Thursday, January 18, 2007
This is the time of year where I head back into the gym to start working on strength training. The goal of a triathlete is not to "bulk up". I don't know, never really worked out with weights enough for THAT to be a problem. According to Joe Friel, one of triathlon's experts, he recommends the following exercises: Hip extension (squat, leg press or step up), standing bent-arm, lat pull down, chest press/push ups, seated row, working one of your weaknesses, then some sort of ab crunch.
In the past week or so, CJB read some book titled "The New Rules of Weightlifting" or something along those lines. So it has completely changed up what I've known to become the "usual" weight routine.
Now the nice thing about making a change like this is that the first couple of times, you really feel it. Your mucles are sore in places you didn't even know you had. Yes, that's sort of a sick way of looking at it, but if I can feel that weight workout the next day, I feel like I've accomplished something. But here's the problem: It's boring.
Before I started doing triathlons, I stayed completely out of the weight room. Sure, I may have used a few machines here and there, but go in the room with all the free weights, mirrors and all the big, bulky, sweaty guys in their little diego T-shirts making all kinds of grunting noises? Uh uh. Ain't havin' any part of that. No way. I'd look stupid because I wouldn't even know the first thing about what exercise to do.
Well, now that has changed to be almost completely the opposite. Almost all my exercises are in the free weight room, I sorta know what I am doing, but the best part is that there are very few of those dudes that are constantly staring at themselves in the mirrors. Well, I'm sure that still happens at some clubs. And that can be quite intimidating, whether you're a female or not! And I read somewhere that if you have to make some huge kind of noise like that to lift the weight you're using, you're lifting too much weight. And now that I know that, it sort of makes me laugh at the guys that do it.
As we get older, strength training becomes more important. I think I read somewhere that we start losing muscle mass steadily as we get older, IF we do not do some sort of work in the gym. This doesn't have to be some big, long weight routine that needs to be done 3 times a week. Once a week serves the purpose.
Back to my issue...it's boring. In fact, if I didn't have a buddy or two that make plans to meet me at the club for a weight session (a.k.a. Eye Candy), well, then I probably wouldn't do it. At least when you go with friends, you have someone to suffer through the workout with. And it does make it less boring. So you get to have a little social time and get your workout in at the same time. It also makes the time go by faster.
I consider myself a novice when it comes to strength training. Most times, I don't know what exercise works which muscles unless there's a little picture on the machine. Last year, it was nice to have my coach tell me what exercises to do and at what weights. But I'm flyin' by the seat of my pants a little more this year. So I don't know if the right way to think about it is "any strength training is better than none" or "You must follow this structured set of exercises or you are wasting your time" is true.
So I guess we'll just follow the book. And as long as I feel that workout in the days after, I guess I'll know at least something is going on over there!