Calvert and Milo Barbell

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.

The Routine

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.


I should probably keep my eyes out of other training logs for now. My weights are appropriate to where I am and what I’m doing.

Alternating DB Press: 20# x 20
KB Rows: 35# x 20
Overhead Side Bends: 35# x 12 (per side)
Thick bar curls: 60# x 6
Jefferson Squat: 215# x 20 (10 with right leg forward, 10 with left)
Shrugs: 72.5# x 17
3 squat variations: 40# x 20 (60 reps total)
Forward Bend: 68# x 12
Situps: 26# x 8
Pullovers: 26# x 20
Backwards Raise: 26# x 10
Zottman Curls: 20# x 18

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The “3 squat variations” are these. Calvert recommended to start with 25 (!) pounds and working up to 40 reps of each.

I started with 40 pounds for 20 reps of each, and the 2nd variation, the behind-the-back hack squat thing is still ridiculously difficult. It took me almost three weeks before I finally got a continuous set of 20 with good form and balance for that one.

Screenshot 2023-06-23 at 15.27.55

“Stand erect with the heels together, toes pointed out. As the legs are bent point the knees as far apart as possible.”

“Then hold the bell behind you, as shown in Fig. 25. This time stand with the feet together
and parallel to each other and, as you squat, point the knees directly forward.”

Screenshot 2023-06-23 at 15.26.48

“Then stand with the heels about 20 inches apart, hold the bar-bell as shown in
Fig. 26 and squat flat-footed.”

“In the first two variations you allow the heels to rise from the ground as you bend the legs. In the third variation you must keep the heels on the ground and push the knees forward and outward. The first variation develops the muscles on the outside of the thighs; the second, the muscles on the front of the thighs; while the third develops the muscles on the upper inside of the thighs and gives special work to the muscles of the shins.”

(He could have picked better models for the photos.)


Alternating DB Press: 20# x 22 - high reps are awful
KB Rows: 35# x 22 - ditto
Overhead Side Bends: 40# x 3 (per side)
Thick bar curls: 60# x 7
Backwards BB Raise: 26# x 11
Pullovers: 31# x 5

[break for a couple hours to the playground and lunch]

(tried a 225 mat pull just to see how it felt)
Jefferson Squat: 225# x 10 (5 per side)
Shrugs: 72.5# x 18
3 squat variations: 40# x 22 (66 reps total) - 2nd variation had some pauses
Forward Bend: 68# x 14
Situps: 26# x 9
Zottman Curls: 20# x 13

I switched up the thing I do for those forward bends from a DB handle to a short piece of 2" pipe. Better range of motion since the plates are now on both sides of the mats. Unfortunately it kind of fries my grip now, so Zottmans suffer. Going to have to fiddle with the order of things.

I’m basically at the limit of my equipment without plate changes. I’ve misplaced a 5lb plate so it shifts between a couple things. I pretty much have a bar of some sort set up for every one of these lifts so I can just focus on lifting rather than fiddling with plates.

(I just remembered what happened to that plate: I used it to fix a floor lamp that needed a heavier base…)

I figured I could just pick up some plates for cheap, but prices have gone up so much. Seems like everything is $2+ per pound now. The best bet might just to buy a new “beginner” barbell set: 240lbs of plates + a bar for $400.

Also, I’ve been looking around logs like I said I wouldn’t; mostly seeing who’s still around and how they’re doing. Everyone I expected to be stronger is, several now have kids/significant others, so that’s cool too. Glad to see.

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Well I’m weak. After more time reading logs and my old posts, my ego kept messing with me since I had no idea of my 1RMs. Plus, that 225 mat pull felt annoyingly “heavy” to me the other day.

So I wanted to see how much I could still press. The answer is 115 at about 145-147 bodyweight. I filmed it. With some technique work, that could have been 120 or 125. But it’s still really far from my former 155@150.

The bar was too far out front; I managed to nail my [now bleeding] chin during a warmup so I overcompensated. Though, for not having done an overhead press in 7 years, .75x bodyweight isn’t horrible… but it should have been at least 150.

Anyway. That’s checked off my list.

(On the plus side, thoracic mobility and shoulder mobility are lightyears better than what they used to be.)

Right here I want to interject a bit of caution. If you ever buy a bar-bell, the chances are nine out of ten that you will become fascinated with the lifting end of the game; especially with lifting bar-bells or dumbbells to arms’ length overhead. If you do that, you will deliberately interfere with your own progress to such an extent that you will never get as big or as strong as it is possible for you to be. […]

The first thing to do is to increase the size of the chest, and to increase the strength of the lower back, and the size and strength of the thighs. During the first two months’ practice, the arm and shoulder exercises are comparatively unimportant. Notwithstanding this, an uninstructed beginner usually spends almost all his time trying to develop his upper arm by pushing heavy weights aloft. When you start training, you must keep a tight rein on yourself; otherwise, you will plunge right into overhead lifting. The darned thing is so fascinating that there is a temptation to continually “try yourself out” to see whether you can push up a pound or two more than you did the day before.

Alan Calvert - Super Strength

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Pullovers: 31# x 6
Alternating DB Press: 20# x 24 - still awful; tweaked my neck
KB Rows: 35# x 20 - thumb to armpit, elbows flared
Overhead Toe-touch Side Bends: 40# x 4 (per side)
Thick-bar Curls: 60# x 8
Jefferson Squat: 225# x 12 (6 each side)
3 Squat Variations: 40# x 24; 10,8,6; 24 (72 reps total)
Shrugs: 72.5# x 19
Forward Bend: 68# x 12 - strapped
Situps: 26# x 8
Backwards BB Raise: 26# x 12
Zottman Curls: 20# x 20

I’m still working toward a straight set of that 2nd variation of squats. I guess I’ll progress the total number of reps along with the other two variations, but also try extend the first micro-set by a rep every session.

Where he mentions it, Calvert uses a “double progression” method. Work from the start of a range to the end of the range, increasing by a rep or three each week. Once you’ve hit the end, add some weight and start over.

Super Strength talks about exercise selection and performance, but it’s rarely prescriptive about how to actually train them. His Milo Barbell courses, on the other hand, often prescribe a progression. So I cross referenced. Exercise selections are most everything he mentions in Super Strength, progressions are from his courses or magazine.

Actual progressions that have references:

  • Alternating DB Press: 20-40, add 5
  • Overhead Toe-touch Side Bends: 3-6, add 5
  • Barbell Curls: 5-10, add 10
  • Squat Variations: ?-40, add ?
  • Squat Variation 1: 20-40, add 5
  • Jefferson Squat: 10-20, add 10
  • Barbell Shrugs: 14-30, add 10
  • Forward Bend: 10-20, add 10 (and do not do more than 100 lbs)
  • Situps: 5-10, add 10. Work up to 50 lbs then do Backbend over Bench/Chair/Stool Situps.
  • Backbend Situps: 5-10, add 10. Work up to 50 lbs then do Roman Chair/Column situps.
  • Roman Column: too complicated to remember right now
  • Pullovers: 5-20, add 5 (and do not do more than 50 lbs)

My guesses:

  • DB/KB Rows: 12-24, add 5

Totally unknown:

  • Zottman Curls
  • Backwards BB Raise

The internet recommendations for zottman curl progressions are funny. 3-6, 6-8, 8-12, 20-30. So I’ll just do what I want.

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Pork Ribs


Fresh sage, rosemary, garlic. Mince it and mix with salt and pepper.

Dry the meat with paper towels. Then start from the wide side and divide into 3 bone segments.

Spoon on an equal amount of seasoning, then hand rub and press it into the meat.

Put the meat on a rack on a pan, uncovered, in the fridge overnight. You want the cold air to dry it out.

Next day

Start preheating the oven to 350 degrees F.

Oil the meat, not the pan.

Sear the meat on all sides, in as hot of a pan as you can get it.

Once all the sides are seared, pour a few glugs of basalmic vinegar in the pan and quickly rub and coat the top side of the meat in it before it boils away. (Optional step.)

Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 minutes or so. You want to get the internal temperature of the meat in the 175-185 range so that the collagen breaks down.


There was a challenge posted in BSL for a half-bodyweight-per-hand renegade row. I may give it a shot tomorrow.

I’ve been reflecting on my past lifting. It was flawed and it didn’t really work, but I think I understand why. It was a matter of philosophy and approach.

There was/is a notion that “if you get better at press/bench/squat/deads then you’ll be bigger and stronger and achieve all your goals”. But I think that’s more correlation than causative. “Doing what it takes to continue to get better at press/bench/squat/deads” is better phrasing; it may seem like a subtle wording change but is a huge difference.

It changes it from hyperfocusing on just those four lifts (or, even more abbreviated, just overhead press and deads) to include joint work, mobility work, hypertrophy work, antagonist work, “accessory work”, etc. And the eating to support it.

And I was hyperfocused before. I managed to eke out some ok progress by basically specializing in only presses and pulls, to the exclusion of all else. But I hit my limits because, well, I didn’t do the other stuff.

I didn’t know my core was weak. I was doing fine with mat pulls. I could do 300 (or was it 500?) situps. Planks were easy.

But now that I’m actually doing legit core training: weighted situps, and weighted bends for the sides and low back, I’m pretty weak.

My thoracic mobility sucked, and I had something of a hunchback, a bunch of muscle and fascia all locked together around my thoracic spine and ribs. It didn’t show up with the mat pulls, but it did show up with pressing. It took me a long time, with the help of a massage therapist, to make a good dent on it.

My scapular strength and stability sucked too. PT helped me sort that out, and those overhead side bend things are amazing for scapular stabilization. Turkish getups kind of also do that, but not nearly as well.

Dead hangs help with all of it, too.

But then there’s the other stuff. I was weak everywhere, and small everywhere, and didn’t realize the problem. Getting better at pulling isn’t going to magically make you bigger everywhere… if it does at all. Even with higher reps. Even with extra food.

So the philosophy has changed.

Those four lifts do matter, sort of. But they’re just a demonstration that you’ve built size and strength, not necessarily the means to building it. @T3hPwnisher said that all along and I understood it but didn’t understand it. If you read closely, almost everyone who’s been successful has said it.

Even Calvert said it many times and many ways. E.g., a guy who works at a lumber camp (in the days before chainsaws, cars and machinery) is going to be good at deadlifting and other feats of strength, without even training for it. That’s the stuff I read when I first started lifting, but I still missed the point.

(He made some additional points, that barbell training will get you there faster. And that “testing” yourself is just that. It’s not training.)

And you can use those lifts to build strength and size, but you don’t have to. And that’s the confusing part to beginners, I think. Powerlifting is a speciality, just one expression. The powerlifting lifts are a great tool to get there, but not the whole picture. The mainstream abbreviated programs are misleading in that way.

So my goal now is to just get better. Bigger and stronger. And occasionally use those lifts to gauge progress, but they don’t really matter in and of themselves.

It’s just like a better blood pressure or resting heart rate is a reflection of good living, but not the goal itself.

So, um, I’ll just be chugging away here. I think my current plan is to stick with this for another 8 months (I’m at 4 weeks now). It’ll be pretty boring to talk about, except for a few inflection points: the fancy ab work, when I get to it; heavy swings, when I get to it; and some testing of lifts as I hit some milestones.

I see this ending up as more of a food and recipe blog for awhile, if we’re honest.

I set up a 78# dumbbell to try out the renegade rows; did a few “normal” rows with it and decided nope, not yet.

Alternating DB Press: 28# x 12 - turns out 28 is much heavier than 20, who knew?
KB Rows: 35# x 22
Overhead Toe-touch Side Bends: 40# x 5 (per side)
Thick-bar Curls: 60# x 9
Jefferson Squat: 225# x 14 (7 each side)
[break for a meeting]
3 Squat Variations: 40# x 24; 12, 9, 5; 26 (76 reps total) - forgot I was doing 26 at first
Shrugs: 72.5# x 20
Forward Bend: 68# x 14 - strapped
Situps: 26# x 9
Backwards BB Raise: 26# x 13
Pullovers: 31# x 13
Zottman Curls: 28# x 5

My tweaked neck from last session still hurts a bit. I tweaked one side, then a day later the other side hurt too.

I’ve been thinking about doing some neck work too. Playing with some stuff right now.

Also, despite what I wrote yesterday, I really really want to just make a beeline and get my press and dead where they used to be. I’m not going to, but it’s a very very strong temptation after being back on this site.

My wife made chuck roast, a steamed egg custard, cucumber and mushroom last night. Chinese recipes.


I’m officially at 1 month since I [re]started. Maybe I’ll just shift that date to the 1st of every month and do a month-in-review.

The bad, first:

  • I’m not happy with that OHP number.

  • I’m not happy with the way pulling felt. It doesn’t quite “feel” right, too “heavy”, no groove any more.

  • Watching everyone talk about their current maxes in Training Logs is messing with me though I’m not even training for those. Peer pressure I guess?

The good:

  • I’m seeing visible changes where I actually want to see them: spinal erectors, rotator cuff muscles, sides, abs, thighs.

  • I’m seeing visible changes in vanity stuff: shoulders, arms, lats.

  • I’ve never seen changes with vanity stuff before, so that’s actually really cool.

  • Joints felt pretty good a month ago. They feel even better now. I’ve had niggling things with my knees, ankle, elbow, shoulders. Not everything is exactly “gone”, but it’s all better than it was.

  • Little things are feeling even easier. I spend a lot of time on the ground with the kids, and getting up from that is much easier. Walking up the stairs is easier. Carrying them around is easier. Not like it was hard or anything, but it’s easier.

The meh:

  • My wife hasn’t noticed any change to my arms. I think I’ll live.

I’m still very skinny. I’m not delusional. But I’m happy with the direction going on with the rhomboids, spinal erectors, mid/lower traps, etc.

Dinner was: spinach with garlic, salt, pepper, mushroom seasoning powder. “Island pork tenderloin”, dry rubbed with salt, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, chili powder, and glazed with garlic, dark brown sugar and vinegar.

Late edit but I should add this for future reference. Weight is 145-148 range. (Up from the 138ish I’d naturally come back down to a month or three ago.)

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I probably need more food and sleep. Just been dragging a bit for a few days in general.

But I am happy how this 275 pull felt. I did it once just to try it out, then again to film it. Could have been closer to the bar.

My actual plan to test my max pulling strength will be when I hit the end of the progression with 100 lbs on the forward bends and 100 lbs dumbbell swings. So a few months.

I’ll get to logging the rest of the workout later. I did half of it before this.

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My 4 yo daughter noticed I had some pecs yesterday.

“What is that big bump? Why is it popping up? Why are there two of them?” Lol.

Alternating DB Press: 28# x 14 - might stick with this a few more sessions; form is breaking down
KB Rows: 35# x 24
Overhead Toe-touch Side Bends: 40# x 6 (per side)
Thick-bar Curls: 60# x 10

Mat pulls: 275 x 1, 1 ← filmed, above

Jefferson Squat: 225# x 16 (8 each side)
3 Squat Variations: 40# x 26; 11, 6, 9; 26 (78 reps total)
Shrugs: 72.5# x 21
Forward Bend: 68# x 20 - strapped
Situps: 26# x 10
Pullovers: 31# x 14
Backwards BB Raise: 31# x 6
Zottman Curls: not today, maybe later

High rep sets are easier if I count backwards from 24. Or 26. Or more. :face_exhaling:

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I did a lot of reading through logs, and reflecting, and thinking about stuff this past weekend. I have a billion things to say.

Simple things first:

  • We went to a place picked something like 14 pounds of blueberries this weekend

  • My wife and kids picked another pound or so of red currants from our backyard; my kids love the things (We don’t. I’d replace them with almost any other fruit, but the kids love them and they require basically zero maintenance. They grow fruit in full year-round shade and get watered with the lawn.)

  • My diet was atypically carb-heavy. Saturday lunch was a bowl of japanese udon noodles and some fish. Plans that night for meat-heavy Korean BBQ fell through so it was pork steamed buns. Sunday I went to Firehouse for the first time in a few years with the requisite giant sub. Sunday dinner was homemade gyudon over rice. Basically seasoned stewed philly cheese steak meat + onions, served over rice. With some broccolini.

More complex things. Two topics:

  1. Diet
  2. This is expensive


  • After reflecting on a ton of stuff, the elephant in the room is diet.

  • I’ve had work ethic and training consistency and “grit”, but never got the food right. Looking through my old logs, I mostly lived on a mix of not-as-horrible fast food and milk. I eat a ton better now: protein and veggies every meal, with only occasional carbs. 5 of 7 days is home cooked food, from scratch. And when we go out, since we’re in the Portland metro, we’re eating from-scratch cooking almost everywhere. Almost always seasonal, generally locally or regionally raised/grown. Even noodles are often made from scratch, in house. So basically the only crap I have is an energy drink every morning, and occasional doritos, goldfish, cheesits at night. The latter is easy to drop, but I like my caffeinated sugar.

  • Lots of old lifting stuff tracked measurements in additions to weights. Calvert talked about a number of his pupils and shared photos. Weights, heights, but also biceps/forearms/neck/chest/thigh/etc. measurements. I’ll share some photos another time.

  • 2.40 to 2.45 lbs per inch of height. That’s basically what everyone got to. Every one of his students that “looks good” is there. They all had visible abs at that weight.

  • If I want to get where I want to go, training harder isn’t my problem. Training smarter isn’t as much of my problem (ok, I still have to baby some joints). But eating is the problem. I’m never going to look remotely like any of those people if I don’t get myself up to a fairly-lean 175ish.

  • I actually know how to “cut”. It’s pretty stupid that I did it, but I have that knowledge and experience. If I go “over” on the weight gain, I know how to fix it. However I’ve always had some semblance of visible abs, so that’s a potential future hurdle.

  • I think I’m going to target 2.5 lbs of weight per month. That puts me where I want to be in 10 months in terms of bodyweight. If I’m a bit more realistic in terms of muscle gain, I pretty much want my current level of leanness but with another 25 lbs of muscle, so that’s 19 months at 1.25 lbs/month.

  • I know how to be super analytical about measurements. Dealing with data and “fuzziness” of that data is a thing I have some experience with. I started taking morning and evening bodyweight measures just to get a baseline. I’m pretty certain I can maintain my mental and emotional discipline around this. (I think large daily fluctuations of financial investments is harder to stomach.)

  • Basically I’m just going to eat like I’ve been doing with small changes. I had already added 2 blender bottles of malt power + milk a day. Now 2 eggs every morning. Adjustments are… +/- shakes, + number of eggs.

  • I may do something like a mini-cut every 4-6 weeks, but I’m hoping to just not need to.

  • Kind of related, my esophagus does dumb stuff sometimes and won’t swallow food or closes up. Dumb stuff like… half the muscles push the food down, and the other half push it up, so it hurts a lot in the middle. There’s no medical solution for it, other than to “manage” it by waiting it out. I foresee this being a recurring obstacle.

This is expensive

  • Supposedly it’s something like 2800 calories to build a pound of muscle. I need 25 of them; 70 thousand calories. There’s something like 1200 calories in a pound of beef. So that’s an additional 58 pounds of beef on top of what I’ve been eating. At $9/lb that brings it to $525 of additional food. Obviously lots of variables, but just ballparking it.

  • I bought a few more plates, some 5s and 10s. Cost me $98.

  • I bought an adjustable KB handle after pricing out what it would cost to make my own. Cost me another $40. Maybe another $10 if I swap out some hardware on it.

  • I’ll still need more plates down the road. At least a pair of 45s which is looking like it’ll set me back another $120-160. And probably a couple more pairs of 2.5/5/10s.

  • I’ve already invested a lot of money into equipment. I can afford it, but it’s just kind of annoying. But really I just really hate moving plates between bars…

  • Between food and equipment, I’m going to ballpark $750 to get from where I am to that lean 175.

And now, to lift…

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Waldon Adams

5’ 6-3/4"
165 lbs
2.47 lbs/in

18 months of training with Milo Barbell Courses

Strength Magazine, January 1915

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Alternating DB Press: 28# x 10 - technique change, palms forward the whole time
Flared KB Rows: 40# x 12 (per side)
Overhead Toe-touch Side Bends: 45# x 3 (per side)
Thick-bar Curls: 70# x 5
Jefferson Squat: 225# x 18 (9 each side)
3 Squat Variations: 40# x 28; 19, 9; 28 (84 reps total)
Shrugs: 72.5# x 22
Forward Bend: 68# x 20 - strapped
Straight-leg Situps: 31# x 5
Pullovers: 31# x 15
Backwards BB Raise: 31# x 6
Zottman Curls: 28# x 6
H2H Swings: 40# x 10

Dead hang: 30 breaths

Programming notes:

  • alternating db press now has palms facing forward the whole time, per the actual Milo course (which uses Kettlebells). One note he had to help target the back: pull the lower bell down and back on each rep while pushing up with the upper hand. That makes more sense now.
  • the Milo course has calf raises and tiptoe walks; Super Strength does not have anything for calves. However, squats on toes seem to be hitting calves just fine for me. That second variation switches into heavy calf work when I get too far forward on a rep.
  • added in KB swings at the end. This is the same position as Milo Course 1 has. Progression is 10-20 then +5lb.
  • reps or weights should go up every other workout. I misinterpreted it before to once a week (once every 3).
  • switched to straight-leg situps like he called for. Hip flexors are the weak part now, not the abs.
  • rows before side bends may not be the best idea; shoulder girdle is fatigued and the overhead weight is getting heavier. I’ll have to revisit this order.
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Ok. I did this challenge too.

Migrating here from @T3hPwnisher 's log, so as not to derail that futher.

Fair, fair. I’m working on it. :slight_smile:

I actually started out my lifting career doing a 20 rep squat John McCallum routine. Put on some weight and muscle. Got heavier and stronger.

Then at some point I did a “cut” to basically work out the mechanics of it. And got lighter and stronger.

Then I did some hyper-abbreviated stuff and got very slightly heavier and stronger.

And then… well… I did hiking and mountain stuff, and got smaller and weaker. Before coming back here a month or so ago.

At some point I’ll probably figure out that bodyweight → weight on the bar. I’m pretty sure most of my “strength” in the past was neurological and technique, so there’s that.

Doing very very old school strongman/bodybuilding stuff currently. Lots of volume.

These are the “overhead toe touch side bends” I’m doing. I actually forgot these got the name “windmills” somewhere along the line. The windmill doesn’t necessarily touch the toe, but basically the same.

Even a t-nation mention a few days before I rejoined.

In fact, this was a weird find. 3 days before I came back, this has things I’m either currently doing or have done seriously in the past:

  • windmills
  • gironda guillotine presses
  • jefferson deadlifts/squats

And I’ve tried the others but not trained them.

On the 4th:

  • was a pack mule for the family at the parade
  • high-stepping with kids on each feet was fun for them, and a great workout for me. Was not a rest day for my legs.
  • we all walked up the nearby hill where we can see 3 volcanoes and saw 180+ degrees of fireworks
  • I’m proud of my kids (2 and 4) for walking all the way up. Each way: 0.7 mile, 130 feet elevation. My 2 yo even made it most of the way back.

Windmills (Overhead Toe-touch Side Bends): 45# x 4 (per side)
Alternating DB Press: 28# x 8; 20# x 6 - much harder after windmills
Flared KB Rows: 40# x 14 (per side)
Thick-bar Curls: 70# x 6 - both wrists painful immediately after; also much harder immediately after rows
Jefferson Squat: 225# x 20 (10 each side)
3 Squat Variations: skipped - July 4 was a lot of leg stuff
Shrugs: 72.5# x 23
Forward Bend: 78# x 10 - strapped
Straight-leg Situps: 31# x 6
Pullovers: 31# x 16
Backwards BB Raise: 31# x 7
Zottman Curls: skipped; probably will drop these
H2H Swings: 40# x 12

Dead hang: 30 breaths


  • changed the order up to help out the windmills
  • windmills are much easier without doing presses first, but I don’t think my shoulder capsule was warmed up enough
  • presses are much harder immediately after windmills
  • curls are much harder immediately after rows (duh?)
  • axle bar curls apparently hurt both wrists this time, ulnar (inner) side; right wrist was already feeling funny from last workout
  • skipped the zottmans because of right elbow pain. I still have a decent amount of grip work from H2H swings and axle curls, but I’m missing out forearm work.
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I have another problem. I’m not good with rest days.

I tried to piece together something over in @T3hPwnisher’s training log because it wasn’t fully making sense to me.

So I tried out some double overhand deficit axle deadlifts. 3 mats.

200 x 1
250 x 0
200 + chains x 1.25 (quarter rep)
200 + chains x .9
200 + chains x .25
[couple hour break]
200 + chains x .9
200 + chains x .25

With straps
200 + chains x 2

Mixed grip, no straps
200 + chains x 2

I mean this is nothing like 3x3 and not in the context of also doing axle clean and press. And there were failures.

Deficit wasn’t really a huge difference for me but I guess I seem to have good natural deadlift leverages.

Forearms and grip were my weak points. I also apparently skipped out on a proper lockout with the chains for some unknown reason. Didn’t notice until looking at video.

This was the 1.25 one. First rep failed lockout but grip was still fine at that point.