let a week go by without writing some version of a newsletter
whether it's worthy of your reading or not. It's like missing
a workout or a set or rep, know what I mean? You miss one and
your life crumbles before you and there's no going back. Why bother?
What's the use? Who cares? It's too late. It's over. You've failed.
Today, let's discuss three truths of the iron: courage, conviction
and conquest while under pressure.
been away three weeks of the past five and there were no workouts
while on the road. I have a list of legitimate reasons "why not"
scribbled on a napkin somewhere if anyone insists on hearing them.
My first workout after a week allowed me any exercise combination
I pleased as no muscle group was in the red zone of over-training
and no plan was in effect. I was fresh and nothing I could do
was wrong. "Why lock yourself into a routine when anything you
do will be a welcome stimulation and relief to the sometimes-obstinate
ole mule?" I asked. Treat yourself, play, invent, discover. This
revolutionary thinking, at first, frightened me and caused a surge
of doubt. My hands quivered and my knees shook, a strange sensation
I accepted as the companion of daring and the price of creativity.
I ignored them as I did the nausea, headache and gasping. One
set and it will all go away.
is what unfolded: the wrist curl/reverse-wrist curl combo, followed
by the low incline curl and press, the seated bent-over dumbbell
tug, stiff-arm pulley pushdown and machine dip super-multi-set.
This may sound like an unlikely, unsophisticated and confused
pattern of exercises but I don't care. It was fun and exhilarating
and the five giant sets kept me productively pumping for twenty-five
minutes. Let me give you a brief rundown of the tidy little mess.
Warmed up and loose from having already completed my mid-section,
I chose wrist curls as my starting block simply to exert my grip
and strangle the weights with uncomplicated directness. The movement
strengthens the hands and wrists and builds big forearms as well.
I grab a smoothly rotating Olympic bar and rest the bony downside
of the forearms on the protective cushioning of my thighs as I
sit straddling a bench. The hands extend beyond the knees allowing
enough room for unobstructed movement. I regularly perform wrist
curls and vary the grip from thumbs-under (strength advantage
yet mildly torques the joint) with thumbs-released (limited power
yet directly loads the forearm). The reps range from twenty-five
down to ten as resistance is increased with each set; burning
half reps with fingertips extended at the finish of every set
take me to a painful end.
reverse-grip wrist curl follows immediately as if an extension
of the first and is performed with the same care in positioning.
An awkward movement with little muscular expression, the reverse
offers functional strength and a mound of subtle muscle across
the outside the arm. Cool. Sets of ten to fifteen as you please.
The low incline curl and press is the inspirational original that
deserves a blue ribbon. Resourcefully raise one end of a bench
eighteen inches for that special effect. Lie down on the incline,
feet up on the bench and allow a pair of dumbbells to hang fully
extended by your sides (a light weight to familiarize, practice
and warm up). Curl the weights to the shoulders in a palm- forward
groove, rotating your grip as the dumbbells reach their zenith
atop the chest and continue the curl into a press that completes
its action overhead. Lower slowly and reverse the movement, concentration
being your almost visible companion. The smooth transition at
the shoulder/chest apex the curl to the press is
where I find a complementary motion, a harmony of biceps, deltoid,
pec and triceps, and expect practical strength and muscular fullness
until I become greedy, go heavy and shred the joint and insertions.
What a chump. Sets of 10,8,6.
Seated, bent-over dumbbell tugs are a variation of dumbbell rows
for the back, yet done in pairs and position to maintain the multi-set
pace and discourage the tendency to use exhausting, heavy weights.
Sit on the endmost corner of the bench with your legs close together
and extended before you. Bend at the waist bringing your chest
to your thighs and allow a pair of moderate dumbbells to hang
below you no touchy da groundy. You're ready. Pull the
weights from a back-rounded, forward-reaching position toward
your mid-back, arching and contracting your back as your effort
peaks. Your hands and groove are yours to manipulate as you direct
the resistance to preferred areas of the back and lat or rear
delt. Body thrust is okay if you insist on heavier weight; moderate
weight suits the fastidious form and focused discipline of volume
multi-set training. Sets of 6 to 8. Breathe.
stiff-arm pulley pushdown is a stimulating stretching and contracting
movement that spikes the length of the torso. Stand before a high
pulley system, grasp a rope or short straight bar and step back
four to six feet from the apparatus, crouching. Bend at the knees
and at the waist with your arms extended forward (toward the pulley)
and under the resistance of the system. Stretching. With your
inborn finesse and natural logic, draw the cable downward in an
arch before you to a point of completion close to your waist.
The backside shifts outwardly and you arch your back in a compensating
position to counter the resistance and locate muscular advantages.
You are fighting the load by flexing your lats, serratus, abdominal,
longitudinal bis and tris, minor pec, lower back and grip. This
is a slow rep movement that you personalize as you practice and
understand its enormous value in form, function and physical delight.
Sets of 15+ as you wander through the reps and vary the demand.
Enjoy this gift.
are dips. You should know them well as they are a magnificent
service to the upper body as we attempt to weave its musculature
together in form and function. Lean forward and accent the pecs,
lean back and accent the triceps, round your torso and accent
the back, shift from position to position as particular regions
fatigue. Squeeze out the reps slowly, fully extending and contracting
the mob of muscle involved. Don't hustle. You're pumping. Reps
in the 10 to 15 range work nicely.
to set in a determined yet unscrambled pace. Deep breathing between
sets to assure full oxygenation and the water bottle nearby. Focus
and concentrate. Become involved. Increment the weights used systematically.
Push the sets and reps without losing precious form. No talking,
please. We're watching. Several minutes between sets as you adjust
the equipment and refresh and think how blessed, gifted or lucky
you are. Plunge in for three, four or five multi-sets. It gets
better and better. Don't forget to fuel and feed the beast. Grow.
See ya at the ranch. Bomber.
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