Back in Time!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Last night, Trudi and I watched the first
episode of a new cable series called

It's about a woman in Scotland -- a former
nurse during World War Two -- and right
after the War ends (spoiler alert) she and
her husband of five years go on a second
honeymoon -- and there's a big hill with
monoliths on it, sort of like a mini-
Stonehenge -- and she presses her hands
against one of the monoliths -- and before
you can say "Time travel!" she's back in
the 1700's and the Redcoats come charging
by, and a musket ball whizzes past her
ear - and it's all pretty darn exciting.

And it turns out that her healing skills
(because remember, she's a nurse, and a
darn good one) are much in demand in 1740
(or whatever the year is) Scotland.

So, Trudi is watching this intently.

Now, remember, Trudi is a Physical Therapy
Assistant, and a very skilled healer. So
she's loving that the main character is
a nurse and a healer.

She, too, would do well in Scotland in

And she's even been to Stonehenge -- and
Glastonbury. So she knows first hand about
the ancient magic of the old island.

Anyhow, we went to bed, and I woke up this
morning, and she wasn't there. Which was
highly unusual.

Uh, oh.

Where is she?

Surely she didn't -- she couldn't -- not
all the way back to 1740?

I went downstairs, and Trudi was standing
in the kitchen, making coffee with an old-
fashioned French press that we last used
when the power was out for two weeks.

"The coffee-maker died," she said. "I'm
making it this way."

So we're not quite back to the 1740's --
but we're a bit back in time, at least as
far as the coffee goes.

And it turns out, the coffee was pretty
darn good. So good they we're going to
continue to make it that way.

I'll be training later today, and it will
be me and the barbell -- along with the
lifting platform, the squat stands and
the chalk.

That's not back to 1740, but it's still
pretty old-fashioned.

Which is just fine with me.

Old fashioned is how I like it.

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. Dinosaur Dumbbell Training and Dinosaur
Bodyweight Training are old-fashioned, effective,
and FUN ways to build muscle and might:

a. Dinosaur Dumbbell Training

b. Dinosaur Bodyweight Training

P.S. 2. My other books and courses all cover
old-school, fun and effective ways to train:

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Live with one foot
in the past and one foot in the future -- but
always train in the present." -- Brooks Kubik

A Simple Plateau-Buster for Dinos!

Hail to the Dinos,

A reader wrote in with a training
question, and I thought I'd share
it with you -- along with my
answer -- because it may apply
to many readers.

He's been doing an ultra-abbreviated
workout where he just does squats and
presses (a program Paul Anderson used
with "notable" success).

He's been making good gains, and is
adding weight to the bar on a regular
basis -- but he's finding it harder
and harder to add weight, and he's
almost starting to "dread" the next

So he asked (1) is this problem unique
to him or is it a more common problem
among trainees generally, and (2) what
should he do about it?

The answer to the first question is --
it's a very common problem. That's why
you should plan your workouts and your
training programs to get around it.

The answer to the second question --
the what to do question -- is pretty

Switch from the two-exercise workout
that you repeat in every session, over
and over, to a program where you have
two or even three different workouts --
with different exercises in each workout.

That keeps you fresh. It avoids the mind
game where you start to worry and fret
about the upcoming workout.

And it's very easy to do.

For example:

Workout A (on Mon)

1. Military press

2. Squats

Workout B (on Wed)

1. Pull-ups, pull-downs or rowing

2. Bench press or incline press

Workout C (on Fri)

1. Deadlift or Trap Bar deadlift

2. Deadlift or Trap Bar deadlift partials
(from the knees)

Note: start each workout with a 10
minute warm-up and finish with your
choice of gut, grip or neck work,
rotating each from session to session.

Now, what this does is give your mind
and your body a bit of a break.

Instead of pushing hard and heavy on
the same two exercises in each workout,
you're always doing something. It's hard,
and it's demanding, of course -- but
it's much easier than hitting the same
thing over and over and over.

Note: this is NOT a suggestion to do
a different and random workout every
time you train. You need to PLAN a
program, and you need to follow the
program, and you need to make your
program progressive. But your program
will work better if you use a couple
of different workouts rather than
sticking to the same thing all the
time. That way, each workout is fresh
and exciting -- a challenge rather
than a monotonous grind.

You can do the same sets and reps for
each exercise, or mix them up, as you
prefer. I've always found that certain
set/rep schemes worked better for me
on some exercises than on others. You
may find the same thing to be true for

So that's a simple solution to a common
problem. And it's a solution that can
help you keep on the road to some
serious gains in strength, muscle
and power.

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. For tons of other plateau-busters,
grab Strength, Muscle and Power:

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

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Every great
accomplishment begins with a good plan."
-- Brooks Kubik

A Simple Strategy to Help Recover from Heavy Workouts!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

We'll talk training in a second, but
first of all, I know many Dinos are
John Davis fans -- and here's something
from my buddy John Wood that every
John Davis fan will want to hang on
the gym wall. Order it directly from
John Wood at the below link in P.S. 1.

Mine is in the mail. It should arrive
today or tomorrow -- and yes, I plan to
frame it and put it out in the garage --
or perhaps keep it up in the study where
I do all my writing. Writing can be a bit
of a workout sometimes.

On the training front, here's a simple
strategy for everyone to consider -
especially the older Dinos with more
limited recovery ability and more aches
and pains than our younger readers.

I've been doing this lately, and it works
pretty well.

Train 3x per week on a divided workout
schedule -- doing either two different
workouts (A and B), or three different
workouts (A, B and C).

If you use two different workouts, make
every third workout a light session where
you drop the weight and focus on performing
every rep in absolutely letter perfect form.

I do all Olympic lifting now, so I use the
light day as a day where I really focus on
form and technique. But you can use the
same principle with any exercise.

In week one, I train hard on workout A,
hard on workout B, and light on workout
A in my third session.

The next week I train hard on workout B,
hard on workout A, and light on workout
B in the third session.

If you do three different workouts, make
workout C the light one in week one, workout
B the light one in week two, and workout A
the light one in week three.

It works really well. The easy workout gives
your mind and your body a nice break from the
heavy stuff, and serves as a form of active
rest to help your recovery. So you come back
feeling really strong and energized in the
next workout.

And it's a very simple system to implement.

Now, you may ask -- what kind of weight do
you handle on your light day?

That will vary from person to person depending
on a variety of factors -- your age, your
training experience, the exercises you do,
and how heavy you go on your heavy days.

But here's a simple way to work it out.

The first time you schedule a light day,
try 10% less than what you handle on your
heavy days. See how that feels and you recover
from it. The key is how you feel on your next
heavy day.

The next time you have a light day, try 15%
less than your heavy day weight. See how that
feels -- and how you feel on your next heavy

Next, try 20% less -- and see what that does
for you.

In other words, some simple trial and error
should help you work it out pretty well.

So there you have it. A very simple -- but
very effective -- training strategy. Give
it a try and let me know how it works for

As always, thanks for reading and have a
great day. If you train today, whether it's
a heavy day or a light day, make it a good

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. Don't forget about the John Davis
poster from John Wood -- order directly from
John Wood:

P.S. 2. Here's something else for John Davis
fans -- order from me:

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

P.S. 4. Thought for the Day: "Focus on recovery
as much as training. Do everything possible to
maximize your recovery." -- Brooks Kubik

Can You Combine 1 x 20 and 5 x 5?

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

One of our readers asked the following

"I like the idea of mixing up set/rep
schemes in alternating workouts, but
5 x 5 and 5/3/1 are both low-rep power

What do you think of using very different
set/rep schemes, say 5 x 5 alternated
with 1 x 20?"

I assume he means using 1 x 20 for squats
or possibly deadlifts, as those are the
standard exercises for 1 x 20. So you
would do 5 x 5 in squat in one workout,
and 5 x 5 in squat in your next squat
workout. Or the same in the deadlift --
1 x 20 in one deadlift workout and 5 x 5
the next time you do them.

Here's my take on it.

I think 5 x 5 requires one particular
mental approach to training -- and I
think that 1 x 20 requires a different
mental approach.

I also think they stress the body in
significantly different ways.

So I prefer a program where you focus
on multiple sets of low reps by doing
5 x 5 or 5/3/1 or 5/4/3/2/1 for your
working sets -- and if you want to try
1 x 20 in squats or deadlifts, do them
in a different training cycle.

In other words, focus on one thing at
a time -- EITHER multiple sets of low
reps OR 1 x 20.

Now, some people are different. They like
more variety -- and they may do fine on
a program that mixes up the sets and reps
more than I like to do.

But here's another very important point
to consider.

1 x 20 in the squat on deadlift puts some
serious stress on your legs and lower back.

That means that recovery time is very

If you train 1 x 20 in the squat, and you
are not fully recovered the next time you
train, you're going to adversely affect
every exercise that involves the legs and
lower back.

That would include any type of Olympic
lifting or related pulls.

Bent-over rowing.

Presses (because the lower back stabilizes
your torso when you press).

And even heavy barbell curls (for the same
reason as presses).

It also means that the deadlift will affect
the squat and vice-versa -- which makes it
very hard to do 1 x 20 on both movements
in one program.

This is one of the reasons why the classic
1 x 20 breathing squat system has you go
hard and heavy on squats, and do just a
couple of other auxiliary movements where
you go lighter and easier.

The recovery issue is particularly important
for older trainees, where recovery and
recuperation are always critical.

If you DO try 1 x 20 alternated with 5 x 5,
do it with squats only -- and do squats once
a week -- and do 5 x 5 one week and 1 x 20 the

And for gosh sake, break into 1 x 20 smart
and slow. Don't make your first workout a
death march. Start light and build up. You
need time and practice for your body to
adjust to the higher reps.

So I hope that answers the question!

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. Here's a great course for building
strength and muscle mass the old-school

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

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Focus on
one thing at a time. Master it, and then
move on to the next challenge." -- Brooks

The "Which Do I Do?"Question

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Yesterday, I covered three different
options for the 5 x 5 program - and the
advanced option for the program.

I did that to answer a slew of questions
I had received about how to implement the
5 x 5 system. So I covered the different
options and gave detailed instructions for
each of them. 

Well, it backfired.

Now I'm buried in questions along the lines

"WHICH of the three options do I do?"

along with the inevitable:

"When can I do the advanced option?"

And although I was trying to HELP, it
almost seems as if I DIDN'T -- because many
readers are expressing some serious angst as
they fret and worry and cogitate about "Which
is best -- 1 working set, 2 working sets, or
3 working sets -- or even 5 working sets?"

So let me respond to all of those readers
in one email.

Here's a basic rule that will save you many
hours of worry and many years of wasted

If you're not sure what to do, start with

Simple example:  you're not sure whether to
do Dino-style abbreviated strength training
for one hour 3 times a week or the Bulgarian
Psycho-Blast Super Seven Day a Week Blitz
Program peddled by the latest infomercial

Try the Dino program.

If the Dino program works, you've saved about
20 hours a week of training time -- which adds
up to about a 1,000 hours a week you could
spend doing other things -- and although
training is great, it's not the only
thing in life.

Or, closer to the issue before us -- you're
not sure whether to do 1 working set or 3
working sets (or 5 working sets, if you
think you might be able to handle it).

Try ONE and see what happens. If it works,
you've saved yourself time and improved your
odds of recovering from your workout by
doing less rather than doing more.

If it doesn't work as well as you'd like,
you can always try more working sets. So
starting with less is never a bad choice.
It's the intelligent choice.

The rule applies to all aspects of your

And it applies to your diet, as well. (A
topic much on my mind lately, as I finish
my new diet and nutrition book.)

For example  . . .

Do you think you might need more protein
in your diet?


Try another egg at breakfast. Or try another
TWO eggs.

But don't try an egg every hour -- or a
dozen eggs a day -- or jumping from two eggs
and 2 pieces of bacon for breakfast to a pound
of steak and six eggs. That's too big a jump --
you've gone from "a little" to "more than
enough for a squad of hungry marines."

In other words, try small changes in your
diet -- or small changes in your workout.
Less often works better than the over the
top stuff -- and it works much better for
the long haul. So always start with less.

Harry Paschall said it many years ago:

"Rather than see how much exercise we can
STAND, we should learn how much we NEED."

That was pretty good advice back in the
1950's -- and it's pretty good advice

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

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. Dinosaur Dumbbell Training gives you
tons of old-school dumbbell exercises, and
plenty of abbreviated workouts to go with

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

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Consider your
options, select the simplest and least
complicated, and see how it works. Evaluate
and refine as needed -- IF needed."
-- Brooks Kubik

Sets and Reps for Strength, Muscle and Power!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Friday's email generated lots of feedback,
and lots of questions -- or rather, the
same question from many different readers.

So let me try to clarify things.

It all started when I wrote:

"I like to run two different set/rep
schemes for each exercise. For example,
you might do 5 x 5 in squats, or you
might do 5 x 3 or 5 x 2 or 5/3/1/ or

And that led to questions about the number
of warm-up sets and the number of working
sets from about 10 jillion different Dinos.

So here's what to do:

5 x 5

There are three basic ways to do the 5 x 5,
and they all work very well. There also is
an advanced option, that I will describe
for you after I cover the basic options.

You can do 4 progressively heavier warm-up
sets, followed by ONE working set with your
top weight for the day. This is the option
I usually do.

Or, you can do 3 progressively heavier
warm-up sets followed by TWO working sets
with your top weight for the day.

Or, you can do 2 progressively heavier
warm-up sets followed by THREE working
sets with your top weight for the day.

For all three options, the working set
or sets is performed with a weight that
makes you work hard, but not so heavy
that you fail to get five reps. The
idea is to get five reps, but work
darn hard to do it.

On all of these, you can do more warm-up
sets if you need them.  The heavier your
working weight, the more likely it is
that you will want to do additional
warm-up sets. Also, older trainees tend
to need more complete warm-ups, so they
may wish to add some extra warm-up sets.

Start the warm-up sets LIGHT! I like to
begin at 50% of my working weight.
Also, note that you can make bigger
jumps from set to set with lighter
weights, and smaller jumped as you get
closer to your working sets. For example,
135 x 5, 185 x 5, 225 x 5, 250 x 5, 265
x 5 and 275 x 5 for your working set(s).

The advanced option is to do a series of
progressively heavier warm-up sets (as
many as you need), followed by 5 x 5
working sets.

This is tough work, and you should only
try it if you are advanced -- and probably
only with one exercise per workout, not
all of them.


Do 4 progressively heavier warm-up sets,
followed by one working set of five reps.

Add weight and do a second working set of
3 reps.

Add weight and finish off with a heavy
single - not an absolute max, but a weight
that makes you focus and dig deep.

Note: the weight jumps on the working sets
do not have to be huge. 10 or 20 pounds (or
5 or 10 kilos) is about right for most people
on most exercises.


Do 3 or 4 progressively heavier warm-up
sets, followed by working sets of 5, 4, 3,
2 and 1 reps.

The single at the end should be challenging
but not your max.

Add weight on each working set, as outlined
in connection with 5/3/1.

5 x 3 and 5 x 2

These are the same as 5 x 5. Due to the
lower number of reps, 5 x 3 or 5 x 2 with
your working sets (after the warm-up sets)
works very well.

I hope that helps clear things up for
everyone. Remember, the idea is ALWAYS --
first and foremost -- to get well-warmed up,
mentally and physically, and then to work
HARD on your top set or sets -- but not to
work to absolute failure and not to go to
100% on your top singles all the time. Make
your training progressive, and work the
top singles in every couple of weeks or
every month or so. Don't go for them in
every workout.

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. Here are some good resources for hard
and heavy training:

a. Strength, Muscle and Power

b. Chalk and Sweat

c. Gray Hair and Black Iron

d. Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength
and Development

e. The Dinosaur Training Military Press
and Shoulder Power Course

P.S. 2. My other books and courses -- and back
issues of the Dinosaur Files newsletter -- are
right here:

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "In every
workout, start light and work up in weight
on each  exercise. The warm-up sets prime the
pump for the heavy stuff." -- Brooks Kubik

A Training Progression Secret!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

We're off to a late start with today's
email message because we were off to an
EARLY start with a podcast interview.

The interview was with a longtime Dino.
He has one of the hand-numbered,
autographed copies from the very first
printing of Dinosaur Training when it
came out in 1996, and he's been in
contact with me and reading my "stuff"
ever since.

So it was a really fun interview where
we covered power rack training and the
mental side of heavy lifting and some
Iron Game history and all sorts of good

I'll give you more details and a link
to the podcast next week. Consider it
a PSA from me to you -- and to Dinos
around the world.

On the training front, I wanted to cover
something about progression in your

When you're starting out and coming up
the ladder, you can make progress in
every exercise in almost every workout.

Later, as you get closer to the top of
the mountain, things slow down.

So let's say you're a long-time trainee,
and you're doing two different workouts,
which we'll call Workout A and Workout B.
You do three exercises in each workout,
and you train three times per week,
alternating from workout to workout.

I like to run two different set/rep
schemes for each exercise. For example,
you might do 5 x 5 in squats, or you
might do 5 x 3 or 5 x 2 or 5/3/1/ or

Everything about the workouts is the
same, except the sets and reps.

So you do Workout A, which includes
squats, and you you do 5 x 5.

In your next workout, Workout B, you
do deadlifts or Trap Bar deadlifts for
5 x 5.

In the next workout, you do squats
again -- but you do (let's say) 5/3/1
for your working sets.

And in the session after that, you do
deadlifts again -- for 5/3/1 working

Now you're back to the squat workout
for 5 x 5 -- and you try to see if you
can do better than the last time you
did squats for 5 x 5.

Next session -- back to 5 x 5 on
deadlifts, and you try to do better
on your deadlifts for 5 x 5.

After that, it's back to squats --
but this time, you're doing 5/3/1
working sets, and trying to do better
than the last time you did 5/3/1.

Then it's deadlifts again -- for
5/3/1 working sets -- and you try to
beat the last time you did deadlifts
for 5/3/1.

And you're doing this on all of your
different exercises.

This is a great way to make manageable
and measurable progress from workout to
workout without burning out or going
stale. The different set/rep schemes
give you plenty of variety, and they
help keep you fresh. They remove those
mental barriers that sometimes arise
when you grind away at the same thing
over and over again.

I do this in my own training all the
time. It makes every workout something
to really look forward to, because the
odds of beating your last session are
way better when you use the alternating
set/rep scheme that I just outlined.

And that's the tip of the time. I hope
it gives you food for thought -- and
some good ideas for your training.

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

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. I have tons of other great training
tips in all of my books and courses --
including these:

a. Strength, Muscle and Power

b. Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength
and Development

c. Dinosaur Bodyweight Training

d. Dinosaur Dumbbell Training

e. The Dinosaur Training Military Press
and Shoulder Power Course

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

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Mix it up,
but keep it real." -- Brooks Kubik