Exercises You Should Be Doing (Special Wedding Edition)

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I need to lift something heavy

So said Anna (the future first lady of Cressey Performance) as she walked through the front office door two nights ago. Not surprisingly, after having spent the better part of the past year helping to plan their wedding, Anna was a liiiiiiiiiiiiittle stressed out knowing that her and Eric’s wedding was less than six days away.

– DJ booked? Check.

– Wedding gown fits? Check.

– Seating arrangements are “arrange-nified?” Check.

– Groom is going to show up? Check.

Needless to say, while I have absolutely no clue what it’s like to plan for a wedding, I know it ain’t easy. Furthermore, I’d go so far as to say that it ranks right up there with a colonoscopy as “things I want to do any time soon.”

Note to my girlfriend: I love you my little honey bunches of oats! Uh, what’s with the taser gun? And, more importantly, why are you pointing it at my face? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Suffice it to say, like most brides-to-be, Anna has also used the months leading up to the big day to get into, arguably, the best shape of her life. Where she differs, though, is how she’s gone about doing it.

While many (not all) are quick to hop on the elliptical trainer for endless hours on end, or worse, the Bootcamp for Brides bandwagon, Anna has gone the unconventional route and elected to lift heavy things – which shouldn’t come as a surprise given she lives right across the street from the facility and her fiance is kind of a smart dude and has a certain affinity for lifting heavy things himself.

That said, here’s Anna six days before the wedding making 265 lbs her bitch on the trap bar.

Seriously. If the bright smile afterward didn’t give it away, she absolutely smoked that weight. As noted above, this is a far cry from what many women are doing to get ready for their wedding. While there are certainly exceptions to the rule, it’s rare to see a woman lift some appreciable weight in place of copious amounts of drawn-out, steady state cardio to get into great shape, let alone to look phenomenal in a wedding dress.

What’s more, here’s Anna letting out a little aggression on the med ball wall:

Trust me, in that one minute it took her to complete that set (and she did five sets total, with 60s rest between), her heart rate was probably twice as high compared to anything, anyone could do in a pilates class.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m just a biased strength coach who just wants women to lift weights and nothing else. You’re not that far off, actually. Listen, I understand that there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and that strength training is just a piece of the equation – albeit a VERY big piece. I just know what works. And I know that given a choice, people are going to end up doing what’s easy, and what they’re good at. For most, this entails lots of reps with low weight followed by who knows how many hours on the elliptical trainer.

Coincidentally, the above protocol generally leads to a smaller, weaker, softer version of your original self. Not always, just 99.99% of the time. Conversely, take someone out of their comfort zone – lift some heavy things, add in some metabolic training, beat the snot out of stuff, hit things – and good things start happening to the tune of more lean muscle, less body fat, and arms, shoulders, and an upper back that are going to look fantastic in that strapless wedding gown.

In the end, while I love the fact that more and more women are starting to get the message that it’s okay to lift weights, many are still left in the dark as to what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. While this blog is a great starting point, resources like Nia Shank’s Fat Loss Detour or The New Rules of Lifting for Women are definitely more thorough in explaining the ins and outs of getting more badass. Speaking of which, I need to write a book. Working titles:

Get the F*** Off the Treadmill

Shut-Up, Tracy Anderson

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

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