Take up space.

Some of you may know, some of you may not, that it was announced earlier in the year in the UK that Winston Churchill will replace social reformer Elizabeth Fry as the face of £5 notes. Meaning no woman of significance would be on English bank notes. If you automatically think well the Queen is a woman please stop reading my blog. A petition was raised and in the last week a decision was announced by the Bank of England that Jane Austen would be on the next £10 note and there would be a review of the selection process for future banknote characters.  Now some say that feminists shouldn’t be bothered about who is on the bank notes, it’s a small insignificant piece of the puzzle and there are bigger battles to fight. Now whilst I agree there are bigger battles I do think it’s important. I think it’s important that my daughter grows up knowing that achievements by women are as celebrated as achievements by men. I also think that the campaigner who got the result would not have spent the time she did on the banknotes achieving world peace. The victory maybe small but it IS a piece of the puzzle.

Ok so why am I blathering on about this on what is primarily suppose to be a blog about strength. Well in the days since the announcement of Jane Austen on the bank notes the organizer of the petition, Caroline Criado-Perez, has been subjected to bullying and verbal abuse (including threats of rape) on twitter. It’s been going on for about 3 days now. And instead of shying back, instead of sitting down, instead of shutting up which is what the bullys want her to do she is shouting back. She is involving police, she is saying to Twitter what are you going to do about people who threaten rape on your software. For this she is getting more abuse. She is getting abuse for being a woman taking up space (one of the tweets actually said ““Wouldn’t mind tying this bitch to my stove. Hey sweetheart, give me a shout when you’re ready to be put in your place”)

It’s important that women continue to say it’s ok to take up space mentally, physically and vocally. It’s ok to have a voice, it’s ok to have an opinion that not everyone agrees with.  So like Wendy Davis, Caroline Criado-Perez is a Strongwoman.

Back to the physical.  Yesterday I went down to train at Strength Tec, which is owned by Rob Frampton who is repeat competitor at the World’s Strongest Man. I went down to train with a lady who has now competed (and placed) in several strongwoman competitions, Meg. We did yoke to start, in which several of us got PBs at 180kg. This is where the power of encouragement comes in. I am betting none of us would even considered going up that high if we were training alone, but as a group? No problem and everyone celebrated each others success.

This was followed by car frame deadlifts, we didn’t have a car but the axle and wheels placed on it bought the total to about 160kg. This was a great practice for me because the technique is slightly different to both conventional and trap bar deadlifts, the feet are placed more forward of centre and you are slightly leaning back at the top of the movement. I’m not 100% sure that is what this video actually shows and I am definitely wearing the wrong shoes.

We moved onto log press, which was quite heartening as after weeks of struggling with 40kg it seemed a little easier.

The finisher is what Meg likes to call Death by Prowler. Apparently my pushing is as bad as my driving and I managed to come off the astro turf track causing even more effort to be needed. Basically it’s 4 lengths of 15/20m astroturf pushing the prowler, no idea how much the prowler weighs but there was an added 55kg on top. We did this for 3 sets each. It hurt and I have a raised eyebrow for anyone in the future who asks what I do for cardio….

It was lovely to meet other women who also like training with strongwoman equipment and I look forward to seeing them at the competition in TWO WEEKS TIME!!!


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6 thoughts on “Take up space.

  1. Caitlin July 28, 2013 at 1:20 pm Reply

    Oh look, I’m not the only one who trains while listening to Kesha. 🙂 Nice videos, by the way. You look like a total beast. You’re going to kill it at your competition.

    I actually just read a story about Caroline Criado-Perez and while I was appalled I was not shocked, but like you said, I’m glad she’s standing her ground. I signed her petition about adding a report button on Twitter because it really is ridiculous that Twitter has no mechanism at all for handling this kind of thing.

    I remember several years ago when this sort of thing happened to higher-profile women online, a lot of them would just close up shop and disappear, but now it seems like more and more of them are like “fuck that” and they’re fighting back, which rules. I’m not really all that interested in ceding the entirety of the internet to impotent manchildren who think #rapetrain is the height of sophisticated humor.

  2. Tara July 28, 2013 at 6:14 pm Reply

    Awesome!! Hearing about the weights you are all lifting makes me nervous! I don’t think people realise how much cardio is involved in these strongman exercises. Blergh.

    • Helen Rothwell July 30, 2013 at 6:45 am Reply

      There is such a huge range of abilities and most of us only managed to get 180kg for about 5m. But yes prowler, sled, tyre flipping or AMRAP on any strength exercise all get the heart rate up nicely!!!

  3. Mandy @ fatgirlgonehealthy August 1, 2013 at 12:47 am Reply

    “If you automatically think well the Queen is a woman please stop reading my blog.” Can’t Stop. Laughing.

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