Why I Lift Heavy Things

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?

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4 responses to “Why I Lift Heavy Things

  1. I’ll put doing a chin-up on my fitness list this year, too. We can get together on December 31 and see if we can do a few…or one a piece 🙂

  2. Great post, Crysta.

    Your efforts have inspired me, too, to keep chipping away at the strength trng! We are gonna have killer guns come springtime. 😉

    Btw, wanted to pass along this link to a piece on the many benefits of working out w/weights — a lot more than just improving strength going on: http://bit.ly/i9setc

    • I can’t believe I didn’t even mention the health benefits! You’re absolutely right, Ilona! Thanks for commenting – and good luck with your training! 🙂

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