Mr. Universe Dave Draper
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Weight Training - Bodybuilding - Nutrition - Motivation


Bicep training.

My very first job working for a gym was as the weekend manager for Vic Tanny's on Journal Square in Jersey City, circa 1961. Friday they gave me a key and told me I started Saturday at 9am. Imagine, 19 years old and I'm already a gym manager... I'm on my way, I'm a cool guy. As I finished my workout that Friday evening I felt my lats and triceps assume a permanent flexed position — it sort of hurt, but it was the price one had to pay. Saturday morning I witnessed a miracle. I unlocked the prominent glass gym door at the top of the broad staircase and the gym was gone. Overnight. Where did it go? I did a series of 360's with my mouth open and it still didn't appear. Gone to the next county, no doubt. I didn't need no stinkin' gym job anyway.

Eddie, my latest email corespondent, worked out there when I did. He remembers. He also wants to know how to stay on course as the year's shout in our ears: aches, pains, help me low motivation, excess bodyweight. He suspects a conspiracy, but he's not going down. He closed his email with a simple line, "Give me some suggestions, mate."

I love lists.

1. Motivation? Imagine for a moment you stop. Much more of what we do today is to maintain---to keep from sliding inextricably back to the ordinary. Much more is to continue a genuine muscle growth, flexibility and vitality. Slowly but surely we ascend, just as surely as we descend should we stop. It's simple. As long as you have a pulse, go to the gym.

2. Making reasonable compromises each day is what keeps us from war, perpetuates marriages and ultimately gives us freedom. Today, I don't bench press (chews up my rotation cuff), I don't run (all moving parts grumble), I don't train at 6am (my favorite time but I feel like porcelain). So I work around my limitations, junkpiling movements that abuse worn out areas. I sadly said goodbye to the bench press, heavy dumbbell inclines, upright rows, side arm lateral raises and invented new stuff. I limit range of motion in some exercises temporarily to avoid joint, tendon and ligament stress. Some exercises work exceptionally well, but I need to warm up with particular movements, starting ever so lightly to get the reps in, establish a groove, arrange the muscular-skeletal-tendonal mechanics to diminish impingement, build resolve and confidence and have the fun, pump and muscular fulfillment from the pursuit accomplished.

3. I don't lay off when injured. I work around injuries to assure that all the capable muscle-building processes remain active and symmetry continues. More often than not this will assist the injury healing process, keep your head in place and prevent lost time.

4. Try any variation of rotation training and consider the pitfall of overtraining. Two days on, one off... two days on, two off, or every other day, 3 times per week — stay within 80% load and coax reps and sets in a smooth locomotion. Extra warm up is invaluable. Work without negatives, forced reps, explosive movements, hyper-extension or contraction. Don't overextend yourself on those days you feel great. You may aggravate dormant injuries and start a wildfire. Don't over-aerobicise. Work for the muscle. Feed yourself smartly.

5. I double up my vitamin mineral intake occasionally and make sure free form amino acid intake is high when repair is sluggish. Minerals are something we're lacking and is made evident in joint and tendon deterioration. I'm taking glucosamine, chondroitan and MSM to restore and protect the joints and am further experimenting with other minerals for skeletal and joint health. Will keep you informed.

Encouragement and compassion are a miraculous concoction. We at World Gym share gratefully our injuries, limitations, aches and pains. Old age it seems sets in at 25 and talking it over as we rub our sore spots is often the best remedy, along with ample rest and ibuprofen. Apply tender loving care and carry a big stick. Stay tuned.

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