Wednesday, September 19, 2007

There's a Chinaman joke in here somewhere

I'm not going to say that I've taken up weightlifting unless I manage to stick with my routine for at least two months. However, for the last two and a bit weeks I've been lifting some weights under the tutelage of Adam and Chris, three times a week. I'm certainly not getting as sore afterwards as I did at first, which is good but also bad because when I got really sore I slept like a baby, and I like that more than I hate hobbling around like a gimp for a day.

I thought this would be a good idea because I've come to realize -- well, maybe it's not a realization, but a theory, anyway -- that I just wasn't meant to be skinny. I think I was probably meant to be kind of big and strong. This has been suggested by my friends for a while, given the size of my calves. Interest in this theory grew over the summer, when a BMI calculator Daniel rather cruelly found online told me that I was obese -- not overweight, but obese -- and my parents became concerned that I was falling prey to the American epidemic of being a big disgusting slob. Anyway, it's been my thing for a while that I'm "probably naturally strong", and I thought that it was time to try to make the transition to "actually being strong".

It would be pretty nice to pack on a huge amount of muscle too because then I could go home weighing 240 and having my parents force me to go see a doctor about my massive obesity until I dead lift one of them. This is under the assumption that they probably wouldn't hold still long enough for me to bench press one of them.

This has allowed me to actually test the strength of my calves using the calf raise machine in the gym. After a few days of trying to find my level, today I discovered that I can manage to do at least one full set at the maximum weight of 600 pounds. Since this is one of the two things that I do remarkably well (the other being Tetris) I want to shout this from the rooftops. 600 pounds. That's almost a third of a ton, and a little over a quarter of a tonne. That's, like, four people. If four people needed to reach something on the top shelf that's just out of grasp, they could all climb on my back and I could raise them all eight inches, allowing them to grab their things.

Well, that's not quite true. As Adam pointed out, the calf raise machine employs a second-class lever, so there's some mechanical advantage involved. More accurately, if four people were strapped into a (weightless) rickshaw, and had to get at something on the middle shelf just out of reach, I could get at the handles of that bad boy and raise them all four inches.

Thinking about this reminded me of this.

Current Music: Crowded House - Together Alone

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