html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: That said,

Thursday, January 03, 2008

That said,

my trainer told me to come up with a list of goals. So far, I haven't had any goals for weight training. I have been spectacularly passive, not even calculating how much weight we're putting on the bars. I figure if it is important, she'll tell me.

She mentioned a goal, but I am still very reluctant. The very fleeting thought "there would be boys at a meet" crossed my mind, but then I remembered that I don't even like big men*. Her goal is not my goal.

I need goals. There is the obvious, to bench press my bodyweight. I suppose I want to do an unassisted pull-up, but that doesn't burn in my heart. You know what I've always wanted to be able to do? I've always wanted to be able to (gracefully) rise to a stand on one leg. (I don't care about the descent, I just want to show off by oh-so-casually planting a leg and standing. Only you and I will know that I worked on it for a long time this year.) All the blackbelts used to be able to roll on their backs and jump to their feet, but I don't really covet that one. All the cool kids can hop through their leg on the dance floor, but I have no designs on that one either. So what else are good goals for this year?

UPDATE: OOoooh! Dave and I figured out another goal. I want to be able to press to a handstand. Standing legs apart, fold at waist to put hands on the floor, use abs to lift straight legs to handstand. This is less of a party move than standing up on one leg, but I've always wanted to be able to do that.

*An overstatement. I am not initially attracted to big men, but that is a rebuttable presumption.


Blogger Tom said...

I doubt that many competitors at a weightlifting meet would have hops.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

An excellent point.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't stand up on 1 leg? I can go from standing to sitting to standing with either leg, and no aid from my arms.

And, why is it girls can't do pull ups? I mean, I could get why you can't knock out a bunch, but not even 1? Why is that the norm for girls?


4:02 PM  
Blogger LizardBreath said...

If unassisted pullups don't thrill you (you have to be pretty close, don't you? I'm pretty close, and you appear to be much stronger than I am generally) what about muscle-ups: that pullup to getting your arms above the bar to doing a dip move. Very impressive.

Gymnastics stuff generally looks amazing and takes a lot of muscle.

4:04 PM  
Blogger LizardBreath said...

And, why is it girls can't do pull ups?

We're not on steroids. And the muscles that really get the testosterone kick are the upper body muscles that you need for pull ups.

They're not out of reach if you train for them, but I don't know any women who can just casually do pullups as part of being generally fit.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I can't do it now. I rock forward, but my center of weight is still too far back for me to start the press to come up.

Girls can do pull-ups. My sister used to do the most pull-ups in her class.

I don't know why most women can't. Most don't develop their upper body strength. Besides, 'because they don't work at it', I don't know if there are additional physiological reasons. Obviously the ones who work at it can do pull-ups.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Naw, LB, I don't think I am pretty close. I'm strong, but my strength to weight ratio is low. I'm still using the big bands for pull-ups, and I think that is a lot of assistance.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not just women in general, most of the girls I climb with can't do pull ups, not even one.

And, lizardbreath, it's not just about strength, exercises where you're working against your body weight are all about strength to weight ratio.

I'll bet a lot of these really big body builders couldn't do as many pull ups as me, despite their obvious, huge strength advantage.


4:13 PM  
Anonymous ogged said...

1. Some lifters have fine hops. See end here, for example.

2. Pistols are rough on the knees. Don't be macho.

3. There's a whole movement of doing pullups for entertainment and fitness. Check this out.

Along the same lines.

Even hipsters are doing it (check out the one-armed pullups).

4:16 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Thanks. I'll check those out when I'm not on a blocked computer.

I don't even understand those words "don't be macho." Not in that order, about sports. How else does one flirt with men?

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pulling your knees up doesn't count as hops. He wasn't even 2' off the ground fully extended.


4:26 PM  
Anonymous ogged said...

Check it out at 56-57 seconds in, Justin. That's a real jump. (I'm not talking about the guy in the background who is celebrating).

4:47 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I don't think I've ever convinced Justin of anything, and he has a very high standard for hops. My heart starts to pound at considerably lower leaps than Justin approves of.

(If that is the video of that deadlifter guy, I remember thinking how springy he was.)

4:51 PM  
Anonymous justus said...

Ogged knows full well that Benni isn't a weightlifter, he's a powerlifter.

Weightlifters, on the other hand, are well known to have extraordinary hops. Nicu Vlad (two time Olympic medalist, weights 220 pounds) has a 42" vertical. Wesley Barnett (Olympic silver medalist, 231 pounds) has a 39" vertical. Shane Hamman (358 pounds) has a 42" vertical.

During the Olympics in Mexico City Dr. Yessis did field tests of Olympic weight lifters and found that they (on average) ran the 25m sprint faster than the Olympic sprinters and jumped higher than the Olympic high jumpers.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I see what you're talking about, but it's hard to tell on that one, they're zooming, and cut most of his body off by the time he jumps.

I'd guess it's still not that high.

now this is hops, even if the 40" isn't accurate, it's over 30" for sure.

or this

A lot of these people are measuring it knees up, which is lame.


5:20 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

When they had days off from their own competition, did they wander over to the other events and compete as spoilers?

That'd be freakin' awesome if every Olympian had a free pass to spontaneously compete in some other sport.

(Are you in Australia yet?)

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found this too listing a bunch of NBA players leaps, and the world record, which is apparently at 60 or 61" now.

Over 40 is huge, if you don't play basketball you can't imagine what it's like when someone can pull up like that in front of you. Or watching 2 guys who can jump like that fight it out in the air from up close.

But, all the rest of the nonsense you see, of people jumping over other people, or up onto high stacks, that's less impressive, it's just them yanking their knees up. Keep in mind, your waist is already like 3' off the floor. So, to get on top of something 5' high, you're really only jumping maybe 2'.


5:29 PM  
Anonymous doctorpat said...

And not one comment about the alternative interpretation of "I don't even like big men".

I'm impressed by how clean everyone's mind is. (Except me of course.)

Personally, I did a one handed chinup with each hand on my birthday in October, and have never been able to replicate the feat.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous justus said...

(I haven't sold my house yet; thus I am not yet in Australia. Selling a house is not a terribly enjoyable endeavour.)

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Chip said...

A) The Bodytribe ceilings aren't high enough for stunt work, so we'll have to start practicing outside.

B) Your trainer's goals ARE your goals (repeat about 50 times while looking into a candle, preferably scented).

C) So when I tell Allyson you want to master pistol squats, you can't complain.

D) Who's this Justin guy who flexes a whole bunch of e-muscle?

7:33 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

I make an exception for men who seem accidentally big. The kind who look a little embarrassed about it and hunch down a bit.

Probably wouldn't find many of those in weightlifting.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Definitely aim for the unassisted pull-up. It doesn't get anywhere near the attention the bench press gets, but the pull-up is a terrific exercise and a better test of useful strength.

Besides, if you can do an unassisted pull-up you'll accomplish more than most women AND a majority (or close to it) of men.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, no, no--you're way off base.

You have passed the point in life where numbers resonate. Congratulations, you're a grown up.

How about developing skillz that require strength, but also thought and attention to detail? Off the top of my head, I'd recommend carpentry. I'm imagining a fine Spring day with an old door that you're rehabbing on top of a couple of saw horses set up in the front yard. You're working the carpenter's plane in a tank so the tris are completely ripping; a little bit of sweat on the forehead and upper lip. I know I'm stopping to ask for directions. And lookee here, a jug of ice water on the front porch with extra cups--sure there's time for chitchat.

Sawdust as an aphrodisiac: I really need to get back to work.


9:09 AM  
Blogger Tom said...



9:41 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Hey Chip. I didn't you know you were here. Hi.

B. See, I can't tell if you mean that whatever my trainer's goals for me are, I should adopt them too? Of if you mean that I set the goals and then she helps me reach them. Either way is fine. I still don't know enough to have strong feelings about what I want to accomplish.

C. I told her about the pistol squats. The important part is making it look all casual.

D. Justin is a rock-climber in the Bay Area. He is skinny and strong and a natural athlete. He gets confused and thinks that because things come easy to him, they are easy in general. He doesn't know that the rest of us are not naturally at his level. He isn't exaggerating or bragging, though. He says this stuff because he doesn't realize that it is really hard for most people.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Benquo said...

I don't understand -- what do all these "verticals" and videos and "knees up" have to do with beer?

And you know you can just buy hops, right?

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You be careful out there, Megan. -K.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

'Cause of the storm? I am safely home in Oakland.

Thank you, though.

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bah, this hardly counts as a storm. Where's the thunder? Where's the lightning? I admit, I actually had to turn my windshield wipers on today, rather than controlling them manually, but still, this is a moderate rain.


9:54 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Justin, I worry about you in this terrible blizzard. I hope you're taking every possible precaution and using all your gear to keep you warm

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, in the mountains I'll bet it's great right now. So much new snow. Thursday night Lassen was predicted to have 80MPH winds. I wish I was up there.

But, my stuff is now just barely dried from my trip to Yosemite right before New Years. Not nearly as peaceful as I hoped it would be considering the temperature, and weather.


12:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, 'cause of the storm. Glad to hear it. Do you think this will lessen drought conditions any or is that just false hope? -K.

2:19 AM  
Blogger Noel said...

Regarding goals...

I have a bunch of goals related to various aspects of fitness and fun.

Strength is a good goal, as there is a certain satisfaction from training hard and getting better, but I find I enjoy more what strength lets me do.

For example, I really enjoy various forms of gymnastics. If you want to mess around on the bars/rings you need some pull-ups and dips. So that could be a goal.

Tumbling is great for showing off, and really fun as well. How about an aerial cartwheel? You need some flexibility (which you probably already have) plus some good leg power. Other fun stuff is a backwards walkover, press from headstand to handstand, an elbow lever, and pressing from elbow lever to handstand (no, I can't do all of these... some are my goals for 2008!)

I would certainly swoon if I met a lady who could do the above. :)

3:48 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I've wondered how long it would take me to get my splits back. I used to have supersplits (front leg held up a few inches) in both directions. I absolutely already know how to stretch, so I don't have to learn anything for that. I just have to make it a priority.

I could do a walkover as of the last time I tried, which was... a few years ago.

So far, I've got:
a pullup
pistol squats
handstand press

splits? walkover?

9:04 AM  
Blogger Noel said...

So far you have a goal for lower body (1-leg squat), core (press to handstand), and upper body pull (pull-up), but no upper body push.

How about working your way up pushup progressions? You can probably already do a strict pushup. Next stop is a clapping pushup, then a 1-handed pushup (with legs spread), then a handstand pushup. For me a handstand pushup took an overhead press of ~70% bodyweight. (If you lean towards theoretical physics you can work out the force you need for each. If you're more empirical just put your hand(s) on a scale.)

Dunno about flexibility stuff. My flexibility is so lame that a backward walkover is still a fair way off. If you have any advice about stretching that would be interesting. My flexibility seems to take forever to improve.

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Pete said...

I don't see an ultimate-related goals here.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Pete, I've gone off ultimate. I barely played in the leagues I registered for this year. I can't tell yet if it will come back to me.

9:45 AM  
Anonymous doctorpat said...

Splits definitely attract men.

Try the van Damme style sideways split on two chairs or the like (which I could do once).

Check out beastskills
for more ideas

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Pete said...

I figured as much. It's so hard not to get burnt out. The other guy's faster, works out more, something, so you do it too. All the sudden it's all your recreation.

6:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of this stuff is abs, not arms. A press handstand is pure abs.

All those kips and front hip circles are also mostly abs. Abs and just skill. Knowing where you want your weight and when.

I think there is more to the pull ups thing than that we just don't try. N doesn't try. He doesn't work out. He doesn't do sh*t and when I put up a chinning bar he could do a half dozen. That was two years ago. I'm closer now, but I still can't actually get my chin over the bar even once. I'm interested in Lizardbreath's testosterone connection.

I want to be able to do some free-standing flips, is what I want.

7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it interesting the number of women on here who claim their boyfriends/husbands don't do anything.

While I will buy most people don't get enough exercise, I think women are taking it for granted that this stuff comes easily to men, that men can just not work out at all and still have upper body strength. It's simply not true. You must just not be paying attention to what he's doing, because if he's doing 6 pull ups he's getting exercise somewhere, somehow. Maybe not a lot, but something.

I find the previous comment here interesting for another reason, 2 years, and you still can't do 1 pull up? This is what I was talking about. Within a year of starting climbing I had more than tripled the number of pull ups I could do without spending anytime on a pull up bar, from about 7 to somewhere in the 20s. But, most of the girls I know who climb, even after years of climbing, still can't do many, if even 1.


12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's just a difference in where women make strength gains most easily, Justin. Our center of gravity is lower. Plus, one of my friends is into serious mountain climbing and she says that female climbers tend to rely more heavily on their proportionally greater leg strength rather than trying to muscle their way up a climb using their arms.

Women *can* do pull-ups, but it's a skill that for most women has to be trained for as opposed to one that is a side effect of general fitness.

A rough equivalent for men is how much harder the average guy has to work to achieve the flexibility an average woman has with much less work. My husband can chin himself easily on the doorframe even when he's carrying an extra 20 pounds. But he can't do a forward bend and put his hands flat on the floor. It doesn't mean that he couldn't, but he'd have to work a lot more at it than I would.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

previous was me. -- Cala

11:57 AM  

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