Another Reason Why I Do Olympic Lifting

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Last week I was talking about my
current training, and why I prefer
to do Olympic weightlifting at this
stage of my career.

I gave you seven reasons.

But I omitted one, and it's a biggie.

Olympic weightlifting is easier on my

Yes, you heard that correctly.

My eyes.

Here's the deal. 

My father has glaucoma. My brother has
glaucoma. All of my paternal uncles
had glaucoma. Every man in the family
has it.

Glaucoma is a degenerative eye disease
caused by unusually high inter-ocular
(inside the eyeball) pressure. It's
sort of like having high blood
pressure in your eyes.

It causes the death of nerve cells in
the eyes -- and if untreated, it can
lead to progressively greater and
greater vision loss -- and even to

It's an hereditary condition -- which
is why all the men in the family have

We're not sure if I have it or not.
Because of the family history, I get
checked every three months. I'm right
on the edge. I've been told, "Yes, you
have it" -- and I've been told "You
know, I think it's close -- but I
don't think you have it." Three
different opthamologists have said
"Yes, you have it " -- and then
changed their minds in later exams,
and a fourth flat out said he just
wasn't sure.

Anyhow, we watch it very closely, and
I take the same eye-drops I would take
if I were diagnosed as having glaucoma.
The drops reduce the inter-ocular

Now, as you might imagine, my opthamologist
and I have had a number of conversations
about my weight training.

He wants me to stay away from any slow,
grinding movements where my blood pressure
goes sky high and my face looks like it's
going to explode.

But he's okay with snatches, cleans and
jerks -- because they're much faster and
you don't hold your breath for as long --
and thus, there's much less internal
pressure, even if you do a heavy lift.

Now, please note -- I am NOT a medical
doctor, and I'm NOT an optthamologist,
so if you have glaucoma or are at risk
for glaucoma, talk with your doctor
and work up an appropriate plan,
including the right kind of exercise
program for YOU.

All I'm saying is that in MY case,
based on my current eye condition
and overall health, I've been cleared
to do snatches, cleans and jerks.

Kettlebells would also be okay,
as would most of the exercises
in the Dinosaur Bodyweight
Training course. (I'm supposed
to stay away from any inverted
exercises, such as handstand
pushups, because the blood runs
to the head -- which increases
the pressure on my eyes.)

I'm sharing this because it's an
example of how things change as
you grow older -- and an example
of how important it is to find the
right kind of exercise -- and how
the right kind of exercise might
change for you over time.

Anyhow, my eye pressure and visual
field test was fine at my last exam,
and hopefully it will stay that

In the meantime, I'm having fun out
in the garage, and my lifting platform,
Olympic bar and plates are getting lots
of use.

As always, thanks for reading and
have a great day. If you train today,
make it a good one.

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. Gray Hair and Black Iron is a must
read for older trainees:

P.S. 2. If you're looking for something
fun, different and effective, try Dinosaur
Dumbbell Training or Dinosaur Bodyweight

P.S. 3. My other books and courses are
right here:

P.S. 4. Thought for the Day: "Train hard,
but train smart. You last longer that way."
-- Brooks Kubik

Championship Training!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Part of training like a champion is
making do with whatever equipment is

And part of it is overcoming adversity.

Take the case of a young Army private
named Tommy Kono.

The year is 1952.

Kono is stationed at an Army base in
Northern California.

He's training for the USA Senior
National Weightlifting championships.

And if he wins the Senior nationals,
he'll make the USA Weightlifting team
and be able to compete in the Olympic
Championships later in the year.

So this is a really big deal.

Problem is, the Base gym has only one

It's an exercise barbell, not an Olympic

The biggest plates are 25's, and the
rest are 10's and 5's. He can only load
it up to 285 pounds.

And there's no lifting platform --
and no squat racks.

Plus, he has hardly any time to train.

So what does he do?

He hangs the bar from two strong ropes,
so it's exactly at the right starting
position to do presses.

Then he loads it up -- and does 8 sets
of 3 reps in the wide grip (collar to
collar) military press.

Why the wide grip?

Because it's HARDER than regular grip
presses. He figures that if he can get
stronger when pressing the bar with a
grip, he'll be able to lift more weight
when he uses his regular grip in the

These two simple changes -- hanging the
barbell from the ropes, so he doesn't
have to clean it, and performing wide
grip presses -- allow him to make the
most out of that old, seemingly
unsuitable barbell.

And hanging the barbell on the ropes
allows him to train FAST. He finishes
his workouts in just 20 or 30 minutes!

When he has the chance, he goes to the
San Francisco YMCA and does snatches,
cleans and front squats.

And guess what happens?

He not only wins the Senior Nationals,
he wins the "Outstanding Lifter" Aware.

He goes to the Olympics -- and he wins
the gold medal.

That's how a champion trains -- and it's
how YOU should train!

So take Tommy Kono's lesson to heart.

Make the most of what you have -- don't
make excuses -- if there's a problem,
figure out a work-around -- and SMASH
through any obstacle in your path!

As always, thanks for reading and have
a great day. If you train today, make
it a good one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. I give many more tips for success
in all my books and courses -- including

Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength
and Development

Strength, Muscle and Power

Dinosaur Bodyweight Training

P.S. 2. My other books and courses are
right here:

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Where there's
a will, there's a way -- and it leads to
success!" -- Brooks Kubik

The "Why Do You Do It?" Question

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

A couple of days ago I posted my
current training program, which
is built around Olympic weight-
lifting movements.

In response, I received a number
of questions from Dinos. One of
the most common was, "Why do you
do Olympic lifting now?"

Well there are a couple of reasons.

1. I enjoy it. There's a remarkable,
almost gymnastic sense to doing the
Olympic lifts.

1a. I'm almost 60, and I'm a grand-
father, and it's my garage and my
weights, so I get to do what I
enjoy the most.

1b. Luckily, Trudi is okay with
this, although she thinks split
style snatches are better and safer
for me than squat style snatches.

1c. She's probably right.

2. The lifts are challenging and

2a. They require strength, speed,
power, flexibility and athleticism --
and the highest order of technical

3. There are established competitions
in the USA and all other countries,
with official records by age-group
and weight class, so I can see how
I compare to other lifters of my age
and weight.

4. It's perfectly safe to train the
Olympic lifts alone, without a

5. The lifts require deep concentration
and intense focus -- so much so that
they almost amount to a form of moving
meditation -- much like traditional
martial arts training.

5a. This makes the workouts very
relaxing even though they're very

6. There are established formulas to
calculate the relative performance of
different lifters based on their age
and bodyweight.

6a. I use these to compare my current
performance at age 57 and 215 pounds
to my performance at, for example, age
40 and 225 pounds -- or age 19 and 165
pounds -- or other ages over the course
of my career.

6b. This allows me to focus on improving
my relative ability on a pound for pound
and year for year basis -- and to set
myself the goal of trying to get better
and better on a relative ME to ME basis.

7. Did I mention that I really enjoy the
feel of the Olympic lifts? That they're
fun to do? That they remind me of the throws
I used to do in Greco-Roman and free-style
wrestling matches 40 years ago when I
wrestled in high school?

7a. That they're a FUN way to train?

7b. That it's my garage and my weights,
and -- oh, yeah -- I said that. I'm
repeating myself. Sorry about that.

But you get the message.

It's fun. I enjoy it. And it's in my

You may train exactly the same -- or you
may train differently -- but I'm going to
venture a guess and say that you, too,
have found something that you really
love doing -- and you really enjoy
your training -- and although it's
darn hard work, it's also downright

And that's the important thing.

As always, thanks for reading and
have a great day. If you train today,
make it a good one -- and have FUN!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. Here's a great book for fun and
effective training for older Dinos:

P.S. 2. My other books and courses are
right here:

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Life is too
short not to do the things you like to do
in the gym." -- Brooks Kubik

An Old-School Workout for Weight Gaining!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Here's a nice little workout
from Weight Training in Athletics
by James Murray and Dr. Peter
Karpovich. It was published in
1956, so this definitely qualifies
as an old-school workout.

The workout is a weight-gaining
program. They wrote it for football
players who needed to add some extra
weight and strength during the off

Train three times per week. M/W/F or

1. Warm-up with light flip snatches
or the clean and press 1 x 8 - 10

2. Barbell curl 1 x 10

3. Military press 1 x 10

4. Barbell bent-over rowing 3 x 10

5. Bench press 3 x 10

6. Full squat 1 x 15, 1 x 10, 1 x 8

7. Very light breathing pullover for
rib-cage expansion 1 x 10 after each
set of squats

The authors noted that this was not
intended to be a permanent program,
but rather, was to be used to pack
on some pounds and build some
strength. For that reason, they kept
it short and basic. The idea was to
avoid long workouts and undue

After a couple of months, the trainee
should be showing some good progress,
and be ready to move on to a more
advanced strength and power program.

In other words -- this was a program
for underweight beginners.

And for that purpose, it's pretty darn

One take-away is the use of one set for
the curls and presses, followed by three
sets for the rowing, bench presses and
squats. I like that. It teaches the young
guys and the newbies to focus their effort
on the exercises that will build the most
strength and muscle.

If you want to give the program a try, you
might do best on a twice a week schedule.
Or you might try the Light/Medium/Heavy
system where you go light in one workout,
medium heavy in the second workout, and
heavy in the third workout. It's hard to
go heavy on the same exercises three times
in the same week.

We'll cover more old-school training tips
tomorrow, so be looking for them.

In the meantime, thanks for reading and have
a great day. If you train today, make it a
good one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. You can find some terrific weight-
gaining and mass-building workouts in

P.S. 2. My other books and courses are
right here:

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "A training
program doesn't need to be fancy. It needs
to work." -- Brooks Kubik

What My Current Workout Looks Like!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

A lot of readers have asked about my
current training program as I move
forward to birthday number 57 in

So here's what's up  in the Dino
Dungeon (a/k/a the garage).

I'm concentrating on Olympic
weightlifting, with the goal
of competing in Master's level

That means, I have to focus on the
things that are most necessary for
Olympic weightlifting -- and I don't
have much if any time and energy for
other things. So I stick to the OL
training almost exclusively.

I do squat style cleans and split
style snatches. These require lots
and lots of technique work. They're
very demanding lifts. And, of course,
I need to do lots of strength and
power training, as well.

And that's led to a little change
in the program.

I've trained three times per week
for almost my entire career, but
right now I'm giving shorter, but
more frequent, workouts a try. And
so far, it seems to be working
pretty well.

So here's what I do:


Split style snatches -- Start light
and work up, do many progressively
heavier singles. Usually finish
with five singles at my top weight
for the day (not my max, but a
heavy weight).

This is my "long" workout. It takes
an hour or a bit more.


Front squats -- Start light, and
work up, do progressively heavier
singles or doubles. Work up to one,
two, three or even five top sets,
using a weight that is heavy but
not my maximum weight.

This is a shorter workout.


Push press (taking the bar from
squat stands) -- start light and
work up, similar to front squats
but do singles only.

This is the shortest and easiest


Squat clean or squat clean and split
jerk -- start light, do progressively
heavier singles, work up to one to
three singles with my top weight
for the day.

This is another "long" workout.


Front squat as before, or back squat
using the Dave Draper Top Squat for
the same sets/reps as front squats.

This is another shorter workout.


Push press as before, or power jerk
or split jerk.

This is another short and relatively
easy workout.

I always start with a good all-around
warm-up that includes plenty of work
with some nice wooden Indian clubs I
bought from John Wood. And I finish
with gut, grip or neck work, alternating
them from workout to workout. But the
main focus is the OL work.

Moving forward, I'll work in snatch grip
and clean grip high pulls, snatch and
clean grip deadlifts (performed Olympic
style, with the same positions and mechanics
of the snatch or the clean), and Dinosaur
Bodyweight work for arm and shoulder
stability (Dino pull-ups and pushups).

So that's what things look like right
now. Lots of iron and lots of chalk and
sweat -- and lots of fun!

As always, thanks for reading and have a
great day. if you train today, make it a
good one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. If you want to see what those split
style snatches and the other OL exercises
look like, grab this:

P.S. 2. Here's something to help you build
stand on your feet overhead lifting power:

P.S. 3. My other books and courses are
right here:

P.S. 4. Thought for the Day: "Feel free to
experiment -- but do it wisely." -- Brooks

Definition Exercises -- What Are They?

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Back when I was a kid, there were
two different kinds of exercises.

First, you had the bulk and power

Also referred to as strength and
mass builders.

Today, we call them the basic
exercises -- or basic compound

Squats, benches, deadlifts, rowing,
pull-ups, pull-downs, military presses,
press behind neck, close grip benches
and dips.

Standing barbell curls, shoulder shrugs,
and calf raises were also on the list,
mainly because they were basic movements.

For those who knew how to do them, the
list also included power cleans, power
snatches, and high pulls (clean grip
or snatch grip).

Then there were all the little exercises.

Lateral raises, concentration curls, one
dumbbell triceps extensions, triceps
kickbacks, leg extensions, leg curls,
hack squats, etc.

We call them isolation exercises today.

Back then, we called them DEFINITION

The idea was this -- you would train on
the BIG exercises to build strength and
mass, and then, after you were big as a
house, you'd use the definition exercises
to carve some inter-galactic mega-muscle
super cuts and definition bombs.

And then you'd go to the beach and all
the girls would swoon -- or you'd win
the Mr. America and get a big contract
to endorse protein drinks (or maybe get
a movie contract, like Steve Reeves) --
or -- well, something spectacular.

We weren't really sure why this definition
thing was so important, but we knew we had
to have it.

Of course, the definition thing was the
result of diet (and, in many cases, the
drugs they didn't talk about). Those
little exercises had nothing to do with
it. They were just fun to do, and we
could pretend that we were training
with the champions when we did them.

So we were kind of naive and silly about
it all -- and so were the magazines we
read -- but consider this:

1. We knew that the BIG exercises built
strength and muscle mass.


2. We knew that the little exercises

Today, nearly half a century later, even
with the interwebs and all the training
information that's available, many trainees
still don't understand those two simple rules.

They try to build strength and muscle mass
with -- you guessed it -- the stuff we used
to call "definition exercises."

Which is one reason why so many modern trainees
get absolutely zippo in the way of results.

They're using the wrong exercises.

And it's like bringing a knife to a gun
fight -- it doesn't work very well.

Definition exercises?

No thanks. I'll stick the the BIG exercises.

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. When it comes to building strength and
muscle mass, you can't do better than these
great resources:

a. Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength
and Development

b. Strength, Muscle and Power

c. Chalk and Sweat

P.S. 2. My other books and courses are right

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Basic and heavy. Make
it your mantra." -- Brooks Kubik

The SAFE Way to Do Dips!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Yesterday I gave you a list of the
top 25 exercises for building muscle

As you might expect, I received tons
of emails in response.

Funny thing was -- most of the emails
were about an exercise that wasn't
even on the list!

It was the parallel dip -- a tried and
true strength and muscle builder that's
been around since (I'm sure) the days
of the ancient Greeks. (Why am I sure?
Because the guy that posed for the famous
statue of the Farnese Hercules undoubtedly
did them -- along with plenty of pull-ups.)

And remember - John McCallum once called
dips "the upper body squat."

So why aren't they on the list?

The answer is simple.

Dips DO build strength and muscle -- but
they also wreck shoulders.

The problem is the bottom position of the
exercise. There's just too much stretch on
the shoulder joint. Over time, bad things
happen to a surprisingly high number of
trainees who may have once viewed dips
as their very best friend.

Now, having said that, I KNOW that many
of you are going to continue to do dips.

So let me share some advice.

Don't do deep dips with a full stretch
at the bottom.

In fact, don't even go all the way down.

Stop about two inches ABOVE the bottom
of the rep.

Or, to make it even easier, just go down
until your upper arms are parallel to the
floor -- and then stop!

Don't worry about missing out on any sort
of strength and muscle-building benefit
by skipping those potentially dangerous
last couple of inches.

The middle and top positions of the dip
are where you build the strength and
muscle. And they're much easier on
your shoulders. So stick to that part
of the movement -- the safe but
productive part of the movement.

Al of the above assumes that you're
going to do your dips the right way,
meaning in good form, and under control.

No drop and bounce stuff.

No twisting or swinging or kicking the
feet or wiggling the knees.

You lockout, pause briefly, lower,
go down only as far as I just described --
and then go back up.

And you control the movement the entire

Personally, I still prefer close grip
(meaning shoulder width or slightly
closer) bench presses to work the
triceps -- but for those out there
who insist on doing dips, do them
this way.

As always, thanks for reading and have
a great day. If you train today, make
it a good one.

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. I cover plenty of other great
exercises for safe and effective strength
and muscle building in Dinosaur Bodyweight
Training. Go here to grab a copy:

P.S. 2. My other books and courses are
right here:

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Train hard,
but train smart. You're in it for the long
haul." -- Brooks Kubik