I love strength training.
I love lifting heavy things, making myself stronger, making it easier to haul groceries or 40 lb bags of kitty litter or 6×8 ft fence panels.
Last year, I followed the New Rules of Lifting for Women program, which introduced me to a world beyond 3 lb, neoprene coated dumbbells. I scoured Craigslist and assembled a kick-ass gym in my (very cold) basement. I did deadlifts and squats and rows and cleans.
It was rough going at first, but once I got through the initial what-the-heck-am-I-doing phase, it was golden. I looked forward to my lifting workouts and always felt great afterwards: powerful, energetic and ready to take on the world.
But in late spring, the siren call of the outdoors got stronger. After spending all day (and all winter) indoors, I really didn’t want to go down to the basement and lift. I was running more, and loving that, too.
Strength training went by the wayside. I was lifting only once every five or six weeks, and paying for it each time with a week’s worth of achy muscles. I was still adhering to New Rules of Lifting (NROL), but by rarely lifting, I wasn’t making any real progress.
Once it got cold, I returned to strength training, and remembered why I loved it. But I had lost a lot of my baseline strength, and while Stage 6 of NROL ostensibly prepares you to do a chin-up, I definitely couldn’t. No big deal, though, as I finished the 7th stage of the program just before Christmas and felt pretty good about it.
I’ve learned that I need to follow a prescribed program that tells me what exercises to do in which combination, so I picked up Rachel Cosgrove’s Female Body Breakthrough. Though the tone is way too girl-talky for me (and the liberal use of exclamation points makes me cringe), the program itself is well-designed, with plenty of core work and a good variety of heavy weights and body-weight exercises.
Once again, though, Cosgrove’s program includes chin-ups. And once again, I screwed my chin-up bar into the door frame – and hung there, a dead weight.
Damn it, I want to do a chin-up. Just one is fine.
So I will. It may take all year. But mark my words, I will be able to do a single chin-up.
And this summer, I’ll keep strength training as an integrated part of my weekly workout schedule. Maybe by cooling down post-run at the playground around the corner. Monkey bars would work for chin-up practice, right?