higher weights on the bar. I borrowed a pair for the session, and I did not want to give them back. As I worked my way through the sets, I began scheming how these sleeves would be mine.

Since I like the owner, I decided they should stay where they belonged. I did borrow them again a couple of times to be sure they were as good as they felt the first time, and this week, I went online and committed.

The sleeves provide a level of support I did not think was possible, and yet, when I wear them during squat sessions, I have no hesitation standing up after dropping down. Though they are working on the knees, the sleeves send a message to my hips that the knees are in charge and stability is the goal. And while I’m not as close to the level as I see on the training videos, I am achieving very creditable squats that pass the form test quite well for depth and control.

I see you grass and I am coming for you.

— Martha lifts and writes in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

weight lifting

Sweden banned from international lifting competitions due to giving women lifters a choice about shirts

A Facebook follower (you do know we have a very active Facebook page, right?) just sent us this message: “Did you see that the International Powerlifting Federation threatened to ban Sweden from competing internationally because Sweden gave their female lifters the choice between wearing a T-shirt or not (IPF rules state that females must wear a tshirt, men don’t have to)”

Has anyone heard anything about this? Is there anything about it online?

We’ve written before about the injustice involved in different clothing rules for male and female athletes (see, for example, Skirting the issue: women’s boxing and enforced femininity) and about the right of women to go without tops (see The Tata Top, Normalized Bodies, and Feminism0.

This sounds like one more example of that. Surely it’s up to athletes what to wear?

There’s some discussion on Powerlifting Australia’s Facebook page.

They have a status update which reads, “In regards to recent discussion over the suspension of Sweden, the issue was not gender or equality or lack thereof but rather that Sweden had introduced a rule change that was contrary to IPF regulations. The IPF has made it clear that member nations could not unilaterally change the rules of competition. And further the issue has since been resolved.”

I get there are procedural issues here. But how has it been resolved? And why are the rules different for men and women in the first place? Curious bloggers want to know.

I also don’t know very much about the issue and I’m wondering if you do. Is there any online coverage of this debate in the powerlifting community?

Let us know in the comments or drop us a line if you have more news. (Use the “contact us” link on the blog.)


competition · Crossfit · weight lifting

Deadlifting, bench, and squat: The powerlifting combo

Mr Rogers

I watched my first ever powerlifting competition on the weekend. It was a local competition and was billed as a “fun meet” and had just eight competitors. You can read the results here. The meet was held at a local Goodlife gym on a Saturday afternoon. It seemed funny walking by all the people lifting relatively light weights on machines to get through to the back studio where the competition was taking place.

I went because one of the big guys I most like to throw around at Aikido was competing. I know if I can move Steve that I’ve got my technique correct!

Powerlifing is a strength sport that consists of three attempts at maximal weight on three lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. It’s different than the sport of Olympic lifting which I think might be more familiar to the average person.

Olympic lifting is more speed, power, and timing. Powerlifting is a straight strength competition. And they each feature different lifts. Olympic lifting is the clean and jerk and the snatch. Powerlifting is squat, bench press, and deadlift.

And of course there’s some argument back and forth about which is best.

With their proposed popularity comes a little controversy. Many Olympic lifters and powerlifters proclaim their style of training as the “method of choice” for training athletes. Each method of training elicits a unique training philosophy, program, and outcome. For instance, “Olympic-style weightlifting is an excellent training method for developing power. It consists of two movements—the clean and jerk and the snatch. The derivatives of those movements are what make up the majority of the training exercises” (Gambetta 2007). Unlike its name, powerlifting is a training method that focuses on maximum strength. “Powerlifting is centered on the three competition lifts of the squat, bench press, and the deadlift; powerlifting develops strength in almost all major muscle groups” (Piper & Erdmann 1998).

The mood at the competition seemed friendly and supportive. There were two women competing, both young, but a few older women watching who usually lift but who were injured at the time. Some of the younger people were brand new to ccompetition. One young man had driven down from further north and his parents had to run out and get knee high socks. They were new to the idea of deadlifting socks which are required. I noticed that pretty much everyone had the other gear, one piece suits, special lifting shoes, and belts.

It struck me, watching, that you’d have to be not at all self conscious about your weight to compete. The screen displaying the weight the person was attempting also displayed their body weight.

I was curious too to see the weights the women were lifting. While there was some overlap between the first weights they attempted and my personal best, they were–no surprise here since this is their thing–much stronger than me.

Since moving to CrossFit, I still squat (see Get your ass to grass: Squats and functional fitness) and deadlift (Why deadlift? I mean, besides for the cool socks) but I haven’t done a bench press in years. Now, I want to know. I might have to sneak into the weight room before Aikido someday and find out what my max bench press is.

deadlifting bear