I haven’t done a flat-bench dumbbell press with a 45-pounder in each hand since, I think, my days at the biker gym. (I believe on one occasion there I hoisted a couple of fifties.) I tend to be a little chickenshit about chest and shoulder work, on account a real injury could put me out of work for days (though, having lightly torn a bicep muscle and worked right through it a couple years back, I’m wondering what that injury would be; I mean, there’s only so much damage you can do in the gym, bar dropping something on yourself). So I top out my last set of dumbbell presses at what I can shove for five or six reps and for years that has been forty pounds. Only something happened and suddenly those puppies started flying up in the air, and I had to start and finish five pounds heavier to feel as if I were doing anything at all. I love that last set, when it feels like you are pushing a styrofoam kickboard through half-congealed asphalt and you can’t help yelling Yip when you drop’ em.

This seems to be the tipping point at which the guys with thighs for arms start looking at you from under their baseball caps. I don’t know whether they haven’t seen an old babe working heavy before or whether they’re worrying I’m going to drop it on myself. Maybe on them.

Whatever, it feels righteous. Mmmmm.


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