How to Gain 180 Pounds of Muscle!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Last week we covered the time-honored
5/4/3/2/1 system -- and we also talked
about food supplements and whether or
not they're necessary.

In response to both points, Bill Norman
shot in the following email. Bill's a guy
who trains on Dino-style abbreviated
workouts -- and so far, he's gained 180
pounds of muscle!

This is a good one to save and reread
from time to time -- especially if you're
tempted to drop your heavy training and
jump into the latest and greatest muscle-
pumping program or spend your next paycheck
on super supplements.

Bill wrote:

"I found the best supplements to be gallons
of nonfat milk, pints of cottage cheese, egg
white omelets, and cans of tuna. I also found
all you can eat buffets to be helpful.

Over a 12 year period my weight increased from
140 to 320.

I am sure lots of 5/4/3/2/1 workouts were also
helpful. The lifts I used were squats (mostly
front style), standing press (on occasion, 60
degree incline), high pulls and curls."

So, in answer to the question, "Can you do it
without supplements?" -- and the related question,
"Does abbreviated training really work?" -- the
answer is -- Just as Bill!

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 about abbreviated workouts for strength,
power and muscle, check out the books and courses at
the Dinosaur Training Bookstore:

Break Out of that Training Slump!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

I constantly get email messages from guys
who are bogged down in their training.

And "bogged down" is the only term for it.

You know what a BOG is -- not a BLOG, but
a BOG.

It's a nasty, smelly, swampy sort of thing
where the ooze and slime of primordial decay
has become a sort of noxious quicksand that
grabs your by the ankles and holds you motion-
less in its fetid grasp.

That's a bog.

It also describes a slump in your training.

So here are some simple tips on how to break
through a slump.

1. Reduce your volume.

Most trainees train way too much. Too many days
per week, too many exercises, too many sets, and
too many reps. When you reduce your volume, you
make lesser inroads into your recovery ability --
and that leaves more gains in strength and muscle.

2. Change your exercises.

Switch from squats to front squats. Or from bench
presses to incline DB presses. Or from deadlifts to
clean grip high pulls. Just be sure to switch from
one basic HEAVY exercise to another basic HEAVY
exercise. Switching from squats to leg extensions
will get you nowhere fast.

3. Clean up your diet.

No more junk food. No sugar. No fast food. No highly
processed food. No soft drinks. No cheese doodles. If
you're serious about your training, get serious about
your diet, as well.

3a. I can't say this enough: lean protein and tons of
fresh veggies should make up the bulk of your diet. Jack
LaLanne used to have 3 to 6 HUGE vegetable salads every
single day. He did okay, didn't he?

4. If you're advanced enough for specialization programs,
try a 4 to 8 week specialization program. I detail 20
good ones in Chalk and Sweat. they'll get you gaining
again,and help you stay motivated and focused.

5. Fill your mind with positive thoughts about strength
training and muscle building. Go back and read Dinosaur
Training again. Or grab Legacy of Iron -- one of the
reasons I am writing the Legacy of Iron books is to
give you something to read that will help keep your
enthusiasm at the boiling point.

5a. Let me repeat -- fill your mind with positive
thoughts. Your thoughts control your training -- and
the results from your training.

6. Work on progression. Make every single workout
BETTER than the one before. That means: more weight,
or more reps with the same weight, or better form. For
advanced men, progression can mean adding a work set.

6a. I like to progress in some exercises (front squats,
for example) by doing 5 - 7 progressively heavier
warm-up sets and ONE top set of 2 reps. Each time I do
front squats, I add one more top set. So it's 1 x 2,
then 2 x 2 and so on. After I hit 5 x 2, I add 5 or 10
pounds, drop back to 1 x 2, and work back up. The
beauty of the system is that you are always
improving from workout to workout. See Gray Hair
and Black Iron for more details.

7. Train faster. Time yourself, and work to reduce
your training time by ten to twenty percent, while
still doing the same workout. If I do a heavy leg
workout in 50 minutes, and later I do the same
workout in 40 minutes, I am making progress.

7a. You don't want to work so fast you cut down
on your performance, but you'd be surprised how
much better your workouts can be when you
cut wasted time to a minimum.

So there you are. Seven ways to break out of the
training slump bog. If you're in a slump, give
them a try. They'll help.

As always, thanks for reading, and have a great --
and a great weekend.

If you train today, make it a good one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. For many more ideas on how to break out of that
slump -- or how to avoid falling into one -- grab
any of the books or courses from the Dinosaur Training

A Terrific Set/Rep System for Dinosaurs!

A reader asked me about the 5/4/3/2/1 system
and how to use it for strength training.

Now, this may be old hat for some of you, but
whenever one person asks a question, there are
usually a couple hundred (at least) other readers
who have the same question.

5/4/3/2/1 has been around a long time. The York
lifters used it often, and it was featured in Bob
Hoffman's books, the York courses and in Strength
and Health. So it has a long history and a good
track record.

As I've mentioned before Hoffman always noted that
3 x 5 gives you 15 reps -- that 5 x 3 gives you 15
reps -- that 8 x 2 or 2 x 8 gives you 16 reps -- and
that 5/4/3/2/1 gives you 15 reps. And for some reason,
doing 15 or so quality reps seems to work well for
many lifters.

It is a good program for those who wish to transition
from sets of 5 or more reps to heavy singles. I've
always said, don't jump into heavy singles. Instead,
do 5 x 5 for a few months -- and then do 5/4/3/2/1
-- and THEN try heavy singles.

It also is excellent for older lifters, and I talk
about it quite a bit in Gray Hair and Black Iron.

Anyhow, the 5/4/3/2/1 system works like this.

You do one to three progressively heavier warm-up
sets of 5 reps. working up to your working weight
for 5 reps.

"Working weight" means a weight that requires plenty
of concentration, focus and effort. But it should be
a weight where you get all 5 of your reps. Don't go so
heavy that you wipe yourself out, and don't go so heavy
that you only get 3 or 4 reps.

After your 5 rep set, rest a few minutes, and then add
some weight (perhaps only five or ten pounds -- it varies
depending on the exercise) -- and then do 4 reps.

Rest a few minutes, add weight, and do 3 reps.

Repeat for two reps.

Now finish up with a single rep.

The single rep should NOT be your top weight for one rep or
a max single that takes everything you have. It should make
you work but not destroy you.

To progress, add weight to each set.

If you like to cycle, you can use a cycling system where you
start at 70 or 80 percent of your top weight for each of your
sets in the 5/4/3/2/1 sequence and work up to 100 percent,
and then drop back and repeat.

Each time you drop back and repeat, put a little more weight
on the bar and try to finish a little bit higher.

See Gray Hair and Black Iron for some ideas on simple
cycling programs.

Another way to progress is to gradually add more single reps.

For example, you might try 5/4/3/2/1 and then work
up to 5/4/3/2/ 5 x 1.

A man named Grimek recommended that kind of program for building
strength and power. You may have heard of him.

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. You can learn more about the 5/4/3/2/1 system and how to use
it for great gains in Gray Hair and Black Iron:

My View of Food Supplements

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Yesterday we got into the issue of
protein powder.

Is it necessary for big gains?

Or for that matter, is ANY supplement
necessary for big gains?

In response, let me make a couple of

1. Personal example. When I was a kid, I used
protein supplements, wheat germ oil, vitamin/mineral
pills, liver tablets and all the other stuff
they sold back then. I chugged the infamous "Get
Big Drink" like it was going out of style. All I
ever got from it was a 3-day belly-ache.

1a. Later in life (age 29 or 30), I started to follow
abbreviated workout programs and THAT was when I really
started to make good gains.

I used a protein supplement for a few months, and then
stopped and just relied on good food. I made BETTER gains
on the food. As in, gaining over 30 pounds of muscle.

1b. Right now, I take no supplements of any kind (not even
a vitamin/mineral tablet). Instead, I rely on good, high
quality food, including a ton of fresh veggies from my backyard
vegetable garden (where I grow veggies that are 100 percent
natural and organic in soil that I enrich with compost and kelp
and seaweed and all sorts of amendments that greatly increase
their nutritional content).

2. Historical examples. John Grimek. Steve Stanko. Otto Arco.
Sig Klein. Arthur Saxon. Thomas Inch. Louis Cyr. Apollon. John
Y. Smith. Maxick. John Marx. Herman Goerner. Charles Rigoulot.
John Davis. Tony Terlazzo. No protein powder. No food supplements.
Just heavy training and good food.

2A. Steve Reeves, Reg Park, Tommy Kono, Doug Hepburn, Norb
Schemansky and Paul Anderson. Maybe they took some kind of
supplements (or not) but the stuff available to them in the
early and mid-50's was strictly fourth rate. Eating the boxes
it came in would have been better. So relaly, thse men fall into
the "no supplement" category as well.

3. Recent conversation with Frank Spellman -- Olympic Gold Medal
winner in 1948. I asked Frank what the lifters ate to build world
class strength and power "back in the day." His answer: "Steak and

So, back to the questions.

Are supplements necessary?

Not at all.

Is it okay to take them?

Hey, you're an adult. If you want to try a supplement of some sort,
then do so. If you think it helps, fine. if not, consider it a
worthwhile experiment.

But whatever you do, remember that there's ONE THING -- and ONE THING
ONLY -- that builds strength, muscle and power.

It's regular, hard training -- progressive poundages -- basic compound
exercises -- and the iron will to succeed.

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. To learn more about how to build world class strength, muscle and
power, head on over to the Dinosaur Training Bookstore:

Protein Powder or Equipment? The Dinos Respond!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Earlier today I shared an email from a reader who has gained 32 pounds of muscle in just six months by following Dino-style workouts. He is in the Navy, and will be on a six-month deployment, and wondered if he should stock up on protein powder to help keep his weight up and hold is muscular size.

I asked for your thoughts and feedback, and you did a great job in your responses.

Here’s what you had to say – and please note in particular the responses from those of readers who have served in the Armed Forces and had to deal with the very same issue that Billy is working through!


Hope I am not too late to weigh in, no pun intended. Spend the money on home gym equipment. On ship, you can usually get allot of egg protein in the form of boiled eggs, eggs to order, scrambled eggs, etc. Just make nice with the CS (culinary specialists) and its usually as many eggs as you can fit on your plate and snack on throughout the day. Add some "unhealthy" bacon or sausage to the eggs and you will not lose anything during the deployment. Stay Strong!

All the best and Semper Fi,
Mark C. Losack
Colonel USMC Retired

Billy should save the protein powder money and buy more gear when he gets home. He actually has a lot more control over his diet than he imagines at this point. I spent 3 of my 24 active duty years on various ships. You have to be creative, but you can git'r done ... here are some of the things I did:

1. Make friends with the cooks ... a good hook-up is worth its weight in gold -- or hardboiled eggs.

2. Every time we stopped into a port, I'd go shopping and load up a backpack with cans of tuna and salmon (80-90 per load), nuts, rice, oatmeal, jerky and the like ... stuff that was nutrient-dense, wouldn't go bad and I could store in a very small locker.

3. There is always hot coffee and hot water on the mess decks ... use the hot water to make oatmeal, or rice and mix in the salmon or whatever.

4. Bring some basic spices on board the ship with you ... oregano, basil, hot sauce, peppers, whatever you dig ... it'll help change things up a bit.

4. Salads and fruit ... available on the mess decks daily at most meals ... grab a few extra pieces of fruit, or get a Tupperware container to stow an extra salad/veggies in.

Where there's a will, there is a way. Best wishes for continued success Billy ... fair winds and following seas.

Master Sgt Mark E. Benson

I spent several years in the Marine Corps back in the 1980's during the Beirut conflict, the Marine Corps served us adequate food. Typically the breakfast consisted of eggs, plenty of milk, and cream of beef, all enough protein sources, additionally, lunch and dinner consisted of chicken, or other meat source and once again all the milk we could drink. The protein is there, save the money and buy some Pillars of Power spot racks. -- Victorio Roman

Drink a little milk with each meal and use the extra money for equipment. Maybe spend some on a bigger wardrobe. You’ll need it! – Phil Pryor

Billy should buy the equipment. Free Weights and good equipment always trump supplements. He could always buy used equipment (which is usually very reasonable) and some powdered milk and a good vitamin. Eat good whole food and lift heavy. Please thank him for his service to our country. My Father is a proud Navy man. -- Stu Mason

My advice is to get the protein powder. I know supplements get a bad rap but a good basic whey or milk/egg protein powder is very cost effective. It is actually cheaper to use this along with whatever basic solid food or 3 squares you can get than to try and get the additional food or just strictly milk for added protein. Considering his circumstances especially, having the protein and calories would be more important in the short/medium term. You do not need a lot of equipment to make gains and it sounds like he has enough to train with anyways. Thats my vote! -- Kevin Guzda

To Billy's question; I say save the money and get the newer equipment.
I was a protein powder guy and found it doesn't truly add much. – Adam Burbey

Normally I would say get as much protein from real food as you can, but Billy will be out to sea and it sounds like he will not be getting any extra food, so I say Yes get the protein powder for the trip. -- Ed Leonhard

To me it is a no-brainer... that is … durable goods vs consumable goods. The equipment will last a lifetime, while the powder will only last a few months. If the gym equipment is top quality I would go with it, if you are compromising on the quality, then just wait. Of course, then, how often is Billy at sea? If the 6 months away from home is a regular thing, then perhaps some equipment for the road is in order. A set of kettlebells, for kettlebell clean and presses, jerks, snatches and getups on the ship. I don't know what is permitted, but I would find out. Of course I am partial to kettlebells. As for nutrition, one of Billy's first jobs on board should be to become best friends with the head cook and/or workers at the mess hall. -- Bob Klein

Great work there from Billy! Not knowing any details about the 3 meals a day, I'd still suggest he drop the protein powder and spend the money on some new gear. For starters, the gear will last longer and do more in the long run for Billy's strength and physique! But I'd imagine that those Navy guys would be served up some hearty grub, which I reckon should still satisfy his protein requirements while lifting. – Graeme Moore

Congrats to Billy for the gains, pretty amazing for 6 months time. My opinion is that Billy needs to use the money for his home gym. The spotter bars will be a necessity. The protein on the other hand is not. Not 100% sure but I would hope there would be sufficient protein in the "3 squares a day" and even if it falls a little short, food protein goes a lot farther than powder. – Josh Stewart

While Legacy of Iron is the first book in a series of novels it is also much more. For instance, when I read it, I thought if more young fellows followed the basic training outlined and ate much the same way there would be a lot more well built, strong and healthy guys around. Judging from Billy's letter, he is living proof. Now, my take is he would probably have gotten the same results even without the protein supplement. Just like Grimek, Davis, Stanko and the other York lifters did. There are many cases where guys have been in the military or other situations where food was not ideal yet still kept their size and strength and even increased it. Kevin Tolbert comes to mind. So I would say to Billy, buy the equipment and if you feel you may need a bit more protein buy some inexpensive skim milk powder and mix with a pint of water a couple times a day between meals. Same stuff, fraction of the cost. – Peter Yates

If I need equipment for my gym I usually get it around the holidays or just save up but personally always have protein powder. The kind I buy doesn't cost $250 every 6 months, though! -- Ben T.

In my experience, one can make great gains with plain whole food and regular workouts. As long as one continues to progress with increased weight resistance, the gains are sure to come. Bottom line: Use the money for something that will stay with you through your advancement in training. – Eric Elemen

A couple more times through the buffet line and some high protein snacks would do. Spend the money on usable realistic equipment (plates, plates, plates) not a pec dec. I like protein supplements but I don't rely on it I would much rather eat food. – Andrew Zook

BUY MORE EQUIPMENT!!! It's way more fun to make a new sandbag then to throw away money on supplements you don’t need. Boil some eggs and eat them through out the day. $1.82 for a dozen. 6 grams of protein per egg that's 72 grams of protein. When you’re working out, the eating will come. – Shane Eslit

More equipment for the home gym. The Navy food may not be the best but he probably could squeeze some extra food out of the servers if he tried. – Donnie Howell

I used to use Protein Powders a few years back and thought I was doing myself good. I feel it was a waste of money. I have dropped the Protein “Sludge” Powders and with the savings I have bought myself some more heavy equipment and books/manuals/courses for my home gym. With the new equipment I have made better gains in upper body size and strength than I ever have with any protein powder, and in less time. Just be sure to eat as much Clean, good food as necessary to maintain a balanced diet. “Heavy workouts twice a week will get you better gains than Protein Powders twice a day”. – Bruce Bouthillette


I’ll wade in and post some of my own thoughts tomorrow. Be looking for them!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. For BIG gains – perhaps even 32 pounds of muscle in six short months – grab any or all of the following from Dino Headquarters:

1. Strength, Muscle and Power

2. Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength and Development

3. History’s Strongest Men: Doug Hepburn

4. Chalk and Sweat

You can find all of them right here at Dinosaur Headquarters:

Sea-Going Dino Gains 32 Pounds of Muscle!

Here's an email from one of our many Dinos
serving in the military. It's from Billy Green,
who serves in the Navy.

I'm going to share the email with you, and I
want you to start by focusing on Billy's great
gains from two very simple barbell and dumbbell
programs outlined in Legacy of Iron.

He also has a training question which we'll cover
in a second message later today.


I received Chalk and Sweat a couple of months ago.
Chalk and Sweat is unlike any training book I have
ever read. I'm so glad you brought it into the
world for us dinosaurs.

I haven't seen you talk about nutrition with regards
to training. What is your take on protein powder?

I am going on a six month cruise on a hospital ship,
so I have no control over the amount of food I can
eat besides the Navy "3 Squares a Day."

Would it be good for me to supplement with protein
powder to get my protein for the day?

I'm 6-1 and 210 lbs.

I have been taking protein powder at home and eating
really good and I have built myself up from 178
pounds when I started about six months ago on the York
Course No. 1 and Course No. 2 as outlined in Legacy of
Iron. (Similar to some of the beginner courses in Chalk
and Sweat.)

It would be nice to forego the protein powder and use
the 250 bucks I would save over the next 6 months and
buy spotting bars for my home gym. I'm just worried
about losing too much muscle if I stop using the
protein powder.

Maybe it could be an experiment. I could give it a try
and report back and let you know how I am doing.

Thanks for your time and knowledge.

Billy Green"

Billy -- Thanks for your message and the update on your
training. You've made TERRIFIC progress. Gaining 32 pounds
of muscle in 6 months is just terrific -- and although you
don't mention your weight increases in your exercises,
I would imagine you are several times stronger than when
you started.

And you did it on a very basic barbell and dumbbell program.
Good old-fashioned stuff. Nothing fancy. Just regular workouts
and progressive training. Excellent job!

As for your question -- re the protein powder -- we'll cover
that a little later in the day.

In the meantime, though, let's get some feedback from your
fellow Dinos.

What should Billy do?

1. Buy a six month supply of protein powder?

2. Buy more equipment for his home gym?

What do you think, Dinos? Let me know!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. You can grab Legacy of Iron and Chalk and Sweat -- and all
of my other books and courses -- right here at the Dinosaur
Training Store:


Here's an email update from one of the very first purchasers of my new book, CHALK AND SWEAT. I think you'll enjoy this one:


Seven weeks ago, I was standing alone in my garage staring down my barbell as it hung in my shiny new power rack, thinking to myself, just what was I getting myself into? I was just laid off, feeling blue, but I at the same time I knew there was one way to cheer myself up, and that was success at some monstrous program, something that would take a lot of guts and grit to get even halfway through. Plus I wanted something that would use the new rack I got for Christmas, cuz well, new rack, c'mon.

Being a young, red blooded Dinosaur, I pre-ordered Chalk and Sweat without hesitation because I knew it was going to be just the sort of book I've been waiting for, and it was an immediate favorite of mine. I read every program, and was quite impressed with all of them, but then I found the John Gimek Leg Specialization routine and my jaw dropped at the notion of all those squats. Like any Dinosaur, I respect John Grimek and so I decided that THAT was what I wanted to do to kick the year off. It was just crazy enough, just hard enough, and yet, just attainable enough.

So I figured I'd start easy, since I hadn't done barbell squats in a while, and loaded it up to 155 for 20, because hell, 155 for 20? I've done WAY more than that. However I remembered the last time I did sets of 20 and I knew how bad they could get. And sure enough, the first day nearly destroyed me, even with me trying to be conservative.

However, I kept at it (in part because I was amazed it kicked my ass so readily). It ended up being a good thing I started so moderately, as it gave me time to get back into my good squatting habits, and my second session went noticeably better, almost easy, and I decided that despite the conventional wisdom for sets of 20 is to add 5 pounds per workout, I was going to add 10 as often as I could so I could get all of my squats over 200 pounds as quickly as possible. So I put most of my energy towards getting the total weight of all those squats up 10 pounds a workout, though the additional weight I piled on to every set was pretty small (sometimes 10 pounds, but more often 5, as the sheer volume was the killer in this program). Considering my max squat was a shaky 315, I think this narrow progression on a set by set basis was fitting. If my max was 700 or something it probably would have been much wider, like Grimek starting at 300 for 20 and going to 500 for 6.

As the weeks went on, I found I was able to keep adding 10 pounds longer than I expected. I ended up getting to about 230 for 20 or so before really having to consistently go to just adding 5 pounds per work out. A short ways into the program, my former strength with the squat seemed to be returning, and there was a brief period in the early stages that the program was just tiring, rather than legitimitely difficult. However, when everything started to get squarely in the 200s, it started to get pretty damn serious. Around that time though, I was really focusing on the mental side of training. I would try to focus on just the next two reps, rather than thinking about all 20 (or 15, or 12, or whatever, the first few sets were always daunting due to their sheer length), and taking it apart into smaller pieces in my head helped a LOT with this program.

But also, despite the ridiculous difficulty of this program, I never once missed a single rep, and eventually all that continuous success really started sinking in and I stopped feeling sorry for myself for being laid off, and all the other negative thoughts that slip in behind something like that were also shut out. The later workouts I had were amazing. I was calm and focused, yet electrified, and despite the bar always being heavier from workout to workout, set to set, it felt it was getting easier since my attitude was changing.

So through it all, on my last day I squatted 250 x 20, 260 x 15, 265 x 12, 270 x 10, 275 x 8, 280 x 6, which I'm pretty sure marked PRs on about every set (it sure was a hard as hell day). I remember 280 used to be a challenging triple last year, but yesterday I took it to 6. I probably could have gone heavier on the later sets, but the fatigue from the earlier sets is pretty extreme and at this point in my training I figured it was smarter to succeed at the reps and do them in good form than push the envelope past what I could reasonably do. When I'm more of a super man like Grimek, I can have a wider gap between sets, but until then, I'm still squatting 71 times, and that's quite a monstrous task.

I put up 95 more pounds on the sets of 20 from where I started, and all the other sets were 100 pounds heavier from when I started. I gained about 10 pounds of muscle, which probably should have been more, but having been laid off, I didn't have the spare cash for extra food to grow really big. Towards the middle of the program, I got a crummy part time job that at least let me get more food for myself, and that was when I really started to grow. As it is, I feel a LOT more powerful, and my other lifts are also progressing quite well due to all the extra power I have, which is pretty damn good in my book.

As much as I loved this program, I am eager to move on to one of your back specialization routines, since I got a beer keg to go along with my heavy sandbag, and I'm eager to see what I can do with the two of them and my barbell. I'm thinking your Program No. 43 will be a great change that still involves the back squat so I can continue advancing that lift, hopefully to entirely new heights!

So in the end, I ended up having quite an amazing journey with this program. It was one of the hardest I've ever done, but it was among the more rewarding, particularly in terms of getting my head straight. Hopefully I'll have another report to you soon about how well the back routine went. As always, thanks for everything you do Brooks, you've been a huge source of inspiration and your books are just amazing.


Kevin Dillon"

Kevin -- Thanks for the great report. It's only February, and already you're in the running for Dino of the Year! Keep me posted on your training and your progress, and let's work together to make 2011 the very best training year ever!

Yours in strength,
Brooks Kubik

P.S. Are you tough enough for John Grimek's Leg Specialization Program -- or for any of the 49 other programs in CHALK AND SWEAT. Grab a copy and see if you can match Kevin's remarkable gains!

What Strength Training Is All About!

Strength training is all about little
gains that eventually add up to BIG GAINS!

That's the whole secret -- right there. In
14 words and one exclamation point.

Every time that you train, your goal should
be to show some sort of progress.

That means -- add one rep.

Or add a small amount of weight.

Or do your exercises in better form.

If you're training the right way -- Dino style
abbreviated training, hard and heavy, using basic,
compound exercises -- you should be making progress
every single time you train.

So the next time you hit the iron, focus on

And remember -- progress means:

Do one more rep.

Add a small amount of weight.

Or do your exercises in better form.

If you want, you can make it into a sort of mini-cycle
where you combine all three methods of progression. Here's
an example, using a guy who presses 150 pounds for 3 x 5 reps.

Workout 1 150 x 3 x 5

Workout 2 150 x 3 x 5 focusing on PERFECT form

Workout 3 150 x 1 x 6, and 2 x 5

Workout 4 150 x 2 x 6, and 1 x 5

Workout 5 150 x 3 x 6

Workout 7 150 x 3 x 6, focusing on PERFECT form

Workout 8 155 x 3 x 5

And now repeat the min-cycle all over again, working
up to 155 for 3 x 6, and then going up to 160 for 3 x 5.

And that's the way to do it.

As always, thanks for reading, and have a great day --
and a great weekend. if you train today, make it a good

Yours in strength,
Brooks Kubik

P.S. For more about effective, no-nonsense, real world strength
training and muscle building, grab any of my books, training
courses or DVD's -- or a subscription to the Dinosaur Files

The Day the Barbell Died

Many of us remember our first barbell.

But how many of us remember the day
our first barbell died?

Or who killed it.

John Grimek and Steve Stanko did.

Grimek and Stanko both learned weight-
lifting on the very same barbell.

It was a home made revolving set in
the possession of the Keesby Eagles
Athletic Club.

On the night of June 22, 1947, a lifter
named Jim Toth attempted a 340 pound
continental clean and jerk with the old

He pulled it high and hard.

The bar shot up like a rocket -- and
crashed down onto his chest -- and broke
in half as it hit him.

Luckily, there were no other fatalities.

Gord Venables reported the incident in
Strength and Health. He thought the bar had
just gotten tired after being manhandled by
men like Grimek and Stanko for so many years.

And that's the way things were -- way back
on June 22, 1947.

As always,m thanks for reading. If you train
today, make it a good one - but don't break
your barbell!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. For more Iron Game history and fast-moving
action grab Legacy of Iron -- and if you've
already read the little monster, grab the next
book in the series. We have five of them now, and
they just get better and better. You can find them

The "How Long do I Rest?" Question

No, we're not really in radio silence
mode -- but I AM very bust working on
a new project, and trying to finish
writing it this month.

So I'm late with today's email message,
and I'm going to have to keep it fairly

While we're here, though, let's cover
a training question.

A reader asked how long to rest between
sets of singles.

Well, there's no right or wrong answer, other

If you're doing rest-pause reps, as I
detail in Strength, Muscle and Power,
you rest 5 to 30 seconds between reps.

If you do heavy singles, as I detail in
Dinosaur Training and the Doug Hepburn
training course, you rest longer between

You take shorter rests between warm-up sets
and longer rests between work sets.

The heavier the weight on the bar, the longer
the rest. Two to three minutes between heavy
singles is NOT too long of a rest.

The important thing is to keep your focus -- to
maintain your concentration -- and to stay warm.
If you lose focus or if you cool down, you are
resting too long.

And as a general rule -- you need less rest between
snatches, clean and press or clean and jerk -- and
more rest between squats and deadlifts. That's one of
the differences between the fast lifts and the

But no matter what you do, you should be able to get
a GREAT workout in well under an hour.

Hope that helps, and as always, have a great day. If
you train today, make it a good one!

And now -- I'm back to work on the new project!

Yours in strength,
Brooks Kubik

P.S. For more about how to use heavy singles and rest
pause training, grab a copy of Strength, Muscle and

What to Get?

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

I've been getting lots of questions from
readers about which Dinosaur Training book
or course to order.

I suppose that's to be expected. When there
was just one book -- Dinosaur Training, Lost
Secrets of Strength and development -- it was
an easy choice. But now we have many more
options for you.

So here, in a nutshell, is a little bit about
the different books and courses.

1. Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength
and Development

I published Dinosaur Training way back in 1996.
It's been a best-seller ever since. Readers call
it "the Bible of strength training." It's about
heavy, hard-core lifting for drug-free athletes,
and it covers so much it's hard to summarize it.

It may be the most motivating and inspiring book
you've ever read -- and it's the one that everyone
else has been copying or piggy-backing off of ever

The bottom line: start here.

2. Chalk and Sweat

Chalk and Sweat is my newest book. It came out in
December 2010. It gives you 50 detailed training
programs ranging from programs from beginners,
to programs for intermediates to programs for advanced
lifters -- and then to special programs to build
Herculean strength and muscle mass.

For most readers, this is your second book to buy. Or
order it along with Dinosaur Training. They work well

3. Strength, Muscle and Power

Published in April, 2010. 29 chapters, tons of info,
lots of workouts, many different training ideas. The
book is a collection of articles I did before I
published Dinosaur Training, or shortly thereafter,
and thus, includes many things that I did not cover in
Dinosaur Training. It has some of my best writing and
most detailed "how to do it" articles.

I've updated, edited, and revised the articles, so the
book is as timely as possible. It's gotten great reviews,
and it's one of our most popular books.

Make this one number 3 on your list.

4. Gray Hair and Black Iron

This book is truly unique. Published in December, 2009,
it covers serious, hard, heavy strength training for older
lifters -- as in, lifters age 35 and up. (I'm 54 now, and
I was 52 when I wrote it, so I think I qualify as an older

There is very little (or nothing) out there for older lifters,
so Gray hair and Black iron fills a very important gap
in strength training literature.

If you're an older beginner, start with Chalk and Sweat and use
the beginner's programs, and then grab Gray Hair and Black Iron.

If you're a more experienced older lifter, start with Gray Hair
and Black Iron.

Should younger lifters read Gray Hair and Black Iron? Many readers
say they should -- and I tend to agree.

5. The Doug Hepburn Course

This one is for serious strength and power monsters and those of
you who are interested in building maximum muscle mass. Nuff said.

Anyhow, I hope that helps.

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

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. You can find more information about all of the above-mentioned
books and courses right here at Dinosaur Training Headquarters:

The Old Guy at the Muscle Beach Gym

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Way back in the 40's, Bob Hoffman took a trip
to California, and stopped in at a great big
gym in Santa Monica, near Muscle Beach.

No, it wasn't Gold's Gym -- this was long before
the Gold's Gym era.

It was a big gym owned and operated by Vic Tanny.
Huge place. Tons of equipment. Lots of members.

And many of the members spent their time standing
in one of two lines, waiting to do pump sets of two
different exercises:

1. Bench presses

2. Lat machine pull-downs

That was their workout.

Endless sets of bench presses and endless sets of lat
machine pull-downs.

No leg work. No back work. No overhead pressing. No
Olympic lifting.

Just endless sets of pec-pumps and lat-blasting.

Hoffman looked around, and over in a far corner, he
saw an older man training by himself with a barbell.
He was doing one of the York training courses. And
he was getting a complete, top to bottom, total body
workout. With lots of leg and back and overhead work.

Hoffman didn't know it, and he'd shudder to realize it,
but that was a turning point in the history of Physical

The young guys doing the pec-pumps and the lat-blasting
were the wave of the future. That's what weight training
in the USA turned into.

The old guy in the corner -- the guy standing on his feet
and training with a barbell -- the guy doing the presses,
squats, cleans, snatches, deadlifts, and rowing -- was a
relic of old-time lifting. He was old-fashioned and out
of date even in the 1940's.

Except now, there are plenty of people training the way
the old guy was training.

They're called Dinosaurs -- and if you're reading this
message, that's what you are.

And do you know what -- it's YOU, not the muscle pumpers,
that are the wave of the future.

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. That old-timer in the corner of the gym would have loved
everything we have at the Dinosaur Training bookstore -- and
so will you! I guarantee it.

The February Dinosaur Files Are On Their Way!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

We dropped the February issue of the Dinosaur Files newsletter in the mail yesterday. We had been waiting a few days because of all the bad weather in so many parts of the United States – the ice and snow would have played havoc with mail delivery.

If you sub to the Dinosaur Files, pls shoot me an email when you receive your issue so I know how fast they are getting to you.

It’s another good issue. In addition to our regular monthly features, we have:

The Workout of the Month – by Brooks Kubik

The Old Guy – by Duke Shoebotham

Once A Week Training Works! – by Erick Mariano

New Year’s Invasion – by Jim Duggan

Strength Training at 60-Plus (Part Two) – by Jim Dauer, Ph.D

Back in the day with Jon Racklin – by Bob Tabaka

The 4 x 20 Barbell Plate Finisher – by Mark Lario

How I Gained 67 Pounds of Muscle – by Jake Andrews

How to use Resistance bands to Help Muscle recovery and Joint Stiffness – by John Stehman

Lex McLean – Strongman! – by Andrew Rolfe and Arthur McLean

So if you sub you’re in for a treat – and if you don’t sub, please consider doing so. The Dino Files is the BEST (and probably the ONLY) hard copy, snail mail, monthly journal for serious strength trainers, garage gorillas, cellar dwellers, and Dinosaurs. 20 pages per issue, tons of info, and massive motivation.

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

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. I’, trying to keep all Dino Files subscribers on the same subscription renewal date – so when new subscribers sign up, they get all the back issues from May 2010 to now, and then the regular monthly issue until they have all 12 issues. That way, everyone will have all 12 issues of volume 1 – and then we’ll start our second year of publication with volume 2.

You can grab your subscription right here:

That 110 Pound Barbell Set!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

In response to yesterday’s email, I rec’d a ton of emails from older readers who still remember – or still own – their very first 110-pound barbell set.

Here’s one from Paul Murray – who’s still going strong and hitting it 3x a week many years after he took his first steps down the path to the Iron Mountain.

“Brooks, I still have some of those Sears "Ted Williams" weights, but mine are copper-colored.

Actually, my first set of weights was black iron and came from Sutcliffe's on 4th street between Market and Jefferson. I, or rather my Mom, bought the 110 lb. set, but I talked her into investing in two additional 25's, because I was intent upon getting REALLY strong, and would NEED THAT MUCH weight! Wow! (Sutcliffe's was the local hometown sporting goods giant of the day. They were bought by Allied, which eventually surrendered to Dick's.)

I still have that set, and I guess that's because, as you pointed out, I was the one who stuck with it. My Mom was convinced the weights would be gathering dust in 2 weeks.

Thanks for the heart-warming messages and for all you do for the Iron Game. Best always.

Paul Murray”

Paul – Thanks for your feedback and kind words – and thanks for sharing the memories! And above all, thanks for sticking with it. As I said yesterday, sticking with it is the most important thing in the world.

Note to everyone – remember what I just said about sticking to it. THAT’S the secret.

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

Yours in strength,
Brooks Kubik

P.S. One reason I publish a monthly newsletter – the Dinosaur Files – is to help readers stick to their training. You can’t beat the Dino Files for a monthly dose of high-powered motivation. Sub now, and I’ll start your subscription as of May 2010 – so you get the back issues from May thru Jan as the first 10 issues on your subscription. That way, you’ll have the complete set:

Sticking to It

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Back when I was a kid, all the guys I ran around with got bit by the barbell bug sooner or later.

We all pestered our parents until they bought us those 110-pound barbell sets from Sears, with the gold-colored plastic plates filled with concrete. They all came with little instruction courses to explain the exercises and give you your beginner’s workout program.

And then we took our barbells and our instruction courses into our rooms, where no one could see us, and started to train.

Everyone trained like a madman – for a week or two. And then the weather got nice, and the other guys started playing softball and baseball out in the park, and the pretty little girl in the house by the corner started to do cartwheels and summersaults in her front yard all the time (which meant you always had to find reasons to ride your bike past her house, slowly).

And it was a good time for hunting and camping and fishing, and we had to cut the grass and do all kinds of yard work, and walk the dog, and the teachers gave us more home work, and there were some great new shows on TV, and there was a new John Wayne movie at the theaters, and Spidey was fighting Doc Octopus and we all started reading comic books again – and some kids started to collect butterflies, and some started stamp collections, and all the rest of us swapped baseball cards.

And all but one kid stopped working out with his little Sears barbell set.

That one kid was me – and if you’re my age or older (I’m 54), and you’re reading this message, you were probably the only kid in YOUR neighborhood who stuck with his training.

We were always looking for the SECRET – how to get big and strong.

But we already knew the answer. Or rather, we were already doing the right thing.

We were training.

We were sticking to it.

We were keeping at it.

And when you get right down to it, that’s the most important thing you need to do.

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

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. One way to help stick to your training is to fill your mind with the right kind of training info. Books – courses – DVD’s – the Dino Files newsletter – and the Legacy of Iron books. Feed your mind, fuel your motivation, train hard, and GROW! You can grab some serious motivation right here:

Didjya Know? (Iron Game Trivia)

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Last week we ran a special feature called “Didjya Know?” It was a collection of fun facts and Iron Game trivia. I asked you to let me know how you liked it, and if you’d like to see more – and the answer was a resounding “YES!”

So I’m going to make “Didjya Know?” a regular Friday feature for you.

And to kick things off, Didjya know:

1. That Clevio Massimo once performed the manual of arms using a 135-pound soldier rather than an infantry rifle.

2. That 138 pound Otto Arco could hold a 175 pound barbell overhead in one hand – lie down on his back, and then get back up to his feet.

3. That Herman Gassler of Germany, a weightlifter who once held the world record in the one arm clean and jerk, could perform the “Cossack Dance” while holding a160 pound man in his arms.

4. That Arthur Dandurand of Canada performed a one-hand deadlift with 552 pounds back in 1920. He weighed a mere 182 pounds.

5. That two-time Olympic Gold medal weightlifting champion Tommy Kono had such severe asthma as a child that he was not allowed to play any sports or games, and spent much of his time lying in bed, sitting, drawing or reading.

6. That 198 pound Ernest Cadine is said to have performed a one-arm deadlift with the famous Apollon wheels (a 367 pound “barbell” made from two old-time railway car wheels held together by a two-inch thick axle).

7. That 178-pound wrestler and strongman, Ben Butler, could walk 40 paces while carrying a 1,000-pound barbell on his shoulders.

8. That to qualify for a job as a market “carrier" in Paris, an applicant had to RUN 200 meters while carrying 200 kilos (440 pounds) on his head.

9. Some market carriers (see no. 8 above) were able to carry two sides of beef on their shoulder (a total weight of 800 to 1,000 pounds) and walk several hundred feet with the enormous load.

10. That back in 1950, a 180-pound strongman named Jack Walsh made a hand and thigh lift of 1800 pounds – or TEN TIMES his own bodyweight.

As always, thanks for reading – and I hope that these pieces of Iron Game trivia inspire you to do some great lifting in your next workout!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. For more fascinating details about the legendary old-time strongmen and how they trained, grab a copy of Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength and Development:

A Super-Human Radio Interview!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Here’s the link to my interview earlier today on SuperHuman Radio – we covered the Legacy of Iron books and lots of Iron Game history – good stuff.

If you missed the live program, check it out right here:

Thanks for listening, and enjoy the show!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. And remember – you can grab any or all of the books in the Legacy of Iron series at the Dinosaur Training bookstore:

Another Dinosaur Radio Interview!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Big Breaking News!

I’m going to be interviewed on SuperHuman Radio on Wed at 12:00 noon EST.

Tune in and hear it live – or catch the broadcast in the SuperHuman Radfio archives. It’s going to be very interesting.

Here’s the link to SuperHuman Radio:

These are free, no cost radio interviews – so I call them my “public service announcements” – and they’re the best darn PSA’s you’re ever going to hear.

Join me on Wednesday -- at noon – for some really good Dino-radio.

We’ll run for one full hour, so we’ll cover lots and lots of material. And yes, I am very excited about this – and really looking forward to it.

At noon – on SuperHuman Radio -- talk to you then!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

Movie and Book Time for Dinos!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Trudi and I went to see “The Fighter” on Saturday night.

Great movie. True story. Based on the life of a boxer from Lowell, Mass. named “Irish” Mickey Ward. It’s really good. Go see it.

Now, I’m a weightlifter, not a boxer – but the movie made me want to throw some serious iron around.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I don’t make movies, and I can’t bring you a movie about your favorite old time lifters. But I do write books – specifically, the Legacy of Iron series -- and my books will give you the very same feeling that I felt when I went to see “The Fighter.”

They’ll make you want to do some serious lifting.

They’ll also teach you more about the champions of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s then you’ll ever learn anywhere else. How they trained – how they ate – their legendary battles in lifting and bodybuilding competition -- and what happened to them “behind the scenes.”

When you read the Legacy of Iron series, you’ll come to know men like John Grimek, Steve Stanko, John Davis, Bob Hoffman, Harry Paschall, Sig Klein, Tony Terlazzo and others. And you’ll learn about a time – now almost forgotten – when the United States had the best weightlifting team in the entire world.

Right now, there are five volumes in the series. (No, 5 just came out yesterday.) More are coming. You’ll want to read them all – starting with number one and working forward. That way, you’ll see the characters grow and develop from book to book – and you’ll see the progression of weight training, bodybuilding and weight lifting in the United States.

So those are my two tips for your reading and viewing pleasure – The Fighter, and the Legacy of Iron books. I think you’ll really like them. And I like I said – they’ll make you want to go lift some serious iron.

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. “The Fighter” is probably at your local theater. The Legacy of Iron books are right here:

1. Legacy of Iron:

2. Legacy of Iron 2 – Clouds of War

3. Legacy of Iron 3 – The 1,000 Pound Total

4. Legacy of Iron 4 – York Goes to War!

5. BRAND NEW – Legacy of Iron 5 – Barbells in the Pacific

IMPORTANT – For orders of three or more books in the series, email me and ask about the special discount.

Does It Work?

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

27-year old Lee Hayward from England sent in the following question:

Dear Brooks,

My name is Lee Hayward, 27 from England. I recently emailed you regarding my training for my judo training.

My training has always been 3 big exercises followed with grip and gut work. Squat, Bench, Row, Farmers Walk, Sit-ups, etc.

Recently I dropped my weight training days to just 2 days a week, Weds and Sat only. Because with training in Judo my body does feel a bit beat up a lot of the time. Thus I find it difficult when training 3 times a week to have a really good workout and get those all-important poundage increases.

My question is this -- When training heavy only 2 times a week what are my realistic goals? I mean, is this 2 days of weights really enough training to make the really big strength gains I need and want for my Judo fighting. I would always try to increase my poundages and always try to have the best workout I could every time I train.

I read recently in your daily emails that you said Tommy Kono only trained 3 times a week and some other famous strength trainers only did 2 times a week. So I am interested to hear your view on my 2 days week training. But most important how it compares to 3 days of training or even 4 full body days when it comes to your expected size and strength goals

I have read all of your books, and to be honest I only read your books now because I want real life training that works. I’ve found your no-nonsense approach to strength training to be the best there is. I really look forward to your daily emails on training tips and I hope you will not mind answering my question

Lee Hayward”

Hi Lee,

Make no mistake about it – you can get very strong on two workouts per week. In fact, you can make great gains on ONE workout per week.

Case in point – I was working on the February issue of The Dinosaur Files newsletter over the weekend. We have a letter and photo from a 61-year old retired police officer and former Marine with scoliosis, three pinched nerves (neck, middle and lower back). But he still trains – TWO times per week – and he is doing a 522 pound Trap Bar deadlift in the photo he sent.

Then there’s an article about a guy who made great gains training 3x per week but hitting each exercise only ONCE per week. He gained over 40 pounds of muscle and tons of strength doing this – and then he started to write books about that sort of training. (Hint: his last name is Kubik.)

After that, we have an article by a man who read Dinosaur training way back in 1996 – and has been training ONCE per week ever since – and does 400 x14, 450 x 9, and 487 x 4 in the Trap bar deadlift – with no belt or straps – at a bodyweight of 170 pounds.

Next, an article by a 63 year old college professor who trains ONCE per week, and can squat 505 pounds and perform a partial trap Bar deadlift with – get this – 1,160 pounds.

So, back to your question – can you make good gains by training twice per week?

You sure can!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. For more information about how to make great gains with abbreviated training and short, infrequent workouts, grab these books: (1) Dinosaur Training, (2) Strength, Muscle and Power, (3) Gray Hair and Black Iron, (4) Chalk and Sweat, and (5) my Doug Hepburn training course. And be sure to subscribe to The Dinosaur Files newsletter, as well. You can find them right here: