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Posts Tagged ‘project mighty me’

In which the Swan admits she has no upper body strength

See that icon? Yeah, I’m nowhere near that.

These numbers will be a little embarrassing, but I want to record for posterity what I’m lifting here at the start of my exercise regimen, on the principle that I can then feel proud when I look back and see how far I’ve come. (In theory.) So here is what I’m doing for strength training right now.

  • Bench press: 2 x 12-15, 12 lbs. (It was disappointing to discover that the bar alone on the normal bench is heavier than I feel capable of. Not sure how much that thing weighs. Fortuantely, they have these nice, padded weight bars in a variety of numbers. I’ll start with those and work my way up.)
  • Shoulder press: 2 x 15, 12 lbs. (See above about the weight bar. I quite like those things.)
  • Row: 2 x 15, 5 lbs. (Nothing like a single-digit number to make you feel pathetically weak, but since I do the exercises in this order, by the time I get this far, those muscles are already tired.)
  • Lat pulldown: 2 x 15, 30 lbs. (A higher weight, at last! And I’m going to add to this one the next time I do it; it isn’t tiring me much at all, at the current weight.)
  • Back hyperextensions: 2 x 12, no weight. (Today’s addition to the regimen. I really need to strengthen my lower back more.)
  • Crunches: 2 x 15. (God, I hate crunches.)

So there you have it. I’m not doing lower-body stuff as yet; leg muscle has never been a problem for me, and my cardio work alone will give me some of that. I think I may add “pullups” on the lat machine, though, as a step toward doing proper pullups, since those always look cool.

I don’t have any particular goals regarding what I want these numbers to be in six months; I don’t have enough experience with weights to know what’s reasonable to aim for. But I’ll be keeping an eye on the stats, and reporting back in when I feel like I’ve made progress.

addendum to the fitness post

I begin to suspect that my standards for judging my fitness are slightly askew when I think, “I’ll know my glutes are in good shape when I can do a grand rond de jambe en dedans and not throw my hip out when I go from derrière to à la seconde.”

Not that I did that over Christmas or anything.

(I blame my mother taking me to her adult ballet class. They don’t require you to be at those standards, but the problem is, my muscle memory doesn’t remember how to do anything except at certain standards . . . which I no longer have the muscles for.)

I need to figure out fitness benchmarks that don’t come from ballet.

iconage with an excuse

The boy and I joined a gym recently, which means that for the first time in my life, I’m trying to exercise just for the purpose of exercising. That is, I’m not taking dance classes to prepare for a recital, or doing summer swim team with organized meets; I’m just going to the gym and doing stuff to be in better shape. This is a new experience for me.

Because I’m still having fun with all my glorious new icon space, I have an exercise icon; I figure Demi Moore doing a one-armed pushup in G.I. Jane is a good inspiration/motivator/what-have-you, because man, she was hard in that movie. (Edited to add: Also, a pic of Hillary Swank in Million Dollar Baby just seemed a little too ominous for my taste.)

This also seems a good chance to pimp something I encountered a while ago (I think from gollumgollum, though I’m not sure): Stumptuous.com. It’s written primarily as a weightlifting site for women, but honestly, half or more of its information is good for men, women, small children, and other humanoid creatures; things like the lowdown on sets, reps, tempo, periodization, nutrition, cardio, and the like are useful for everybody. If you’re a woman, though, you may particularly appreciate the advice that has specifically to do with female body structure and the difficulties that may arise from working out during your period. (I’d say go look at the pictures for inspiration, but the link to the photos seems to be broken.)

I’ve started out with just some very very basic cardio, keeping it easy because right now I think my biggest challenge is simply getting myself into the habit of going to the gym. Time enough to push myself into harder workouts when I’m used to working out in the first place, right? But I’m looking into picking up a bit of weightlifting (hence browsing Stumptuous) because, frankly, I want to look utterly smashing in my wedding dress, and most of them seem to be strapless. ^_^ Plus, y’know, upper body muscle doesn’t suck to have. I’m also stretching again; I love doing it, but apparently need a reason to do it (like an evening of dancing, or a workout I just finished). I’ve often tried stretching for its own sake, and can never make a habit of it. It’s also the one area of my workout that I have experience and familiarity with, where I can not only understand what I’m doing but choose reasonable goals for my progress. Step one: get my front splits back, reliably. (I’m close, but only get them after I’m warm.) Step two: get my side splits to not suck. Step three: get my side splits to the wall/walkover point. (Is there any purpose in pushing myself that far? No, because I’m not a ballet dancer anymore. But dammit, I want my 180 back. Or at least the 178 or so I used to have.)

I’d be interested in hearing advice from the peanut gallery, since I’m so very new to this whole “gym” thing.