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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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