A few days ago I wrote about shopping for gym equipment to expand the strength training I can do at home, over and above the “heavy” weight training that Miss D. and I do at Mark Rippetoe‘s gymnasium three times per week. I couldn’t buy “professional grade” equipment – that can be very expensive indeed – but I’ve bought the best “consumer grade” gear I could afford.
I’ve just finished unboxing and offloading 325 pounds of weight plates in different sizes from the back of my truck. They’re now in my garage, joining a curl bar, two short dumbbell bars, clamps to hold the plates on the bars, and a weight rack to keep everything together. Over the next few days, I’ll rearrange my study to make space to store everything in there.
I’m planning to use this home equipment in between writing sessions. I’ll set an alarm on my computer, to force myself to take a break every half-hour or so (to avoid my eyes becoming over-strained, or sitting so long in one position that I cramp up). I’ll get up, walk around, make a cup of tea, and do other things for five or ten minutes before sitting down again. My idea is that I’ll have the two dumbbells and the curl bar set up, ready to use, with the same weight of plates that I’m currently using at the gym. I’ll do a “set“, or a few sets, of dumbbell and/or curl bar exercises during every break. I hope to do a lot of the simpler exercises at home, perhaps up to a couple of dozen times every day. That’ll let me concentrate on the more demanding ones – squats, deadlifts, overhead press, bench press and so on – at the gym. Hopefully, I’ll make progress more quickly like that.
After three months of strength training, two to three times every week, Miss D. and I are very, very impressed with the difference it’s made to our bodies. Neither of us is feeling any less pain from our past injuries – I’m afraid nerve damage is permanent, so that’s a given – but we’re able to move more freely, get up and down from chairs or bed much more quickly and with fewer complications, and accomplish more when working. The improvement in our stance and body posture has attracted approving comments from our friends. Overall, I’d say strength training has already become a life-changer for us. We expect to be doing it for years to come. If you’re considering it, but aren’t sure whether it’s for you, we highly recommend the Starting Strength program in particular.
We’ll never be able to lift the weights that younger, stronger athletes can, but if we reach even half their level, we’ll be very pleased with our progress. Depending on the exercise, I’m already lifting five to seven times more weight than I could manage when I began strength training. Color me happy!