Monday, January 21, 2008

My First Bench Press!

The two other women in my workday workout group didn't show up today, so I got a Kameron-friendly workout from one of our work personal trainers, K.

She hauled me back into the free weights area, and I bench pressed for the first time!

The bar itself is 45 lbs, so she started me with that just to verify that I could, you know, lift it with ease. She increased the weight by 5lbs on each bar until we got to 65. By then, I was probably too worn out to push weight increments of much more, but next time... I want to start at 70, yo!

As we moved on to free weights, one of the guys in the gym lumbered up and said, "You know, if you ladies are serious about lifting weights, you should use higher and higher increments. You know, 8 pounds, then 10pounds, maybe even a couple reps with 20, you know, til you tire out. Women don't have testoserone, so you don't bulk up. You'll just get these real lean muscles."

Imagine, when I grow up, I might even be able to lift a 20lb free weight!

I did understand the weight training routine he was referencing... though he got it wrong. It actually works in reverse of the way he said it. You start with the heaviest weight you can lift, do it to failure, then notch down your weights, doing each successively smaller weight to failure. It's called a Drop Set. This will build muscle faster, but could also result in overtraining. There are pros and cons. I suppose you could try this in reverse the way he believed you should (with his 20 years of personal training experience, I'm sure), but if you do 20 lbs to failure, you probably aren't going to be able to lift 25 and do them to failure immediately afterwards.

Anyway. Math is hard, and I'm just a girl.

K. was much nicer than I was going to be.

What I wanted to say was, first: "Women don't have any testoserone, huh? I wonder where my wicked sex drives comes from, then."


"If I wanted your advice, I would ask. I, however, am no foreigner to free weights, thanks. Even though I'm just a girl."

K. has 15 years of personal training experience and a BA in Exercise Science or something. She merely said, "Thank you."

As we headed out of the weight area to work on the assisted pull-up machine she said, "Don't you just love it when random guys in the gym give you unsolicited advice?"

"We're just girls," I said. "It happens every time you walk over to the boys' half of the gym. And then they wonder why more women don't lift weights."

Honestly, do you think guys give other guys unsolicited advice in the weights room? Maybe they do, and I just never noticed because I don't spend enough time there. But I'd bet women get way more unsolicited advice than men do. Women have pride too, you know. And many of us even have an idea of what we're doing. If we're not doing it the way you want us to do it, it's probably for a reason. You don't know what our goals are. You don't know what our backgrounds are. Some of us have 15 years of personal training experience. Some of us can kick you in the head.

Thanks, tho, buddy.


My first bench press!


10 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

darkles said...

He probably just wanted an excuse to talk to you Fabulous Babes.

Travis said...

must be nice to be allowed to do that weight training.

Tech support isn't allowed because we are too busy.. BAH

Kameron Hurley said...

In April, you'll have no more excuses, hooker!!! muwaha ahahaha

Jenn said...

I was buying some weights at a sporting goods store once, and a guy came by, looked at the weights, and said "Atta girl!"

He's very lucky he kept walking.

Bad Decision Maker said...

jerk!! and stupid too, he was so wrong.

yeah, whenever i go into the weight room they look at me like they can't believe their eyes or something.

congrats on the bench press. i wish i had someone to spot me because the free weight kind is way better than the machine kind.

Hannah said...

Got my first unsolicited advice today! I just stared at him. I think he decided I didn't speak English or something.

jeff said...

I get unsolicited advice at the gym as well...some guys do it to attempt to show off to women, but of course, male masculinity being what it is, coaching other guys without their asking for coaching is another way to appear masculine.

Also, some people really just think they're being helpful.

Even if I see somebody doing something 'wrong', I won't correct 'em unless I already know them, in part because people do all sorts of different things for their own reasons, and in part because I don't know that much.

Kameron Hurley said...

I just can't see myself ever "correcting" someone unless I saw that they were doing something that I felt was going to result in an injury.

There are a lot of different reasons folks lift weights, and telling somebody to do drop sets if they're just starting out would be... arrogant. I tend to assume folks know what they're doing until they prove otherwise. It's good to start out respecting people than assuming they're stupid.

Carol said...

Yay fo free weights! I do free weights waaaay more than the machines and get much better result. And yep, every guy thinks he's gonna tell me how to do it. I had one older man follow me around and keep giving me advice! Ah well, I said,"thanks" and kept on.

jeff said...

I'm unsure why I used the word 'correct'. I don't *know* enough to correct anybody anyway. Most of what I know of free weights (which is pretty much all I do) comes from 20 years ago in high school mixed with stuff from, but it's all self-taught otherwise, so I don't tend to correct anybody.

What I did have in mind was that I have made a couple of gym-buddy type friends with whom I can discuss technique, form, and the merits of various exercises and I'm on board with the not 'correcting' anybody.