Macho Man

When I attended my first Exercise the Back class at the YMCA last week I was a little taken aback to discover I was the only man in a class of 20.

It didn’t help that I couldn’t keep up with many of the women on some of the exercises, and not only the exercises that relied on “dance moves.” Of course, I told myself that women are just plain more limber than men, but that still didn’t explain why they could do more side leg lifts than I could.

I doubted I would return to the class when I left, even though all the class members were friendly and helpful.

It wasn’t until the next day I decided that I needed to return. What really convinced me — beyond my initial realization that I need to do everything I can to strengthen my back to avoid surgery — was that the next day I had sore muscles I didn’t even know I had. The class was working muscles I have neglected in my other exercises. And if those muscles are the ones a back class is targeting, I’d better pay attention to them.

Though I’m also looking forward to doing some weight lifting, I think I’ll make this class the foundation of my exercise program.

4 thoughts on “Macho Man

  1. It sounds like the back exercise class might be incorporating some yoga-like postures. A friend of mine who had to retire from being a paramedic because of back problems found relief for his back by learning Iyengar-style yoga postures. Practicing that style of yoga has gone a long way in strengthening my back. There are several men in the yoga class I take, although most of the students are women.

  2. Yes, I practiced yoga regularly for many years and this class does incorporate some of those stretches, but it also focuses on Pilates, which I understand was derived from Yoga, quite a bit.

    I found it difficult to my old yoga routine after I suffered a herniated disc, though I was greatly benefited by anything that strengthened core muscles.

  3. I wish you could come to the Iyengar yoga class I go to … the teacher, who had suffered herniated disks herself, is a master teacher for therapeutic yoga — studied with Iyengar, who helped fix her back so that she didn’t need surgery. If you ever have a chance to go to someone who is certified in Iyengar training for backs, take it, just to learn a few essential moves, in addition to the Pilates classes.

What do you think?