Friday, June 18, 2010

My first weight bench

New weight bench from Dick's Sporting Goods
It's September 7, 2008. I have bought and assembled my first weight bench. It's a model from Fitness Gear, which I have come to learn is the generic brand sold by Dick's Sporting Goods stores. It's a good bench (an older version of this--see link). The upper bench tilts up or down, and the seat tilts, too. It is solid and can hold plenty of weight. There is an adjustable foot rest of some kind at the end, and while this looks like something cool, I can't figure out what it is for. I think it is meant to hold your feet while you do situps. But no matter how I adjust it, it won't work for me. I am 6'4" and I think this piece of equipment isn't really made for someone as big as me. The other reason I think this is that the metal bars that support the barbell are placed in exactly the wrong place for me. The most proper way to do bench presses is to place one's hands directly above the shoulders. However, my shoulders are wide and the brackets upon which the barbell rests are in exactly that spot. So, my bench presses must be done with my hands placed close together or relatively far apart. Based on a book called Strength Training Anatomy by Frederic Delavier, these alternate hand positions are fine; in fact, they strengthen different parts of the pectoralis muscle: "hands closer together isolates the central part of the pectoralis; hands wider apart isolates the lateral part of the pectoralis." Through most of 2009 I was using the close-together hand position because I wanted to develop the part of the muscle that connects to the sternum. But in the end I think I was building my triceps a lot more than my chest. Well, that's fine. But in late 2009 I decided to shift my hand position to a wide grip, and this gives me a nice, satisfying burn underneath and to either side of the nipples. One way or another it's still building the pecs.

Let me list my initial workout on this day in Sept 2008:

  • Bench Press: 35 pounds x 1 set of 16 reps (I was afraid of injuring myself, so I started really light)
  • Lateral Dumbbel Raise: 5 pounds x 1 set of 15 reps
  • Bicep Curl: 5 pounds x 1 set of 15 reps
  • Rotator Cuff Elastic Rows: 16 reps
  • Abdominal Crunches: 15 reps
  • Swimming: 20 min @ intensity=7.7 (I'm surprised to see this on my list. I was not a serious swimmer back then)

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