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The Blunder Buster

Have you heard the latest rumor? Five more shopping days left till Christmas. I have yet to go to the mall and dig in like a desperate, frenzied animal. I wait till the last minute, depending on anxiety and adrenalin to incite me to act. I come home with bizarre gifts: a pair 1956 Ford spinners mounted on polished mahogany, the handy all-in-one hammer, screwdriver, auger, leather punch, ice-pick, barometer and water pump combination tool, a genuine possum-fur cap with ear muffs and goggles -- last year's favorites. I call them original.

Less than a week later, with impeccable timing the old year ends and the New Year begins. Have you made any resolutions? Here are some suggestions from the IOL Suggestion Box:

Get Huge
Blast it
Get Ripped
No more donuts, jellyrolls and Danish pastry; find an end to cream puffs, crullers and éclairs; farewell to pound cake, layer cake, coffee cake and pie
Smile, be happy, quit complaining

Outlined below is the Blunder Buster, the 2001 award-winning workout-of-the-year. Works well anytime: Christmas Eve, immediately prior to last-minute shopping, New Year's Day… designed to keep you moving during these unfocused, conveyor-belt days when stopping is not an option.

Begin with your favorite midsection routine of 10-degree incline, weighted crunches followed by, or supersetted with, incline leg raises, 2 or 3 sets x max reps (10, 25, 50). Good warm-up.

We're on a mild rampage starting with chest, then back, on to shoulders, and while we're in the vicinity, a hint of biceps, then triceps. We finish with one movement for legs so no one can sniffle. The plan is loose, but not without order; like a walk in the zoo going from cage to cage, watching the wild animals play.

Take a look at the five exercises to be performed one after another in three to four consecutive cycles. Ha. A stray from the norm and you're all atwitch. Relax, it's the holiday season and anything is better than nothing. I just returned from the gym where I put this abominable abnormality into action to soothe the raging beast within me. Laree told me earlier that my last-minute shopping is tonight at 8. Chilling. Nail-biting. Thumb-sucking.

Pullover and press: This is the bent-arm pullover, as described in last week's article, with a press from the chest at the completion of the pullover action. The giant set before you is demanding, and clean performance and resigned pace, rather than moving heavy weight, should define your activity. Think of the fascinating compound body mechanics and the growing pump. Fatigue is the great equalizer. Allow your heart rate to establish a comfortable pace and enjoy the ride. No rush, no quitting. Sets of 6 to 8 reps are the targets of all five exercises.

Pulldowns: Let's stay tight as we move to the pulldowns, choosing a close grip to protect the cluster of shoulder attachments from too much extension in every conceivable direction. Monitor the movement as you lean, arch, pull and return to a slightly abbreviated overhead extension. Muscle is the force, not momentum. Feel the resistance in the serratus, lats, mid-back and scapula areas. Pace… pace… stretch slowly and cautiously.

Dumbbell clean and press: This movement amid five rascals persuades you to use mild weights, something in the range of heavy lateral-raise poundage. The cleaning action from the floor reaches the shoulders and smoothly converts into a pressing action. Complete a brief and tight shoulder contraction at the extension and with muscle and might lower the dumbbells to your upright starting position. Plan on deep breathing. Be courageous.

Seated bent-over lateral raise: Take a load off your feet. Ventilate. Sit at the very end of the bench, legs stretched forward; bend fully with your torso on your thighs and friendly sized weights in your hands. Ready? Raise the dumbbells with all your might, maintaining a straight line from the left dumbbell, across the shoulders and back and to the right dumbbell. The sensation is one of reaching (rear deltoid recruitment), not pulling (mid-back action). It's all good. Do your best with this awkward exercise. Rear shoulders don't get enough work.

Cable crossover: Stagger over to the cable crossover apparatus and grab on for dear life. Center yourself, arms outstretched, and take a step forward, leaning against the resistance of the cables. Draw the handles forward and together with slightly bent arms to recruit the chest muscles. Contract tightly as the hands meet and return slowly to the outstretched starting position. Takes practice to gain strength and stability in the exercise and to distinguish specific areas of the broad muscle. Reach high - arms parallel to the floor - to affect the upper pecs. Reach forward at a 45-degree angle for mid-pec and reach downward toward the floor for lower pec. Mix them from high to low or choose your favorite.

Good. That's one. Do it again. And, do it again. You been bad? Parties, food, missed workouts, left shopping to the last minute? Do it again.

Leg presses are pretty standard. Choose a mild weight to stimulate and pump the thighs and light enough to knock off some calf raises at the end of each set (3 sets x 15 reps).

No, not for beginners and not exactly a walk in the zoo. More like crawling through the jungles and swinging from vines.

Praise God and have a great Christmas. Dave

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