The Spookiest Testimonial of All Time!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

In honor of Halloween, I’m going to share with you the “Spookiest” testimonial of all time.

Back in the 50’s and 60’s, you saw ads for Hoffman’s Hi-Proteen powder and Hi-Proteen tablets in every issue of Strength and Health. Many of the ads featured eye-catching photos of a heavily muscled John Grimek – which was interesting, because Grimek retired from competition long before Hi-Proteen hit the market.

In fact, the big four-pound box of Hi-Proteen powder – which was one of the ones I bought (coconut flavor, thank you) – featured John Grimek, the 1940 and 1941 Mr. America – Jules Bacon, the 1943 Mr. America – and Steve Stanko, the 1944 Mr. America. All of whom built their muscles long before Hi-Proteen made its appearance.

But we all ignored minor details like that – and we read the ads over and over until we memorized them – and we read the testimonials – and we thrilled to the exploits of Spooky the Wonder Dog.

Yes, there was a testimonial from a dog named Spooky. Or at least, he was mentioned in his owner’s testimonial.

It went like this:

“Please send a Mr. America box of 2,000 tablets as soon as possible. The last order was just great. I gained 12 pounds of solid muscle and my police dog ‘Spooky’ gained 7 pounds. He barks every time he sees me eat some. Smart dog. We both love those tablets.

Jim Sherwood”

I have to admit it. Spooky was one heck of a dog. So in honor of Spooky – and Hi-Proteen tablets – make your next workout an especially good one!

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. Spooky would have enjoyed Dinosaur Training – especially the chapter on training with heavy awkward objects. If you don’t already have a copy, check it on the Dinosaur Training website and see what you’re missing!

Reader Feedback on How to Do 20-Rep Breathing Squats

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Quick note, and then some reader feedback on yesterday’s email message about getting started the right way on 20-rep breathing squats.


Volume 4 in the popular Legacy of Iron series is due out in mid-November. I’ll put up an order page for it next week. So if you’re a Legacy of Iron fan, then be on the lookout. Volume 4 is on the way – and it’s non-stop action from start to finish.


Here’s what you had to say about yesterday’s email message on 20-rep squats. If you missed it, you can read it on the Dinosaur Training Blog -- it was posted yesterday.

“Thank you for this email. Its great to hear such practical advice about the 20-rep system. I've been wondering about this for awhile and now feel I can add it to my program.” -- Matt McKinney

“What a great news entry! It really clarified the right way to perform the 20-rep breathing squat for me. I've never done them, but planned to, and now I feel I will be starting off exactly the right way from the very beginning. Your emphasis on perfect form really hit home too. I've always made it a priority to perform each rep as perfectly as possible, and avoid the temptation to handle more weight by 'relaxing' my form a little -- but even so, I periodically check my form by lowering my weights and really emphasize absolute perfect form and a very controlled deliberate motion. Handling considerably more weight by deviating from this exact performance is a very seductive proposition, and while I can't say that I have always been immune to it in every instance, I am very conscious of the need to stay on track. Your piece for today was just the right thing to shore up my resolve to re-check and re-set for optimum form. Thanks!” – Michael Dumas

“Great much needed advice. I will put it into action today.” – Jay Mims

“Good topic for the e-mail! I am getting ready to re-start the 20 rep squat work out, I have done it twice before for about 6 weeks each time. I usually start at 135 pounds. That’s very light but I like to break in and work my way up. Better safe than sorry. Keep bringing us the great e-mails, and I cant wait to get the new Dino Files soon!” – Jim Sparlin

“Amen on the 20 rep squat methodology. The take your 10 rep max and do 20 is ludicrous.” -- Frank Tirelli

“Great advice and timely as the 20 rep squat seems to be going through a revival and as you say the info on how to do it is abysmal. I never liked doing high reps but when I started at the gym as a kid I was made to do a lot of reps before I was allowed to touch weights. E.g. 30 pushups and 100 squats. The way Maurice, my mentor, started me on 20-rep squats was to find a weight I could just manage 12 reps in good form, then try to add 1 or 2 reps at every workout until I got 20. Then stay at 20 while slowly adding weight. I actually started to like high rep squats. Always felt a sense of achievement afterward. Have a great day.” – Peter Yates

“Thank you for providing SENSIBLE information on the 20-rep squat routine.” – Rick Helley

“Common sense should dictate, if you use your 10 rep MAX, you should not be able to perform much more than 10 reps and definitely not 20 reps (unless the muscle comics and I have different definitions of what MAX means, which is quite possible).” -- Mikkel Stargaard

“Brooks, another way to go is to start at 10 reps and work up to 20, which I think is what Peary Rader originally advised, the idea being distilled down to "get 20 reps with a 10-rep weight". Obviously to do that, you have to stretch out the set, which is where the breathing comes in. ALL of this comes under the header of REST-PAUSE (aka split-set). Works really well in clean and press. Obviously, you can do more weight in the clean and press with a 10-second pause between reps than you can doing 10 consecutive reps. Not rocket science but gets results. Best always.” -- Paul Murray


Q. “One simple question. Am I supposed to do 20 straight reps with the breaths or is it more like 20 sets of 1 rep (meaning squat, rack, breathe, squat, rack, breathe, etc.)? Thanks.” -- Lorne Sturdivant

A. The preferred method is to do 20 reps, with 3 -5 deep breaths in-between each rep. So the bar is on your shoulders the whole time – which means you have to work hard on each breath to raise your chest and shoulders high enough to fill your lungs to the maximum.

Q. You forgot to mention remembering how to accurately count your reps. I know it sounds stupid but how often did you forget how many reps you have done. Can you cover this?” – Dennis Smith

A. This is where deep focus and deep concentration comes into play. It’s something you have to practice. Again, that’s why I like to start light and learn how to do your 20-rep squats perfectly before you start to pile weight on the bar.

Of course, if you have a training partner who can count the reps, that is ideal.

Q. “Have U heard of the Hise Squat? I'm sure U have.” – Larry Albritton

A. Of course – I cover the Hise squat in Strength, Muscle and Power. It’s a heavy support lift with deep breathing. You put a heavy weight on the bar and do the breathing part of the breathing squat for 20 or 30 reps. No squats --- just breathing. Developed by Joseph C. Hise – hence the name. Also referred to as “dinky squats” by Harry Paschall. If you do these, do them in a power rack! You’ll be using way too much weight to do them safely outside of a power rack.


Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I’m glad you enjoyed the topic. We’ll keep them going for you.

As always, thanks for reading, and have a great day – and if you train today, make it a good one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. For more information on gaining weight, building muscle and developing maximum strength and power, grab a copy of:

1. Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength and Development

2. Strength, Muscle and Power, and

3. For older lifters -- Gray Hair and Black Iron

You can find them at the Dinosaur Training website --

The 20-Rep Squat Question

Hail to the dinosaurs!

Training questions are like bananas – they come in batches. One of the common questions over the past few weeks involves the 20-rep breathing squat. Folks want to know how much weight to handle when they begin to perform 20-rep squats.

So let’s talk about that today. And pay attention, because this is one of those topics where there is some very seriously BAD advice carved in granite tablets and presented to the world as Training Gospel.

The BAD advice on 20-rep breathing squats is as follows:

“Take your absolute top, maximum weight for TEN reps – and then perform TWENTY reps with it!”

That’s the time-honored formula, and it’s been repeated over and over again so many times that it’s probably one of the best known “rules” out there.

It gets repeated because it’s dramatic and it’s impressive and it gets you fired up and rarin’ to go out and do some heavy squats. And it makes an important point about 20-rep breathing squats – which is, you really need to work hard on them.

But you DON”T do it by charging off and doing 20 reps with your 10-rep maximum the very first time you do breathing squats.

Instead, you do it this way – slowly, progressively and intelligently:

1. Take 50% of your 10-rep max and do 20 reps.

2. Perform each rep in letter- perfect form.

3. Concentrate on your breathing.

4. Work to make this the bets set of squats you have ever done.

5. Immediately after the squats, perform 20 reps of the breathing pullover with very light dumbbells (no more than 15 pounds) or a 15 to 25 pound barbell. Do NOT go heavy on the pullovers. They are supposed to be very light, because all you are trying to do is to expand your ribcage through deep breathing and stretching.

In your next squat workout, add five or ten pounds to the bar and perform another PERFECT set of 20 reps.

Continue in this fashion, slowly and steadily, until you are handling your maximum possible weight for 20 reps.

At that point, try to add weight when ever possible.

By starting with an EASY weight at the beginning, you develop good habits for your breathing squats. You learn to perform each rep in absolutely perfect form. And you learn how to focus for the full 20-rep set.

If you start too heavy – which is what most guys do – you almost always begin to perform your reps in lousy form. You round your back. You cut your depth. You drop and bounce. You don’ t raise your chest and shoulders as high as possible when you breath between reps. You start to lean over and look down at the floor in-between reps.

That’s not good. It makes the exercise far less productive – and much more dangerous.

In addition, if you start light and build up, you develop a success-oriented mentality and approach each workout with plenty of confidence. In contrast, if you start too heavy, you quickly fall into the “Can I do it?” mentality – and pretty soon, you don’t get your full 20 reps – and then everything starts to fall apart and your progress comes to a crashing halt and you burn out big time.

I know. I’ve been there. I’ve made the very same mistake I’m telling you all about. And I’ve seen plenty of other people make the very same mistake.

You may very well get to the point where you are handling your former top weight for 10-reps for a full 20-reps in the breathing squat – but don’t try to START there. Start light, and work your way up.

The above advice also applies to 20-rep deadlifts or any other high rep “death set” or “death march” exercise. YES, you are going to work them hard. Very hard. But NO, you are not going to go full-bore the very first time you try them.

So if you’re thinking about doing 20-rep squats or deadlifts, keep the above points in mind. And look forward to some good old-fashioned hard work – and some GREAT GAINS!

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 information about 20-rep squats and deadlifts, weight gaining programs and heavy-duty, high-octane muscle-building workouts, grab a copy of Dinosaur Training and a copy of Strength, Muscle and Power:

1. Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength and Development:

2. Strength, Muscle and power:

Doing Things the Strength and Health Way

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Trudi and I hit the local Farmer’s market on Saturday morning, and loaded up with grass fed bison and grass fed beef, soup bones from ditto, free-range chicken, several dozen eggs from free-range chickens, and tons of fresh green veggies. All of them natural and organic, all of them from local farms, and all of them surprisingly reasonable in price. No hormones, no antibiotics, no pesticides, no chemicals, no preservatives.

We have a big garden in the back yard (which we maintain through the winter), and we supplement what we grow with veggies from the farmer’s market. Everything we grow is 100 percent natural and organic, and we use organic compost and amendments to try to make the soil as rich and fertile as possible in order to have the highest nutritional value in the food we grow.

Trudi then cooked some great soup, and we had the kids and grandkids over for a nice Saturday evening dinner. The grandkids (ages 2 ½) feasted on fresh fruit, small chunks of cooked squash, and crackers with goat cheese and orange and fig marmalade. It was a good meal for them.

One of them tried some salad greens because she saw her grandfather (that would be me) eating them with gusto. She soon decided the squash was better. Oh, well – we’ll get there sooner or later!

So imagine my surprise when I picked up the August, 1963 issue of Strength and Health a few minutes ago, and read an editorial by Bob Hoffman talking about doing pretty much exactly the same thing – way back in 1963!

In an editorial titled “Food of Little Value,” Bob urged readers to search out the healthiest possible foods for their families. He wrote:

In smaller cities, in town, in country, it is easier to obtain natural foods than in the big metropolitan centers. You can determine the source of your meat and your vegetables. Although York is a city of more than one hundred thousand, there are five huge markets here where the farmers bring their products to town for direct sale. We are fortunate in that we have a lot of Dunkard, Mennonite and Amish farmers living in this area who do organic farming. With them it is simply a question of having enough farm animals to supply the manure, plus the addition of natural rock fertilizer.

Unless you live right in the heart of a big city, you have a good chance to have a vegetable garden. You can raise all the tomatoes a family of four can use on a 15-foot square tract. We have an organic garden of an acre and a half, which produces more vegetables than all our family, including six young grandchildren, and many of our friends, can use. We use manure and rock fertilizers, and we put our food in the freezer in season. It tastes good and we know it is good. We are fortunate enough that we can get our chickens and other meat from our farms, and if we could not, we would find farms that produce meat in a natural manner.”

I guess we’re doing things the Strength and Health way – and I guess I need to wear my York Barbell Club t-shirt the next time we go to the Farmer’s Market.

As always, thanks for reading, and have a great day. If you train today, make it a good one – and have a tasty, healthy, nutritious and delicious meal afterwards!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. For more about the Strength and Health way of life – and how the York champions trained and what they ate back in the Golden Age of Might and Muscle – take a look at the first three books in the popular Legacy of Iron series. You can find them at the Dinosaur Training website!

1. The series begins with Legacy of Iron:

2. Clouds of War is the second book in the series:

3. The third book in the series is The 1,000 Pound Total:

NOTE: Order all three of my Legacy of Iron books for a special price – for more information, see the bottom of the information page for The 1,000 Pound Total!

Jan Dellinger Reviews My New Novel, "Horatius"

As you probably know, I’ve taken a big step beyond the realm of pure Iron Game writing, and have written a short novel titled Horatius.

It’s an action-adventure set in Ancient Rome, and it’s based on an amazing true story that involves one of the most remarkable battles in history – where three men stood against 100,000 – with the fate of Rome hanging in the balance.

Jan Dellinger sent in a short review of Horatius. Jan is a big fan of action movies set in Ancient times, such as Gladiator, Troy, 300, and The Last Legion, so he really wanted to read the book – which moves as fast as any movie – and which really ought to be made into a movie.

By the way, Jan Dellinger is the former editor of Muscular development magazine back in the days when it was owned and published by the York barbell Company. He shared an office with the great John Grimek, and has plenty of great stories about Bob Hoffman, John Grimek, Steve Stanko and others of their era. You can see Jan’s work in The Dellinger Files, which are available at The Functional hand Strength website. They make great reading.

Anyhow, here’s Jan’s review of Horatius:

“Regarding your book Horatius, it is another excellent read: I found it to showcase a concise, focused and very intriguing storyline. Too often works of this nature traditionally go to laborious degrees to develop endless characters and scenarios and diversionary subplots. Put another way, a lot of acclaimed writers would have brought Horatius in at 300-400 pages; you got it done in fine fashion in 124. To be blunt about it, someone with Attention Deficit Disorder can stick with Horatius because of the format.

You do simplicity of plot very well and make it very relatable with highly recognizable themes and characters: shared enemies between father and son, prophecies, protective nationalism, swearing vengeance, the evil father/son combo who conspired with political deal making and outright cultural betrayal, the "face" champ v. the "heel" champ (Astur), multiple heroes ultimately (as opposed to just Horatius); in fact, a female champion in his wife, an animal champion in Wolf, and even minor champions in Lartius and Herminius. Triumph by the best of all God's creatures. Who doesn't love that?

Those in the Iron Game parade who actually read things beyond muscle magazines will enjoy it. I only hope Horatius gets exposed to a wider market. For me, it has all of the ingredients to make it appealing on a bigger screen.”

Thanks, Jan, for an excellent summary of Horatius – and to everyone reading this, please go to the Dinosaur Training website at and check the little monster out. I know it’s something “different” from Dinosaur Training Headquarters, but it’s something very special – very enjoyable -- and very much fun.

"How Do I Get Buff?" He Asked

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

I rec’d an email this week that floored me. Someone wanted to know the best diet and training program to get “buff.”

Now, “buff” is a word we don’t hear very often at Dino Headquarters. In fact, I’ve been known to say very unkind things about “Johnny Buffbody and his beach-boy bunny-blasting brethren.”

I guess by “buff” the writer actually meant being lean, hard and muscular – and there’s nothing in the world wrong with lean, hard and muscular. Especially if you add “strong” to the equation.

The way to get there is by working hard to build strength and power, using the heavy, compound movements and basic training programs that I write about in my books, courses and in the Dinosaur Files newsletter.

If you want to do some cardio as well, that’s fine, but the lifting is actually more important. If you look at the old-time muscle mags (from the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s), there were guys with amazing muscular development --- guys who were so lean and muscular they looked like they had been carved from granite – and they got that way with barbell training, not with cardio.

Then you tighten up your diet.

1. Totally eliminate all sugar and all sweeteners. That includes high fructose corn syrup.

1a. This means no soft drinks, no cake, no cookies, no ice cream, no donuts, no twinkies, no honey, no syrup, no jam, no jelly, etc.

2. Drop the beer, wine and any other alcoholic beverages. (If you’re an older lifter and your doctor wants you to drink red wine for heart health, talk w/ your doctor about this one. He’s probably talking about one glass of red wine with dinner.)

3. As much as possible, eliminate processed foods. Try to prepare everything from scratch. It takes more time, but the health benefits are enormous. Processed foods are loaded with salt, cheap (and bad for you) fats, and crazy chemicals.

4. Focus on protein foods and green veggies – lots and lots of green veggies.

5. Control your carbs. Many times, it works best to have carbs at breakfast and lunch, but not at dinner.

6. No more fast food. If you don’t know why this one is on the list, watch “Super Size Me” immediately.

7. Many find that reducing or eliminating grains is an important step in their diet and weight loss program. Others find that some grains are okay, but not others – or they find that whole grain products prepared at home are the way to go.

So if you want to be “buff” – oops, I mean LEAN and HARD and MUSCULAR and STRONG – that’s the way to do it.

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

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. For more about diet and exercise, see Gray Hair and Black Iron – it was written for older lifters, but the advice works for lifters of all ages.

P.S. 2. My new book, Strength, Muscle and Power, has dozens of great workouts and training secrets that will help you build plenty of strength and tons of lean, hard muscle.

You can grab both of the above books at The Dinosaur Training Bookstore! Visit the Dinosaur Training website at for more information.

Important Information from the Dinosaur Research Clinic!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Today’s email comes from the world-famous Dinosaur Research Clinic, a/k/a, your garage, basement, backyard or gym. Because when it comes right down to it, the Dinosaur Research Clinic is wherever someone is training Dino-style – hard, heavy and serious.

Anyhow, we’ve been talking about once per week workouts. Some of you have sent emails saying, “That’s not for me.”

Others have sent emails saying, “That’s exactly what I do, and it works GREAT for me!”

And still more have said, “That’s interesting – I’m going to try it and see what happens.”

Meanwhile, from the other end of the spectrum, here’s an email from yet another of our far-flung correspondents and research directors. His name is Greg Lytton, and he’s following a different spin on abbreviated training and Dinosaur workouts:

“G'day Brooks,

I was hoping you could take a look at my training program and give me your opinion.

I have been working out 3 times a week, 4 exercises per session but need to change due to lifting partner’s new job so I thought this might be OK.


All exercises 5 x 5 warm-up and 5 x 3 work sets

Mon: Squats

Tues: Dumbbell Incline Press

Wed: Dumbbell Rows

Thurs: Deadlift

Fri: Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Plus gut and neck work on alternating days


All exercises 5 x 5 warm-up and 5 x 1 work sets

Mon: Bottom Position Squats

Tues: Bottom Position Bench Press

Wed: Rest

Thurs: Power Clean & Press (love 'em)

Fri: Pull Ups with weight

Plus gut and neck work on alternating days

What do you think?

Greg Lytton”

Hi Greg!

G’day right back to you – and the same to everyone who is reading this.

I like your program, and I think it would work well for you. It is similar to some of the Doug Hepburn programs detailed in my Doug Hepburn training course. It’s also similar to some of the workouts in Gray Hair and Black Iron.

You’re doing some interesting things:

1. Training four and five days per week, but using one primary exercise per workout.

2. Multiple sets of low reps.

3. Using different set/rep systems in week 1 and week 2.

4. Using different exercise in week 1 and week 2.

5. Combining regular style exercises with bottom position movements (a really good way to train, as detailed in Dinosaur training and in Strength, Muscle and Power).

6. Training five days in week one and four days in week two. Note that you could also do a three-day per week program in week three, so you would go from five days to four days to three days and then repeat the cycle.

7. Using a good mixture of different movements – all of them heavy compound exercises.

Keep in touch, and let me know how you do! And thanks for sharing your program with your fellow Dinosaurs!

To everyone out there – thanks for reading today’s email message, and as always – if you train today, make it a good one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. For more information on getting the most out of your strength and power training, try the following resources from the Dinosaur Bookstore:

1. The Dinosaur Files newsletter

2. Strength, Muscle and Power

3. Gray Hair and Black Iron: Secrets of Successful Strength Training for Older Lifters

4. Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength and Development

5. History’s Strongest Men and How They Trained: No. 1 – Doug Hepburn

My Current Training Program

Hail to the dinosaurs!

Last week I asked if you were interested in a big, thick book full of Dinosaur training programs. A book with workouts for beginners, intermediates and advanced men – along with some specialization programs to build maximum levels of strength and muscular size.

The response was overwhelming.

You definitely want the book.

Well, here at Dinosaur Headquarters, when YOU speak, WE listen – so guess what I’m working on this week?

If I work really fast, we may be able to get this little monster put together, printed and out the door in time for the Holidays – so keep your fingers crossed and wish my forefingers “Fast typing!” (I’m a two-finger typist.)

In the meantime, many of you have asked what my current training program looks like. So here it is.

Right now, I am focusing on Olympic lifting. Specifically, the snatch and the clean and jerk. I train these because I enjoy the feel of the movements. They’re very fast and very athletic. And I believe they have good carry-over to preserving your strength, power and mobility as you grow older.

Besides, I write so much about weightlifting and weightlifters – as in, for example, the Legacy of Iron books – that it seems natural to focus on weightlifting.

Now, please note. I am NOT saying I want you to run out and start doing cleans and snatches. If you know how to do them, that's fine -- but most people don't. If that's YOU, and you want to try them, get some good coaching first. Start light, and work on your form and technique. And train your flexibility. Do NOT go heavy too soon. You'll just hurt yourself -- and you'll develop poor lifting habits.

I train alone, out in the garage. No coach, and no lifting partner, although our two cats often prowl around when I’m training, and if I don’t hit a lift in letter perfect form, they give me a yellow-eyed stare dripping with scorn and derision.

I wear lifting shoes, of course – and Tommy Kono’s neoprene knee sleeves. No belt. I try to keep the bar as close to my body as possible when I do snatches and cleans, and the belt would get in the way.

I lift on a platform made of several layers of ¾ inch plywood over a single layer of ¾ inch rubber mat. I also have ¾ inch rubber mat on each side of the platform where the plates go.

I use rubber bumper plates, and I don’t drop the bar after a lift, so the platform has held together very well. That also helps protect the bar and plates. I use an Eleiko bar, so I want it to last. They’re top of the line, and they’re expensive, so you should take good care of them.

I train 3x per week. I focus on one lift per session. I alternate between snatch day and clean and jerk day.

I’m working very hard on the split style of lifting. At age 53, with a history of shoulder problems that dates back to when I was a high school wrestler, the shoulder flexibility just isn’t there to do squat snatches.

That’s fairly common with older lifters, whether or not they ever wrestled. Many (perhaps most) older lifters find that they have to do either power cleans and power snatches or split cleans and split snatches due to flexibility limitations.

I begin each workout with a very thorough warm-up and stretching. The warm-up includes doing the lifts with a broomstick, followed by an empty bar.

From there, I work up slowly to my heavier weights.

I do almost nothing but singles. I start each lift from the floor, and never train lifts from the hang. My goal is to make each lift a letter-perfect technical lift.

I film my workouts, and after training, I go through each lift and see how I did. I’m constantly trying to improve my lifting positions, my speed, my power and my technique. My goal is to perform the lifts in an exceptionally fast and smooth style, with constant acceleration from start to finish.

It’s much more than merely lifting the barbell. It’s lifting the barbell in perfect form.

As I mentioned, I usually do one exercise per session. So a workout might consist of warm-ups and stretching, followed by snatches. Or it might consist of warm-ups and stretching followed by clean and jerks.

I usually do squats or front squats once a week, in my Sunday evening workout. On these, I usually do singles, although sometimes I do doubles. If I do too many reps in the squat or front squat, or if I do them too often, I end up with sore knees and have trouble hitting the low position in the lifts.

At the end of the workout, I do more stretching, and hang from an overhead bar to stretch my spine.

As I mentioned, I do singles. I usually begin with about 50% of my top lift, and work up to 80% to 90% of it. Sometimes I will do multiple singles at each weight – other times, I will just do one until I hit my top weight for the day.

Sometimes I do one single with my top weight for the day, but more often I do two to five top-weight singles.

That’s what I’m doing at present. It will change over time, of course, but it’s working well and suits my needs. And it’s fun. I really look forward to each and every workout.

Now, please note – I’m not saying that this is the perfect workout or that everyone needs to do what I do. Nor am I suggesting that you run down to your basement and start doing Olympic lifting. “Dance with who brung ya” is a good rule for lifting.

And if you’re going to try Olympic lifting, you need to start slow, get some expert coaching, study the lifts, inform yourself, and work on your flexibility. Don’t run out and start doing heavy cleans or snatches in lousy form – you’ll just get hurt, and you’ll develop bad lifting habits.

The main point to note about my training is that I don’t do very much of it. Three workouts per week, each lasting about an hour, is plenty. And more than that is too much. That’s true for me, and it’s probably true for most readers.

Also note that I keep my mind wrapped around the workout from start to finish. I’m constantly focused on what I’m doing and how well I did the last lift. There’s continual feedback. If I were a coach, I’d probably hate me.

Today is a training day, so I’m going to be hitting it at about 6:00 or 7:00 in the evening. And now you know exactly what I’m going to do!

Thanks for reading, and have a great day – and if you train today, make it a good one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. For more about effective strength and power training for Dinosaurs, Cellar-dwellers and garage gorillas, check out the exciting resources available at the Dinosaur Training bookstore!

"I Don't Read No Steenking Novels!"

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Two years ago, when I began writing a series of novels about weight training and weightlifting in the 1930’s and 1940’s – the Golden Age of Strength – many of you probably thought I’d lost my mind.

And I’m sure that many of you thought, “Novels? I don’t read no steenking novels!”

In fact, one guy actually sent me an email and said exactly that. I wasn't sure if he couldn't spell or was just trying to be funny.

But then, something very interesting happened. One by one, Dinos around the world started to try the first book in the Legacy of Iron series – and discovered (perhaps to their surprise), that they really liked it.

There’s something about telling the story AS A STORY that makes a BIG difference. It helps to capture the “feel” of the times. And that means, it helps to capture what is was like to be hanging around the York Barbell Club and training with John Grimek, Steve Stanko, Tony Terlazzo, and the other champs of the 30’s and 40’s.

People who knew them – people who were there "back in the day” love the Legacy of Iron series – and they all tell me that the books really do capture the magic of the Golden Era.

For example -- I rec’d the following from Pete George, who won an Olympic Gold Medal at the 1952 Olympics in Stockholm – as well as silver medals at the 1948 and 1956 Olympic Games – and Five World championships.

Pete was commenting on the Legacy of Iron series – and what he said really made my day. Take a look and you’ll see why:

“A heartfelt thanks to you, Brooks, for reviving so many of my boyhood heroes in your exciting series, Legacy of Iron. You vividly captured the thrills of their exploits and epic battles during the golden era of American weightlifting. I just devoured the first three, and am hungry for more.”

And so, armed with that big slice of encouragement, I’m going to spend the rest of the day working on the next book in the series – and I’m going to say to each and every one of you:

“I know you don’t read any steenking novels – but if an Olympic Gold Medal winner likes them that much, maybe it’s time to make an exception!”

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. You, too, can thrill to the exploits of the legendary champions of the Golden Age of Might and Muscle – as detailed in the Legacy of Iron series:

1. The series begins with Legacy of Iron.

2. Clouds of War is the second book in the series.

3. The third book in the series is The 1,000 Pound Total.

NOTE: Order all three of my Legacy of Iron books for a special price – for more information, see the bottom of the information page for The 1,000 Pound Total!

You can order your Legacy of Iron books from the Dinosaur Training website at

How Often Should You Train?

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

I’ve rec’d a ton of feedback from Dinos around the world about the idea of once per week workouts.

Now please note – I am NOT suggesting that everyone should start training once per week. I myself train 3x per week, and I’m going to stick to it. However, the whole idea of training once per week is interesting because it helps us to see that you don’t need anywhere near as much training as most people think.

And please consider this, as well. There’s no magic about a seven-day week. That just happens to be how our calendar is set up.

Perhaps training once per week isn’t right for you. But what about training once every 3 days – or once every four days – or once every five days – or once every six days?

Or train three times over a period of ten days – or twelve days.

The point is, finding your optimum training schedule is important – and for many lifters, it’s necessary to get outside of the seven-day week to find their personal “best” schedule.

With those points in mind, consider the following message from Erick Mariano. Erick has been a Dino-fanatic since the little monster was published in 1996, and read my articles in Hardgainer magazine before that. If you’re a long-time Dino, you may recall seeing his name from time to time in old issues of the original (1997 thru 2002) Dino Files newsletter.

“Hey Brooks,

Great to hear from you. I just turned 40. Seems like yesterday I was in my mid twenties reading "Dinosaur Training" and then in an instant I'm an "older trainee". I'm thrilled you decided to start up the Dino Files newsletter again. It's fantastic.

Anyway, all this talk of infrequent training got me thinking of some of the authors I've come across who have done very infrequent training at one time or another. So I went back over my collection of "HardGainer" and found quite a few.

None other than Dr. Ken Leistner himself spoke of his time training once per week in HG #30. On page 8 he speaks of doing the following:

Press- 1 x 5
Squat- 1 x 15
Stiff-legged deadlift- 1 x 15
Chin or Pulldown- 1-2 x 6-8

Now Dr. Ken was not recommending training once per week and clearly says he usually trains twice per week, except his son's football season required travel that didn't allow his second workout. Yet, he didn't mention anything about not being able to make progress either.

Christian Temple in HG #37 speaks of his training just one day per week on page 36 doing the following:

Deadlift from knees- 5 singles
Leverage Push Press- 5 singles
One Arm Dumbbell Bench Press- 1 x 5-6 each arm

Michael Mooney in HG 39 on page 47 goes even further describing his experiences with training once every 2 weeks doing:

Incline Bench Press
Pulldown (Under grip)

All for one all out set of 6-12 reps.

In HG 39 we find Steve Kammeraad on page 46 speaking of training just once every 7 days while dividing his 2 workouts into lower and upper body, such that each body part only gets worked once every 2 weeks.

Dick Connor talks of his trainee, Ron Wall, 54 years old at the time, training once per week, dividing up his movements into two workouts so each lift gets hit once every 2 weeks. His training program was:

Workout A:
Hammer High Pull
Horizontal Tru Press

Workout B:
Hammer Deadlift
Vertical Tru Press
Hammer Leg Press
Vertical Tru Pull

All of the above done for one all-out set each.

Author Julian Saul in HG 88, on page 44, also divides his movements into 2 workouts, training each once per week and thus each exercise once every 2 weeks:

Workout A
Trap Bar Deadlift
Standing Trap Bar Press
Close Grip Bench

Workout B
Stiff Legged Deadlift
Bench Press

Finally, Richard Geller in HG # 89, on page 32 speaks of his once per week workout consisting of:

Trap Bar Deadlift

Also sometimes Calf raises, L-Fly, crunches, side bends and rows are done.

I am in no way trying to be some kind of advocate for once per week training. There is no "best" training frequency, or exercises or set/rep scheme. I just wanted to point out that training once per week can and does work for a whole bunch of people and there is nothing wrong with experimenting to see if you might be one of them.

Erick Mariano”

Erick – Thanks for your feedback and your very detailed comments about once per week workouts.

I hope this helps to get everybody thinking about the issue – and about the even more fundamental question of “How much training is enough?”

As I’ve said many times, most people overtrain – most people train too often – and most people do too many different exercises. That’s why I’ve been covering this issue in so much detail over the past week.

In closing, I’ll note that any of the workouts that you listed could be done once every four or five days, with excellent results.

As always, thanks for reading, and if you train today, make it a good one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. For more about abbreviated workouts and non-traditional (but very effective) training programs, subscribe to The Dinosaur Files newsletter. You can grab a subscription at The Dinosaur training website --

The October Dinosaur Files

Hail to the dinosaurs!

The October issue of The Dinosaur Files is getting great reviews from readers around the world.

That's no surprise. It's another very strong issue.

We start off with my opening section, “Hail to the Dinosaurs!” I share some thoughts about where I train, and why – and one of the things that’s most important for me in my training.

Next, we move to “Jurassic Jottings.” This is another section that I write in each issue. It’s a little bit of everything – material that is too short for a regular article, news flashes and updates, short notes on training, interesting bits of information from old magazines, etc.

The third section is “Mesozoic Mail” – this is 100% feedback from your fellow Dinos. Workout reports, training updates, thoughts on the previous issue of The Files, suggestions about home gym equipment, etc. This is always a fun section – our readers have lots of great info to share, and they’re a super-enthusiastic bunch of lifters.

After that, we go to another monthly feature – “The Workout of the Month,” which I write. This month’s workout is one of the shortest, most abbreviated strength and power programs you’ll ever see. It was reported in an old issue of Iron Man magazine (back when Peary Rader still published the mag), and it brought amazing results fro the author of the article. It’s one I’ve wanted to share for a long time, and it’s very interesting and thought provoking.

There follows an article by Ray Ditoto about how he made an old-school set of squat stands to use in his home gym. This one will bring back memories for many of the older readers!

The next article is another one that I wrote. It’s based on the true-life near-death experience of one of our readers – a Master’s World Record holder in the shot put – who walked away from a freak accident that would have killed an ordinary man. It’s so bizarre, he sent me copies of the medical reports to prove it happened! And the only thing that saved his life was something we often cover here at Dino Headquarters – NECK TRAINING!

I follow that with a detailed review of Tommy Kono’s great new book, Championship Weightlifting. You’ve noticed that I talk about this book quite a bit – and in the review, I tell you why.

The next article is by Jim Duggan. Jim is a Captain in the New York City Fire Dept. (which should tell you something), and he’s a 46-year old lifter and an extremely powerful athlete. He covers heavy-duty, Dino-style dumbbell training, and he covers it really well. It’s an excellent article, and it gives you some great tips for super-effective workouts.

After Jim’s article, we cover MMA training courtesy of Brian Lederman, who trains fighters in Florida. It’s a simple, but very intense, very effective program – and it would be great for any athlete – or for anyone who’s trying to combine strength training and conditioning work.

The next article is from Peter Yates, a life-long lifter and martial artist who shares the remarkable story of Bill Hunt, an old-time strongman from England. I had never known of Bill, but it turns out he was one of the strongest men in the world in his weight class “back in the day” – as well as one of the very best hand-balancers who ever lived. For example: Bill raised himself into a tiger bend – moved into a full-handstand – and then “jumped” backwards up onto a chair – while holding a 75 pound dumbbell (wrapped in a towel) in his teeth.

Next, we have a great article on accommodating resistance training for Dinosaurs – written by Chris Young, the 2009 British Raw Squat Champion, and a British and World Champion for his age in Powerlifting.

After that, there’s a very good article by Denmark’s Peter Jensen, a law enforcement officer, on productive, effective and SAFE training for older lifters. This is MUST READING for anyone over the age of 35.

We close with my usual ending section – “The Wrap-Up” – and then have a the “Dinos Around the World” section, where we feature photos of Dinos from across the globe.

The bottom line is this:

1. The October issue of The Dinosaur Files is another terrific issue.

2. If you already subscribe, I know you enjoyed the October issue -- and I know you're looking forward to the November issue!

3. If you don’t subscribe, please do – the Dinosaur Files gives you more bang for your buck than anything else on the market today, and receiving your monthly dose of heavy-duty, Dino-style training info is one of the very best ways to stay motivated for the kind of serious training that leads to BIG GAINS!

As always, thanks for reading – and if you train today, make it a good one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. You can grab your subscription to The Dinosaur Files newsletter at the Dinosaur Training website. When you subscribe, ask us to begin your subscription with the May 2010 issue, so you get the complete set!

The Wounded Dinosaur: A Call to Action!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Today’s message is a call to action to all Dinos. One of your fellow Dinos has been in a very serious accident. His name is Jeff.

I’m going to share Jeff’s story – in his own words, in emails to me – and then I’m going to ask you to do me a very big favor.

The first email is dated August 13 – the second came yesterday.

“Here's my Friday update for you. On July 9, I was riding my motorcycle when a woman hit me at an intersection. Apparently, she didn't see me.

I suffered a broken pelvis, 2 broken legs, broken left hand, 7 broken ribs, multiple skull fractures, ripped bladder, spleen, and liver -- and am also now blind in my left eye.

I was recently sent home to finish recovering. They are hoping I will walk again in 3 months. I suppose my days of farmer walking or sand bag carrying are over.

I have started physical therapy (in bed) and was told my legs and arms have completely atrophied. My new dinosaur training consists of just trying to lift my legs and grabbing a towel with my bad hand. It is by far the hardest work I've ever done in my life as stupid as that may sound.

One day I hope to continue training with body weight -- dinosaur style.

Attempting to stay strong,



Thank you for the reply. Unfortunately, shortly after I wrote you I got an infection and loss the use of my legs. I was whisked away back to the hospital. I did regain use last week. I am now back home and just finished my last surgery. They removed my external pelvic fixator. Google it! Sweet sweet Internet once more!

I started re-learning to walk today with a walker and can't wait to start working on my grip. I am very optimistic about seated exercises...even know that goes against all I’ve learned over the years :(

I wish I had been able to contact you sooner so I could keep you updated. I glanced at the email subjects of everything I missed over the last month and saw some stuff for beginners. That's me again! I'm so excited!

I've now dropped from 210 to 161. Waiting for someone to kick sand in my face. Thank you for the encouraging stories. I know there is hope.

I would really like any reading you can provide. I have your books -- fiction and non -- and actually some of the OLD original Dino files. So if there is something you can provide without dipping into your pocket I would be very thankful.


So that’s the story.

Now here’s your call to action. I want everyone reading this email to take a couple of minutes and write a short note, card or letter to Jeff – or go out and buy a card for him – and send it to me here at Dino HQ.

Pls don’t send an email – send a hard copy in an envelope so that Jeff can actually hold it in his hand and open it.

The goal is to bury the guy in cards and letters. I want him to get hundreds of them – or thousands.

And I also want you to do this – Jeff needs reading material – so if you have any old magazines, books, courses, or DVD’s that a fellow Dino might look to read – pls send one or two. I’m going to include some things from Dino HQ, of course – but I want to send the biggest darn package ever. So help me out. Shoot in anything you can spare.

Or do this – make ONE photocopy of ONE article from any magazine you have – and send that in.

Send everything to my PO Box:

Brooks Kubik Enterprises, Inc.
P.O. Box 4426
Louisville Ky 40204

I’ll collect everything as it comes in and put it in a BIG box – and send it on to Jeff in about two weeks.

Thanks for reading – and thanks for responding to this call for action.

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. Feel free to pass this email to a friend – or post it at your gym – or share it w/ folks from school or work – or send it to folks via Facebook – or post it on any internet board out there – or do anything else to help spread the word. You don’t need to be a Dinosaur or a weightlifter to respond to this message and help a guy who could use some support.