- "Using old school exercises for a new school body"
- "Revisiting a useful training tool: The Training Log Book"





Imagine a Monday afternoon in the middle of January (or February) at your local gym. It's packed, packed like never before, and every piece of equipment from the pulldown station to the shoulder pressto that awful "adductor-abductor" machine is in use. Line-ups abound for every "single-joint" exercise yet the squat racks stand empty, used only by posers performing biceps curls. What a waste of equipment!

At moments like these, wouldn't you rather be stranded on a deserted island with your own gym?


It seems that the present "pop culture" fascination is with people's behavior in isolation, and thus movies and television shows such as Castaway, Temptation Island, and Survivor have become very popular.

Now what if you were a castaway like Tom Hanks, stranded, and with all the time in the world to train? Fortunately, unlike the poor character that Hanks portrays who is left alone with a volleyball named Wilson, you are allowed to pick one piece of gym equipment.

What would it be? Or more importantly, what SHOULD it be? After all, besides a great piece of training equipment (and maybe a fitness model), what more could a stranded islander ask for?


Can't decide on the equipment you would choose? Well forget about any one machine because most personal trainers suggest that one of the limits to a great physique is a lack of training variety. Next, you may as well eliminate all cardiovascular equipment because running through the sand should meet all of your needs for aerobic training as well (and more enjoyably) as using a stairmaster. Furthermore, anyone seeking a better body composition is likely much better off using resistance training to add muscle and shed body fat than performing long bouts of endurance exercise that may cause one to lose precious muscle mass.


So the last, and best option remains the Olympic barbell for all your training needs. Forget about the many technological gadgets built into machines and the comfort of the fitness club scene if you truly want to develop lots of muscle or even if you just want to improve your overall body composition. Get back to basics! Having the Olympic bar at your disposal allows you to train every major muscle group (and all the accessory muscle groups) and it also allows your workouts to be done much more efficiently so that you can spend less time training (and more time with your fitness model)!


Simply by choosing the Olympic bar as your training apparatus brings your goals of more muscle and less fat well within reach.

After all, Arnold used it, Franco Columbo designed his workouts around it, and of course no one knew the value of basic training to physical enhancement more than the Blond Bomber, Dave Draper. You may recognize these names as the mass monsters and owners of champion physiques from the 60's, 70's, and 80's (and who today continue to look better than the majority of individuals that are 30 years their junior)!


All of these former champions recognized the value of traditional exercises, but then again, that was all they had. They knew to work the weight against gravity, and train hard, and often they chose to work to the point of brutality. Fortunately, it isn't necessary to train as much or intensely as these legends were reported to have cause you can easily get fantastic results in a few short sessions each week.


If you were lucky enough (or handy enough to build one), you would also benefit greatly from having a squat rack as well (oh yeah, and some plates, lots and lots of weight plates). The squat rack enables you to perform the hang clean, the squat, deadlifts, barbell rows, and bench presses. These are the basics, the meat and potato exercises that should be sufficient for the development of strength and to force your muscles into hypertrophy. According to the Blond Bomber (Dave Draper), "Nothing builds useful and appealing muscle throughout the entire body like cleans and presses."


But what about biceps curls? Don't worry, you don't need them in this training phase, you will get all the muscle damage you can handle from these exercises alone (but you can still load up the olympic bar and sneak in a few sets if you have the time). Any way you look at it, these exercises are likely better than sitting in a machine. Listen to what Draper has to say about standing curls, "there's nothing like the feel of the standing bar curl and the complete torso involvement when pulling with all your might and recruiting massive erector, mid-back, trap and shoulder cage muscle. Got those legs working for you as well. Who needs isolation, know what I'm saying?"


Today's gyms are full of machines but they are also full of people that are not achieving their goals. Instead, many lifters suffer from frustration because they spend long hours training with futile exercises, using a different machine for every body part, but getting nowhere. It is time for many trainees to return to the basics to achieve their goals and to increase the efficiency of their workouts. Today's lifestyles are just too busy for 2-hour marathon workouts, especially when you can get the same results with less training.


With proper intensity and the correct choice of exercises, there is no reason to spend more than 45 minutes on resistance training at a maximum of 4 sessions per week (even twice a week for 30 minutes could result in noticeable improvements over time). Dump the long line-ups at the leg extension machine and pec deck and incorporate barbell exercises for balance and functional strength by lifting in a standing position. You can use any rep range you desire (refer to ISSUE # 1 or 11 for some guidelines to specific goals), just make sure to train to failure, as the giants of yesterday were always sure to do.


The 5 basic exercises cover it all: your legs, explosiveness, core strength, and upper body push and pull movements. Regardless of your training goal (athletic development, muscle mass, decreased fat, or functional strength), these exercises and the program below will guide you on route to success. Even endurance athletes can benefit from these compound movements, developing strong muscles for injury prevention and performance, without taking away training or recovery time.



Power Clean and Hang Clean (ISSUE #30)

Wide-stance Squat (ISSUE #39)

Deadlift (ISSUE #23)

Bench Press (ISSUE #16)

Row (ISSUE #5) - Dave Draper puts it best, "Did I mention bent-over barbell rows for back development. Don't get me started, partner. Pure iron."





Now here's another tricky part, incorporating each of these exercises into a weekly workout schedule. The following are several ideal and practical workout schedules. Choose based on your other time demanding pressures and adjust the sets and reps based on your goals. For a more traditional workout scheme incorporating some of these exercises, check out ISSUE #59.


4 days per week - 1 or 2 exercises per day This schedule should work optimally for those seeking muscle hypertrophy. Perform 3-10 sets of 6-12 repetitions per set. However, individual set, rep, and tempo schemes will depend on training goal.

Review ISSUE #1 for some repetition guidelines to success.


A sample week of training would look like this:

- row (Optional: Hang cleans before rows)

- squat

- bench

- deadlift


4 days per week - 2-3 exercises per day

Fewer sets per exercise to accommodate for reduced recovery between sessions and also to stay within the 45-minute workout time period. This schedule is for those with optimal recovery ifestyles (see below).



3 days per week - 2-3 exercises per day

This is probably a more practical guideline given the amount of stress most people face in day-to-day living. Here are some more ideas for workouts:

- pair bench and rows/chins within one workout

- pair squat with deadlift within one workout

- add hang clean to either of the above combinations

(again, Hang cleans are always done first in the workout order!)


1 OR 2 day per week programs - 3-5 exercises per day

One could perform all exercises on one day, BUT/ this would probably be too much for anything more than a circuit/metabolic raining routine (and even this would be only for advanced lifters). Be sure to decrease the number of sets per exercise as you add more exercises to a single workout. This will help keep you within the 45-minute timeline.



1 day per week?

What if you only have one day per week to train the entire body? Could you do all 5 exercises on one day? It probably wouldn't be the best idea to try that type of program. If you are limited to one workout per week, use the deadlift and bench press as the best combination for full body development.


However, you may want to perform all of the exercises in a single session as a pre-game warm-up training session (provided that the intensity was light and the volume minimal). Some athletes have used such circuits that incorporate 1-2 sets of 10 reps with a eight that is about 50% of their max lift. This type of workout is a topic that hopefully will have its own article in the future.



CAUTION: All of the training programs outlined here could seriously draw upon your recovery ability. This type of training is best suited for lifters and athletes that have the opportunity to devote their physical, mental, and social resources completely to training, but everyone can benefit from the basics. Adjust the training volume as necessary to accommodate your lifestyle demands, such as work stress, student life, or family obligations.


In these programs, metabolic activity is increased through the recruitment of additional muscle mass. There is a great amount of muscle mass used in each workout (possibly all the major muscle groups within one workout!) therefore the soreness experienced the next day may limit additional activity. The interaction of muscle groups within the exercises is one of the benefits however it will also contribute to fatigue. Finally, the metabolic demand of the programs will require optimal nutrition.


 Planning the nutritional component of this training phase requires as much effort and likely more than the planning put into the workout and recovery design. Without sufficient calories, muscle mass may be lost. Without adequate vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and the optimal ratio of macronutrients, health could be compromised.

As for recovery, remember that if you work hard, rest HARDER!


Fortunately, even if you have limited training time this program should still be effective for you. By performing as little as 3-5 sets of one of these basic compound exercises each day, you will probably develop equal strength and a similar physique to those lifters that train for 90 minutes with only machines and single joint movements.






ISSUE #60 seems like a good opportunity to search back into the archives and reiterate on a fundamental principle of success. For this, you should consider using a training log book because it could be the "make or break" component of your success.


Outlining and planning programs helps fight off the temptation to skip training sessions and removes the burden of having to decide what to do immediately before a workout. The plan should include all the exercises, sets, and repetitions required in the workout.

All of these should be recorded during the workout along with any additional forced repetitions or eccentric (negative) repetitions.


Document any injuries OR illnesses and the circumstances in which they occurred. Noting your mood OR the training environment (i.e. crowded gym, sore hamstring, etc.) will also help to determine your optimal training time and conditions. Long- and short-term goals should be written somewhere in the log to increase commitment and maintain motivation. Always re-evaluate your goals after a sufficient time-interval and re-evaluate your training methods and progress.


After all, many people that train are successful business people that keep a detailed day planner. If you do this for business or even for social outings, why not keep track of all your workouts. Plan to succeed, and keep track of every success.



CB Athletic Consulting, Inc.
Copyright © CB Athletics 2015. All Rights Reserved