Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Medieval Torture Devices

Thursday March 1, 2007 - 10:21pm

Medieval Torture Devices magnify

Pictured above is the torturous gadget I playfully term "The Rack". It's an abdominal machine. You obviously sit in the seat, but the not so obvious would be how you actually use this contraption to exercise your lower abdominal muscles. You grab the two bars above your head and wrap your legs around what looks like a foot rest. After you've gotten yourself into this uncomfortable position, and hopefully remembered to set the weight prior to doing so, you proceed to contract your arms and legs towards your chest. Really, you should be using your lower abdominal muscles to do this, but I've yet to do it properly. Upon reaching your time or set goal, you fall to the floor because your lower body is now too sore to move or keep your balance. Crawling would be an option if your arms and shoulders were not dislocated and cramped to the degree of "fetal position".

No, it's not really that bad. In fact after a couple of weeks you really don't seem to mind it too much. Fifteen minutes on the exercise bike followed by five to ten minutes or 50 sets, whichever comes first, on the abdominal machine and finally a fifteen to twenty minute cool down of walking laps. A dip in the pool, usually in the therapy pool, to relax my sore body and I'm ready to suck ass as I pretend I can shoot hoops on the basketball court.

I did find it most interesting that this and many other exercise machines really do resemble torture devices that were in style during many of the darkest times in mankind's history. The rack, as I had mentioned earlier, was a device that was more concerned with pulling than contracting I erroneously termed the aforementioned abdominal machine. The victim was in fact lashed to this cleverly constructed system of cranks and rollers, similar to ropes and pulleys and the torturers would proceed to turn the handle by small increments to entice the victim to confess to some unutterable sin. The victim's skin would be stretched taut during the very beginning of torture and the ropes would begin to bite into the flesh around the wrists and ankles. The process quickly dislocated joints and exposed vulnerable flesh to hot pokers or small incisions that would only grow as time on the rack continued. As the torturers progressed, popping and snapping noises would emanate from within the victim's body, alluding to the tearing of ligaments and cartilage... and breaking or fracturing of bones. Ultimately, the victim's limbs would be ripped off, leaving behind a sweaty and bloody torso to quiver broken on the flagstone floor.

For those of us with a good imagination, a trip to the fitness center can take on whole new worlds of meaning. I'm willingly putting my body through the same, not really, torture as professionals use to extract information from unwilling interviewees. I never really thought of myself as being quite that masochistic... or vain for that matter. However I can now appreciate the time and effort spent by those whose vocations fixate on either of the above vices.

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