I try to keep myself in moderate shape, but I’ve never been a gym guy.
I haven’t willfully entered a gymnasium since circa 1986, a rained-out kickball game moved indoors. I scored two runs and had a third one in my sights till a questionable call involving my head-long dive into second didn’t go my way. It’s not sour grapes, it’s just not my bag.
Now my wife, she loves the gym. Loves the sweat and mirrors and pervasive funk and collection of machines that make you move a lot without actually going anywhere. Me? I’m not really sure how to spell ellipti-cal? ellipti-cle? or why the Stairmaster exists. And I thought for the longest time that spin class was either referring to A) a burgeoning whirling dervish fad or B) a craft store sewing circle. Who knew it was just a stationary bike class? (BTW, was that name already taken?)
So perhaps I’m not the most venerable choice to play the role of personal trainer to my son, but I’ve taken it on despite my resume as a new project. It’s like I’m Marc Summers, this is Double Dare, and Bub is taking my physical challenge.
Any personal trainer worth his/her salt will tell you that you need a good mix of strength training (particularly the uvulus and upper dorsimus) and cardio to make any workout campaign a success. You also need to set goals.
I asked Bub to write down his goals for me, and he came back with a laundry list that included slimming down for Speedo season, sculpting calves you could carve your initials in and developing pecs that can bounce to Flight of the Bumblebee. I took this ambitious list and narrowed it down to this: learning to crawl.
Here’s our workout regimen:
1. Up and Down Crunches: I seat him on the floor facing me, his legs outstretched. Grabbing his hands, I slowly lean him back for a reverse crunch. I usually have a pillow behind his head. Then I assist him in crunching it back up to starting position. Great core and neck building; hard on the friendship.
2. Standing Squats: We again start in sitting position. He takes my hands and I assist him into a standing position. Helps with balance and builds lower body strength, builds self-esteem.
3. Standing Push-ups: I stand him up facing the couch or couch cushion, a few inches away. Make sure he’s well-balanced, then he will extend his arms and hold himself up in a prolonged push-up. Good for lower and upper body. For variants, put something in his eyeview that he will reach for, thus one-arming it like Drago in Rocky IV. Don’t let that head drop! Move his feet further away to wail on those pecs. He will love you in the long run.
4. Superbub: Pick him up over your head and leave him suspended for several seconds. He will pick his head up, exend his arms and legs, and unwittingly destroy his own core while smiling the whole time.
Obviously you don’t have to follow this totally unproven routine on your sprout, though a week in, Bub is already looking a bit leaner and meaner. Walk your own fitness path, be your own Burgess Meredith (‘You’re a bum, Rock!’); it’s much more than focused functionality, it’s also great bonding time. Enjoy the burn.