Saturday, July 24, 2010

Different kind of training

Friday 23rd July – Equipment overview

This morning, at what should be an unlikely - but which is becoming increasingly likely - hour of 7am, Andrea had organised a session to to show us through all of the equipment at the gym.

No one had thought to bring a notepad, as we didn’t think it would be necessary, but it soon became clear that she had a lot to say. I quickly started taking notes on my phone as she was throwing lots of numbers at us in quick succession. For example:

  • Leg Press machine: set weight to 46kg, 20 repetitions each leg
  • Leg Curl machine: set weight to minimum, 20 repetitions each leg
  • Leg Extension machine, set weight to 16kg, 15 repetitions each leg
  • Squat machine, set height to number 3, weight to minimum and do 2 sets of 20.

These were the first 4 machines she showed us. My notes stop there, because she started being less specific after that. There were, however, a lot of machines and a lot to take in. There are machines, or settings on the machines, for pretty much every kind of muscle you want to hit (although apparently the squat machine will get a lot of the leg ones at once – bonus). They also have your basic barbells and assorted weights for those who like to kick it old school.

They also have a Roman Chair, which she demonstrated to us:

This is not Andrea

She then assured us that it wasn’t as easy as it looked. We told her it didn’t look at all easy. This was, I felt, a bit of a theme of the session. The idea was that she would show us how to do stuff, and while she did indeed do that, the specific nature of the demonstration quickly waned. After the first couple of machines, she would quickly show us things, sometimes 3 or 4 different exercises on the one machine, and then move on. She made it all look easy, of course, but it also felt like she assumed we already knew what we were doing. Between that and the fact that we could hardly hear her over the dance music, I didn’t really get a lot out of it (which is a bit of a worry, as it looks like some of this stuff could kill you).

The assumption of knowledge seems to be a very important part of the gym world. It’s pretty much expected that I know what a quad or a tricep or a hamstring are, where they are, and which ones I need to work, which exercises will work them, and which ones I need to stretch after doing a particular exercise. It’s one of the intimidating things about gym that, in many ways, is a reflection of real life. We all spend so much of our time pretending that we know what we are doing, when really we are faking it, or just fumbling our way through. So often it seems that the worst thing you can do is let people know that you don’t know something.

(Interestingly, my spell checker also doesn’t know what a tricep is. Maybe it doesn’t actually exist.)

1 comment:

  1. I don't really feel obligated to comment on every post (did you notice I left one blank?). I hate that machine - the roman chair. I don't use it. I made an appointment for the personal trainer at the gym to write a programme for me. If I don't like that exercise, I say "I don't like that one" e.g. I don't use the bike. I use the treadmill and the rower. *shrug* THey just give you something else to do, for the same muscles.