I understand that most things that I have to lift or carry are not secured to the wall in case I drop them. That is, most things in “real life” fall in the category of “free weights.” Free to fall on and crush me if I am not careful. Which is why I have a hard time with the concept of purposefully trying “freely” to lift heavy pieces of anything so many times in a row that my muscles are screaming at me, in fact threatening to just give up and drop the stupid thing.
I know there is this wisdom about proper form and building up strength that are supposed to make it safer. I’m supposed to be in tune with my level of muscle fatigue and stop before there is an accident. I should ask for help if a weight is going to be hovering over my throat, tempting gravity.
And it’s not that I mind working out with “the guys” or smelling everyone’s sweat. What I do mind is the weights that get unexpectedly dropped near me because someone else “miscalculated” their potential. In spite of rules in the gym, this invariably happens. I think it makes them feel tough. It makes me wonder what massive rock slide is coming my way.
So, I tried the weight machines. For some reason, these tended to strain whatever joint was involved in the movement. Believe me, I worked at it for a couple of years. I had training sessions. I still dreaded the machines. It was tedious having to set all the lengths and heights of a different machine for each single muscle. There was a particular boredom with the repetitions that I didn’t experience with the free weights.
When the TRX Suspension Training came to my hometown gym, I learned how to use it. Right away it just felt better. Maybe it requires me to hold my core differently, so I feel more engaged with the movements. I also felt safer, … unless I was getting hit in the head with a basketball from the court just behind where I was working. After a few months trying it out, I bought a TRX for my husband, since he travels a lot. He was very grateful and he said he would share. Now we could use it at home, sans basketballs lurking.
I typically take a break from strength training during the first months of intense spring gardening. With all the digging and pulling, I don’t really have any energy to allocate to random movements. However, when that is past, I can feel the muscles start to atrophy. With fall coming, I know it is going to be to my advantage to start a maintenance routine to keep me strong during the winter. Otherwise, all that spring gardening will result in injury.
When I was thinking of how to start out this month, I asked my 17 year old daughter to show me her routine. I thought it would help jump start me, since I was feeling a little brain dead about it all. There was so much jumping in her routine that I knew what it would start for me. I would unable to walk the next day if I did all that! She tried to assure me it was easy and fun, but she nodded solemnly when I pointed out that I can hurt things at my age that don’t heal well.
Next, I tried to look up some exercises on youtube. I quickly came to the conclusion that I was not interested in THAT many variations of how to work my glutes. Or whatever. I have become bored with repeating exact exercises, so I comprehend the desire for creativity. But another part of me wonders if maybe these people need some real things to carry, some real work to do. It would take a few hours to work all the individual muscles they try to isolate.
It really didn’t take me long to decide to locate the basics book that came with the TRX. Yep, it was just what I needed. Between that, plus one exercise in the “express TRX workout booklet,” and some crunches and planks, I feel on my way to being a well
rounded sculpted athlete.
I even made myself a reprintable chart to
- remind me of each exercise, and
- keep track of what angle I am from the walls and floor, and
- record how many repetitions I am doing for each exercise.
The workout goes smoother and more time efficiently if I am not wasting time trying to remember details. The first time, I was done in 30 minutes. That included a few stair repeats up to check on some email about the evenings activities.
I guess in reality, there is no superior judgement in dangling myself from a strap over the floor, but I feel more in control. Storing the TRX or using it doesn’t take up very much space, so there is no need for a weight room or dragging around a bunch of equipment. If someone lets the straps swing when they are done with it, it benignly splats on the door. It is the perfect helpless female weight training tool.