Thursday, October 27, 2016

Article Three: Instinctive Training - Dave Draper (1968)

Here in this third article from the same April '68 Muscle Builder/Power mag there's opening talk of routines gone stale, overtraining resulting from overextending . . . trying to get out of the rut . . . crashing . . . burning . . .
a real training-wreck!

And who hasn't gone down there.

For more of Dave's writing, writing you can be certain he carefully produced, check these out:

Instinctive Training

 . . . The once-intelligent routine is then extended beyond the point of recuperative capacity and we begin flogging ourselves without mercy. Consequently, the tissues refuse to flush, our strength decreases and muscle, tendon, and joint soreness becomes prevalent. Moreover, we begin to lose muscle size and definition, the tissues become spongy and our training spirit dies a slow death.

To the Rescue: Instinctive Training!

There is only one way to combat this enemy . . . to be victorious we must train instinctively. [And here I can't help but direct you back up the page to those three gems, er, books. If your training's become rote and 200 pounds grows heavier by the day . . . check them out!  Your lifting soul will thank you, bro. And don't forget, they're written three, four and five decades following this article. All that experience and training wisdom, offered up.] Simply arranging a bodybuilding schedule and merely going through the motions with high hopes is not enough. The routine must become part of us, almost a way of life. We must learn to rely on our instincts -- feeling each exercise, each set, each repetition -- knowing what they do and when they are no longer doing.

There will be weeks, months when the body will respond to heavy weights and low repetitions; other periods will show gratifying progress through light poundage and high reps and sets. Gain weight or lose it when you "feel" the need. "Listen" to your body and it will tell you what to do.

I don't advocate haphazard training by any means; I'm extremely organized in my training habits and find this essential to progress. But we should not remain on a routine any longer than the margin of our response permits; this is usually from 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the severity of the routine, our individual effort applied and our particular body chemistry.

Furthermore, when reorganizing a workout schedule, it is wise to begin with relatively light poundages. This will allow us to become adjusted to the change of exercise ("develop the groove") and permit weight progression without setbacks. It is far better to add weight than to subtract -- both physically and psychologically. This practice can also be applied to the number of sets and repetitions you tackle. But take caution . . . "listen" to your body and keep your wits in keeping tap on your enthusiasm.

As a guide, you'll find below a general routine of the split variety. It has long been my standby when I hit a training snag . . . I go on it and pull myself right out of a rut. Give it a try if you're in a training mess now . . . but use poundages, sets and reps according to your individual needs -- according to your instincts.



1) 45-Degree Incline Barbell Press - 
3 to 5 sets, 6 to 8 reps. For upper pec/delt tie-in and a great power movement.

2) Pullover & Press (close grip) - 
3 to 5 sets, 6 to 8 reps. For ribcage, overall pec development with an emphasis on the inner pecs.

3) Decline Straight-Arm Flye - 
3-5 sets of 6-8 reps. For lower pec development and overall trimming, muscularity and shape.


1) Press Behind Neck - 
3-5 x 6-8. For overall deltoid growth. A growth/power exercise.

2) Dumbbell Clean & Press - 
3-5 x 6-8. For overall shoulder thickness and shape with accent on caps. Works traps thoroughly for delt/trap tie-in.   

3) Bentover Lateral Raise -
3-5 x 6-8. For rear delt thickness. Gives star appearance to this often neglected area.


1) Incline Triceps Curl -
3-5 x 6-10. For the long head of the muscle, attacks upper portion. A power movement
[Vince Gironda spent a little time in this same mag saying he thought the best long head triceps development he had ever seen was on Bill Smith.]

2) Decline Triceps Curl -
3-5 x 6-10.  For the long head, lower region. Another power movement for thickness and size.

There it is!

3) Pulley Pushdown - 
3-5 x 6-12. For outer head. Gives shape and muscularity to triceps, superset with
4) Tiger Pushups - 
3-5 x 6-12, no weight. For inner head. Full extension advantageous.


1) Flat Bench Dumbbell Curl - 
3-5 x 6-8. Use a high flat bench or set something up. For biceps peak.

2) Steep Incline Curl - 
3-5 x 6-8. For lower biceps.

3) Preacher Curl - 
3-5 x 6-8. For biceps thickness and overall size. Good power exercise.


1) Reverse Barbell Curl - 
3-5 x 6-8. For top of forearm, superset with
2) Wrist Curl - 
3-5 x 15. For belly of forearm.

1) Weighted Situp, Knees Bent - 
5 x 20. Upper abs.

2) Weighted Leg Raise - 
5 x 20. Lower abs.

3) Roman Chair Situp, Weighted - 
5 x 20. Overall ab development, also attacks the obliques.


Back & Serratus:

1) Close Grip Pulldown - 
3-5 x 8-12. Performing with overhand grip attacks serratus and upper lats.

2) Close Grip Pullover - 
3-5 x 8-12. Done in stiff-arm style, works the serratus and upper inside lat.

3) Wide Grip Pulldown - 
3-5 x 8-12. In front of neck it works front overall lat; behind neck it works upper back area.

4) Long Cable Pull-In:
3-5 x 8-12. Powerful movement giving back thickness and muscular depth; pull cable to waist for lower lat, to upper torso for upper lat.

5) Hyperextensions - 
3-5 x 20. For lower back development and therapy, warmup for leg work.


1) Bench Squat - 
3-5 x 6-8. Develops full thigh muscle. A power-builder that develops size and thickness. Accent on sweep. 

2) Leg Press - 
3-5 x 6-8. Attacks entire thigh with accent on inner development.

3) Thigh Extension - 
3-5 x 6-8. For front thigh muscularity and particular development of vastus internus. Great knee therapy.

4) Thigh Curl - 
3-5 x 10-15. Develops massive leg biceps. 


1) Standing Calf Raise - 
10 x 15-25 reps. Overall calf growth. Toes in for outer area and toes out for inner area.

2) Seated Calf Raise - 
5 x 15-25. Particular emphasis on lower calf area. Created hind cut and accentuated diamond-like appearance.


1) Bentover Twists - 
100 to each side.

2) Seated Twists - 
100 to each side.

3) Bent-Leg Cramping Situps - 
100 reps.

40 30-Degree Incline Leg Raise - 
100 reps.

5) Knee-Ins - 
4 x 50 reps.

Training Instinctively Means Training Individually

It is essential that you change when you feel the need, when your present program ceases to yield results. This may mean changing your program entirely, or increasing the severity, or diminishing the severity.

The routine above would probably be too severe for a relative beginner, maybe not for an advanced bodybuilder, and it is perfect for me. That's just the point -- you decide what's perfect for YOU. 

I offer this program only because it is filled with variety, and I've found it extremely helpful in overcoming snags . . . maybe you prefer something else, or choose just a few of the exercises I list and construct a routine out of this. 

To put it another way -- train instinctively, that is -- do what's best for you in particular. Remember -- let your instincts be your guide and Mother Nature and effort on your part will reward you.

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