No bullshit training; how to get strong and become large and in charge the old school way

#1, I train I don’t workout. There is a difference. Every training session has an objective with midterm and long term objectives programmed in. An objective is an intentionally chosen goal with a drop dead date attached, and are always to lift X amount of weight at X body weight and X body fat percentages.
Training takes a hit when I am here. I’m 44, I’ve been blown up 7 times, shot and stabbed, misplaced a lung and have more weightlifting injuries then I care to count. The food quality is so-so, I don’t sleep well, and I work 12 hours a day. Minimum. All of which makes recovering a bitch. I adjust my training to meet the current reality. I do this with less trips to the gym and fewer reps in the 100% maximum effort range. My main goal is to build up my volume of work, continue to improve my lifting technique and rehab my various injuries. Right now I am training one day on, one day “off” and it looks like….

Day one/ morning
Squat 5 sets of 5 with 85% of my one rep max, or 3-5 sets of 3reps with 90% of my 1 rep max or 5-7 singles with 95% of my 1rep max. I look to limit my rest to 60 secs. Doesn’t always work that way
Dead-lifts 5X5 or 3×8. Depends on how the weight feels. I use 85% of my 1rep max for this which is the weight I use on the second lift and the rest of the training session
Front squats same as above
Good mornings same as above
Lunges…… maybe, maybe not depends on how I feel. Lately its be more no then go with these
Off/ sort of
Day two/ morning
Push press arranged like Squats up above
Close grip bench press. 5×5 or 5 sets of three reps. Depends on how I feel
Reverse grip Bench Press 5×5 or 3×8.
Dumbbell Bench Press 5×5 or 3×8
Off/ sort of
Day three/ morning
Power cleans arranged like Squats/ Push press above
One arm dumbbell rows 5×8-12 (they only have 100 pound dumbbells so I had to switch it up
Chest supported/ T-Bar rows 5×5 or 3×8
High lat rows 5×5 or 3×8
Barbell shrugs 5 sets of 8 (cannot go to heavy do to elbow injury)
Off day for real

My secondary training sessions look like this
Lunges 3-5 sets of 8/ supper set with Good mornings 3-5 sets of 8
Some sort of trap work; barbell shrugs, dumbbell shrugs or upright rows 3-5 sets of 8(chicks dig dudes with traps)/ supper set with Dumbbell bench-press 5×8
Barbell curls or concentration curls 5-8 sets of 8 reps super set with skull crushers
Back extensions, weighted, 3-5 sets of 8 reps super set with planks or the ab wheel o death( I hate the fucker and you need to do the shit you hate to fix your weak spots)
Neck raises and shoulder rehab
I do these mini training sessions 5 times a week, in the afternoon on the days I do my event work and on the sort of off days totaling 8 training session in 5 days.

Now a man cannot go from couch tatter to a two a day lifter without a plan. Step#1 is to work the primary system like but with an added day of rest. After you do session #3, you take 2 days off vs one. You run this for 3 months at least, but more like 6 before you add a second workout. Unless you are already an experienced lifter… and I mean lifting not the cable cross over and hammer strength machines

Now I hear all girls saying something about over training. My answer is bullshit. Yes you can over train, but most men lack the ability to drive themselves to that point, and do you think our bodies which evolved to be in constant motion from sun up to sun down cannot handle the typical sedimentary lifestyle and training twice day? Most of what I hear described as over training is being out of shape. The extra training sessions are all about improving your general physical preparedness. It is something you work up to and the second training session is not about letting lose in the gym. You pick a moderate weight that is relatively easy despite limiting rest to say 30 seconds. When you are ready to add the second training session, I recommend you start off with excise bands, I use Jump Stretch and you work up to 1 set of a 100 reps on muscles designed to take heavy use but move very little weight like tricpes and say maybe start off with 25 reps for muscles that move a lot of weight (your body weight if nothing else) like legs. Remember you don’t want to be smoked after your 2nd training session. If you pick the right weight and work the right muscle you are engaging in active rest and improving your ability to recover by bring fresh blood and nutrition into your muscles. So you start off with small bands working major muscle groups and after time you transition from there. There are all kinds of band work outs on the interwebz, mostly all will do the job for our needs at this point. Just don’t pick anything to demanding. Make sure your body has adapted to the extra demand before adding anything new. I if you add an exercise wait at least three weeks before adding a second. Body weight exercises are more demanding than people think so I would go to light barbell work, again working up the reps and never worrying about not training hard enough on sessions #2. They aren’t for hard work. They are for active rest, working on your weak spots, increasing the volume of your work out (helps put on mass and improving muscle endurance slightly) and working on your anaerobic conditioning. They normally take me 20 minutes or so to complete

You’ll have to play around and find a weight/ rep range that works best for you but start off with light weight and higher reps. Though I stick with the 8 rep range, its all weight I could do until my mind shuts down with boredom, but I only have 43% lung capacity and 8 reps is what works for me

My best contest squat is 725 @ 220. I didn’t not start off moving big(ish) weight, and when I 1st started adding second training sessions they were weak as weak gets. Like Good Mornings with the bar instead of the 385 I was doing at the time. The seconded session is not about stroking your ego, it’s about getting the extra work in that takes us from so/ so to good, then from good to somewhere closer to great.

I normally feel like puking after the main training event; you should feel better physically and psychologically after the 2nd training session.

This plan uses all three ways to gain strength, dynamic effort, max effort and the repetition method. I don’t do much speed work as that didn’t help me as much as it does other men( I am already very fast), but I have two dynamic days out of three…. Yes you cannot push the bar over your head without a great degree of bar speed

The main lifts, Squat, Push Press, and Power Cleans rarely changes. I may on occasion do strict press vs Push Press or weighted box jumps vs Power Cleans but not very often. I do change up secondary lifts somewhat, but at this point I know what works for me and what doesn’t. I don’t experiment much anymore. What I do change is the reps and percentage range of the main lift. Helps keep you in the game. If I am feeling beat up, the 95% day will be 5-7 singles and then greatly reduce assistant work or none at all. Like maybe 1 set of 25 reps and 8 mins on the elliptical. If I get feeling really bad, I’ll take a week off from the barbell and do 8 minutes of elliptical a day. What I am looking to do is turn the weight I use to do three reps with into weight I can do 5 sets of 5 reps with, but I will be happy if I go a year without injury and more or less maintain my current level of fitness. The extra bicep work has been paying off and I am experiencing much less pain in both biceps. If I am lucky they will have healed enough to start doing tire flips and atlas stones. If I am damn lucky, my hip will recover enough that I will start doing triples in the dead-lift. Mentally, dead-lifts intimidate me. The 1st time I dislocated my hip was from an IED. The second time was dead-lifting. I am not yet ready to face that kind of pain again. Yea I am pussy. Deal with it.

This post has gotten pretty long, training and the SMP will be a second post

11 thoughts on “No bullshit training; how to get strong and become large and in charge the old school way

  1. Keith Swanson

    Heavy Deadlifts ain’t no joke. I worry more about my back than I do about anything else. Bad form will get you into a lot of trouble. I never go anywhere near my max on those

    1. sfcton Post author

      really 95% is as close to max as most lifters need to reach. There is no need unless you are going to compete and if you are frequently…. say once a month looking to find your PR, suit up

      nothing radical but a pair of briefs and an erctor shit will save a lot of wear on your body over the years. I would prefer a lower cost squat suit for squatting and dead-lifting with knee selves over wraps

      also if you notice I do a lot of lower back work. That isn’t be accident

      also youtube dave tate and dead lift or louie simmons and dead lift. most folks have very poor technical lifting skills because how much pull body building has in the usa

  2. theshadowedknight

    What reactions do you get from women when you deadlift? You said once that the press was a lift they really like to watch, so does the deadlift get any love?

    What is your best deadlift, any weight?

    The Shadowed Knight

    1. sfcton Post author

      chicks are freaked out, visibly shaken when I squat or dead heavy. It’s a high intensity event. The last time I squatted competitively I broke blood vessels in my eyes and nose, blood spewed out. The men roared, the (very few) girls went eww and ran for the door.

      I have noticed over head presses open the most doors with girls in the gym. Most girls cannot tell the difference between my correct squat or dead lift etc and some guy who is 1/4 squatting the same weight with 4 friends helping.

      Very few men overhead press hard these days so you stand out when you do. Also there is no…. other factors, its you and the bar. Some one @ SSM’s said maybe it has to do with trigger memories of being lifted over head as a girl, I say it is a status display that no one else is very good at. Heck every time I break say 275 in the overhead press even the dudes in the gym want to suck up to me.

      power clean to over head press gets some love, esp now that the cross fits fags do them and do them poorly.

      best squat is 725, best dead 680, best bench was 420. I’ve done all those @ 220 and 242. The added body weight wasn’t about anything but getting older

  3. R.

    I’ve been picking a weight I could do around 20 reps with, mostly kettle bell presses, cleans, 2 sets of 10 weighted squats, lunges etc. once I reach 20-25 I move up 5ish lbs.

    Is doing a lot of reps with a lighter weight a waste of time? Mainly interested in gaining strength, size, and definition. I figure that since most activity people do is lighter weight/many reps (like physical labor/agriculture etc.) that would be the better way to go for strength, mass.

    Should I just switch to maybe 8-10 rep range with a heavier weight?

    1. SFC Ton Post author

      yup make the switch. The high reps aren’t going to add much in the way of size

      8 to maybe as high as 15 depending on the person and lift is the sweet spot for most folks

      if you wanted pure strength it would be sets of 2-3 reps for the big lifts, sets of 5-8 for supporting lifts

      definition is a matter of body fat not the sort of weight you move

      now the 20 rep squat program is a beast of a different color; you pick a weight you can get 10 good reps with and grind out 20 but that is the only way I recommend 20 ish reps to most dudes

      the other area is daily arm training. Something like using an exercise band for tri push downs and curls, work up to 3 sets of 100 per day. The reason why is a bit much to get into but you need to be an experienced lifter with a solid GPP foundation

      1. SFC Ton Post author

        remember as our absolute strength increases, so does speed and muscle endurance
        You cannot be strong without being explosive, quick etc. When basket ball players need to jump better they make them stronger. if you can squat 100 pounds doing 50 pound reps is a big deal. When you can squat 834 pounds ( my new personal best) 50 pound reps aren’t jack or shit

  4. R.

    Thanks for the response.

    Jives with advice a buddy gave me, heavy weight for 8-16 reps, drop the weight and crank out 8-16 again, drop the weight etc.

    So for presses/push-presses, as an example exercise, I have a weight I can get 8-10 reps with. D’ya think I should do multiple sets of 8-10, or stick with one set per sesh?

    1. SFC Ton Post author

      No worries R

      don’t really understand the question but in general I would not do drop sets unless you are fairly experienced lifter and I wouldn’t do them for long. Maybe once every 4-6 weeks or for 4 weeks then switch to another rep/ weight schedule


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