Glory Days

Glory days well they’ll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl’s eye
Glory days, glory days

– Bruce Springsteen

Every so often those of us getting older think back to the time when we could run a little faster, jump a little higher and keep up with the guys. Ah, the glory days. The days when you could play ball all day in the sun and still have the energy to shower up and grab beers until 2 AM with the boys. A few pounds and gray hairs later and the next thing you know one workout or game of softball makes you pay for days on end.

The other night I decided that I wanted to lift weights. I should preface this with the fact that I used to be a major gym rat. Seven days a week, sick or well, I was lifting. Supplements, protein, weightlifting belt, gloves and wrist straps — the whole nine yards. At the height of this period in my life I put up 300 pounds twice on the bench press. Granted, I was also persistently injured (mostly lower back), but I digress.

I own a weight bench and dumbbells in addition to having a membership at the local Y. Because I work NY hours and am on the road a lot, having this gear gives me instant access to work “the basic” muscle groups (chest, back, legs, shoulders and arms) on a moment’s notice, such as, when the kids go to bed. This particular evening I decided to work my chest and biceps. I went downstairs and prepped for a quick workout. Gloves, weights, proper position of the bench – I was ready to go. I won’t bore you with all of the details of my workout but I’ll share this: there’s a litmus test for the bench press that most guys that played sports in high school ask when they bench. Can I still put up four 45 lb plates?

This particular evening I had my laptop in the basement and was listening to an iTunes genius mix that included Foo Fighters “The Pretender”. How fitting.

After not having benched in over a month, and prior to that in two months, two things dawned on me as I started this final set: First, shouldn’t I have a spotter? And second, how many times can I put this up without crushing my skull from the lack of said spotter?

I managed to crank out 10 repetitions. Not too shabby for a 36 year old. After finishing the set and feeling mildly proud of myself, took a short break to set my fantasy football lines ups and naturally the NFL combines came to mind. The combines are the series of tests and exercises that college players go through in order to showcase their talent for NFL scouts. It’s also the place where every athlete is required to “max out” on the bench press at — you guessed it — 225 lbs, the equivalency of four 45 pound plates.

So I stupidly decided to Google “NFL combine”. Look at this. No, really, look at it. Go ahead and check out the bench press tab. And immediately this came to mind: