Zach Even-Esh

How To Train When In Doubt

“Science and experience have taught us that any athlete, even in ultra-endurance sports, who has not built a foundation of strength will fail to reach his or her potential.”

~ Pavel, Author of Easy Strength

As I work on my book and dig deeper on my philosophy on training, in between text messages with Jason Ferruggia discussing life and lifting, I keep coming back to what got me where I am today, as well as every other strong mofo out there.

And that “thing” is the fact that those strong mofos focused on Being STRONG. Yet in a world of the “new, shiny object” we have gotten away from the beauty of the basics and lifting heavy.

Do you want more confidence? Get Stronger.

Do you want more muscle? Get Stronger.

Do you want that promotion at work? Get Stronger.

Looking back at my downfall as a high school wrestler, it was all because I was using pump weights, focused on “feeling the muscle”.

Pump Weights Are For Boy Bands, NOT Bad Mother F—ers.

When I am in doubt or need to put myself through the ringer, I follow a simple formula:

1) Lift something heavy, preferably ground based, then….

2) Attack an upper body push and pull

As I love to remind you, it’s simple, NOT easy.

Advance & Conquer.

Live The Code.


Category: Articles, muscle building, old school strength, Strength Building, Zach's Workouts Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

11 Responses to How To Train When In Doubt

  1. Nick M. says:

    “On my BIG lifts I usually get 1 or 2 hard sets and then move on…I want two quality sets of their main lift. Any more seems to back fire…assistance work is where I feel we are safer and can actually train with more intensity” -Do you still train along these guidelines, or have you moved to a different style of training? I like this approach because it saves the wear on tear on the joints, training is a marathon, not a sprint.

    • admin says:

      Nick, SAME approach, brutha, unless in a volume phase. This works GREAT. If you feel you need an added heavy set, do so for sure!

  2. Sibghatallah Imdad says:

    Reminders like these are awesome every now and then as the confusion never seems to stop.

  3. brandon says:

    Like always Zach, simple, straightforward yet thought provoking. When we look at how things are arranged for a purpose we can extrapolate necessary from unnecessary.

  4. Love it Z, simplicity kills

    Just yesterday I was over thinking what do but decided to strip the fat and focus on simplicity

    I ended up hitting heavy deadlifts, heavy pull ups and push ups

    Simple and felt awesome!

    Great reminder to hit the basics hard and get results!

  5. Gus says:

    And THIS is why I follow you Zach, you keep it simple and clear-cut, no b.s.! Thank you!
    “Life is really simple, but men insist on making it complicated”

  6. Connor Byrne says:

    Just wanna say thanks for everything zach I can really tell you put your heart and soul into this ive been reading your site since grade 10 and have been addicted to it ever since also love how you recognize how big of a factor mental toughness is. Anyway just wanted to say thanks for your no bullshit non pussy information in a world full of it. Your the man!!!!

  7. Carl says:


    There is pure genius in this simple post!

    If we all followed programmes like this with a volume and frequency set up that suited us individually there would be a whole lot more strong, well built and less confused trainers in the world (just like the pre-steroid golden age it would seem).

    Basic,minimalist but hard training works so why do we keep adding stuff that doesn’t?!

    Keep up the great work!

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Zach Even-Esh is an Author, Founder of The Underground Strength Gym & Creator of The Underground Strength Coach Certification.

Zach's inspiration in training comes from the Golden Era of Bodybuilding & Days of Old School Strength. His mission is to help You kick ass & take names in Life AND Lifting without the hype, fancy fads or gimmicks. Zach's Commitment To Your Success Is Unmatched. He Knows What It's Like To Go From A Weakling To An Unstoppable BEAST In Charge Of His Life, Business & Destiny. Zach Made It Happen Through The Iron and Now it's Your Turn!

Zach Even-Esh