Training #5 – Hello Freemotion cable machine

Monday. Training day. An hour earlier than usual due to the regular Monday 7:15 guy’s reschedule. Usually that’s a yay! Get started on my work day that much earlier. Today is no exception.

J and I worked upstairs on a Freemotion cable machine, a first for me. In truth I do not think I have ever even seen J upstairs before today, although he has mentioned being up there with other clients. The big cable machine is intriguing; it has lots of adjustments and such in addition to the weight plates. It does so much that I was curiously wondering why there are so many other individualized weigh machines strewn about the gym. From a business and marketing perspective I get that it looks better to have all the other big machines lying about and inviting clients to use them as opposed to 10 or 12 of this one machine that does an awful lot. J explained it to me, how the gym was set-up a full body workout over the course of the machine groupings. Mostly I get that I am not quite there yet where I want or need or desire to learn about all those other things, and I can certainly see how most consumers want to see lots of big weight machines to “rent” as part of their monthly membership fees. Perhaps someday I may venture forth and learn about those things, but I am not at all concerned about my lack of knowledge or interest in learning more about them.

I wish I could show you the cute little sheet J has created, showing he himself demonstrating each movement on this Freemotion machine. When you cannot find pictures you approve of to illustrate for your clients, make your own. It’s adorable and makes me smile just looking at it.

The List from today’s session:

A1. Supported squat
A2. Standing lat pulldown
A3. Rop triceps pushdown
B1. Supported split squat
(there is also a facepull at this point; it’s not on the list but we did go through it)
B2. Standing row
B3. Biceps curl
C1. Straight arm pulldown
C2. Chest press
C3. Resist rotation press

None of this is new, not really. We have done this with bands. We have done this with TRX straps. We have done variations of some of these movements with dumbbells. Only the cable machine is truly new for me.

This many months into working with me, J is realistic about whether or not I will practice this on my own. He is fine with that, because we both know I will be back at the gym tomorrow and in our little room doing one of the other Lists in my library. Today was an introduction, an exploratory session. I did not freak out and feel zero anxiety about going back and practicing tomorrow, because it’s unlikely to be upstairs doing that machine. And I am surprisingly okay with that.

One strange part about today is the lack of pressure I am exerting upon myself. Being a planner, I have already plotted and loosely scheduled my week up to and including what workout routines I plan to perform, and the only real question is the Tuesday morning wildcard that comes with work and being accommodating to clients and their schedules. But my exercise? I have it written down on my calendar. Tomorrow is routine from 1/4 paired with a mini-bands warm-up and Wednesday is from 1/7 with another bands warm-up J recently adapted. To each of these I will add a set or 2 of the TRX push-up and shoulder safe fallouts, because I really want to master those push-ups this year.

Using the warm-ups is a refreshing change from the cardio machines upstairs. The default answer inside my head says that it makes me feel more like a real gym person, because I actually do something specific to warm up that is officially labeled “warm up.” *eye roll* I confess I was starting to feel anxious about the 10 or 15 minutes of arc training or treadmilling before resistance training. No particular rhyme or reason for the anxiety, just feeling vaguely uneasy and a new and growing fear of injury. Nothing hurts, nothing aches, nothing weird or troubling going on, but the fear or hurts, aches, weird/troubling pains has begun to take root. Being unable to pinpoint precisely why is enough to send me chasing down that rabbit hole after phantom pains I do not feel but might. Things in the gym are obviously going far too well, so well that I have to create a crisis worthy of a melt-down freak-out to satisfy my own self-destructive/self-sabotaging nature.

The cable machine is interesting, but it was kind of meh in my present reality. It is so unusual for me to say that. Typically when we look at something new I am either terrified to go there on my own (but force myself to do it anyway) or engaged and intrigued by the idea and concepts (and therefore having to use less force to try again on my own). If we return to the cable machine and work at building expertise with this routine, I will warm up to it and start to absorb it more seriously. Right now all I can think about is me sneaking upstairs with rope and bar attachments in hand, hoping no one downstairs challenges me on my carting them off to parts unknown. Yeah, I can see it being another week or more before even approaching my resistance to the idea, and I am amazingly zen in my acceptance of this reality. I am not going to drop in J’s esteem as a training client because I fail to muster appropriate levels of enthusiasm; by now he knows very well that this is something new and it may take weeks to take root and bloom inside my head. In the meantime, I still have 2016 routines that completely consume my attention every practice at the gym and other 2015 routines that I would like to revisit when I desire a break from 2016 challenges. So it’s not like I am showing up at the gym and complaining to J I have nothing to do. My weenie-whining is reserved for higher purposes, like how vexing the TRX push-up. Yeah, I know; me and my ongoing first world problems.

As I write this, I have been pondering why I don’t love the cable machine more. Maybe if we had started that way, if I had initially learned to do all these exercises on the cable machine doing them with dumbbells or kettle bells or bands or TRX would make me miss the cable machine and yearn to return to my roots. Being such a creature of habit it seems likely the familiarity is a large part of the issue. But I have lots of choices to perform these exercises, and while I may contemplate revisiting the cable machine for a couple of specific exercises some morning when it’s not occupied, I feel no urgency to get back to the gym tomorrow to cement my learning experience. If anything I feel the pull toward the more challenging things from prior weeks – those Bulgarian split squats and my never ending challenge with step-up to reverse lunges. The cable machine’s standing lat pulldown is intriguing, because it feels different than others we have done, but it’s not worrying or compelling me about getting back and trying again.

Speaking of lats, while we were chatting this morning J demonstrated a pull-up or a chin-up (I failed to notice the positioning of his hands on the bar) as part of an illustration for the lat-related exercises and the cable machine options that work that part of the body. The pull-up was impressive. Usually when I see people doing those things they are wiggling and squiggling their bodies up to get their chins over the bar whereas J was like a body-shaped box levitating up and then slowly coming back down. It was impressive to watch.

When I was in junior high (before dinosaurs were extinct according to my children), there was a program known as the president’s physical fitness test. It was a very big deal for a few months every year – do so many sit-ups, a 6-minute jog, at least one chin-up, and other stuff I cannot remember (probably I was too busy watching for the random T-Rex on the horizon). PE was all about training for those tests, and I still remember the chin-up as an impossible task. I cannot imagine ever doing them in the future, but stranger things have happened thus far on this journey.

So much like this blog post, today’s training was a little meh as far as the cable machine. I still feel like I worked hard, gained new corrections and cues on things I am or am not doing, and I definitely appreciate the introduction to new ways to do existing exercises in my library. J and his training critique eye are as sharp as ever and I came away with a few new corrections to focus on form in other exercises I am doing. I wonder if I have become too complacent with form on other, more familiar methods. Probably not, because I am mostly sure I am always doing something wrong on everything and the cues start running as soon as I read the exercise name on my list, trying to get myself into proper position for what comes next. This as much as anything is why I rarely to never refer to my gym time as a workout or working out. I still have so much to master, practice is a far more accurate term for my time at the club.

Wonderful session with J, as always. Freemotion cable machine? It’s a good machine, and I am certain has its own place in the rotation. Just perhaps not right this moment with me in my training journey. It seems like there is so much yet to learn.

2 thoughts on “Training #5 – Hello Freemotion cable machine

  1. you are doing great sticking with the working out, amazing, that’s the hardest part for me, can you say how long you been working out and how much weight you lost? great job!!!!

    • Hi Roddy, I’ve been working with my trainer for about 7 months, but only 3 of those with consistent practice between sessions. As for weight loss – I don’t really track it, but I’d say maybe 10 lbs. I am physically smaller, but no clear idea about how much weight I may be down.

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