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Up & Down the Rack

What is the exercise you call “up and down the rack”? I’ve never heard of that before.

This bittersweet pumping and burning dumbbell routine can bring tears of bliss and tears of tortured submission to your eyes.

Curling, pressing or pulling, the scheme is the same: a total crunch of 8 to 10 sets in 4 to 5 minutes, virtually nonstop.

Start light for 15 reps, then heading up the rack in 2.5 or 5-pound jumps, each consecutive set done to max with very reasonable form (minimal cheating overlooked) until a two-rep set is reached, then head back downhill, no coasting allowed until your fortitude or blood sugar gives out.

A partner is helpful to spur you on, though the silent and brave who go the trip alone are to be admired.

The great burning ache will last for days and informs you that this crazy slumpbuster can only be done once or twice a month.

Bomb on,

Drapes


Farmer’s walks

I’ve been reading about farmer’s walks and have never heard of them. What are they and do you do them?

Sort of a no-brainer — firmly grasp a pair of moderate to heavy dumbbells, hunker down and walk for a considerable distance.

Once familiar with the task at hand, you can determine the weight and the distance to suit your condition, needs and determination.

50 pounds or 100 pounds for 50 feet or 50 yards, once or five times. The exercise is pure work and the grip goes first, the traps ache and you begin to stumble with fatigue and oxygen exhaustion. Everything works, everything hurts.

It was a long practice for me (years and years) to go for 6o yards around the gym floor with 100 pounders for 3 to 5 circuits once a week at the end of an arbitrarily chosen workout.

Thanks for reading and writing. God’s speed… Dave


How much should I be eating?

I’m feeling good weighing 170 these days (6 foot 1 inch height, age 28). About how many calories per day should I consume to maintain my current weight? It seems like I am always dropping down to the 160s when I run regularly, which I do about five days a week. I’d like to stay trim but also gain muscle.

Can’t estimate your caloric needs without knowing a lot more, at least your BMI, body chemistry, daily activities and food intake (carbs, protein and fat and quantity). It comes down to this, to gain weight you need to eat more, cut your exercise and daily activity and work output or modify in a wise fashion a combo of both. Here lifestyle and goals and commitment come to the foreground.

You can afford to gain some quality weight and it doesn’t have to be perfect weight to be real valuable in strength building, improved training output and ultimately muscle growth.

If you want to be a runner… stay lean and run, run, run. You still would want to build good muscle mass… pack in the protein from meats and dairy products, loads of salads, steamed vegetables, some fresh fruit, avoid junk food and sugars, maintain a 25-30 percent good fat intake, add EFAs, and fiber and plan on a protein powder to keep your meal planning practical and consistent. A shake works best for a pre workout or post workout meal, breakfast or muscle-building pre-bedtime meal. Our Bomber Blend can’t be beat.

I’d be cutting back on the running and think of a three-day-a-week iron schedule. You’re tall and young and can hold some 200-220 pounds and still be very trim.

Dave


Long workouts, less pump?

I am a fan of long workouts. Sometimes, when I achieve a good pump, I push myself further with one more superset of, trying to achieve even more. But it seems that I lose the pump after the added superset. Is that my imagination? Is including extra sets (after achieving a pump) a good idea?

Pumps fade after good hard work, not necessarily too much work. Lower your reps, mix them — 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6 reps as you increase weight used.

Pumps fade as fuel is spent, and over-spent. Be sure you are amply feed (protein, carbs, good fats) prior to the workout, but no closer than 30 minutes – allow nutrients some time to enter the system.

Dave


Farmer walks

I’ve recently been reading about farmer walks. What are they and how should I do them?

These are sort of a no-brainer — firmly grasp a pair of moderate to heavy weight dumbbells, hunker down and walk for a considerable distance. Once familiar with the task at hand you can determine the weight and the distance to suit your condition, needs and determination.

50 pounds or 100 pounds for 50 feet or 50 yards, once or five times. The exercise is pure work and the grip goes first, the traps ache and you begin to stumble with fatigue and oxygen exhaustion. Everything works, everything hurts.

I used to go for 6o yards around the gym floor with 100 pounders for 3 to 5 circuits once a week at the end of an arbitrarily chosen workout.

Thanks for reading and writing. God’s speed… Dave


High blood pressure

Need some advice: I was rushed to hospital blood pressure was 233. I’m now on medication, but am afraid to lift. I was working out doing spin bike classes prior to this nightmare. Any advice?

Strength and courage…Walk, don’t run till you sort this enigma out. I personally wouldn’t do anything strenuous like spin bike classes before getting the okay from your doc.

I’d sit and exercise the torso with a pair of ever-so-light dumbbells: curls, lateral raise, light pull downs, triceps pushdowns. No thrusting, no effortful bending over, no straining. These movements cover a lot of territory and stimulate plenty of muscle to put a smile on your face.

Eat right, rest lots, stress less, drop pounds if needed.

Now, to wait on the Lord and a good word from your doctor.

Go… smart and easy does it… Dave


Running and muscle building

Vince Gironda used to say that running will hold back all muscle gains and should be avoided. I found this kinda hard to believe because I train in a boxing gym where the guys look like they are carved out of stone and they all run — a lot. Did you run back in the day, and did you find that it helped or hurt your muscle building?

Running was not not popular in my day. That came later.

The activity is a good assist to health and muscularity, but not a chosen exercise for guys striving for mass and power. I was one of those guys.

Once the muscle mass was achieved, jogging fit smartly into my training — three times a week for 15 to 20 minutes. Sparks metabolism, gives edge to workout endurance, mitigates one’s propensity to overtrain on the iron, and is a worthy iron-workout replacement when caught in a bind.

Hills, stairs, sprints… God Speed… Dave


Take a run

My entire upper body is sore from my last two workouts. I can curl and press three days a week and I eat right, but my energy and moods get low with the test of time. I ache nicely though.

Happy days are here again.

You might consider including running in your weekly scheme to highlight your health and life. Ever so easy does it: jog, walk, jog, walk. Wise investment, interesting challenge. Grab a hill or some stairs as you steadily improve conditioning, and realize the benefits (muscle, heart and lung, weight control, purge system, improve metabolism, breathe easier, challenge and time fulfillment, streamline personal assessment and presence, note lucidity, alacrity and agility).

People at large — unless you cannot run, what are you waiting for?

I still have a nifty pile of iron and a bench on the deck, and two friendly gym memberships for a choice of pumpy afternoons out… Yahoo

Envious and sidelined, but encouraged… The Bomber


Jogging for aerobics

I’ve been jogging as part of my training program and wonder what you think of that.

Jogging performed a few days a week for 20 minutes is a healthy choice of aerobic exercise for a budding bodybuilder. It will improve the health of your heart and lungs and capillary system. This increases your ability to absorb oxygen more efficiently. Hence, you will enjoy greater energy and endurance in all your activities, including weight training. Aerobic training also increases the body’s ability to burn fat throughout the day.

The mistake many people seeking fitness make is practicing too much aerobic work. This interferes with muscle growth, absorbs too much training time and presents fatigue on the gym floor. Don’t overdue a good thing.

God’s speed and strength… Dave


Rep speed

To lift slowly or to lift quickly – that is the real question.

Lifters eventually train according to personality and inner-clock. Slow sets and reps are effective, but in time, to me, become boring to the third power. Do them when you get the urge, but they don’t do the trick — bigger, stronger, faster.

Explosive training periodically is effective in conditioning, but serves more as a sport-supporting exercise scheme. I like to move at 60 MPH, not 30 or 110. Go with your internal flow.

Focus, form, pace, instinct and commonsense… God’s Might… Dave


Need to lose 65 pounds

I just finished Brother Iron, Sister Steel. I need and want to lose 65 pounds. What is the very simplest diet and and fastest way to do this? I have been away from weights for 20 years.  I am ready to commit. What do you suggest?

You read all about the strategies in the book Bother Iron. There’s nothing new to add, no secret, no trick.

It’s all up to you, and we’re all different. Work out smartly, regularly and basically, walk lots; eat smartly, regularly and basically, walk lots; be happy and joyful and grateful. Don’t obsess, don’t fret, don’t be excessive.

Start now, the path will unfold, crooked and unsure at first, but soon becomes comfortable and certain. All your efforts, though awkward in the beginning, are contributions to your health and strength and happiness. Sure beats hanging out knowing your responsibility.

Review Brother Iron: basic exercises, moderate weight, 3 sets of 8, 10, 12 reps, three workouts a week, walk on off -days and all days.

You live, you learn, you excel. No junk, protein high foods, medium good fats and useful carbs, small portions, raw vegs, lotsa water… think tuna and water… think Bomber Blend.

Go, Godspeed.

DD


Superset Training

I’m trying to teach my personal training clients to do supersets, with occasional single sets. Do you have any tips for me?

I have supersetted since my early training days at the Muscle Beach Dungeon Gym in Santa Monica in the ’60s. I don’t hurry, and I treat each set of the superset with a singular and deliberate approach.

Superset training is intense and takes continual attention and drive (takes guts), thus one must become conditioned to the workload. This is good. Prepare your trainee with this characteristic.

80% of my training is superset training. Single sets fit in when deadlifting or squatting or going very heavy in certain moves. You’re on the right track.

You and they need to practice supersetting to understand its performance and benefits.

Go… God’s speed… DD


Muscle building and endurance

Can I train for hypertrophy for my upper body and endurance for my legs?

You can try and I suspect you will. You’d be working in two sort of different directions at once. Not an ideal situation, but worth the struggle.

You will progress slowly but surely as you persist. And you’ll probably try various methodologies in your pursuit, get frustrated, struggle, get inspired, struggle and grow and learn. Beats going to school for advanced courses in personal training. They’ll be coming to you for answers.

Feed the muscle and carry on the good fight…. God’s speed… Dave


Cardio before or after training?

My question is should I do cardio, treadmill, before or after weight lifting and why?

Bike, treadmill, climber, walking… whatever.

Common sense tells me light aerobic work or movement prep before the workout, to warm up and prepare the mind and body for the hard output ahead. Aerobic activity right  after the demanding muscle-building workout would delay our response to the body’s need for nutrition and rest and recuperation.

So… aerobics on off days works best.

We’re getting there, Godspeed… Dave


Over 300 pounds, a truck driver

I am a 40-year-old truck driver, 6ft2, weight is 304. I’m out of shape big time. I want to get started on a program. Do I need to start with standard exercises or start with smaller weight? My lower back is hurting from sitting all the time.

This is no news to you, but you need to drop weight as you apply yourself to the basic, simple and most effective exercises. Start light in weight used, but put in the sets and repetitions to provide adequate muscle exertion. Aerobic exercise (deliberate walking, stationary bike, rowing machine) should be done daily for 20 minutes.

You might need to dare yourself to go to the gym of your choice just to look around… like going to a shop to buy a jacket or a holiday turkey or a car. Fear not (I know, easily said) cuz most people in the gym are not unlike you — rather new, wondering and in need of physical conditioning.

Ask permission to hop on a stationary bike for five minutes. The activity diverts self-consciousness to effort and performance, and a hint of endorphins or adrenaline or pure confidence charges the system and you painlessly, shamelessly transform into one of the committed trainees. Works!

In the truck, if you’re away from home, you might consider a kettlebell. Very handy tool, those.

I believe the best book for you to read as a beginner seeking advanced status is Brother Iron Sister Steel.  See your library, Amazon.com or our online store. I wrote this to get people like you where you want to go with no wasted words; just motivation, inspiration and the plain facts in exercise, nutrition and savvy.

With the basic training and regular activity and weight loss, your lower back will repair, strengthen and be ready for simple and more direct exercise — good mornings, deadlifts, hyperextensions.

Do you get our free weekly newsletter for encouragement and training information? Easy to subscribe, see above.

God’s speed… Dave


In shape but too heavy

Here is my dilemma: I am 56 and carrying about 40 lbs of fat.  Being a big strong guy I have never found it a real issue, but I would love to know what being in real shape is like and enter into this phase of life with vigorous health in which to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Big-and-strong is fun. You’re going to hate losing weight and the strength and energy that goes with it. Then there are the diet changes and all those sets and reps. You’ll need to change your training approach and attitude to allow for these trade-offs. Some links to review, though you heard it all before.

I would decide on dropping 20 pounds by summer and go on a four-day-a-week (twice a week per muscle) program in which weight handled was not the issue —  accentuate exertion, pace and focus for 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 12 to 15 reps.

Be loose and creative in routine, but tight in performance. You’re 56. Time for finesse, instinct, iron rock ‘n roll to drive you on.

It takes courage, a bit of trust, hope and faith, a few practice sessions (they’re all practice sessions) and what some call foolhardiness. Get some sun.

dd


Love running

I love to get out on a road and run, and have now been running for several years, but wonder if I should put more attention to weight training, which I do for about 30 minutes twice per week. As I get into my 50s, do you have any suggestions for me? Can I continue as I’m doing for the long term, or is there a worry here?

Aerobics are important and do their part in assisting one in a pursuit of fitness. You love running, obviously — the lift and the results. I’m a musclebuilder who wants and seeks health also, but my accent is on muscle building. Beware: too much running will interfere with sound and healthy musclebuilding advances. I believe your knees might begin to show the strain, and your feet, ankles or hips from all the pounding — good sneakers, soft ground or not, but even more so on the road. In my opinion, and especially as we age, a good mix of weights and aerobic is 25% spin bike or running and 75% weights. We lose muscle regularly each year after our mid-20s and spinning or running are not muscle builders after the initial conditioning phase.

Try superset training — if you don’t already — to match your apparent need-to-move nature. You’ll love it for pace and rhythm and muscular results and aerobic-conditioning effect.

Go… God’s speed… Dave


Getting in cardio shape

I would like to get my cardio system in shape. I know bodybuilding is probably your main focus, however, might you have any suggestions on how to safely work towards being able to jog for about 30 min. 4-6 times per week?  I’m not in shape right now, but I have until this coming January to work towards this goal.

If I were you I’d begin with a pair of flat running shoes  (gotta take care of the feet). Then I’d commence my training by walking through a ready-to-go course to prepare the body and mind, and to become familiar with the terrain (streets, parks, neighborhood, traffic, lions, tigers). This can be done daily, a variety of courses if you desire. Hydrate, keep water handy. I’d then mix walking and jogging over short distances (walk a block, jog a block, walk, jog). You might practice this every other day.

In due time, as you observe the great athlete within rise up (you’re injury-free, heart and lungs function more fully everyday, legs becoming stronger and more enduring, your understanding of your abilities has matured and instincts have evolved), increase you total distance… increase the jogging duration, decrease the walking, run swiftly on occasion when spirited. Finesse your goals.

That’s sort of the Bomber strategy: warm up, don’t overtrain, take your time, listen to and heed pain signals in structure, eat right, rest lots, nudge the weights regularly.

Isn’t there a book you can reference? Jogging for Idiots? (where I’d fit into a running program)

Go… Dave


Diet and Cardio

How did you lose fat back in the day before a contest? You don’t say a lot about cardio, so I assume you didn’t do too much of it. How do you feel about “slow” cardio, as in walking for hours a day?

No secrets, just the basics, hard work and smart nutrition all-year-round. I cleaned up the diet and amped the training in the last six weeks.

We did little traditional aerobics in those days, though we split our training to twice a day and dropped power-pounds through eating less of the bulking foods… high glycemics, milk products and such.

Longer cardio is healthy but no big muscularizer or muscle-mass changer. 15 to 20 minutes three times a week is smart… look up HIIT.

We press on by God… DD


Runner with a Thin Upper Body

Do you think I can train for hypertrophy for my upper body and endurance for my legs? Are these at cross-purposes?

You can try and I suspect you will. You are, as you note, working in two sort of different directions at once. Not an ideal situation, but worth the struggle.

You will progress slowly but surely as you persist. You will try various methodologies in your pursuit, get frustrated, struggle, get inspired, struggle and grow and learn. Beats going to school for advanced courses in personal training. They’ll be coming to you for answers.

Feed the muscle and carry on the good fight…. God’s speed… Dave


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