With my hectic schedule I am going through some short training sessions, around 15-20 minutes a clip. Sometimes I get 2 mini sessions a day and instead of complaining, I simply get it done. Announcing how tired or busy I am is a waste of time. Nobody cares, including myself. I despise even my own excuses.
While at school where I coach, I might go through 3-4 exercises as a circuit of 3 - 4 rounds. I've used bodyweight, kettlebells, fat bells and some basic machines (perhaps a lat pulldown or seated cable row). I'll sometimes jump in with the athletes on trap bar deads, trap bar shrugs, trap bar rows, back extensions. If time allows, front squats are on tap.
At The Underground Strength Gym, I'll get my barbell work in. I'll use my specialty bars like the safety squat bar or the bandbell bar for benching. Box Squats and belt squats, of course.
View this post on Instagram
Now that I am almost 45 at the time of this writing, I am not chasing numbers anymore. I've seen too many "older guys"rupturing patella tendons and simply destroying themselves. So for me, it's about staying strong and keeping the mind and body sharp.
I am chasing the work. That doesn't mean it's always light, pump up work. I still feel the need to be Strong. Heck, this world requires you to be STRONG. I feel better when I am strong. When my body is weak my hands feel weak. Kettlebells that normally feel light begin to feel heavy. That is always a red flag for me. I immediately begin dialing in the lifestyle and the weights.
And, on the flip side, these articles are always personal lessons & experiences of mine being shared. If you're 45, that does not mean you MUST follow what I do. Learn and apply what is most useful. I began training in 1989. So if you're 45 and only began training 5 years ago, that is a LOT less mileage on your body compared to mine. Simple.
Now, with regards to me not chasing numbers anymore, that simply means being smart with the weights I choose. I can still trap bar deadlift 500 lbs. I am still working on building lean muscle. The last thing I want to do is look like a skinny fitness model. That is simply not my style. The lifters of the 60s and early 70s were a blend of bodybuilders and powerlifters, and often times weightlifitng as well. Power - Building (aka Power Bodybuilding) is NOT new. It was THE way 60+ years ago!
Take a look at the world as of late. It's not so safe out there and in case you're wondering, criminals prey on weak people. They will think twice if you look the part. If you look like an easy victim, they'll come after you. If you look like you can be a problem for them, they will think twice. It's inspired me to get that neck harness going more often as well. Nothing worse than a skinny neck.
When I was wrestling and training in BJJ, my neck grew thick and strong. You're working your neck at every training session.
No matter the fancy workouts that keep being peddled out there, the basics will always deliver the best results. From as far back as I can gather information on training methods dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, the strongest men were using bodyweight, dumbbells and barbells. The Russian Lion wrote his book in 1908, his primary exercise was the clean and press, with a barbell or dumbbell.
Some of these barbells / dumbbells were not your normal diameter. Thick bars and dumbbells were common place. And with globe dumbbells in my possesion, the handles that are bent stress the grip and force you to be stronger to lift them.
Imperfections are what many avoid nowadays. The Strongest athletes and lifters don't fear the imperfect weights or the imperfect conditions.
This inspired me to go through some thick bar deadlifts recently. This stresses the grip much more and also stops me from going as heavy as possible on my back. If I had a traditional olympic bar, then I'd catch myself pushing the envelope and going heavier.
At this age, the back is crucial. I work the deadlift hard enough and just right, but I never try to kill the deadlift. If you kill the deadlift, it will destroy you and make you feel useless.
Most of my training sessions are full body. I'd say 70% of the time I go with a full body workout and the other times I split up with upper and lower body sessions. As I mentioned in these videos above, when I was a kid, there was a program out there called Bulgarian Power Burst Training. And let me tell you, as a kid, age 13, you thought this program was going to turn you into a 220 lb monster!
The poster boy for this program was Phil Hernon. I would see videos of him on American Muscle Magazine, which was a bodybuilding show in the early 90s on ESPN. I used to wake up at 3 AM and other strange times so I could record the show on VHS. It was always featured during strange times for the east coast. Other times I would cut school if it was featured on a weekday at 12 noon.
So ironically, anytime I catch myself hitting these short, intense sessions twice a day, I think about the crazy program that was essentially copied from Bulgarian Weightlifters and applied to bodybuilding. Now, if you're thinking of trying that program, understand that in bodybuilding, with all the eccentrics, it is not the best idea for a natural lifter.
Leo Costa who created The Bulgarian Power Burst program saw the Bulgarians lifting and maxing out multiple times a day during a visit and felt he could bring the same to bodybuilding. In 1989 and 1990, you could have sold anything. No one was ready for what was real or not because there was no internet.
My best gains have ALWAYS come from getting great recovery. This often meant training every other day, 8-9 hrs sleep per night and getting a 45-60 minute nap daily.
Now, current days as a family man and with many obligations, my time is not so readily available. So please keep in mind, this was early 90s and perhaps late 80s when this "Serious Growth" program came out by Leo Costa who was copying the Bulgarians weightlifting program.
You are smarter than that. Gladiator STRONG would be the way to go. I organize 3 sessions a week and sometimes a shorter 4th session. If you want to do extra go for it. I have found that when you train too often, people start coasting. They think there is always tomorrow or the next time and the next time.
When I get a day off, it helps set the tone mentally for the next session. I know I've earned my rest and now this next session is going to have to be a GREAT day. Does that mean I never train 2 days in a row? No. There are times when I train Monday through Friday, about 30-35 minutes at each session. It all depends on my schedule with LIFE.
This morning I had a smaller group at The Underground so I trained WITH them.
I did the following:
1A) Double KB Cleans 5 x 5
1B) Double KB Squat 5 x 5
2A) Double KB Row 3 x 10
2B) Thick Handle DB Bench 3 x 10
3A) Pull Ups 3 x 5
3B) Hanging Leg Raise 3 x 5
4A) Chain Push Ups 2 x 10
4B) Shrugs 2 x 10
Some kids this morning used Kettlebells. 2 athletes did Trap Bar Deads for their main lift. Another athlete did Cleans for 3 reps followed by front squats for 3 reps. I snuck in and did 1 set of trap bar deads for 5 reps followed by a 10 second hold on the last rep.
The Kettlebells felt great in my hands and that's the day after thick bar deads and thick bar benching. THAT is a good sign. All of us finished with grip work using the rolling thunder and wrist roller.
Gotta keep those hands STRONG.
Time for you to get after it.
Live The Code 365,