Develop A Personalized Routine To Be Effective In The Weight Room

Hi folks,

I love to go to the gym and lift weights. At one time I was a weight lifting fool, able to press two 95 lb dumbbells from the flat bench, and I’m a little guy. I learned from my sons, real weight lifters, especially Nick who is busy lifting a great Tee-Shirt Business into existence out of no where. Having completed my race season for the year, now is the time to get back in the gym to build some strength for next year. My approach, based on instruction from numerous coaches, is simple:

  1. List areas of weakness.
  2. Devise a program of lifting to address these weaknesses that can be carried out as a continuous circuit. If the gym is busy (equipment not available), prepare for sequence modification, which improves with practice.
  3. Decide which activities to superset.
  4. Build this system into winter training program.
  5. Practice it a few times, and decide on warm up and cool down routines.

You have to develop a healthy 'relationship' with each piece of equipment that you use in the gym, and don't hesitate to ask staff for training.

I complement lifting or machine work with Yoga, Gyrotonic, Massage, Continuum, or this year, Pilates. It is easy to neglect your core, which can save your butt (and your back) during hard training or racing, and may save your life on the bike. My routine takes about 90 minutes from start to finish, if I don’t stop to chatter. You can also learn a lot by watching other people working out. If you decide to try a new machine, PLEASE ask the staff for proper training before doing so.

After a few days I reassess where my routine is going, and decide whether to add jump rope, running machine, or other exercises (no rowing machine, because of my AAA-stent graft, bummer!). I also scan my body for areas of excessive strain that might need extra attention or special care.

That’s it! I can’t tell you exactly which exercises you should do, but there are hundreds to choose from. Only you really know your weaknesses, though you might not be aware of this fact. A Physical Therapist, Kinesiologist, or other specialist may save you time determining where you need to focus your attention, and don’t forget Feldenkrais (I swear by it).

A final comment on use of the weight room: good form is critical, so use the mirrors.

Enjoy the gym this winter.

-k @FitOldDog


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.