Thursday, August 13, 2020

Twelve Chin-Ups

Twelve chin-ups, today! Four years ago I couldn't do one. So that's cool. I look pretty silly when I'm doing them, because I wear a knit cap so as not to scrape my bald spot on the rough ceiling when I bump top.  A superannuated sailor-man.

Possibly more exciting than the number (though there is a deep, childish pleasure in getting a new number!) is the control. I don't swing or sway or wriggle or lunge. Up I go, like I owned the place.

Resistance training is the most gratifying thing in the world: if you do the work and avoid injury, making better numbers is pretty much guaranteed, and -- in sharp contradistinction to the way most of the rest of life works -- the rewards are greatest right at the start. The payoffs come really fast, when you're starting out.

My whole home gym probably cost me $75.00. My dad gave me some old dumbbells, and a barbell, and a few weights. I had to buy a few more plates, over the years, as I got stronger. For a chin-up bar, I bolted a grab-bar that I bought for $3.50 onto a beam in the ceiling. I splurged and bought a nice band with handles. That's it. A towel and a pillow play supporting roles, but I already had those. On an ordinary day I'll have two or three exercises on my to-do list, which I fit in whenever I feel like it. (Today is chin-ups, leg scissors, and shoulder raises). No big deal: ten minutes here, fifteen there, when I'm sick of screens and books, and feel like my brain could use a power wash.

Since I yam what I yam, it involves spreadsheets and meticulous tracking, of course, and a elaborately-worked-out 14 day cycle. But a normal person could skip that part.


Pascale Parinda said...

Awesome you!

I've started doing "push-ups" (more likely "inclined press-ups" because I can't -yet- do even a single real push-up) and am gratified at how quickly I'm getting stronger. Progress is slightly impeded by a cranky left shoulder. But still.

Murr Brewster said...

I regret to say that this normal person skips more parts than the one. I really need to get some kind of program going now that I'm not doing fifteen-mile walks. Chin-ups, though, are not in the cards. I remember back when we were doing exercise for President Kennedy, the boys had to do chin-ups and the girls just had to hold a position on the bar and count the seconds before we sagged below it. Linguini-Arms here didn't take too long at that.

Dale said...

Yay for inclined press-ups! That's totally the way to do it. I started by throwing a towel over the chin-up bar and holding the ends: then I'd stand stiff, let myself tilt backwards a couple feet, and then pull myself back up to vertical. You just need to do something easier that vaguely resembles the thing that you can't do yet. And give yourself plenty of rest between sessions! I give myself at least two days' rest before stressing the same joint in the same way again. Young people can get away with less, probably, but I can't.

Chin-ups and pull-ups are easier for men than for women, by the way: the construction of the shoulder makes the leverage different. I know plenty of women who are in very good shape who can't do one. But there's always something you *can* do, and if you do it you'll get stronger.

Kathleen said...

You are an inspiration! I have a free weight by the door, ready to be a doorstop in a big wind, but I might just have to pick it up!!

Dale said...

:-) Pick it up and give it a whirl!