Calvert and Milo Barbell

Press: 90x5, 80x5
DOH Axle Deadlift: 190x5, 170x5
H2H Kettlebell Swings: 55# x 20 (each side)
Straight-arm Pec Flies: 10# x 15
Pullovers with 26# ezbar


  • Last time I did this deadlift weight, I said “190x5, 170x5 – had to reset my grip after rep 3”. No grip reset required this time. Progress.

  • Right knee still hurts a bit under the kneecap. Mostly just stairs. It’s been probably a month. Nothing bad, but not gone.

  • Right shoulder has something more acute going on, not sure yet. Windmills may be the prescription, since I think this helped last time.

Ok, so good news is my barbell arrived yesterday! Bad news is it’s defective and will be leaving today :frowning: It will be replaced.

One of the sleeves isn’t spinning right and gets jammed. This is the first “bearing” barbell I’ve ever owned.

It’s a nice barbell. Knurling is definitely more aggressive. Will take some time to get used to.

It’s also proper weight, lol.

My birthday is on Friday. 40.

I bought myself the whole kit of Calvert books and courses from Bill Hinbern’s Super Strength Training site. I’ve read most of them, but most of the pictures in the books aren’t online. I bought the pictures, basically.

One quote from “The Truth about Weight Training”

After a year of heavy dumbbell exercises any sound man, no matter how weak his previous condition was, should be able to press above his head with one hand, a 125-pound dumbbell, to raise a 200-pound bell with both hands to arm’s length above his head, and lift at least 600 pounds dead weight from the ground. These are not unusual results, but are if anything, a low average.

I’m going to take that with a pound of salt.

600 pounds, maybe, depending on range of motion. Like hand and thigh lift – or in modern comparables – a high rack pull. The 200 pound press or 125 pound one armed press (even bent press)?

Well, either everyone’s been training wrong for the last hundred years, or those numbers are a bit off.

Though, I am tempted to actually do his Milo course as written. Maybe next year.

Power to the People + some Calvert for now.


There’s a lot of salt in those old texts. Sounds like the old authors might not have been TOO terribly different from some of today’s “influencers” and promotors.


Turning 40 eh… so you’re closer to 60 than to 20 at this point. Or thereabouts depending on rounding :slight_smile:

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On the plus side, 20 seems so long ago… so 60 is just as far away.

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I’m officially 40, late tonight. A few more hours left of my 30s. Lots of self reflection, as these things go.

My mom dug this one up. Long long ago. I’m in red.

Press: 95x5, 85x5
DOH Axle Deadlift: 200x5, 180x5 — reset grip first set after 3rd rep
Backbend situps: 10# x 6
Straight-arm Pec Flies: 10# x 16
Pullovers with 26# ezbar


  • another loaded carry of a crying child into school this morning. Yay.

  • got my barbell back into its shipping tube and into my coupe. Not the easiest thing to do.

  • left low back/upper hips gets a bit angry with my deadlifts. Hurts a bit waking up in the morning. Did do some glute activation stuff before lifting today though.

  • last time pulling 200 I had to reset my grip every rep. So grip is maybe 5% stronger in 9 days. I’m training to go to at least 300 with double overhand. That seems to be the “ok you’re pretty strong” number for that. Just another small goal.

  • I haven’t yet figured out how to best train both barbell and axle dead. If I alternate them between cycles, I’m concerned they’ll each suffer from the 2-3 week break. Maybe I can do 3 main lifts a day like this? 2 sets of presses, 2 of axle deadlifts, 2 with the barbell.

  • forearms are growing from the axle for sure. Not a plan right now, just a side effect.

  • going to take the weekend off of everything, for real this time.

At some point in the future I will run a minimally modified version of Calvert’s courses. What I did before was made up from Super Strength because I hadn’t actually seen his courses.

I really am curious to validate his statements.

His kettlebell swing, ab work, and windmill recommendations are pretty solid. He might be overpromising but his methods seem to work.

That said, Pavel’s routine has worked in the past and is working now so… maybe not mess with a good thing yet.


Happy birthday.

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Happy 40th!

…I’ve got a present for you:

Stop overthinking, there’s very little difference that 2/3 weeks will make in any aspect of lifting full stop, let alone two movements that are remarkably similar.

There you go, unload your brain of that burden and enjoy yourself this evening!


Thanks for the birthday wishes.


Happy birthday!

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I didn’t entirely take the weekend off, but mostly.

H2H Kettlebell Swings: 60# x 10

Backbend Situps: 10# x 7

Also tried out some 25# one-arm overhead squats. And some shoulder mobility/strengthening thing I’ll find the video for later. Basically an Indian Club thing, just adapted to a dumbbell. Would probably benefit from doing this.

Press: 100x5, 90x5
DOH Axle Deadlift: 210 x 2, 1, 1; 190 x 3, 1, 1 – grip is gone, end of this run
Straight-arm Pec Flies: 10# x 17
Pullovers with 26# ezbar
H2H Kettlebell Swings: 60# x 11

My body seems to be adapting and is being reshaped by this stimulus. It’s minimalist, but it seems to be enough. Arms and shoulders and abs are the main visual changes, which basically says to me that I didn’t have enough muscle mass to lift any heavier than I was before. I also “feel” stronger and more capable, for what that’s worth.

I think I can say with some confidence that the basic idea of Easy Strength did not work for me. That is, daily “light” work, at around 10 reps a day.

Even though I threw some variation on top of it with ROM changes and volume changes, the basics were still there, and especially the “don’t increase the weight until it feels too light”. Objectively, I stayed solidly in the 65-75% range. After the initial adaptation, nothing improved.

Is it because it wasn’t in conjunction with an athletic program? Possibly.

I don’t have enough information to make any decision around whether the Sheiko ideas worked for me. There was simply not enough volume, and probably too much frequency, compared to every single example template I’ve seen of his.

But two things do seem to be working:

  1. Constant volume and frequency, variable intensity. Yes, it’s just a simple ramp up over multiple sessions, but it still fits the mold of variable weekly intensity. Daily frequency.
  2. Single sets with very basic double progression. Do one rep more every session or two, hit the top end of the range, add some weight and start back at the bottom. Every other day frequency.

1 seems to work for “whole-body compound” exercises. 2 seems to work for “partial-body compound”/“isolation” exercises.

Not that one couldn’t work for the other, just, I don’t know that yet for myself. Plenty of future experiments when I learn more, get restless, etc.

I’ve been comparing the printed copy of the first Milo course with the digital copy I read before. Some exercise differences. Not entirely sure which came first (one claims 1905, one claims 1924, but neither claim is very substantiated.)

An interesting find is that “Z presses” make an appearance, i.e., overhead presses, seated on the ground, legs straight in front.

Another difference is that the Jefferson deadlifts use entirely different ROMs. In one, it’s basically just a quarter squat. In the other, it’s a deficit deadlift (he shows the guy with his feet on different chairs with the bar in between).

At some point, I’ll do a better comparison. There might be a third version; I saw a list of exercises from a workout log in an archival copy from Stark center, but I haven’t compared it with the other two.

Useful? I don’t know. But interesting.


Press: 105x5, 95x5
DOH Axle Deadlift: 220 x 3; 200 x 5 – reset grip each rep
Backbend Situps: 10# x 8
Straight-arm Pec Flies: 10# x 18
Pullovers with 26# ezbar


  • I decided my grip wasn’t actually gone and I could go to 220. But now it’s gone. Got 3 reps only, resetting each rep. On the way to 300+.

  • elbow and shoulder joints are a bit unhappy. Probably the flies and maybe pullovers. I have “weak joints” and the straight-arm work seems to be hitting them harder.

  • long arms and a narrow torso means I can get a lot of out 10# flies, lol. Leverage does NOT work in my favor for lifting more weight.

  • my form is getting a bit sloppy. Less optimal bar paths. I notice it on the eccentric of the press (plus I hit my chin on a rep). Deadlift is too light to actually care. Paused and partial work from the Sheiko experiments did help dial this in. No need to change anything, just observing.

  • I’m going to need more plates if I want to train grip with the axle (and use it as a deadlift warmup), and then immediately train a barbell deadlift. At least without moving plates around. I could transition from DOH axle to strapped axle, with less plate changes, but still annoying. Thinking is hard while lifting. 3 bars, each already set up, is far easier.

  • life notes: parenting is less insane this week; work is slightly busier than normal; I’ve now got a 50 day streak studying Mandarin Chinese for 2+ lessons a day (30-45 minutes); and I’m learning a bit of Classical/Literary Chinese “for fun” the past few days


Good to hear!

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Press: 110x5; 100x5
DOH Axle Deadlift: 150x5; 130x5


  • A bit more muscle pain around right kidney, i.e., my back near the bottom of my ribs. This was a thing that happened a few days prior. Skipped KB swings.
  • Also going to move to flies to every other-ish day now that my shoulders and elbows don’t like every day. Every day was a good way to start with a new exercise.

Thursday, Thanksgiving

Press: 115x5; 105x5
DOH Axle Deadlift: 160x5; 140x5
H2H KB Swings: 60# x 12 (24 total)
Straight-arm Pec Flies: 10# x 19
Pullovers with 26# ezbar


  • Kidney-area pain a bit better today.
  • Upper back and neck have been a bit stiffer since switching to higher intensity presses. Shoulders generally ok. Warmed up with band dislocates and pullaparts today.
  • 115 still felt heavy for the press, but maybe lighter than last time?
  • Could probably benefit from adding in some upper-back focused rows. Mostly for rhomboids and mid/lower traps.
  • No news about replacement barbell being sent (i.e., I don’t think they’ve sent it, but they received the return)
  • Might add in much heavier strapped axle deadlifts after my grip fails, so that I get some actual deadlift training. Sure, I’m getting something from this 150-220 range, but eh, not the same as 300+.

Some progress visually.


looking good. well done.

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@throwawayfitness: Thank you

Press: 120x4; 110x5 – rep PR, from 120x3 to 120x4
DOH Axle Deadlift: 170x5; 150x5
Strapped Axle Deadlift: 260x5; 240x5
Backbend Situps: 10# x 9


  • Was hoping for 120x5, but just not there yet. Slow progress is still progress. May give this another shot Monday before restarting another cycle.
  • Would that improve faster with more volume?
  • I’ll give this another cycle and then maybe change something up a bit.
  • Strapped axle deadlifts are new. They did feel a bit heavier than I expected; it’s been a bit. I just added a pair of 45s after the DOH deadlifts, so that was pretty easy to implement.

How’s the weight gain going? Looking lean.

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What gets measured gets improved… and I stopped measuring. I check now and again though. I haven’t lost anything and haven’t gained anything.

Parenting stuff – normally it would be work stuff, but this time it’s not – has taken a bit from me recently, so I just pared everything down. Whatever complexity there was in my lifting mostly disappeared; whatever complexity with eating, the same. I’m still eating the same from-scratch vegetables-every-meal food, but not actively monitoring the weight gain like I was.

On the other hand, my press is going up (finally), so this works for now, at least until it doesn’t. There will certainly be a time I push the weight gain again.

Press: 120x5 (PR!); 110x5
DOH Axle Deadlift: 180x5; 160x5
Strapped Axle Deadlift: 270x5; 250x5
H2H KB Swings: 60# x 13 (26 total)
Straight-arm Pec Flies: 10# x 20
Pullovers with 26# ezbar


  • I’m happy about the PR. Glad I took a second chance to get 120x5 after only getting 4 on Friday. I’d be giving 125 a shot tomorrow but…

  • I’m getting a medical procedure tomorrow (snip snip) and won’t be lifting for a week or two or six, depending on how recovery goes.



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Sorry for the tag. I can’t figure out how to reply to my own thread with the site changes. No reply button at the bottom and I can’t reply to my own posts.

Before I left this morning, and before the valium, I did attempt to press 125 and got 3 reps. So another PR. Actually fairly significant I suppose.

For that strengthlifting comp I topped out at 125 x 1.

Form could use some work. Calvert course uses higher rep behind the neck presses. Possibly a good option to work on maintaining “uprightness”. Also @Alpha suggested overhead squats long ago. Calvert too, after working on DB overhead squats for awhile. Some options.

Anyway. No lifting for at least 2 weeks says the doc.

Then just restarting the cycle(s).

Apologies if I said anything dumb. Still a bit drugged up.