Tag Archives: old school

💪A novel take on Gironde’s 8×8💪

Over in the Gains Central group I shared a post yesterday regarding the much coveted 8×8 method.
Beginner – 8x8x60-70% 8RM
Advanced – 8x8x80-95% 8RM
In the reps/sets above you get only 30 seconds rest between them, you’d also do 3-4 movements per muscle group and 2-3 muscle groups per sessions.
Truly a high density program.
One worth investing a good 3-4months of training into, so long as you stick to it.
Now while you will get a lot of volume, of most people they will not stay on it long enough to progress and get strong from it.
Over the years you’ll find this works well on muscles that are more suited to being under constant tension.
– Quads
– Calves
– Lats
– Biceps
– Pecs
You’ll notice this is mostly anterior chain dominant.
While you can bring in hamstrings and other various posterior chain movements/lifts, it’s often a struggle for many and they just don’t get the stimulus needed.
That being said, if you did some heavy deadlifts for say 6×4, follow by stiff legs at 4×6 and then did some metabolite production work at the end in the form of Gironde’s 8×8 on 1-3 hamstring isolation variations, well now we’re talking 💪
From experience this is where the 8×8 method truly shines.
Building a high work capacity is equally as important as training being simply high in density.
This happens when you get stronger and lift heavier loads, essentially.
Using it in the accessory/isolation movements yields quite the favourable result, while compound movements such as squats also work well, they are incredibly fatiguing both mentally and physically.
Remember one of the main aims in training is to elicit and positive adpative stimulus, not just rep ourselves to death.
As such here is a novel approach you can utilise in combination with the above.
Main Lift – 5-5-3-3-2-2-2, 3-5min rest
Secondary lift – 6×6, 2-3min rest
Accessory Lift (s) – 8×8 (as above)
***You can use the concept of the 30seconds rest with many other rep ranges too, such as 5×5, 6×6, 8×4, 6×4, etc.
The premise is a high amount of work (volume) in a short amount of time (density), just be sure that you aim at progressing the loads (intensity) to build up your overall work capacity (the ability to repeat high quality efforts).

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Building Site to Building Might

To be comfortable, it’s not a bad thing however it’s not something you should aspire to achieve.

Well, not in fitness anyway.

Given our bodies are rather clever organisms designed to adapt and overcome a plethora of stressful situations is it not sensible to keep it sharp, same goes for our mind too.

I’m sure you know about homeostasis, that little thing the body tries to maintain no matter what gets thrown our way.

These modern times we are trying to make our lives as stress free and easy as possible, while a nobel endeavour it is weakening the large majority of people.

In times long past we had to be active, we had to be robust, we had to be strong and resilient.

Now, well, happiness is just and uber ride away.

For all the modern advances in things such as medicine, trauma care and all that other good stuff, however the rise in automated manufacturing has been the double edged sword, in my eyes.

Most things can be done at the touch of a button.

This means our need to master a skill, learn a trade, have a basic level of physical strength and conditioning has fallen by the wayside, this is why people now go to the gym.

Yes, the gym is artificial work load.

In the days of yesteryear people like you and me would have been out building things, lifting beams or objects (sub maximal loads), carrying tools and materials on the daily.

While it is true that this style of life was not conducive to becoming Mr Olympia or perhaps win 18 Olympic Golds, it kept people avoiding *health related diseases caused by an expanding waistline.

*There were still certain illnesses that were unavoidable, however the advancements in medicine have helps us greatly in combating these and extending out lives, so we thank this worldly gift by becoming obese and killing ourselves through the choice of excessive food and a sedentary life. (face palm).

Please understand, that while this style of life did make people quite strong and durable, manual work had it’s downsides too.

Repetitive strain, large scale imbalances that lead to major injury and other such things were common, so manual labour had it’s downsides as well.

This bring us to today though, most of us don’t have to work like that for a living, so instead we go to the gym to keep trim.

Being able to go to the gym also gives us the unique opportunity to stimulate a similar response to that of our ancestors and their manual labour roots, just with less chance of the repetition injuries they had.

I’d like you to consider applying a manual mindset to your training.


Because doing it will challenge your body far more than you currently are, I’d wager.

Manual Labour Mimicry –


– Picking things up (deadlift variants)
– Carrying (uh… carrying things)
– Overhad work (pressing horizontally & vertically)
– Running the hod (lunges and prowler work)
– Climbing ladders etc (pull ups, rows and so on)

*There are more, these are just some off the cuff examples

You can see it’s easy to mimic what they did, however I’d encourage you to do it without using barbells/dumbbells, well, in a traditional sense where you wrap your hands around them.

Here is an example of a pair of movements and how tweaking them to make life and lifting far more interesting.

Manual work – carrying material and passing it to a colleague above you.

Gym variation – Pick up several plates (different sizes, 25,20,15’s etc), carry them all together (however you can) across the gym.

Set up a few ploy boxes to roughly your height or 3/4 of your height.

Lift the plates on top of the lo boxes, then take them down, then repeat this serial times.

Try that for 20min with variable loads, you’ll get a cracking total body pump out of doing this, so long as you focus on keeping the density of your training high (minimal rest and constant movement).

^^ Alternatively if you have sandbags in your gym grab a few (variable loads) and spend 20min cleaning, pressing and carrying them, that’s also a cracking session.

The above is good for strength, endurance, fat loss, essentially everything you desire.

Other ways you can stimulate this style of workload are as follows:

– Complexes
– Combo’s/Chains
– EMOM’s
– Giant sets

A different look at training for you because let’s be honest, if you’re reading my ramblings there is a high chance you’re not going to be an olympian or high level body builder, simply because that’s not who I write for.

Most of my bits are for the average person who merely wants some guidance, and I will be so bold as to say it all works splendidly.

It’s the people applying it for any meaningful length of time that is the issue 🤣

Don’t worry, I’m just as bad because I also get caught in doing what I want to do rather than what is perhaps best for me.

Anyway, have a great day everyone.


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There really is no better school than the old school

An odd set of lifts for oddly ostentatious results.
Morning all,
You’d be amazed at just how impressive a physique you can create with just one lift and minimal weight.
The single arm barbell Get up, a truly great movement.
The single arm barbell press is also pretty outstanding and can be performed once you’ve done the get up.
All you do is pick up the bar from the floor, bring it to your shoulder and press it overhead, you may end up doing a strict press, a side press or a bent press depending not he weight, however over time you may progress from say a bent press (allow heavier load) to doing the same weight for a strict press.
Next up you have Zecher Squats (and carries), these make a lovely paring with Floor Presses.
Actually Floor Presses also work well with Power Cleans (these are not so odd, still good though).
Then we have single arm deadlifts, be that sumo, split or suitcase style, they’re all good.
You may notice a theme with most of the simple notions I pop up, that being minimalistic and often towards movements that will yield the most bang for your buck.
I’m not oppose to classic body building methods, however for most people who lack time to train they’d be far better off spending their time doing more productive things, as opposed to bicep curls and lateral raises.
The few movements above are not normal to most people, this will result in inefficient training and a stressor that can help many break their plateaus and become stronger.
You can YouTube all the lifts above.
I would also suggest you take a look at this website:
You can get some great books here that have a large amount of training gems in them.
Each book is from a much simpler time where the main measure of your character was your not only your resilience, it was also your patience.
Have a good read and enjoy,

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They’ve got old people strength!

Morning All,

I’m sure you’ve heard terms such as ‘Farmer strong’, ‘old man strength’ or something similar.

The above used to be common place, now though not so much. The elderly now are no longer the robust and battle hardened chickens of old that the spring ones used to watch in awe. Oh no.

Sadly now most of the elderly are fragile, weak, sick and patiently waiting for the cold hand of the reaper to gently come to rest on their shoulder.

It’s a shame.

In our formative years, humans were physically active due to having no other choice. We had to lift things, carry things, hold things just tight enough as to not drop them or kill our hands so we couldn’t go fetch another.

We were strong, durable, happier perhaps?

Manual labour and the necessity of having to be physical made us many things and also gave us an appreciation for the times of rest.

Thinking back to those days there was not so much restriction on food and a lot less of “That food is bad for you,” simply because people ate to fuel their needs during the day and perhaps a couple of nibbles for enjoyment.

Obviously we’ve become a very advanced species and truly achieved some great things, yet in gaining all of these ‘things’ did we lose something precious, something soon to be completely forgotten and lost to time?

All this being said, we live in a glorious age.

Still though, there is a set of valuable lessons you can learn from yesteryear.

– Move daily
– Pick things up, carry them
– Repeated bouts give you a high baseline strength level
– Be thankful for what you now have, your predecessors didn’t have it as easy


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5 Things you can learn from labourers.

Especially those of the past (before the endless red tape came in to play), you know the ones, they seem have that coveted ‘old man strength’ or ‘dad strength’ as some call it.
These are they type of people that have never visited a gym, ever, yet they are in reasonably good shape, which might be a bit better if they laid of the beer.
That said, they are often strong, stupidly strong, not to mention durable and just mentally tough too.
A far cry from he modern desk jockey of today.
We’d be silly not to pay homage to these people and their work ethic as we can learn a lot from them.
So, let’s see what little gems we can find amongst the dirt and rubble.
1 – Work capacity is important.
Take for example the necessity to shift a few tonnes of gravel or slate in the space of a day.
You’re not going to be able to do this without having the following: Strength Endurance, General CV Endurance, Mental Fortitude.
Not to mention shifting it isn’t an option, it’s a must, that helps too.
2 – The muscle in the back of your body are important.
Look at anyone who works in a physical capacity and you will find that most of them usually have a decent set of muscle through their posterior chain.
This is due to a lot of loaded carries, full/partial deadlifts, holding things close to their chest and pulling things towards them and/or putting them on their shoulders (like a rope, buckets, barrels etc).
Without a strong back they wouldn’t be much good on site.
There were also many times where something would need to be picked up from the floor and put overhead too, without the use of equipment, all day long as well. Talk about a full body workout.
3 – They do what they HAVE to, no pissing or whinging.
Well, some whinge however they still crack on in the end, after a tea break or 5.
Do what is needed, simple.
4 – Cast iron grip strength.
Have you ever shook the hand of a mechanic or someone who constantly works with their hands?
God damn… It’s like a vice.
Once the have hold of something that’s pretty much it, they’re not letting go unless they have too.
Have you ever shifted tonnes of dirt in a wheel barrow all day?
(It’s essentially a day of partial deadlifts and farmers walks)
It’s grudging and apart form a strong back, traps, glutes and legs you need some major grip strength/endurance because without it you’ll fall behind and find yourself out of work.
5 – Repeatedly lifting Sub-Maximal loads build muscle.
You see some labourers that are giants, other not so much.
So why is this?
What is the difference between the two?
Some would say genetics, and they’re not entirely wrong, however knowing a great many people in this field I can tell you the MAIN difference is the sheer amount of FOOD they consume.
Those that eat like little mice, become lean, strong and robust, where are those that eat like elephants become sizeable, strong and look physically quite dominant.
This is all caused by a combination of the repeated bout effect (lifting sub max loads often) and of course calories consumed.
So there you have it.
People in the past were just stronger due to the physical nature of their lives – true for both men & women.
Keep that in mind.
5 things you can learn from labourers and hopefully apply.

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What’s old is new again

The Purposeful Primitive:

From Fat and Flaccid to Lean and Powerful:

Using Primordial Laws of Fitness to Trigger Inevitable, Lasting and Dramatic Physical Change

by Marty Gallagher

Have you ever read it?

You should, it’s a very good book with a wealth of experience in it and one simple take home message.

Success requires heart.

Morning All,

If you take the time to look there is a plethora of good books surrounding the realm of fitness.

Some are filled with numbers, plug & play programs, explanations of the basics and of course the principles/foundations of lifting, yet it’s the ones that are written in a story telling manor that hold the most secrets.

Ironically these are the books people will skip over because they want the quick answer.

This is understandable, however not too wise.

We can all read and gain a basic grasp of the numbers.

I’ve been such a person and has read hundreds of books of the years, admittedly skim reading the story-esc ones, due to my of foolishness at the time.

As I’ve gone back and reread these story books of lifting, Ive found new appreciation for them.

They hold not only training principles and methodologies.

Oh no, they hold something much more valuable as well.


They hold heart, or what some might call indomitable spirit, perhaps even attitude, regardless of the semantics, the message is clear.

Those lifting legends thought differently, they had that extra gear as it were. That defined focus that many of us lack, hence why we only really make mediocre progress – yes, mediocre.

Even those who we think are training hard are lacking.

In the book mentioned above there are many excerpts that speak of people lifting only twice per week and hitting world record numbers (if you check the records you’ll find it all true).

Could you make such progress on two sessions a week?

I highly doubt it. I couldn’t, not with my current attitude in training.

This goes to show just how things have changed, and by things I mean people, or at least our resolve and work ethic.

We’ve grown lazy, so very lazy.

If you’ve just sat and thought “What… screw you, I’m not lazy” or something similar, that’s your ego talking and unless you’re at the peak of your own personal pyramid and chosen endeavour you’re not working hard enough, or rather, working hard enough in the smartest way possible.

Here is an example of just how an attitude was back in the day –

Bill Pearl, he used to train at 4am.

Yep, 4am, before the world got p he’d already be grinning away to forge his body in a fire of iron, sweat and many repetitions.

He had a normal job too, plus lived a fairly busy life, so before you bring up your excuses understand this person had them as well, he simply didn’t let them stop him becoming a legend of lifting.

From reading in to the lives of people form yesterday I fear we’ve grown soft, reliant on our comfortable lifestyles. We’ve lost our edge.

The attitude now is one of ‘I will do more but with less intensity’ – for most people anyway, I’m sure you will explain how you’re the exception, that being the case I wish I was you.

In the book you also get the sense that theme & women of yesteryear trained to break boundaries and hammer their of limitations, I’m not saying some don’t do this now, they just lack the conviction of old.

The modern world has beaten people down with how we ‘should’ look, behave, think, feel and ugh more. It’s no wonder people have so many mental health issues these days.

If you want to expand your thought and learn what it is to I speak of in this post, I suggest reading these three books:

The Purposeful Primitive – Marty Gallagher

Super Strength – Alan Calvert

Secrets of My Strength – Paul Anderson

There are many more great books of old, you can find them here:


What’s old is new again.


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How Odd.

Have you ever heard of the Odd Lifts?

You know, ones such as the Bent Press, the Jefferson DL or perhaps the One Arm Snatch?

if not here are some links to get you started:



Okay, now it’s time to get to the point of the post.

– Three odd lifts you don’t often do that will change your body for the better.

1 – The bottom up kettlebell press

This can be done standing, seated, kneeing, sat of the floor or perhaps even in a floor press/bench press/incline press manor, which ever way you choose it will achieve the following:

– Stronger press/grip
– Muscle irradiation (more muscle recruitment)
– Take out your ego


2 – There Renegade Row

Use kettlebells or dumbbells for this. The alternating row style of this lift will help you by:

– Strengthening your ability to brace (core stabilisation)
– Work the entire upper body
– Improve balance


3 – Zecher Lifts

What is more real world than having to pick something off the floor and hold it in an awkward position? Not much, however is this is not to your liking you can swap it out for a bear hug style carry of a sand bag or something equally heavy and awkward.

You can pick the zecher lis you prefer out of the options in the link

The benefits:

– Overall Strength
– Fortified lower back
– A high crossover to daily living


Adding in this lifts or even doing a program of only these 3 will make some great changes to your overall body composition.

If you plan on doing the latter option here is a suggestion:

– 3 days per week or train every other day
– Heavy/Light/Medium loading protocol*
– Rest 1-5min between sets
– Eat according to your goal (gain mass or lose fat etc)

*Heavy = <25 total reps at 85% 1RM +
*Light = 75 total reps at 50-65% 1RM
*Medium = 50 total reps at 70-80% 1RM

For example:

Day 1:
Heavy – Zecher Lift
Light – Renegade Row
Medium – Bottom Up Press

Day 2:
Heavy – Bottom Up Press
Light – Zecher Lift
Medium – Renegade Row

Day 3:
Heavy – Renegade Row
Light – Bottom Up Press
Medium – Zecher Lift

How you add these lifts in or plan them is up to you as there are a lot of different odd lifts to choose from, just remember to add weight where you can and that consistency and progression is the key to success.


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All Bar One

Keeping things simple is always appealing, especially when it gets results too.
If you look back on this page you’ll find workouts using only Dumbbells, Kettlebells, Bodyweight and more, however there is little in the way of Barbell exclusive workouts, keeping this in mind that is what we shall look at today.
How can you use only a barbell (plus weight plates, obviously), to achieve a great workout and even make a ton of progress?
When I say just a bar, I mean just a bar. Not squat rack, squat pins nothing, just a bar and plates.
Easy, you have a few options:
– Complexes
– A1/A2 Jump Sets
– One Lift a Day
Let’s break down each with some examples for you.
Complexes –
A barbell complex is like any other, it’s a series of movements performed back-to-back with a set number of reps for each movement before moving on to the next.
You can have a little as 3 exercises or as many as 8, possibly more if you’re a sadist.
A nice one to try is as follows:
RDL, Power Clean, Press, FS, Row – 5-10 reps for each.
This can be done with progressively heavier weights to a top set, it can be done at the same weight for as many rounds as possible for time, the options are endless. A great method for stripping fat, improving cardio and slapping on some lean muscle.
Next up,
A1/A2 Jump Sets –
The classic pairing of two exercises is always good for helping shift some heavy poundages when performed in this way, this option is great if being big and strong is the goal.
It might look like this:
A1 – Deficit Snatch Grip DL – Rest 60 seconds
A2 – Floor Press – Rest 120 seconds
Repeat this sequence until desired sets/reps are hit, this could be 8×3, 5×5, 10×5
Depending on how many days per week you have to train you can alternate floor press with standing press and the deadlift with cleans etc.
Lastly we have the ever forgotten method known as…
One Lift a Day –
I’m sure you might be able to work this one out based on the name, it’s quite a good hint after all.
All you need do it pick one lift, just one and rep out for a solid 45min (this includes warm up as you can start off with some mobility then the bar and add weight to potentate until ready for working sets).
With this option you can either go for a high volume day, a high intensity day, a light pump day, the choices are yours depending on what you feel needs the most attention.
Here is an example of how you might structure a week:
1 – Snatch Grip Deadlift
2 – Press
3 – Row
4 – Off
5 – Clean
6 – Floor Press
7 – Off
Don’t forget old school exercises such was the bent press, side press, 2 hand any-how and other classics.
You can use any lift you choose of the the 45min block, this can even be skull crushers or curls if you fancy something like that. Its also worth noting that 45min is a guide, you could go for 30min or less if that’s all you have.
Each of the options above are easy on paper yet brutally hard when put in to practice, however that hard work will transfer in to progress and results, provided you give 100% and stick at it for longer than a week.
As a recommendation, wave the loading between Heavy-Light-Medium so that you can give you body some time to dissipate any accumulated fatigue. Go heavy as often as you can but don’t be afraid to have some easier workouts too.
Now the next time you find yourself in a pinch with only one a bar and some plates you’ll have some options.

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