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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Speaking of New Year's Resolutions ...

This is the season for everyone to jump on their shiny new Nordic Track or Stair Master or some other sort of silliness that will end up on eBay by next summer. Everyone starts off with high hopes and good intentions and then fails miserably.

My theory is that they all try too hard. They turn it into some sort of mighty sprint to results, get depressed when the results don't develop on schedule, and then find some (any) excuse to give up. It's almost as if they wanted to pull a muscle so that they could quit.

Motorcycling takes muscles. Unless you're an E-Z-Boy cruiser rider you know that a few fast turns on the road or a couple of hills on the trail can give you quite a workout. If you live in the snow belt it's all the worse because you sit all winter and then go out and beat yourself up because you had been sitting all winter.

I'll propose a simple and economical procedure for staying in shape and thereby increasing your fun. It's that old standby, the medicine ball. That should bring back fond memories of horror from your public school days. Seriously though, it is something that has worked for me for many years.

Bally 5lb. Pearlized Weighted Ball

I originally got started with one when a friend suggested it as a way to get rid of the chronic pain in the shoulders and neck that I got from being hunched over a computer all day. Add the stress of constant deadlines and it was a prescription for pain. Much like the pain I get from a long road ride while keeping the throttle open with my right hand.

To get started:
1. Get a ball. Since you're a Manly (Wo)Man you'll certainly want to start BIG. DON'T! That is the surest way to failure I can think of. Better to save your money and spend it on a beer and some Advil.

Even if you feel that you're in tip-top shape start with a 4-6 pound ball. The 4 pounder is a nice size that won't pull anything and will let you develop the most important part of any plan; the discipline of doing it every day (or whatever your schedule is). Just like the Nordic Tracks that end up on craigslist, the medicine ball will not help if it sits on the shelf.

Start with a light ball and get in the habit of working with it on a regular schedule. It's cheap ($8-15) and as you develop you can always work up to a 8 or 10 pound ball. It will come in handy when you restart your regime after your vacation or other hiatus

Just as important as the weight is the size. Some are as small as 5", others are as big as a basket ball. Pick one that you can easily hold on to. For the lighter weights I like the small size and for my heavy ball I like the basket ball size.

Every local sports store has them so go pick one up today and tomorrow I'll talk about actual exercises.