T Nation

Henry Rollins

He is 5’6 and 210 lbs sometimes more with no real levels of body fat. hes in his mid 40’s and has been said to squat over 400 and some change for sets of 20 after praying to the squat gods.

anyone ever see anything published about his training? and why hasnt T-Nation interviewed this long time iron man, hell he writes iron poetry for christ sake. so someone with some pull tell them to interview him. and could everyone post any training info of his or his clip on mtv sports from like what 10 yrs ago lifting

I don’t know about his training, but I’ve seen him in concert (not spoken word).

This man is the definition of intensity. From minute 1, till the last note, all business.

I’d be very interested to read an interview of Henry Rollins here at T-Nation.

He became a fan of powerlifting after finding out about Ed Coan. From what I understand the two of them are pretty good friends now, and Ed gave Henry his training videos and stuff. In interviews Henry has stated that he builds his program around the squat, bench and deadlift and does alot of overhead and neck work. Has his own weights and trains at his house, unless on the road. He talks about his weight training in his books, articles and interviews pretty frequently and has mentioned Ed Coan in one of his books. Has a ton of respect for him. I think it was in 93’ Rollins wrote a great article in Details magazine about the weights and training. If you run a search, you can find it pretty easily. Good stuff. His song “on my way to the cage” is about paying your dues in the squat cage, it is on the Come in and Burn CD.

would be very interesting indeed.

I ran into the man a few weeks back in the streets and asked him to sign my training log for me which he happily did :slight_smile:

I sugested it in the tech-support forum and never heard anything about it. Rollins is the man.


Here is an article by Rollins describing how he got into weightlifting

Details Jan. 1993: “Iron and the Soul”

I believe that the definition of definition is reinvention. To not be like you parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. Completely.

When I was young I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my parents. The humiliation of teachers calling me “garbage can” and telling me I’d be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was threatened and beaten up for the color of my skin and my size. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didn’t run home crying, wondering why. I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. In sports I was laughed at. A spaz. I was pretty good at boxing but only because the rage that filled my every waking moment made me wild and unpredictable. I fought with some strange fury. The other boys thought I was crazy.

I hated myself all the time. As stupid at it seems now, I wanted to talk like them, dress like them, carry myself with the ease of knowing that I wasn’t going to get pounded in the hallway between classes.

Years passed and I learned to keep it all inside. I only talked to a few boys in my grade. Other losers. Some of them are to this day the greatest people I have ever known. Hang out with a guy who has had his head flushed down a toilet a few times, treat him with respect, and you’ll find a faithful friend forever. But even with friends, school sucked. Teachers gave me hard time. I didn’t think much of them either.

Then came Mr. Pepperman, my adviser. He was a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, and he was scary. No one ever talked out of turn in his class. Once one kid did and Mr. P. lifted him off the ground and pinned him to the blackboard.

Mr. P. could see that I was in bad shape, and one Friday in October he asked me if I had ever worked out with weights. I told him no. He told me that I was going to take some of the money that I had saved and buy a hundred-pound set of weights at Sears. As I left his office, I started to think of things I would say to him on Monday when he asked about the weights that I was not going to buy. Still, it made me feel special. My father never really got that close to caring. On Saturday I bought the weights, but I couldn’t even drag them to my mom’s car. An attendant laughed at me as he put them on a dolly.

Monday came and I was called into Mr. P.'s office after school. He said that he was going to show me how to work out. He was going to put me on a program and start hitting me in the solar plexus in the hallway when I wasn’t looking. When I could take the punch we would know that we were getting somewhere. At no time was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing.

In the gym he showed me ten basic exercises. I paid more attention than I ever did in any of my classes. I didn’t want to blow it. I went home that night and started right in. Weeks passed, and every once in a while Mr. P. would give me a shot and drop me in the hallway, sending my books flying. The other students didn’t know what to think. More weeks passed, and I was steadily adding new weights to the bar. I could sense the power inside my body growing. I could feel it.

Right before Christmas break I was walking to class, and from out of nowhere Mr. Pepperman appeared and gave me a shot in the chest. I laughed and kept going. He said I could look at myself now. I got home and ran to the bathroom and pulled off my shirt. I saw a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. I had done something and no one could ever take it away. You couldn’t say shit to me.

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn’t want to come off the mat, it’s the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn’t teach you anything. That’s the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a ceratin amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout.

I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasn’t ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what you’re not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.

I have never met a truly strong person who didn’t have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someone’s shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character. It is the difference between bouncers who get off strong-arming people and Mr. Pepperman.

Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Yukio Mishima said that he could not entertain the idea of romance if he was not strong. Romance is such a strong and overwhelming passion, a weakened body cannot sustain it for long. I have some of my most romantic thoughts when I am with the Iron. Once I was in love with a woman. I thought about her the most when the pain from a workout was racing through my body. Everything in me wanted her. So much so that sex was only a fraction of my total desire. It was the single most intense love I have ever felt, but she lived far away and I didn’t see her very often. Working out was a healthy way of dealing with the loneliness. To this day, when I work out I usually listen to ballads.

I prefer to work out alone. It enables me to concentrate on the lessons that the Iron has for me. Learning about what you’re made of is always time well spent, and I have found no better teacher. The Iron had taught me how to live.

Life is capable of driving you out of your mind. The way it all comes down these days, it’s some kind of miracle if you’re not insane. People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole. I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron mind.

Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind. The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

Interesting read, cheers!

I would like to see an interview also. He sounds like someone who has devoted allot of time in his craft.

Great article, thanks for sharing.


thats fantastic stuff.

I know I read an article online where he talked about training. I did a search and cant find it…There was a link to it on powerlifting website…they where pissed Henry had said he doesnt bench because its a shoulder wrecker and that he prefers overhead presses. If anyone finds it let me know. I gotta go study for my calculus final.

Great topic!

I’ll put my vote in for an interview with Henry!

[quote]Jersey5150 wrote:
I know I read an article online where he talked about training. I did a search and cant find it…There was a link to it on powerlifting website…they where pissed Henry had said he doesnt bench because its a shoulder wrecker and that he prefers overhead presses. If anyone finds it let me know. I gotta go study for my calculus final.[/quote]

i wonder how old that article was, cause’ Howard Stern had him on and he said he benched and builds his program around the powerlifts.

That sums it up very nicely.
This should be included with “I am Dynimite” and “Merry Christmas BoB”

Great idea RF!

Thanks for sharing the article Redsol 1. Very inspiring stuff.

So Shugs, when’s the interview?

That article never gets old. Thanks.

[quote]flabtoslab wrote:
I don’t know about his training, but I’ve seen him in concert (not spoken word).

This man is the definition of intensity. From minute 1, till the last note, all business. [/quote]

i’ve never seen him but i got his live record " the only way to know for sure" and i said exactly that. he just drops the hammer and doesn’t let up. if that kind of intensity is coming through a cd it must be unreal in the flesh.

I’m pretty sure I read a couple years ago that his max squats is 495 and his max deadlift is 500 (or it may be the other way around, either way its close). The same article said his max bench was 295. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more in the past. He mainly sticks to heavy compound movements, as you can tell from his build.

I’m a big fan of Henry’s, and actually saw a short training session of his once. I had back stage passes to a show he was playing with Rollins band, and they had some free weights backstage. They had an adjustable bench, two bars, and some plates. Right before the band played Rollins comes over and some other guy is doing 205 on the incline bench. Rollins hoped on and banged out about 10 reps. Then he threw 135 on a bar and did about 8 reps of curls, then power cleaned the bar up and did about 8 push presses. He repeated this again and then it was time for his band to go on. Immediately after his last set he went onstage and played one of his usual really intense sets… Awesome guy, definitely worth interviewing here at t-mag. He takes pride in what he calls his “caveman” style of lifting and I’m sure he’d be willing to talk about it here.