Thursday, 24 July 2014

Weight Training For Office Workers

Weight training is an essential part of any exercise regime - except for distance runners, who need as little body mass as possible. I have been hefting iron for about twenty-five years, with a disastrous period of four years off, which I will never repeat again. I do weights because: a) I prefer the way I and my body feels, b) it gives me some upper-body shape, c) it takes me off the radar of any 160lb muggers who may be wandering around, d) it gives me a decent muscle tone. Also, anyone who accidentally-on-purpose bumps into me in a crowd because they are feeling ornery? Hurts them way more than it hurts me. And sometimes having the extra strength is useful. I sleep better, look better, and feel better, physically and mentally.

Ignore the bros with their 350lb bench-presses and 500lb dead-lifts. These are the equivalent of running 100m in 11 seconds, or a marathon in under three hours. It’s an elite achievement for a small number of genetically-gifted people who make it the main thing they do with their lives after the day job. I can’t do it, you can’t do it, and there’s no shame in that. Furthermore, but don’t ever say this to them, anyone doing weights at that level has most likely to have used, or still be using, steroids (aka “juicing”).

In a normal gym, the man/woman distinction is at 132 lbs (60kgs) for the bench-press. The only women you will see doing more than that are trainers, body-builders and medal-winning sports competitors. Sally at the office will never get close. But neither will most of the men in the office either, no matter how hefty they look. If you can bench 3x10x60kgs regularly, you will not be mistaken for a girl by anyone who knows what they are doing.

These reasons work for women as well. In fact, women could benefit a lot from weight-training. Chicken wings will vanish, or never appear, after making tricep curls a feature of their routine. That soft (actually flaccid) waistline will firm up a treat with some sit-ups, leg-raises and side-bends on a ball. All that crap about exercise and firm tone not being feminine is just rationalising laziness. They don’t want to look like Marika Johansson at full competition cut, and they never will. However, neither do they want to look like someone let the air out of them ten years ago. Toned is sexy.

The aim isn’t to lift a lot of weight. It’s to lift enough weight, often enough, to challenge your body. Your body will respond by making more muscle and more bone - and it will do that if you are twenty-one or seventy-one, male or female. Weight training will give you a heap of respect for the human body: it adapts and responds faster and more effectively that your thoughts and emotions. Show it you need some strength or flexibility by going just slightly and carefully out of its comfort zone each time, and it will respond by getting stronger and looser. Every time. Every body. This means you.

All those good health reasons aside, I’ll tell you why you should add weight training to your routine.

You will feel better about your body. You will feel better about yourself, because your body is a huge part of your self.

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