Hail to the Dinosaurs!
We received a ton of feedback to yesterday's email
about 20 rep squats for older trainees -- but before
getting to that, let me hit some quick updates and
1. Someone asked if Knife, Fork, Muscle would help
in maintaining strength and muscle mass while losing
unwanted flab -- or whether it was just about eating
to gain muscle mass.
Answer -- it's about healthy eating for lifelong strength
and health -- and it contains advice on eating to gain
muscle mass -- and also contains advice about eating
to lose flab while maintaining strength and muscle
mass. Hope that clarifies things!
You can grab your copy right here as we wind down the
2. If you subscribed to the Dinosaur Files newsletter,
please send in a brief testimonial about why you liked
it, how it helped you or motivated you, etc. I'm using
them to put together an order page for the new
quarterly Dinosaur Files. (And I'm shooting to get
the order page up next week.)
3. Had a great interview with Carl Lanore on the
SuperHuman Radio Show yesterday. The download
is not up yet (as I type this) but it should be up later
On the training front, many of you responded to my
email about whether 20 rep squats were a good idea
for older trainees -- or whether lower reps would work
Here's a summary of what you said:
1. Almost all of the older Dinos said they do better with
multiple sets of low to medium reps, with many of you
doing 5 x 5 or similar set/rep systems.
1a. Many older Dinos noted that higher reps make them
too stiff and too sore.
1b. In other words, the older Dinos have found that they
recover better from lower rep workouts -- which is what
I've been saying for years, and which is certainly true
in my own case.
2. The older Dinos who prefer higher reps in their squats
have been doing higher reps for many years, and are
fully adapted to them.
2a. Several of these Dinos noted that even though they
do 20 rep squats, they don't push the weight on them
the way a younger lifter would do. In other words, they
use them more for conditioning work.
3. None of the older Dinos thought that switching from
low reps to 20 rep sets would be a good idea for an
older trainee -- the consensus was "Dance with who
brung ya," i.e., keep on doing what you've been doing.
4. Several readers noted that Trap Bar deadlifts are a
very good alternative to the squat for older trainees.
4a. For more information on the Trap Bar, go here:
5. Several of the older Dinos noted that they do low
reps (singles, doubles, triples or 5 rep sets) because
they can maintain good form on each rep -- which
helps them train injury-free.
5a. This is a key point.
5b. Low reps sets do not mean you pile on so much
weight that you shake and wobble and the weight goes
all over the place. It means that you train with perfect
form -- and that you use weights that allow you to use
5c. The pumpers and toners never seem to get this.
They equate low reps with maximum effort, life or death
heravy lifts -- which is ridiculous.
6. Many of the older Dinos noted that they supplement
their strength training with low-to-moderate intensity
6a. Many rely on walking for their conditioning work.
6b. Several older Dinos noted that swimming is good
for conditioning work because it is easy on the joints.
6c. At least five older Dinos noted that the lugging
and loading drills covered in Gray Hair and Black Iron
are their preferred form of conditioning work.
7. One older Dino who is a medical doctor bluntly
noted that 20 rep squats can be dangerous for an
older trainee -- and can even trigger a heart attack
if you over-estimate your level of conditioning and
try to go too hard or too heavy.
7a. In other words, don't try to do 225 for 20 reps
just because you used to do 300 for 20 reps 30 years
ago and 225 for 20 "ought to be easy."
7b. "IUSETA" thinking -- as in, "I used to lift such and
so, so I can surely do X now" will get an older trainee
in trouble every single time.
7c. Every. Single. Time.
7d. I covered this in a recent podcast -- I think it was
on Eric Fiorillo's Motivation and Muscle Podcast Show --
or perhaps it was an interview with Bill Kociaba --
and I noted that there was a time when I could do a
perfect belly to back suplex with an opponent in a
wrestling match -- but that was 40 years ago, and
that doesn't mean I can do a suplex today -- or that
I would ever try one.
I think that covers the feedback. Thanks to everyone
who sent in a response. I appreciate it. And ditto for
all of you who sent in a testimonial for The Dinosaur
Files -- they really made my day.
If anyone has further thoughts on the 20 rep squat,
send them in.
As always, thanks for reading and have a great day.
If you train today, make it a good one.
Yours in strength,
P.S. Here's the guidebook for older trainees:
P.S. 2. My other books and courses -- including Knife,
Fork, Muscle -- are right here:
P.S. 3. Thought for the day: "Don't worry about what
you used to be able to do. Focus on what you can do
NOW." -- Brooks Kubik