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.