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Spring Training for Stealth Bombers


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In some corners of the world we have turned our clocks forward an hour in observance of daylight saving’s time. The robin redbreasts have been seen hanging out suspiciously on lawns and at parks, wings and beak poised in feathery anticipation. Tweet, tweet! I feel their eager sentiments. Baby showers and wedding ceremonies are announced in local newspapers, alongside once-in-a-lifetime two-for-one specials for local gym memberships.

You feel it, don’t you? It’s like a stir of fresh air in a still room, a dash of sunshine piercing drawn shades, the rustle of dust-coverings removed from protected surfaces, the bracing fragrance of life revived.

Never quite dead, never quite alive, your senses tingle faintly, expectantly. Is that a heart beat... and another... a breath, a gasp, a deep inhalation? Has the restless sleep ended, the mute dormancy expired? Might I once again lift weights with purpose and might, diligence and joy? Can it be... am I dreaming... is it spring?

No, it is not spring. Winter prevails for 10 more days. In fact, it might rain tonight with gusts up to 30 miles an hour. Replace your hooded sweatshirt and resume your depression and long face. It ain’t over till it’s over, Bubba, as they say amid stark outlines of icy squat racks and the bottom-most edges of damp and moldy lifting platforms.

The season of relief does not officially arrive until March 22nd and there’ll be no pump before then. Push that iron, and groan!

To lift your dragging spirits, to comply with a promise I made last week, and being a man of his word (he lies through his crooked and decaying teeth, girls), I shall complete my thoughts on getting bigger and better and smarter if I were an average 18-year-old, weight training for a year in an average sort of way.

I have chosen four likely muscle-group sequences and routines utilizing the 10 must-do-to-be-big exercises established last week.

The Big Ten Exercises:

Squats
Dumbbell press
Deadlifts
One-arm bentover row
Barbell curls
Lying or overhead triceps extension
Seated lat row
Widegrip pulldowns
Dumbbell pullover
Sidearm lateral raises one-arm or two-arm

I know what you’re saying and I see your point (I’m not as dumb as I look, just ‘cuz I have ears and eyes in the back of my head): Where’s the bench press? I don’t see chins and dips on the list! No barbell cleans and presses? Hmmph! The list is incomplete, inaccurate and amateurish.

My initial thinking went something like this:

1) The bench press, when applied forcefully to gain power and size, is the perfect exercise for developing chronic shoulder imbalances, tears, rips, shreds, injuries and wincing pain. Dumbbell presses are safer and better muscle builders, shapers and powerizers.

2) Though the circumstances are specific, I generalized; not everyone is able to perform freehand chins and dips with bodyweight.

3) Cleans and presses are great, but let’s save them for a later size and power push.

4) There are another dozen movements worthy of our devoted efforts, but the Big Ten popped to the top like bubbles in a pitcher of frothy brew.

5) Drink booze, you looze.

The neglected four exercises are beauties, I agree, and they in themselves are arguably a formidable combination for building a thick and powerful body. Let us concentrate on them another time for a venture into the world of building muscle power and thickness. We’ll call them the Big Four Exercises. Clever! Hold on a sec while I make a quick note of that... BFX... I’m texting. I text. This bomber will not be left behind.

Bigger, Smarter, Better -- The Sequences and Routines:

A
(Day 1) Chest, back
(Day 2) Legs
(Day 3) Shoulders, arms
(Day 4) Off
(Day 5) Upper body
(Day 6) Lower body
(Day 7) Off

B
(Day 1) Chest, back
(Day 2) Legs
(Day 3) Shoulders, arms
(Day 4) Off
(Day 5) Full body
(Day 6, 7) Off

C
(Day 1) Chest, back, shoulders
(Day 2) Legs, arms
(Day 3) Off
(Day 4) Chest, back, shoulders
(Day 5) Legs, arms
(Day 6, 7) Off

D
(Day 1) Full body
(Day 2) Off
(Day3) Full body
(Day 4) Off
(Day 5) Full body
(Day 6, 7) Off

The sequences are designed to offer options to the young ironhead, depending on his available time and ironheadedness. I like the options for different reasons, and each has been applied and tested by me extensively, and each has proven to be on target one time or another.

There’s always a problem. People, especially young people, when asking for instruction, hate to be offered options. “Just tell me what to do, Palsy, plain and simple; none of this, that or the other thing. Do I look like I have a brain?”

Thus, to remove the excessive mental challenge, allow me to choose and elaborate on the very best routine for you, Buster Boy, at this exact moment in time... eenie-meenie-minie-moe... lets go with Routine B. Why not?

Three or four sets of 10, 8, 6 reps of each exercise will serve best to develop the muscle and power, and training acumen of the young lifter. Too much emphasis on power (low-low reps and heavy-heavy weight) will threaten the lifter’s system and exercise performance and lead to injury and disappointment, and eventual layoff or early retirement (Ouch! Too much work, too much pain, I’m outta here). Consistency is the key, positive performance is the turn of the key, time and patience is the unlatching that opens the door.

(Day 1) Chest, back
Flat dumbbell press
Incline (45-degree) dumbbell press
Dips
One-arm row
Pullover

(Day 2) Legs
Squats
Deadlifts

(Day 3) Shoulders, arms
Steep-incline dumbbell press
One-arm lateral raise
Widegrip pulldown,
Barbell curl
Overhead triceps extension

(Day 4) Off

(Day 5) Full body

Here I suggest a day of creativity and self-indulgence for the young musclebuilder, who will in fact advance physically, resourcefully and psychologically from the opportunity to apply precious and responsible freedom of expression. What do you want to do and what do you need to do, what should you do and what can you do are four inquiring critiques by which the lifter should determine this personalized workout plan. Mood and urge and desire, might I submit, also have a lot to do with its formation.

Don’t ya just love it: Conscientious freedom, intelligent freedom -- not freedom-gone-wild, chaos and disorder? It is in such pursuits as these that mankind has possibility -- potential -- hope.

How about 45-degree incline dumbbell presses supersetted with widegrip pulldowns behind the neck with the back to pulley system -- barbell curl with backside leaning against a column supersetted with dips -- light squats supersetted with stiffarm dumbbell pullovers? Get’s the whole hamburger in a few large, delicious and juicy bites. Hold the mayo.

(Day 6, 7) Off

A Confession: The routines are not reserved only for 18-year-old semi-motivated dudes seeking shapely muscle mass and training wisdom. The routines are for all aspiring musclebuilders, guys and gals, young and old, all colors and every size and shape who can and are willing to move -- including me, Rocky Balboa and Queen Latifah. I created the scenario about a kid who digs the iron to attract the youth and the innocent. It was a desperate political move to gain popularity among the young... and the down-hearted and the disenfranchised.

What better to lift them up than an Olympic bar and an iron will?

I also strongly believe brawny muscles and disciplined minds are particularly useful for building strong nations, preventing apathy and defeating terrorists. And very few weightlifters go on to become corrupt CEOs and fraudulent governmental lobbyists. It’s a fact. If we all lifted weights and ate right the world would be a safer and better place.

I want to see less government, fewer health-‘n-fitness chains (like, none) and more neighborhood gyms (The Weight Room). I’m for more physical fitness and nutrition classes in schools, and less junk, sugar and grease in their cafeterias. We need personal responsibility and discipline encouraged by engaged moms and dads -- actually, it would be better if they were married -- and teachers and guardians. More fresh vegetables and fruit and cheaper, less toxic sources of energy....

Sorry. It’s all the presidential campaigning... everywhere you pause and stop, look and listen, it’s fast talk, promises and accusations. Time to rise above it all, wind-whackers. I’m going to affix my Velcro-equipped double-wide diaphanous wings and catch some off-shore air. Whither I shall go, I know not, but I’ll be up there... a place where it’s warm, quiet and tranquil; a clear, real and sensible place; a worthy place, hopeful and blissful.

See ya there. Can’t miss me... I’ll be wearing huge diaphanous wings and a camouflage beanie with a propeller on top.

The Stealthy Bomber... DD

Well, not exactly... there’s more...

Here's an idea: Brother Iron Sister Steel was called The Best Book on Bodybuilding Ever by Muscle and Fitness magazine. You'll ask less and train harder with more joy and certainty after reading its fun pages. Tips and hints, routines and nutrition, motivation and stories, and tons of pictures from the good times.

Go... Godspeed... Dave

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