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A Bomber Does What a Bomber Has to Do

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Ever feel like you want to take a break, come up for air, change the view, modify your pace, or just scream? You qualify as a member of a large and strangely clandestine club, a club so vast, yet so secretive few members are aware of its existence, or their shadowy membership in it. Their dubious qualifications -- frustration, discouragement, boredom, ineffectiveness, apathy -- automatically secure enrollment in the overflowing organization, persuading and enabling them to pay their daily dues.

The mysterious order, otherwise known as societatuty, is hidden openly before our eyes. The obvious, the evident, that which surrounds us, is seldom seen, often disregarded, at best a blur.

Rise and shine.

We, of course, lifters of weights and builders of muscles, are both exempt and prohibited involvement in the loosely bound structure. Inspiration, achievement, fulfillment and joy are intolerable features in the broadly attended, oblivious assemblage. You and I are, thus, summarily banned.

Drat! Tough being an authentic bomber at full throttle with wings spread wide, flaps high, ailerons fully engaged and intentionally dismantled landing gear.

And, as we are banned, bombers, so are we barred. To be barred is to be swathed with bars in great abundance, bars including those of the Olympic variety that thud unforgiving on black rubber mats, and simple cold-steel exercise bars with deep knurling for the unforgiving grip, and the short, but reliable, dumbbell bars of assorted weight that recline, forgiven, but not forgotten, on thick metal racks before lengths of polished mirror for our picking, as children pick sweets from a candy counter, or, better yet, fresh apples from an apple tree. Yummy.

Barmentation does not stop there, rare and devoted hoisters of dense metal objects: There are the supple and well-shaped bars attached to the ends of weighted pulley systems serving as handles for various muscle- and strength-building applications. The lifter who has a multitude of unique handlebars within his reach for custom pulley performance is a rich lifter, indeed. Many and great will his muscles be, and sweet the joy of his labor.

I’m reminded of a jingle I and my peculiar friends learned in grammar school: Bench press, dumbbell press, curls, squats and more -- pushdowns, pulldowns, crossovers galore...

Sitting here on a Monday morn, the sun darting through the trees like golden retrievers and Laree still up to her limbs in Dan John DVD magic and madness (not enough gigs of computer memory, latest minor catastrophe) and me on the relentless prowl for legitimate subject matter for the newsletter, I come to realize yet again the smallness and vastness of the sport associated with lifting weights and moving iron. Basic, yet complex. Simple, but confusing. Plain, and puzzling.

It’s not the iron; it’s the player. Plate on a bar, bar on a bench, push, pull -- pull, push. Again: plate, bar, bench, push, pull. Again and again. Muscle and might! Here’s where it gets confusing, downright mysterious, hugely complex and beyond understanding: How much, how long, what, where, when and why, why not and who said? Are we there yet?

And I haven’t even mentioned words like methodology, periodization, plateau, pyramid, superset or the implications of catabolism, hormones and nutrition.

I’m going to the gym after I scoop down some Bomber Blend and a handful of Ageless Growth and throw on a ragged t-shirt, the absolute training prerequisites: Grab the gym bag, hop in the truck, skip, slip and slide down the hill -- a five-minute obstacle course complete with hairpin curves, blind spots, deer-crossings and narrow, gulch-hanging passageways -- through Aptos and its ever-growing population, stop streets and stop lights and onto the freeway brimming with vehicles and their crazy drivers.

I like the drive; I need the drive, preparation for the workout before me. It heightens my reflexes, warms up the muscular system, arouses my survival instincts and releases spits of adrenalin. Parking my heap next to the dumpster at the rear of The Weight Room, I’m ready for action. Action consists of mounting the 10 stairs to the small deck that provides entrance to the gym floor.

Step by step, one step at a time, steady as she goes... the rush is ahead.

Once in the gym, the press-behind-neck bench is five feet away, my destination, my perch, from whence I view the iron-clad floor and assess my 75-minute plan of attack. Nothing changes, not much; sort of the same old story, only different. Where once there was a plan from which I dared not deviate -- exercises, sets, reps and predetermined weights at a prescribed pace -- I now carefully deviate and dare not plan.

That, tail-spinners, is my plan.

I play 20 Questions before ever touching a weight, this while I chomp on some grapes, have another slug of Bomber Blend and unravel my necessary battle gear -- sword, shield, spear, sneakers and straps. My answers to the 20 Qs are finessed to smooth and straighten the path ahead.

How do I feel -- health, wellbeing, energy, soreness, pain of injury, attitude -- what can I do and what am I able to do, what did I do last time, what needs to be done now, what’s been neglected, what’s been overdone, what will lift me up, what will bring me down, what will make me, what will break me, what’s broke, what needs to be fixed, can I go home now?

I also scan the gym floor for allies, booby traps, equipment availability, loopholes, lost valuables and hope. I know the basics, I eliminate the excess, I filter the sound, as I advance in straight lines when and where I can; I avoid confusion, elaboration and slick choreography; no song, dance and conversation. “Hi. How are ya? Scram!” I’m alone among few, I’m alone among many; me, my resolutions, my bars, bells and whistles and the guiding light of the back door from which I entered, my exit in less than 75 minutes.

No time to waste, nothing to fear. There’s a ton of joy and fulfillment and achievement in dense piles of metal distributed generously, cunningly, alluringly on the black rubber mats before me.

Care to join me? Grab a bar, a few plates and a bench. Need some chalk? How about one of my frayed wrist straps soaked in Gatorade or something sticky from the bottom of my gym bag? Got any spare change?

Sharing is good.


Early heads-up: Stella’s Kitchen and the first of four Dan John DVDs from the recent Utah Bash are in the wings. Line forms at the rear. No shoving. Push that iron.


Save your shoulders, be nice to your back, improve your squat, delight in the action and build thunder thighs. Grasp the handles of a Top Squat, settle the padded bar across your back and lower yourself safely, comfortably and precisely to your favorite depth, and in the same way lift yourself up.

You can’t squat -- you will. You squat poorly -- you’ll squat properly. You hate squats -- you’ll adore them. You like squats -- you’ll love them. You love squats -- you’ll marry them.


New Dan John Book: Never Let Go
Offers motivation, education, inspiration and a smile on every page!
Are you ready? We'll ship your order today.

Did you know Bomber Blend will provide the least expensive and most nutritious meals in your daily eating regimen? It’s not an added extravagance to your food budget; it reduces your budget and improves your nutritional intake. It builds lean, strong and shapely muscle. Regular servings of Bomber Blend raise your IQ and enable you to time travel. Made into a poultice and smeared on the scalp will prevent baldness and kill tics. Good stuff.

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.

Take a trip over to our
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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.