PUMPING IRONY: Failure Is an Option

It was kind of slow going this morning, due to the patches of glare ice hidden beneath a couple of inches of new snow. Lots of slipping and sliding on the sidewalks. At one point I could envision catastrophe — “Geezer breaks hip while foolishly walking to work in snowstorm” — but, instead of panicking,… Read more »

It was kind of slow going this morning, due to the patches of glare ice hidden beneath a couple of inches of new snow. Lots of slipping and sliding on the sidewalks. At one point I could envision catastrophe — “Geezer breaks hip while foolishly walking to work in snowstorm” — but, instead of panicking, I just slowed down and practiced a little walking meditation. That’s when you mindfully place one foot in front of the other and breathe: heel to toe, heel to toe, heel to toe (you get the idea).

This worked surprisingly well until a bus roared past me on the Ford Bridge and mindfully showered me with slush. After that, I picked up my pace a bit. Anyway, I haven’t been able to get to the gym yet this week (reality intervenes. . .), so I’m jazzed about getting back on the machines.

I particularly want to try out this whole idea of lifting to failure on the resistance machines. The idea, as I understand it, is that you’re supposed to put enough weight on the machine that you can’t actually complete the reps you set out to do (say, three sets of 10 reps) with good form.

This approach is not without controversy, as strength training icon Charles Staley points out here. There’s a potential for injury and for developing bad form.

For me, the idea of not completing my reps with acceptable form has kept me from advancing very far in the amount of weight I’m lifting. Tonight, I’ll try adding some poundage and see what it feels like to fail.

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