Garage Strength Notes, Day 3

29 September:

I drove to Dane’s today anticipating bringing home some eggs, milk and maybe a frozen chicken or two, and didn’t want to cycle with them on my back. Plus, the weather looked threatening and I’m a sissy when it comes to cycling in the rain. Instead I took the windows out of the front doors of the Jeep and rode over listening loudly to the Foster the People cd I bought in West Reading at Vertigo. Kate and I ate lunch at Good Eatz, then carpooled down to the OTB to watch Lightning Madison come third at Monticello with Mommom and Pappap. Kate drove me back to West Reading to get the Jeep, before which we popped into Veritgo. The album is fantastic.

I met Dan in the garage (barn). I didn’t know it then, but he works for Dane, and was a football player in college looking for a place to train when they first met. He’s young. He told me Dane was out back next to the chicken pen traning some guys in shot and discus. He had built a regulation throwing circle in the adjacent field, two shot circles an a discus circle, and is able to transition from the weight room to the practice area in a few steps. Evan and Jason, two SV throwers were there with him, and he spent the 30 minutes I watched relentlessly hounding them and telling them how much they suck. Typical Dane. He made fun of me in high school much the same way, going so far as to tease me for the peach fuzz on my face before I started shaving. I sympathized with Jason especially, who gets upset about it on occasion. Dane even makes fun of this.

The shotput the guys were using is a pound and a half heavier than competition, and Evan was wearing a leather device that attached his wrist to his first three fingers to alleviate the tendonitis that can form after intense and repetitive training. I watched each of them make about 8 or 9 throws, querying Dane between each on what was actually going on. He has high hopes for Evan especially, though on that day there numbers were unimpressive, in the high 30s and low 40s. Dane threw 62’ to win the PA State Championships in 2002, a number he claims would still be good for the win today. A good thrower in high school is in the high 50s.

Back in the gym, Dane started me on what I hope to become a month-long training program, participating in the same style exercises that he trains others. I met Jason, a high school senior at SV who started going to Dane in March 2011. He weighed 340 poounds then. Yesterday he was 260, and Dane commented that he was a new version of me. I topped out at 255 in high school (and held the squat record at one time, 455 lbs), and go to an all-time low of 155 when I came back from Costa Rica in 2002. My sister Kaitie called me Skeletor when I got off the plane. Dane said that Jason has gained so much confidence in his new body that he has started hitting on one of the hottest girls that comes to the gym. Dane has had to tell the other youngsters to tell him to cool it so he doesn’t embarrass himself. I told him to show Jason a photo of my wife Mia to see just how high his prospects could become if he works hard enough.

Dane started me out on the platforms doing power cleans, after first warming up with two sets of front squat on an empty bar. The power clean is a move I remember fondly from high school, and one of the Olympic lifts he uses on all his clients. A forty-something physical therapist that came in just as I was leaving can clean over 150 lbs, more than her bodyweight, which is seriously impressive. She was lean and wiry, by no means ‘bulked up’ and quite attractively fit. I started doing reps of three, and finished with a max of 170 for two, making all the reps along the way. I have to ask Dane if the low reps is part of a particular theory.

I moved on to one-legged squats and jumping lunges, as I’ll call them. The last set of squats saw me holding 45 lbs dumbbells for sets of eight. Then it was the ‘prowler.’ I pulled a sled stacked with 45 lb plates across the 50-feet of the floor, which he’d covered with astroturf. Going backwards was easy enough, but the trip back saw me nearly on the floor as I had to push the thing the opposite way, considerably more difficult, especially in my bare feet. It’s awesome that I can train there barefoot. These moves were immediately followed by box steps holding dumbbells again, for sets of 10 per side, or twenty total. Dane says this will be good for my tight hamstrings, and my legs were burning by the end. I bought some eggs and a frozen chicken from the freezer right in the gym, and left, as we were taking Pappap out for dinner that night and I had to get home in time.