The Iron Master

In days of old, men had their tools of war to turn to for training. Now, we have no such instrument with which to hone our abilities and train our minds for conflict. In the past, it was the sword, shield, spear, bow, javelin and sling to use in training for war. Daily, warriors would awake and train with these tools. They ate to grow stronger for war. They studied to grow more intelligent in things of war. Their entire lifestyle and philosophy of life was designed, in some form or fashion, to better prepare them for war. War, the physical fight and it’s tools, was the Iron Master of our ancestors. Wars change, warriors don’t. For the average man today, we do not have a force of bronze shields wielding spears and swords marching upon us. We do not have a neighboring, warring tribe that we must train our use of the bow to fight. Our war surrounds us, nearly invisible. It is seen in the soft and weak, in the depressed and hopeless. We are a people who run from challenge. A people in need of an Iron Master. Just as warriors of old needed to train the body, so must we. After all, that is where much of our war takes place, in our weak and sickly bodies. So our Iron Master must be one who trains the body. This fight, the conflict, this challenge, will train the body, mind and spirit to become as a warrior once again … Continue reading

You are a King

You are a king. Your body, your kingdom. Your limbs, it’s warriors. They will do as you say, but only if you give the command. If your body is too weak it is your failure as king to keep your kingdom strong. I learned this through training. My deadlift had stalled because my grip could not support holding the barbell any longer. My warriors were too weak to serve. So I trained them. Over the course of a single weekend I trained my grip heavily, primarily through the use of some very strong hand grippers. In training with the grippers, there were multiple times where it felt as though my muscles ceased to be muscles and were instead another entity, blindly following commands coming from elsewhere. When I reached a point that I thought my hands couldn’t squeeze harder, there would be a disconnect. Suddenly I wouldn’t be closing my hand, I would be ordering my hand to close, speaking the command in my mind, and my hand would close. It felt as though a robot were closing my hand for me. The king issued the order, and the warrior obeyed. And the warrior grew strong. When I lifted the bar again that Monday, it was effortless. My grip was so tight on the bar, my concentration so intense, that I surprised myself with the ease with which I lifted it. Now, weeks later, my progress is stalling because other areas of my body are too weak, but not my … Continue reading

My First Strength Routine

I have been lifting weights for several years now, with various levels of equipment, dedication and success.Because I didn’t always have ideal equipment, I couldn’t always follow the routines I read as they were written, so for a long time I improvised based off what I had. I tried many routines that increased my strength, but none of them “clicked” as a strength training routine to me. Not one of them I felt drawn to return to. Things changed when I realized my college allowed students free access to their gym. I could take my strength training to the next level. I spent semester after semester exercising both at the college (with all the free weights) and in my backyard (with a more limited selection). I read many books, experimented with many exercises, modified many routines, and eventually I hit one of my favorite routines of all time. My very first “serious” strength routine. Ready for it? Here it is: Front Squat 3×5 (3 sets of 5 reps) Deadlift 3×5 Weighted Pullups 3×5 Weighted Dips 3×5 And that’s it! I followed this routine from October 30th to December 6th of 2012. My first entry looked like this: Front Squat 145lb 3×5 Deadlift 175lb 3×5 Pullups 20lb 3×5 (that means bodyweight plus 20lbs) Dips 45lb 3×5 (bodyweight plus 45lbs) I started at weights I knew I could lift fairly easily, to build momentum with my gains. Initially I could jump up weight quick, but after a couple weeks it was really … Continue reading

Oldschool Training: Like a Sir

Normally I decide days or even weeks ahead of time that I want to write a particular post or write about a particular topic. But an hour before writing this post, the idea of it didn’t even exist. Writing something this spontaneous isn’t normal for me. However, while checking my facebook newsfeed, I saw this picture: It was humorous on the surface, but as I kept on scrolling down my feed, I kept thinking about it. I realized that there is some “truth” to that statement. Oldschool trainers, strongmen, and bodybuilders (early 1900’s and before) achieved very impressive physiques and did many impressive feats of strength that we still strive for. What has changed in the time since is they way we do so. It is now in vogue to focus on isolation exercises, low fat diets, protein shakes, supplements, and more weird stuff I can’t even recall. The irony of this situation is that many people are trying to repeat results done by someone else, by using different methods, and expecting the same results. While certain oldschool trainers (that’s the general term I use) would eat lots of meat, drink every night, lift using heavy compound movements, and live a healthy lifestyle, people try to do just the exact opposite and expect to gain similar results. That is where the humor in the above photo comes from. Where a modern trainer would worry about getting his protein drink in, an oldschool trainer would simply poor himself a drink knowing … Continue reading

Century Specialization

Century: a hundred; anything consisting of a hundred parts That is the Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary definition for century, and the one I will be using. Century Specialization is using the number 100 to specialize in training a physical weakness. It can be used to bring up a lagging body part, or for training a weak movement. The goal is to reach 100 reps in one way or another, depending on movement and goal. I will visit two ways I personally have used century specialization, as I call it, to further my goals. First is for bodybuilding, muscle isolation specialization: For this you pick an isolation exercise that you can do for one large set of 100. I chose calf raises, since I wanted larger calves (one of few body parts not being worked by the heavy lifting I was doing). I performed a single set of a hundred 5-6 days a week for about four weeks, and noticed significant size increase in my calves. You can pick any exercise for this, just make sure you can do 100 straight reps. If you can’t do 100 reps, decrease either weight or range of motion. For calf raises, it is best to do them flat on the floor, or else you may not finish the set. Curls could also be used, by picking a light stick that can be curled 100 times. Or maybe a pressing movement by using a book. Any movement that hits a muscle lagging behind in size, … Continue reading