Did Grimek Do Curls? (And Other Questions)

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

I am getting buried in questions from readers, so I thought I’d cover some of them in an email. When one or two (or ten) people have the same question, others usually do, as well.

1. Do we ship to the UK?

Q. I am interested in purchasing a book from your website and was wondering if you ship outside of the US to the UK? -- Ash

A, We ship anywhere – including Outer Congolia. The on-line order system automatically gives you the correct rate for international shipping once you input your shipping address.

2. Snatches and Cleans from Blocks

Q. You have mentioned doing snatches off of blocks lately. What is the advantage over doing hang snatches? Seems to me they would be rather awkward have never done them but have done many hang cleans and snatches. Funny how sets of more than 3 reps are counter productive sets when oly lifting. Hard to hold form for more than 3 reps. -- Keith

A. I do most of my pulling from the platform, but wanted to try some pulls, snatches and cleans from blocks just for a change of pace and to see how they feel. They’re supposed to be good for speed and explosiveness. Consider it an experiment, with yours truly as the test subject.

As for reps – you’re right. Three is about as high as I go on any OL moves. Speed, form and technique are critical.

3. Combining Progression Methods

Q. I want to tell you how pleased I am with your book Chalk and Sweat. I had flu-like symptoms over the holidays and ended my current cycle. Needless to say, I made great gains. Thank you for your help and inspirational emails and books.

I took a week layoff and cycled back my poundages between 10-20% and have settled on program no. 21 in Chalk and Sweat. This is similar to what I was doing, but I still need to focus on the basics and getting my poundages up. The program calls for 3 x 5 work sets but I also like progressing by adding reps/sets. Once the weights push me and I’m in new poundage territory again would it be appropriate to combine progression methods rather than straight single progression with 3 x 5? For example, drop to 3 x 3 and add reps until I get back to 3 x 5, or add weight, drop to 1 x 5 and build back up to 3 x 5. Maybe experiment with different methods for different exercises? – Kevin

A. Kevin – Glad to hear you are enjoying Chalk and Sweat, and making good progress in your training. By all means, feel free to try different progression methods. The name of the game is PROGRESSIVE strength training – your job is to determine the progression methods that work best for YOU. That’s one reason I cover so many different progression methods in my various books and courses, and in the Dinosaur Files newsletter.

4. Neck Exercises

Q. Brooks, what neck exercises would you recommend incorporating into your program so as to build a Dino neck? -- Murray

A. Try neck extensions with a heavy-duty head-strap for the back of the neck. 3 x 10 -1 5 reps.

For the front of the neck, lie on a bench, place a folded towel on your forehead, and then place a barbell plate on your forehead – be sure to hold it in place with your hands! -- and then perform front neck extensions. Again, 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

Add some heavy shrugs as well. Two or three sets of five to fifteen reps – or five sets of five to eight reps.

Start light and learn the movements – condition the muscles – and then add weight slowly and steadily. You can get incredibly sore if you jump into heavy neck work.

5. I read that John Grimek hardly ever did curls, and that he did not care for them! True? – Ben

Yes and no. As a young man, Grimek did an all-around course of exercises that included plenty of the basic exercises, including curls. Later on, Grimek did more lifting training, but he and Steve Stanko enjoyed doing the two-dumbbell curl and press. (With heavy weights – as in, up to 80, 90 or 100 pounders). I write about this in the Legacy of Iron books.

On occasion, Grimek would go on an arm specialization program that included plenty of curls. And he was a STRONG curler – as in, 185 or 190 for reps, which he used backstage at the Mr. Universe contest as a warm-up before going on stage.

But later on, he was trying to set a World record in the one-arm dumbbell swing (250 pounds) and hurt his arm. After that, he stopped doing curls and trained his biceps with close grip pull-downs and 45 degree pulley rowing.

At one point in his life – perhaps the 60’s or 70’s, Grimek told Bill Hinbern, “I hate curls – I don’t want to ever do another one of them.”

So, did Grimek do curls? Yes and no – depending on the stage of his career, his goals and his age. Much like most of us who have been training for 30, 40 or 50 years. Our exercises and workouts change over time. Nothing wrong with that!

As always, thanks for reading – and if you train today, make it a good one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. If you’ve not already grabbed a copy of Chalk and Sweat, do it now – it will DEFINITELY kick your training into high gear for 2011:


P.S. 2 Grab two or three books at once – or a book and a Dinosaur Training hoodie – and save on shipping: