Kim_Bortnak's Training Log

Looking forward to starting the Surge Program. I am 70 yrs old, 6’5" 245 lbs. I workout in my home gym using primarily Nautilus (One,Power Plus/2St), and Hammer Strength. I currently have Nautilus One Arm Cross, Power Plus leg ext/pullover/ preacher curl/ 4 way neck, 2St lower back & lateral raise, Hammer Strength leg press and leg curl, two Olympic barbells, lots of Olympic weights, a pulldown machine with a palms facing grip bar, and a couple of benches.

I have trained for over 55 years using Nautilus principles and most recently Dr. Dardens’ principles and have detailed logs of all of my training for the last 20 or so years including body part measurements and bodyweight as @ January 1 of each of those years. I have also been doing 30 minutes on the treadmill daily, 10 degree incline at a moderately slow speed 2.5.

I am prepared to work hard and follow directions diligently. I have been working out three times a week with the middle workout an “easy” one using A & B routines. My primary objectives are to gain muscle (yes even at my age), reduce fat and improve cardio.

Quick question, help me out here please. It appears that one of the principles the Surge Program appears to embrace is not taxing the central nervous system but I have read in several of the training logs that the workouts are brutal. Brutality appears to be inconsistent with not taxing the nervous system. Are these folks using far too much weight or am I off base here?

I am starting the program on Monday 6/20, two more questions:

  1. Using thigh block pump phase as an example, is the weight supposed to be the same on toes out, toes in, or should it be reduced for the latter? Also on the stimulate phase is the weight reduced for leg extension and/or leg curl to enable the proper reps without failure?
  2. Toes out/toes in are we talking north/south or east west ie. toes pointing toward each other and away from each other or toward and away from shins?

As someone who has done 2 workouts, I’d say that it’s more of a problem of appropriate weight selection that is causing the perceived brutality of the workouts. Coming from 531 and similar types of training, the weight that is probably appropriate in this SURGE protocol seems too light on paper.

An example for me today was overhead press. I chose 95 lbs, which seemed fine because I would usually work up to 135 lbs for 5 or more reps. It was on 1x10 in the Stimulate phase, but it was too heavy for me. I got 8 solid reps before I had to stop the set. Similar to curls. Even 25 lb DBs were too heavy for the Pump phase, even those I usually do sets of 10 with 45 lb DBs. I had to adjust on the fly.

If, like me, you’ve never really worked out with these methods, it was just really hard to know what weights would work until you go through a block for the first time. The workout is pretty short and minimalist, so the “fear” is that if you pick too the workout would be far too easy and not enough.

Tough workout for an old guy (71) but it felt good. Weights were judged pretty good, nothing too heavy, a couple too light. I have a well equipped home gym and it took me 50 minutes to complete the four blocks. I moved quickly from exercise to exercise but I couldn’t set up the all the exercises for each block in advance, that is what took the extra time.

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Ready for block two today, I am not understanding the procedure on the Zottman curl and the rotation to hammer curl grip. On the Zottman you start with palms facing forward and in top position rotate palms down and lower. Where does the rotation to hammer come in?

I don’t know how to describe the difficulty of the workout. Even without going to failure, the pump phase and static holds make a huge inroad into my momentary strength. The pumps and fatigue make reps with relatively light weight feel incredibly strenuous, even well before failure. Even so, I still have the strength to keep going, if that makes sense.

For a description of Zottmans, follow this link:

How To: Zottman Curl - YouTube


Although I am 71 I have capacity to workout extremely hard. Prior to Surge I would train 3 times a week using the 30-10-30 protocol which typically called for 7-8 exercises. The mid week workout used only 10-30 and was lighter. I am finding myself completely drained with Surge as a training block typically has over 20 different exercises. Thoughts/comments?

This happened to me, too, especially after the first Thighs block. Fortunately, I seem to be getting acclimated to the workload and I’m not as worn down afterwards. I do think the Surge helps. For what it’s worth, I’m 43.

Do you think you can manage the remaining seven workouts? If not, maybe Tim Patterson or Dr. Darden would have some suggestions.

No way I am going to quit, the first three workouts were fine which appeared to exhaust my recovery ability. I will make it through timeline may be a little longer if I go to two workouts a week.

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Ellington and I will work on a plan for you. We’ll get back to you shortly.

NEW MUSCLE PUMP – Lower Volume

@Kim_Bortnak We recommend using lower volume with these guidelines:

  1. Follow the regular Phases and Workouts.
  2. Do one exercise from the Pump Phase.
  3. Do one exercise from the Stimulate Phase.
  4. Do the Flutter Phase as planned.
  5. Rest 60 seconds or less between exercises.
  6. Try to decrease rest periods without compromising set quality.
  7. Keep track of your workout elapsed times.

Let us know how this works.


Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Med-Foot-Pos. Leg Press 8 ≤ 60
Stimulate Trap-Bar Squat or Squat 10 ≤ 60
Flutter Trap-Bar Squat or Squat or Bodyweight with Bands 20 Sec. ≤ 60


Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Leg Curl 8 ≤ 60
Stimulate Leg Press 10 ≤ 60
Flutter Leg Extension Machine 20 Sec. ≤ 60


Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Calf Raise 12 ≤ 60
Stimulate Calf Raise 12 ≤ 60
Flutter Calf Raise 20 Sec. ≤ 60


Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Dumbbell Bent-Armed Fly or Bands 10 ≤ 60
Stimulate Barbell Bench Press 10 ≤ 60
Flutter Barbell Bench Press or Bands 20 Sec. ≤ 60


Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Overhand Bar Hang 40 Sec. ≤ 60
Stimulate Barbell Overhead Press 10 ≤ 60
Flutter Dumbbell Lateral Raise 20 Sec. ≤ 60


Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Darden Pullover 8 ≤ 60
Stimulate Darden Pullover 8 ≤ 60
Flutter Darden Pullover 20 Sec. ≤ 60


Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Narrow-Grip Barbell Curl 8 ≤ 60
Stimulate Dumbbell Regular Curl 10 ≤ 60
Flutter Dumbbell Regular Curl or Bands 20 Sec. ≤ 60


Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Triceps Pressdown or Bands 8 ≤ 60
Stimulate Overhead Triceps Extension with One Dumbbell 8 ≤ 60
Flutter Overhead Triceps Extension with One Dumbbell or Band 20 Sec. ≤ 60


Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Seated Barbell Wrist Curl 10 ≤ 10
Stimulate Seated Barbell Wrist Curl 10 ≤ 60
Flutter Seated Barbell Wrist Curl 20 Sec. ≤ 60

Thank you for this, much appreciated. I completed Block 6 yesterday prior to reading this. I eliminated the Chest block and I had also taken 3 days off. It was excellent, looking forward to trying your recommendations tomorrow. I will report back, the extra Surge has also arrived.

Hi there, it appears that there is an error on the legs block as it is a duplicate of the calves block.

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Oops! It’s fixed now.

An additional question…I recall reading an article by Arthur Jones on forearm training. In that article he stated that the wrist curl was an almost perfect exercise with respect to strength curve and meeting all the other requirements of full range exercise. He also stated that in the wrist curl the upper thighs should be several inches higher than the knees in order to generate the proper strength curve. I have been performing them that way with good results. Your view?

I completed Block 7 using your abbreviated recommendations, excellent workout though I over estimated a couple of weights. Not dragged out and feel good so thank you!

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Great to hear it, @Kim_Bortnak.

We enjoy solving problems. And want to get you on a productive path.

What would an acceptable substitute be for the 40 s hang in the shoulder block?