Oldschool Rutiner og artikler, på engelsk

Specifikke programmer til maksimal styrke eller masse...

by charlie t » Sun Oct 15, 2006 10:55 pm

Bill trained much like a bodybuilder, when he got closer to meets he would cycle down to lower reps on the more compound movements. First he'd cycle down to sets of 8 reps, then sets of 5 reps, then to triples, and then doubles when very close to a meet. Prior to his 661lbs. World Record bench press he did a 633lbs. triple. Later, in exhibition, he did 600lbs. for 5 repetition.


Bench (heavy) warm up, then 4 sets x 10 reps
Wide Grip Bench 3 sets x 10 reps
Narrow Grip Bench 3 sets x 10 reps
Front Delt Raise 4 sets x 8 reps
Dumbell Seated Press 4 sets x 10 reps
Side Delt Raise 4 sets x 10 reps
Lying Tricep Push (after 2 warm up sets) 6 sets x 10 reps
Tricep Push Down 4 sets x 10 reps


Squat (heavy) warm up, then 4 sets x 10 reps
Deadlift (light) warm up, then 3 sets x 10 reps
Shrugs 2 sets x 15-40 reps, 1 set x 10-20 reps
Seated Hammer Curls 4 sets x 12 reps
Standing Curl 4 sets x 10 reps
Close Grip Chin Ups 3 sets x max on each set
Seated Row 4 sets x 10 reps
Leg Extensions 3 sets x 10 reps
Leg Curl 3 sets x 10 reps
Calf Raise 3 sets x 15-25 reps


Bench (light) warm up, then 3 sets x 10 reps
Wide Grip Bench 3 sets x 10 reps
Narrow Grip Bench 3 sets x 10 reps
Dumbell Seated Press (heavy) warm up, then 4 sets x 8 reps
Front Delt Raise 4 sets x 10 reps
Tennis Backhand Cable Extensions 4 sets x 10 reps
Prone Tricep Extension 4 sets x 10 reps


Deadlift (heavy) warm up, then 4 sets x 8 reps
Squat (light) warm up, then 4 sets x10 reps
Shrugs (heavy) 4 sets x 10-15 reps
Seated Hammer Curl 4 sets x 8 reps
Concentration Curl 4 sets x 12 reps
One Arm Row - 3 positions 3 sets x 10 reps
Wide Grip Pull (down to chest) 4 sets x 10 reps
Leg Extensions 3 sets x 10 reps
Leg Curl 3 sets x 10 reps
Calf Raise 3 sets x 15-25 reps
(Ab Work When Possible)

"Here is the program that Bill used for his World Record Bench Press. In his own words"


Here’s a 10-week program that I used to top off my bench training with a world record. It’s so intense that I recommend only two upper body workouts per week, one light and one heavy day per week. Note: 225/10 means, 225 lbs. for 10 reps. 225/3/15 means, 3 sets of 15 reps with 225 lbs.

Week 1:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 410/3/15. Narrow and wide bench presses, 350/3/10. Dumbbell presses, 100/3/10. Front raises, 75/3/10. Lateral raises, 75/3/10. Modified triceps presses, 300/4/15. Decline triceps presses, 335/3/15.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 435/3/15 (wow). Narrow and wide bench presses, 375/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 2:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 420/3/15. Narrow and wide bench presses, 360/3/10. Deltoid work same as week one. Modified triceps presses, 310/4/15. Decline triceps presses, 345/3/15.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 455/3/10. Narrow and wide bench presses, 385/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 3:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 430/3/12. Narrow and wide bench presses, 400/3/10. Dumbbell presses, 100/3/10. Front raises, 75/3/10. Lateral raises, 75/3/10. Modified triceps presses, 320/4/15. Decline presses, 355/4/10.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 480/3/8. Narrow and wide bench presses, 400/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 4:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 440/3/12. Narrow and wide bench presses, 380/3/10. Dumbbell presses, Front and Lateral raises, same as week 3. Modified triceps presses, 330/4/15. Decline triceps presses, 365/4/10.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 500/3/8. Narrow and wide bench presses, 410/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 5:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 450/3/10. Narrow and wide bench presses, 390/3/10. Dumbbell presses, 110/3/10. Front and Lateral raises, 85/3/10. Modified triceps presses, 340/3/15. Decline triceps presses, 375/4/10.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 495/10, 525/5/5. Narrow and wide bench presses, 420/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 6:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 460/3/10. Narrow and wide bench presses, 400/3/10. Dumbbell presses, Front and Lateral raises, same as week 5. Modified triceps presses, 350/4/15, Decline triceps presses, 350/4/10.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 495/8, 545/4/5. Narrow and wide bench presses, 430/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 7:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 470/3/8. Narrow and wide bench presses, 410/3/10. Dumbbell presses, 120/3/10. Front & Lateral Raises, 85/3/10. Modified triceps presses, 370/5/10. Decline triceps presses, 395/4/10.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 495/8, 540/5, 570/3/5. Narrow and wide bench presses, 440/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 8:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 480/3/8. Narrow and wide bench presses, 420/3/10. Dumbbell presses, Front and Lateral raises, same as week 7. Modified triceps presses, 380/5/10. Decline triceps presses, 405/4/10.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 495/8, 570/5, 590/3/3. Narrow and wide bench presses, 450/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 9:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 490/3/6. Narrow and wide bench presses, 430/3/8. Dumbbell presses, 130/3/10, Front and Lateral raises, 95/3/10. Modified triceps presses, 390/5/10, Decline triceps presses, 415/4/8.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 495/8, 570/5, 610/2/3. Narrow and wide bench presses, 465/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 10:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 500/3/6. Narrow and wide bench presses, 440/3/8. Dumbbell presses, Front and Lateral Raises, same as week 9. Modified triceps presses, 400/5/10. Decline triceps presses, 425/4/8.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 495/8, 550/5, 590/5, 635/3. Narrow and wide bench presses, 475/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.
charlie t

by charlie t » Sun Oct 15, 2006 10:57 pm

Kurt J. Wilkens, RKC
I have come to the following conclusion, after considerable research and study of much of the available material regarding the training methods and results of the so-called ‘old timers’, as well as current training methods and results: the ‘split’ routine has been the death of productive strength training and muscle building. Allow me to explain the reasoning behind this possibly shocking revelation…

First, I shall clarify what I mean by ‘split’ routine. As most of us are probably aware, the conventional use of the phrase split routine comes from bodybuilding; it refers to structuring ones training routine around the individual body parts/muscle groups. One example: Working chest, shoulders, and triceps one day, back and biceps the next, and legs the third day. Another, even worse (and you‘ll understand why by the end of the article), example: Legs one day, back one day, chest one day, shoulders one day, and arms one day. As I said, these are conventional examples of split routines, the type of things you would invariably find in what have been referred to as the “muscle comics” -- because what you find inside these ‘comics’ is so far-fetched and ridiculous, it has absolutely no resemblance to reality!

Another, more practical, type of split routine, would be to split the lifts -- take a handful of the big, compound, multi-joint exercises and work two or three each time you train. As you will soon see, this type of split can be very effective. For example: squats, pull-ups, and overhead presses one day, deadlifts and bench press another day, and maybe snatches and cleans-and-jerks on another day. It should be obvious, I hope, that the type of split routine that I have a problem with is the former, body part type.

It might not be the end of the world if the use of body part split routines were limited just to bodybuilding, but their insidious influence is found everywhere. Many amateur and professional athletes (in football, baseball, basketball, etc.), World’s Strongest Man competitors, powerlifters, and combative and tactical athletes of all types can be seen using the cursed split routine in their training. These are people who, in my opinion, should know better -- and whose athletic needs require a totally different approach to strength training and conditioning.

When the ‘average’ guy took up weight training in the early days of the 20th Century, he was almost assured of making good gains from his training. He could count on adding considerable size and strength to his body, while also vastly improving his health. Today’s average trainee is not afforded that same luxury/opportunity -- and much of the blame should fall at the feet of the muscle magazines, for it is the muscle mags that promulgate the absurd split routines to the unknowing masses of eager, yet gullible, young men. In defense of these magazines, though, it may not be entirely their fault. You see, it all started back in the early 1920s …

A Little History for Yourself

When Milo Steinborn came here from Germany, he brought with him the heavy, flat-footed squat. Prior to this, most lifters in this country were doing their squats with fairly light weights, up on their toes. This produced a certain degree of muscularity in the thighs (though not necessarily a lot), but didn’t contribute much in the way of startling total-body size and strength. With Steinborn’s version of the squat, that all changed -- and a revolution was founded! The heavy, flat-footed, high-rep squat would eventually become the cornerstone of most lifter’s routines, thanks in large part to the efforts of Joseph Curtis Hise and Peary Rader. Along with the squat, you would find many other heavy, multi-joint lifts being suggested by the top physical culturists of the time. This trend -- whole-body routines with an emphasis on heavy leg and back work -- would continue into the 1960s, but only barely.

Perhaps some examples through the years are in order.

Alan Calvert, from his ‘First Course in Body-Building and Muscle-Developing Exercises’, 1924, included the following drills in his program: Standing Curls, Bent-Over Rows, Standing Press Behind Neck, Stiff-Arm Pullovers, Weighted Situps, Overhead Press while seated on the floor, Straddle Lifts, Shrugs, Squats up on the toes, One-Arm Press/Side Press, One-Arm Swings, and a strange type of Supported, Bent-Over One-Arm Reverse Curl.

Mark Hamilton Berry, from his ‘First Course in Physical Improvement and Muscle Developing Exercises’, circa ~1936: Standing Curl, Floor Press, Bent Rows, Standing Press Behind Neck, Two-Arm Pullovers, Squats, Shrugs, Straddle Lifts, Weighted Situp, One-Arm Press/Side Press, One-Arm KB Swing, Wrist Roller, Wrestler’s Bridge, Reverse Curl, Military Press.

Harry Barton Paschall, ‘The Bosco System of Progressive Physical Training’, 1954: (Program 1: Bodybuilding) Upright Rows, Standing Press, Standing Curls, Bent Rows, Squats, Pullovers, Calf Raise, Stiff-Legged Deadlift/Shrug combination drill, Side Bends, DB Circles, Weighted Situps, and Leg Swings; (Program 2: Weight Gaining) Clean and Press, Standing Curls, Bent Rows, Bench Press, Squat, and Chest Lifts.

John McCallum, from his Keys to Progress series, circa the mid-1960s: (An article titled ‘For Size and Strength’) Prone Hyper-Extensions, Squats and Pullovers, Front Squats, Bench Press, Power Cleans, Rowing, Press Behind Neck, Incline Curls.

You will notice that none of these programs are split routines; more often than not, it was expected that the routine would be performed on three non-consecutive days per week. Please note, there is nary a fly nor lateral raise nor leg extension in the bunch. (Apparently, however, curls have always been included as a concession to man’s preoccupation with big biceps.) Another thing you may notice is that, over the years, the routines tended to get a little shorter -- programs of 10-15 or more drills were becoming routines of 6-8 exercises, as they minimized any redundancy and eliminated some of the drills that were not maximally productive. Thus, they found it possible to develop whole-body size and strength without having to train each individual muscle with its own exercise. All of these programs -- both the longer ones and, especially, the shorter ones -- resulted in considerable increases in size and strength for anyone who tried them.

The same cannot be said for the drivel and BS that passes for training advice in this day and age. Show me an ‘average’, drug-free, genetically-typical trainee today who has made any real progress in his training; a modern lifter who continues to make progress steadily, even if somewhat slowly; a trainee who is not lifting the same amount of weight for the same number of reps week after week, year after year. I’ve seen it myself time and time again, first when I trained in a gym, then when I worked in one.

In fact, I experienced it for myself. Allow me a brief digression to illustrate my point with some personal history. Years back, when I used to train in the gym with a training partner, we always used split routines -- typically chest/shoulders/triceps on Monday and Thursday, back/biceps Tuesday and Friday, and legs on Wednesday. My partner was a thick little mesomorph who made some progress on whatever program we were using; I, on the other hand, did not. It may also be worth noting that my partner made his progress while missing a good eight out of ten leg workouts, while I made virtually no progress while never missing a leg session. In each chest workout we would do the bench press, working up to a max each time (the idea that you need to max in each workout -- that’s a rant for another time), and I would always take a shot at the big ‘two wheels’, 225. Only on one or two occasions was I actually able to bench that 225 by myself, for a shaky, ugly rep -- and this was over the span of more than two years time. (While I constantly struggled with that 225, my partner went on to push 315, damned mesomorph …) Shortly after I quit the gym, I went on a ‘Hard Gainer’ type routine, training the whole body in each workout, and using only three or four lifts per session to do so. And after no more than about six months I was benching the sacred two wheels for reps -- three or four or five -- at home, by myself, with confidence, thank you very much.

By now, you are probably wondering when I’m going to get to the point. Well, here it comes. The whole-body type programs that were used in the old days offered many benefits not afforded by the elaborate split routines of today, and these benefits may help explain why it is that old-time lifters could excel while we flounder in a sea of mediocrity. (It may also explain why our Olympic lifters have lost to the cursed Commies year after year -- since the 60s; it’s an opinion apparently shared by none other than the great Olympic lifter Tommy Kono, at least according to his excellent book, “Weightlifting, Olympic Style”.)

Benefits of Whole-Body Routines vs. Split Routines

First, the endocrine response. According to modern sports science, the more muscle mass one uses in a training session, the greater the endocrine response; in other words, the more hormones that your body will release in response to your training. The old-time programs trained all the muscle groups in each workout; that’s a lot of muscle mass. Consider the gush of hGH and testosterone that would be sent coursing through the body after a workout that included heavy squats, deadlifts, standing presses, bent-over and upright rows, bench presses, DB swings, snatches, etc. And consider the muscle-building and fat-burning effects of all this hGH and test free-flowing through your system. Now, try to imagine how very little the squirt of hormones would be after a shoulder workout of seated DB presses (at least standing you would be getting some leg work, however minimal), lateral raises to the front and sides, bent laterals, and maybe some cable laterals for a little extra striation-training. Or worse, a ‘heavy’ arm workout: preacher curls, incline DB curls, maybe 21s to get a good burn; then ‘skull crushers’, seated French presses, and some pushdowns for the outer head, man. Diddly in the way of muscle-building and fat-burning! The training effect upon the endocrine system may also explain why the trend in full-body routines went from as many as ten or more drills down to half that: The abbreviated routines allowed the lifter to finish the session within 45-60 minutes, which maximized hGH and testosterone while minimizing the catabolic hormone cortisol. The old-timers may not have fully understood why the shortened routines seemed so much more productive than the original two-plus-hour marathon workouts, but they knew what worked and they stuck with it!

Second, bone and joint strength. Again, modern sports science tells us that the bones in the body are strengthened best when subjected to a heavy load. This is where the big, multi-joint lifts come in, lifts like squats, deadlifts, cleans-and-jerks, snatches, standing presses, etc. It is quite impossible to put the skeletal frame under significant resistance when using so-called isolation exercises; as far as I’m concerned, these type drills are little more than ‘poor-leverage’ drills. Lateral raises, flyes, cable cross-overs, leg extensions, etc, all put the weight at the end of a relatively long lever, making it more difficult to lift that weight -- even a very light weight. And at no point in any of the isolation exercises does any real resistance actually fall fully on the bone structure; the skeletal system does little, if any, real supporting of the weight. The same applies to the connective tissues: To fully strengthen the tendons and ligaments, it is necessary to subject them to tremendously heavy weights, often through a partial range-of-motion. Again, this is not something that is adequately accomplished with the isolation-type, poor-leverage drills. Clearly, split routines and the accompanying isolation drills are not the most efficient way to build strength in the bones and connective tissues.

The talk of strength leads us to the next point: muscular strength. Maximum muscular strength is best developed via the lifting of very heavy weights. The heavier the weight, the greater the tension generated in a muscle, and the more tension generated by a muscle, the more force it can apply -- thus, it gets stronger! And while isolation drills -- aka, poor-leverage drills -- may generate what appears to be a lot of tension (even with very light weights), it is typically far less than would be required with whole-body exercises. The goal of strength training, after all, is -- or should be -- to lift the heaviest weight possible. Think of it this way: Would you have more confidence and more pride from doing a set of ten reps in the lateral raise with 25 pounds, or five reps in the clean-and-press with 205? Which drill do you really think would do more for your bodily size and strength? The answer, I hope, is obvious.

Finally, we come to the issue of functionality. The isolation exercises that are the staple of most split routines are not functional in the least (beyond, perhaps, for training around an injury, or for rehab). When was the last time you needed to put something heavy on a shelf above your head and you chose to lift it at the end of your stiff, outstretched arm? Hopefully never. You would, I have to believe, do something that would resemble a continental clean and press -- deadlifting the load to waist height, struggling it up to the shoulders, and finally pressing it up overhead and sliding it onto the shelf. Whole-body routines using the big, multi-joint drills train the whole body as a unit -- as the name might imply. They teach your many muscle groups to work together in a unified, athletic fashion, and in the proper sequence: typically from the ground up, transferring force from the lower body, through the midsection, into the upper body, and out through the arms (more often than not, anyway). These drills also teach the muscles of the legs and core to stabilize the upper body against resistance, which is especially important not only in lifting but in many combative/contact sports.

There’s a popular saying, something to the effect that “Form Follows Function”. How you train will determine how you look, that’s true enough; but it will also determine how you perform. Training for functionality will dramatically improve your performance, first and foremost, and your ‘form’ right along with it. Cosmetic-oriented training -- bodybuilding -- may improve how you look, but it will not, I submit, do much to improve your performance in any endeavor. Besides, what will be more valuable to you in your life: looking puffed-up and pretty, or having high levels of strength and work capacity? Train like an athlete, not a bodybuilder! To train any other way is to invite injury and weakness.

Split Routines, Steroids, and ‘Isolationism’

Split routines first began to rear their ugly little heads sometime in the late 50s or early 60s, around the time that steroid use was really becoming widespread in the bodybuilding and lifting communities. A coincidence? I think not! Heavy, often high-rep, leg and back work is absolutely essential for making size and strength gains drug-free, but let’s face it: heavy leg and back work, properly performed, is positively brutal. Thus, it may not be a complete surprise that when lifters found they could achieve significant increases in muscular size and strength without subjecting themselves to the brutally heavy lifting, they did so. (In their defense, though, it’s worth noting that they didn’t know of the dangerous side effects of the drugs at that time; also, they were taking much lower doses and much fewer varieties of the drugs than are the lifters and bodybuilders of today.)

Of course, one rationale for the use of split routines is that it allows the lifter to train the individual muscle groups with greater focus and intensity, thus developing greater size and strength in those muscles. Well, I would submit that this logic only really applies to a lifter using exogenous pharmaceutical enhancement -- Dianabol, Winstrol, etc. A natural lifter with your so-called ‘average’ genetics is not going to receive much in the way of results from such a program since he will not be getting much in the way of an endocrine response. I wonder, in fact, if it’s not necessary for a ‘juicer’ to train every day in the isolation fashion because he or she needs to keep the drug-carrying blood “pumped into” the separate muscles to feed them the hormones and facilitate growth. I don’t know; it’s just a thought …

Another argument for the use of split routines is that they will allow one to train more frequently because you are training different parts of the body each time. Well, to my thinking, this is only partly accurate. Yes, you may be training different muscles each time, but there is so much more to the body than just the muscular system. Let’s not forget the many other systems: nervous, endocrine, skeletal, etc. If one were to -- as many bodybuilders do -- train to the point of muscular failure several times in a workout -- and do that several times in a week -- even if you are training different muscle groups, you are still causing considerable systemic fatigue; “wiring up” the nervous system, for example, as well as draining the various energy systems, depleting the endocrine system, etc. With proper nutrition and recover strategies, it may be possible for the drug-free, average trainee to mitigate some of these factors -- but for a steroid-using lifter, it becomes a no-brainer; steroids are known to considerably accelerate the recovery process.

One of the biggest problems that I have with split routines is that it results in an ‘isolation mentality’. Every effort is made, more often than not, to try to isolate each individual muscle. This practice, by definition, results in a loss of some of the very best drills one could do. The clean-and-press, for instance; should it be trained on back day or shoulder day. But wait, what if you do squat-snatches; is that a leg drill or a back drill; and doesn’t it also involve the shoulders to an extent? The bent press; where do you start with that? Deadlifts; back or legs? High pulls? One-arm dumbbell swings? Dumbbell cleans? Sots presses?

Whole-body routines, if considered at all today, are thought to be appropriate only for beginners. After the first 3-6 months -- perhaps as much as a year -- you have to switch to a split routine if you want to continue to make progress -- or so we‘re led to believe. This is quite absurd. “Back in the day”, as the saying goes, most of the strongest and best-built lifters trained on whole-body routines for the duration of their careers, and made relatively steady progress the entire time -- even setting lifting records that have yet to be broken to this day!

Laying Blame at the Feet of the ‘Muscle Comics’?

Anyone who is familiar with Dinosaur Training will recall Brooks D. Kubik railing against today’s crop of trainees lifting their “pigmy weights” because they were afraid to train heavy. I believe that this is mostly inaccurate (and I’m aware that much -- but not all! -- of Brooks’ writing was done sort of tongue-in-cheek), because I was one of those young guys who couldn’t seem to get strong -- because I was following the programs in the muscle mags. Because I didn’t know any better; who knew that there was a so-much-more productive way to train for size and strength? Certainly not me and my friends, I can tell you. After all, how could we know? My friends and I slaved away with those “pigmy weights” workout after workout because we were misinformed.

I never considered the possibility that there might be an alternative method out there, even though the split routines didn’t do diddly for me. Just enough people made just enough progress on split routines that I assumed the fault for my lack of gains lay within myself -- I must be doing something wrong. And of course I was -- just not what I had thought.

It seems to me that people have always had an interest in the way the super-strong have trained, and the muscle mags have answered that call. In the old days, the big one was Alan Calvert’s ‘Strength’ magazine giving us the goods on Saxon and Sandow and Hackenschmidt, etc. The next big one was Peary Rader’s ‘Ironman’ with Hise, Peoples, Boone, Davis, Anderson, Hepburn, et al. Then came Bob Hoffman’s ‘Strength and Health’ and Park, Grimek, and the champion Olympic lifters of the era: Kono, Schemansky, the George Brothers, and on and on. These physical culture periodicals published the training routines of all the stars, and the information was invaluable to the average lifter because the training methods were based on what worked. Gradually, as the use of steroids became more pronounced, the routines that the champs were using began to change -- and the magazines published those programs. And, as you might expect, the average reader started to emulate these new ’split’ routines, and didn’t get the results that the champs were getting. The problem was that the champs didn’t make it known to the magazines that they were ‘pharmaceutically-assisted’. Thus, the editors of the time were likely as duped as the poor reader. And if the editors did in fact know, it seems that they weren’t telling.

Today, of course, they’re still not talking. Even though it’s a big open secret in the muscle mag industry that most -- okay, probably all -- of the physiques you see pictured in the ‘comics’ were ultimately built with steroids. And the mags are still publishing those split routines, and not mentioning the prerequisite need for boatloads of drugs to make those programs work. And for that, I most certainly do blame Joe Weider and Bob Kennedy and all their ilk. They are selling unattainable dreams to kids and wide-eyed young men; they are selling these poor bastards supplements that won’t work, and cheating them of something that could otherwise have been a very fulfilling and worthwhile pursuit, and they are leading them to failure and disappointment -- and they know it! I personally wasted precious years of my life -- perhaps what might have been my most productive training years, with a system pumped full of raging teenage hormones -- on those ineffectual and pernicious routines. To think how much bigger and stronger I might have been today is almost enough to move me to tears. Would that I knew then … Oh yes, I am still holding this grudge after all these years!

Reliable References

There are precious few periodicals and books out there that are telling you the truth about physical training; you would do well to go out of your way to find them. IronMind’s MILO magazine tops the list, of course. And a couple of now-defunct magazines you should make an effort to get back issues of: Dinosaur Files and HardGainer. (These are just the few that I have personal experience with; there may well be others of which I’m unaware.) To me, it seems very much a shame that some of the most honest and useful magazines are not more well-known, and many typically fold after a relatively short time, while the newsstand ‘glossies’ continue to churn out the same nonsense, month after month!

In terms of books, most of the stuff by Stuart McRoberts is excellent, if a bit conservative. Look for ‘Brawn’ especially (the book that finally got me gaining in size and strength), as well as ‘Beyond Brawn’; his ‘Insider’s Tell-All Handbook on Weight-Training Technique’ is invaluable for learning proper lifting technique. Brooks D. Kubik’s ‘Dinosaur Training’ is outstanding, and a personal favorite; it compelled me to completely re-evaluate my approach to training. Without question, get Pavel’s ‘Power to the People!’ for a ‘simplex’ approach to building strength -- with or without size. Bill Starr’s ‘Strongest Shall Survive’ is also quite good, and has aged very well, thank you; as I’ve been saying -- the methods that work don’t change much. Check out William F. Hinbern’s website www.SuperStrengthBooks.com for a wide assortment of very valuable reading materials: books by and about Saxon, Hackenschmidt, Goerner, Paschall, Berry, Calvert, et al. Almost any of these books would be eminently valuable to you; a wealth of productive training wisdom.

If You Insist on ‘Splitting’…

In my humble opinion, there is really only one type split routine that might be worth discussing -- beyond the lift-splitting example offered in the opening paragraph of this treatise, of course. If you insist on using a split routine, I implore you to consider the upper body/lower body split. This type split was favored by none other than the gargantuan powerhouse Paul Anderson.

One of the very first ‘body part’ split routines, the upper/lower split offers some significant benefits that aren’t found with most of today’s popular splits. First is a much more equal division of the body’s musculature. With the upper/lower split, you are able to emphasize the back and the shoulder girdle in one session, and the hips and legs in the other. The core/midsection could conceivably be trained in each session. In both of these workouts you are training a considerable portion of the body’s muscle mass with heavy weights.

Which leads us to perhaps the most notable and beneficial perk: the potential to use some of the really BIG lifts: the clean-and-press/jerk, the snatch, the one-arm swing all fit nicely into the upper body workout (not necessarily all in one session, of course); the various squats and deadlifts are the obvious choices for the lower body day. Using these big lifts will offer many of the advantages of whole-body routines -- if you use the big lifts. An upper/lower split is fairly worthless if you just fill the program with wimpy little isolation exercises. Naturally, there may occasionally be some overlap of the muscle groups being trained in each session, but this is okay because you probably won’t be training every day (although with proper variation of the intensity and volume, you certainly could; I just wouldn’t recommend it). Typically, if you are training for some size along with your strength, and/or if you are involved in other physical activities, you will do best lifting only two to four days per week. Also, by using the big, multi-joint drills, you are able to get more work done in less time; in other words, you can train all of the involved major musculature with only a small handful of lifts. For example, one-arm dumbbell swings, cleans-and-presses, and the pullover-and-press for the upper body; squats and stiff-legged deadlifts for the lower. Or, even more streamlined for less wasted time and energy: snatches and one-arm standing presses for the upper body, bent-leg deadlifts for the lower.

The above routines are just a couple of ideas for yourself, as a place to start. Alternatively, you could simply pick a few of the drills from each list below -- perhaps two or three for the upper body and one or two for the lower -- add an ab and/or oblique drill or two, and put together your own program. (These lists are far from comprehensive, of course.)

Upper Body Drills (Back and Shoulder Girdle Emphasis)
- Bent-Arm Pullovers
- Pullover-and-Press
- Snatch, one arm or two
- Clean-and-Press, one arm or two
- Clean-and-Jerk, one arm or two
- Bench Press
- Incline Press
- One-Arm Swings
- Weighted Pull-Ups/Chins
- Bent-Over Rows, one arm or two
- Weighted Dips

Lower Body Drills (Hip and Leg Emphasis)
- Back Squats
- Front Squats
- Straddle Squats
- Deadlifts, one arm or two
- Stiff-Legged/Romanian Deadlifts
- One-Legged Deadlifts
- Hack Squats, with a barbell, of course
- Reverse Deadlifts
- One-Legged Squats
- Spider/Zercher Squats

In Conclusion…

If you are a young guy -- or even a not-so-young guy -- whose sole desire is to get bigger and stronger, drug-free, I beg of you: Do not fall for the popular hype that you’ll find in nearly every one of the muscle and fitness magazines and Internet websites today! Reference the materials cited above (MILO, Brawn, Dinosaur Training, PTP, etc.). With any or all of these books and magazines to guide you, you can’t go far wrong with your training. Please, don’t waste your time trying to prove that you are an exception, that your genetics are ‘good’ -- chances are they’re not. Do yourself a BIG favor and stick with what works, what’s been working for over 100 years -- hard and heavy training on full-body routines using the big lifts. The results may amaze you
charlie t

by charlie t » Sun Oct 15, 2006 10:57 pm

The Purposeful Primitive Progressive Pulls
Raw and retro, the only thing progressive about this primitive routine is the poundage
Marty Gallagher
I’ve never encountered any form or mode of exercise that equals the sheer muscle-building, strength-infusing capacity of compound, multi-joint progressive resistance movements done with a barbell or a pair of dumbbells. If done properly ultra-basic movements are ultra-effective, time efficient and produce a coordinated, athletically usable type of strength that transfers to the ball field, court, mat or ring. One key to translating power built using progressive resistance training into athletic fluency is to use movements requiring heavy poundage that are moved over a great distance. An extended range-of-motion requires muscles fire in a coordinated synchronized sequence. Compound multi-joint progressive resistance exercises do just that: require muscles ignite in a seamless sequential fashion to complete the muscular task at hand. This kind of exercise results in a muscular relay race wherein contiguous muscles are recruited and work together to complete the repetition. An entirely different set of muscles might kick in as we lower the poundage back to the starting position for the subsequent rep. Purposeful Primitives purposefully exert significant muscular tension as weight is lowered back to the rep starting point. This purposeful procedure has a multitude of muscular and practical benefits as much ado has been made regarding the benefits of eccentric contraction. Some claim eccentric is just as beneficial as concentric. I’m dubious but certainly we all can agree that lowering significant poundage in a controlled fashion, rep after rep set after set, is undoubtedly beneficial to some degree.

Safety is no laughing matter. Muscle rips, tears and pulls, disc ruptures and dislocations can occur if you are not careful. How we replace a heavy barbell or set a pair of dumbbells requires complete attention. If you are inattentive and sloppy replacing the weights they can land on you, pull or tear fiber or jerk a limb out of its socket. A sizable percentage of lifting-related injuries occur on the eccentric phase of the repetition. Never allow poundage to freefall back to the starting point (for safety sake) and receive significant muscular benefit by exerting considerable eccentric tension on the reload phase. During the concentric phase of a rep the Golgi tendon reflex keeps us relatively safe. If during the ‘loaded’ push or pull portion of the rep stroke the body senses physical danger, the muscle governor shuts the muscle down. Not so, on the eccentric portion where gravity causes the weight to accelerate of its own volition. Human nature causes us to involuntarily relax after we push or pull limit poundage into the proper finishing position. Carelessly unlocking the supporting joint at the conclusion of a rep can result in a barbell/dumbbell free-fall. When that occurs you have two options: try and ‘catch’ the weight or bail out. Neither is a particularly appetizing choice; on the one hand you have to engage in a Cirque de Soliel acrobatic feat and somehow cradle and catch a freefalling weight to stop its beeline homeward or on the other hand, leap away from heavy, falling object. Sooner or later something bad will happen. Ever drop a 100-pounds dumbbell on your foot? Well I have and let me tell you there’s no way that doesn’t ruin the coming month.

Squats, bench presses, incline bench presses, rows, deadlifts of all type, pulls of all types, chins, pull-ups and overhead presses of all types constitute the core compound multi-joint exercises. The polar opposite of a compound multi-joint progressive resistance exercise is an isolation exercise. An isolation exercise is constructed in such a way that the rep stroke is executed in a tight, small, precision arc with a technique so finite that a single muscle is attacked to the purposeful exclusion of its neighbors. Coordinated muscular action, omnipresent in compound multi-joint movements, is purposefully absent in isolation exercises. I like to think of compound exercises as the exercise equivalent of an entrée and an isolation exercises as desert. Only a child eats desert before eating the entrée. Besides, meat is far more satiating to a purposeful primitive than chocolate soufflé. The human back is a complex biomechanical unit composed of upper and lower latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids, teres major and minor, spinal erectors, intra and supraspanatus and rear deltoids. The muscles of the back are strong in relation to other muscles of the body. Erectors, for example can hoist far more poundage than say biceps. Back muscles are strong muscles and in order to successfully trigger the hypertrophic effect and receive concurrent increases in power and raw strength, heavy poundage, relatively speaking, is required.

In my opinion one of the most effective and comprehensive progressive resistance routine ever devised for building and strengthening all the muscles of the back is an old retro gem called progressive pulls. I was exposed to this routine in around 1965 in an article in Strength & Health magazine. I’ve added a few subtle twists over the years. This program will grow back muscle on a steel post. Nothing more is needed than a barbell, a pile of plates and lots of unadulterated effort. This is hard and heavy work and if done correctly (regardless your current degree of fitness) the procedures create a bodily aftershock of intense fatigue and muscle soreness…so be forewarned. The human back is a complex conglomeration of large, medium and small inter-related and inter-dependent muscles. Over time, nature and biomechanics have taught us how to subconsciously allow the back muscles to act in a synchronized fashion. Subconscious coordination makes easier whatever muscular task is assigned and undertaken. The muscles of the back pull poundage upward or pull poundage inward towards the torso. Progressive pulls start off combining light poundage with extreme range-of-motion (ROM) and progressively adds more poundage as the ROM is decreased. Once we max out on the poundage, weight is then systematically reduced as we work out way back down.

Muscle Groups of the Back

The trapezius muscles sit atop the collar bones and run from ear to ear and downward to mid-back. Traps taper down and tie off along the spine and allow us to shrug and rotate our shoulders.

The rear deltoid, the posterior deltoid, sits behind the shoulder joint. Its function is to pull the shoulders back from all angles. Rear deltoids are part of a delicate muscular network that surrounds the shoulder joints.

The latissimus dorsi begins at the bottom of the armpits and end right above the buttock muscles. There are actually two sets of lats, upper and lower. The lower lats pull up and back. The upper latissimus allow arms to pull towards the body and downward from above the head.

The spinal erectors run from tailbone to traps and are shaped like twin Anaconda. These muscles are the spinal derricks and assist spinal flexion in all directions.

The rhomboids, teres and spanadus surround the shoulder blade and act to rotate the shoulders. These muscles power any activity that causes shoulders to be pinched backward or forward.

The progressive pull technical procedures are simple to learn and difficult to master: the concentric portion of each exercise in the progressive pull routine should be explosive while the eccentric portion needs be slowed and lowered with care. Stay safe while weight training. The movements will also hit the glutes and hamstrings intensely. I recommend doing legs and back at opposite ends of the training week to allow the ‘spillover’ borderline muscles an opportunity to recover. This is a timeless routine, older than the hills, first popularized by international-level Olympic lifters back in the mid-sixties and brought to us via the pages of the Tommy Suggs-era Strength & Health. Everyone from rank beginner to elite athlete uses the same training template regardless current level or ability. A concentrated dose of progressive pulls will do you wonders for building the back muscles and creating pure power. This is a “Big Man” routine and as my old friend Kirk Karwoski might say, “Time for the little children to put away all the pretty pink plastic Barbie dumbbells and leave the room; time for the adults to get out the weapons, porn and booze and get the party started! Let’s get freaking serious!” My phrasing might be different but I would agree with KK’s sentiment: Progressive Pulls are serious and deadly effective – assuming you work with them with the requisite gusto.

This meat-and-potatoes routine requires the athlete takes in sufficient calories and obtain ample rest. It would be nearly impossible for the targeted back muscles not to grow if exercised as suggested, fed adequately and rested sufficiently. I use this program at least once a year and have done so for four decades. Done properly this is a damned difficult training program and not for the faint of heart or those with a low pain tolerance. This style of training encapsulates and defines a Purposeful Primitive. If done as described this routine should only be performed once a week. You’ll need five to seven days to fully recover. Legs are hit 2-3 days after the progressive pull muscle massacre and spillover muscles need to be rested and ready to squat. Performing heavy squats and heavy leg assistance work in the same training week as heavy progressive pulls causes certain muscles to be worked to their limit: upper quads, erectors, glutes, hip flexors and abs. If someone were to tell me they performed this routine more than once a week while working legs heavy, I would become immediately suspicious they were not working hard or heavy enough. Establish poundage/rep benchmarks in all the core lifts. Once the base benchmarks are established, systematically seek to increase poundage or reps. I would suggest a six to twelve week periodization timeframe. Technique is paramount. No technical disintegration should be allowed to occur during a lift. If technical execution gets sloppy or breaks down, curtail the set immediately.

To trigger physical progress you have to bump up against the current boundaries. You have to test the limits and break barriers. You have to deal with the pain and discomfort a serious exercise effort induces. You cannot trigger muscle hypertrophy (the irreducible root-core goal of all progressive resistance training) by training sub-maximally. Unless you brush up against the lip of the limit, unless you consistently seek to extend current capacity in some manner or fashion, you can forget all about significantly altering your physique. The human body does not alter itself in response to sameness. Ease and comfort produce nothing: only by subjecting ourselves to discomfort and difficulty will we trigger the miracle of muscle hypertrophy. Each day is different and limit capacities might differ day to day, week to week, session to session, depending on circumstance. Regardless, travel to the limit of capacity on that particular day. Muscles need stress and tension to grow and become stronger. Unless stress equals or exceeds capacity nothing of significance occurs. How do we define limit? A benchmark can take many forms. Progressive resistance benchmarks could include: number of reps with a particular poundage, number of work sets, length of rest between sets, speed of the rep, session duration, session frequency, exercise selection, sequencing…all these and a lot more could be used as benchmarks.

Do you have to go to failure or use forced reps? No, absolutely not. Establish performance benchmarks in every exercise and use pristine technique. Consciously seek to systematically exceed current limits in some manner or fashion in every workout. The goal is to establish a foundational performance baseline and then move baseline performance imperceptibly upward each successive week. Nudge poundage or reps upward. Start the periodization ‘cycle’ off artificially low and build up over the 6-12 week time frame to a point where you end using poundage 10-15% in excess of current limits. Here is how you might structure a six-week periodization cycle.

Week Reps Power Clean High pull Deadlift Stiff leg deadlift Rows
1 9 135 185 300 185 145
2 9 145 195 310 195 155
3 6 165 215 340 215 175
4 6 175 225 350 225 185
5 3 195 245 370 245 205
6 3 205 255 380 255 215

* All weights are in pounds

During the six week periodization cycle our hypothetical weight trainer performs five exercises. For the first two weeks, the athlete works up to one top set of 9-reps in each of the five exercises. If you struggle or fail to complete the final rep of the top set rep in week one, you’ve been way too ambitious and need to dramatically scale back your rep and poundage starting point. The idea is to start the program off with poundage that is relatively easy to complete for the required 9-reps. This allows us to ingrain a proper technique base while establishing ‘feel’ and rhythm during the individual reps and sets. Mid-way through the cycle the poundage begins to tax the athlete; but momentum and technique have been firmly established. Now the athlete is perfectly positioned for a surge that will allow them to exceed previous all-time best efforts. Take in supplemental calories after the workout and allow body weight to rise a bit each week. This keeps the athlete in positive nitrogen balance and recovery is accelerated. I drink a protein/carb shake 2/3rds of the way through my PP workout after deadlifts; this ‘smart bomb’ concoction supplies my body with the nutrients needed to repair traumatized muscles tissue. By ingesting the shake during the workout I avoid the energy nosedive that typically accompanies limit deadlifts.

Power Clean: An outstanding trapezius developer, the power clean has a powerful secondary effect on spinal erecters and rhomboids. The power clean is fast becoming an anachronism and is in danger of disappearing – which is a damned shame because you’ll not find a better trap developer. To get good at power cleans requires we fuse tremendous power with quick precision. Use a narrower-than-shoulder stance and shoulder-width grip. Squat down, keeping torso tight and back convex and flexed; in one fluid motion pull (not jerk) the bar from the platform upward. Use a weight that you can pull to sternum height. At the apogee, dip down while simultaneously scooting forward as you snap your wrists back and over, catching the barbell on the shoulders. Stand erect while cradling the bar. Lower the weight by flipping the wrists over and let the bar impact your thighs on the way down. This constitutes one rep. Begin the second rep as soon as the bar touches the floor; without losing muscle tension, touch the plates lightly to the floor and begin the second rep.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. The optimal pull position, be it power clean, high pull or deadlift, commences with shins near vertical at the takeoff. The back is kept tight and flexed. The barbell is never jerked or ripped at the start of the rep: apply power slowly at the takeoff and accelerate as the bar moves upward. This is a learned skill. Go up on the toes to add height. Elite lifters jump down and under the barbell when it reaches its maximum height, a splendid form of iron ballet worthy of emulation. Lower the bar to the platform using great restraint and control. The bar is lowered to the thighs to make the descent a two-part process. Commence subsequent reps using a purposefully slow and smooth initial pull. Accelerate the bar as the pull progresses. A poor lifter bounces and crashes his reps off the floor wildly while the elite lifter’s plates touch with quite precision. Make haste slowly. Technique is paramount on all pulls. It takes months to master a proper power clean.

High Pulls: After hitting the predetermined reps and poundage on the power clean, keep the train rolling by adding poundage to the bar and continuing with high pulls. A high pull is a power clean not pulled high enough to wrist-snap and rack. Otherwise it’s identical to a power clean. Try and pull the barbell to belly button height on each rep. Use the same slow takeoff and accelerate the bar as it rises. Add poundage on successive hi-pull sets. High pulls hit the erectors, rhomboids, teres and both upper and lower lats. Try and go up on your toes and shrug your shoulders at the top. The poundage should be too heavy to ‘arm pull’ so don’t try: the arms should be thought of as hooks that hold the poundage. If you try and pull with the arms you run the risk of ripping a bicep.

Deadlift: Once you can no longer pull the bar high enough to be called a high pull, add poundage and segue into deadlifts. The finest single back exercise I know of is a properly executed deadlift. The deadlift stimulates every muscle on the back. The muscular inroad is far greater than anything that can be possibly generated by any combination of isolation exercises. Because the back works together as a cohesive mechanical unit on the deadlift, individual muscles, now bundled, are able to generate incredible force and handle significant poundage; far more than any single back muscle could possibly hope to handle alone. By overloading the collective back muscles to such an intense degree, a deep muscular inroad is dug. A correctly executed deadlift uses the same takeoff positioning procedures as the power clean and high pull. The bar is pulled off the floor with a smooth, steady, ever increasing amount of torque and power. Hold the lockout for a beat before lowering for the next rep. Inhale at the lockout and never loose muscle tension during a set.

My old friend and training partner Mark Challiet pulled 880 while weighing 260 back in 1987. Mark would exert “about 100-pounds worth of upward torque on the bar at the start of each rep.” He’d slowly break the bar from the floor and then begin applying full throttle. The barbell should travel up the vertical shins and stay in contact with the knees and thighs as it moves towards lock-out. At the conclusion of a proper deadlift everything ‘arrives at once’ as muscles torque the skeleton into final lock-out configuration. Stand erect on locked legs for a beat before lowering. At lock-out the buttocks are tensed and shoulders are held back and erect. Lower the bar slowly back down the shins and thighs. Again, never lose muscular tension during the set. The barbell plates barely kiss the floor before reversing direction and beginning the upward pull on the next rep. The spine stays arched throughout the lift. The muscles of the back are flexed throughout. Throw the chin up and the head back as you ascend and do not allow the butt to rise up: it will if you let it. The butt must be kept under the shoulders. Don’t bounce deadlift reps.

Stiff-legged Deadlift: Also known as the Romanian deadlift this is a lower back and hamstring developer without peer. After completing the heaviest set of regular deadlifts we’ve ‘topped out’ in terms of sheer poundage and now it’s time to head downward. Strip weight off the deadlift barbell, say 30-40%. Stand erect with the reduced poundage using standard deadlift technique. At the lock-out, unlock the knees and lower the bar, pushing the butt rearward and keeping knees semi-straight but rigid. The hips are the fulcrum: legs stay flexed, back stays flexed. Allow the bar to break away from the body as you lower the bar ever so slowly. Straight arms hold the barbell with an arched spine and taunt torso. The barbell plates touch the floor evenly with a barely audible sound. At the bottom of the stiff-leg deadlift, the ‘turn-around’ where descent becomes ascent, use the hamstrings to power the body erect. As the weights touch the platform begin rising up by leading with the chin and maintaining that tight, arched back. After the first set, rest, then strip off 10% and perform one final set of stiff-legged deadlifts. Purposefully slow the speed of the descent as this accentuates the difficulty and throws the stress on the hamstrings. After 2-3 sets of cleans, 2 sets of high pulls, 2-3 sets of deadlifts and 2 sets of stiff-legged deadlifts, you will be crispy fried – but we keep going.

Row with Barbell: We strip weight off the stiff-leg barbell and keep going, performing two sets of strict barbell rows. Cut the final stiff-leg deadlift poundage by 20-30%. The row is a great latissimus builder but heave and momentum are to be avoided. Legs are kept semi-flexed and the back is arched as the torso is held parallel to the floor. To commence rows, stand approximately one foot behind the barbell and bend forward, the torso held parallel to the floor. Grab the bar with a wide grip. The grip used for power cleans, high pulls, deadlifts and stiff-legged deadlifts is the same, slightly wider than shoulder width. On rowing move the grip out six inches on each side. Pull the bar off the floor and allow it to dead hang before pulling the bar upward to contact the sternum. Do not heave upward from the hip joint – that makes the lift easier and this is to be avoided. The entire position is frozen and immobile. Pull the bar to the chest using the back instead of the arms. This is a subtle technical point; pull back and up leading with the elbows instead of using the biceps. Heaving upward from the waist to start each rep turns a great lat exercise into a lousy erector exercise. Strip weight off between the 1st and 2nd set and pride yourself on strict execution.

Chins, Pullups and Final Thoughts: I like to finish my progressive pull workout with two sets of chins and two sets of pull-ups. I use straps and attach myself to the chin bar. This takes the grip out of the equation and allows me to dead hang stretch between reps. After all the spinal compression of progressive pulls, the dead-hang stretch between chin and pull-up reps feels great and is highly beneficial for back and spine. Hanging stretches the spine and is the perfect compliment to the spinal compression that is incumbent with intense pulling. Chins and pulls are a nice way to end a brutal session of pull, pull, pull – it’s almost a cool down. The entire progressive pull routine should take a solid 60-75 minutes to complete. I would strongly advise consuming a post-workout smart bomb shake consisting of 20-40 grams of protein and 60-100 grams of carbohydrate. By replenishing the body with nutrients after a grueling session, fuel is rushed to traumatized muscles at the perfect time.

If you want to add slabs of muscle onto your posterior, get to pulling
charlie t

by charlie t » Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:01 pm

Paul Wrenn former WR holder in the squat.

charlie t

by charlie t » Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:02 pm

Squat routine By J Kuc

charlie t

by charlie t » Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:04 pm

Jeff Magruder

charlie t

by charlie t » Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:06 pm

Jay Rosciglione

charlie t

by charlie t » Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:08 pm

Ausby Alexander

charlie t

by charlie t » Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:10 pm

Jeff Maddy

charlie t

by charlie t » Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:11 pm

Ted Arcidi

charlie t


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