Old school bodybuilders were strong, heavily built, and athletic. They performed feats of strength that few people in today’s gyms can match. Despite the fact that modern bodybuilding enthusiasts have all the advantages in their training, nutrition and supplementation; They still do not achieve the same results that the old strongmen and bodybuilders received from their training. How did the pioneers of bodybuilding and strength training achieve tremendous results without the benefit of Hammer Strength machines, nitric oxide, micronized creatine, and muscle synthesizing protein?
They trained heavy, hard, and frequently, with full-body routines and an emphasis on strength. The following program will seem unconventional to most students; however, it is based on the training methods of George Hackenschmidt. George Hackenschmidt was a world-renowned wrestler, strongman, author, and fitness enthusiast in the early 20th century. Have you heard of a “hacked” squat? Hackenschmidt was a pioneer in strength training, and the “hacked” squat was one of the exercises that he helped popularize. Hackenschmidt’s training programs were very popular with strength training enthusiasts and he was recognized around the world as an expert in strength, health and fitness training. Its programs are as effective today as they were in 1908.
Training the same muscle several days in a row is crazy, right? Not training to absolute muscle failure is another big mistake, right? Training one or two body parts a day is the best way to get huge, right? So why did George Hackenschmidt and other advocates of daily training achieve such outstanding size and strength gains?
This program advocates the use of full body routines performed on a daily basis. Using full body routines on a daily basis requires patience and discipline. You need to plan your workouts and then go ahead with your planning. If you are too aggressive, you will not achieve the results you are looking for, but if you follow the plan, you will experience huge gains in strength and size. Each week you can directly measure your progress and workload. You will get stronger every week. Keep a training diary or log book that records your weight for each exercise.
For the next twelve weeks you will be training in a very unconventional way; however, you will be stronger and leaner than ever, and your results will speak for themselves. You will do resistance training five days a week. It doesn’t really matter what days you train as long as you don’t skip workouts. In week one, you will select a weight for each exercise that allows you to perform that exercise for ten repetitions. That means you can’t do another rep beyond ten in good shape. Perform a series of the following exercises on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of each week:
Exercise set repetitions
Barbell Squat 1 x 5-10
Barbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 1 x 5-10
Barbell Bench Press 1 x 5-10
Dumbbell Row 1 x 5-10
Dumbbell Military Press 1 x 5-10
Barbell Curls 1 x 5-10
Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension 1 x 5-10
Weighted Swiss Ball Crunch 1 x 5-10
*** rest 90 seconds between sets
Reps of the week
1, 7 5
2, 8 6
3, 9 7
4, 10 8
5, 11 9
6, 12 10
As stated above, you should select a weight that you can lift for ten reps, but you will only perform five reps. Each week you will add one rep to each exercise. So during the second week you will perform a series of six repetitions. Workouts may seem short and easy initially, but trust the process and stick to the plan. After six weeks, you should do a set of ten repetitions. The weight will feel much lighter than in the first week. At this stage, you will add 10-15 pounds to each exercise and start over, with a set of five reps for another six weeks. After 12 weeks on this program, test your new 10-rep max and you’ll be amazed at your strength gains.
The key to using this program successfully is not to be greedy and to add sets, reps, or exercises. Be patient, stick to the plan, and master each exercise. In fact, you will become more efficient at each exercise as your body adjusts to the daily workout. This will also help increase your strength in the various lifts. Daily training is very enjoyable and you will not experience extreme muscle pain. After completing twelve weeks of this program, you will be much stronger and leaner thanks to daily strength training. If you are interested in learning more about George Hackenschmidt, check out his book “The Way to Live” published in 1908.