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I made an appointment to learn some free weights stuff with one of the staff trainers at the fatness center. After three months of mostly machines, I want to upgrade--or at least vary my workout. I know some stuff, mostly gathered from Krista's www.stumptuous.com page and from http://www.exrx.net/Exercise.html, but I wanted in-person help on how to do some basic moves.

And of course, I want to learn to (drum roll) squat.

I requested the "free weights guy" at the fatness center because, well, he's the free weights guy. He took me patiently through cable curls, cable tricep pushdowns, dumbbell rows, front/overhead/side lat raises, and dumbbell flys and presses (I want to learn to bench press, but all in good time). Not bad. Then:

FWG: Okay, now for a legs move. You've been doing a lot of lower-body machines, right, though?

Me: How about the squat? Can I learn that?

FWG: Oh, you mean the Smith machine. Sure.

Me: (thinking of the disdainful things serious weight lifters have said about the Smith machine) Well, okay.

[interlude in which he shows me the Smith machine squat and I hate it; it seems like no matter where I put my feet, I feel off balance; I'm too short to fit properly or to reach the release handles; and the bar moving along that pre-determined track is moving me up and down instead of me moving it; and he gives me this plastic helper neck piece that makes it even more ill-fitting and makes me more off-balance]

FWG: Feel the burn? (or some other such crap)

Me: (gesturing toward the squat cage) So ... can I try the squat for real? You know, just try it? I think I'm getting the form, but I--

FWG: (laughing) Oh, no no no. If I let you do that, you'd be all (makes a cartoon-like motion of someone toppling under very heavy weight).

Me: Because the bar is too heavy? What is it, like 45 pounds?

FWG: Yeah. Or we have a lighter bar. But you wouldn't be able to do it.

Me: Well, can I just practice getting the form right? Like with a body bar [body bar: these things they use for "toning" class which come in weight increments from 6 to 22 pounds] or something?

FWG: Oh sure, you can practice that in the aerobics studio anytime you want.

[pause in which FWG makes absolutely no attempt to show me the proper squat form with the effing body bar and in which he is probably still laughing over his mental image of Petunia Pig in the squat cage and funny music playing when she topples over]

Me: Okay, I think I've got enough to learn here.

FWG: Great. Let me know if you need any more help. And (laughs) I'll be watching you to make sure you do these moves correctly!

THE END...not

In summary: The reason I can't teach you to squat is because you won't be able to squat.

<sigh> The free weights guy is a decent fella, but since I'm a married gal over 40, he does not watch me to make sure I do the moves correctly; he watches almost exclusively college girls doing improperly executed moves on hip adductor machine.

Fine. FINE.

Plan B: make a list of when the aerobic studio (with the good mirrors) is empty. Add body-bar squats to lower-body workout. Remind self of basically good existing lower-body strength and teach self to squat.

So far: 3 sets x 10 reps of 15# body bar squats, and experimenting with wide-stance squats and front squats. Free weights guy still hovering over hip-adducting college girls and saying, "If you want to be really safe, just stick with machines (so I can watch)."

red
has better calf muscles than free weights guy, thank you very much
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