Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oy, the weights I lifted!

Rare workout at the JCC today while I'm home on a sort-of-working vacation. I ran there, probably about a mile, and went straight to the squat rack. They have good rubber-bumper weights there so I could drop my bar from about waist level and not strain myself trying to set it down. These weights are in kg, which is a nice treat for the athletic engineer. The workout:

Warmup - clean and jerk, 60kg - 5 lifts
Squats - 70 kg x 5
90 kg x5, four sets
alternating with military presses on the Smith machine: 70 pounds plus whatever the bar equivalent is
Deadlifts: 120kg x5, two sets

The deadlifts were fun. I asked a trainer to help me lift the bar off the rack, but she demurred.

"I'll hurt my back! Can you really lift all that?"
"I can lift it from the floor, just not the rack. I'm stronger than I look," I said, "That's easy, since I don't look very strong."

So I took off 50kg. She offered to help me with that, but I set the bar down myself. Then I put the 50kg back and she watched me do a few deadlifts. Later, I did,

Clean& Jerk: 50kg x5, two sets.

She came in just as I was finishing. "I've never seen anyone work out like that here."
"It's a shame," I said, dropping the bar for a satisfying thud that shook all the plates in their racks, "these bumper weights are great."
"So what do you get here," I asked her, "A lot of big guys who come in and do curls?"
"Not even that. Just a lot of old people."

It was true. There were a fair amount of old people working out, bless them, and younger folks too. Many of them were doing exercises that had to be just plain ineffective. One gentleman of about sixty had a lat pulldown machine with about 10 lb on it. He stood in front of it, gripping the bar and with vigorous shakes of his arms from the shoulders he made the plate oscillate up and down slightly. A woman of maybe forty-five worked with a trainer. He handed her small dumbells and watched her do various exercises, with a good four minute kvetch between each set.

The young guys I did see were even worse, because they should have known better. One loaded up the Smith machine for bench presses. He was twice my size and lifted less than I do, lots of reps. I'm sure in the cosy confines of the Smith he got no benefit from it at all. Somehow, though, his muscles were big and puffy.

Oy. Genetics.

But so was his belly.

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