Wednesday, April 14, 2010
I've written before about aging and how it's affected my gym workouts. For several years I've noticed that I don't have the strength I used to. But I've tried my best to keep lifting the weight I used to lift as best I can.
It occurred to me yesterday that may not be the best approach. I was working on bicep curls, which I used to do with a 45-lb bar laden with 50 lbs of weight. A few years back, in a nod to diminishing strength, I took 10 lbs of weight off the bar. But I've noticed that my form has nonetheless become pretty ragged -- I swing my body a bit to lift the weight, and I don't concentrate the movement in the muscle. Bad form can lead to injuries and a lot of exertion with little result.
So I pulled another 20 lbs off the bar and tried to focus strictly on my movements, rather than on maximizing weight. I think I got a better workout.
I'm toying with the idea of scaling back on weight in other exercises too, making sure my underlying form is sound, and perhaps varying weight more so that I lift heavier weights for fewer reps, and lighter ones for more reps. (As opposed to doing three sets of 10 reps of bicep curls with 40-lb dumbbells every single week, for example).
I think the variety may make me stronger and perhaps avoid injury. (I've thought perhaps I need to talk to a trainer, too, about my changing body -- but who can afford a trainer?)
I'm not at all glum about lifting less weight. I used to love the immensely powerful feeling I got weightlifting -- that "oomph!" of exertion and sense of smooth strength, and I don't really feel that anymore. Weightlifting is just plain harder now. But I still feel good after my workouts, and I wouldn't trade the gym for anything.
(Photo: This big white tree is directly across the parking lot from our apartment. It's an ornamental pear, I think, but it looks like a big cloud!)