First Things First

Before you get distracted by all the great options you're about to find here, please sign up for Dave's free weekly newsletter so he can continue to encourage and motivate you toward your fitness goals.
Chris M writes:
"You blend plain-spoken wisdom, motivational fire and wry humor into a weekly email jolt that leaves me itching to hit the gym. Whether I'm looking for workout routines, diet tips or a friendly kick in the butt, the Bomber comes through every time." ... Read more...

Breadcrumbs, Birdseed and Bits


If you'd like to download the full Draper here newsletter in printable, live-link, pdf format, click here.

Completing our seventh year of davedraper.com and entering our eighth, we are determined to offer you something more in the way of information and inspiration as time and mankind move on. My responsibility and devotion is writing the newsletter, while Laree, my hired hand, is directed to attend the mundane and rudimentary operations of the webpage and forum. The kid’s got potential and is picking up speed. She’s a keeper, as we say in the business.

What have I to offer you this grand day -- one more fantastic day in the amazing life of a bomber -- that will stimulate arm growth, improve the shape of the chest, increase back thickness and add power to the legs? How does one gain muscular weight and lose bodyfat and achieve dramatic lines of muscle separation? About energy and stamina and high spirits; how does one eat and train to assure these longed for qualities?

We want to know, I hear you say with increasing volume, curiosity and restlessness. We’re told there are no secrets, but what are the unseen clues, where are the deeper answers and how do we travel the mysterious path to advance with certainty? Answers, we want answers! That’s all we ask.

Worthy questions, valuable goals, admirable zeal -- the answers are blowin' in the wind.

Great! Thank you very much! We humble ourselves, expose our hearts and you pass along trite, quasi-poetic dribble and expect us to dissolve. You’re a bomb, Bomber. May your hairline be ever-receding.

I am and it is, but what I say is true.

About arms, I recommend you work bis and tris together in the same workout on the same day in the same breath. You wouldn’t prepare a ham and Swiss cheese sandwich on rye and eat the ham on Monday, the cheese on Tuesday and the bread on Wednesday, would you? Well, it’s same with training. You don’t eat milk products on one day and grains on another, fish on Saturday and foul on Sunday. Think about it... but not for long.

Furthermore, I’m one of those obnoxious lifters vociferous about the highly refined and technically advanced methodology of supersetting. Might I add they are mentally and physically superior, as well? Try them before your next high-protein, low-carb meal and delight in their benefits. Opposing-muscle-group supersets are particularly rewarding for comfortable and enduring workouts. Same-muscle supersets are crazy unreal for stubborn muscle blasting. They make a grownup cry.

And arm workouts are non-existent without standing barbell curls with a little righteous body-thrust andlying triceps extensions with a heavy straight bar. You’ve got to work hard and relentlessly, but you don’t need to hurry or race. Move like an earthmover, not a go-cart, a soaring eagle not a frantic hummingbird.

Three sets of 6 to 12 reps will do, but four are better. We’re not scratching an itch, people; we’re seeking hypertrophy. Two sets are for kids and girls and the fragile. One set is for the poor fellow they put to rest yesterday at dawn.

Whadaya mean you heard it all before? So have I. It’s what works, don’t blame me. Change your grip, your groove, your focus, rep speed; feel deeper and more completely.

Never push or pull a weight with the primary goal to move it from point A to point B; make the muscle do the work -- engage, focus on and feel the tissues involved, their strain, pump and pain. Now you’re weightlifting. Now you’re weight training. Now you’re working out.

Who, seeking coconut deltoids, does not perform steep incline dumbbell presses and thrusting sidearm lateral raises? They are the choices of champions since John Grimek revealed his magnificence in the '30s. Press behind necks and bent-over laterals cannot be beat to spread the shoulders and mound their posterior regions, blending them into the upper back. You must be prepared to work long and hard for delt development, and willing to accept the ensuing pain and fatigue.

They’re a tricky multidirectional muscle group, requiring attention to exercise form and discovery of muscle responses. A little leaning forward or back, to lock out or not to lock out, heavy weight or light weight, high or low reps, explosive movements or slow, focused movements, last-rep intensity or controlled-rep intensity -- these are the choices. The answers determine your muscle mass and rate of growth and where it occurs; how enjoyable and fulfilling the process is; the muscle-shape and muscle-power proportion; and the cost at which progress is made -- is it painful, endurable, does it lead to injury, and, if so, to what level.

Shoulders bursting with power, contour and striation can be seen without x-ray vision. They emit, they exude, they shout out loud.

Behind every man and woman, regardless of gender, is the back. And, paradoxically, a strong back is way out front when it comes to physical performance, health and fitness. Studies indicate that more men and women suffer from chronic back problems than they do any other muscular disorder. Limitations in back function slow a guy or gal to a crawl. Life goes by and the stricken watch. They’re healthy in all ways, attractive, energetic and bright; no systemic disease and no paralysis or heartburn, herpes or flat feet. It’s the lower back from lack of exercise and tossing the luggage in the trunk on the first day of vacation.

The back, despite its importance as a supportive bodypart, is one mass of exciting muscle, or I should say, has the potential to be. Here’s where you, the construction crew of one, come in. You get to do deadlifts, bent-over rows and wide-grip barbell rows. Start light, take your time, practice form and focus -- you are conditioning the region forever. When you’ve learned the rules of engagement through attentive, assiduous practice, add some steel. Go heavy for awhile -- till your pants fall off -- and then hit a period of clean, well-formed reps with the accent on extension and contraction. Seasonal urges, weight gain or leaning phases, stamina or power- directed -- these determine your program.

Healthy and complete back and lat development depend on dedicated cable training: Overhead pulldowns to the front with a widegrip for lat width

~ Overhead pulldowns to the rear for width and upper-back muscle development

~ Overgrip close-grip for lat and upper-back density

~ Under-grip for biceps and serratus and minor pec development, plus mid-back exertion
and assist in developing freehand chinning performance

~ Medium-width parallel-handle bar for mid-back thickness and lat exertion

One of the most versatile single exercises for bountiful muscular stimulation and exertion is the seated lat row, or low-row cable movement. Full extension stretches the torso and hams, and positions the lower back for considerable exercise, the kind of full-range, moderate-weight exercise that develops the erectors without premature free-weight risk. Pulling the handle to the mid-torso requires intense biceps, grip and forearm effort. Pulling and arching and contracting the muscles of the back at the peak of the exercise builds strong, thick and shapely lat and back muscles. The full-forward, fully controlled eccentric motion completes the rep for further muscle growth. This is a core muscle exercise with extensive internal force in the torso and midsection. The rhythm of the consecutive reps (4, 5 sets x 6 to 15 reps) places a decent-to-serious demand on the heart and lungs. Note: You’ve got a nice exercise for busy moms. Even some pec involved as you arch the back and force the chest and ribcage region out and up.

The chest, according to the world this side of the Mir Space Station, cannot be developed without the bench press. Yeah, yeah, yeah! Tell it to your orthopedic. The bench press for all your straining gives you decent torso thickness, some front delts and adequate triceps. Along with the package you might expect chronic and limiting shoulder injury. It’s built into the rigid groove. Take the bench to first base or the second down, go one or two rounds bobbing and weaving, but don’t expect to score. Moderate and heavy dumbbell presses at various levels of incline and cable crossovers with intensity are more pectoral engaging. They provide the mass, power, shape and muscularity.

Tracing the words of today’s thoughts -- guesswork, daydreams, white lies, conjecture and hearsay -- indicates we have incoherently served the upper body. According to my records that leaves the midsection, lower body and cardio unattended. My records also show you want me to be brief.

This has been a reminder to young and old, guys and gals, thin and bulky, dark and light, fit and unfit, pros and cons... the whole adorable mob.

When flying, bombers, its wings and wind and how you maneuver the craft. Practice regularly, be attentive, fuel up, watch the gauges, don’t carry excess cargo and know your destination. Go high and far.

God’s speed... Dave Draper

Click here to order Iron On My Mind

IronOnline bookstore

Other new pages of the website to inspire your training

Did you sign up for Dave's expanded email yet?
It's free, motivating and priceless!
We'll also send you a link to Dave's free Body Revival Tips and Hints booklet with your confirmation notice.

Enter your email address here:

Our IronOnline Forum will answer your training and nutriton questions right now

Golden Era fans will rejoice in this excerpt from West Coast Bodybuilding Scene

It's practically a miracle! Dave's Top Squat assists sqatters with shoulder problems

Click here to see the previous week's column