Cluttered Garages and Passing Time

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Had I a garage, I cannot imagine the overwhelming project it would be to dig through the contents, clear it out and clean it up. Nevermind the labor, time and mess, but the emotional experience would be staggering. There are the most recent heaps at the outer edges that go into the “recycle” pile: twisted floor lamp, three-legged patio chair, a collection of ancient power tools with snarled, frayed wires and plugs. Scary!

Every item has history, each is repairable, but it’s time to move on. What’s under the tarpaulin behind the artificial Christmas tree? Toss the weed-whacker that never starts, the old bicycle (two flats, no seat, lots of rust), used tire with a hint of thread. Goodbye, worn-out, dysfunctional old friends.

Wow, the progress is encouraging! What a relief to get rid of the junk, and shape up the place. “What took me so long?” you ask yourself. The first move is the hardest; I’m beginning to feel better already, less burdened, less guilty, smarter, more productive, responsible, energized and proud.

“Hey, neighbor, I’m fixin’ up the ol’ garage. Check it out: bigger, more useful, less of a mess and a solitary and agreeable place to spend my time.”

Sounds a lot like someone confronting and accomplishing the task of restoring his neglected health and fitness, doesn’t it?

I’ll build broad shelves, sturdy counters, slick bins, a big and robust worktable and attach thick and powerful grips to the structure from which to hang heavy weighted objects. Not only will the end-result be more attractive and functional, the challenge in itself is daring. It’ll keep me outta trouble, add value to the property and make my sweetheart happy.

So glad I don’t have a garage; I’d rather lift weights and eat right and be strong, vigorous and free. Call me crazy.

Of course most bombers are way ahead of the caboose on this one: big bench press, huge and ripped, or a lean and mean and shapely machine; maybe a penthouse gym, or lifetime membership at 24-hour Fitless and a personal coach... Or not. More like a Weider 110-lb barbell set, milk crates and 2x12s in the basement, a Samson Twister on the bedside table and Geritol and aspirin in the medicine cabinet.

I’ve observed over the years that I’ve grown older, and, remarkably, you have, as well. That said, our training today is 10 years older than it was 10 years ago and needs appropriate modification -- updating. Furthermore, though the range in age is broad, most IronOnline readers slapping plates on bars are 35 years old and older. The iron’s getting rusty and the bars are bending... Oh, my aching back, knee, elbow, eyelids...

What worked in ’98 does not work in 2008, either impossible to perform or can’t be recalled. We’re different, now -- mind and desires, flexibility and bone density, hormones and other critical body chemistry and the ability to build and repair tissue -- and it all goes back to the eerie and creepy phenomenon of aging, getting older.

Concluding an exhaustive study of the vast influx of email in response to last week’s newsletter (four, a record) I noted one common appeal in all of them: Can I follow your broad training regimen and expect to build lean muscle mass, strength and health?

The quest, though odd and frivolous, is a favorite and most difficult to achieve... given the typical timeframe of six to eight weeks -- late summer, early fall. Where do we start?

Here’s what I’m aiming to accomplish these days. Knowing the bomber brigades are comprised of lifters 15 to 100, and after jumping hurdles, overcoming obstacles, dodging injuries and licking wounds, and lifting, pulling, pushing, pressing, hoisting and gnawing upon iron for over 55 years, I want to offer basic training of the most appealing and enduring and functioning quality, an all-inclusive training outline that will serve everyone who has gone around the block, but not over the hill.

That about covers it. We want life and lifting to be complementary and accommodating, friends to the end: dedicated but not obsessive, orderly but not rigid. We have time on our hands, but not time to waste. We have the need, will and desire to be in shape, but not the madness to be the best in the world. We have drive, but we’re not driven. We welcome discipline, but reject prison. Health is wealth, but we’re not greedy. Bring it on, Bomber, but don’t bring us down.

The best way to convey my message (keep your training simple, fresh, thoughtfully spontaneous, un-protracted and dynamic so it happens regularly rather than not happen at all) is give you an exact run down of last week’s three-day exercise scheme.

Any three alternate days of the week, allow and utilize 75 minutes:

Day 1

Rope tucks (5 x 30 reps) -- King Kong version

Smith military press (5 x 6-10 reps)
Widegrip pulldown (5 x 8-10 reps)

Seated lat row (5 x 8-10 reps)
Cable crossover (5 x 8-12 reps)

Day 2

Leg extensions (5 sets x 8-12 reps)
Leg curls (5 x 8-10 reps)
Calf raises (5 x 15-20 reps)

Leg press (5 x 15 reps)

Seated alternate curl (4 x 6-10 reps)
Pulley pushdowns for triceps with extended reps to include rope tucks --Superman version -- for abs and torso (4 x 30 reps)

Day 3)

Rope tucks (5 x 30 reps) – Godzilla version

Low incline dumbbell press (4 x 6-10 reps)
Straight-arm pullover (4 x 10 reps)

Standing single-sidearm lateral raise, alternate left and right (4 x 6-10 reps)

Wrist curl (4 x 12-15 reps)
Thumbs-up curls (4 x 8-10 reps)
Dips on machine (4 x 12-15 reps)

I know what you’re saying: “Gee, that’s original!”

That’s cuz you don’t realize each rep is performed with the exactness and focus commanded by the moment. The body positioning is not incidental, the groove not imitated and the weights and handles of resistance are intuitively and intelligently and forcefully willed to move according to the engagement of teams of muscles. Training schemes can vary in volume of exercises, sets and reps, but it’s the true performance of each exercise, set and rep that makes it all happen, gives it life and awakens the soul.

I know what else you’re saying: “Gosh, that’s puny!”

It might not be much, but it’s all I can do and I don’t need any more. I have a great advantage, having an abundance of injuries and their guiding pain to assist me throughout my training, workout after workout. I know I boast, but the tears and pulls and strains and their acute throbbing signals were not handed to me on a sliver platter. Oh, no! They were earned and deserved, and they rule.

Got pain? Use it, don’t abuse it.

Another thing, before you mention it: I practice a full range of motion willfully engaging a complex of associated muscles. Any muscle regions I didn’t sufficiently saturate I’m aware of and will blast them next week as I continue my mission.

Yes, the stationary bike or your choice of aerobics fit nicely on the days you’re not polishing the iron.

Sky-time, bomberoos... Up, up and away... Dave

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