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Dave Draper - Thoughts On High Rep Training

Posted Sep 13 2008 12:01am

Editors Note: the articles that are reprinted here are not necessarily the views of this web site. These articles are for information only and are reprinted here to add to your knowledge of strength training. Always consult a physician before undertaking any strength training program.

Dave, our prayers are with you for a speedy recovery!! God Bless You and Laree
Reprinted with kind permission from Laree and Dave Draper (thanks guys!)
From Dave Draper’s Post Column

Malibu Front

This is one of the most beautiful photos I have ever seen. It truly glorifies both God and his handiwork - man

I feel like I’m in a psychedelic haze. It’s the middle of December, by jolly golly, and We’re up to our ears in plastic snowmen, blinking Santa Clauses and grinning red-nosed reindeer. Bewildered people with gaily colored packages balanced on their heads dash hither, thither and far, ribbons and

snowflakes whirling behind them. If I hear bells jingle or choruses sing another note of White Christmas, I’m pulling the emergency cord.
I know what I’ll do: I’ll go to the mall, get stuck in traffic along the way, circle the parking lot fighting for a space, walk half a mile to the brightly lit shops advertising end-of-the-world sales, join the shoppers swarming the aisles like a South American army ants, resist an impending panic attack, take a few blows to the body and escape to the parking area the size of Manhattan to search for my car — wherever that could be.

Yes, Officer, I distinctly remember bringing it with me. It’s a pickup, maroon in color. Toyota, ‘93. License plate number? What license plate number… Who knows their license plate number? No, I’m not yelling. I am calm. Yeah, thanks, Buckaroo! Merry Christmas to you, too.

Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.

New Year’s is always a trip. We get the sense that one year is over (already, or at last) and another is just beginning (a fresh start, thank heavens). Of course, time goes on as always, uninterrupted by our man-made tricks — the calendar and the clock. We party all night or fall asleep by 11 in front of the TV, and greet the New Year with a mindful of mindless amendments. Hmmm, everything looks the same to me, we note. Same eternal clock, apparently a different year.

Nevertheless, we would like to be better people and live better lives.

“This is the year,” a thought, neither original nor striking, wobbles through our minds, precluded by maybe (a sign of doubt) or hopefully (a sign of optimism) or a bold nod (a sign of certainty, also known as arrogance). We review our lives with a close-up lens, or from a distance with a tentative poke of a stick, and eventually surrender to a day off — ballgames, parades, feasts, fidgeting, squirming and twitching — unless we work or workout.

No rest for the weary, or the poor, driven and hopeful.

Training on the first or last day of the year can be interpreted as commitment. Training on both days leaves no room for interpretation. You are committed, beginning to end, top to bottom. One might add crazy, without a life, obsessed, pitiful, merciless, boring, alone and dumb. Not everyone’s the life of the party. Pump those delts.

A few weeks ago I mentioned the overall lack of new training ideas, suggesting the best we can do is press on with the old and discover newness within ourselves. Some lifters shrugged their shoulders, unimpressed. Others — traitors, deserters, suckers and louts — clicked on flashmuscle.com for the latest fast ‘n furious techniques. And a handful understood what I meant, collected themselves and bombed it with revitalized purpose and spirit.

“It works,” I was comforted and rewarded by a few desperate, yet knowing lifters. “there’s much more beneath the surface of your workout when you focus with focus,” I was reassured just in time. I had begun to doubt myself and considered eating a five-pound plate.

Emboldened and slightly inflated, I offer another suggestion, this one as old as the sands of Muscle Beach: High Rep Training. Yes, I know you’re disappointed, but It’s cold and December and I’ve been out of creative techniques since the spring of 2001. Nevermind that; this, too, works. Think: When was the last time you tried high reps with serious intention, courage and high hopes? For me it was many years ago –Vietnam, Hendricks, Woodstock — when I was defining for major contests or exhibitions.

We have the notion that high reps are for warming up, conditioning, injury recovery, older lifters (hellooo), weight loss or mindless and playful exercise. Fair enough. But dedicated High Rep Training (HRT — sounds like hurt) is for the gutsy and bold. I mentioned courage in the previous paragraph and my hand quivered as I spelled out the word on the keyboard. High rep training — consistent sets of 15-20 reps with the last rep being the last possible rep — is for bloody warriors.

This past week I’ve been flirting with the old principle and she has a smile as sweet and alluring as a bathing beauty at the fountain of youth. She’s a cruel lover and makes you work for your pleasures — peak pump and burn, cellular awakening, maximum muscle engagement, total focus, new tissue growth.

High-rep workouts come in all shapes and sizes to suit your motives, needs, abilities, receptiveness and daring. Serious intentions are the driving force.

You can apply a single set of high reps at the end of each succession of sets of any or all your exercises in your mid- or low-rep workout scheme. Very cool. You maintain your rhythm and rhyme, and attach a meaningful jolt to the end sets of your exercises. High reps are like a magnifying glass, enabling you to examine the movement, the muscle involvement and the exact length, width and depth of the burn and the height of the pain. High reps remind you of the reason you lift.

You might choose specific movements from your routine and apply the HRT principle. For example, of your biceps exercises, only thumbs-up curls are designated for high reps and of your triceps routine, only pulley pushdowns are pursued for sets of 20. Chest is trained in your favorite fashion and final-touch cable crossovers reach for 20 reps. Straight-arm pullovers are done in the 20-rep range to complement your lat and back work and sets of 20-rep lying-sidearm lateral raises complete your screaming deltoid program. Mean, but meaningful.

You are welcome to go all the way and engage in total HRT for the day or week or month. Make sure you have plenty of flesh, fuel and intelligent purpose for this mission. There are no words to describe the fury when intensity is applied. Badges of courage and valor and heroism are, on rare occasions, passed out to survivors.

Of course, limiting the weight you use determines the intensity of the workout. Light weights can be a pleasant sling of metal for conditioning, serious calorie-burning and weight loss. Don’t expect the development of muscle mass, though shape and tone will likely be among the rewards. Remember to focus continually despite the repetition of the repetitions. And don’t forget to fuel the body and feed the muscle.

We are of diverse body chemistries, constitutions and mentalities, and each of us will respond differently to the training style; some will embrace it and some will reject it and others will tolerate it for the rewards it promises. Most will dread the relentless sting and string of the reps; some will respond with a pump and muscle-understanding, and discover new ranges of training possibilities and provoke new dimensions of muscle exertion.

I’m still poking around the edges of HRT. I’ll ease into the technique as if It’s new and I’m a clueless beginner taking notes (no problemo). I suspect I’ll cling to my basic routine that oozes and changes form like an amoeba under a microscope, and add a curious and determined set of 20 to four exercises that strike my interest. If I like it I’ll pursue it further.

HRT might be what an injured old body needs and desires, for awhile, anyway. Not that I would know or care; I’m a child, a beginner and clueless.

12 days till Christmas, 18 till New Year’s. Plenty of time to enjoy the season, train hard, eat right and get huge and ripped. Fly above the storm, soar with the winds, glide on sweet breezes and land softly.

Godspeed… Dave Draper

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 14th, 2006 at 12:10 pm and is filed under Columns, Traditional Strength Training. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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