Dave Draper

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Answers to common weight training questions
Updated: 2 hours 25 min ago

Relief for trigger finger

May 16, 2017 - 18:23

Do you have any experience with trigger finger? I have developed the condition and wonder if it is related to my weight grip, and, if so, do you have any suggestions on how to deal with it? The pain at the base of my finger causes my palm to hurt, and I am having difficulty holding the weights. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

My limited version of an answer…

Whatever the condition, we can only hope it is not caused by an unavoidable work-related repetitive action. Try to determine the cause in order to relieve the problem or prevent its worsening. Perhaps it’s a bruise that will heal.

I would continue to train, even aggressively in unaffected areas, working around the pain and being careful not to aggravate the condition. This might require alterations in gripping — thumbs-under grip in pressing, balancing the bar on the hands rather than grasping, padding where advantageous, wearing gloves, using machines where full and tight gripping is not necessary, using hand straps or inch-and-a-half thick-bars (one of their benefits).

Spend 30 minutes and walk the gym floor, trying every variety of exercise you can with the equipment available and improvising barbell and dumbbell exercises and grooves to accommodate the painful limitation. We lifters are very clever when backed into a corner.

The right athletic doc might help, cortisone might be a solution, ibuprophen, prayer.

God’s speed…. DD

Decline bench question

May 16, 2017 - 17:30

I’ve been bench pressing for years and have been happy with the progress. However, lately there’s been no progress. What do you think of doing decline benches for awhile instead? Will that help my bench press progress?

Declines make a nice change of pace when the bench won’t go up or they no longer provide fulfillment. In declines you will usually find the strength is good, the torso demands stimulating and the tight triceps action attractive. These hot responses are a nice interlude.

However, declines as a regular focus exercise are not good. You never see underdeveloped lower pecs – overdevelopment is unappealing and trouble in the future of gravity.

I go for dumbbell inclines for delts and upper pecs. Smart move.


Young and need a nutrition plan

May 7, 2017 - 12:30

I started training with weights five months ago. I’m 15. I’m not sure if I’m making all the progress I should even though I try to stay positive. Can you give me a better menu and supplement list?

You live, learn and grow and I’d say you’re way ahead of the pack. Part of being positive is being patient and realistic. You are right to seek gains earnestly, but you will have to train with hopeful dedication, or frustration will take you down. Five months at 15 is commendable, but barely enough time to doubt your progress. Get used to a long haul and love it.

You need nothing more than natural whole foods high in protein, low in carbs (sugar) and medium in fat content. The protein from red meat, poultry, fish, eggs and milk products are your key musclebuilding foods. The carbohydrates should be gained from vegetables and salads and fruit, which also provide vitamins and minerals, enzymes and phyto nutrients. Carbs are also found in milk products. Have no fried foods, junk foods, pop and so forth.

To supplement the diet, add a high-quality vitamin and mineral. It is convenient and effective to add a top-notch protein powder (Bomber Blend, my choice) for breakfast, as a pre-workout meal or post-workout meal or at times when meals are not possible but needed.

Ideally, eat 4 -6 smaller meals regularly throughout the day rather than fewer meals for a more consistent supply of tissue building and energy supplying ingredients. Lots of water.

You’re well covered with the above nutritional info. One can argue you need more antioxidants or EFAs, but who has the $ or time or room?

There is a great deal of marketing hype — lies is another good word — in the magazines, online and on TV. Beware. Absolutely nothing else will significantly add to your health, strength or muscular growth than the wise and consistent application of the above simple facts.


Memory of Sharon Tate

May 7, 2017 - 12:30

There’s a great picture of you and Sharon Tate near a trampoline in the promo stills from “Don’t Make Waves.” What do you remember about that?

I think of Sharon often as pictures of her during our filming of “Don’t Make Waves” adorned the walls of our gym in Santa Cruz (and now on a wall at home), including the picture you’re referring to. The gym members were mesmerized.

She’s a star in the eyes of my heart not only because of her physical and internal beauty, but also for her earthy courage and daring spontaneity. We first met on location in Malibu when we were advised to practice a trampoline dismount for the next film sequence to begin promptly.

“Sharon, this is Dave. Dave, this is Sharon. Sharon, I want you to bounce on the tramp as high as you can and jump into the arms of Dave standing right here. He’s a sturdy fellow. Good.”

The instructions of Sandy McKendrick, cogent director, assuming magic.

We smiled, nodded, shook hands and she mounted the trampoline for the first time in her life, both of us revealing our shyness and willingness to please.

Any fear or doubts the sweet girl had turned into resolve. Sharon bounced with all her might and within five minutes was leaping through the air like a gazelle. I didn’t dare miss her.

We were smiles and laughter. First take, “Cut. That’s a wrap.”

I miss her now.

A star on Hollywood Boulevard bearing Sharon’s name would warm my heart. She has a special place there, indeed.


What makes us fat?

May 7, 2017 - 12:30

Dave, what really makes us fat? Is it too much carbs or too much saturated fat or what?

The answer to the question is not a mystery nor is it a duel between fats and carbohydrates. Man and woman, in his and her bewilderment, overeat and under-exercise. They eat far too much sugar and bad fats (grease, hydrogenated fat) and not enough protein and good fats (EFAs). They sit when they work, ride when they should walk, are idle when they could play and eat anything to pass the time away. These behaviors (misbehaviors) determine “what really make us fat.”

When will we ever get it right? Who will tell us? Who will listen?