Grimek vs. the Dumbbells (Part 2)

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Note: This is part 2 of a true story that I
began in yesterday's email. If you missed
part 1, here it is at The Dinosaur Training

I post all of my daily emails at the Blog, so
if you ever miss an email, go to the Blog to
read it.

Also, be aware that readers sometimes drop
off the email list for one cybergremlin reason
or another. I send emails every day but Sunday,
so if you don't get them for a few days you have
dropped off the list. If that happens, go to my
website and sign back up for the emails.

And now -- here's the rest of the story.

Grimek vs. The Dumbbells (Part 2)

Klein's words sting the young powerhouse.

He tries again -- and this time he manages
to clean the two dumbbells and push them
over his head in a single wobbly press.

He lowers the heavy dumbbells and tells
Klein that he'll be back in two weeks to
lift them properly.

Klein doesn't buy it.

"Fine," he says. "The dumbbells will be here
any time you want to try them."

Grimek goes home and starts doing dumbbell
presses like a madman.

Two weeks later he walks back into Klein's
gym, grabs the dumbbells, pulls them to his
shoulders, and starts pressing them so hard
and fast that it makes Klein's head spin.

After 15 reps, the joke's on Klein.

"That's enough!" he cries. "That's enough!"

Grimek lowers the dumbbells, and Klein walks
over to congratulate him.

"Now you see what a little practice and
persistence can do," Klein tells him.

Grimek nods.

It was true -- and it was a lesson well learned.

Many years later, someone asked Grimek the
secret of his success.

"Hard work," he answered.

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. That entire story appears in chapter 28 of
my book, Legacy of Iron. The  book brings you
dozens of true, riveting stories of the old time
champions -- teaching you how they trained,
what they ate, and what made them great.

Go here to grab the little monster -- and if
you already have it, be sure to grab the
other books in the series:

P.S. 2. My other books and courses --
and the all new MONTHLY Dinosaur Files
newsletter -- are right here at Dino

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Chalk your
hands, grab the bar, and build your own
legacy." -- Brooks Kubik


Build a Gorilla Grip with These Great Exercises!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Yesterday we talked about Bradley J. Steiner's
list of "the Essential Exercises."

It was a pretty good list, but there are plenty
of other good exercises. So I'll go over some
other possible movements today and later in
the week.

In other words, we'll make this "The Week of
Good Exercises."

Today, let's cover forearm and grip exercises.

I often end a training program by saying:
"gut, grip and neck work." Readers often
ask what  they should do to train their
grip. Here's the answer.

Forearms and grip

1.Thick bar deadlifts with a double overhand
grip and timed holds with the thick bar (also
using a double overhand grip)

a. Okay, that's two exercises -- but they're
good ones. And you can always combine
them by finishing any set of thick bar
deadlifts with a timed hold.

b. Do these at the end of your workout, as
a grip exercise. If you do deadlifts to build
all-around body strength, then train them
earlier, with a regular bar.

c. See Strength, Muscle and Power and
Dinosaur Training for more about thick bar
training. They're the books that put it on
the map!

2. Thick bar pull-ups

a. Yes, you can do timed holds on a thick
handled pull-up bar.

b. See Dinosaur Bodyweight Training for
some killer pull-up variations and grip

3. The one-arm deadlift

a. Use a regular bar or a thick bar.

b. Use a dumbbell if you prefer.

c. See Strength, Muscle and Power for a
complete chapter on this terrific exercise
and how to use it.

4. The Farmer's Walk

a. This is one of the best all-around
exercises. It builds strength, muscle
mass, conditioning, and a MONSTER

b. As in a "Frankenstein Meets the
Wolfman Meets King Kong Meets
Godzilla Grip."

5. Hand-grippers (Captains of Crush, etc.)

a. These are one of the best grip movements
you can do.

b. Get your grippers from John Wood at
Functional Hand Strength:

6. Rope climbing

 a. This is one of the best upper body
exercises there is -- and it's a terrific
grip developer.

b. If you don't have room for a climbing
rope, use two short ropes for pull-ups, as
detailed in Dinosaur Bodyweight Training.

c. Grab your ropes here:

7. Hammer curls (esp w/ thick handled dumbbells)

a. These work even better with thick handled

8. The vertical bar lift

a. This is a very good, and greatly under-
rated movement.

9. Lever bar lifting

a. A classic old-time exercise.

b. Fun to do with sledge hammers.

10. Pinch grip lifting

a. Use plates, blobs, blocks with an attached
chain for extra weight -- they're all good.

11. Finger-tip pushups (with or without extra

a.  A favorite of many old-time boxers
and wrestlers.

12. Two finger deadlifts

a.  Use a regular bar for this.

b. You can use a reverse grip or a double
overhand grip.

c. Go light at first to build up the tendons
and ligaments.

So there you have it -- 12 great grip exercises.

Obviously, you're not going to use them all at
the same time or in the same training program.
The best thing to do is to pick two or three
different exercises, and train ONE of them at
the end of each workout. Rotate the exercises
from workout to workout.

For example, let's say you train 3x per week on

For your grip work, do this:

M - Thick bar deadlifts

W - Pinch grip lifting

F - The vertical bar lift

After 6 to 8 weeks, pick three new movements and
train them for awhile. Over time, you'll get plenty of
variety, without ever overdoing things.

And who knows - after a few years of serious, Dino-
style grip training, you may be able to make it into
the Gorilla Grip Hall of Fame!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S.  You can find Dinosaur Training, Strength, Muscle
and Power, Dinosaur Dumbbell Training and Dinosaur
Bodyweight Training right here at Dino Headquarters.
They all have more great tips for building a Gorilla

P.S. 2. Thought for the Day: "A strong grip is the
mark of a strong man." -- Brooks Kubik


Steiner's Top 21 Exercises -- Do You Do Them?

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

When I was a kid, my favorite Iron Game
author was Bradley. J. Steiner.  His work
appeared regularly in Strength and Health,
Muscular Development and Iron Man.

One of Steiner's classic series of articles
was a four-part opus titled, "The Essential
Exercises." It ran in Iron Man way back in
1969 or 1970.

For those of you who missed these articles
the first time around, here are Bradley J.
Steiner's "Essential Exercises." Note that
there aren't too many of them -- and that
they don't require much in the way of
equipment -- and they can be performed
in most home gym settings.

Yes, I said home gym. Steiner was
a home gym trainer, and believed that
it was best to train at home whenever
possible. At the time he wrote his four-
part series, he trained in an apartment
in Brooklyn -- using thick rubber pads
to keep from disturbing the neighbors
when he lowered the bar to the floor!

Arms and shoulders

1. Barbell curls (strict)

2. Dumbbell curls (standing, seated or lying
back on an incline bench)

3. Press behind neck (standing or

Note: This was Steiner's favorite shoulder
exercise, by far.

I did a lot of these when I was young - but
not now, at age 60. They're too hard on my

4. Military press (strict)

5. Dumbbell presses (both arms together
or alternate arm style)

Note: Steiner did not believe in doing direct
exercises for the triceps, such as french presses
or triceps extensions. He believed they put too
much stress on the elbow joints. he also believed
(as did John Grimek) that overhead presses in
strict form were the very best exercise for the
triceps. Steiner also believed that bench pressing
was a great exercise for the triceps.


1. Light breathing pullovers with dumbbells
(performed after squats, with light weights
and lots of deep breathing, solely as a way
to help expand the rib-cage)

2. Bench press (strict!)

3. Dumbbell incline press (strict and heavy)


1. Power cleans

Note: Steiner also liked high pulls.

2. Stiff-legged deadlifts

Note: this was Steiner's favorite exercise
for the low back.

3. The good morning exercise

4. Barbell bent-over rowing (strict!)

Note: This was Steiner's favorite
exercise for the upper back.

5. Dumbbell bent-over rowing (strict!)

6. Shoulder shrugs (barbell or

7. Bridging (for neck development)

Note: This was the first time I ever saw
anyone recommend neck training in a
muscle magazine.


1. Squats

Note: As you might imagine, Steiner believed
that squats were the single best exercise.

2. The straddle lift

Note: I think Steiner liked this exercise
because John Grimek did them. He was
a big Grimek fan.

3. Calf raises


1. Leg raises -- preferably with iron boots

2. Dumbbell side-bends

3. Sit-ups with weight resistance -- preferably
on a sit-up board

And that was it. A total of 21 exercises. In Steiner's
opinion, the 21 BEST exercises. The "Essential

You may or may not agree with Steiner's choices,
although you probably agree with many of them.

But I like the idea of picking THE BEST exercises
and building your training programs around them.
There are literally thousands of exercises to do, but
you only have so much time and energy -- so why
not focus on the very best movements?

By the way, the fact that Steiner selected 21
"Essential exercises" did not mean you were
supposed to do all 21. You might use only five
or six in any one training program. But that's
a topic for another day.

As always, thanks for reading and have a great
day. If you train today, make it a good one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. Gray Hair and Black Iron is must reading for
older Dinos:

P.S. 2. My other books and courses are right here
at Dino Headquarters:

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "For best results,
focus your effort on the BEST exercises." 
-- Brooks Kubik


Grimek vs. The Dumbbells (Part 1)

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Two quick notes, and then we'll talk
about Grimek and the dumbbells --
which is one my favorite Iron Game

1. Christmas Orders

It FEELS like it's early and there's
plenty of time to place a Christmas
order - but remember, we need to
ship the little monster to you - so
get those orders in as soon as you

Invariably, we have folks who wait
until the very last minute - and that
makes it really tough to get a book
or course out the door in time to
get it under the Christmas tree.

I'm signing all books and courses
from now until the end of the year.

There's no charge for an autograph.
It's a special service for Dinos. And
it's something I've been doing for
over 20 years.

If you want a personalized message,
all you need to do is ask for it when
you place your order - and let me
know who to sign it to (James or
Jim, etc.). Use the special instructions
section of the on-line order form to
make the request.

2. Hard Copy, Kindle and E-Books

We offer books and courses in a variety
of formats because we know that some of
you prefer hard copy, some prefer Kindle,
and some prefer e-books. See our products
page for new sections with links to all of
our Kindle books and links to our e-books
that come in PDF format with immediate
digital delivery:

The PDF format with digital delivery is
new for us, but it's been working great --
readers love it, and they love the immediate
delivery and not having to pay postage.

If you've been sitting on the fence about
our PDF products, jump off now and give
them a try. I think you'll be very pleasantly

3. Grimek vs. The Dumbbells (Part 1)

Way back in the early 1930s, a young man
from the wilds of New Jersey took the weight
training world by storm as a stunning series
of magnificent photos began to appear in the

Everyone was talking about the young man's
amazing development.

Before you knew it, his name was known
around the world: "John Grimek".

One day, the young Grimek journeyed to
New York City, and made his way to Sig
Klein's legendary gymnasium.

He went in and introduced himself. Klein
had seen it all, seen all the great athletes
and strongmen of the era, and he was
mighty hard to impress.

But Grimek impressed him.

Still, he wanted to test the young man.

He pointed to a pair of old-fashioned globe
dumbbells. One weighed 100 pounds and
the other weighed a little bit more. The
heavier bell had a long, thin handle,
which made it very difficult to lift.

Klein asked Grimek to clean and press
the two dumbbells.

Grimek had been doing nothing but
barbell work for a long time, but he
had no doubt that he could handle the
two dumbbells.

He grabbed them and tried to clean
them -- and missed.

He tried again.

Same result.

And again.

He stood there, red-faced, sputtering, and

And he told Klein the dumbbells were too
awkward and unbalanced to lift.

Klein looked him right in the eye and

"A good strongman never makes excuses.
He takes anything that can be lifted, and
if he can't lift it at that time, he trains on it
until he does succeed."


That must have hurt.

But it's not the end of the story. It's just the

(To be continued.)

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. For more about John Grimek's life and
his training methods, grab my John Grimek
training course:


Kindle edition

P.S. 2. For the best in old-school Dumbbell Training,
grab this little monster:

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Never make
excuses. Just get stronger." -- Brooks Kubik


Are You a Squatter or a Deadlifter?

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

One of the most popular questions
on the Internet is the ever popular
"which is better" question.

As in, "Which is better, squats or

It's a great way to drive traffic to
a forum or discussion board because
you get about a zillion answers.

Half of them are from guys who say
that squats are better -- and half of
them are from guys who say that
deadlifts are better.

And for some reason, people get all
worked up about this question. I've
actually seen people get mad at each
other because they disagree about it.

It's probably caused more flame
wars than the dragons on Game
of Thrones, and that's saying
a lot.

Anyhow, here's my answer to the
aforementioned Riddle of the Ages.

And I'll probably make everyone
mad by saying it. So bear with me
and read the answer AND the

The answer:

"It depends on whether you're a
squatter or a deadlifter."

Whoa! Stop! Put back the knives.

Listen to me for a second. Remember
what I said about reading the

The explanation:

People are built differently, and
that can make a big difference
in the exercises that work best
for them. What works best for
me may or may not work best
for you.

Some people are built for squatting.
The exercise feels natural to them,
and they're strong and powerful in
it. They lift with great confidence
when they do squats, they like the
feel of the movement, and it doesn't
cause any kind of problem for them.

In contrast, deadlifts may be a
much more difficult exercise for
them -- and may even be painful
or may cause nagging aches and
pains over time.

For these people -- people who are
squatters -- the squat is the better

Many famous Iron Game champions
have been squatters -- and these men
used the squat much more than they
used the deadlift. Examples include
such legends as:

1. Reg Park

2. John Grimek (although he liked
doing stiff legged deadlifts)

3. Paul Anderson

4. Doug Hepburn

5. Peary Rader

Other people are built differently. The
squat doesn't seem as comfortable for
them. It's not a natural movement.

They don't enjoy it. It may even cause
knee, hip, back or shoulder pain.

In contrast, deadlifts feel like the
most comfortable thing in the world.

They LOVE deadlifting -- and they
feel confident and strong when they
do deadlifts -- and deadlifts don't
cause them any kind of pain.

These people are deadlifters -- and for
them, the deadlift is the better of the
two movements.

Bob Peoples is a great example of a
natural deadlifter. He pulled over 700
pounds back in the 1940s -- at a weight
of about 180 pounds.

John Terry, the York champion of the
1930's and early 1940's, was a deadlifter.
He pulled 600 pounds at a weight of 132

Now, this is NOT to say that squatters
should not do deadlifts -- or that dead-
lifters should not do squats.

It just means that some people do better
on one of the two movements than on
the other -- and that's something you
need to take into account when you
ask the infamous "which is better"

Of course, some people are extremely
strong in both exercises.

John Davis was a natural squatter, but he
could deadlift 705 pounds without any
training on the exercise -- at a bodyweight
of about 195 pounds.

Joe Hise and William Boone were famous for
their heavy, high rep squatting -- but each
man also deadlifted 700 pounds back in the

So instead of asking, "Which is better?" ask
yourself, "Which am I -- a squatter or a

After all, what matters is the most is what
works best for YOU!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. Whichever category you fall into, heavy
leg and back work is the Royal Road to Muscle
and Might. For some great strength and mass
workouts featuring leg and back work, grab
a copy of Chalk and Sweat:

P.S. 2. My other books and courses are right
here at Dino Headquarters:

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Hard work and
heavy iron is more than hard to beat -- it's
pretty much impossible to beat." -- Brooks


The Squats on Rollerskates with Power Bands Thing

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

As you might imagine, a lot of training
videos pop up in my Facebook feed --
and the other day I saw one that
featured a ton of cool looking and
exotic exercises for the lower body.

It looked like someone had combined
yoga moves, pilates, ice skating,
sprinting, high jumping, hurdling,
savate, and kung fu with barbells,
dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance
bands, wobble boards, stability
balls, tires, chains and Atlas

You moved forward, backward,
sideways, up and down.

You jumped, hopped, skipped,
and ran in place.

You did one-legged stuff and
two-legged stuff.

You twisted your body like a

You didn't do squats on roller skates
with chains and resistance bands,
but you came darn close to it.

I guess the idea was to keep from
missing anything important. You
know, the old "hit the muscles
from all angles thing."

But there was one problem.

One very good exercise was

There were no back squats.

Not squats on roller skates.

No regular squats. The "bar on the
upper back, feet on the floor, squat
down, drive back up and be ready
for plenty of puffing, panting and
perspiring" kind of squat. The kind
that Reg Park, John Grimek, Paul
Anderson, Tommy Kono, Norb
Schemansky, John Davis and
Doug Hepburn did.

I guess that's because squats are

They're too basic.

They're last year's news -- or
perhaps the last century's news.

Of course, you see lots of other
training videos.

Some feature the strongest men and
women on the planet. World and
Olympic champions, even.

And guess what?

They do squats.

In fact, the really strong men and
women stick to the basics. They
may play around with other stuff
(or they may skip it entirely), but
they put most of their time and
energy into the basics.

There's a reason for that.

The basic exercises have been
building strength and muscle for
a very long time -- and they'll be
building strength and muscle long
after this year's crop of funky new
exercises is long forgotten.

If you're looking for new and exotic
exercises, stop.

Stick to the basics. Train them hard.

Work up to some serious weight. And
give them your all.

You won't believe the results!

As always, thanks for reading and
have a great day. If you train today,
make it a good one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. This has been one of our most popular
training courses ever since we released it
back in 2015 :

Dinosaur Training Secrets, Vol. 1

This course covers exercises, sets, reps,
workouts, and training programs for
Dinosaurs. It's great for new Dinosaurs,
and it's an excellent refresher for longtime

It's available in hard-copy, Kindle
e-book or a PDF with immediate
electronic delivery.


Kindle e-book

PDF with electronic delivery

P.S. 2. My other books and courses -- and the
new MONTHLY Dinosaur Files newsletter -- are
right here at Dino Headquarters:

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Super glue and
duct tape are wonderful things, but if it ain't
broke, don't fix it." -- Brooks Kubik


"Are Five Work Sets Too Much?" He Asked

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Two quick notes, and then we'll talk iron.

1. Pruning Our Email List.

Over the next week or so, I'm going
to be pruning our email list by getting
rid of what seem to be old email
addresses and inactive email

I'll try to delete only those accounts
that are no longer active -- but I may
make a mistake here or there and
delete an active account.

So if you suddenly stop receiving our
emails, I may have deleted you by

If that happens, send me an email and
let me know -- and we'll get you back
on the list!

2. The Dinosaur Files

We're going to get the next issue out
very soon -- and it's going to be a
another really great issue.

In the meantime, if you missed the most
recent issue (October), here's the link:

Oct Dino Files in PDF format

Oct Dino Files on Kindle

3. "Are Five Work Sets Too Much?" He

I just got an email from a reader who says he
does 5 x 5, using five work sets for each

He wondered if that was too much.

Short answer: Yes, it's probably too much
work -- but, like anything else, it depends on
several different factors -- and it will probably
change for you over time.

Many trainees get very good results from ONE
work set. They find that they overtrain if they
perform more than one work set -- especially in
exercises like squats and deadlifts.

Other trainees do well with TWO or even THREE
work sets. But three is the limit for most trainees,
unless they're doing very low reps (singles,
doubles or triples).

As a general rule, older trainees do better with
fewer work sets -- and stronger, more advanced
trainees do better with fewer work sets. So what
works best for YOU may chance over time.

If you do five work sets, you need to follow
an ultra-abbreviated training program. Limit
yourself to one or two exercises per workout.
You won't be able to do justice to more than

And here's a thought: If one, two or three work
sets do the job for you, why do any more?

Also, consider this -- you can always do one
work set of each exercise in week one -- and
do more than that (with less weight) in week
two. Vary the number of work sets from week
to week. That gives you the best of all worlds.

As always, thanks for reading and have a great
day. If you train today, make it a good one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. For more straight talk on sets, reps and real,
world, no-nonsense strength training, grab
Dinosaur Training Secrets, Vol. 1:

Hard-copy edition

Kindle edition

PDF with electronic delivery

P.S. 2. My other books and courses are right
here at Dino Headquarters:

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Why do more
when less works just as well -- or maybe
even better?" -- Brooks Kubik