T Nation

Old School Strength


#1

After the recent birth of my son, I have quickly figured out that I am not going to have a lot of time to train. As a result, the block periodization format that I was using is out and I will be shifting to something simple yet effective for building strength. Despite my tendency to be a bit of an iron nerd, I'm a big fan of old-school training programs.

After reading some articles on the training of Bob Hoffman, Paul Anderson, Hepburn, and others, you realize getting stronger doesn't need to be overly complicated. While you still have to be smart about what you do (and being a freak of nature doesn't hurt either), hard work is still the key ingredient to success.

With that said, and the fact that I've always enjoyed training with heavy weights (although what I'm lifting now can't be considered 'heavy') using the basic lifts, I chose the program popularized by Doug Hepburn. If anyone is interested in reading about this program in more detail, feel free to post and I will pass along any info I have.

For the time being, I will be lifting only twice a week, so my sessions will be full-body in nature; moreover, I'm going to settle for a lower working weight to start off with just so I can leave room for more progression over time and get re-acclimated to lifting heavy singles.


#2

10/12/2010

Squat

bar x some
145 x 5
195 x 3
235 x 1
275 x 1
305 x 1
335 x 5 x 1

Bench press (paused)

bar x several
135 x 5
185 x 3
225 x 1
255 x 1
275 x 5 x 1

Front squat

135 x 5
185 x 3
225 x 5 x 1

Notes: Squats were pretty easy and damn well should have been considering I'm starting out with only 335. I kept the rest down to about 90 seconds between each lift and I could have tightened up the rest period a little bit more without it being a detriment. Bench presses were explosive, but felt a little heavy in my hands since I haven't used this much weight for a while. I am determined to build a halfway decent front squat. There is no reason I shouldn't have a 315+ front squat, aside from the fact I haven't really done the lift very much, but I digress. For now I will start out fairly light on these and focus on form, but I should be able to progress quickly. Good first session.


#3

Well, I managed to squeeze out another day of training during my week so I will be back to 3 days a week. As a result, I'm going to shift my training days back to put lower body and upper body work on separate days (with 1 exception).

Here's last night's session.

10/19/10 Hepburn "A" program, week #2

Squat

bar x some
145 x 5
195 x 3
235 x 1
275 x 1
305 x 1
335 x 6 x 1

Box pulls (mid-shin)

225 x 3
315 x 1
385 x 1
425 x 6 x 1

Barbell curls

95 x 3
115 x 6 x 1

Notes: Squats were easier this week even with the extra set, so I think I'm getting used to having a little bit of weight on my shoulders. It's tempting to to bump the weight up now, but I am going to stick with the progression and wait a couple of weeks once I rotate back to 5 reps. I've always liked box pulls and felt they were one of my best deadlift builders/indicators in the past. All the singles were easy and did them with maybe a minute between each. Yes I did heavy (for me, anyway) singles with curls, so sue me. If it was good enough for Hepburn, then I figure I might as well try it. What's funny is my biceps are sore, the 'good' sore and not the 'oh shit, I think I tore something' kind of sore.


#4

When did it come to this?


#5

What can I say, other than I sold my soul. I did them while wearing a head band and a pair of 1980s tight nut-hugger shorts, too. I really jumped the shark.


#6

Ahhh hell, good for you! If that curl gets ahead of your front squat then it's time to reevaluate.


#7

Damn, you know how to cut a guy deep.


#8

10/22/10

Bench press

bar x about a dozen
135 x 5
185 x 3
225 x 1
255 x 1
275 x 6 x 1

Push press

115 x 3
135 x 1
155 x 1
175 x 5 x 1

Notes: Bench press was good and I'm really starting to get my strength back on that lift. Kept the rest down to about a minute between each single. I need to figure out a better 2nd upper body lift because overhead work just isn't doing shiznit for me.


#9

Some type of floor press or bridge press?


#10

Floor press is actually a pretty good idea. My arch and leg drive help out a lot with my bench so taking them out of the equation should help the ol' pressing mooscles. How much do I owe you for the suggestion? :smiley:


#11

Let's call it even for now.


#12

10/24/10

Squat

bar x 10
145 x 5
195 x 5
235 x 3
275 x 1
305 x 1
335 x 7 x 1

Box pulls (6" block)

225 x 3
315 x 1
425 x 7 x 1

Barbell curls

95 x 3
115 x 7 x 1 (cluster set)

Notes: Squat felt good today. Got a little sloppy on a couple of singles, but no problem moving the weight. Deadlifts were also solid. Starting to feel better about the ol' squat.


#13

10/26/10

Bench press

95 x 8
135 x 5
185 x 3
225 x 1
255 x 1
275 x 7 x 1

Close-grip floor press

185 x 3
225 x 1
250 x 7 x 1

Notes: Bench is starting to feel really good and I might test things out soon just to see where I am - maybe after the next progression. I picked CG floor presses as my 2nd upper body lift and I think they're a good choice because OH work has done jack and shit for me, save for a cranky left shoulder. Stayed conservative on the weight selection and all the singles were pretty easy.


#14

10/29/10

Squat

bar x about 10
145 x 5
235 x 3
275 x 1
305 x 1
335 x 8 x 1

Box pulls (6" elevation)

315 x 3
385 x 1
425 x 8 x 1

Barbell curls (cluster set)

95 x 3
115 x 8 x 1

Notes: Squats felt kinda meh today through the first several sets then managed to really get it together by the last 3. Box pulls were solid. I think when I cycle down to 4 reps on Tuesday I will pull from the floor and stay with the same weight.


#15

Forgot to post on Sunday. I guess you'll have to guess what I did.

11/2/10

Squat

bar x 10
145 x 5
235 x 3
275 x 1
315 x 1
350 x 4 x 1

Deadlift

315 x 3
385 x 1
425 x 4 x 1

Barbell curls

120 x 4 x 1 (cluster set)

Notes: Dropping down to four singles, even with a heavier weight, is a nice change of pace. The session was over pretty quickly, but still felt like I accomplished something. My squat is feeling better each and every session and I might be able to put up something semi-respectable within the next couple of months. Felt a little awkward DLing off the floor, since I've been pulling off blocks for the past few weeks. No problem with the weight, however, so that is a good thing.