How 2 Wrestlers & George Hackenschmidt Changed My Way Of Training


I got my hands on an old book in the early 2000s and it really pushed home the need & the power for simplicity in life, training and nutrition. In addition, the book also encouraged the need for basics. When I saw the rugged physique on the author, I was inspired beyond my words to say the least. The author was built like a brick sh-t house.

Above, George Hackschmidt, Built Like A Brick Shit House

George Hackenschmidt's workouts were often in the 30 - 45 minute range yet he trained on an almost daily basis, allowing him to keep his intensity high. George Hackenschmidt's workouts simply revolved around 1 - 3 exercises per workout. And although these training sessions were simple, they were anything but Easy. "Hack" busted his a-- and lifted HEAVY. His feats of strength were shocking, as I saw he was lifting more weight overhead with one arm than I was with 2 arms!


I was inspired.... and pissed. I felt weak when I saw George Hackenschmidt's feats of strength as you'll read inside his book HERE.  I asked myself how and why someone could man handle with one arm more weight than I could with 2 arms?! Training harder doesn't always guarantee results, it's the strategic and intelligent training where results truly begin to happen. Make no mistake though, you must STILL bust your a- when "Training Smart", that rule will NEVER change.

Along with my first time reading George Hackenschmidt's book, I had 2 high school wrestlers training with me at The Underground Strength Gym.  Both of these high school wrestlers were burnt out from years of over training, crazy wrestling parents and countless injuries thanks to those ridiculous workouts you read about on most internet web sites where the wrestlers are cutting weight, running endless miles almost daily and training like bodybuilders. Both of these wrestlers were on the brink of quitting.

I decided to take a different turn with their training. Their training plan was high volume isolation bodybuilding and long distance running.  This was a recipe for weakness and burn out.

I had them stop all the BS and suggested they come in only 2 x week and train only 20 - 30 minutes per session. I wouldn't recommend such short workouts unless you are in burn out mode or an athlete who is in a peaking phase. I am not a fan of quitting everything, instead, make adjustments and modify.  I also gave them some very basic nutrition guidelines that we share with all our athletes. These wrestlers were barely eating and so they felt like garbage.

Here and again, you need a short break, lighter workouts, etc but younger athletes need to learn the mental aspect of the training game. They must learn to find joy in the basics and must also learn commitment, NOT quitting and giving up.

Most workouts for these 2 wrestlers, I chose 3 - 5 basic exercises, not including any abdominal or grip work which we would bang out at the end of each workout. After a thorough warm up, we would superset the basic lifts, sub max effort leaving 2-3 reps in the tank on every exercise.

After a thorough warm up, below is a sample "Minimalist" Wrestling Strength Training Session:

1A) Trap Bar Deadlift x 3 - 5 reps

1B) Box Jump or Hurdle Jump x 3 - 5 reps

2A) Thick Bar Floor Press x 3 - 6 reps

2B) Rope Climb or DB Row x 6 - 10 reps

3A) Dips x MAX

3B) ANY Curls x 10-15 reps

Finish with Grip & Abs for 2 or 3 sets

These wrestlers now love the training because they are done without the feeling of extreme fatigue and exhaustion. They're having more fun than ever before and they are getting stronger every single training session while also feeling healthier than ever before. On the mat, they no longer feel exhausted, burnt out, sore and unmotivated. Their competition is feeling the results of their training as well. That's what really counts.... RESULTS.

At the end of the season one of these wrestlers broke the school record for most wins and placed 4th in the state. The other wrestler placed 3rd in the state after battling back from a first round loss in the state tournament.


It's not that shorter workouts are always better, it's the fact that intelligent, strategic training is better. If you're not getting stronger, not having fun and not improving, then look at your training and fix the things that are holding your back. More often than not, you've gotten too caught up in the fancy stuff and forgot all about the tried and true basics coupled with hard work.

Nutrition and Lifestyle must support your training or you'll be someone who trains yet never looks like it. Building muscle happens through nutrition and recovery. High quality proteins, fats and carbs while eliminating processed poison / junk. Sleep must be 8 hours and on non training days, sneak in a nap to boost recovery.

George Hackenschmidt followed a very simple nutrition plan. The food of the early 1900s was NOT filled with processed preservatives. The bread, milk, eggs and meats of the early 1900s was pure. Today, we see milk that expires 6 weeks from now, "cage free eggs" is not truly cage free and supermarket foods are all pumped with hormones.

This is why we see teenage boys with breasts and beer bellies yet they don't drink alcohol. Why? Processed poison. I prefer to purchase the majority of my food from a mennonite farmer and this is how I feed my family. Simple eating, simple living. Eat Clean & Train Mean.

Live The Code 365


The Russian Lion Power Course

NO Hype, ALL Basics, Focused On RESULTS

One Response

  1. Great story here man – Sometimes we need to step back and make sure we’re being smart with out routines – Simpler can be better –

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