What a fantastic idea! Let’s struggle all day just to function and hit the gym later! Sign me up! Idiot. I’m an idiot.
This idiot is also a father. This idiot is a spouse. This idiot is far from tapping out. Step up or step out. I’m fortunate enough to still be able to live a full life. So many souls are worse than I am. I wish I could help them. I’m not a Doctor or a miracle worker. I can listen. I talk a lot. I guess I’ll use some of what I’m good at and try my very best to be supportive and help.
Let’s get at it.
I’m your trainer for the next 15 minutes and I’m not taking excuses. You know your limits, I know mine. I don’t judge and I’m not writing this for everyone. These tools work for me. I hope they work for you. If not…you know where the comment box is and I truly look forward to hearing from you. If you need other options, a different idea on how to get it done, I’ll help find it. Promise.
Legs. God damn legs. Kevin, are you riding a chicken? No, I’m just wearing shorts.
Legs are my weak spot. Load CMT on top of it (my disease) and they’re a nightmare. I do a lot of weights at home now. The discipline is a bitch to go downstairs and do it, I do my best. When I was lifting at the local gym I befriended a lifter. He looked like a lifter. We hit it off, been friends ever since. We’re both engineers so we relate to each other’s mind functions.
Joe. I think a lot of Joe. He’d be a reason why I need to join again. Peer support. Joe preaches squats. Squats. Squats. Squats. If you see Joe, Joe proves he knows what he’s talking about. Squatting never worked for me. Ever. The balance, weakness in my ankles and the lack of stability always kept me from being a squatter. I couldn’t argue with the fact that they’re the best leg and overall exercise. Ok, Joe…let’s do this.
Do you use plates under your heels?
What the hell are you talking about Joe? But…Joe knows. Rack the bar up, set a comfortable weight and do a rep. Under each of my heels go a 5lbs plate. Another rep. 10lbs plate, repeat. A miracle was happening. Joe knows nothing about CMT, at least he didn’t say he did, but he knows lifting and all of its mechanicals. We found a specific height (lift) that put just enough weight forward on my toes and my stability improved ten fold.
Now, buy those Adidas lifting shoes with the raised heel and you’re set Kev.
What the hell are you talking about Joe? They make shoes?! Enter my new footwear. Now, I still hate squats. But I can do them! I’m not a trainer or a professional but I can tell you that the simple process of trying different plate thickness’ under your heels is an eye opener. As you progress up in plate weight, they get larger and thicker. Grab a spotter and set your rack up to where you’re comfortable. Grab a bunch of plates and experiment. Only you will be able to judge how much incline you benefit the most from. Don’t go crazy. An inch makes a world of difference. Go in small increments and remember to keep the weight on the bar manageable. If you have to play tough guy/girl, do it later. Get your form down and work from there. Correct form. Period.
Adidas Weight Lifting Shoes
My old shoes had too many birthdays and I liked the idea of not having to leave plates on the floor while I rested between sets. Gym etiquette. With these shoes my feet are much flatter. I do use small plates under my heels depending on what I want to achieve, but the shoes themselves give a good rise. They’re my game changer.
The squat section of this blog is dedicated to Joe. He’s a “awe it’s nothing, man” kind of guy. It was something to me. An important something to me. Joe is good people.
The neuropathy is also a part of my forearms and hands. My body is ridiculously stronger than my grip. That’s usually the case in many people. Big power lifters will use straps around their wrists to dead lift or shrug. This isn’t us, but the same idea on a smaller scale. I still will use straps to get the weight I need to dead lift or shrug but I can’t ignore my hands. Being an engineer, gear head and now blogger, I need to preserve as much of them as I can!
#2 and #3
Whenever I do any sort of bicep, tricep or any arm work for that matter, I use as many forms of grip as I can. I don’t care if I had to walk over to the Zumba class and take the pink weights, if it’s working and strengthening my grip, bring on the pink. The most important weights in the gym are the little ones. Case in point.
There’s three basic forms of grip.
Neutral=palms facing in. Pronated=overhand. Supinated=underhand.
I use all three when I do dumbbell work. Pronated is truly a grip builder in curling exercises. The opposite is true when you’re doing tricep work with cable push downs etc. A supinated grip will build grip in the opposite movement. Basically, any time the weight wants to pull out of your hand, your grip will be the weak link.
#2 is a pair of Fat Gripz. (Black in the photo) Fat Gripz website
These slip over and enlarge the shaft part of the dumbbell. Increasing the diameter of your grip puts more attention on grip strength, especially in any motion where the weight wants to fall out of your hand. Obviously, your hand is the strongest when fully closed. It weakens as you open. Working the areas between closed and open have proven beneficial in my case.
Always keep in mind to position the seam of the grips opposite of where the load is. You never want to put yourself in a position for the dumbbell to slip through the split and find a toe.
I love my Fat Gripz. I use them for a number of exercises, including bench press. I like the variation in grip diameter. It works well for me.
#3 are a bit more technical, Grenadier Grips. (Green in the photo) Grenadier Grips website
These little sweethearts will wake you up. With a true sphere shape and grid style grip, you can see where they came up with the name. They install like other grips but the round ball gives you infinite grip positions and styles. I know what works for me and I take notes on my hand placement. Taking notes is a good habit in the gym. Taking notes makes it easy to remember how and where your best position is without wasting a rep or two.
They’re not well suited for a neutral grip. I still use them but be aware that they’re considerably narrower than the shaft width. This can result in the dumbbell slipping through the Grenadier and throwing the balance off, or an accident. Be smart.
I have a love-hate relationship with these. I love how they work for me. I hate how they make me look. I’m 215 lbs and when I yell “anyone have the 7.5’s? I need them” my ego gets a nut kick.
Having said that, leave your ego at the door. Good gyms have good people. Good people don’t want your ego. You don’t want other people’s ego. You’re different. I’m different. We all have mountains to climb. Some hills, some Everest. You just have to climb your own.
I hope my info may help you find some better tools for that climb. Remember, I’m not a pro. I’m a pro for my own body and if you can take this info and make it work for you, go me! I’ll most likely never see you at the gym and hopefully not in my basement but, you can find me here. When I’m not talking, I’m a good listener! Please don’t hesitate to reach out. Suggestion? All are welcome!
Much love and my very best-