Saturday, February 16, 2013

Weight-ing In

I've been reading Stuart McRobert's The Insider's Tell-All On Weight-Training Technique. I am definitely a newbie in the weightlifting scene, and figure I might as well get a good foundation. McRobert recommends that a trainee start off by actually weighing the plates and bars in a gym, and jot it all down in a training notebook. From gym-to-gym, brand-to-brand, piece-to-piece within the gym, he says to check it all. Hmmm. At first blush I thought him crazy: he  also suggests bringing a level, tape-measure, and chalk to check that the floor surface is level, mark off my body's best position, etc. in addition to checking the weights' accuracy. (Obsessive, anyone?) But after some thinking, it seems to me that if I were a man squatting over 300 lbs, the equipment being crooked or off-level could potentially make difference in technique or ability. Then again, I certainly don't know what that's like. I decided to play out his advice by measuring our mix-and-match dumbells. Why not?


I discovered that one brand of handles and collars together weighed nearly 5 lbs, unloaded. The plates were each over by 1 or 2 oz, and when all was put together it totaled exactly 20 lbs, though by the plates' markings it was 15 lbs. The other brand of bar with just spring clamps loaded weighed 1 lb even. So I could put the same plates on one bar for 16 lb, or on the other for 20 lb. HUGE difference for a little gal like me. I knew the one was heavier but never realized how much. With all the measurements I wrote down, I'm able to mix and match what I'm curling, to progress in a more graduated fashion. I'm happy about that.

The boys thought everything about my project was a heap of fun.  Toddler thought it should all be thrown, so together we practiced gently putting the weights on and off the scales. Kindergartner practiced reading the numbers and setting the scale to zero, scribbling down the measurements. He wanted to use his funky calculator to add up the numbers. We spent a good hour playing around with the scales, weights, and calculator, and in the end our little exercise turned into a lesson for both me and my boys not only in math, but in the importance of precision and recording information. (Again with that theme!) I'm glad I took McRobert's advice.

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