Workouts for the Working Man

Old-school lifters like Louis Abele worked hard and demanding jobs, but still made excellent gains in their training.

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Back in the 1950's, Peary Rader wrote an
article in IronMan titled "Workouts for the
Working Man."

The article covered effective training for
men who work demanding physical jobs.

If I recall correctly, Peary was answering a
question from a man who worked 10 or 12
hour days as a painter, going up and down
ladders, and performing thousands of reps
with a heavy paintbrush.

After a day like that, there wasn't much gas
in the tank for a 2 or 3 hour split routine
workout or 12 x 12 on all of his exercises.

So Peary suggested what we would now call
an abbreviated program -- with low reps,
because low reps help to conserve energy.

It was good advice.

A little bit of regular training goes a long way. You just need to make every minute count.

I was reminded of this because I received
an email this week from a man who works
10 or 12 hours a day on a construction job.

After 10 or 12 hours a day of carrying
bricks, concrete blocks and other construction
materials, and operating a jack hammer,
he doesn't have time or energy for a long

But he still wants to build some serious
strength and muscle.

So what does he do?

My answer is similar to Peary Rader's

He should follow a short, simple program
with a minimum number of exercises.

He should train one or two times during
the work week for 15 to 30 minutes per
workout -- and take a longer (45 minute)
workout on Sat or Sun.

Concentration, focus and mindfulness - three keys to great workouts.

He should do multiple sets of low reps in
each exercise. 5 x 5 would be perfect for
squats and deadlifts -- and it should be
four progressively heavier sets and one
set with his top weight for the day.

On upper body exercises he can do 3 x 5
or 3 x 6 -- two progressively heavier sets
and one set with his top weight for the day.

He should use perfect form in all of his
exercises. This will target the proper muscle
groups and make his training more productive
and more efficient. And it will be less tiring --
and a lot less wear and tear on his already
tired body.

Thus, his workout schedule might look
like this:


1. Standing press 3 x 5-6

2. Barbell curl 3 x 5-6

3. Neck work with head-strap 2 x 10


1. Deadlift or Trap Bar deadlift 5 x 5

2. One-arm DB row 3 x 5-6

3. Grip work of his choice -- 1 or 2 sets


1. Squats 5 x 5

2. Bench press (barbell or dumbbell) 3 x 5-6

3. Gut work -- 1 set

If that's still too much work, he should cut
back even more -- and perhaps train once
a week on Sat or Sun -- doing his choice of
squats OR deadlifts, one upper body pressing
exercise, and one upper body pulling exercise,
plus one set of gut work.

For other workouts that would work very
well for this man -- or for any Dinosaur who
works a demanding job or who doesn't have
much time or energy for training -- grab
a copy of Chalk and Sweat:

In any case, I hope that helps our reader --
and anyone else who is crunched for time
but wants to train!

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

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. Abbreviated training is very important for
older trainees. See Gray Hair and Black Iron
for more than 50 super-effective workouts for
older Dinos:

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

Hard-copy and PDF


P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Where
there's a will -- and some weights --
there's a way." -- Brooks Kubik

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