Taking A Pole

Nothing to do with the elections in various USian states tomorrow. (Here in the Old Dominion we have a gubernatorial contest between a raving psychotic wingnut whack job and an expensive suit stuffed with wadded newspapers; I’m rooting for the wadded newspapers, which tells you a sad thing about the state of American politics).

No, it’s about the disappearance of poles of any kind from my increasingly exercise-unfriendly gym. Yesterday the Engineer and I reported for bench presses only to find that the short bars which we have been driven to use, after the disappearance of some long dowels, for waist twists and shoulder limbering, had in their turn been vanished from the rack.

I uttered several variations on What The Fucking Fuck. I tried doing twists and glenohumeral range-of-motion with an angled pulldown bar. It half assed worked, but not in the critical context. You hold this pole in front of you, see, at hip height with your hands a little more than shoulder width apart, and you swing it up and back over your head until it hits your ass without breaking your grip. The shoulder joint goes through a transcendental evolution to accomplish this. Ten or so repetitions and you are safe for whatever else you want that articulation to do that day. Only a pulldown bar just flies out of your hand when you try that. I did my best with a few stretches and gave up.

I just about blew out the right shoulder on my second set of dumbbell presses. It made a popping, squelching noise, and it hurt. I riposted by doing a set of single arm rows and a heavier set of presses but the sucker didn’t straighten out till I hit the cable flyes (pop, clunk). I was left with palpable spasms in my bicep acromial head, rear delt and infraspinatus rotator. If this sounds like a discussion of a formula car engine, just picture me jamming various bits of my shoulder up against projections of the gym equipment until the knots gave way. The rest of the day — which included a theater date and Zinfandel — was punctuated by applications of arnica cream and Biofreeze.

It seemed clear to me that my gym’s management, which has so far proscribed grunting, dead lifts and knitted watch caps, was now on a crusade against poles. I am not in the mood to have this argument this week. I rustled up a length of broomstick that I occasionally use for home workouts, slung it in the car and walked into the gym this morning, using the pole with some thespian brio to offset the visibly bad leg that people have been commenting (annoyingly) about for the past year. I milked it, not to mince words.

The Minotaur carefully didn’t look up from the desk.

I warmed up with the dumbbells and then went back in the locker room, retrieved my pole, and did my twists and played out my shoulder joint.

At the end of my workout I passed the Minotaur on the way to the door. “See you later, Sled,” he said to the clipboard in his hand.

This should work. For a while at least.


5 thoughts on “Taking A Pole

  1. Why do so many businesses, such as your gym, have a passive-aggressive attitude toward their customers? I see the same thing everywhere.

    Sorry to see that Virginia is not nearly so blue as the pollsters were leading us to believe. I’m glad the Democratic “wadded newspapers” edged out the “wingnut whack job,” but it was a close thing.

    Looks to me like Virginia is a total toss-up state. If it’s Christie v Clinton in 2016, Christie might win Virginia. Across the Potomac, I’m warning my fellow Democrats not to be overconfident about the Maryland elections in 2014. Hardly anybody votes anymore, and half of those who do are crazy.

    • “Hardly anybody votes anymore, and half of those who do are crazy.” That explains America…

      I think the model for my gym is “eliminate anything that could possibly lead to a lawsuit by some litigious nut.” Which means if you really think about it that you can’t run a gym at all.

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