I gave bench pressing a try in the gym today to see if my injuries have healed enough. No dice. I’ve used light weight and worked my way up to 115lbs (far from the measly 200ish I was doing pre-injuries).
I did about 3 sets of 3 reps before I felt some pain. 115lbs. Hm…
As I fretted next to the bench about how long my progress will take, I thought of how I was able to do a few sets of 8 push ups ealrier in the week feeling some uh-oh pain. That’s 8 reps of me pushing my bodyweight of about 185lbs. So why am I wasting my time with bench pressing?
I don’t mean to invoke DIY science but if bodyweight exercises are better for our bodies, core strength, balancing our muscles, etc. while bench pressing can create imbalances (yes, while I’m ignoring the benefits of bench pressing), maybe I should focus more on the stuff I can do and worry about the stuff I can’t.
After all, I always felt a lot more robust and stronger after pumping out push ups than bench presses. My upper back is worked along with my chest while the bench press does nothing for my back. I’m not dissing the bench press. It’s one of the main compound exercises for building functional strength. I’m just thinking that while I’m trying to recover and bounce back form many injuries (at my age), I should be thinking of what would benefit my body the most.
In case you don’t already know, I’ve been blogging about my slow recovery from a few injuries in the gym (tennis elbow, torn biceps, rotator cuff injuries to name a few). So it’s a big deal to me that this morning I braved it and took a chance at seeing if I could perform one of my favourite exercises, the dip (see above video). I did 5 reps, took a rest, did 5 more, took a rest and did 3. Pain started to come but it went away. And I felt pumped and strong. How I missed that feeling.
And all I did were 3 short sets. It felt good! My chest and triceps felt back to normal. This is something I’ve been noticing lately. You don’t have to do a large amount of sets or reps. Ok, I always knew this about barbell training but does it apply to bodyweight training? I always see bodyweight routines with high numbers like 30, 50 even 100 reps of multiple sets.
Before my injuries, my aim was 75 dips in total. That’s a lot to strive for! I guess. I see others do it. I wonder what benefits you receive with 75 dips vs. 5 sets of 5? Is it endurance? Is there more strength somehow? Perhaps it’s simply larger muscles? I know crossfitters love this concept.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with bodyweight training. Should I (slowly) work my way back to my goal of 75 dips? Maybe doing them consecutively isn’t the answer. Maybe 75 dips in total throughout a workout? So many variations…
For years I’ve been eagerly trying to get cut up, bulk up, push up, eat up, bla bla bla only to injure myself into feeling I have to work full time as a bodybuilder or, ugh, fitness model, and eat like a bird in order to achieve my goals. What average person has that kind of time?
I appreciate learning about the video above (hat tip to rosstraining.com). I’ve frequented bodybuilding forums over the years where everysooften a guy would share his experiences in posing for a bodybuilding product ad. The story was always the same – a few days before the photo shoot, the model would change his diet so he was down to a dangerous bodyfat percentage in the low single digits. Meanwhile, the rules for advertising a gym product dictated that the model had to have used it at least once. So a few reps or a scoop of whatever it was he posing with, and boom, you’re duped into thinking you, too, could have an impressive physique if you use the product.
Yeah, I used this thing to get all big and ripped. Right.
Genius video. I like how Furious Pete used the visual medium to show how anyone can make themselves look like a fitness guru. Even I experienced this myself. After a workout, I’d be quite pleased with my mirror reflection post-shower, pre-drying only to be saddened after a few days’ hiatus from the gym.
So here’s your takeway:
Don’t bother looking at before and after pics as this is the PhotoShop/Lighting/Filter Effects Age, after all
Keep consistent with whatever exercise routine you choose
That’s it. And the only other products you need are time and patience.