Bubble in the desert

A blog I started whilst on a GE "Bubble" assignment in Nevada. I'm back in Cambridge (UK) now but still miss the desert and my friends out there.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Weight lifting and Richard Feynman

I've just finished reading 'Surely you're joking Mr Feynman' and thoroughly enjoyed it. Feynman was Nobel prize winning physicist and famously also a bongo drums player. Actually, he did much more than that and the book is about his life and antics. As well as being one of the big cheeses at los alamos during the development of the atomic bomb he had a certain way about him. Actually back then he was a young man and not really one of the very big cheeses, though they used to talk to him because he would say what he thought, not what he was supposed to say due to his rank. A smart guy who threw himself into all sorts of things, even becoming an artist later on and having his own exhibition. He always seemed to strive for excellence and always went pushed the limits.

So, today I did the same. I recently learned from multiple sources (but not from Pete) that my friend Pete was once, actually twice, the Nevada state weight lifting champion. Rumours had it that he could bench press his body weight anywhere from 30 to 1,000 times (I think it is closer to 30 times). He confided that he once bench pressed 400lbs, kinda hard to believe.

So, who better to introduce me to weight lifting?! After work we hit the gym and he showed me just a couple of exercises. To begin with even lifting the bar on its own seemed to strain my lung/shoulder (it's 45lbs) but we changed to a similar exercise using bells and bench pressed that way. I asked Pete whether the trick was heavy weights and low repetitions but he smiled and told me his secret was heavy weights and high repetitions. I did a bench press equivalent with bells weighing about 35lbs each, 5 times per set and 5 sets. Pretty tough. I then did flys with about 20lbs in each arm; and then bench press sitting at an angle, with only 65lbs (plenty). Overall excellent. Perhaps more daunting is the need to drink milk afterwards to help the muscles rebuild.

I'm not sure I can spare the requisite 5 hours a week to do this but it's fun to know how to do it a bit. Sienna is doing a bit too, though slightly different exercises i think.


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