Thursday, January 14, 2010

Of Cleaning and Jerking

Two of my friends have made New Year's resolutions to run a half-marathon. I am not this inspired, as the farthest I have run in my LIFE was two miles. Once. After which I nearly collapsed. I am so proud of my friends for doing this, and I cheer from the internet-sidelines.

Actually, they told me that during training the idea is to run slowly enough that you are not out of breath. If you are winded, you are going too fast. This reinforces that I am not built to be a runner - because I wasn't aware that it was POSSIBLE to run without being winded. That, dear internet, is called a "walk."

But I digress.

Although I am not inspired to run a distance long enough that it should really be traversed by car, I was inspired to sign up for a four-week class at the gym. I signed up for one led by a trainer, and the description sounded like it would be an all-around fitness class - just sort of whatever the trainer felt like doing that day.

And for the first week, that's what it was. The first day we did some sprinting, aerobics, and bike riding (or, "spinning," in the gym venacular). The next day we did some strengthening exercises with handheld dumbbells. This all I could handle, and felt familiar to me.

Figure: Yep, I look just like that. Hair blowing and everything.

Then this past week, we have moved on to actual weightlifting. Apparently there's something called a "clean," where you pick up the weight to your shoulders.

Then, there is something called a "jerk," where you press the weight up to full height.

Figure: See how happy she looks with herself?

Up to this point, I was following along fairly well. The trainer was supervising, and we weren't using heavy weights, so although I'm sure I looked ridiculous I was able to do everything correctly.

And then, it turns out there are variations.

You can do the clean and jerk, which is the two combined. Okay, I'm good so far.

Then, you can do what's called a split clean, which is where you split your legs apart.

Figure: See now it starts to look like life is not so rosy... this is tough, jack...

And then, dear internet, we move on to jump cleans and jump split cleans. Yowza. This is where you jump - actually LIFT OFF the gound for a moment - while you bring the weight to your shoulders. This is ridiculously difficult on your legs muscles (oh, right, "quads and hams," in gym-speak...). 

Then - THEN - jump split clean and jerks. I can barely say that, much less do one...

Figure: Yep. Definitely not happy now.

this morning, I am ashamed to say that when I sat down to go to the bathroom, my legs - my poor, split-cleaned-out legs - were so tired that I actually had to grab the toilet paper holder to help get up...

Perhaps a bit much information for you, but I'm just illustrating the point that this class is going to be really good for me. I've never done anything with real weights, and I'm kind of curious what I'm capable of. I take comfort in the fact that no matter how weak I am, I am better than the other girl in class who was having trouble even doing pushups against a rail.

Figure: Hmm. If you collapse while trying this, perhaps weightlifting is not for you yet.

To each his own - here's to improvement!

1 comment:

  1. LOL, that sounds like a serious fitness class. I would have said heck no! ;) I'm trying to get back into my routine (hopefully 2-3 days a week).

    We'll see...hoping it will at least help with stress from thesis writing and finishing up experiments.