Friday, July 9, 2021

A Simple, Effective Workout - By Jim Duggan

Over the years, I've tried just about every workout program under the sun. I'm no different than most other lifters in that regard. Books, magazines, "word of mouth" were just some of the sources of training information. Then came the internet, and an already large pool of information grew beyond our wildest dreams. Throw in the proliferation of videos that are out there- with the requisite keyboard experts- and you'll discover that when it comes to workouts, there is a limitless supply to meet an equally limitless demand. 

When I first began lifting weights, the most popular source of training information was the various "muscle magazines." Each month, I would read the various magazines and try to absorb as much as I could. When you're fifteen years old, it's difficult to separate fact from fiction, and truth from fallacy. Naturally, as we get older and gain more experience, it becomes easier to differentiate between common sense and bull. And as we all learn at some point, common sense isn't always very common. When I began competing in powerlifting, I subscribed to Powerlifting USA magazine, like most Lifters did. There were two features of that magazine that I looked forward to each month. The first was the "Workout of the Month." Each month, a well known lifter would publish a detailed workout geared to an individual lift. The lifter/author would give a step-by-step and rep-by-rep description of his/her training. There was one very big drawback to these "workouts." If you were a drug-free lifter, you simply could not expect to follow the routine of someone who was not "clean." That statement was true back then, and it is true today. I can't make it any more clear than that. A drug-free athlete simply will not be able to train like a steroid user and make gains without risking overtraining and injury. Unless, of course, you make adjustments for volume, recovery, etc.. 

The second main feature of PL/USA, and my particular favorite, was Dr. Ken's column "More from Ken Leistner." I began reading his column in the 1980s. I always felt that his articles were straightforward and contained an abundance of common sense information. His monthly column in "Muscular Development" magazine were equally informative, as well as entertaining. I devoured anything written by him that I was able to get my hands on. When I joined Iron Island Gym, in the Winter of 1992, I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Ken. As I've often stated, Iron Island was the finest training facility I've ever seen. It was a lifter's paradise. Dr. Ken was a remarkable man for whom I have a great deal of respect. And even though he passed away two years ago, I will always cherish my brief association with Dr. Ken. My only regret is that I didn't get to know him better. 

During my years at Iron Island, Dr. Ken treated my the same way he treated other lifters, which is to say, generously. I still have a stack of "Hardgainer" and "The Steel Tip" magazines which he gave me years ago. His monthly "Question and Answer" column in "Hardgainer" was one of my favorite features of that great magazine. Incidentally, as "Maximum" Bob Whelan has mentioned in a previous article, "Hardgainer" is back in business. If you haven't already done so, check it out. Anyway, the simple, effective workout that follows was written for me by Dr. Ken back in 1993. I was preparing for the Kell Classic Deadlift contest and had asked him for some training ideas. Here is the program he laid out for me: Day One. Deadlift 1x5, 1x5, 1x2, 1x1 Trap Bar Deadlift 1x15 Kell Horizontal Row 1x10, 1x6 ( Kell made a Row machine. Bent-over rows can be substituted.) DB Shrug 1x12, 1x10 ( Iron Island had DBs up to 200 Lbs!) Thick Bar Curl 1x8, 1x6 Day Two. Squat Warm-up, 1x10 Assistance work as necessary. I would usually alternate Good Mornings, Weighted Hyperextensions, and an Upper-body movement. As you can see, in terms of workouts, it's as basic as they come. I followed the workout pretty strictly, and didn't deviate from it with the exception of adding some auxiliary work on the second training day, as mentioned above. The most important thing to point out, is that I did not add training days. Two days were more than enough work. It may seem strange to some people that you can build strength by lifting only twice per week, but it is absolutely true. One salient point that Dr. Ken would always bring up was that you can train hard, or you can train long. But you can't do both. Truer words were never spoken. I'm proud to say that Dr. Ken's program, written on a piece of legal paper seen below, helped me to pull an easy 312.5 kg Deadlift on the day of the meet. Basic workouts have been a staple of my training for many years, and I am grateful to people like Larry"Bruno" Licandro, and Dr. Ken Leistner for being positive influences on my training. Influences that have endured over the years. Give this workout a try for a couple months. I think you'll be happy with the results.
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:

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