I don’t how much it has to do with the fact that I didn’t fare all that well in my last (extra small) triathlon — OK, it has a lot to do with that — but I sort of decided I would start picking up steam at the gym this week. Meaning, I would actually push myself a little, do more and better exercises, and stop dropping moves because “my shoulder felt a little sensitive”. I’ve done this for so long now that I can’t exactly tell what part is pretext and what part is real anymore. In any event, if I was able to run a triathlon, even an extra small one, I must be able to exercise.
Turns out — not quite.
Today was pecs and triceps day, which, now that my shoulder is officially fine, means I get to do the butterfly thing again, on top of the other classics: benchpress (although I do that one seated because I’m too lazy), the triceps rope exercise… you know the drill, and if you don’t, it’s not that exciting anyway. I also did some shoulder exercises to make sure it would not become “sensitive” ever again. Since the only reason it got to that in the first place was because I kept on adding weights in my pecs exercises without working on my shoulders. What is otherwise known as a rookie mistake — made at age 38 (well, 37 then, but still).
There is another thing I want to be more mindful about: my back. As it stands (that’s an expression, not my actual back), whenever I tend to push a little too much, I sort of compensate with the rest of my body, usually my back — when it’s not the shoulders. You’re always told not to do that, and I should know better, but then again I’ve been writing silly stories on this blog for years, so I mustn’t be all that bright at the end of the day (also an expression, not any specific day). So I decided I would add a back exercise to my routine and asked my wife what her recommendation was. She’s actually an athlete — and actually smart — so I trusted her on this one:
- Just do the plank.
- The what now?
- You know, the plank.
- Like, planking?
- Almost, but on the floor with your forearms holding the weight.
- Oh, the thing I see every girl doing?
- That’s right.
- And why don’t I see any guys doing it?
- Because they’re idiots.
- Makes sense.
- What would make sense is you actually trying it.
And so, this morning (i.e. 1pm), I did. The first few seconds were easy: you just have to hold still, even I can do that. But, a couple dozen seconds in, my upper body started shaking uncontrollably and I looked around to make sure there were no girls seeing me pathetically tremble after 30 seconds of something anyone one of them could do for hours (or minutes, who’s counting?). Luckily, I was alone. So I let go.
But I’m not such a wuss, thank you very much: I tried again. This time, I setup the stopwatch to see how long I actually planked (felt incredibly long) and ideally make it to 1 minute. Seemed fair. And off I went again. By seconds 25-30, I was shaking again. But I held on. And closed my eyes to stop seeing the clock that was on the floor right in front of me. I opened my eyes again when I couldn’t take it anymore: 45 seconds. F**k.
Somehow, I managed to hold it till 1 minute. I’m a hero.