About six months ago my buddy and colleague Glenn convinced me that I should add some weight training to my exercise regime. He argued that there's natural muscle loss in middle age, that lifting would help strengthen the muscles around my hurt knee and my bad back, and that I could use some more resistance training. And, of course, that I could and should get ripped.
Anyhow, when he heard about our trip to Slovenia he challenged me to "find an old Yugoslavian gym from the Eastern European days. No more soft American gyms for you!" I am happy to report that I found the place. Directly around the corner from us is one of Ljubljana's "Sportni Parks." There appear to be three or four of them in a city just a little bigger than Knoxville. The one near us has a bunch of clay tennis courts, soccer fields, and an olympic size outdoor track with stands and all. Underneath the stands are some offices and what appear to be old olympic training facilities, called the Atletski Klub Olimpija.
In multiple places in the basement workout area they had these funny old-fashioned signs showing proper form for various track and field events. Here is the one for the shotput (I think).
The indoor facilities included a weight room! After some confusion with various staff members who spoke very little English they comped me and allowed me to lift. The last staff member added ominously that if I wanted to return I'd have to pay five euros, with a heavy emphasis on "if."
Throughout the experience I kept hearing Glenn's voice calling me a soft American. There were no weight machines (there was one broken one in the corner with no cables). Glenn: "Machines make you weak!" There were no handheld dumbbells, only the large olympic bars and heavy plates. "Dumbbells make you weak!" There were almost no light weights at all. There were only two 2.5 kilo plates (roughly 5.5 pounds) and the next lightest plate was 15 kg (roughly 35 pounds). "Light weights make you weak!" The equipment was super old and the benches were all torn up. "Clean or new equipment makes you weak!"
Here's the overview. Note the basement windows and the lone fluorescent light. "Soft light makes you weak!"
Here's a close up of the squat cage.
I did, however, draw the line at what I think was the shower.