Dental Work vs. Strength Work

Posted on January 7, 2012


Today I am NOT going to talk about food. I am going to talk about a subject that – for me – ranks right up there with dental work: strength training.

I can’t do a pushup to save my life. I never have. I was the kid who dreaded the flexed-arm bar hang, the rope climb or anything that required me to use my upper body. I envied the girls who could get their chins over the bar and hold it for what seemed to be an eternity (which was more like eight seconds.) “How did she DO that?! It’s a miracle!”  When it came to the rope climb, there were girls who clearly lived with their single dad, Spiderman. They’d slither to the top, slap the ceiling, then glide back down. No rope burns. Meanwhile, I used every ounce of my upper body strength to straight-arm whine-hang from the bar and then whine-cling to the first knot on the rope climb.

The upper body strength gene never found its way to my pool.

But I have been working on it. For the last two months, I’ve been doing a basic strength training program. Here’s what I try to do two or three times each week: (Okay, I lied. It’s really one or two times a week.)

  • one elbow plank (I add a second each time I do it. It is agonizing and I shake like crazy but I am up to a full minute.)
  • 12 rollups (or butterfly rollups)
  • crunches
  • bicycle crunches
  • shoulder presses (I am up to a rather wimpy 40 lbs.)
  • tricep dips
  • bench presses (Woo! Hoo! 45 lbs.!)
  • bent over rows with barbell (40lbs. don’t laugh)
  • dumbbell curls (9 lbs.)
  • stiff leg dead lifts (45 lbs.! oh yeah!)
  • Squats
  • Stepups

Impressed? I didn’t think so. Sometimes I add a little balance or band work. Many times I eliminate the squats because I hate them and talk myself into believing that running will take care of my glutes, hammies and quads. (It won’t.)

The truth is I don’t enjoy strength work. It’s boring. Plus, I don’t like pushing myself. And I don’t like anybody else pushing me either. If I were on the Biggest Loser show, I’d be the first one booted and it would be unanimous. The coach would open her mouth to yell and I’d say, “That’s okay. I’m done.”

I don’t know why strength work is such a chore for me. I have every imaginable strength exercise taped to my basement wall. (They are so pretty!) I love the idea of getting stronger and having defined muscles. I just don’t want to do the work.

Perhaps the lazy gene mistook the upper body strength gene for food?

So that’s where I’m at. I am of “a certain age” and know that strength training is critical to my balance and bone health. If I don’t take it seriously, I will turn into an immobile fragile overweight elderly woman who talks to her cats. While that’s not so terrible for the cats, it would be an unfair burden to my family and friends. “She could have at least tried to do one pushup!”

I do know that I still envy the girls who can do the bar hang, pushups and climb ropes. I know they work hard. Why don’t I want to work hard? It’s not like it’s dental work.