A Frontier to Explore
February 12, 2003
you realize this newsletter represents the first of the fifth year
of letters going to you through davedraper.com? Ha. And I’m
not a year older, as some of you might expect. I feel, in fact,
that the clock has reversed, a mystery attributed to science, voodoo
and illusion. Whatever. You can include, no doubt, supersets and
Bomber Blend on that list of probable causes.
want to reassure those of you who are growing older by the minute
and aging on a regular basis that I’m keeping my eye on the
day-by-day process of “time accumulation,” as we call
it here in Santa Cruz. I heard someplace recently that the average
life expectancy of the healthy male is 85 years. That gives me another
quarter of a century to perform rollovers and tailspins in the wild
blue horizons as I chase down the enemy.
20 years with science hard at work, another 10 may be added, followed
by another five at the end of that and so on. I’m thinking
this may never end and we’re here for good.
my duel with aging I have kept a sharp point on the sword and am
continuously aware of my posture and stance. Take heed: Maintain
intensity, do not slouch and be ready to lunge; work hard and stay
busy with your affairs, but bring attention and intention to the
gym. A well-fed and well-rested body can do wonderful things with
eagerness and endurance among its inventory. These iridescent qualities
are, of course, gained through and perpetuated by diligent exercise.
of fatigue. An unconditioned body, tired and low on resistance will
perform poorly and succumb to injury and illness. You will age before
my interest in my training has peaked by the miniature threat of
its diminishing with age, and by my association with you iron-conscious
muscle-makers who wonder as I do. I have doubled and tripled my
focus on specific features of exercise and working out. What I study
is this: injuries, how to approach them, work around and through
them; invented and improvised movements to cleverly accomplish muscle
and strength-building objectives when certain muscles do not cooperate;
body positioning and redefining the groove; which exercises or muscles
to work that have not been exhausted, abused or over-used; how to
get the most out of each performance, rep by rep; rest between sets,
how many reps and sets; what exercises allow the use of and respond
to heavy weight.
dimensions of scrutiny are assessed collectively as I proceed through
my workout. Not a dink or kink is experienced without an appropriate
adjustment; a superior groove does not go unrecorded for future
repetition, and if there is an indication of improved bounty in
the modification of an exercise, it is determined and seized.
I have scrawled a list of adaptations and developments I’ve
observed since last summer, as my training took on different shades
to match the seasons of the year and my growing understanding. I
expect these observations will keep us busy for a few weeks. Don’t
of my favorite movements is the bent-over barbell row for its sheer
power and big back development. In recent pre-IOL years due to shoulder
and hand limitation, I removed the demanding exercise from my repertoire.
One-arm dumbbell rows are a fine alternative, but I missed the big
pull and its benefits. The exercise is large and heavy and thus
provokes a total system response calling a majority of muscles into
action -- upper back, lower back, midsection, glutes, thighs and
hamstrings, biceps and grip, placing a great demand on the heart
and lungs and stimulating hormonal support as well. Bang. Bam. Boom.
What can I say? Privately and in a whisper, while curled up in a
fetal position under my blanket at 3 AM, I said, “This won’t
do, Bomber. Things hurt, but I don’t believe they are insurmountable.
Try to open a pathway for the execution of the exercise with light
weights and build the muscles in the vicinity of the damaged areas.
Explore the action and probe the recruited muscles and develop a
working groove that pierces the pain and possibly promotes rehabilitation
and re-enables performance -- strong performance.” That is
a more literal twist and expansion to the one-liner, “Just
do it!” Sometimes just doing it is like holding a stun gun
to your head and pulling the trigger. The body quivers, seizes up
and falls to the floor as pulp.
is good news for all of us, young and not so young. Much of the
wreck can be restored with the loving and patient application of
basic, old-fashioned care and common sense. Those treasures, love,
patience, care and common sense -- lost in the now-or-I’ll-scream
age -- are close at hand and in your control, if only you will find
them, apply them and trust them. Go through your pockets.
I write this I’m inspired and then think, “Does anyone
really care?” We do, brothers and sisters, but the vast majority
hasn’t a clue, another topic for another time. Let’s
do what we can do, which is more than we think, and rejoice. Perhaps
they’ll see us in action and wonder, admiration, need and
desire will super-blend and become their teacher. God’s speed.
off on a tangent as usual… where was I? Ah, yes, bent-over
rows. Might I say this briefly and emphatically? With cunning persistence
I approached the exercise as if it were novel and not doing it were
not an option. I proceeded with a light bar, yet heavy enough to
provide groove-resistance, and searched for a track of motion that
impacted the broad back area without scalding the wrist with unthinkable
pain. Warming up, trial and error, loss of heart, disappointment,
yipping pain, anger and near-negative conclusions led me to grasp
the bar with a tight, full grip two inches short of the collars.
with the bar sitting high on my palms above the callous line in
deference to a shallow over-grip with only the fingers at work,
I found the place I could exert power and attack the back with reasonable
comfort. The pull starts from full extension, the muscles in the
arms and back doing the work with light to moderate body thrust.
The end point for the bar is high on the chest, elbows out and arms
parallel to the bar; touch and go with maximum muscle intensity
administered throughout the action -- concentric contraction, peak-contraction
and eccentric extension. Repeat the movement with utmost focus on
every contracting muscle, especially the painful and limited rascals.
They rudder the ship.
the adapting and perfecting of the tenuous and imperfect movement,
the support players are positioned for maximum effect and structural
allowance: the footing, the bend in the legs, the bend at the hips,
the arch in the back, the position of the head and the focus of
point is this: For those who are experiencing limitations, there
might be ways of accomplishing satisfactory movement through the
insistence and focus indicated in the scenario above. I am using
the row once again, aggressively and with the original fulfillment
and effectiveness. Strength in grip is improving and hip and trunk
conditioning is returning while the back from the ground up is growing
hard and strong. So what if it’s my imagination.
counting on the fact that some of you are a little off balance,
as am I. There is pain and I get used to it providing I control
it and it is not damaging. It’s a frontier to explore. Were
the enemy in charge of the pain, I’d talk.
my recent training discoveries has gobbled up all my space and time.
I hear snoring in the bleachers and a number of you have left the
complex. I’ll continue next week with the thick-bar bench
press, farmer’s walks, thick-bar wrist curl, incline flies
and the leg press, an alternate to squat-overload.
re-discovering old yet fertile ground, abandoned pasture I thought
had gone barren. Bending low and plowing the field is praiseworthy
exercise in itself.
young and otherwise, carry on… I’m off to the gym to
work, train legs and give the Top Squat gizmo another go. DD
here to order your personalized, autographed copy of Dave's new
book, Your Body Revival, $18.95
here to see the previous week's column
New | Online
Store | Weekly Columns | Photo
Archive | Weight Training
| General Nutrition | Draper
History | Discussion Group
| Mag Cover Shots | Magazine
Articles | Bodybuilding
Q&A | Bomber Talk | Workout
FAQs | World Gym Listing | Santa
Cruz Local | Muscle Links | Need
More Help? |Site Map | Contact
All IronOnline pages copyright© 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
All rights reserved.