I bet that gets some interesting search engine hits.
What it was, actually, was that this Friday was one of the occasions when I have burned through my three main workouts (deadlift, upper body, and squat/press) during the previous three days and all the heavy-leverage systems feel like they’re still recuperating. At that point I declare Experiment Day and try exercises I’ve been wanting to investigate, or make stuff up.
It’s always a good day to do ab and torso stuff — that was how I came up with the Wheel Of Pain (a short Olympic bar on the floor loaded with two 45-pound plates, allowing you to do an ab rollout punctuated by a push-up before returning to the start position). This time I decided I had not done Ball Crunches in a while.
You get one of those big Swiss balls, lie back over it and then bring your torso no more than level. I am a twitch about this. The world is full of people doing abdominal crunch-ups — a completely unnatural move, if you think about it — and creating for themselves spasticated abdominal walls and parenthesized spines; like Ethan, who goes around the gym looking like a large prawn or a mobile question-mark, grey-complexioned no doubt from lack of oxygen after cancelling all his diaphragmatic expansion space. Some day his sternum is going to actually collide with his pubic bone. I am aiming for abs that actually counterbalance my spinal muscles in a reasonably balanced vertical position.
You would think that after a quarter century of focused brutality in gyms I would not notice little variations, but it’s been nearly three days and I’m just beginning to lose the feeling that someone kicked me in the midriff. I got down on all fours to scope out a box full of OEM hard drives at the local Micro Center and was stuck down there for so long, trying to figure out the least painful way to get up, that a salesman asked if there was anything wrong in a genuinely worried tone of voice. I ended up buying a terabyte for a little over fifty bucks, a decent bargain.
That is how you know you have found, or refound, a wonderful exercise: it disables you for days. When you have become too attached to the absence of pain you have stopped living.