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Simplicity Made Simple: Push, Pull, Grunt, Grin

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Ah, there you are, right on time.

There is not an abundance of musclebuilding revelation to offer this week, either in nutrition, training methods or fantasies. The unveilings of the most recent and viable, profound and prophetic academic journals (Mad Muscle Magazine, IronMonster, BigBoyzRsoCool) combined with the revelations of ancient scrolls and stone tablets support the ultimate truth summed up in six one-syllable words, train hard, eat right, don’t quit.
The following email sorta summarizes the characteristics, nature and interest of subscribers (give or take age, gender and hat size).

Hi, Dave… I’ve just turned 65, officially an old man, fit but not muscle-bound. Not overweight. Lots of aches and pains.

What would you recommend as far as exercises, sets, reps, weight? All the reading on the web confuses me more and more. I have dumbbells, a bar and a bench. Thanks, John Writer -- JW

Clear, concise, determined -- that’s us. It’s the next-to-last sentence that underlines my nothing-new notion: “All the reading on the web confuses me more and more.”

There’s nothing new, folks, just the same good, old-fashioned exercises and foods, guts and n-qs (never-quits). Remember, we’re not talking about the well-oiled heavy-caliber, high-velocity, automatic action bodybuilder on stage under the lights. We’re talking about us, you and me.

Simplicity -- simple goals and simple applications -- is superior: health, feeling good, living long, fulfilling iron action, improving-maintaining muscle tone and strength, energy and attitude (or, let’s say, certainly not retreating into old age like a hapless bystander). This can and ought to be fun -- sets and reps, thuds and clanks. Besides, as we know, sound discipline, a little sacrifice and smartly regulated, essential pain are good for the body, mind and soul… not to mention those horseshoe triceps and barndoor lats.

Let’s assume John is a physical working guy -- not digging ditches, oh-my-back, but on the go, pushing and pulling, managing and heaving stuff because he can, needs to, wants to, always has and that’s the way it is. Retirement is up to him, but he’s not up to retirement.

This is what I’d do if I was John:

There’s nothing like active walking to condition the legs and engage the cardio and fat-burning qualities of the body. Walk 15 minutes, three times a week, hills and stairs welcome. Dust off your barbell, dumbbells and bench and square off your workout area. Don’t make it a major project, J, but make it a friendly, agreeable and efficient place to be. You’re scheduled to be there three days a week for 45-60 minutes, cheerfully performing the basics with 80-percent input.

This you know: There are no tricks, there are no pressures and there are no deadlines. There is simply working out with intent, feel and focus; sets and reps and poundage to guide you, not to threaten you; hardy work that agrees with your five senses and joints and incentives. Like Einstein said, or was it Zane, a good workout has rhythm and flow and balance and just enough force.

Excessive force breaks the body, the mind, the joy and the spirit.

Three days a week with the iron and another three days on the hoof. We’re looking at, like, three terrific hours neatly spread throughout the seven-day period. There are some folks who spend that much time surfing the internet every day before noon.

Okay, let’s get to it. There’s no time for fancy stuff -- it all has to do with pushing and pulling, extending and contracting, any three alternate days a week with the walks on off-days.

Dumbbell press (3 sets x 8-10 reps)
Dumbbell stiff-arm pullover (3 sets x 8-10 reps)
Barbell curl (3 sets x 8-10 reps)
Lying triceps extension with barbell (3 sets x 10-12 reps)


Lateral raise (3 sets x 6-8 reps)
One-arm DB row (3 sets x 8 reps)
Mild deadlift (3 sets x 8 reps)


Light-weight, bent-leg good-mornings for gut, lower back and warm-up (3 sets x 12-15 reps)

Dumbbell press (3-4 sets x 8-10 reps)
Dumbbell stiff-arm pullover (3-4 sets x 8-10 reps)
Barbell curl (3 sets x 8-10 reps)
Overhead triceps extension with barbell (3 sets x 10-12 reps)

The design of the workout is to hit enough of everything in a functional, push-pull symmetry and to keep it interesting without a lot of time-consuming plate juggling. It’s a friendly training plan an absent lifter can apply to re-familiarize himself with the iron and himself, and one a solid musclehead can grasp tightly and make serious things happen.

Too much? Lower the sets or only do two distinct workouts a week.

Rule one: Easy does it. Rule Two: Easy does it. Rule three: Lift and learn. Rule four: Focus and form. Rule five: Be strong and courageous. Rule six: Be grateful.

Stick with it for four or five weeks with close attention when in action only. Don’t dwell on working out; that’s exhausting. Apply effort and pace according to your acumen, desires, instincts and inner chronometer. Leave your ego at the door. The dog can join you, the cat by all means, but not the ego. He’s trouble. You don’t need an injury and you don’t need painkillers. No disappointment and discouragement allowed.

Soreness is not unusual. Tough! Grin ’n bear it. The workouts change when needed. We can talk again in a month after you’re tuned up and tuned in. Of course, this information and encouragement is worth little without smart eating and resting.

So drink Bomber Blend and get plenty of Zs…

God Bless America and her dear friends… Dave


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