On the other hand, the average man really appreciates what he calls “rough-and-ready” strength, and loudly proclaims that he prefers that kind of strength to the sensational feats of a professional lifter. For my part, I think the public is quite right. A man who can put a 400-lb. trunk on one shoulder and carry it up three flights of stairs without getting winded, has more bodily strength than the man who can “push up” a 100-lb. dumbbell, but who is unable to lift or carry really heavy objects. Most of these professional “Strong Men” could make the average baggage-smasher look like a child when it came to carrying trunks; but there are a great many amateurs who are so infatuated with biceps development that they never take the trouble to acquire the bodily strength of even the average day laborer.
Alan Calvert in Super Strength
I’m back, at least for a bit.
I thought about creating a new login, to distance myself from the dumb stuff I said and did before, but I realized I’m probably still going to keep saying and doing dumb stuff…
Very brief training history. I used to run long ago. Then I lifted for a few years, doing a bunch of nonsensical stuff. Some of it was because I couldn’t do the normal things due to pain/injury. I experimented with a lot of ideas. I don’t think I got very far, other than a 2.5x bodyweight deadlift.
Then I ended up training to climb some mountains, and did that. And I built a house, and got married, and had kids, and other life stuff. And as of a few weeks ago, I decided to start lifting again, and thus I’m back here.
There were actually a few medical issues. I could never bench or curl because of elbow pain, but there turned out to be an actual explanation; bacteria ate all the cartilage in my elbow when I was a baby. I had a surgery to clear out the gunk, and it functions a bit better, but it’s literal arthritis since there’s no cartilage. And there’s some upper GI problems that are now better managed, hence the appetite/eating issues. But some stuff is better.
To set some context, I’m lifting as a hobby. I already attracted a mate. I already mated. I’m more than capable of supporting and feeding my family. I’m strong enough to carry a kid on my shoulders, along with theirs and my packs, up and down a mountainside.
But I would like to be a bit bigger in a t-shirt. I just want to be as big as the average middle-aged dad who went to the gym a couple times in college. I have “small bones”, so I’ll have to work both in the gym in the kitchen to reach “average”.
I’m basing my current training on the book Super Strength by Alan Calvert, as well as his Milo Barbell Courses and articles in his Strength magazine. 1905-1920s. The beginnings of olympic weightlifting, bodybuilding. The heyday of vaudeville strongman exhibitionists. When day laborers cut trees down and carried them by hand, when ships and trucks were loaded and unloaded by hand, when coal was delivered to households and carried up flights of stairs. Before forklifts and escalators. When a group of men was required to get a Model T out of the mud. A different world than today.
Why this goal? A) it’s a hobby B) this was before there was any real divergence between the various strength sports; to look strong, be strong, and be able to handle a wide range of angles and activities. The closest thing today is probably modern strongman training.
Everything is kind of “normal”. Core work, leg work, back work, arm work, shoulder work, forearm work. Exercise selection and performance is different.
The current layout looks like this:
- Alternating standing dumbbell press. Right goes up as the left goes down.
- Flared dumbbell rows.
- Sideways bend while holding a dumbbell/kettlebell overhead, touching the toe with the free hand. Rear leg stays straight.
- Barbell curls.
- Jefferson squats/Straddle deadlift.
- 3 squat variations: one with the heels together and legs in a V, on the toes; a hack squat variation with the weight on the hips, narrow stance, feet parallel, on the toes; and a wide stance barbell hack squat, flat feet
- Forward bend/toe touch with weights, rounding the lower back. Sometimes you see these called “jefferson curls”.
- Barbell shrugs.
- Zottman curls. Slightly different than how most people do it, but same idea.
- Weighted situps with the weight behind the head/neck.
- Straight-arm barbell pullovers.
- Backwards barbell raise. It’s like a front barbell raise, but to the back. For the long head of the triceps.
Single set of each. 3x a week. Progression schedule is a bit funny.