Watching Dave Draper!

This year I was able to see Dave Draper go through a workout and I would like to tell you about it.
Republished with permission from

Publication Date: 1970

I look forward to October in New York for many reasons. The weather becomes cool and crisp and ideal for training. Training sessions become more routine after the summer vacations are over, and we usually are fortunate enough to have some of the world's top bodybuilders at the gym because Weider's big contest is held in New York at this time. This year I was able to see Dave Draper go through a workout and I would like to tell you about it.

I had seen many pictures of Draper through the years. The marked improvement in his development was evident in these photographs but they didn't do justice to one of the most unbelievable physical phenomenons of our time. Draper certainly must rank as one of Bodybuilding's all-time greats.

The Trasformation

This formerly over-bulked bodybuilder has transformed himself (contrary to the claims of others who want the credit) through hard work and strict attention to diet into what can only be termed a muscular marve. His shape, size and definition (and make no mistake about it - he has rock-hard definition) must be seen to be believed.

His outstanding parts (they are actually all great - including his legs which don't show up as well in photographs as in person) are his arms (well over 20 inches - with a peaked, split biceps), shoulders and back.

The night that I saw Dave train, he worked chest, shoulders and triceps. He supersets (within the same part, not opposing parts) or trisets everything. The weights he uses are moderate and might even be considered light for someone of his obvious strength. For example, Draper is capable of bench pressing well over 400 pounds but didn't use over 235 that night. Actually, I don't think he really is aware of what poundage is on the bar.

The Feel

He works strictly by "feel" - he uses what feels right to him and gives him the "pump" in the area he is working. He concentrates very strongly on whatever exercise he is doing and whichever part he is working. He does everything strictly.

He worked his chest as follows. He supersetted bench presses with decline dumbbell flyes for six sets of about 8-10 repetitions. Then he tri-setted incline barbell presses, single dumbbell pullovers, and dips - with six of these tri-sets. If you add that up you will see he did thirty sets for his chest. This took him only about 45 minutes as he rested only a minute or less after each super or tri-set.

For shoulders, he supersetted behind the neck presses with side laterals and then supersetted dumbbell presses with bent over laterals. Again, he did about six sets of each superset. His deltoids became so pumped that it looked as if you could lift him up by them.

Working The Tri's

He worked his triceps with supersets of barbell tricep extensions (standing) and dumbbell tricep extensions. Then he did supersets of lat machine pushdowns and pulley extensions. Draper does from twenty to thirty sets per body part. He works at a very fast pace but does each repetition slowly and strictly. He does some abdominal work with each workout.

He takes substantial quantities of supplements and took a great many liver tablets after his workout. How does he maintain a strictly high protien diet while traveling a great deal giving exhibitions and entering contests? Well, one of the fellows at the gym went to a nearby diner for dinner and happened to see Dave at the counter. What was Draper having? A double order of scrambled eggs and a cheeseburger - with NO BREAD, NO POTATOES - was his dinner.

That Saturday night, Draper won Weider's Mr. World title. He didn't enter the Olympia but I think he might take on Schwarzenegger again next year. Dave seemed very unhappy about losing to Arnold in London at the Mr. Universe contest.

The Question

Can Draper beat Schwarzenegger? Remember that everyone thought Sergio Oliva was unbeatable. Judging by what Draper has accomplished in the last two or three years, I wouldn't be surprised.

Next year will tell that story. For now, all of the guys here are training a little harder than before Dave Draper's too brief but thrilling visit.

Originally published in 1970.