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Forward, Backward, Sideways



Dan Martin doing squats with Dave's Top Squat
with chains and wobbling kettlebells, Koji-style


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I’m running late with this week’s newsletter. The deadline was yesterday, the funeral went on into the night, and the burial was early this morning. May it rest in peace. I’ve been distracted nipping at the edges of the chapters to be added to Brother Iron Sister Steel and the project is not without a hurdle or two.

Adjustment to the over-sixty mind-and-body processes is a delightful study, second only to on-the-spot aging research. And I appreciate the concept, the value of this ironchucker’s see-saw insight and his brazen regard of the subject matter.

I’ve taken to looking in the mirror and counting furrows, wrinkles and spots.

Furthermore, I’m enjoying the writing. But, do I, in expanding Brother Iron Sister Steel, risk losing the epic’s muscle and might and diluting its pow, zap and boom?

Consider: Brother Iron Sister Steel is about explosive training methods, about bombing and blasting and about becoming more, much more -- huge and ripped, bigger, faster and stronger. And along comes Mister Blasto himself telling you how it is and where it’s at after the gym closes. No, the doors are not locked and yes, the lights are still on, but the big weights are being unloaded, racked, stacked and stored away.

Clink. “Last call for protein shakes.” Tinkle, tink.

Gee, training after 60 might best be outlined in an entirely separate book. Truth is, Sparky, there ain’t enough to write about... not enough for an entire book... a pamphlet, maybe, in large type. Besides, the accompanying photos are limited, cranky and grim.

Here’s the scenario: A kid, 15 to 30 years old, hears tall tales of this long-haired beach dude from the ‘60s who was an original bomber and blaster. Sounds cool; huge and ripped are thrown into the blistery history mystery. The young lad buys a copy of Brother Iron for the truth and digs through the pages like kids dig through things. Discipline, perseverance, press on and never quit are woven through the pages like strands of gold.

Stoked!! He comes to the last three chapters and I, yours truly, the Bomber, casually advise him how -- sput, sputter, put -- to crash land, roll over and play dead.

Yeah! Gotta love that book. Can’t wait for the sequel.

There’s a way to combine zip with zapped minus cruelty and disappointment. It’s life. I’ll figure a way out. Not to worry. I’ll ask Laree. She knows everything.

I’ve watched Laree over the past year doing her muscle-balance and joint-mobility antics on the floor in front of TV (we have an old black and white with a built-in turntable; bad sound, but it gets three channels), while messing in the kitchen and amid her heap of kettlebells. She’s fitter than ever; happier, more mobile and flexible, enduring fewer injuries and less pain and has rid herself of chronic structural maladies and weaknesses.

“Makes my life easier,” he grumbled under his breath.

She’s more complete, her focus has improved, her joy for exercising is in the nines, she’s straighter and taller (six-two), and younger in outlook (twelve).

I, of course, have adopted my own version of her delicate and deliberate movements. Hunky and funky describe my variations. “What have I got to lose... my rugged etched physique?” More muttering, my latest bizarre habit... very distracting.

I apply my quasi-Feldenkrais movements between robust sets of reps to mitigate my heavy-hearted breathlessness, restore my comfortable and rhythmic respiratory function and prepare my musculoskeletal and neural systems for my next offensive, my next set. The concentrated mid-set applications accelerate --and soothe -- my recuperation.

The movements are done seated, standing or leaning; they are focused and repetitive and balanced, and they involve the whole body with the contraction and extension of those muscles and attachments that correspond healthfully to the coincidental major muscle engagement.

You have to be there to fully appreciate the comforting and rehabilitating technique, spontaneous and creative by nature.

I lost you. I grossly failed to make any sense. The point is, rather than sit and pant between sets like a broken-down fighter between rounds, I choose a series of reviving body actions, such as rocking left to right while sitting on a bench with my arms and hands gripping the seat to support me. With each rocking motion, my bodyweight shifts and the supporting arm and hand flex in response and the opposing limb extends and stretches to contain excess movement.

Back and forth for six reps per side accompanied by deep recuperative breaths and the body refreshes and comes alive. Rather than a blank, gasping carcass, I afford myself relief by regulating the strained breathing and corresponding to its suffering rhythm.

The gently rocking muscle regions -- tris, bis, shoulders, back, torso, hips and spine -- act as pumps to oxygenize the body, becoming increasingly involved and activated as the reps mount. With attention and care, you are stimulating -- massaging -- your collective bio-systems and bringing firepower to often less-engaged, out-of-the-way and much-needed sinew.

I can modify the basic left-to-right action to a more engaging clockwise and counter-clockwise circular rotation. Forward, left, backward, right -- forward, right, backward, left. Flexing here, relaxing there, allowing the muscles and attachments and skeletal system to flow. Practice, play, drift, invent, discover and soothe the weary body and mind and cardio system throughout the workout. A workout becomes one extended, hard-hitting blast integrated with soft, fulfilling rebounds.

Mean yet lovable, a very healthy balance.

Variations are endless, applications are priceless.

I could go on and confuse you further, but I’m perplexed enough. Just keep in mind the teachings and urgings of Laree, a powerlifter and fitness nut-job for 30 years. We need to add balance to our musclebuilding and powerbuilding efforts to extend and enhance our training lives.

Long live the bombers.

Having wandered into the bush and lost our way, might I repair our course and direct you to the sound teachings of strength coach extraordinaire, Dan John? A mob of us have raved about Dan and his work, Never Let Go, and below Laree offers you a chapter to whet your appetite and excite that awesome athlete within.

On your mark, get set, get ready... Go... Godspeed... The Bomber

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Scoop the blend into a glass, stir and drink with pleasure and satisfaction, when you need to, want to or should. All the time.

Soak yourself in a taste of bodybuilding’s Golden Era with Dick Tyler’s on-the-scene record, written in his easy-going, one-of-a-kind style, West Coast Bodybuilding Scene.

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BILL PEARL/DAVE DRAPER LIVE SEMINAR DVD

The  Package includes a one-hour-and-fifteen-minute tape of the July seminar, two muscular slide shows, plus a 32-page booklet outlining the subsequent interview between the mighty one, Bill Pearl, and me in which we discuss some favorite subjects untouched by the seminar. ~Dave

Cut through the confusion! Grab your copy Brother Iron Sister Steel to make your training path clear.

Readers agree: Dave new book, Iron On My Mind, is non-stop inspirational reading.

Our IronOnline Forum will answer your training and nutriton questions right here, right now.

Golden Era fans will rejoice in this excerpt from West Coast Bodybuilding Scene.

Are your shoulders tight? Do your shoulders hurt when you squat? It's practically a miracle! Dave's Top Squat assists squatters with shoulder problems.

Here's Dave's previous week's column.