How did you learn the exercises you do? Did you watch videos or read about them in a book? I bet you learned them from someone. Do any of them still remind you of the person who taught you them?
Most exercises remind me of the people who taught me them. It feels good to think about friends, so in the hopes of leading you to think more about it, I’m going to share some of my exercise-person association.
While you won’t recognize the names, I hope you’ll recognize the spirit—that exercise is social even when alone. I find it brings people together and develops discipline. I’ll still only use first names.
- Burpees make me think of a lot people: Gretchen, whose article prompted them, and Marty, whose quote in the article was the first I’d read of them. Also, doing a set outside a bar in Brooklyn with Dave on a bet. Also doing them in North Korea. Also Federico, who started me doing ones where I jump down into the push-up. Also Anna, who inspired me to do ones where at the bottom of my push-up I take my hands off the ground a moment.
- Hamstring stretches remind me of Sandra, the one-time gymnast, who would stretch hers sometimes when we rested at the dance club.
- Leg raises remind me of Chris, as does my kettle bell routine, which he taught me at a gym one freezing day.
- Hip raises remind me of people who could use them, but I’m not going to name them.
- One-arm rows on one leg remind me of Scooby, the guy whose video I learned them from, though I don’t know him.
- Curls remind me of my step-brother, whom I remember doing them when we were growing up.
- Kettlebell swings remind me of Michael who, when he moved back to Australia said he’d miss American beer. I asked, “You mean the craft beers?” He said, “No, Budweiser, Miller, those types.” I said, “They have no flavor.” He said, “I don’t drink them instead of beer. I drink them instead of water.” Anyway, he also showed me how to do a swing, though I took a while to get my form right.
- Arnold presses remind me of Thompson, who casually did them with a 45-pound weight when I could barely do them with 35 pounds.
- Turkish get-ups remind me of Tim, who first showed me the exercise.
- Thigh stretches remind me of Russ, who showed me proper form for them.
- Rowing reminds me of several people: Aditya, who first showed me proper form, Corydon, who improved my form, and Eden, who almost got me on the water and refined my form more too.
- Running still reminds me of Tuan, whose joining the high school cross country team prompted me to—my first organized team. Also Peter, whose running a marathon prompted me to, which led to me finishing seven.
- Planks remind me of Ben, who first showed me them. Raising a leg at a time doing them reminds me of Katrina, whom I barely met, but saw doing a yoga position like them.
I’ll think of more and add them over time, as I remember them. As long as the list becomes, I thought I’d think of more.
Anyway, my point was to share a social element of lifting and of my mental chatter. Some people consider exercise boring or lugubrious. I find it invigorating and social.
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