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There’s No Turning Back—This is Serious

ironmanmagazine.comWeight training is a double-edged sword. Swish! Swoosh!

I intentionally skipped a workout last week due to severe FBMS (fatigue of body, mind and soul). The following day I suffered the ABs (acute blues), a case so intense I questioned the wisdom of the standard CDF (complete day-off fix). Perhaps, the CDF tactic is too extreme for us bombus radicalus, I groaned.

By nightfall I was a senseless mess. I stood at the northwest corner of the deck with outstretched arms repeatedly shouting to the skies, NANU (Never Again Not Us).

What a relief to clearly express myself to the clouds moving swiftly across darkening skies. NANU NANU! NANU NANU!

Give it a go, gorillas. I trained the following morning like a half-crazed chimpanzee.

When the energy is low and the fatigue is high and the exclusion of a workout is not an option, slip into the gym and do a handful of simple movements to soothe the soul yet arouse the beast. Truth, discovery and invention dwell dormant in plain, uncomplicated and soul-soothing movements. Trust me.

Hey, look, there goes one of them furry whachamacallits….

Low-incline curls work nicely because you’re reclining (and comfy), and the biceps are easily isolated, whereas when performing standing curls you are standing (ooph) and the torso strains big-time to stabilize the action. This is muscle- and power-building, yes, but most demanding, not the goals on this fine, soul-soothing day.

Pulley pushdowns work well for the triceps because you’re leaning (ahh, lean on me) into the handles and merely extending the arms and involving the less-than-monumental triceps only, if that’s your pleasure, which it is.

We’re seeking a friendly, muscle-stimulating, nerve-calming, soul-soothing, time-saving workout. Biceps and triceps, back and forth, like the pendulum of a grandfather clock, and you have a rhythmic ‘n fulfilling superset ticking away. Take your time, what’s the rush? Add seated wrist curls with a handy barbell and you demonstrate breathless creativity and timeless devotion. Tick, tock, tick….

Often, after a few nonthreatening, nearly friendly tri-sets, I’m slightly charged. Actually, once I’m past the front door, I feel a tiny tingle in my tail. Step aside, Clyde.

Avoid all unnecessary complications when the shoddy body says no, but your strained brain says yes: bending over, squatting down, setting up equipment, moving heavy weights and traveling long distances between gear when multi-setting. Concise, condensed, contained yet constantly connected.

Another thing I notice when I’m out of juice. Pulling is easier than pushing. I can always hang in there.

Pulldowns with agreeably light weights and minus heavy tow-truck tugging are quite pleasant. A) You’re hanging on to a handily hung knurled bar, and, B), it’s becoming your choice. Go for the burn and go for the pump when you can’t go for anything else, like, say, titles, records, medals, ribbons, fame and recognition, loud applause or cold beers with the buds.

The wide-grip pulldown behind the neck, an exercise of varied dynamics, fits right in with the prevailing light-weight, low-motivation, little-vigor stats. Barn-door lats are not the target; rather, knotty upper-back and rear-deltoid development become the focus. Key elements are light weight, concentration and form; wide-grip, fully extended overhead starting position, smooth ‘n continual exertion to the rear, low-neck mark, a tight contraction at the bottom and a thoughtful return.

Direct the bar with defined and disciplined effort. Do not thrust your head forward to avoid contact with the descending bar. I like pulldowns combined with machine dips. Dips are pushing, yes, but you’re on top, gratefully assisted and in control of muscle engagement.

If I get this far, halfway up the other side of the hill, I knock off some rope tucks and seated lat pull-ins for several rounds. Duh! WhyI didn’t I think of this torso favorite in the very beginning? I think I’m losing it, lads and lassies.

Growing up and getting old are very hard to do. They’re a rosy combination, I tell ya; a surefire superset, an unbeatable pair, a dynamic duo, ever-exciting twin motivators… duel delights…double dippers with syrup on top.…



Editor’s note: For more from Dave Draper, visit 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.

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