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Weight Training - Bodybuilding - Nutrition - Motivation

Have Weights Will Travel

A week ago, as you recall, our friend let his gym membership expire. The construction of a new home in a distant community has him sidetracked until its completion in the early summer. He has at his disposal a multi-purpose bench and dumbbells in five-pound increments from 5s to 50s. What can he do with his limited equipment during the three-month house-building stretch to maintain size and strength?

Let's get started by seriously considering two of last week's suggestions:

Add dips and chins to your exercise list for dimension and completeness. With a little resourcefulness you can make this work. Locate a neighborhood gym for occasional day-use workouts (every two or three weeks—when you get the urge) and wallow in heavy bench, squat and deadlift sessions.

Everything's gonna be okay. Without further stalling here's an assortment of dumbbell exercises and associated movements at your command:

Cleans and presses
Shoulder presses
Flat and incline presses
Flat and incline flys
Lateral raises (front, side, bent over and lying sideways on bench)
Stiff-arm pullovers
Chins (various styles for back, lats and bis)
One-arm and two-arm dumbbell rows
Stiff-leg deadlifts
Dips (various positions to effect chest, tris, back and delts)
Lying or overhead triceps extensions
Triceps kickbacks
Curls (together, alternate, concentration, thumbs-up, Zottman, incline, wrist)
Full squats (DBs in hand)
Step-ups (DBs in hand)
Farmer's Walk and walking lunges (DBs in hand)
Sissy squats
Calf raises

And don't forget push-ups, handstand push-ups, jogging and sprints.

Remember—Pre-workout and post-workout protein drinks for high performance.

From this selection one of my favorite schemes (there's 99) would look something like this:

You might want to prefix each workout with a concentrated midsection warm-up composed of any combination of crunches and leg raises and lightweight stiff-leg deadlifts and hanging leg-raises, if you've imaginatively hooked up a chinning bar.

Crunches supersetted with leg raises, 3 sets x 25 reps

Hanging leg raises supersetted with stiff-leg deadlifts, 3 sets x 15 reps

Mix n' match, intensify and moderate.

ROUTINE 1 - Chest, Shoulders, Back

Steep incline press, 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
supersetted with (SS)
Wide-grip chins (tell me you have a chinning bar... toe on bench assistance okay)
3-4 sets x 6-8 reps

Flat press, 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
Stiff-arm pullover, 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps

Clean and press, 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps

ROUTINE 2 -- Arms, Legs


Bis and tris:
Seated DB alternate curls, 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
Dips, 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps

Standing thumbs-up curls, 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
Overhead triceps extensions, 3-4 sets x 10-12-15 reps

Full squats (holding DBs in hand), 3-4 sets x 12-15 reps
Standing calf raises off block (holding DB in hand corresponding to calf exercised), 3-4 sets x 15-20 reps

Walking lunges (holding DBs in hand), 3-4 sets x 10 reps (lunges) per leg
Continue calf workout

I'd alternate the two workouts looking for consistency and time-plus-effort commitment channeled into four sessions a week. Considering these virtuous prerequisites, a Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday scheme works well, giving you Wednesday and the weekend off for rest and relaxation, balance and order. Should you miss a workout, as we occasionally do for secret reasons, deal with the guilt and pick up where you left ASAP.

I push for routine so you don't depend on urges and instincts and inspiration to drive you to the iron. These are powerful forces you can count on when in your zone, but with your distractions and pressures of change, derive comfort, clarity and sustenance from routine. A good habit is as loyal as a good dog. A rather profound thought, if I do say so myself.

Come July 4th, Independence Day and the near completion of your house, you will not find yourself soft and sorry. You will not have lost your independence, as so many have, to a millstone of burdensome flesh and the bindings of weak, twine-like muscles. You will walk off your future basement gym and envision the equipment in its proper place—racks, benches, pulleys, grinning like a playful fox, lean and quick... or a bear, large and powerful... whatever.

Random training is better than no training, but only tends to slow down our physical, mental and spiritual descent. Going down is not an option. The plan is to understand your training from another viewpoint, another need, and another strategy. This is no time for lost time. What can we learn, how can we grow and what can we gain from compromised and improvised exercise? The answers are: plenty, in more ways than you think, and tons.

To exact the maximum reward and benefit from the alterations to your training you will need and want to accept the limitations; you must believe in them. There are no pulleys, racks, ubiquitous benches, rows of dumbbells, 10 Olympic bars and tons of weight. Swell. There is something more and better: you, by necessity, compromising yet not sacrificing.

Every intelligent and indispensable training excellence underlined in the texts of persuasive bodybuilding books and magazine articles must be applied. Those precious and long-respected qualities repeated once too often and now diluted, those lost arts we think we express but barely recognize, take on new meaning and move to the foreground: focused concentration, meticulous form, patient endurance, determined repetitions and flowing pace. Etch them on your crown.

It is these things of the mind and body that make the light weights perfectly heavy for muscle intensity (maximized tension within the muscle) and provoke muscle responses you've never experienced. Spared the mean, mind-numbing struggle demanded by the deliciously heavy weights, you can pinpoint your focus. The lighter weights allow you to create, discover and investigate the movements and the repetitions, move from set to meaningful set and exercise to purposeful exercise, providing vascular demand and pumping and burning and sweating without bounds. Travel is uninterrupted and you stand not on the outside looking in. Go, go, no hurry, go, go—curious, involved, spirited and confident.

Mountain climbers don't hurry in ascent; they plant their feet precisely and grasp the rock with boldness and might. Brilliant golfers don't hurry on the green; they apply finesse and patience and presence. Muscle builders don't hurry; they move surely up and forward by the power of their last sublime workout.

Watch yourself adapt as you practice this isolation of self and the iron. Keep your third eye on the goal. What a grand and fulfilling way to spend 60 minutes four days a week in life where time and resources are squandered. And, is it possible you're feeling relief and observing progress from the change: energy and endurance, tightness and hardness, trust and reassurance? Do you detect a shadow of long-sought muscle separation, and is that a real vein sneaking across the biceps? Are you growing courage and conviction where the sun shines daily in your new backyard?

Incidentally, don't think you're going to pull this off without some brilliant eating.

Same pre-flight instructions as always, crew—train hard, eat right and soar.


Click here to read Part One of the Compromise

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