The Budget Barbell

The old-fashioned York exercise barbells were wonderful training tools. Believe it or not, it's hard to find high quality exercise barbells nowadays - but it CAN be done. Here's how one of our Dinos found the perfect barbell for his home gym.

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Two quick notes, and then we'll talk iron.

1. The January Dinosaur Files

It's here - and readers are loving it. You
can grab the little monster in PDF format
right here:

The PDF is fully printable, so you can
print out your copy and save it in your

2. The Bone Strength Project

John Wood's Bone Strength Project is
really making waves. You can learn all
about Bone Strength training in issue
no. 4 of The Train Hard Journal:

By the way, there are a ton of reasons
why building your bones is a very good
idea. One of them is - get this - increased
bone mass causes increased levels of

3. The Budget Barbell

One of our longtime Dinos is getting back
into training after being off for awhile. He's
closing in on age 50, so he knows that it's
important to get back to training - and to
keep on training for the rest of his life.

Anyhow, he joined a gym not far from his

That lasted a week or two.

You know what happened - and why he had
to leave.

Dinos and commercial gyms are a very hard
fit. I certainly can't handle a commercial gym -
and neither can most of our Dinos.

So he decided to set up shop at home.

He looked for a barbell - but being a guy who
believes in using high quality equipment, he
had trouble finding anything he liked.

Chinese steel was not his idea of quality.

He wanted an old York barbell. Not an Olympic
barbell, but an old exercise bar - meaning a 5'
or 6' bar that was 1 1/16 of an inch thick - sized
for exercise plates.

In other words, the kind of barbell most of the
older Dinos used when they began training.

He looked high and low.

Near and far.

Far and wide.

Locally and on eBay.

No luck.

Found a guy who offered to sell him a vintage
York bar - but with a very big price tag.

He liked the barbell - but not the price tag.

We talked about it.

He had a bunch of old exercise plates, so all he
needed was a barbell.

I suggested he do what I did many years ago -
buy a 6' length of cold-rolled steel bar, find some
old fashioned collars, and get to work.

He took the advice.

And he even went a step further. He has a friend
who's a welder. So he asked him to weld the inside
collars onto the bar.

The result was a great barbell - at a total cost of
just twenty clams - and that's not very much

You can walk into a coffee shop nowadays and
spend more than that for two coffees and some-
thing to eat with them.

Anyhow, he now has a pretty good set-up.

An old-school, Dino style home gym - a perfect
set-up for serious training.

I told him to have fun and keep me posted on
how it goes, but I already know what's going
to happen.

It's going to be great.

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. Remember to grab the January issue of
The Dinosaur Files:

P.S. 2. For more tips on home gym training and
home gym equipment, grab Strength, Muscle
and Power:

P.S. 3. My other books and courses are right
here at Dino Headquarters:

Hard-copy and PDF


P.S. 4. Thought for the Day:
"A good workout begins with a good

-- Brooks Kubik


We have more than 25 Dinosaur Training books and courses in the Kindle bookstore - here are several of them - head on over and take a look at the others:

Did You Miss These?

The Dinosaur Files Quarterly had some terrific articles - and some super workouts. If you missed it the first time around, you're in luck - we still have some full sets available in hard-copy format - and all four issues are also available on Kindle.

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

As you probably know, we're doing a
monthly newsletter in PDF format with
immediate electronic delivery.

It's called the Dinosaur Files, and you
can grab the Oct, Nov, Dec and Jan
issues right here:

But back in 2014 and 2015 we did a
Dinosaur Files Quarterly.

It was a giant, 40 page publication -
available in your choice of hard-copy
or Kindle.

We did four issues. They covered a ton
of different things. For example, the first
issue included:

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Mesozoic Mail

Jurrasic Jottings

Answers to Your Training Questions
by Brooks Kubik

Requiem for a Lifter
by Brooks Kubik

Physical Training and Internal Life Forces
by Mark Berry

Stone Drills
by Ian Duckett

Journey Into Strength
by Jeff "T-Rex" Bankens

Summer Fun with Granite and Iron
by Jim Duggan

Kevin Fitzgerald - Going Strong at 79!
by Peter Yates

An Old-School, Bosco-Style Program for
Dinos - by Brooks Kubik

Observations at the Gym
by Bobby Rich

How to Survive a Rotator Cuff Injury
by John Stehman

A Light. Medium, Heavy Training
Program for Big Gains - Peter Bolsius

John Grimek's Training Advice
by Brooks Kubik

Dinosaur Classifieds

The Wrap-Up

As you can see, that's a heck of a lot - and
that's just the first of four issues. Each of the
other issues is loaded with great stuff, as well.

The Dinosaur Files Quarterly was $19.95 per
issue plus shipping and handling - but if we
still have some copies available, and I want
to sell them - so you can have all four in
hard-copy format for just $50.00 plus
shipping and handling.

Shoot me an email if you're interested.

We only have 10 full sets, so if you want
a complete set, act fast - they'll go quickly.

If you prefer to do your reading on Kindle,
here's the link to grab The Dinosaur Files
Quarterly on Kindle:

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

Total Body Workouts - Friend or Foe?

World and Olympic Champion John Davis was one of the first lifters to make effective use of divided workout schedules in his training.

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Two quick notes and then we'll talk iron.

1. The January Dinosaur Files

In case you missed it, go here to grab the
January issue of The Dinosaur Files:

You can grab the Oct, Nov and Dec
issues at the same link - so if you
need to get caught up, it's easy to

2. The Strength Secrets Group

John Wood has set up a private Facebook
group called Strength Secrets.

It's a good place for serious discussion
about strength training and Iron Game

You need to apply to join the group - and
you can do it right here. Tell John you
heard about it here - I'm sure he'll let
you join the group if you're a Dino:

3. Some Thoughts on Total Body

On the training front, I'm getting a ton of
questions from Dinos about doing total body
workouts two or three times a week.

By total body, they mean five to ten different
exercises, including squats, deadlifts, and
upper body exercises in each workout.

"Would it work?" they ask.

And the answer is -- it depends.

Total body workouts are great for beginners.
It lets them do the basic exercises often enough
to learn how to perform them properly and
efficiently.That's obviously a very important
skill to develop.

Luckily, beginners are not strong enough
to outrun their recovery ability with a total
body session. So for beginners, a total body
workout is an excellent idea.

For intermediates and advanced trainees,
things are different.

Intermediate and advanced trainees are strong
enough to handle weights that are so heavy that
it becomes very difficult to recover from a total
body workout.

You also have the problem of doing more sets
as you grow stronger -- because you need to
do more progressively heavier warm-up sets to
get to your working weight -- and that means
the workout grows longer and longer.

As I've often noted, I hit a plateau in my 20's
where I could not gain an ounce of muscle or
add any weight to the bar no matter how hard
I tried.

After several years of abbreviated training and divided workout schedules, my strength and power went through the roof. That's a partial push press with 440 pounds - more than I could squat when I was doing total body workouts. 

At the time, I was doing a nine exercise total
body workout three times a week. I did 5 x 5
on almost all of the exercises. And I did squats
and deadlifts in every workout -- which really
over-trained my lower back.

I switched to abbreviated training and a divided
workout schedule, and made enormous progress,
both in strength and muscle mass.

I cover the details in Strength, Muscle and
and Dinosaur Training Secrets, Vol. 1,
Workouts and Training Programs.

If you're thinking about a total body workout,
you ought to give them a read. What you learn
might save you years of wasted training.

Let me repeat that: What you learn in these two
books might save you years of wasted training -
which is why I write books and courses. I'm
trying to save you wasted time and wasted
energy - and to help you train as productively
and efficiently as possible.

By the way, let me note that the vast majority
(if not all) of our older Dinos use the divided
workout system and abbreviated programs.

It lets them maximize their recovery - and
recovery is critical as you get older. See each
issue of The Dinosaur Files for reports from
your fellow Dinos on what works for them.

At age 61, I still use abbreviated and ultra-abbreviated workouts - and I still train with divided workout schedules.

Also, let me remind everyone that divided
workouts are NOT a conventional five or
six day per week split routine. It's exactly
what it sounds like. You take your total
body program and divide your exercises
into two or three workouts - and you hit
each workout once a week - and you train
a total of 3x per week.

No, it's not "a lot" of training - and that's
the point. It's the RIGHT amount of training
to build strength and muscle.

And after all, that's the goal.

Building strength and muscle.

Not logging endless hours of gym time.

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. Go here to grab Strength, Muscle and Power:

P.S. 2. For Dinosaur Training Secrets, Vol. 1, go


Kindle e-book


See the list of PDF books and courses at our
products page:

P.S. 3. My other books and courses are right
here at Dino Headquarters:

The little blue book that many call "the Bible of Strength Training."

Hard-copy and PDF


P.S. 4. Thought for the Day: 

"What works best in your training will
change over time. That often takes a
time to understand." 

-- Brooks Kubik


We have more than 25 Dinosaur Training books and courses in the Kindle bookstore - here are several of them - head on over and take a look at the others:

Warning: Chicken Legs Can Kill You!

Here I am taking my own advice  and doing some front squats in the outdoor training area at Dino Headquarters. Note the use of towels to help hold the bar in the proper position on the shoulders. This is a good adjustment for older trainees with tight arms and shoulders. If you prefer back squats and have trouble holding the bar, use a Safety Squat Bar or a Dave Draper Top Squat device.

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Yes, you read the title correctly.

Chicken legs can kill you.

And no, I'm not talking about the kind of
fast-food, deep-fried, batter-covered food
bombs that people eat. Those are bad, but
I'm talking about something else.

I'm talking about one of the leading causes
of death in the United States.

It's the slip and fall.

It happens to older people all the time. They
have a slip -- they fall -- and they break a leg
or a hip. Usually a hip.

That sends them to the hospital, and from there,
it's all-too-often a steady downward death spiral.

It used to happen to people of relatively advanced
years, but now it happens to people that many of
us would consider to be relatively young. Lots of
folks just five or ten years older than me have
had a slip and fall. And as I noted, it kills many
of them. If it doesn't kill them, it often leads to
a very low quality of life for the rest of their

And many folks my age or younger -- sometimes
much younger -- have had a slip and fall or a
similar accident that caused a severe knee or hip
injury -- that often leads to joint replacement

Sometimes, an accident is unavoidable -- just a
case of bad luck.

But many times, the problem is a lack of leg and
hip strength -- and poor balance. And that's not a
matter of bad luck. It's a matter of bad training --
or the result of no training -- or the result of no
leg training.

Of course, that doesn't have to happen to you.

You can control your destiny. You can take action
and help make yourself injury-proof.

You do it by leg training.

The bigger and stronger your legs, the less risk
you have of a slip and fall. And if you do take a
tumble, strong legs and plenty of muscle may
help you avoid a serious injury.

As far as the details go, here are some key
points about effective leg training:

1. Strengthen your ankles.

Work your entire leg and hip structure,
including the ankles. Many slip and fall accidents
occur when someone loses their balance and their
foot twists at the ankle -- and their ankle isn't
strong enough to bear the strain -- and down
they go.

So include calf training in your workouts. Calf
exercises help strengthen the ankles.

To work the ankles even more, lie a barbell
plate on the floor and push it around with
sweeping movements of your foot. Train both
sides of the ankle when you do this. Left to
right, right to left, etc.

2. Train your toes and feet.

Try picking up marbles or pencils with your
toes. Strong toes help you maintain your
balance, and working the toes also helps
to strengthen the ankles.

Or try this. Soak a small towel in water,
lay it outside on the ground, and then try
to wring the water out of the towel by
picking the edge of the towel up between
your toes and squeezing the water out.

Work your way down the entire towel.

This is a variation of the old towel-wringing
exercise for grip training, and it will work
your toes and feet into the ground.

Another good exercise is one that Trudi
does. It's a 45 degree leg press with the
weight resting on her toes and the upper
part of her foot. She includes a toe press
on each rep. It's one of her favorite
exercises for strong toes and feet.

Trudi also uses Theraband exercises for
her toes, feet and ankles. You can find
many exercises on the interwebs. The
simplest movement is to sit in a chair,
loop the Theraband around your foot,
and hold the ends while you perform
toe presses or ankle rotations.

3. Do lugging and loading drills.

Including lugging and loading drills, where you
carry heavy weights. They work the feet and the
ankles on every step.

It doesn't matter what you do, how far you
go, or what you carry. Just be sure to walk
with heavy stuff as a regular part of your

I cover lugging and loading drills in Gray
Hair and Black Iron. Check them out:

4. Do some weightlifting.

If you can, do some weightlifting. You don't have
to do squat style lifts. Power cleans and power
snatches will work fine. Every rep includes ankle
extension to complete the lift -- and every time
you extend your ankles against weight resistance,
you make them bigger, stronger and thicker --
and more resistant to injury.

Weightlifting exercises also build better balance,
coordination and athleticism -- and help strengthen
your neurological system -- all of which helps you
avoid a bad slip and fall.

If you prefer, use dumbbells. For many trainees,
they are easier to master, and they provide all
of the benefits of barbell cleans and snatches.

See Dinosaur Dumbbell Training for details on
how to perform dumbbell cleans, swings, and

5. Do squats and front squats.

Squats and front squats are the best leg exercises
out there -- and they should always be part of your
training program.

If possible, do full squats. The greater the range
of motion, the better.

Use perfect form when you squat. Dropping and
bouncing, leaning forward, or rounding your back
can cause big problems -- and they all amount to
a form of cheating.

Wear Olympic lifting shoes when you squat. They
help you maintain the correct upright position --
which in turn places the work on your legs and
hips, which is where you want it to be.

You don't have to use World record weights in
your squats -- but you do need to do them on
a regular basis. See Dinosaur Training Secrets,
Vol. 2, the "How Strong Are You Course?" for
some key points on how much weight you
should be using in your leg exercises:

Kindle e-book


Note: It's also available in PDF format  - see the
section on of Products Page where we list all
of our PDF products.

6. Include some auxiliary leg exercises for
improved balance and mobility.

Overhead squats with a barbell or a pair of
dumbbells build a nice combination of strength
and muscle, along with improved balance and

So does the one-arm overhead squat with a single
dumbbell or a kettlebell.

For other unique leg exercises, see Dinosaur
Dumbbell Training. The dumbbell complexes in
the book are particularly good for older trainees.

They will greatly improve your balance, your
coordination, and your mobility.

If you want to include some bodyweight exercises
for the legs and hips, try the movements featured
in Dinosaur Bodyweight Training. They're fast, fun
and effective:

7.  Get out the rope!

Start and finish each workout with some basic
rope-jumping. It's a terrific exercise for the feet
and ankles -- and a good way to build your balance
and coordination.

Invest in the kind of high-quality jump rope that
boxers use -- and include a couple of rounds of
rope work every day.

Jumping rope is also a good cardiovascular
exercise, and helps burn unwanted fat, so it's
got plenty of benefits.

To summarize, expand your concept of leg
training. Squats are the starting point, but it's
more than that. Train the feet and the ankles --
and do exercises that build balance, mobility,
and coordination.

And, of course, build the muscles of your legs
and hips.

In short -- stay strong, train your legs and punch
those chicken legs right in the kisser!

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. Gray Hair and Black Iron is the best book
ever written for older trainees -- and will help
enormously to make you injury-proof:

P.S. Go here to grab Dinosaur Dumbbell
Training and Dinosaur Bodyweight Training:

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day:

"Stand strong, walk strong and live strong."

 -- Brooks Kubik


We have more than 25 Dinosaur Training books and courses in the Kindle bookstore - here are several of them - head on over and take a look at the others:

Dinosaur Style Powerlifting

Masters powerlifter Rich Abbott pulls a heavy deadlift. 

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Several readers have asked for
Dinosaur Style powerlifting

You can find plenty of powerlifting
workouts in Strength, Muscle and
Power - including a detailed look
at exactly how I trained when I
was competing in powerlifting
and bench press contests.

There's also a terrific all-new
power rack training program
for powerlifters in The Dinosaur
Strength Training Archive, Vol.

Why a power rack training

Because power rack training
is far and away the best way
to increase your squat, bench
and deadlift.

It's how I added over 200 pounds
to my squat - and how I built my
bench press to the point where I
won five National Bench Press
contests - and set a number of state,
regional and National records in the
bench press - as well as age-group
World records in one drug-free power-
lifting organization.

Go here to grab the little monster:

Hard copy

Kindle edition

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. I almost forgot - there's another
really good powerlifting  program in
Dinosaur Training Secrets, Vol. 1:

Hard copy

Kindle edition


A New Twist on 20 Rep Squats

You can build a heck of a lot of strength and muscle with Trap Bar training - and here are some tips for doing 20 rep breathing squats (or squat/deadlifts) with the Trap Bar.

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

I hope you had a great weekend, and
that you're ready to rock the world
this week.

Three quick notes, and then we'll talk

1. The January Dinosaur Files

Go here to grab the January issue of the
Dinosaur strength training newsletter:

This month's issue features two great
new workouts - one for kettlebell fans
(but it also works for dumbbell training
fans) - and one for building strength and
muscle mass (good for anyone, of any
age - but double good for older Dinos.)

2. Strongman Coffee Mugs

John Wood is selling some killer strongman
coffee mugs - featuring Eugene Sandow and
George Hackenschmidt on the first two mugs.

Go here to grab them - and start every day
with strongman coffee:

Sandow Coffee Mug

Hackenschmidt Coffee Mug

I know John plans to do more mugs -
I wonder who he's going to put on the
next one.

3. A New Twist on 20 Rep Squats

I started the morning with an email from
one of our long-time Dinos - who had a
very interesting question:

Hi Brooks,

Can you write about what modifications an
older Dinosaur would use to be able to do
breathing squats with a Trap Bar?

Thank you for all your advice, support and
motivation. I'm in the best over-all shape
and health of my life, and your no-nonsense
approach is a big reason why!

Zail K.

Thanks for your kind words, Zail. It's always
good to hear from you.

Many older Dinos prefer to use the Trap Bar
for their lower body training. It's often easier
and more forgiving for them than a squat bar.
So your question is a natural.

There are at least three different ways to do
breathing squats with a Trap Bar.

1. 20 Non-Stop Reps

You can hold the bar in your hands for the full
20 reps without letting go or putting it down.

The problem with this approach is that your grip
will usually give out before you finish the set.

You could use straps, but even so, there's another
important consideration - you need to make sure
you perform each rep in perfect form, with a flat

Most guys who do 20 non-stop reps will start to
round their back - and that's no good, especially
for an older Dino.

I prefer to lower the bar - not drop it, but lower
it - re-set, and then perform the next rep.

Which leads us to . . .

2. 20 Singles

This is my preferred way of doing high rep deadlifts.
You break the set of 20 reps into 20 singles - and
do each one in perfect form.

This works well with breathing deadlifts because it
lets you focus on plenty of deep breathing on each

And that leads us to . . .

3. The Breathing Part

You can lower the bar to the floor, stand up and do
your breathing, and then do the next rep, lower the
bar, stand up and repeat.

Or - you can can complete the rep and do your
breathing with the bar in your hands.

I prefer the latter - because it means you're doing
a heavy shrug with each breath.

Deep breathing with a bar in your hands will work
your lungs to the max - as well as hitting pretty
much everything else.

It's a stand on your feet, total body, muscle mass
and strength building classic.

Also, note that you can do one deadlift followed
by one or two shrugs with the bar in your hands -
lower the bar - let go, stand up and take another
5 or 6 deep breaths before the next rep. That's
actually a very practical and effective way of
doing it.

After your deadlifts, so a set or two of very
LIGHT breathing pull-overs. A 25-pound bar
or two 15 pound dumbbells is plenty for your

Give this a try, and let me know what happens.
I think you'll like it.

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 result-producing and effective
workouts for older Dinos, grab Gray Hair and
Black Iron:

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:

"Older and smarter leads to older and

- Brooks Kubik


We have more than 25 Dinosaur Training books and courses in the Kindle bookstore - here are several of them - head on over and take a look at the others: