May 03, 2007
Strength Training Made Slightly Less Unpleasant
You know you should be doing some strength training, right? Along with your regular cardio, and stretching, and not eating triple cheeseburgers for dinner every night?
Yet strength training is one of those particularly loathed good-for-you things like broccoli or flossing your teeth. Many otherwise sensible people, women particularly, tend to plug their ears and sing "la la la I can't heeeear you" whenever the subject comes up.
Crabby hates it too, but she does it anyway. Two or three times a week, bitching the entire time.
Does Crabby need to go over the reasons for lifting weights? There's a summary here.
Just a few highlights: you can rev up your metabolism and stay leaner; keep your bones from disintegrating when you get old; relieve depression; fight various diseases; and just generally become a superhero with extraordinary powers who never ever dies. (Crabby is paraphrasing here).
Of course, the usual caveats apply about seeing your doctor first, getting help from a trainer, starting slow, etc. Crabby doesn't want you to hurt yourself or threaten her with litigation.
Here's the important thing: Keep it short and simple. As soon as you figure out what you're doing, ditch the teeny tiny weights. Find a few good exercises, use heavy enough weights, and just do One Set Apiece. (Unless you're really into it). You don't get that much more out of a 2nd or 3rd set.
Why do so many women torture themselves by doing 10 sets of 9,000 repetitions each with tiny little dumbells? I see that at the gym all the time. It takes forever, hurts, and won't do any good anyway.
Instead, choose an amount of weight that's hefty enough you can only lift it for 6-12 reps (advice varies depending on expert and body part) before you physically can't do it even one more time.
This sounds hard but it actually it's easier. The first couple of times feel "heavy," but not painful. The next few are still okay, but you realize you won't be able to do this forever. During the last couple you'll be moaning "this sucks" but then congratulations, you're done!
This isn't enough training, obviously, to turn you into a hard-core body builder. But no hard-core body builder in her right mind would come to Crabby for weight lifting advice.