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  • Back to Work

    Okay, Monday's session was great, but after the article was written, my body decided it wasn't fond of all that movement. After all, I am recovering from surgery, and I think my body was telling me it was more interested in repairs than muscle development and growth.

    So today I resumed the workout after a two day hiatus.

    Started as I usually do, with my ab sets. Stretches first, then 30 oblique twists, 40 crunch and lifts, 30 V-ups, and 150 situps on the ball.

    You've seen the Chuck Norris/Christie Brinkley/Wesley Snipes infomercials for the Total Gym, right? Well, it just so happens I have had one in my basement collecting dust for several years. Since I am still on light weight restrictions, I decided to see if this would work as a suitable replacement for the free weights during my limit period.

    I downloaded a manual from the web for my Total Gym 1000 (the most current model is the FIT) at no cost, set the machine up, and looked over the exercises to see what would duplicate or substitute for my regular movements.

    I was surprised to find that, on level 5, the Total Gym was equivalent to my free weights in the amount of weight I was restricted to. And I was very pleased to discover the movements they recommend do a very nice job of duplicating the stress encountered with my regular routine.

    In addition to bicep and tricep work, I also got a good burn from the pull overs for my back and chest, and even added an additional ab exercise, a seated oblique twist that really makes your abs work hard. In fact, I can honestly say if you are doing the exercises properly your abs will be constantly working. They have to to maintain form.

    I wasn't really impressed with the leg workout (it took me twice as many reps as they recommended to feel the burn), but that's not a big deal. After all, that's what my free weights are for, together with my leg extensions on my bench. Bigger muscles (and the lower half of your body contains the really big ones) require bigger challenges.

    I was impressed with the ability to go very quickly from one exercise to the next with the Total Gym. Seated rows glide into bicep curls, overhead pullovers convert quickly to tricep extensions, and presses can move quickly to a variety of shoulder movements. You can do them with or without rests, and the only time you really have to pause is to face the other direction.

    Up side: a very handy device for burning calories and toning muscles, and if you are sports minded, they even include some specific exercises aimed at improving your court or course performance. If you are limited in budget and space, this might be the machine for you.

    Down side: definitely not for anyone who has balance issues, as you do have to maintain balance throughout the exercise, and falling off to one side or the other would be injurious. There are also some issues with swapping pieces around which can interrupt the flow of your routine, but they aren't too serious. And yes, while the unit does fold for under the bed storage, setting it up takes a little effort, and when it is fully set up, it requires a long area to use it. About six and a half feet long, and you definitely want some room on either side of you while you are working out.

    Bottom line for me: I will probably keep it set up at least for the next few days until I am cleared by my doctor to return to lifting more than 20 pounds, but I may also make this part of my Rip week coming up on January 13th. Could be a good ab/aerobic substitute to vary the routine.

    Feeling good, by the way, and had a wonderful and blessed Christmas. Children, Grandchildren, presents, tree, good food and the reminder that we are only as strong as our faith. Can't ask for more than that, I think.

    Leave you with a little Satchmo to remind you.

    I hope you are having a blessed and glorious day.

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