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Gym Pet Peeves

I notice a lot of things in the gym that make me wonder what the heck people are doing, how they are not injuring themselves, and if they really expect to get fit with poor exercise choices.  Sometimes I think that we as a society have become clueless about physical culture.  Then I see a few people who look like they are training smart, and my faith in humanity is restored.  On the other hand, there are still those irritating things in the gym that annoy me.  Here are a few of them:

The $50 home gym

I recently read a post on Gimundo about building a $50 home gym, which I found to be.... well, utter crap. I guess the suggestions are ok for someone looking to just start moving, but I personally can't imagine anyone achieving anything beyond mediocre fitness with a suggestion of exercise videos, balance ball, and 3 lb hand weights (really, 3lbs?!? Are we so weak that we shoot for weights lighter than some of my textbooks?). Here's what I suggest for a $50 home gym.

Jump rope notes: Buddy Lee replacement cords and cable rope

Replacing my Buddy Lee rope cord

I finally managed to snap the cord on my Buddy Lee rope. It took me about three years, but I finally wore through the cord. All things considered, that's not too bad. I chew through the cheap ropes when I get in a jump rope conditioning phase, though I guess I mostly break those ropes at the handles.

Weight training and bone density

Conventional wisdom tells us that weight training increases bone density (ex. here and here). The force of your muscles moving a load stresses the bones slightly and causes them to grow back stronger. That's a decidedly good thing, at least assuming that you don't do anything really (excuse the pun) bone-headed like lift weights you're not ready for or do exercises with terrible technique.

Home Gym Essentials

Reading through a fitness mag (ok, I admit it, I flipped through my wife's issue of Shape), I came across an article about equipping a home gym. As expected, I found half the suggestions to be ludicrous. I was quite amused that the bigger budget home gyms had a treadmill and elliptical trainer--two pieces of equipment I think are completely unnecessary for a home gym. I was likewise amused at the suggestion of the perfect pushup device; rotating handles for pushups are overrated and not worth $30.

Making progress with the old man

My dad was never a big fan of my avid interest in physical fitness and physical activities. His attempts to turn me into a nerdy bookworm were only half successful. I did turn out to become a nerd, but he fortunately never succeeded in making me forgo all physical activity to study more. In fact, his constant badgering about me not studying enough probably caused me to rebel and become even more interested in physical fitness. But last night, he didn't poo-poo my fitness expertise like he usually does.

2009/12/16: Back on the rings, medicine ball core work

Hopped back on the rings yesterday afternoon after a few weeks off. It's been a little cold, so hanging the rings outside hasn't been happening. At some point, my Floridian senses take over and tell me that freezing temperatures and stiff winds are not good for an outdoor rings workout.

  • wide supports: 3 x 15s
  • iso hold false grip pull ups: 2 rounds
  • archer dips: 2 x 4-6 reps

Freak warm December day = Outdoor Leg Workout

It had been unseasonable warm through November here in PA, then it turned cold. But we still had one last warm-ish day in December. We broke out the weight vests and took advantage of the cinder blocks and tires outside for an outdoor leg workout:

  • Lunges:
    • 20 x bodyweight
    • 20 x 20lb vest
    • 20 x vest+cinder block
    • 20 x vest+2 cinder blocks

  • Side lunges: 2 x 20 x vest
  • Tire Pushes: 2 rounds pushing 40 yds (or failure)

Random notes

  • Deadlifted 205 lbs again.  It's been a while since I went past 185 lbs since I've been working on my technique.  Technique felt pretty clean this time around, but my grip is still weak.  My grip failed long before everything else.
  • On that note, I watch other people do deadlifts in the gym.  I cringe at the sight of many rounded backs.  It must be good to be young and not feel any pain from poor lifting form.
  • You'd think that college athletes would all be fantastically fit and strong.  You'd be wrong in that thought.  I've never

Tai Cheese: A Case Study

What do tai chi and dairy farming have to do with each other? Normally nothing, but in the case of Rob Taverner, tai chi helps keep him and his dairy cows happy. I applaud Rob Taverner for his organic dairy farming and his dabbling with tai chi to soothe his cows. I however can't say that his movements (as far as I can tell from the still photo) adhere to tai chi principles.