Mr. Universe Dave Draper
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Weight Training - Bodybuilding - Nutrition - Motivation


I just now reread last week's newsletter and for the life of me cannot understand what I was trying to say. Scary. Do I do that often? It must have been those mushrooms that Laree put in my salad: plump rascals that grow wild in the Redwood forest that surrounds our house. In my delirium I mentioned something about spin bikes and interval training and a paper bag over my head — the latter being the only sensible thought I communicated.

Well, the old crowd is back on the gym floor. The 2001 push is on: the treadmills are rolling, dumbbells are bouncing, sweat is pouring and lungs are bursting. How long will it last? There are some swollen people on a free week pass gurgling and sputtering, their faces contorted and sad. What happened to me? They have resolutely undertaken a mission and it's beginning to look bleak. They may join as regulars if the struggle and confrontation doesn't overwhelm them. And, then again, maybe not... We've created a non-intimidating gym atmosphere where work gets done and the participants appreciate each other's presence. Strangely, there's a tension in the air.

Should the new faces fail the seven-day endurance test and reality check, what will be their lot? Will they give up and try again another time? Some of them aren't young enough to try again another time. We encourage, we instruct, we paint a hopeful and real picture and we don't deceive. Three weeks and you'll become a fan of the iron, we promise, as the commotion rages on. Those who listen and hear, the big-hearted and the tough-minded will persist while the weak withdraw. The strong grow stronger and the broken, I suspect, will diminish further and grow more restless. They will sink like a discarded, half-submerged rubber tire in the lifeless pond around them. Next year, perhaps.

While all this is going on I'm trying to build my back by restoring my ability to perform the wide-grip bentover barbell row. I know: Get a life, Draper. What greater aspiration is there for a fifty-seven-year-old child? The secret is in the warming up, the positioning of the legs in relation to the bent-over back, the grip arrangement, the concentration (on the muscle work, the strains in the skeletal and ligament structure, the continuity of force, the weak and injured points under recovery and protection). Persistence, a familiar family friend, indeed proved its worthiness when a number of failed attempts had me convinced I was tangling with the enemy... I discovered a miracle groove on my third insistent set and within three meticulous workouts the iron pathway was established.

Determination, a cousin to the aforementioned old friend, demonstrated its significance clearly as I refused to cast the master exercise aside simply because of pain and inability. One needs to find the eye within the needle before one can transport one's camel. There's always a way.

I wear my belt to compact my torso when rowing but no hand straps in the hopes of strengthening my grip. As in squatting tons of oxygen is needed, staying tight throughout with no sloppiness in the borderline explosive concentric rep and controlled eccentric. Think. When heavy, pull harder. I hit back twice a week alternating dumbbell rows one day with the bar on the other (save the lumbar); takes me eight sets of tens, eights and sixes to accomplish the job. To complement the rugged rows, wide-grip pulldowns behind and before the neck work well for me. Pullovers and seated lat rows find their way in there throughout the week. I can't chin (sniffle). Deadlifts impose themselves delightfully upon me four or five times a month. They're rude but loyal. I include hyperextensions in my ab/torso workouts throughout my training regularly. This practice adds immensely to my ability to squat, deadlift and barbell row with reasonable health.

The basics rule. I have recently spotlighted the bentover barbell row because of its comprehensive, systemic reaches — the grand feeling of pulling with all you've got and the results in mass and width I've enjoyed in past applications. To make them work for me I've given them priority in my workouts. If I do nothing else on a particular day but a successful repertoire of rows, I'm complete. However, as you might guess, it never stops there.

Anyone here watch E-TV? DD

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