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Dave Draper's Iron Online

Weight Training - Bodybuilding - Nutrition - Motivation


THE OLD MATTED FLEA BAG

Dave and Fanie du Toit

Growing older is a daily acquirement we share regardless of age, gender, creed, talent, status, genius or willingness. Growing older is eventually reckoned with most respectfully. Twelve to thirteen, nineteen to twenty-one, thirty-nine to forty, fifty to one-hundred. This patchwork of life captures our hearts and minds and molds us faithfully, unerringly and continuously till the lights go out... or till there are no more bananas on the cart... er... canaries in the cage. Everyday I learn something new, something significant to add to the building and landscape and roadway. With age and perceived limitations there appear options, the challenge of compromise, a charge for improved skills or accuracy or patience. Long live the beholder.

This past week I recognized an old, familiar feeling. My workout was before me and had the appeal of an ole smelly wet hound dog. I love dogs—all animals for that matter—yet this matted flea bag needed a grooming. I walked the perimeter of the gym to make sure the floor and mirrors were sufficiently clean for my workout. As I cleared the lifting platform and unloaded an Olympic bar, I realized how much I missed bentover rows. At the same time I suggest their inclusion in big workouts for a powerful and massive back, I cast my eyes down as the performance of this bad boy bites at my shoulder-bicep connection... like, snap.

I paused and considered. While we all know you can't teach a dog growing older new tricks, the dog can certainly insist on doing old tricks cleverly. I stuck a couple of thirty-fives on the knarly bar and turned to the locker room to put on my gear. Don't you move till I warm-up and finish my ab work, I said under my breath. Talking tough to the weights is one of my old tricks. It works. Like I said, everyday ya learn something new.

Some guy on a trial pass asked me while I was doing my crunches if anyone was using the platform. That's two strikes against him. He's hamburger. I completed my mid-section, dusted my hands with rosin and stood before the waiting bar. It was light enough to be safe and heavy enough to make a statement—locate the workload, define the injury and its weakness and set a groove. So far, so good.

I bent at the waist, shuffled my feet to a rather close fifteen-inch placement, relaxed the knees sufficiently and extended my arms to grasp the bar four inches from the collars. I gave the beast a little tug to determine its presence and a few more with vigor to adjust my body to a most efficacious position. In standing to evaluate and oxygenize I discovered what I was doing. I was re-introducing myself to a favorite exercise and it was exciting, interesting, curious and challenging. It took time and focus and hope. This movement is worth it and will add dimension to my soggy-dog workouts. Wishfully, dimension to my back.

I inhaled largely, resumed the memorized stance, tightened the body with might, turned up the volume on the targeting mechanisms and pulled through several test repetitions. Ouch, Ouh, Oh, Ah, Ah... there's a passage through the eye of the needle. If I can... yes, there it is again. Stay tight, extend slowly, reverse the motion with control, no abrupt tugging. Contract, take advantage of the negative and be grateful. That's the broad action I've been missing, the potential systemic demand, the lifting of steel from the floor to the chest like a brute (There's a brute in everyone, Stella) and the fulfilling reunion with a respectful taskmaster.

The trick is to address the exercise as a vaguely familiar unknown, promising yet formidable, and commit yourself to understanding and nurturing its action and effects. Today you belong to each other. Of course, if the red zone is immediate, you are off to other adventures.

I fashioned a track of motion that recruited "the whole" without distressing "the screaming parts." I pulled the bar in toward my knees on the ascent, and, like a friendly torpedo, curved the line of action outward to reach the target zone of the lower pec. My exact solution to complete the ultimate broad-back mission is irrelevant. Your way will match your needs. The approach, however, is one we might very well share.

The number of sets required establishing sureness and success are not to be counted. Relatively small weight increments from set to set allows you to warm up the region, observe the progress, achieve an encouraging muscular pump and tightness and develop confidence. Ve must sneak up on ze enemy. Six reps per set are the limit and the time between sets is gauged according to your thoughtful and sensitive inner bodybuilding teacher-subject budding guru. Hint: Take your time, don't drift. Stay tight, rustle your nerves, be positive and serious. Smile.

I added fives until I reached one seventy-five. I assumed my position with the heavier weight with extreme concentration considering the narrow groove and consequences and the might of the grip. Temptations to go up were intelligently dismantled and I peacefully (and intact) went to some minor, more playful moves content with the old bone I had dug up and chewed on. Next week I'll re-invent steep dumbbell inclines. Or not.

Glide, Dave


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