I Miss Winter – Not So Much

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I’m not as dumb as they say, or as I sound, and certainly not as dumb as I look, especially while squatting in my leopardskin tights. I know all I need to know about training, all I care to know about nutrition, all I want to know about yesterday, all there is to know about tomorrow, all I dare to know about politics and all I’m ever going to know about women.

I know all God has enabled me to know thus far about Godly things.

I also know all I wish to know about war and am able to know about peace, all I can know about laughing and should know about crying, all I might know about truth and enough about lying and all I desire to know about dying.

Of course, any of these declarations can change in a flash, be proven wrong with even shoddy investigation, or dismissed as an unexceptional burp at the corner saloon.

Pardon me. 

The point here and now is we must never waver in our commitment to living this grand life, daily, fully, honestly, generously and cheerfully, and with a pair of well-chosen dumbbells within arms’ reach. There’s no other way; we know it, we’ve proven it and we continue to prove it day after day.

And this is to say nothing about abstaining from the ingestion of all junk food, including jelly donuts.

Jelly donuts and coffee, winter food; it’s bad, it happens. Tuna and water, spring food; it’s ugly, it’s deliberate.

We are a few days into the spring and our spirits are aloft. Adorned in tank tops and shorts, bombers across the budding plains are in garages wire-brushing rusty bars and plates and dragging the bench from beneath boxes of Christmas ornaments and faded clothes destined for Goodwill.

Only two consecutive days of sunshine with temperatures above 60 degrees, and heartbeats climb from dull reclusion and deep breaths are drawn from bright blue skies. My personal barometer is b b beeping.

It’s Saturday, a day earlier than my typical appointment with the pillars of steel -- not that any meeting with the metal is ever typical or predictable or guaranteed -- and I find myself in the gym by whim and the will of God. So be it, so it is, so I am.

Ah, geez, enough already with the faux philosophical trash, Whiz-bomb. Lift or shut up. Is dopey another terrific thing we have to look forward to after 50? Relax. I’m going to tell you what I did at the gym and why.

For starters, the handsome white, grey and red-trimmed Weight Room breathing sounds of the ‘60s and ‘70s was lightly sprinkled with grateful tinheads. Who else in Santa Cruz by the sea on the most beautiful weekend of 2010 would be in a concrete building surrounded by iron and adrift amid The Moody Blues?

The dedicated, persevering and disciplined, that’s who; those willing to sacrifice for the greater good, to suffer, to strain, to endure pain and to give of their blood and sweat that they might find their souls. Or, quite possibly, the lost, lonely and insecure, the dull and unimaginative, the suspicious and the odd, the muttering sad-sacks with big arms and no place in the world.

I pretty much stay to myself and watch my back.

Today was arms day, exclusively. Arms are fun, front and back, and least fatiguing, which is welcome, unless of course an elbow is swollen and aching or a biceps insertion is ripped from the bone, which happens occasionally to the brutish and unlucky, and the best of us.

I seldom work arms only, as I don’t see the need. It seems to make them smaller as I grow older, neither of which has been my goal from the beginning.

The back was the center of my attention during my previous workout three days ago, but from it there was extraordinary pleasure and pain to be shared with the chest, shoulders and the arms. Why not? Generosity and the spreading of goodness are just two of the commendable attributes of those who both serve and master the iron.

Cleverness is another feature worth mentioning... adorableness and innocence... depth of thought, aimless rambling.

I like training every bodypart, and most of all back, if I like training at all on any particular day. Leg work is my least favorite (I’m not alone), especially lately since I cannot squat like Rickey Dale Crain. The bums who like to train legs are the ones who have naturally good stumps to begin with. Upon my arrival at 1 Hops Lane in Secaucus, New Jersey, almost 68 years ago, I was fitted with a pair of carrot sticks; take ’em or leave ’em, boy. Next!

While I’m aimlessly wandering about the torso, shoulders are a grand muscle group and great fun to train, but we misuse, abuse and confuse them, forcing them to do things they were not designed to do: press-behind-neck, upright rows, benchpress with every plate in the gym, side-arm lateral raises with rhino-size dumbbells.

Seduced by the charms of muscle and might, the young and innocent weightlifting pup ignores safety and sensibility and dives head first into the iron. Flexible, hopeful and hard-headed, he bounces about till he’s silly. This doesn’t take long, and he then starts piling on the plates. More is better, he vainly and intuitively and ferociously concludes.

The blooming ironhead would not stand in front of an oncoming stroller, but he eagerly crawls under a large and seemingly purposeless pile of metal and bounces it off his chest. Why, ask those who haven’t a clue. He manages to mangle his shoulders, a source of pain and discontent forever and ever.  

Where was I? Oh, yeah, the virtues and joys, the rewards and benefits of lifting chunks of weight in search of big arms.

My routine was short, solid and simple, and it was tough. After five rounds of core and gut -- rope tucks and leg raises and truck pushes -- I did five sets of wrist curls with an Oly across my legs. The wrists, like everything else I can think of, ain’t what they use to be. I attentively single-set, careful not to torque or mistreat them.

The deep secret is the execution of five standing barbell curls supersetted with lying triceps extensions. Again, care, respect, gratitude and a grin and a snarl.

It’s all so simple. Thirsty? Drink. Hungry? Eat. Tired? Sleep. Muscles? Lift.

Thumbs-up curls work for me, supersetted with assorted pulley pushdowns. Four did the trick. Something went ping in my delt, a sufficient signal to apply the brakes.

Now you know all I know, which is barely enough to get us through the day. But, hey, there’s tomorrow.

Bombs away... Dave


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