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It makes me crazy when my nocturnal dreamland is hijacked by rude imaginings of me working out at the gym. Surrounded by hazy stacks of iron for what seems like hours, I can’t quite get my hands on the bench, the barbell or the apparatus I so desperately need. I load, unload and reload plates on a bar I never lift and in blurred chaos, everything dematerializes. I awaken abruptly in despair and the following wide-eyed minutes are devoted to calming my mind and getting back to sleep.

Aha! I know what you’re thinking; thy silence doth pierce my ears. I’m being analyzed and dissected by my antagonists who nod in agreement. ‘He’s one of those lost, confused and angry muscleheads who can’t get his real life together, and, thus, expresses his terrible and haunting plight in the dark recesses of his dreams. The steely subconscious is a goldmine of iron irony.’

I wouldn’t mind the phantom hysterics if I got a pump and a burn. Rather, I crawl out of bed exhausted, disheveled and achy, and don’t want to see the inside of a gym ever again. Until, say, 1 PM, after I’ve had my Bomber Blend for breakfast and tuna on wheat thins for lunch and have amply browsed the dog-eared muscle mags scattered about the couch and TV table.

Bigger Biceps and Triceps in 30 Days by Chuck Rock-Pile Sipes caught my eye and got me thinking. Standing barbell curls supersetted with lying triceps extension, a favorite combination then and now, when performed with greed and gusto can lovingly and gratefully antagonize the whole body. Standing dumbbell alternate curls supersetted with overhead triceps extensions can pick up more deltoid and leg points missing in the first go-round.

For a seasoned musclebuilder, though biceps- and triceps-specific, the combined actions are aerobic (sustained and vigorous back and forth motion) and they engage the leg and torso musculature (force-filled stabilizing, appropriate hefty thrusting, repeated positive and negative action and contraction head to toe), and depend on and place a muscle-building demand on the entire back and accommodating chest to initiate and complete the rugged routine.

Oh, looky here on Page 91 of the July Mr. America: Secrets to Building Cannonball Delts by Don Mile-Wide Howorth. Press behind neck, steep incline dumbbell press, side-arm lateral raise. Who would have guessed? That Howorth knows his stuff. The exercises are the very best and the tough lifters still do them today. But how they are done -- how you do them -- is where the truth hides. And only you can find it. Kinda like hide ’n seek when we were kids, which arguably we are today.

Tip: It’s got to do with you, your position, focus, form and timing; your grip, extension and contraction, certainty, attitude and finesse; your madness, muscle mass and density, latitude, longitude and hog prices. Ha. Jus’ jokin’ about the last three.

I’m sorry. I apologize. You come all the way from who knows where to gain insight into building muscle, strength and health, and what do you get? Ichabod Bombmeister tediously sweeping the floor of raggedy notions, regurgitated ideas, worn out sets, reps and supersets into a dustbin of powdered amino acids and Vitamin B-complex.

“We want something new, revolutionary and guaranteed. Now!”

… you left out cutting edge…

Here’s something new: There is nothing new.

How marvelous the truth is! There’s just us kids, weights by the handful and good food by the mouthful; a box-load of courage, a sack of determination and a crown of faith, hope and charity.

I’m going to the gym while I’m thinking about it, by gosh, by golly, by God Almighty.

Ready, aim, backfire… Dave Trigger-Fingers Detonate


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