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Spring Madness, Pre-Summer Silliness


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Yeah, I’m late. Sorry. Hop in and we’ll head for the gym, beat the traffic and talk along the way.

Where’s the winter when you need it? It’s 90 degrees in the shade and I’m dripping wet and dropping fast! Drippy, droopy Draper, that’s me.

Never satisfied. It’s tough being a human. But the human is an amazingly adaptable creature. It’s hot, I’ll adapt.

The human being is incredibly resourceful, as well. I shall apply my extraordinary powers of the mind. I think I’m cool, therefore, I am cool. Ah, much better. Psycho cybernetics, works every time.

Now to apply the same technique to my training. Enter the gym and regard the loaded barbells and dumbbells as hefty, yet easily manageable play things. Better yet, enter the gym and regard the workout as a deed that has been skillfully and courageously completed and it’s time for a nap. I catch my reflection in the mirror as I exit, convinced the image is huge, ripped and dashing.

We may be advanced, but some of us are known to hallucinate occasionally. It’s gonna be a long hot summer.

We must carry on the good fight. Press on, bombers, not forgetting to pull with equal might. Even the most comfortable and capable among us agree daily living is a battle. Call it a challenge or a struggle, if you insist, an adventure or a game, but let’s face it, it’s a fight, a good one, a worthy one, the only one we have.

It’s to our advantage, ironminds and muscleheads, to contribute to our mutual welfare. While the rest of the world beats itself up and tumbles in turmoil, be responsible, be respectful and be aware. Encourage one another, affirm and assist. Adopt these elemental virtues, practice them and develop them. And we need to be consistent and authentic in our application. That’s what bombers do best. Push with all our might. Pull with intensity. Commit and persist with purpose.

This not to say if someone gets in your face you don’t apply a headlock followed by a step-over-toe-hold and finish ‘em with a body slam. Wrestling is fun and has a special place in our culture.

Am I talking too much? Don’t answer that.

Great Guga Muga... What’s that expanse spread out before us? Why, it’s the less-than-packed parking lot of the SC Weight Room. It’s that hour in the afternoon after everyone has left and before everyone arrives, and it’s no accident I’m here at this time. I can stumble in and out without disturbing anyone with my idiosyncrasies and snorting, yelping and chanting. The half-dozen faces scattered about know and accept me and walk circles around me. Hi. Yelp!

I like the gym, don’t you? Once you enter its doors (cross-town or in the basement, the strip mall or the garage) and scan the scene; after a mini-review of the possibilities and a few defining shrugs, stretches and contractions, and upon determining your plan, the place is yours. Iron bars, steel cables, metal benches, focused energy, defined purpose, maximum effort.

Getting there is perceived by most lifters as the hardest part of their workout. Go or not to go is often the question, the crossroads, the moment of truth. And then there’s the approach and the anticipation, the prep and the psyche. It’s no simple thing and can take all you’ve got. Ah, but remember, it gives back twice what it takes.

You’re welcome to stick around if you dare. Just sit still and shut up... snort, snort. Ha. Little joke! Yelp, yelp!

I’m trying to adjust to shorter workouts of less intensity to accommodate OA and thus prevent system overload. This is gonna be interesting. I’ve gone from six workouts a week for 20 years, to five a week for 20 years, to four a week for five years, and now I’m down to three a week. More is better was my approach, and now I’m endorsing enough is just right. I don’t want to wear myself out.

Too late, said the fat lady as she started to sing. Snort!

I notice my routines for the past months have been composed of six exercises, usually done in three supersets. Can’t shake the supersets. Even when I commence a single-set plan, it soon expands to supersets. Give me five minutes to warm up and get the juices flowing, and I can’t sit still between sets. Next exercise...

And I notice no two routines are the same. My exercise repertoire, though limited by injuries, is basic and not exactly short. I have plenty of traditional movements, and a bunch that have been modified to accommodate the flogged workhorse. I choose and combine them according to my DNA -- desires, needs, abilities of the hour.

So let’s see what I pull from the dazzling treasure chest today, the crusty old gym bag or the musty corners of my mind. What’s this? Eyyou! A dead mouse. Right about now some of you are saying, who cares? Well, that’s no attitude... what about respect and encouragement and elemental virtues? Sitting still and shutting up?

Looking back, my last workout was primarily legs. Thus, I am focused on upper body, the core and midsection. The abs, obliques and intercostals, I’m thrilled to say, respond very nicely to my version of standing (hunched over) rope-tucks performed with an overhead cable. I seldom do crunches and leg raises these days, reserving my time, energy and interest for more inclusive musclebuilding movements. I’m hoping the 50 years invested in those not-exactly exciting midsection movements carry some dividends.

The standing cable rope-tucks are a relatively high-rep exercise (25 to 35) and quickly attack the midsection as I tug with bent arms close to the body and vary my downward motion from front, to left and to right. As the reps, pump and burn pile up, I extend my arms and the resistance is transferred to the greater upper body. Biceps, triceps, serratus, lats, pecs and the entire back are fully engaged. And I’m panting -- there’s cardiovascular work at play.

Raise the weight, lower the reps and the movement is powerful. No, not an earthmover, but it’s strong and intense. Furthermore, it offers freedom and spontaneity, that great sense of muscle exploration and exercise improvisation according to feel, urge and desire. There are muscles just waiting to be discovered and involved and energized and developed.

Seriously, kids -- if I had one movement, one exercise to choose to maintain a healthy, strong and well-muscled body, it would be the cable tuck with its wide range of motions... period. (And squats, deadlifts, curls and presses... who said that?... sit still and shut up.)

As I write this masterful congestion of misspellings and ill-conceived words, I’m convinced I could superset five sets of cable tucks of diverse ROM, resistance and repetitions with freehand or machine dips of similar variation and exit the gym a proud and exhilarated musclehead -- no regrets. I could also crawl out wounded and bleeding, depending on my mood.

The point is this, mad and mighty metal-moving magnet: There’s a total workout in those two exercises if you know what you’re doing. Maybe even if you don’t know what you’re doing.

I’ll outline the rest of the routine next week, if I remember to and if you happen to show up and if you decide to tag along. Nothing’s certain, only Bomber Blend and the iron.

You got bugs on your wings and windshield, bombers ... nothing personal. Looks cool, come to think of it; war-weary and battered, tough and courageous. You can buy decals of bug smears in the muscle magazines, along with powders and pills that build Amazing Body Contours, the ABCs, in 24 hours or less. Almost like the real thing. Cheap, too.

Heads up, throttle back, engage trick zoom thingies and away we go.

Soar... dd

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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