Sunday, December 7, 2014

exercise regimen

This post is written in response to Snakehead Ed's asking about my exercise regimen. I wrote about it years ago, but I've changed it since then: in some ways I've gotten stronger (my arms and upper body), and in some ways weaker (notably my back; I've actually had to use a cane a few times in the past several months).

I have my beefs with Grant Petersen's Just Ride book, but he's on the money about some things, including exercise:
A lot of bike riders... believe that ALL precious exercising hours are best spent riding their bike...

Riding a bike is a great foundation exercise. It works the big muscles of your legs and butt. But reduced to its simplest biomechanics, pedaling a bike amounts to twirling your feet in 13.5-inch-diameter circles while the rest of your muscles don't do much. Climbing hills is an exception, but I'm talking about in general, most of the time.

But when you focus solely on any one exercise, your muscles become super efficient, and after about four to six weeks, you stop getting better at it - or you at least reach the point of a bad return on investment...

That said, here's my routine for non-riding days:
  1. Except for Mondays, when I'm usually recovering from riding, I do 25 minutes on a rowing machine with a sliding seat. I go pretty quick; I usually do 1300-1400 strokes in the 25 minutes.
  2. Mondays and Thursdays, I do 120 on-my-back, straight-out arm lifts with two 30-lb. dumbbells.
  3. Any other day I'm not riding, I do 85 pushups, or pushups to exhaustion. I'll admit I don't go as low as I could when I was 40. Or even 50.
  4. I do 75 plank exercises on each side. Get up on your elbow and your feet and lift your hips so your body is straight. Lower your hips (not to the floor) and straighten again. I find I need a pad under my elbow (and I have a yoga pad for the floor exercises, so I don't sweat up the hardwood floor).
  5. I do either 40 or 160 crunches, depending on how you count. I lie on my back, with my hands behind my head. With knees bent, I lift my shoulders up off the floor and twist left, go back down, lift my shoulders up straight, go back down, lift my shoulders and twist right, go back down, lift my shoulders up straight, go back down. I repeat 40 times (thinking, "A, B, C, one, A, B, C, two...).
  6. Then I do an exercise I got from these guys (it's based on slide number 3). Lie with your back on the floor, knees up, arms at your sides; rock your knees left, then right. The want you to keep your feet on the floor, but I don't have room for that, so I lift and twist. 40 reps.
  7. Last, another from the link in the bullet above (slide 5). On back, knees bent. Raise butt as high as you can, the lower (but not to the floor until the end). 40 reps. (Maybe 50.)
Exercise is impossibly boring. The Excellent Wife (TEW) watches Netflix or other movies; I listen to podcasts. I'll be glad to talk to you about my favorites.

And you know what the best exercise is, don't you?

It's the one you'll actually do.

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