First Things First

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Ordinary Workouts Made Extraordinary


Dave guest poses at the 1968 Mr. Eastern Canada

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This week’s IronOnline subject matter includes the second of two sample training programs from the exotic Draper Selections, cleverly titled, Workout Two. Workouts One and Two are designed for every able-bodied lifter who knows a curl from a press, and can count to 10. Oops! There go half my readers -- just kidding! Along with tricks, I throw in an occasional joke to keep us sharp. Which reminds me, did you hear the one about the bomber who couldn’t fly a kite? Seems there was this blond guy from Secaucus, New Jersey who...

Seriously, bombers, enough silliness, all kidding aside and no more clowning around... we’re not here to doodle like a handful of pencil-necks with sketchbooks and no lead. We’ve got muscles to form, fitness to outline and power to highlight before we turn the next of countless blank pages.

Workout One is devoted to developing upper body muscle, while Workout Two, the second basic training session, is designed to strengthen and shape the lower body and build systemic power. The routines are to be alternated, and blended with three weekly aerobic workouts to ensure variety and balance in your fitness pursuits.

I lose the average trainee right about now because my suggested routines appear ordinary and old-fashioned. There is no mention of periodization, Bulgarian multilevel training principles, fast-twitch, slow-twitch muscle formulas or incremental power exertion per one-rep-max equations.
 
No stacks, Jacks, just the facts. It’s not the workout, it’s the worker.

Bomber Basic #29: It’s not the less-than-exciting workout that’s disappointing; it’s the less-than-exciting worker and the less-than-exciting work he puts forth. The work referenced includes training consistency, substantial set-rep exertion, focused effort, positive pursuit, enthusiastic energy, unrelenting endurance, undying hope and the vigorous pushing and pulling of tons of iron.

That’s the stuff that counts, the conspicuously missing ingredients in today’s dedicated champion: heart, soul and desire, hard work, discipline and devotion.

"Lighten up, Bomber. You’re a sucker for details!"

Of course none of these critical comments refer to you and me. We’re cool!

And, no, this is not pre-contest training, forging mass at the foundry and defining cuts with a scalpel. We are preparing our hulks for the summer after a winter and early spring of hulking. The spring has sprung, the heck with hulk. Clarity, simplicity and assurance, that’s what we need in our workouts, motives and attitudes.   

Workout 2
Click here for Workout 1

Leg extensions (quadriceps, knee region). The simple action shapes, muscularizes and strengthens the thighs, as well as prepares them for heavy leg presses and squats. Take time to make the proper mechanical adjustments, assuring all bodyparts are engaged correctly and comfortably. The knees play a key role in the exercise and can be strengthened and developed by the movement when performed with attention, moderate weight and a steady speed, or damaged if done matter-of-factly or with excessive aggression. Extend and contract deliberately and return with control and focus; no hurry, no daydreaming, no ripping your knees from their God-given anatomical placements. Think power, shape and health always. Start light, warm up and proceed smartly.

Leg curls (thigh biceps -- hamstrings). Too often overlooked and under-trained, the hamstring muscles propel us forward, balance the thigh muscle complex, win points at physique competitions and appreciation from attracted onlookers. Neglect their healthy development and you risk pulling or tearing the lengthy sinew, not an uncommon injury. Leg biceps exercise is not the most inspiring activity, but today’s machines make the work simple and direct. We do what must be done, and focused, steady and complete action does it best.

Superset the above two movements if you choose.

Squats or Leg presses (thighs, systemic engagement). I like both exercises for various reasons. Squats are more demanding, loading the entire structure and requiring total balance and control. Start with nerve, need and the willingness to work hard. Then apply practice, and more practice, concentration, and more concentration, and hard work. Now you’re getting it. Stay tight, feet shoulder-width apart for beginners, bar low on the shoulder and back area, descend slowly as if sitting on an imaginary throne, don’t lean forward, seek a thigh-ground parallel position. Very good! Ascend mightily, and repeat.

The leg press is great for all healthy and devoted musclebuilders. Load, sit, engage and perform. Simple and easy. Up and down goes the sled as your thighs, heart and lungs do their jobs... like driving a go-cart. It’s executing the sets and reps when the iron is piled high that’s hard. And unless you perform full range of motion repetitions (not fractional reps), don’t expect full range of development. Go safely deep to recruit and empower the entire thigh complex, front, back and glutes.

The choice is yours. Squat when you’re ready, healthy and curious. Leg presses are a swell alternative for overtrained or injured squatters.

Calf raises (calf muscles). Standing and seated calf raises are suggested as different areas of the muscle are engaged according to the bend of the legs. Work the muscles generally, as they respond generally. We want to exercise the ever-active muscles with moderate weight for higher (burning) repetitions and a full range of motion. Their health, strength and resilience are important. This is up for opinion and debate, but the calves are one obstinate muscle region to develop. Mass comes like cold on the equator, and shape forms like curves on a baton. Anyone I know with substantial, muscular and well-shaped calves was born with them. That doesn’t make them bad people.

Deadlift (erectors, hamstrings, full back, traps, grip and associated muscles, core muscles, systemic engagement). You can lift light and you might lift heavy and both are worthwhile. As we are equipped and motivated, it is wise for us to practice the exercise regularly for lower back health and ability and resistance to injury. Going heavy is desirous to many, lots of challenge and fun, enables the growth of structural muscle mass and might, and can be useful when personally confronting oft-immoveable obstacles. If you don’t know what you’re doing, heavy deads can be dangerous to your health and training longevity.

The smart money is on light-to-moderate deadlifts for reasonable repetitions (10, 8, 6) for intermediate and older lifters, and do as you please, are able or dare for those in between. Bend at the hips and knees and grasp the bar at shoulder width (slightly wider for comfort and efficacy), using an opposing over-grip and under-grip hand placement. Solidly position yourself, feet closely matching the hand placement, and back flat and low to the ground. Once your breathing is established (well oxygenated and prepped), pull upward steadily with all your might till you achieve a standing posture. Return thoughtfully to the starting position and repeat to set-completion.

The exercise is most enjoyable and productive if and when practiced with full attention to the action and feel of the many powerful muscles engaged. To perform the exercise only to move the weight off the floor, up and back again is to take a different journey and, too often, to miss the trip. ‘How much’ isn’t always as important as ‘how.’ I often swallow the ego to be here, now, with a weight I can know and love. Muscles grow and radiate, the mind is captivated and the soul refreshed.

Stiffarm or bent-arm pullover (deep breathing and torso stretching, some triceps and pecs and front shoulder). Gee, I’m talky today and runnin’ outta space and time and readers. Ya’ll know the stiffarm pullover; I mention it rather frequently, appreciating its action. Thus, let us practice the old-fashioned (no such thing as old-fashioned, Sonny) barbell pullover-and-press for its unusual application of movement and muscle. I’ll be quick: Bar’s lying across your chest, hands are six inches apart in a close grip. Swell! You lift the rigid, cold steel up slightly and to the rear, over your head and down toward the floor. Smooth! At the right, feel-good depth you reverse the action and return the bar to the chest and press it straight up with aplomb and the contraction of the pecs, shoulders and tris. Outstanding!

Repeat with form and focus and rhythm and a handy, moderate weight. This compound movement throws in just enough upper-body muscle reminders from the previous workout to be beneficial and personally rewarding -- stretch, pump, burn and power -- yet not excessive.

Forearms (grip-associated muscle and might). I advocate a dash of forearms just to be cunning, rebellious and mysterious. Enjoy wrist curls one workout; delight in reverse curls the next. If either one is more alluring or promising or necessary than the other, stick with it... till you decide to reverse the choice in the future. We’re loose.

I’m out of kerosene, crew. Thanks for being here.

Bombs away... Dave

 THAT BOMBER BLEND

Quick note: To avoid mucus formation and the resultant throat-clearing that guarantees thunderous pain in the wired sternum, I ingested no milk products to this date. I’ve been a dairy man all my life. Today I mixed two scoops of Bomber Blend in cold water and guzzled it like a wild pig. No mucus, color returned to my face, I felt a warm pump all over and I laughed for no apparent reason, the first time in three weeks. Go figure.

I'm seriously considering the elimination of milk from my diet, maintaining some yogurt and cottage cheese and increasing my already substantial intake of the Bomber Blend. Man against mucus!

BOMB SQUAD FLASH

IronOnline, our weekly newsletter, has been delivered to mailboxes and shared for eight years.
 
Our endeavor began as a weekend curiosity (whatsa-web-site?) at the brink of 1999 and grew into a gazillion (3,000) page wonder. We enjoy each other, we encourage each other, we inform each other, we depend on each other, and one might say we know each other.
 
Aware of this community relationship, Laree and I do our best to provide the best of everything to make your muscle journey productive, enjoyable and complete: inspiration, motivation, information, instruction, explanation, suggestions and advice in muscle and might, exercise and nutrition, attitude and behavior.
 
Among our ranks are some of the brightest trainers who have been there, done that, and delight in doing it still. They have joined forces with us to offer devoted bombers direct personal training through IOL. Here’s an opportunity to engage in one-on-one training with IOL’s finest to progress confidently and vigorously in your training -- workouts, menus and motivation.
 
This gallant team of muscle minds and iron heads are long-time friends. They are knowledgeable, understanding, honest and generous benefactors who will help you over the obstacles that drive us Crazy.

Enjoy and trust them.

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