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Dinosaur Training, anyone?

Hello everyone. This thread is specifically for those of you other hardcore fuckers who have dabbled or currently still train in the Dinosaur way. I just recently got the Dinosaur Training book by Brooks Kubik and it completely changed my perspective on lifting weights. Anyway, I pretty much took the most basic workout he gave in the book, which is roughly one workout every 3 or 4 days. I’ve gotten awesome results in just a short time, so I’m excited. My question is, does anyone else out there do this? What’s a good set of guidlines for a new dinosaur enthusiast to follow? Part of me, the high volume fanatic, can’t help but to think that I’m not doing enough. Are there any “must do” movements besides those prescribed by Kubik? Any recommendations would help on my quest to develop barbaric strength. Thanx in advance.

I’ve used 5x5 or 1x8 for a long time. I pretty much do something that looks like the workout in Chap. 18, p.148. You will get strong, and you WILL grow. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t grow on low volume, it’s crap. I can even pull up my old jeans past my knees. Two suggestions: don’t rush into rack/partial work for a while. You’ll kill your joints. Also, USE the sandbag. For what it’s worth, it’s the best thing out there. Cleans, shoulders, presses, bearhug walks, stepups… It’s almost limitless, and it’s brutal. Add a scoop of sand every time (about 1 pound). When you can clean and press a 150-200lbs sandbag, you’ll be laughing at doing that weight with a barbell. Have fun.


Greg, I am amazed that you are the only lifter on this forum that does Dinosaur training. I guess that says something. Anyway, I was curious. That recommendation of putting in an extra lb of sand every time is a great idea! I was just curious… I use my old USMC seabag (duffle bag). Are they able to resist the sand running out of the pores? If so, then great. Otherwise, do you have any ideas on what kind of sack or whatever I could use that are “sand tight”? I just did Power cleans with the 100 lbs sandbags today for sets of 5, and that destroyed me, but that was already after walking a 1/4 mile with that same 100 lb bag. Thanks again.

Chris Shugart does it. Read his article on ‘finishers’.

I’m not really surprised that not more people do it. It’s harder work than most people will tolerate.
As for the sandbag, this is what I did. I got a bunch of normal trash bags, and a few “heavy duty” contractor bags. I take 2 normal bags, and put them inside one another, then fill up with about 25lbs of sand. Do this twice, so you have 50lbs in 2 “units”. Duct tape those closed, making sure all the air is out of the bags. Take the 2 units and put them in a larger contractor bag. Close that one up the same way. So now you have a 50lbs bag. Make 2,3, or 4 of these, depending how heavy you want your bag. On the last one, tie it off with rope, not tape. Since this is the one you’ll open to throw in more sand. Or make a seperate one for that small amount. Then throw them all in the duffel bag. The garbage bags will prevent you from losing sand, and it’s still “loose” enough to be a bitch to lift. My bag is about 150lbs, and I actually doubled up on the duffel bags, putting one inside the other. This way I don’t tear at the garbage bags when I grab some material to lift. Very strong. Impossible to lift :). Have fun.


Not sure if you reat the book, but Dino training isn’t just finishers. It’s the whole concept of making everything as hard as possible. Thick bars, bottom position presse/squats, rack work, partials, high rep death sets (20 rep squats/DL), low reps (5x5, 5/4/3/2/1), singles, BRIEF workouts (a la HIT), low volume, very high intensity. Some actually do a whole workout of 3, 2 or even just 1 exercise, for as little as 5 singles each. That’s 5 reps for 1 workout. Go home, eat, sleep, repeat in 2-4 days. It’s not popular cause it’s not flashy, it’s brutally hard on joints/muscles, and it’s not gym firendly. I have yet to see gyms with 3" thick bars, sandbags, anvils, grip tools. Everyone needs to try it. You be surprised what a 150lbs sandbag can do to a 400lbs bench presser.


Dinosaur Training is the shit! I tried it for about six weeks using a 3 day/week routine from a Kubik article in an old Ironman. I even went out and bought those grips that Poliquin talked about for the thick bar training, and man was it brutal. Good stuff!

Greg, thanks a lot dude! That will definitely come in handy. I just have to make a beeline to the Home Depot to get those bags you were talking about. Lately, my sandbag workout has been the following: THe “death walk”, where I bearhug the sandbag (100 lb only) and walk around my block. Then, I come home and do power cleans and jerks with the bag. After my walk of death yesterday, aside from the usual “spinal erectors on fire” feeling, I also had a pump in my biceps. Do you have any other implements that you use, like the “captains of crush” grippers, or any 2" or 3" bars? I was thinking of getting a 2" bar to bring with me to my gym, but I’m a bit apprehensive about walking the 5 blocks to my gym with a 7’, 2" diameter bar in NYC. Oh well. Fuck the ignorant, weak masses if they get a kick out of it. I think that 2" bar will be the next dimension in true power on this road I’ve taken. Thanks again for your time, and let me know if you have any other little useful addenda for the Dinosaur training in its most basic form. Take care.

Fear not…you’re not alone. I, too, have changed much of my mentality after reading DT. Funny, it’s like unlearning all the Weider/High Volume stuff I picked up in the early-eighties. I did the 5x5 stuff most of the winter, as well as lots of power rack stuff. Basic moves, no isolation work, sandbags, kegs, Captains of Crush, thick bars, etc. Funny thing, I put on over 15 solid pounds this winter even though–on paper–it would appear geared towards strength vs. hypertrophy.

As far as other “implements”, I have alot. I workout at home, and am also an engineer (with machinist training also), so I’ve made myself a bunch of stuff. I always press in the rack, from the bottom position, with a 2" bar. I also have a 2-3/8" inch bar and dumbells. As far as grip training, I have Ironmind’s COC #1,2,3. I’ve closed 1 and 2, and working on 3.
I also use a 2-3/8" handle for power holds, and pinch grip block for pinch holds, a plate loaded grip machine. Anyways, for thick bar training, if you don’t have access to a thick bar, the best way is towel chins. Throw a towel over the chinup bar, roll it tight, and chin away. Make sure it doesn’t tear. Plier lifts are also good (described in DT). All you need is pliers and a leather strap.


My partner who is a shoot fighter got me into it. We clean the 203 lb. sandbag 2x/wk for either 3 sets of 8 or 2 sets of 10 or 1 x max.
He’s gotten 15, my max is 13. Trying to catch my breath after a set, I feel like my heart can’t pump fast enough to bring in the O2. He also made 155lb walking weights w/ 2 1/2 inch grips. We walk til they drop. Weighted dips, pull-ups and neck bridging are the finishers. I add squats/deadlifts on off days. The routine has given me incredible wind and raw strength.

As for the “bag” - we do get a kick out of watching someone try their maiden hoist. They get that look that fighters used to get when on the receiving end of that first Tyson hook. It’s over before it has begun. I’m now into a powerlifting routine but still include the sandbag (my aerobics).

@00lbs is a great weight. How exactly do you “clean” it? DO you take it lengthwise (like a barbell would be), or just grab it in middle (like a sack of potatoes) and heave it to shoulder? Any luck pressing it?


Thanks to all you dinosaur trainers out there for your input. Yes, it did make me rethink the high volume/Weider stuff. I don’t see how I’ll ever get back into that stuff again; all it was doing was ruining my joints and gave me very little return considering the amount of time, reps, and sets I put into it. Oh well, live and learn. I think I’ll get into the COC grippers ASAP, and some thick handled dumbells, but I want to get some more respectable poundages on the regular 1" Olympic bar before I venture off into no-man’s land with the thicker 2" bars.

You see, that’s a mistake. You don’t have to wait to get into 2" bar movements. Now, I agree 2.5 and 3" are very hard, but anyone can use a 2" bar. Sure your poundages might suffer a bit, but you’ll just be that much stronger once you try a regular 1" bar next time. To start, just pick 1 move and do it with a thickbar. Bench press in the rack is the first choice, since you have spotter pins in case you fail. Or just add thick bar curls and reverse curls. Warning, your forearms WILL hurt the next day after you first try these. Just go easy and build up. Knock off at least 20% from normal curl weights.


Stupid question where can you buy the book online?

Haha, you’re totally right Greg. Saying that I wanted to wait until my poundages were better is like those fucking idiots who say “I want to lose weight before I start working out with weights.” I guess I’ll get on that 2" bar as soon as funding permits so that I can start doing my lifts a bit differently. I imagine that having a gym in your home permits your dinosaur training to be that much more effective and easy to do. I’ll have to grab my sac and ignore the NYC citizens who will eyeball my weird ass for taking a bar to the gym. You should see the looks I get for the Sandbag walk. I walk around a pair of buildings in my condominium complex. Needless to say, when you are carrying these heavy sandbags for a long enough distance, you start to snort, grunt, and make some not so normal noises. People look at me like I’m insane! But that makes it that much more fun, right? Later.

I suppose my chosen sport at the time (Highland Games) is about as close to Dino Training as you can get in competition short of WSM. I’ve read Dino Training and quite frankly, I love it! I will say I had a taste after reading it that barbell/dumbbell exercises were worthless as compared to odd implements, especially when it came to movements which involved only one joint… The Lat side raise comes to mind. I don’t think this is so…

As far as I’m concerned, the barbell and dumbbell will always be the foundation of strength training. Many strength coaches have used similar techniques including those from James Madison, VA Tech, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame and Boise State (not sure about that last one…).

In the highlands, we throw an open stone which weighs (more or less) 16 lbs. I use a shotput to train with and have thrown the darned thing 4 feet less than any stone I’ve tossed. There certainly is a difference between a balanced sphere and a rock.

My short answer is that these techniques are great and they can certainly jumpstart stale training. However, they should co-exist with other forms of training. Not replace them.

Fred Hatfield II

Whoa, that got my attention! Do you have any advice on where I could get info on Highland games events? I’m looking at putting together a multi-event competition (Highland games plus some lumberjack stuff) this winter for some college students, and am interested in where I could get info. I’m pretty familiar with the games (and the Highland pipes-my neighbors love me), but it would be nice if you could point me in the direction of some reference materials, or anything else you feel might be useful. Thanks for your time, and presence on the board.

Greg, I’ve been reading this thread with GREAT interest, and you certainly seem to know your stuff. As a general rule, I’ll not argue with anyone throwing around 150-200 lb. sand bags. So, can you elaborate on the “contractor grade” bags? What kind of duffel bag do you put them in, and how in the heck do the handles take the abuse?

Contractor grade just means super heavy duty. Most boxes of garbage bags have the thickness printed on. Got to Home Depot or something, and get the thickest they have. It’s not really necessary, you can just use 2 or 3 of the regular ones.
As for duffel bags, I use the end loading army bags. Army surplus, $20. It just has one handle, but I never use it. Part of what makes cleaning the bag hard is the lmited grip. You just grab a handful of materail, and hold on.