The Little Gym that Beat the World (Part 1)

Old-school gyms were rugged, formidable places - and they built rugged, formidable men. Here's the true story of one of the very best of the old gyms.

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Two quick notes, and then we'll talk

1. Old Strength and Health

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3. The Little Gym that Beat
World (Part 1)

We've been talking about old-school
gyms, and about basic, hole in the
wall places compared to the big,
fancy gyms that most people go

So I thought I'd share a true story
about a very special gym.

The place is Philadelphia.

The time is 1940.

It's winter.

And here we go . . .

Two men huddled in front of an old
fashioned, wood-burning, cast iron

Each man wore two sweat suits, a
dark gray fisherman's knit hat, and
thick gloves.

One of them pulled his gloves off,
and held his hands over the stove.

"If my fingers were any colder,
they'd be icicles," he said.

The other man nodded in silent

The first man reached down and
picked up a York Olympic barbell
that lay close to the stove.

"It's ready," he said.

The other man laughed softly.

"Meaning it's not frozen to the
floor," he said.

The first man nodded.

"Meaning it's not frozen to the
floor," he said.

He carried the barbell to the wooden
lifting platform, and performed five
quick reps in the clean and press.

"Your turn," he said.

The second man stepped onto the
platform and did the same five rep

The wind roared, and rattled against
the windows.

The winter snow forced its way in
through a small hole in the window
at the far end of the building.

The men paid it no attention.

They continued to train.

They gradually added wight to the

By now, under the heavy sweats, they
were actually feeling warm and loose.

A third man came into the gym.

"Where's the warm-up bar?" he

The first two men unloaded the bar,
and one of them carried back to the
stove and placed it on the floor as
close as possible to the only source
of heat in the big room.

"Give it ten minutes," he said.

He went back to the lifting platform.

The other lifter was already loading
up another bar - a very cold bar -
and preparing to lift it.

That was the rule. You used the old
bar by the stove for your warm-up
sets, and then you switched to one
of the other bars - and put the
warm-up bar back by the stove
for the next guy who came in.


Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. If you like old-school training,
you'll love Strength, Muscle and

Especially the chapter on home
gym training - the chapter about
my island gym - and the chapter
about not making any excuses.

You can grab the little monster
right here:

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

Hard-copy and PDF


P.S. 2. Thought for the Day

"Gyms are supposed to be places
that make you strong, healthy and
tough. That's why chrome-plated
pleasure palaces don't cut it."

Brooks Kubik


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