Saturday, April 19, 2008

Gum-Banz for Pennsy

If you didn’t grow up in the region of Pennsyltucky where I was raised, you probably never heard of gum-banz. They’re those rubber loops you use to wrap around a bundle of one dollar bills or hold your ponytail in place or shoot at your little sister. Folks from other places call them “rubber bands” but that just seems like a waste of letters to me.

Today I learned to exercise using great big gum-banz. It looks like something a sissy would do. Any sissy who can do the workout Brad taught me today, can have my lunch money anytime.

Let me describe this workout to you, because it sounds as crazy as it looks. Trust me, it isn't nearly as funny from the inside.

You start by bouncing a medicine ball - this ball is about the size of a basketball and weighs 6 or eight pounds - I don’t remember. You hold it up over your head, and slam it into the floor as hard as you can. Then you catch it and do it again. After about 90 seconds of this, I was warmed up and beginning a good soaking sweat.

Next is an exercise where you hold a ball with handles on both sides. You stagger your stance, then twist and reach down, as if you were picking up a watermelon. You explode up and across your body and reach high in the opposite direction.

Then we put the balls away and got out the resistance bands. Brad showed me how to clip them through a snap hook on the wall and do chest presses, rows, squat presses, oblique twists, and some crazy thing that I swear he made up on the spot. You bend down, press up, bend to the right, press up, bend to the left, press up, then bend down again. It was the end of the workout and I think I did two.Brad considered the prospect of giving me CPR on the floor of the gym, then agreed to let me stop for the day. He couldn’t think of a name for this last devilish exercise so I just suggested we call it the Bradley.

Oh, we also did my first real bench press with a barbell and everything. I felt like a kid again. Though I seem to remember benching a lot more weight when I was a kid.

I made my way to the treadmill with my shirt soaked, my arms numb, and my lower lip hanging helplessly from my slackened jaw.

My neighbor on the next machine chuckled knowingly. “Well, how was your session with Ol’ Blood and Guts?”

“That guy just whipped my butt with a big rubber band.”

“Yeah, he’s good at that.”

He is, actually.

This is just the sort of thing I wanted to add to my routine. It is a full-body workout with plenty for the limbs and the core. If my muscles were used to the weight machines, they are going to be doing some very new stuff. I’m going to stick with the bands for a week or so until I feel like I’ve learned them, then I’ll start mixing weights back in.

It is a fantastic spring day in the Bluiegrass. I came home last night and did some cleanup in the yard, then got out the old hand clippers and gave the hedges a haircut first thing this morning. Its the first time I’ve done any real yard work since I started going to the gym. I could feel a real difference in my strength and endurance. Nice to be able to do something around the yard and not wind up gasping for air.

All in all, a good day for the Fat Man.

Peace, and happy Passover.
Pennsy

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