Unlearning Everything Traditional

I’m 44, been lifting weights since age 20ish.

Started with the Arnold books and Flex mags (the traditional set/rep splits). Drug-Free is the goal.

Competed in Strongman 2003-2008 under 200# class. During this period I lost the look of someone who worked out, I was good (1-3 placing) at farmers walks, Tire, Conan’s Wheel, Yoke, carries. I sucked at overhead, Deads, squats. I was right in the middle in Stones. This usually got me in the top 3.

In my 30’s I rarely trained, when I did it was always squat or Dead lift for around 15 reps.

Now I’m working to look like I train, yeah bodybuilding, but I’m not doing any traditional shit I used to read about. I have no clue who does what and I really don’t care. As my name Cretin I’m stupid and just learn as I go.

Lately I’m finding out that us drug free people are told a lot of BS about resting and recovery. I’m doing very well targeting my lagging areas every single day. Meaning I’m seeing better gains than ever doing the same body part for 1-2sets everyday versus the classic approach of twice a week doing 4-5 working sets and never progressing because at set 5 I’m at my weakest.

What I’m doing now, I’m at my strongest every day.

I need to place to write all this and keep up on what I’m doing.

Friday 11-11-22
Floor press (I don’t have a bench)
125 x 29 wide grip
150 x 17 narrow grip

several hours later…

Upright rows using tricep/hammer bar-
50+bar = 60ish x 26

Saturday 11-12-22
Dead Lifts, no straps mostly DOH grip, NO HOOKGRIP-
220 x 41 (I used a mixed grip for one rep, every 10 to hold the bar at lockout, then hit another 10 using DOH.)

Sunday 11-13-22
Floor Press-
136 x 21 wide grip
156 x 16 narrow grip

67# x 42 reps

Everything is one high rep set. If I had time to train every muscle every day, I would, but who the fuk has time for that. I do what I can, when I can.
These are 5-10 minute workouts.

I’ve lost 30# of fat this year 2022 doing it like this and I’m finally just starting to look like I lift SOME weights. Upper body is weakest and soft, so you will see Floor pressing almost daily. Shoulders are getting wider and I’m getting the “V” look.

Still long way to go…


You have the “you v the weights” attitude from your strongman training. At your age you’ll accomplish a lot with consistent workouts; workouts longer than 5- 10 minutes with a variety of exercises in the 10 - 20 reps per set range. Bodybuilding = volume.

I’m starting to believe you’re right about resting and recovery, as long as you don’t burn yourself out lifting consistently heavy. I think lifting on a recovery week is far better than a layoff.

1 Like

biker, yes the key is to listen to the body and not burnout. I learned this one around age 31, then into my 30’s I rested too much and got fat and unhealthy.

Monday 11/14/22

Floor Press-
120 warmup
126 x 30 wide grip PR for reps.

Just one set today.

Finished with 100# plate overhead press for 18 reps (PR).

Here’s a vid to explain the overhead press-


Welcome aboard. That there is a lot of reps. My back and bis hurt just reading it. I’ve got the time but never even thought of training every muscle every day. Gonna follow and see how that works out.

Hi hel320, cool. BTW, throwing weights around is fun stuff!!!

Tuesday 11-15-22
Squat (no rack, clean and press onto shoulders, press back off shoulders)
123.5# x 55reps (1-set)

Neck - plate curl on forehead lying on a platform-
22# plate x 60 reps (1 set)

The squats took around 2.5 minutes, this is my cardio (I know it ain’t) but the heart rate was elevated for damn near 10 minutes and I don’t sit while recovering. I love how these expand the rib cage, this is classic (1950’s) rib cage work. This is how I squat, I don’t see any reason to do heavy low reps anymore, save that for Deads. I learned this type of squatting from some older coaches who knew Arthur Jones and were staffed in the NFL. They had me doing 1-set of light super high reps till I hit utter failure. I didn’t really apply the higher rep scheme until now, I don’t even know if they were fuking with me or not, but I was being “tested” but it’s the best thing I’m doing now, I don’t go to failure though.

As for neck, my definition of “bodybuilding” means cobra neck. I need more neck work. I’ve done 120reps before but broken reps, several sets. I need to do these 60+ reps more often and work up to 2-sets of 60, then set of 75.


Wed. 11/16/22

Floor Press-
120 warm
131 x 25 wide grip

Skull Crushers (behind the forehead)-
Olympic barbell 87# x 20 (not fast, total grinder).

Upright rows-
tricep/hammer bar 61# + bar 70ish x 20

I only did 1 set of floor press because of the skull crushers. I have to squeeze these workouts in, that’s how little damn time I have, the only time I can ever set an hour to train is when I hit the gym and that’s about every 2 weeks. I can only find 15 minutes to play my Geetar, training comes FIRST.

Here is a vid of the upright rows, I use this bar because here grip is zero issue, no torque here-


Hi, Cretin! Keep up the good work!

Please don’t feel like you’re stupid because you don’t look like Arnold or lift like Eddie Hall. I’ve learned that the really big and strong folks are dumber than dirt. They got that way usually in spite of their training, not because of it. For example, I spent a whole year training with Matt Wenning. I gained maybe 5 or 10 lbs on my lifts. None of the other guys training with improved much of anything either.

Hi cavalier, yes and my comment was more directed as doing things with “simplicity” better yet “cretin simplicity”. I can’t take credit for that quote though, I learned that quote from a music composer.

1 Like

Thursday 11/17/22

Floor Press-
120 warm
137.5 x 21 wide
157.5 x 15 narrow

Neck curls with 22# plate
2-sets of 60 reps

The neck work felt much better today, I’m on my way to 75+ reps with 22#. I did notice though to make this harder I move the plate to different spots on my forehead instead of directly on center. The 1 set of 60 I did the other day about destroyed me, this was much better, hence more frequency = strength and recovery.


Friday 11/18/22

Floor Press-
120 warm
122.5 x 31 wide grip

One arm shrugs with Tricep/hammer bar-
50+bar 10each side, 15 each side. Never put the bar down.

rotation of each arm is excellent and this is the best shrug exercise I’ve ever felt (I never understood the popularity of super heavy barbell shrugs, that always seems like Deads would be better than those, but WTH do I know).

Hammer curls-
50+bar 3-quick sets of 10.

IDK about those hammer curls, I only do them because it’s the only fuking lift that is just so fuking painful, I mean tendon wise. My left forearm is in pain when doing them, after a few sets it gets better. Regular curls don’t hurt at all and my grip/forearms are my strongest areas. I’ve been a grip guy for all of career, but I don’t obsess over grip like many and they all have tendon issues from that. I don’t hold any records in grip, my grip is just strong and not neglected.


Oh yeah, I think I will take the weekend off from Floor Press and give that area rest.

I plan to hit the gym Sat morning, unless something comes up personal which is always possible. I go to a strength club type gym, the only problem with it is the hours.

Guys like me hated commercial gyms 20 years ago, now they seem to offer much better availability and they all seem to have lifting platforms now, but no Atlas stones or that type of stuff.

1 Like

I can only imagine the disaster of having atlas stones at a commercial gym. You think pre-workout in the water fountain is upsetting: just imagine tacky f**king EVERYWHERE

Pretty much do hammer curls for the same reason. Straight bar curls are out of the question, kills my wrist. As to their effectiveness half the “experts” swear by them and half say their worthless. They keep my arms from getting too itty bittyu.

I can’t see the typical gym goer (even the ones in good shape) lifting any atlas stones, my guess is they won’t touch them out of fear of looking like an idiot or weak in front of the other gym goers, just a guess. I noticed stone shouldering is a crossfit event now, I’m so out of touch. We don’t even use tacky at the gym I go to, I’ve never seen anyone use tacky, even the ladies. These days I get a much better stone workout using the lighter ones and doing shouldering for reps, BOR’s etc.

Saturday 11/19/22


Dead lifts-
135 warm
225 x 2 warm
265 x 12 Double overhand unbroken reps
315 x 12 mixed grip

100# chain (tried something new) sitting front raises 2-sets of 10

Most of the chain starts on the floor, as I raise the chain it comes off the floor the momentum of the start of lift helps at the top.

Did a few BOR’s with the 175# atlas stone (was running out of time).

went home and did-
sit-ups with 100# on the chest x 22 reps

BW 204# well, I was loosing about a pound a week this entire year, until now. I was 204 3-weeks ago. The gym is the only place I step on the scale.


I honestly cant see them doing any sort of effective training.

1 Like

Got a lot of big strong dudes at my gym. They wouldn’t have much trouble.

Wouldn’t have much trouble with what?

Atlas stones.

I am not sure why you are letting me know that based on what I wrote, but sounds like an awesome gym

Times have changed, I just remember in my 20’s I knew a bunch of people who trained at the big commercial gym (I always trained at the obscure gyms) and they all had great upper bodies but none of them ever came to train with the strength implements, and I always invited them, it got to the point they got pissed at me for bugging them.

Sunday 11/20/22

barbell curls Olympic bar-
61.5 x 51

100# plate BOR (video for those of interest)
100 x 10, 110 x 10
These are great for hand/grip position, no torque, all focus on lats

Neck curls-
22# on forehead x 75

Here’s the vid, I show how to add weight too, this was after my curls.