the Highway and on My Mind
April 15, 2003
been a long day and you feel pummeled. Not everything went as planned
-- come to think of it, nothing went as planned -- and you grope
for hope. You check your attitude as you buckle your seat belt,
refusing to submit to the trivialities of the workday. You remind
yourself that your strength of character is reflected in your behavior
under minor stress, good days are around the bend and things could
be a lot worse -- the routines of the mind to assist in your transition
from rattled to relaxed.
key slides into the ignition and cranks over the engine with a zoom
signaling that part one of the day is over, no small feat. You feel
free for a moment, the tether that binds you given slack by the
forward lurch of your vehicle, your private space that moves you
to your next task-site or playground, objective or challenge. These
small interludes provide time to collect your thoughts, visualize
your day, converse with yourself and otherwise glean the chaff from
your plan, where are you headed and what’s on your mind as
the first mile rolls away? I’m expecting a large number of
folks across the fields and fences and cities are headed home to
couch, fridge and TV. Good to kick off the shoes and let the hair
down. Some need to take a deep breath and wrestle a second job or
a long list of unending chores. A moist handful, of course, moves
quickly and without obstruction to strategically placed watering
holes. Whatever it takes, I guess, to move the pieces across the
wait a minute. There exists a rare breed unaccounted for in the
above collection of characters. In a certain place where the sun
shines and the air is full of oxygen, the navigator of his or her
vehicle steers clear of the traffic and heads to the gym. Thoughts
are on grander things, life, love and the pursuit of happiness;
or, as interpreted on another level, discipline, patience and the
pursuit of pain. Whatever it takes, I’m certain, to improve
the worth of life.
know this singular sort whose habits do not resemble those of his
neighbor. His countenance glows, his gait is sure and determination
marks his actions.
rare breed is you.
the time and place you spend before entering the gym, be it on Main
Street or in the garage, are rare as well. As the gym is a refuge
and an area for productive work, so is the mind in preparation of
a solid, bold and mighty workout. A powerful workout is established
in one’s head before entering the inner sanctum of the gym’s
sacrifice, long-suffering and discomfort, no one said the task was
easy and no one knows but the one who performs it. The groundwork
begins in the mind, is effected in the body, transferred to the
gym floor and finally to the iron where it is consummated by the
fortitude, courage and heart of the pursuer.
doesn’t mean we don’t love it -- even when we hate it
we love it. How can you hate that which is so wonderful and beneficial
and, more often than not, fun and fulfilling?
-- self-gratification -- is the great deceiver,” a ragged
sage once said, “and we are easily deceived.” We reach
for pleasure and relief and grasp neglect and ruin instead.
believe in giving each dimension of our life its due attention.
We are wise not to be dominated by any one area of our life to the
neglect of another. Easily said but great effort and discipline
must be applied to achieve the balance. I’ve been known to
fail and not on rare occasions (sterling humility).
some healthy workout forethought is smart. Anticipating your training
with a brief, yet energetic, review of its benefits -- health and
strength, the afterglow, the mental and physical purge, the admirable
steps toward achieving goals, the personal investment in goodness
and right -- and a positive overview of your exercise scheme is
all you need to fill your mind. Fill the mind with these magnificent
thoughts and there is no room for the twin enemies, doubt and apathy.
course, the well-organized, efficient and successful person makes
sure his energy and muscle-building stores are supplied in advance.
Sufficient food and water must be part of the simple plan. That
clear plastic bottle topped with cool water and a protein drink
in time make the difference in superior mind and body performance.
So simple, so smart, so effective.
by the gym on the way home for a quickie is admirable -- in this
day and age it is remarkable. But to be profitable and long lasting,
a workout must be more or it will become less. As you must not let
training and thinking about it dominate your life, so is it unwise
to squeeze it in like a wedge of lemon in a cup of tea. Unfold that
list of your top ten priorities and you’ll recall that exercising
for your health is among the top five, not a cup of cozy Constant
minutes, four days a week is your contribution, from the time you
park your car to the time you pull away refreshed. Diligent work
in the focused, yet unrushed, minutes between defines the physical
investment. The rest of the week and the rest of your life are yours
to give freely and generously.
that good things don’t take place without psychological and
intellectual preparations, mind you. I rely heavily on the unseen
work of the subconscious.
gym is down the highway and on my mind. I’m home and though
it’s the weekend, I’ll probably go in to make a few
repairs and, as long as I’m surrounded by weights, hit a decent
workout. These not necessarily necessary training sessions often
turn out to be some of the best. I’m drawn to the iron by
desire, not obligation. I don’t have to lift, I want to. There’s
no pressure, no rush, no ground lost, no ground to make up, just
the playground where time floats rather than flies. And so it goes
with physical preparation and mental psyche. They happen.
do you want to do, what stirs you, what would you like to perfect
or investigate, create or devise? The field is open and letting
the workout evolve is a relief and can be most instructive. Sufficient
spontaneity is needed to provide freedom in your training without
allowing it to become random and loose and unproductive in the long
term. Here you may wallow in your favorite exercise combinations,
try a personal best, switch to high repetitions for pump and burn
and the experience or you might exact a dumbbell movement to work
that part of your deltoid no standard exercise ever has. A little
creativity and thinking on one’s feet goes a long way to add
to one’s self-esteem and training maturity.
rings a loud bell.
what I did the other day when time was on my side and I lived life
as if it was mine and not the possession of the tyrant of urgency,
the demon of conformity or the brute of convention.
grasped the iron and proceeded to pick it up, push it and pull it.
Hold on… it gets more interesting; I lift it and lower it,
raise, press and extend it, all the time planning to swing it while
contracting and isolating it. Do you get the picture? I’m
hoisting, straining and laboriously maneuvering. I shove and thrust
with might. Plates are flying. My heart is throbbing, I’m
wet with sweat and I gasp for air. I’m hot now. Under the
heavy metal I drive it away from my chest, over the metal I tug
it to my shoulders and beneath the cumbersome weight I force it
upward with my legs. Lost in spontaneity and gaiety I grab a pair
of ungainly dumbbells and walk -- rather, clomp -- around the gym
as if on a mission. I wind down after four breathless, staggering
circuits about the equipment-strewn floor and finally collapse.
of all the madness I recalled why I love supersets and discovered
a burning shoulder combination with an emphasis on the rear delt,
upper back and lateral-head of the triceps with a touch of pulling
for the bis. The first superset is a warmup, the second set produces
searing heat and evidence of smoldering, with the third set there
is a significant blaze and the fourth near-devastating round sounds
five alarms, an out of control blaze.
goes like this:
(press behind neck) performed seated with the back supported by
a utility bench. Positioning of the bench and the body under the
guided bar is very personal, very important. Using a medium-wide
grip, bar should slide down the back of the head and to its base
(maximum range) without the head thrust forward. The deeper the
bar goes in its decent, the greater the stress on the shoulder joint
region. To emphasize muscle action and protect the vulnerable shoulder
area, use a moderate weight with focused movement, avoiding rapid
lowering, rapid thrusting and bouncing.
behind the neck performed with a medium-wide grip with a medium
weight and focused muscle action is again the most effective application
of the movement. At the top of the movement (arms fully extended)
the lats do the work and at the bottom the upper back is contracted
intensely to amplify its participation in action and growth. Medium
pace reps without excessive thrusting will prove most effective
Seated bent-over lateral raises are performed sitting at the very
end of the bench and folded over extended thighs. The rather light
weights hang down below your thighs toward the floor. While looking
forward, raise the dumbbells outward from your sides and slightly
forward, maintaining a palms-down grasp until the weights are head-high.
At the peak of the movement emphasize the contraction of the rear
delt to assure maximum muscle involvement. Lower slowly to the starting
movement is less than inspiring, as the recruited muscles are usually
under-trained (perfectly good reason to train them), not large,
the action awkward and hard to define and the response muted. Remember
this, however: They are very important to the health and integrity
and protection of the whole shoulder and are very attractive.
know when you’re done cuz you fall off the bench and whimper
as unimpressed, insensitive co-trainers step over you while others
nudge you with their foot, suggesting you drag your sorry body under
the dumbbell rack and out of the way.
thankful. The best seasons for flying high and fast are here, long
days, sunny skies and warm breezes. Hold on to the days and don’t
let go. Your training is an on-going mission, every challenge a
reward. When asked what defeat is, you’ll answer, “I
speed, brothers and sisters… DD
here to order your personalized, autographed copy of Dave's new
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