Let’s face it, bomber, that’s what it’s all about. Iron! Gravity! Force! Some folks think there’s more to life—like, what are we here for, what’s it all mean? By the time they come to zero conclusions, I have half my workout done, a good burn and a decent pump.
Huge and ripped, that’s my motto. Veins and striations, that’s my cry. Thick and powerful, hear my plea. Chic and svelte…my heart’s desire, I suppose, if I were a girl. Weird there for a sec, thinking of what a girl might be thinking if I was one…gave me the shivers.
The goal of the smiley, wide-eyed gym member is no deep secret: to look good. Power is nice, but slice it, dice it, or stand it on its head and the main aim of the game is the same: to look good. You might elaborate on your emphatic, or faint, gestures at your spa and health club, conveying messages of health, athleticism, inner strength and discipline, but the objective is the same: to look good.
Maybe, when the sun’s shadows shorten and temperatures drop and fair-weather festivities fade, people notice that health is wealth and discipline builds character; the oneness of lifting weights and the magic of hocus-pocus focus. More power to them, but right now looking good tops the charts.
Nothing’s changed. It hasn’t gotten better. The swelling of the swollen, having swelled, swells on. The same folks who vowed and sought to look good a year ago are back for more—or less. A few are absent, having succeeded or surrendered, and more are present. Alas, the crowd is growing bigger along with the individual.
Nothing’s changed. It hasn’t gotten easier. Losing bodyfat, building muscle and accentuating curves—looking good—is not an easy gig. The way may be clear, but those with no will have no way. No courage, nowhere. No discipline, nothing.
Nothing’s changed. Take hold of the iron, set your mind to the steel, make the metal move, and good things happen. Muscle and might are born, strength and health come alive, and the mind and spirits awaken.
While shadows are yet long and the sun pours down like molten gold, let us cast a pair of pure and precious bodyparts. Chest and back are my favorite grouping, unless we’re to consider bi’s and tri’s, whereupon we just might agree those two are a handsome and accommodating couple.
Shoulders and arms, on the other hand, are a mean alliance devoted to long and deliberate torture. The truth comes out before the first reps, but the truth isn’t enough. In charge of the brutal act, we, the frantic lifters, seek the essence of life, another dimension, a portal in time, a bold glimpse of the future. We also seek bowling-ball deltoids, lightning bi’s ’n’ thunder tri’s.
Call us crazy.
Here’s one (don’t ask me why; it just feels good): a powerhouse leg workout (squats, squats, squats) followed by a closet-sized arm workout—just big enough to rack four or five pairs of well-pressed close-grip benches with matching Olympic-bar curls. Nothing sophisticated, basics only; moderate impression with subtle effects. Think casual and comfortable, pumps and burns only.
The last time I did a split routine—half in the a.m., half in the p.m.—was the spring, summer and fall of 1970. The reason, as I recall, was some upcoming pro contests that involved duds like Zane, Katz, Columbu, Arnold and Tiger Woods, I think. Did I say duds? I meant dudes. Honest! I was 28, going on 12-to-life. That’s what you get, if you get caught and don’t have a good defense lawyer. I escaped shortly thereafter, fleeing L.A. to hide out in the vast, bewildering forests of central California.
Funny, the things you remember without really trying. Funnier yet, the things you can’t forget though really trying.
We press on. We never let go. We never quit.
Editor’s note: For more from Dave Draper, visit www.DaveDraper.com and sign up for his free newsletter. You can also check out his amazing Top Squat training tool, classic photos, workout Q&A and forum.