Hail to the Dinosaurs!
The other day I got an email from a
reader who is in his mid-fifties.
He's going back to squats after not
having done them for a long time.
He's using 135 pounds right now,
and the bar feels heavy, and he
thinks back to the day when he
handled a whole lot more than
that -- and he gets pretty
He feels like he ought to be
repping out with 315 instead
Heck, they're the same numbers --
a 1, a 3 and a 5 -- just arranged
And 20 years ago, that 315 was a
walk in the park.
So he feels like quitting.
Instead, he sends me an email and
asks, "What should I do?"
Well, let me offer a couple of
Number 1 -- adopt the Dino mindset,
and view the current obstacle as an
Number 2 -- Focus on the here and
now, and on getting stronger NOW,
and forget about the past.
Number 3 -- Use the present opportunity
to do some long, slow, steady gaining.
You're regaining your former strength,
so it's going to be much easier than the
first time around. But your body is older,
and doesn't recover as fast as it did 20
30 years ago -- and you need to be sure
to avoid any injuries -- so you focus on
Do 5 reps with 135.
In your next workout, do 2 x 5 with 135.
In the next, do 3 x 5 with 135.
In the fourth workout, add 5 pounds -- and
do 140 x 5.
Next workout -- 140 x 2 x 5.
After that -- 140 x 3 x 5.
And in the following workout, do 145 x 5.
That simple progression -- adding sets,
and then adding weight and dropping back
to one set -- and then adding sets
again -- will keep you gaining for
a long, long time.
When your gains finally slow down --
which may be when you're handling 225
or 250 pounds for 5 reps -- you change
to adding one rep per workout -- or
you reduce the weight increases from
5 pounds to 2 pounds -- or even one
Note that you do NOT need to do anything
extreme or heroic. You don't need to do
squats until your legs are a quivering
mass of jelly blobs -- you don's need to
do 77 assistance exercises -- you don't
need to train to failure -- and you don't
need to try to move mountains of iron.
You just need to focus on long, slow,
For an older lifter on the comeback
trail, that's the sensible way to do
So there you have it -- slow cooking,
Dino style. (And you probably thought
we we're going to talk about cooking
dinner. . . .)
By the way, this works for anything
and everything you do: squats, deadlifts,
presses, whatever. It's how you should
design your entire workout. Slow but
steady progression -- a long-term
approach for lifelong strength and
As always, thanks for reading and
have a great day. If you train today,
make it a good one.
Yours in strength,
P.S. For more about real world strength
training and muscle building, try these
P.S. 2. Thought for the Day: "Slow and steady wins
the race -- and it also builds strength, muscle and
power." -- Brooks Kubik