Editor-in-Training: Educating Experience

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In my last update, I mentioned that I appreciate how working with my trainer at Equinox, Greg, has helped me learn how to use equipment I normally would ignore. Though Greg has taught me how to effectively use newer training tools—TRX and VIPRs come to mind—I’ve also found our sessions helpful for teaching me how to use more traditional equipment as well.

Though I tend to gravitate more towards body weight strength work (if, for no other reason, than the fact that I always have my body weight with me, while I don’t always have access to a fully stocked gym), I’d like to think I have a decent awareness of how to operate most strength training machines. While Equinox’s inventory certainly surpasses that of, say, the gym in college where I first dabbled in strength training, I still think I could have figured out how to use the equipment I recognized on my own. After all, a cable tower is a cable tower whether it’s on a college campus or in a Chicago gym.

Working with a trainer, though, has taught me how to use traditional equipment in ways I never would have thought of on my own. For example, a couple of weeks ago Greg set up a rope attachment on a cable tower and had me use it to perform a complex movement that involved rowing, pushing and pivoting. This required using substantially more muscles than a lat pulldown or any other exercise I normally would have done using a cable tower and as a result became a more effective use of my time. The following week, Greg had me use the same rope attachment to do a pulldowns on alternating sides while hopping, adding an element of dynamism to the exercise and, once again, making the exercise more effective than a simple pulldown.

I’ve learned so much about strength training over the past 15 weeks, and I believe what I’ve learned will not only help me come marathon day, but will help me as I move forward in my running career. I’m deep in the throes of peak week right now, but taper looms right around the corner, which means race day is nearly here. Check back in a couple of weeks to see how I’m doing!


— Bethany Stripp