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.
I’ve recently come to learn about a cool service called Buffer. It let’s you schedule your social media posts at times it calculates as the most ideal. The reason I bring this up is because to my surprise and delight, their blog talks about exercise! I love it when my interests collide.
Anyhoo, the Buffer blog talked about exercising’s affect on the brain. Spoiler alert: it triggers happiness. In a nutshell: our stress levels go up when we exercise so our brains release endorphins to do something about it. One of the side effects of endorphins is it helps with our memory and acts like a reset switch which then causes us to feel happy. The pain of exercise is then blocked leaving us feeling great. The article explains it better. But you get my drift. Exercise makes us feel happy.
The article goes on to explain how much exercise is needed to reach that happiness level. Turns out that it’s a mere 20 minutes.
Being an avid bodybuilder (not that kind of bodybuilder. A body builder. One who builds his muscles but not to monster proportions.), I’ve always read how shorter workouts are optimal. Coupled with this happiness factor, this can be a great motivator in getting started with a routine. “All I need is 20 minutes”. The key is to keep consistent. And as the article explains, you need to do this every day.
And if you’re having trouble getting started, begin with 5 minutes. Then increase. What a great idea. For me, one of my challenges was to get into bodyweight workouts. For some reason, I just can’t keep consistent with them. I’m a veteran with barbells and pull up bars which makes it easier for me to keep motivated and consistent. With bodyweight workouts, I’m a novice with too many choices. So I’m going to give this build-up-to-20-minutes trick a try.
Especially now that my physio is complete and I can go back into the weight room and lift. More on that next time. But for now, how did you go about starting a routine?