Old Training Methods for New Results


At age 44, I am still learning and evolving with my training. 31 years into training and unlike many lifters and coaches, I am not moving forward with a closed mind. Listen, if you want to get better, you need an open mind. You need to have the hunger and desire to keep learning and keep improving.

A closed mind helps no one.

I've been adding a few new things for me but they are not new in the realm of training methods. Some of these training methods that I have started implementing with frequency have been around since the 50s as far as I know.

I'm talking about isometrics and tempo training.

Isometrics have likely been around long before the early 60s, especially during Physical Culture era. Once The York Isometric Rack came about in the 60s I believe, isometrics became more popular in the lifting community.

I had come across some podcasts recently where the conversation around isometrics led to the topic of knee health. Well, after 3 knee surgeries on my R knee, I have been intrigued with these methods of rebuilding my knee and also, I am consistently thinking LONGEVITY.

Funny how being in your 40s you begin to realize you are NOT indestructible. At age 44, I am always thinking to myself, How can I continue to train hard well into my 60s and 70s? 

A book I read a long time ago, The Mighty Atom, I recall Joseph Greenstein doing a lot of bending of steel, holding of heavy objects and as inspiring and awesome as that book was, I didn't realize that all of his isometrics are likely what allowed him to continue with his feats of strength well into his 60s.

Of course, I have lost that book and likely loaned it to someone who doesn't respect that book the way I would. It was a powerful book but I picked it up for much less than what I see today.

See the Videos below as they are just pieces of my training.

Take note of the movements. Sometimes squatting from the balls of the feet. Sometimes moving slowly, other times with speed and throwing the weight. Sometimes holding positions with weight, sometimes with only my bodyweight.

Resources I have been listening to / studying:

Dr. Keith Baar

Dr. Tommy John

Keith Tuura

I plan to connect with these guys for The STRONG Life Podcast so standby.

Right now training is going very good.

I'm not lifting as heavy with the free weights and doing more cluster work. Every week, Jesse Ackerman messages me his training and I jokingly tell him I want to do HALF of what he's doing.

The volume comes via Cluster Training. I choose a weight around 65-75% of my 1 RM and perform 8-12 sets x 2-5 reps.

The Deadlift gets lower reps and upper body or squats can handle more reps and more volume.

I'll share a video on that next time. For now, chew on these isometrics and slow eccentrics / tempo training. Your tempo can be slow on the eccentric or concentric. Or, Both.

For starters, if you're watching my videos or listening to my podcast, do so while performing some iso holds for upper and lower body.

You can blend iso work with any "normal lifting" or training. 

You can perform the isometrics as a separate session that lasts 5-10 minutes.

You can also couple the isometrics with your training session as active recovery.

I am doing a lot of "main lift" coupled with an iso hold.

For example, a trap bar deadlift with a slow eccentric coupled with various single leg iso holds.

For upper body, bench with the bandbell bar with a slow eccentric coupled with a push up iso hold from various positions.

We've got Plenty of Training Options for you here, below are just a few of those options:

Kettlebell and Bodyweight Hybrid Course

Ancient Training Methods

Bodyweight Bodybuilding

2 Responses

  1. I found it interesting that you mentioned isometrics for knee health. A couple months ago I started doing behind the neck pull down isometric holds. At first 70lb holds for 10 seconds were tough but strength in that position came quickly. Haters may say that it’s not “functional” strength but my shoulders haven’t felt this healthy in years. I’m sold on isometrics for healthy joints.

    1. Frank that is very interesting. The early days of when York had their Isometric Rack, the iso training became popular.

      Josh Bryant does a great job on this topic as does Dr. Tommy John and Jake Tuura.

      Keep me posted on your progress!


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