Sunday, May 4, 2008

Day 45, No More Machines

I've joined two gyms in my life. One was my college student gym, and the other was a three month deal while I was between jobs one summer. I don't like gyms. The clanking noises, the whirring of treadmills, the mirrors, the flourescent lights, the smell, the way people size up each other, none of it makes me want to exercise. And I have the kind of shiftless, lax personality that it only takes one good excuse for me to not do something.

The only good thing about the gym, I thought, was that I had access to all those marvellous machines that I could never afford on my own. These things look like they're designed by rocket scientists, and they must be ten times better than anything I could get at a store, right!?
But here's the thing about machines. They constrict your actions to a set motion, which really hits the targeted muscle group. Your muscles get big, but, at least in my experience, there's no accompianing feeling of actual strength. That's because all the little muscles around the targeted muscle get ignored, so you kind of have this one spot of strength sitting on top of a bunch of underdeveloped mass. In addition, I found that when you have to take a week or two off due to schedule or sickness, those machine muscles wither away super fast.

I can't remember who it is now, but an author I read often describes this or that character as having "Machine molded muscles." I think that's almost sick. It's fake, dumb muscles, not useful for daily life, just for decoration.

So, enough about machines. I'm going to show you how to take your resistance band and do everything a machine can do, except that with the band, as I described a few days ago, the resistance is strongest at the end of the action, and in addition, you have to use your own power to guide the movements. This results in tremendous strength gains all over. Toned durable muscle that works in the real world.

You need one extra thing besides the band. This thing.

I don't know what to call it, so I'll just call it the dongle. It couldn't be simpler. You put the dongle on the band...

and find a sturdy door. Shut the door so that the thick part of the dongle is on the outside.

So from the outside someone would see this.

From the inside, this is what you have.

You can see where this is going right? Let's say you take the handles from behind you. Boom! Instant chest fly machine.


If you take the handles from the front, Pow! It becomes a shoulder fly.

I promise I'm having more fun than this guy.

Slide the dongle down the door, sit on your butt, and, kazow! Where'd that rowing machine come from?

This is just a small sample of what the resistance band can do when it becomes attached to something stable. At about .01 percent of the price of a year long gym membership!

You're never going to put on a ton of muscle mass with just a band, but, if you're aiming for a trim, strong physique it's just perfect.


Amy said...

Would you believe they actually have weight machines like this at my gym now? They have weights instead of resistance bands but are basically the same. How funny!

I don't really use the weight machines either, I go to my gym for the classes and the free weights and the cardio equipment. But bikes and feet are good enough cardio equipment as long as you don't live in someplace super rainy, or polluted.

Zach said...

I was an avid gym goer for a long while. But like you said i didn't feel like it was useful strength. It could have been my workout routine, or perhaps my diet but either way its really not for me. Thanks for posting some actually pics with this resistance band, i have been meaning to take the time to look it up but i just haven't. I feel like using machines every day (for everything from transportation to communication) makes me very detached from my surroundings and my body.

Anonymous said...

FYI - The "dongle" is also known as a door anchor. :)

yoga garden said...

Ha ha, I somehow like dongle better!

Blake said...

Thanks Patrick! You inspired me to try using these at the gym last night and you're right, they really do make a difference. I especially like how easily you can transition between exercises.