All Abs, All The Time-Friday, February 17th

“Hey, why don’t we do an all abs routine?”

Sure.  Why the hell not?  I don’t have any, so its now or never in the development stage, I say.  In my 31 years of existence, I’ve only had abs once.  Once.  And the minute I learned how to walk, they went away because they were no longer my dominant muscle group.

The question above was the one Critter asked of me the night before our Wednesday workout this week.  As I assured you faithful readers before (which, I think, consists of random secretaries at my mother-in-laws work, my own mother, my wife’s sweet grandmother, a random friend in California, and the stalker who can only see my musings electronically these days), I have been doing the workouts, even though I’m not finding s much time to blog about them.

Which is really disappointing for me, by the way.  I like writing.  It relaxes me.  It allows me to vent in a way that few other mediums do.  I mean, how else could I adequately describe my hate for the guy who comes to the gym in the tight, short shorts?  There really is no other medium, other than poetry, that would allow me to vent with such flourish.


“Tall, hairy legs now

I do not want to see them

Damn you short shorts guy”

That is an original haiku produced just now, and I think it does adequately convey my feelings toward that phenomenon.

So when Critter approached me about an “all abs” workout, I said “Why not?  I’m not expecting to use my abs today.”

And I didn’t.  And haven’t, since.  Seriously, I was pretty sure I had the flu the past 24 hours, but it may actually just be that the casing of muscle that flows over my internal organs was bruised so badly that my body had the flu symptoms of aches, pains, no appetite, and what my doctor friend Nate Little colorfully calls “loose bowels” as an act of protest.

My friend Nate is an awesome doctor, by the way.  He’s about to head into his year as chief resident at the University.  I remember going out for a beer with him one time and we struck up a conversation with some other beer-loving patrons.  Now, when people find out what I do at a bar, all they want to do is confess how they haven’t been to church in a while and then tell me something about their mother that usually causes them to cry.  It’s unpleasant.  But when they hear Nate is a doctor, he always gets the same question, “Oh, what kind of doctor?”

This question opens all sorts of imaginary doors, right?  Especially for someone like me who enjoys a little joke now and then.  But Nate has the answer down pat.  When asked, “What kind of doctor are you?” he invariably replies, “A very bad one.”

And that, as they say, is that.  No one bothers him anymore and he’s free to drink his beer.  So while I’m counseling Suzy Swigger, who has had about three too many brews, through years 6 and 7 of her childhood in the attempt to figure out why she can’t eat lemons (because it reminds her too much of her mother’s hair color), Nate is watching the game and enjoying his beer free from distraction.

Sigh.  One day I will learn to just say that I’m a tax lawyer.  No one ever wants to talk to them.

So this terrible workout Critter had us doing had three components: the part where we jump around like idiots, the part where I hang like a scarecrow, and the part where I say, “alright, I’m done” and walk into the smelly area (locker room).

We’ll begin at the beginning: the jumping.

Burpies. Lots of them.  After 50 pushups (not consecutively…please…), we start jumping up in the air and heading down in push up position.  Apparently this works our abs, although I’m suspicious.  It looks a lot to me like we’re trying to land planes.

And then we do tons of ball crunches.  And then I attempt to do something that I haven’t done in almost 20 years: jump rope.

Now, when I used to jump rope, it was double dutch outside Trinity Lutheran School in Toledo, Ohio. And am I embarrassed that I double dutch?  No.  Because I was good at it.  And I liked rhymes.  Down in the valley where my green grass grew, I was kissing Amanda Z.  That’s how I rolled.

But when you’re in a gym, you don’t double dutch.  Instead you attempt to jump rope by yourself with a flimsy chord, and you fail at it.  A lot.  And the other gym patrons look at you with a mixture of disdain and outright disgust.  “Who let the uncoordinated asshat in?” they ask each other by the water fountain.  All this time I thought they were talking about the Ewok…

That wast the part where we jumped.

And then Critter took these wonderful belts that looked like the back row special at an S & M store, and we went over to one of the huge pull-up contraptions at the gym.  Critter then took said belts, hung them over these two bars, and proceeded to put his arms through the belts in such a way that he was hanging, just by his arms, on this thing.

Oh yeah, and if you think we were doing this with no one else around, think again.  All around us muscle-bound men and women were walking, lifting, staring.

So, we hang by our arms, and then lift our legs up in a straight line using just our abs.  At least, that’s the theory.

Me?  I looked like I was swinging.  Like a misguided scarecrow hung up by my arms, a scene right out Wizard of Oz and I might as well have been singing  “If I only had a brain…” because, at that moment in time, it was surely under question.

After attempting that in 20 counts, twisting my abs so that my “side abs” (obliques for those of you who, like me, aren’t sure you even have muscles there anyway), we went back for terrible “6’s”

“6’s” are where you lay flat on your back and raise both your shoulders and your feet six inches off the ground.  It is as painful as it sounds.  And it makes your abs feel like scrambled eggs.

It was after this that we entered our third phase of the workout, the part where I say, “Ok, I’m done.”  After an hour of concentrated abs work, I was ready to call it quits and go to the smell area.

So abs, if you’re down there, start showing yourself.  I’d hate to have to keep concentrating on you until you make yourself known.  And that is a threat.


2 Replies to “All Abs, All The Time-Friday, February 17th”

  1. Love these, Tim. I, too, am working with a sadist whom I love dearly. Martita does many of these same things with me, only with weights on my legs and a 6 pound medicine ball in my hands in the deep end of the pool. Often each cycle of exercises is followed by “Quick! Swim a lap and then we’ll start again.”

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