Thursday, May 30, 2013


Muscle Mag Bull

If the sole focus of all the trainees in all the gyms in the whole world was strength gain, if progressive poundage's were the only and I mean only, concern of the training population what would we have? Answer: A hell of a lot more muscle!

Unfortunately strength gain is usually the last thing that the majority of the training population think of. No they are usually thinking of the more comfortable, easy and gimmicky way of training. Thought up by some con man waiting for you buy something of him. They are going for the pump, they are 'hitting various fibres and aspects of the muscle or they are taking a magical supplements that will pack 20 lbs on your body, guaranteed to rip you off. Why oh why can't these people apply some common sense: lift big weights get big muscles!

Or maybe the question should be why oh why are the on shelf mags filling their head with such rubbish that they are blinded to the obvious and simple answer ?(strength gain on Abbreviated routines) The muscle mags industry is only concerned with making money through selling their muscle comics or their bogus supplements. I believe that the individuals responsible for these magazines are solely responsible in one way or another for every trainee that has had little or no progress. If all of the trainees of the world concentrated on strength, can you see that the Iron Game would not be in the mess it is in today. Simply because the volume, pumping , detail focusing, supplement sipping sh#t would not be used, Why ? It does not produce any results either as strength gain and therefore muscle gain! Instead the great tradition of hard abreiviated progressive training would have been carried on from the strongmen of yesteryear such as Joesph Hise ,Henry Steinborn and Peary Rader to the majority of trainees rather to the minority such as us. As it is most people (The steriod bragade) laugh at my training and have only heard of people like Arnie and Ronnie Coleman, fools..


Let me say this now the only way to make muscles grow is to cotinually put them under more stress than they are used to and the only way to do this is to use progressive poundages . You do not grow by adding another set, using beyond failure tecniques or by changing your routine often. Actually these are usually the very things that inhibit growth. Leave these techniques until you are advanced, and be cearful with them then. What can you squat and / or deadlift now ? imagine 30to 50 lbs more on the bar in six months time and then another 30 to 40 lbs in another six months. Now imagine what you will look like at the end of that year . Can't you see that by getting stronger you will also get bigger ? Can't you see that getting stronger is the only way to get bigger?

Therefore why not concentrate only on your strength and nothing else. Not the number of sets, reps or intensity. If you are already training very hard (and I mean very Hard) and if you are gaining in strength your intensity is fine. If you are gaining strength then all of these are in good order. Nor should you get caught up in the details of training. If you are getting stronger and stronger they do not matter to you.

A while ago I watched a young man perform four sets of pulldowns, four sets of cable rows followed by four sets of hammer rows using the same weight that he had been using for months ! Now this man nows all there is to no about how to train unsuccesfully. He has tried all the methods that are out there, he could tell you what a particular bodybuilding star was eating on a wedensday morning for breakfast, but of course he had not gained any muscle or strength for as long as I have known him. I asked him 'what would you look like if you devoted your training to just two sets of pulldowns, two sets of an upper body press and one set of very hard squats while adding one or two poundes a week to the bar until you were squatting 300lbs for twenty reps and pulling and benching 250 for reps ?' It clicked. The answer ' A hell of a lot bigger' ! I am glad to report that he is now making great progress on an abreiviated schedual.


How many times have you changed your routine in the past year? 6,7,8 times or more? Why did you change it ? Were you really not gaining strength from it? Did you need a mental change or pace after a long stretch on the same routine? That is a good reason to change it. But many people are just searching for the perfect routine and change their routine way too often. Give it at least 4 months to work.

I can tell you that there are only two types of routine, those that work and those that don't, those that you can gain strength from and those that you can not. If you are gaining strength on your routine on a continual basis then stick to it for at least four months and even longer if you don't feel the need to change. I have to admit that I have changed my routine too often in the past. I also have to admit that I have nowhere near the strength and size that I should have by now. I was not focused on strength. If you change your routine for no good reason, You will not stick to any exercisces for long enough to gain much strength from them. If your focus is on strength you will not change a fine routine that was producing significant strength gains for no good reason.

A Change of pace

So when should and when shouldn't you change your routine? Most Importantly you SHOULD change an exercise if, even after sensible modifications, it hurts you (actual sharp pain not muscular fatigue) for example recently I had to stop doing chins after a pain in my right bicep so I substituded with hammer rows .

DO change your routine if it is unproductive, and I mean really unproductive not just unproductive so as you can try a workout you just read in the latest issue of your favourite journal.

If you focus (and I mean really focus 100%) on the adding next 10lbs then the next then the next to the bar on each of your exercises you will become very strong and you will add many, many pounds of muscle to your body before you realise it.

This pure focus on strength will help you set clear and acheivable goals in the gym, you will strive for them, battle for them and achieve them. What a sense of satisfaction it is to realise these goals and revel in the satisfaction, enjoy it and then move on to your next goal . By doing this you will enjoy the journey to the end results of being big and strong.

Physical Culture

Vital Nutrition

Read More »

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

NAUTILUS BULLETIN #2 - By Arthur Jones

Read More »

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

NAUTILUS BULLETIN #1 - By Arthur Jones

Read More »

Monday, May 27, 2013


Assistant Strength Coach University of Michigan
Originally posted on on December 8, 1999

When I took over the University of Michigan Wrestling strength program I was shocked. I have been involved with sports ranging from football to gymnastics and I thought I had seen some of the toughest athletes the sporting world had to offer.

The intensity and dedication to the sport of college wrestling is another level. The practices these guys go through would crush the most hard core athletes. Not only is wrestling a grueling sport physically, it is one of the most mentally challenging sports I have ever been involved with.

The challenge I had was to try to come up with a strength program that would produce physical gains, as well as challenge the athletes psychologically. The thing that made it difficult is that wrestlers are some of the most overtrained athletes in the world. Constantly monitoring their weight, competing and training at a breakneck pace, and performing well in the classroom were all factors I had to take into consideration.

Lifting sessions were to take place at 6:30 AM after about 45 minutes of hard conditioning. As if it wasn't hard enough to get college kids motivated to train hard at 6:30 in the morning they were crushed from an intense running session!

I don't know how many of you reading this have been blessed with the opportunity to train a collegiate wrestler, but you will not find an athlete who is more in tune with their body. Most of these kids know what they have to do to be in peak physical condition. I decided to give them the opportunity to make some choices on their own instead of force feeding them exercises. Here is a typical day in the weight room with Michigan Wrestling:

Manual Neck - we always train our neck. If you have ever seen a wrestling match you know why this is a main point of emphasis.

Any Shrug - whether they choose dumbbells, barbells or machine shrugs, I don't care. Just train HARD.

Any Shoulder - pick any shoulder exercise you want. You MUST get 20 reps. I try to get them to pick a weight that they can get for 10 hard reps and try to get 20 unassisted reps. It may take 2 or 3 attempts to get to 20.

Chin ups - a set of 20 rep chin ups. Now if you have ever told an athlete to do a high rep set of an exercise the first thing that breaks down is form. NOT AT MICHIGAN! Every rep starts form a dead hang, no swinging of the legs, you must pause at the top for a full second in order for the rep to count. The athlete does as many perfect reps as possible, and continues until he gets 20 unassisted reps.

Hammer Flat Bench - Using a double progression you must get at least 8 reps. Once we get to 10 reps the weight goes up. One set, a few forced reps until momentary muscular failure is achieved.

Rope Climb - 4 sets. We have the benefit of having 2, 15 foot ropes hanging from the ceiling in our wrestling room. Climb until you touch the ceiling, that's 1. Some of our kids can climb using no feet, while our heavier guys need an extra pair of feet to get to the top. But they all GET IT DONE!

Hammer Incline - one set must get at least 8 reps. Once they get 10 weight gets jacked up.

Straight Bar Curls - by this time their grip is pretty fried. Wrestling comes down to grip.

Rope-a-Dope - we use a 40 foot tug of war rope. Standing in a good athletic position you must pull your partner the length of the rope, TWICE. If their grip wasn't fried before....I think I smell smoke. This is a great exercise for core strength.

Ground Base Push/Pull - again concentrating on core strength. We usually vary the reps but during the season we use higher reps with heavy weight to make the workout a little more metabolically challenging.

Dips - 20 rep set. Concentrate on perfect form, one second pause on the top and bottom of the movement. Do it the hard way!

Any Bicep - 20 reps, last upper body exercise.....finish strong!

We have now concluded the upper body portion of our program. Our leg routine is very brief and intense.

Hammer Leg Press - 30 reps. We don't do many forced reps, but concentrate on perfect form.

Wall Sit - I like this exercise because it is hell on the psyche. Upper thigh parallel to the floor, feet shoulder width apart. I like to get a little bit of inner thigh involved by having them touch their knees together. The key to wall sit is to get them IMMEDIATELY on the wall from the leg press.

Blocks - I have a nice collection of about a dozen pieces of 2 by 4s. They are cut into about 6 inch long blocks. I have the kids get on all fours similar to a bear crawl position. With their hands on the blocks they must push the blocks the length of the hallway. Down the hall and back is one, they must do 6.

Calves - we usually just do these on the Hammer leg press. 20 reps to finish off a nicely roasted pair of legs.

This workout takes about 30-40 minutes. Each athlete pairs up and one partner goes through the entire workout before his partner.

I could not ask for a better group of athletes to work with. Our kids are dedicated and highly motivated which makes my job easy.


Physical Culture

Vital Nutrition

Read More »

Become an Athlete; The Secret to Goal Achievement - By Krista Schaus

Women seem to always be looking for the secret to attaining their fitness or weight loss goals. Well, the secret is out. It is virtually fool proof and almost guaranteed to bring the results you want. Become an athlete.

If you were to take a journey back to the roots of athleticism, you would likely start at 776 BC, the time of the first Olympic Games in Ancient Greece (No not 1923 when Joe Weider was born). The concept of sport, athleticism and training are not at all new. The Ancient Olympic Games went on for over 1100 years and were considered of such utmost importance that people ceased all warfare once every 4 years for the Games. In those times and up until this century, people did not "work out" for recreational or cosmetic purposes. They either trained in a given event or sport, worked in manual labor or actively performed day to day duties; there was no "working out". The ancient Greeks were highly competitive and believed strongly in the concept of agon or "competition," "contest." The goal was to be the best.

At what point the picture of peak athleticism transformed from that of an Olympian to that of Joe Weiders Mr. Olympia is unknown. By the early 1900s bodybuilding, as it is known today, emerged where physical appearance is more important than physical strength. Gone were the days of the strong men and emerged was a form of conditioning that when coupled with drugs, produced physiques that were larger although weaker. An unfortunate change occurred. People started training for more cosmetic purposes. Oddly, the training became the sport.

As a result, today the majority of people who engage in "exercise" do so primarily for improved physical appearance and vain purposes. If the main goal is physical appearance, the more likely one is to use dangerous drugs, supplements or dietary practices in order to attain that goal. It is much easier to take a magic potion, lotion or pill than utilize patient and progressive training practices. If something other than physical appearance is worked into the ultimate goal or vision, the results will be long standing and the personal worth felt, far greater.

Take a look at today's Olympic Creed. It reads as follows: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well." "To have fought well" is NOT the use of steroids or growth hormones, diets pills and cellulite creams, "lose 10 lbs. in a week" diets or liposuction.

Let society go back to that of Ancient Greece. More specifically, you go back to that era where athleticism was the main focus of life and become an athlete. No matter what your goals, they can be attained and maintained if you adopt this mentality.

Do not conjure up images of todays professional athletes who get paid millions and have three trainers, a physiotherapist and a chef. Seemingly, when there is more money to be earned, there is greater abuse of unsafe supplements, substances and training practices. Steroid abuse is rampant in almost every sport. The higher the level of competition, the greater the odds of abuse and corruption. That is not what athleticism is all about. Think of the amateurs who don't get paid a cent. They train and compete simply for the love of the sport. They train hard, and they train clean. The only results or gains they want come directly from them, not a bottle or syringe. And unlike most lines of work, you will get out of your training 100% of what you put into it. There is no politics, nepotism, sexist, racism, double standards or special treatment.

To become an athlete you must train in an activity or event you enjoy, simply love and can get obsessed with and addicted to. Those who lift know exactly what that obsession is all about. The Iron Game is a sport and one that everyone can become an avid athlete in. With lifting in mind, there are a variety of events or activities within the sport: Olympic lifting, Power lifting, Strength Competing, Discus, Javelin, Shot put, Arm Wrestling, Ultimate Fitness Challenges, Obstacle Courses, Strong Man Competition... Or you can use the same guidelines for other sports like soccer, martial arts, track and field, and endurance events.

Motivation. Motivation is a key stipulation to becoming an athlete. Where does the motivation come from? How do you acquire the extreme drive and dedication required? To this there is no simple answer; no detailed, outlined step by step guide. You first have to have a goal or a vision. Then you have to somehow muster up the necessary energy to get your butt off the couch and into action.

For the majority, the initial motivation usually comes from hitting your version of rock bottom. Maybe you can't really play with your kids anymore because you are too winded after 2minutes of a game of tag, or your favorite pair of jeans won't go past your hips anymore, or you saw yourself on a home video and were shocked at your own image. Take that initial frustration, disgust or negativity and turn it into positive energy and get started. Rather than falling into depression, do something about it. Get mad. Get even! Show your body exactly what you are cable of doing with it. Write down a plan of action that coincides with your goals and do it day by day, week by week, month by month.

If you are already in pretty decent shape and just want to be in the best shape you can, think of a sport or event you used to excel in. Pick something that you maybe once competed in and still have the medals or trophies in the basement to prove it. Go get those momentos, dust them off and hold them, feel them, smell them. Remember what it felt like to train, compete and even at times win. Use those memories of the past to motivate your training. Apply that energy to propel your mind, soul and body into action and achieving your goals.

If you still don't get it...think of the U.S. Women's Soccer team at the time of the winning goal. Do you recall Brandi Chastain kicking the winning goal? Where she, in a blaze of utter manic glory, ripped off her jersey and exposed the impressive physical results of her hard training and dedication to her sport? That is what being an athlete is all about. How could you not be impressed with that? Everyone watching experienced exactly what it feels like to be an athlete, at that moment. If that isn't motivation enough, what is?

Even if your immediate goal is to lose 15 lbs. or get back into your "skinny clothes" or to look good for your cruise coming up, set that goal on the back burner and use your primary goal as being the best athlete you can. Find a local contest, competition or a charity event as your challenge. If you can't find one, challenge your workout partner or a friend to a serious, yet fun competition. Dont make it "who can lose or gain the most weight in 3 months". Better yet, make it "who can improve their bench press the most", a body weight squat challenge, a race, fun obstacle course, or a some other form of a strength or endurance competition. Without a goal you can see down the road and know you have to prepare for, it is too easy to give up or put it off. Make the goal challenging and fun.

News Flash: "Weight training" and "Aerobics" are not sports or events. They are training methods and that is ALL they are. It is quite humorous that members of the "fitness industry" are pushing to have aerobics as an Olympic Demonstration sport. That would be like having stationary cycling, treadmill?! Can you see it now! "John Smith wins gold in the treadmill and sets a new Olympic record by beating last years gold medal time of 6 minutes at a 30% incline and 5.0 miles per hour!!" You get the point. Use a variety of training methods; if you so desire, as a further means of excelling in your sport, but the training is NOT the sport.

That is the difference between the way training used to be and the way it is now. Now everyone is "lifting weights", but there are very few true lifters left. There is a significant difference between "lifting weights" and being a Lifter. Lifting weights is a training type and Lifting (Power, Olympic) is a sport. Please dont confuse the two.

There is no reason why women in general cannot, will not or should not get actively involved in the sport of Lifting. It is not just for men, it will not make you more manly or masculine, and it is totally possible for the average woman to excel at Lifting. Lifting will give you the added benefit of true functional strength, and unbelievable confidence and inner strength - something one cannot attain from traditional "toning", "body conditioning" or "resistance training". Simply stated, toning is like taking the scenic route to attaining you goals. Strength training is like taking the express lane; it gets you where you want to go in far less time and with far less frustration. Why do 3 easy sets of 20 reps with little weight when one maximum effort set of 6-8 reps at 20 lbs. would give you the results you are seeking!

Don't allow negativity or excuses to set up mental or physical roadblocks. Athletes understand the importance of visualization and the power of positive thinking. This is absolutely essential and one aspect of training that many are hindered by. Even by training hard and consistently and eating properly, progress will be greatly hindered if negativity is involved in the equation. Focus on your strengths and let them overcome your weaknesses. Start out every day thinking about what you can and will do and you will mentally set the stage for the rest of the day. Do this everyday and positive thinking will become an old habit.

Diet. This also is simple. Would an athlete eat garbage or drink beer on the weekends? No. Plain and simple. Eat as an athlete. Eat quality, wholesome, clean foods in order to fuel your workouts and to achieve optimum results. Don't cut back on calories to the point that you have no energy, and don't stuff yourself to the point of being lethargic and couch ridden. Drink plenty of water for hydration and purification. The purpose of eating is fuel. Food is not social. Food is not a means of gratification and reward. Food is not an anti-depressant or a warm sweet friend. Food is fuel and energy. See is as such and use it as such.

Rest. Would an athlete stay out until 2:00 in the morning, then get up and train? Or worse yet, would they stay out until 2:00 in the morning, then not get up and train because they are too tired or hung over? A serious athlete would not, and you are a serious athlete. Simple.

Training. Training does not have to be difficult. Yes, physically it will not be a walk in the park (literally and figuratively), but it does not have to be technical. The more simple a training or workout program is, the more effective and the more likely one is to stick with it. Basically, pick your sport, do it consistently and get progressively better at it. Train specifically according to your sport. Do not waste your precious time and energy on exercises that have no real benefit to your athletic goals or your sport. Progressively get quicker, stronger, better. If you consider yourself an athlete, you are more likely to avoid injury. A main goal of an athlete is the avoidance of injury. Athletes will ensure they do a proper warm up by first preparing the body for activity. The will increase the body's temperature and adequately stretch the muscles before, during and/or after. An athlete will consciously think about over-training and get adequate rest in between training sessions. An athlete will think first before getting involved in spontaneous bouts of activity or brief encounters of immaturity or stupidity. Basically, an athlete will not take unnecessary risks. They think before they act.

By becoming an athlete, the goals you set on the back burner will magically be achieved as an added bonus. You will excel as an athlete in your chosen sport AND you will be stronger, slimmer and leaner. Change the focus and the results will not only make you look better, but also the attainment of those goals will make you feel better. Go back to the roots of athleticism, sport and physical activity. Reprogram your brain and rid yourself of the current brainwashed stereotypes and beliefs about "working out" and attaining the perfect body.

Become an athlete.

Physical Culture

Vital Nutrition

Read More »

Wanted: Self Defense and Martial Arts questions for Brad Steiner

Professor Bradley J. Steiner is very generous with his time and is nice to share his knowledge with our readers. Please email questions for Brad (to me) at Brad will answer them in his section in Special Features on
Read More »

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Strength Basics For Women - By Cheryl Zovich

I lay crumpled on the gym floor having just finished a grueling set of squats when Donna Determined marched in. I rolled for cover. She strode fiercely toward the Smith machine and had I not moved, I'm certain she would have snarled and advanced right over me! It must be leg day, I thought.

I watched as she loaded the machine and warmed up with robot-like precision. My knees ached in sympathy as she pound out five progressive sets with moderate weight. Since I was close to finished and somewhat fascinated, I decided to casually observe the rest of her leg workout. Presses were next, followed by extensions, curls, lunges, SLDL and calves. Her entire leg routine took over an hour. Just watching her drained me, but not Miss Determined! She had energy to spare! Why? Because never once did she come close to challenging her muscles to the point of fatigue. I was perplexed.

I know Donna has the ability to build tremendous strength yet she fails to come close to tapping her full potential. Why is this? First, let me say that Donna is a seasoned lifter. She trains with determination and reliability. She has focus and concentrates hard on the job at hand. What she DOESN'T have is a good grasp of WHY she's training and how the LACK of that effects her results! Donna is not alone. My gym (and I'm sure yours too)! is filled with women who are certain they should be working out, but have not defined for themselves why. They're pretty sure that training has something to do with body shape (improving it) and if they read or watch TV they would have to be comatose not to get the message that exercise is healthy! But still, women are not sure just HOW lifting weights should be applied to their gender or why!

Primarily, I think women end up in a gym because no woman wants to be fat! This dread of fat is so intense that the very word BIG will send shivers of fear down the spine of even the most courageous woman. In fact, the actual lingo of a gym is probably enough to cause the majority of women to stampede toward the exit! Size, gain, big, increase, heavy, hard, squat, are words that by their description make the average woman shudder and recoil in horror. They invoke the image of stuff that men are made of, not ladies. Is it any wonder that the concept "tone" was conceived for women? Its such a kinder, gentler word for...Um, well. You know. EXERCISE!

Most women decide to join a gym with no actual plan in mind. When they first began to work out they were probably shown a ridiculous number of exercises by some idiot who initiated them with either too much weight or not enough. If she was positively a rookie, then she probably has no understanding of the connection between weights and strength and likely none was provided. Sounds odd, but I can't begin to tell you how many women think their arms got "toned" simply through osmosis. (Or some other scientific explanation.) Possibly, she might look around to see what other women are doing which of course, is a grave mistake. If she was unfortunate enough to be bunny of the week she might get lots of additional (bad) instruction and (stupid) advice from resident pumpers. Her prevailing objective for working out will most likely be to stay (or get) trim and "tone" her muscles, not to get bigger or stronger. Elementary, here. Given that she doesn't do anything to encourage strength, she’ll become trapped in "pumper hell" lifting the same weights forever, making little or no significant changes. Her entire routine eventually will become boring and her goals will remain undeveloped, making her another gym fatality.

I have actually overheard novice female lifters being told that lifting weights will not make them big. Well, duh! If you don’t lift ENOUGH weight, you’ll stay pretty much the same and if you don’t eat enough food to feed a starving bird, you won’t grow! If you’re not doing either, then why are you taking up space in a gym in the first place? For those women reading this who are currently hedging between lifting for strength or staying in pumper-toner hell, I have news for you. Getting stronger WILL require that you change your structure. Now, for those of you who have the spine to accept that, read on.

For those of you who don’t, this isn’t written for you. Go back to starving, lifting 5 lb. dumbbells and reading Shape.

Getting strong is going to make you larger. There is no avoiding that hurdle, so you may as well decide here and now if you are willing to take the leap. How you will look individually depends upon how much change you force your structure to undergo. There are women who are very strong and maintain a reasonably lean physique. There is also the opposite. All judgments aside, the only opinion that matters is your own. Unfortunately, too many women worry about what everyone from their male audience to their neighbors will think. Until you reach the point where you don’t give a hoot about pleasing the public, this will continue to be THE sticking point for 99% of all women who lift. Once a woman decides she wants to be strong, I have little doubt that she will ever really care what others think of her appearance. Now THAT’S freedom, ladies!

So what’s it going to take to get strong? First, at the very top of your list should be DESIRE. If you don’t want strength badly enough, all the other sacrifices you’ll need to make will feel like a burden when the time comes to make them. Second, if you don’t already own some patience I suggest you go out and buy some because getting strong, REALLY strong, takes time. And while you’re waiting in line to pay for that, grab a handful of common sense, because that will come in handy too.


OK. You’re over your fear of BIG, you have desire, patience and common sense. Now what? Well, the hard part! You lift! It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or advanced lifter, you need to pick about 5 core compound exercises and work the dickens out of them. I’m talking about the same core exercises MEN use, ladies. Squats, bench (or dips) chins, overhead presses and weighted abs. And when I say work, I mean WORK, as in adding weight to the bar as frequently as possible or adding a rep every workout. If you have any doubts as to the effectiveness of this type of training, try it for a few months and see for yourself! If you question just how tough lifting HARD should be, visualize lifting to the point where the mere THOUGHT of lifting more makes your stomach lurch and your mind reel. Then go back and DO IT!


As you begin to learn what real honest hard work is, make sure you take the time to educate yourself. Read, talk with other experienced, seasoned lifters. Evaluate your progress frequently. Make sure you log your workouts thoroughly. It doesn’t take a lot of smarts to lift, but you sure have to be smart to remember WHAT you lifted and how it felt! Don’t be quick to make changes in your routine or jump ship until you have a clear idea of how your training is working for you. Make changes only after you have been following a program long enough to see a documented disadvantage in an exercise.

Common Sense

Most women are more than able to handle lifting with focus and intensity. However, inadequate caloric and protein requirements coupled with insufficient rest are probably the two biggest stumbling blocks in progress.

Women have forgotten how to eat. Remember how you felt in your teens watching guys eat while you starved? Do you recall feeling envious of their metabolism? Well, pay back is a bitch! You need to start eating to fuel your lifting and the diet you want to follow isn’t recommended by Oprah! When I upped my average protein intake to a minimum of 1.5 grams per pound of lean body mass my strength and energy took off. You can’t imagine how nice it will be to EAT after years of thinking you couldn’t.

A word about rest. When I say rest, I don’t just mean the kind that you get at night but also the sort you get from taking more days off between workouts. Lifting more than three times a week is not only unnecessary, but damaging to your progress. Twice a week is even better once the weight begins to creep into the very heavy category. Remember, your body grows and repairs during the days you are not lifting. Make sure that you give yourself the advantage of enough rest between work sessions or you will risk over training your gains away. You can kiss those days of lifting four times a week and running five good-bye! (I’m not sure who started that guilt driven craze in the first place, but in my opinion when we find out, they ought to be shot.)

Women who want to get strong need to follow the same basic prescription for strength that men have been using for years. Lifting weights is not a gender specific endeavor. Don’t treat it as though it is. Make goals and get serious about them by doing what has to be done, which in short means NOT doing what everyone else is doing! And finally, seek support from like-minded lifters who will honor you for the creditable athlete that you are!

Physical Culture

Vital Nutrition

Read More »

Friday, May 24, 2013

WOMEN H.I.T. HARD TOO - By Dave Durell

Originally posted on on June 30, 2000

Interview with Patty Durell

Q- When did you first start weight training?

A- I first started weight training in 1988 when I was approximately 22 years old.

Q- How did you train when you first started and what kind of results did you get?

A- I first started training in a place that had a lot of Nautilus equipment, so I would do their circuit, however it was lined up, and whatever the guy at the gym told me to do, or whatever my friends were doing, is how I would exercise. I would put the pin in the stack at a weight I could handle and do 3 sets of 10. I dont remember really getting results, other than a feeling of satisfaction that I was doing something good for myself. I would do some type of aerobic exercise, either on the stairstepper or the bike or play racquetball, and then whatever I felt like doing that day, whatever machines were open, is what I would do. Sometimes I was there like an hour and a half and I was a smoker at the time so I might take a break in the middle of my routine and go have a cigarette and then come back and play a game of racquetball or finish my circuit training. I dont smoke anymore.

Q- How were you first introduced to High Intensity Training (H.I.T.)?

A- I was first introduced to H.I.T. when I met Dave Durell, who is now my husband. That was in January of 1993. He introduced me to a different style of training, and I have used that style of training ever since.

Q- What kind of results have you gotten from H.I.T.?

A- Well, Im at least 20 pounds lighter than I was when I was when I first started doing this, and at the time when I met Dave I was teaching karate and working out in the gym daily for at least an hour, sometimes 2 hours, so I was doing a lot of aerobic activity and weight training on a daily basis in the gym, so I was training probably 5 days a week in the gym and doing 10 hours or more a week of aerobics. Now, Im about 20 pounds lighter and in the best shape Ive ever been. I workout about once every 5 days and I only do aerobic activity for pleasure. I like to ride my bike and it makes me feel good to get out and ride. When I first started training I remember doing leg extensions with 50 pounds. Im currently using 180 pounds on that machine (note: Patty's bodyweight is in the mid 120s). My strength has increased by leaps and bounds, and it continues to increase, although at a much slower rate now as Ive been training like this for 7 years now. In the beginning I just couldnt believe the strength gains I was making, or that I had the potential to lift such kinds of weights.

Q- What changes, if any, have you made in your training program as you've progressed?

A- When I first started doing this style of training I can remember working out every other day, which was a difficult step for me to make because I was working out every day for a lot of hours and all of a sudden I was working out every other day for maybe 45 minutes at a time. I noticed that I wasn't progressing like I would like to or like I thought I should, and after a lot of education Dave convinced me to decrease the amount of exercises I was doing and increase my rest time and increase the intensity of my workout, so I started to make gains again. We started to work out every 3rd day, and again reached a plateau, not increasing with strength, and then started to add more rest time again, cut out some of the single joint movements and put more compound movements in and just work at an all out intensity until you just cant work anymore. Now every 5th day seems to be working out well for us. I think the plateaus that we reach now are just the end of our genetic limits.

Q- Describe a typical workout.

A- A typical workout for me is, I might do a leg press, Im currently using 380 pounds on a Cybex leg press, and then Ill go to a seated calf raise and I'm currently using 135 pounds on that. Then I'll do a Hammer shrug, I'm currently using 135 on that. Hammer bench, currently using 70 pounds. Pulldowns, I can use 110 pounds. Although I have shoulder problems, I try to add a rear delt or lateral raise in after that exercise, and I try to do some kind of ab work either with that routine or the next routine. I have an A routine and a B routine that I typically use- that was my A routine. The B routine is, I use leg extension-180 pounds, hip abduction and adduction-120 pounds on both of those, Hammer decline-I'm up to 100 pounds on that, Hammer seated row-I'm doing 90 pounds, and again I'll either do a Hammer lateral or rear delt, whatever I didn't do on my A workout I'll do on this workout. Sometimes that's a little variable; it depends on how worn out I am. Sometimes out of boredom or just for a mental push we'll change up the routine and we'll do what we call crazy 5s where we'll maybe lower the weight a little bit and do a 5 second positive, hold for 5 seconds and a 5 second negative and do as many of those as we can. Or, we might do what we call 50 percent where well do as many reps as we can with the weight were using, rest one minute and then try to get at least half as many reps as we did the first set. It's just to try and keep it a little more interesting so you don't get bored with your workout. Other than that we warmup, maybe a little stretch before, maybe do half your weight for a couple of reps just so you're ready and you've got good form. Form is essential, to have proper form throughout the whole set. After warmup, just go for it, do as many reps asyou can with proper form.

Q- What kinds of psychological changes and/or benefits have taken place as a result of your training?

A- I'm definitely more confident in myself. I feel stronger, I don't have as many aches and pains as maybe I used to. I have a very physical job, so it makes my job easier. I've kept weight off, which has always been a struggle of mine, and I'm not doing aerobic activity on a regular basis, although my workouts are definitely getting my heart rate into its target heart rate zone every time I have just a weight training workout. I just overall feel like I'm in the best shape I've ever been in and I like the way I look a whole lot more than I did 7 or 8 years ago.

Q- How do you motivate yourself for your workouts?

A- If my husband isn't watching a H.I.T. training video right before we go to the gym, which will also motivate me, then I try to think about my workout. On the way to the gym I try to think about what exercises I'll be doing and how much weight I'll be lifting and I get psyched up knowing I can move that much weight around, so by the time I get to the gym I try to be in a zone, ready to workout and ready to push as hard as I can until I can't push anymore. I think knowing I only have to torture myself once every 5 days and push to my limit for only a half hour to 45 minutes also helps me get psyched up, knowing that I can handle that.

Q- What type of diet, if any, do you follow?

A- I follow just a well rounded, good eating diet. I would say I probably eat 60% carbohydrates, 25% protein and 15% fats. I try to stick to that and watch what I eat so that I can maintain the energy to get my workouts done but also maintain my physique. I drink a lot of water, I try to drink a gallon of ice cold water a day. I take a multi vitamin, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E.

Q- Whats the funniest thing thats happened to you in the gym?

A- I guess I would have to say there's two. The first time I was working out with my husband to the max (he was my boyfriend at the time) and I told him I felt like I was going to throw up, and he thought that was really cool, that I was going to throw up after one set of bicep curls. And in fact I did throw up, and when he realized I had done that he thought that was really cool. The second funniest thing was while I was doing a set of chest flyes on a machine and I was obviously working hard, working my butt off and gasping for every breath I could take, this woman was yelling at me during the set that if I decreased the range of motion on the lever arms and decreased the weight I wouldnt have to work so hard.

Q- What advice would you give women who read this interview who are interested in starting an exercise program?

A- The first advice I would give them is to get the "I want to tone" idea out of your head and that "if I lift heavy weights I'm going to look big". I think I'm pretty strong and I think I lift pretty heavy weights and I'm definitely not a Lenda Murray-looking woman. I would say you can lift heavy weights and achieve your desired results without bulking up- I think that's a genetic response only and not a response to lifting heavy weights. I also think it's very important to have a good, reliable training partner who has the same goals in mind as you do to achieve through weight training.

Q- What advice would you give women who have training experience but are not making progress?

A- I would say they have to take a close look at the 3 variables to weight training- that's intensity, duration and frequency. You really need to look hard at what your intensity level is. It's easy to think that you're putting an all-out effort into your workout, but I think we all have a little bit more in us that we can push through. So if you're not making progress, one of those variables needs to be changed. Either you have to increase your intensity, decrease your frequency or increase your rest time. Change those variables accordingly and you'll probably start to make progress again. You also probably need to take a look at your diet. Maybe youre not taking in enough energy or fuel to get the job done too. If you are training at a high intensity rate, maybe you just dont have enough gas in your tank to get your engine to run as hard as it can and as far as it can.

Q- Do you have any parting comments for the readers?

A- GET SERIOUS! Don't believe everything you see or read, especially when it comes to weight training. As with everything in life, you should apply logic and reason to your decisions. For a good basic understanding of diet and nutrition, I recommend reading Ellington Darden, especially his Body Defining book. I also recommend doing your own research on proper training techniques. A good place to start would be to read the articles on this website, Natural Strength; also, Cyberpump. And of course read articles written by my husband, Dave Durell, for a logical understanding of high intensity and proper training techniques.

Physical Culture

Vital Nutrition

Read More »

HIT and the Middle Aged Woman, A Brief Case Study - By Jay Trigg

Originally posted on on June 19, 2000

Linda. White Female, age 42, starting BW approx. 154 lb. Height: 5’8", BF%, approx 34%

Linda came to me, as a referral from another client, and was looking to lose weight and increase her general sense of physical well-being. She has no sports aspirations, and has no desire to lift or compete competitively. Due to my exposure to Ken Leistner, the writings of Bob Whelan, Steve Baldwin (possibly the most under-recognized authority on training issue facing middle aged and older men and women) Ken Mannie, Fred Hatfield II, and Matt Bryzicki, as well as personal preferences, I train all clients as athletes, no matter what their "starting point". My opinion is that everyone benefits form a level of athletic preparation, which produces a greater positive effect than building "beach muscles", or attempting to "spot reduce". However, realizing her desire for a changed physical appearance I attempted to (as best I could) focus to some degree on her "problem areas", so that she could see a quick change in her body that would inspire hope and confidence. Recognizing her low level of existing physical fitness, I set a foundational routine to develop a base level of strength and conditioning, and would (and continue to) add more challenging lifts as her skills and confidence increase.

Lifts utilized between 3/31/00 and 5/26/00

Nautilus Leg Press
Stiff Leg Deadlift
Nautilus Pullover
Nautilus Overhead Press (Duo-Poly,
Parallel Grip Military Press (free weight)
Nautilus Compound Row (Duo-Poly)
High Pulley Triceps Push Down
Nautilus Preacher Curl
Nautilus Leg Extension
Trap Bar Deadlift
Nautilus Leg Curl
Nautilus Pulldown
Nautilus 10 Degree Chest (Flying movement)
Calf Press on Leg Press machine
Manual Resistance: front (deltoid) raise, military press, lateral (deltoid) raise

Initial Routine (3/31 through 4/28)

Day one:

Cycle three times through these exercises:

Leg extension
Leg Curl
10-degree chest

then abs and calf

Day Two

Leg Press
Stiff leg deadlift
Nautilus Overhead press
Compound Row
Triceps push down
Preacher curl

Routine from 5/1/00 through 5/26/00

Day one:
Same as Day two above, only substituting parallel grip Military press for Nautilus overhead press beginning 5/19/00

Day two:

Trap Bar deadlift
Leg curl
10-degree chest
Manual Resistance: front (deltoid) raise, military press, lateral (deltoid) raise

The first two weeks of the routine were spent orienting Linda to the exercises and their performance. No sets were taken to failure, and multiple sets were used to determine strength levels and to provide some intensity over time, due to minimal intensity "per set". After 2 weeks, Linda began performing 1 set to failure in all machine exercises, and working a "non failure, planned progression" on stiff deadlifts. Meaning she does only 15 reps in that set, but adds 5 lb. per week to the lift. This protocol continues with the Trap Bar deadlifts and stiff deadlifts. Her initial "sets to failure" were stopped well short of true failure, but I couldn’t very well bully her into going further than she was mentally ready to at that time. Each week her tolerance to discomfort increased and her intensity increased as well. Currently she is working to within 2-3 reps of absolute total positive muscular failure, which (in my opinion) is well within the range of typical HIT protocol. While this may not sound "tough" to the uninitiated, it is quite an intense experience for her, with the last rep on most exercises taking 4-6 seconds to complete. I daresay she is working harder than most women in the local area, and possibly as hard as any "hard working woman (or man)" in the area as well.

On most exercises she progressed linearly, via a double progression, with no hitches. Due to my exuberance, I overloaded her on the 10-degree chest machine at week 4, and she stalled out week 5. I under-loaded her in week 6, and was more conservative in weight increases on that exercise afterwards. She has maintained a good progression since. I have found that none of the women make fast progression on this machine, likely due to a general lack of muscle mass across the pectorals.

Weight progression

4/11 - 4/14 Nautilus Leg Press: 135 x 27
Stiff Leg Deadlift: 50 x 15
Nautilus Pullover: 60 x 23
Nautilus Overhead Press (Duo-Poly): 35 x 14
Nautilus Compound Row (Duo-Poly): 60 x 19
High Pulley Triceps Push Down: 35 x 20
Nautilus Preacher Curl: 40 x 15
Nautilus Leg Extension: 75 x 22 (first set)
Nautilus Leg Curl: 65 x 40
Nautilus Pulldown: 80 x 27
Nautilus 10-Degree Chest: 45 x 11

5/24 - 5/26 Nautilus Leg Press: 235 x 25
Stiff Leg Deadlift: 85 x 15
Nautilus Pullover: 100 x 13
Parallel Grip Military Press: 32 ½ x 15
Nautilus Compound Row (Duo-Poly): 110 x 14
High Pulley Triceps Push Down: 80 x 13
Nautilus Preacher Curl: 65 x 16
Trap Bar Deadlift: 90 x 20
Nautilus Leg Curl: 100 x 20
Nautilus Pulldown: 110 x 18
Nautilus 10-Degree Chest: 55 x 10

Physical Culture

Vital Nutrition

Read More »

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

TRAINING WITH A LEGEND - Bruno Sammartino - By Tom Minichiello

Originally posted on on November 29, 1999

Since I first started my weight training in 1944 there was one movement that I love to do more than any other....the wide grip bench press.

I was fortunate enough to have trained with one of the world's strongest men....Bruno Sammartino. For many years Bruno trained at my gym in Manhattan while he was a professional wrestler. The only exercise I did with Bruno was the bench press, which was also his favorite movement.

We would try to get in benching three times per week. We did the pyramid system. In all we would do ten sets. First two sets we used a weight we could do around twenty repetitions, then increase that weight on the next three sets so that we could do no more then eight to ten reps. Once a week on the sixth set we would do a maximum weight effort for one rep. Then slowly decrease the weight and on the 10th. set we would go all out for repetitions.

You must realize that Bruno was wrestling just about every night and doing a lot of traveling. He wanted to keep his strength up - but also most important to him was his endurance in the ring. In those days going thirty to forty minutes in the ring with someone like Killer Kowalski (who was know for his endurance) would totally drain you, you had to be able to endure - hence the reason for the many sets and reps.

Whenever I finished a workout with him I felt that my pec's were going to burst, it was great. One day we had a contest for most repetitions between the two of us. Bruno weighed around 250 and I was 167. He would bench with 330 for most reps and I would use 220 for my reps.

I went first....and only because he was there pushing me on I was able to get out 24 reps with the 220.

Bruno started with his 330....when he reached 20 repetitions all the members came over to watch this strongman do his thing. Then he reached 30.....he looked and sounded like a locomotive.....34....35....36....37....38- THIRTY-EIGHT repetitions with 330 pounds. Mind you, he wrestled the night before in Philadelphia and that morning drove into Manhattan. Bruno's best one rep was 565, if he wasn't wrestling I know he would have been the first to do 600lbs...(NO DRUGS, EVER) This all took place at the Mid- City Gym in 1968.

Bruno Sammartino has always been a natural athlete, he was a champion in or out of the ring.

Physical Culture

Vital Nutrition

Read More »

7th Annual Strength & Conditioning/Athletic Development Conference - (Friday, July 19, 2013 5:00 PM until Saturday, July 20, 2013 4:00 PM)

Former and current NFL and MLB strength coaches, NCAA and NIT champions, NSCA and NCAA conference professional of the year award finalists and winners, master strength and conditioning coaches, international experience, leading high school consultants, personal trainers, nutritionists, psychologists and coaches have all made the starting line-up throughout years. With discussion and hands-on/from-the-field learning opportunities, several organizations have recognized this conference as an approved CEU opportunity. Everyone interested in athletics, strength and conditioning, rehabilitation, and the fitness industry can benefit from the information that will be shared at this year’s conference.

The 7th Annual SC/AD Conference CEUs will be 1.2 NSCA, 9.0 BOC, CSCCa 6.75 and 12 NSPA.

See the potential presenters below (Subject to change).

Mike Gittleson, Former Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the University of Michigan Matt Brzycki, Assistant Director of Campus Recreation, Fitness at Princeton University Sunir Jossan, Head Trainer and Owner of the Personal Edge Doug Scott, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for The Pingry School Dr. Gene Shirokobrod, Physical Therapist at Physical Therapy First James Shipp, Associate Athletic Director of Sports Performance at Towson University Dr. Josh Funk, Founder and President of Lax Factory Robert Taylor, Jr., Founder and Owner of SMARTER Team Training

For more information, go to:

Performance Training Center powered by UNDER ARMOUR (FX Studios - Hunt Valley)
11270 Pepper Road
Cockeysville, MD 21031
Read More »

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Please Buy a T-Shirt to Support Linda Jo in the Master World Games

Thank you for your support for my upcoming trip to the Master World Games in Torino Italy this Summer. As you know Master Athletes are not funded to represent the USA at any International events. I have been selling t-shirts to support my travel.

The Master World Game T shirts are almost sold out only have a few XL and Large left. If I can get enough orders to get another 25 shirts I can place another order. I will need to know and receive the donations before making the order.

If you are interested, they are $25.00 and I will need to know size, and mailing address

If you are interested in helping to support Linda Jo Belsito in her 3rd Master World Games you may choose to:

Donate to her by either purchasing a t-shirt for $25.00. Or you may choose to send a donation of any size to:

Linda Jo Belsito
23009 Winged Elm Drive
Clarksburg, MD, 20871


If you are interested in MWG T-shirts please let me know size and quantity, I will place another order if I get 25 confirmed to order order this week.

Thank you all for you continued support, and I hope to make you proud at the Master World Games, Turino Italy this year.

Linda Jo Belsito
Read More »

Raw Powerlifting - 10 City American Challenge - Starting June 1st - By Paul Bossi

Dear Lifters,

American Challenge (10 cities across the USA) ... NC & NH are the first on June 1st. Limited spots left. There are teams divisions for the American Challenge in Powerlifting and each of the single lifts. There is an Open Team, Master, Mixed (lifters from all ages and women), teenage and women. The fee is $75 and should be paid straight to the 100% RAW main office.

If you are looking to enter the American Challenge you need to get your forms in now. Some events are already closed and others have few spots left.

Click on Website Link for info:

139 Marlas Way
Camden, NC 27921
President - Paul Bossi
Read More »

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Attention all Football Coaches, Strength Coaches, and Performance Coaches - By Ron McKeefery

Come join strength coaches from the Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions, Cincinnati Bengals, University of Michigan, Naval Academy, University of Maryland, Temple, Eastern Michigan, and Western Michigan, Smarter Team Training, and Ultimate Strength and Conditioning present on year round strength and conditioning for football.

(Click on City for info)

Detroit Michigan - May 18, 2013

Baltimore Maryland - May 25th, 2013

Football Strong Clinics are designed for High School & College Football Coaches, Strength and Conditioning Coaches, and Performance Specialist that work with Football players. Three College Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches each speak on one aspect of the Collegiate Annual Strength and Conditioning Plan (Winter, Summer, and Inseason Programs), along with one NFL Strength and Conditioning Coach speaking on their strength and conditioning philosophy. The goal is for the coach or performance specialist to come and be able to walk away with an entire years worth of programming. Then come back the following year and compare their Winter program to what they see this year and next year.

Ron McKeefery, M.A, CSCS, SCCC

Physical Culture

Vital Nutrition

Read More »

BOOK REVIEW - Maximize Your Training - By Fred Fornicola

Originally posted on on November 4, 1999

One of the foremost authorities of HIT, Mr. Matt Brzycki, has collaborated with some of the greatest strength and conditioning coaches of our era to put together a compilation of training experiences and unarguable proven results in a book appropriately called Maximize Your Training. With pioneers of strength and conditioning within the last 20 years such as Ken Mannie, Dr. Ken Leistner, Maximum Bob Whelan, Matt Brzycki (and the list goes on and on), you can benefit tremendously from reading the different approaches that are offered by these great minds. This book is not a full of magic secrets or just routines; it is an approach to training properly with emphasis on the whole picture of developing strength and condition. What Maximize has to offer is different from any book that I have ever read on productive strength training. Not only do you have several great minds contributing to this must read book; it doesn’t have to be read in any sequential order. When I first received this book (courtesy of , I read Matt Brzycki's chapter on Metabolic Conditioning, and if you have the, (pardon this ladies) the balls to do a Matt 3x3 (which I did this morning BTW and I’m paying for it now), you will experience what he is referring to. I also anxiously read Coach Ken Mannies chapter on Athletic Skill Development and then proceeded to read Maximum Bob's input on Balanced Training. As you con tell by the chapter titles, there is MUCH variety to this book and I can’t express to you the in depth but succinct writing that each author put into their contribution. There are some chapters that are extensive and you may not find them very interesting, but that's the beauty of this book, if there is some aspect of this book that doesn't hold your interest, you don’t have to read it right away. It may pertain to you later on down the road, but you'll be glad this book is part of your collection. I know I am.

Physical Culture

Vital Nutrition

Read More »

Thursday, May 2, 2013

High-Tension Multiple Sets for the Lower Body - By Ken Mannie

Ken Mannie is the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach, Michigan State University. (Originally published May 1999)

Strength-training routines for the lower body are often difficult to design due to the lack of exercise choices and/or equipment. As a result, the workouts for this area may easily disintegrate into a monotonous endeavor-dampening enthusiasm and hampering progress.

If variety is the spice of life, it is truly the underpinning of a demanding year-round activity such as strength training. Having accepted this fact over the years, we've developed a lower body training system that provides our trainees with numerous options and fresh challenges on a daily basis.

Before presenting routines, however, it would be helpful to describe our approach to exercise execution:


Within safe limitations, all of the exercises that follow are taken through a full range of motion (ROM). This concept ensures the strengthening of the target musculature - both concentrically (raising the weight) and eccentrically (lowering the weight) - throughout the biomechanical ROM of a specific exercise.

One exception to this rule is the individual who experiences pain or discomfort at certain points in the ROM due to past injuries or related problems.

Another exception is with the squat movement, where we teach a parallel position (i.e., top of the thigh parallel to the floor) at the mid-range posture.


As much as possible, we teach our athletes to reduce unneeded momentum and potentially dangerous jerking and bouncing, regardless of the type of equipment being used (free weights or machines). Our general guideline for movement speed stipulates a 1-2 second concentric contraction and a 3-4 second eccentric contraction.

We also recommend a brief pause (1 second) at the mid-range position, which enables a smooth transition between the concentric and eccentric contractions.


It is wise to avoid various forms of cheating (e.g., twisting the torso when it should remain erect, abnormally arching the low back, "throwing" the weight instead of lifting it, and "dropping" the weight instead of lowering it) in order to accentuate efficiency and be attentive to safety concerns.

Coaches should always emphasize the importance of quality over quantity, as certain trainees will always operate under the "more is better" mentality, even when doing more means doing it improperly.


Accurate records must be kept of all exercises done in these routines. As we have mentioned here before, our primary overload system is the Double Progression Plan. This involves establishing a rep range (e.g., 10-15), finding a weight that allows successful completion of the set at the lower end of the range and staying with that weight until the high end of the range is attained.

When this is accomplished, the weight is raised by a predetermined amount (usually 5-10 pounds for lower body exercises). Only properly performed reps should be recorded. This prevents an unwarranted increase in the weight, which can exacerbate the problem of improper form.


The majority of the exercises to be described here are taken to the point of momentary muscular fatigue (i.e., until no further properly performed reps are attainable). This technique stimulates maximal muscle fiber recruitment in the target area in a highly efficient manner.

(Note: Due to safety considerations, we do not employ this methodology for the squat exercise, as it would place the trainee in a compromising position.)

We should also mention that all sets listed are "work sets" - they do not include any "warm-up" sets the athlete chooses to perform.

With these suggestions in mind, we can now take a closer look at the specific routines.


Leg Press Descending Pyramid

This routine involves three sets of the leg press, which is a compound movement - a double-joint exercise involving both the leg and hip musculature - separated with the three isolation movements, single-joint exercises such as leg curl and leg extension.

The leg press sets are performed in a "descending pyramid" fashion. In other words, the weight and reps are reduced for each successive set. These reductions are necessary due to the work intensity and fatigue incurred from the cumulative effects of the routine.

Drawn-up, the entire routine looks like this:

* Leg press, 12-15 reps

* Leg curl, 8-12 reps

* Leg press, 9-11 reps

* Leg extension, 8-12 reps

* Leg press, 6-8 reps

* Hip abduction (outer hip/thigh) 8-12 reps

* The approximate recovery time between sets is 1 and 1/2 to 2 minutes.



This routine is brutally difficult, involving two rounds of three exercises done in succession with minimal recovery time. Two isolation exercises are performed first, thus fatiguing the quadriceps and hamstrings.

A compound movement immediately follows the second isolation movement to work not only the fresh muscle fibers of the hip area, but also the already spent posterior and anterior leg musculature.

Following is the routine:

* Leg curl, 8-12 reps

* Leg extension, 8-12 reps

* Leg press, 8-12 reps

These exercises are done in immediate succession, with only as much recovery as is needed to proceed to the next exercise. All of the weights should be pre-set so that no time is wasted in beginning the next movement.

Upon completion of the leg press set, allow for a recovery, then repeat the sequence. Understand that the weights will be significantly lower on all three exercises the second time around, though the loads must still be as heavy as possible for the given rep range.


Double-Double Single-Single

As indicated, this routine begins with two successive double-joint movements followed by two successive single-joint movements. For our double-joint movement in this routine, we like to use a modality known as the "Tru-Squat" (check photo.)

This machine allows us to perform the squat movement with firm back support and proper leg and hip position.

The isolation movements used in conjunction with the Tru-Squat are hip flexion (drawing the thigh toward the abdominal region with either machine or manual resistance placed just above the knee area) and hip adduction (drawing the legs together from an abducted (spread) position with either machine or manual resistance placed in the inner thigh and ankle regions).

The routine sequence looks like this:

* Tru-Squat, 12-15 reps

* Tru-Squat, 8-10 reps

* Hip flexion, 8-10 reps

* Hip adduction, 8-10 reps

We suggest a Z-minute recovery after each Tru-Squat set and a 1-minute recovery between the hip flexion and hip adduction sets.

We like to use this routine on a day on which our intention is to "lighten-up" our lower body work, but still provide some strength stimulation to the area.

(Note: The leg press, deadlift, or conventional squat can be substituted for the Tru-Squat.)


These routines can be rotated throughout the training week in a multitude of ways. Whether your current philosophy calls for total body workouts, upper/lower split routines, or a combination of both approaches, these routines can put a little variety into your workout plan.

Physical Culture

Vital Nutrition

Read More »
Does modern bodybuilding make you sick? You should write for Natural Strength! I always need good articles about drug-free weight training. It only has to be at least a page and nothing fancy. Just write it strong and truthful with passion! Send your articles directly to me:

Vintage Bodybuilding Literature

Vintage Bodybuilding Literature
Oldtime Strongman Books

This site does not provide medical advice. We assume no liability for the information provided in NaturalStrength articles. Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or nutrition program. Copyright © 1999-2024 | All Rights Reserved.