Muscles, Time and Moving On

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It has recently occurred to me (between 1990 and 2006) that I’m not as young as I used to be. And I have a sneaky suspicion some of you are experiencing a similar awakening, sudden and stunning in its arrival. Well, it’s about time. Youth gets to be old after awhile.

Getting older is a real test of one’s humor (I got a D-), especially upon discovering there’s nothing funny about it. But we’re comics and clowns and we joke about our looming frailty, lumpiness and fussiness and laugh (not of the rolling-in-the-aisles variety, more like a snicker) at the iron-headed irony. The symptoms of time’s inexorable passing are pesky and less than kind and I offer my observations for your examination:

Ugh, I sound like I'm 90, going on 100. Life is and always will be filled with adventures to dare, challenges to overcome, battles to be won and goodness and peace to be sought, protected and propagated. One day we awaken and we're all grown up, plus more. What does one do? Some laugh, some cry, some adapt, some deny. How about you -- what about me?

As for me...

I’m on the verge of modifying my training intensity. This will be an experiment only -- I’ll greet the new year with steady and persistent training, minus the last-rep ultimatum. The reason for this is multifold: Pain is fine but last-rep pain is downright mean and I need a break; training pace will increase and, I suspect, my mood will improve; change is always good and the letting-go is a test of courage; I might reverse some injury trends and signs of overtraining. Besides, there’s a season for every activity under heaven. T’is the season.

This is a more substantial alteration than most of us realize. As I write these words and review the prospects, I feel a sense of relief and hope, curiosity and doubt. Withdrawing effort is not a common approach for me. Am I caving in or am I being strong? Is this a sign of decline or an indication of maturity and wisdom? Will I welcome the change or return to the safety of similitude. Will I regenerate and grow, or will I weaken and diminish? Love it or hate it, do it or die?

Though I enjoy and respect them, I don’t want to become a mild-mannered trainee who upon completing his set turns to his mate and demonstrates his golf swing or continues his applauding of Congressional bipartisanship or returns to his paperback, undistracted. Hypertrophy depends upon the last almighty repetition, the final insane quivering contraction of muscle against its will and capacity, the entering of that timeless space where pain dissolves into white silence and mountains are moved. Only then, I have been told by bold and solid sources, do we grow and become more.

You’re witnessing the intense period of evaluation I undergo before making a life-altering decision. No rocks are left unturned. Laree thinks I should get a job, a friend or treatments. Not I, I’m done. Monday I’ll put my brilliant method into operation.

Just as we are cautioned never to say never, so it follows we should forego declaring "so it will be." My aim is to train according to my relative fluctuating influences -- mood, energy, time etc. -- with three tantalizing modifications: reduce the sets per exercise from five to four, eliminate the last-rep of maximum effort and insert the HRT principle where and when inspired.

A quick review of the Drape’s Over-60 Four-day-a-week Routine: Monday, chest, back and shoulders; Tuesday, biceps, triceps and lats; Wednesday, Legs; Thursday off: Friday, total-body combination; Saturday and Sunday off. The total sets per workout are 30 to 35 in the rep range of 6 to 15, plus midsection. Each workout takes 90 to 120 concentrated minutes, the pace governed by injury limitations and the controversial last-rep max output.

In an attempt to enjoy and appreciate the perceived advantages of the revision in training intensity, I’ll perform four rather than five working sets of each choice exercise (The fifth set can be brutal and apprehensive). This will have a valuable mind-freeing effect and allow me to focus more deliberately and determinedly on each rep and set and every nuance of movement. Make the most of the action with less time and physical and mental energy expenditure.

As outlined above, eliminating the extreme last-rep output saves exhausting time, enables quicker recovery and, thus, efficiently improves the workload pace.

In both occasions, pain and extended training turmoil are reduced without loss of musclebuilding effect... or so we hope and will discover. A month should provide sufficient evidence to make a determination.

Now, to satisfy the need to pounce on the body and beat it within a hair-breadth of its life, I shall apply the high rep training (HRT... sounds like hurt, remember?) principle to the final set of those exercises that are unfortunate enough to gain my attention. Only now, as I add this third accommodation, am I relieved and feel a sense of raw animal control. Mean and lean.

Installing the scheme should be quick 'n easy. You may have noted I did not call my trailblazing training modification a routine. Routines are something we read in muscle magazines or books on the subject. I intentionally avoided the term program, as programs are offered by schools, institutions and coaches. The word workout is not accurate, a workout being somethin' we do systematically between entering and leaving the gym. Hi, guys, wazup? Plan would suffice if didn’t sound so ordinary. Proper and important folks reference their exercise endeavor as a schedule, which sounds like time has bitten them in the butt and won’t let go.

Schemes, however, are devised by the crafty, the clever and cunning. Based on scrutiny and computed instincts, I’ve removed something from one place and with a wink of the eye inserted another thing. Here I minimized and there I maximized. Careful wording and phrasing -- last-rep max, modify, extended training turmoil -- further enhance the sound and appearance of my, if you’ll excuse the triteness, plan. Whatever! As long as it works.

Quick 'n easy sounds simple. They are in fact like flying a bomber, quick 'n easy in action, but skill- and courage-demanding in application. Waste no time. Be wise and of strong heart. Take to the sky without fault or delay. It’s another fine day, my friends. 
Godspeed... Dave


First of all, your body is fully fortified, right? No matter what time of day it is, when your workout is before you, you should be amply supplied with vitamins and minerals and protein, fats and carbohydrates. You know by now to unfailingly fuel yourself prior to and soon after your workout for maximum training effect -- cellular energy and endurance, gratifying muscle response, hormonal health and muscle recovery. These enrichments result in mood augmentation, enhanced vigor and confidence, maximized tenacity and spirit and sharpness of mind and creativity. I won’t get into longevity, bone density, quality of life, the immune system...
We acquire a ton of equipment, commandeer half the garage and park the car in the driveway, or we buy a platinum membership at The Club, drive across town, park somewhere, anywhere and sweat, strain and tear up our joints, all in the name of health and strength. And, then, we proceed to feed ourselves like junkyard dogs -- cheap protein and two-for-one vita-paks from Wal-Mart. Crazy, man!

Bodybuilders are like little kids (hi, Ma!), you’ve got to remind them to tie their shoelaces, flush, zip, button and stuff like that -- the obvious. That’s why I advise a vitamin fortification and a protein shake before and after each and every workout.

Bomber Blend and Super Spectrim work best and are all you really need to make the big difference. Sure and simple. Specific supplementation -- free-form aminos, creatine, additional antioxidants, Ageless Growth -- satisfy the elite needs for those scaling the ultimate ascent.

Go! Don’t look back.


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