Thursday, January 11, 2018

Train The PJ Way: Top 5 Old School Lifting Programs

Training the PJ Way is more than just going to the gym or lifting in your garage or basement at home.

The best lifting plans are based on the success of solid programs from the past.

Quite simply, nothing gets you stronger than lifting heavy stuff and lifting it again.

Today, in a Throwback Thursday kind of way, we'll cover 5 unique old-school programs that many people still follow today. 

Perhaps you didn't even know the program you are currently doing has some roots from decades ago.

Take a trip in the DeLorean (for you Back to the Future fans) and take a look at some historic programs that laid a strong foundation for the iron game throughout the years.

(All links will go to, which has a great collection of over 70 titles from the past and present.)

#5: Progressive Resistance Exercise, by DeLorme & Watkins
PRE is a key, landmark training protocol that many see as a true foundation builder. If you've done programs such as 3 sets of 10 for each exercise, the roots of that basic program come from here. Starting out as a key program to follow in physical therapy of injured soldiers, PRE was published in 1951 and it's importance in fitness history is often overlooked.

#4: The Truth About Weight Lifting, by Alan Calvert
This book is so old-school, it was printed over 100 years ago!  It covers training with dumbbells, barbells and even kettlebells (yes, they existed back then, too!) A great read if you're a history nut, and some classic timeless advice that still rings true today.

#3: The York Barbell and Dumbbell System of Training
Created by Bob Hoffman, a true leader in the health and fitness iron game, Hoffman was owner of York Barbell and trained many of the strongest men in the 20th century. This package of 6 courses that used to be sold by Hoffman through his Strength & Health magazines is still a solid system to follow.  A true classic program that built strength on heavy lifting, eggs, and steak and steak and eggs.

#2: Training for Power by Reg Park
Created as an advanced version of #1, Training for Power was the next step to the true classic program that #1 is, and is still followed strongly today by veteran lifters who swear by it.  After reading #1, definitely get this one as a sequel!  Reg Park was the first bodybuilder and 2nd man in history to bench 500 pounds, so if you're looking for strength, Reg Park delivered it back then.

#1: Strength & Bulk Training For Weight Lifters and Body Builders by Reg Park
This program is still talked about in training circles and can be found in 100's of 'variations' online. Often imitated, but hard to duplicate its impact on the strength training world.
Commonly called "The 5x5 Program", it became a ground-breaking plan that laid a true foundation for many who were raised in the physical culture movement in the 1950's, 60's, and 70's. Bits of this program still linger around today and some people probably don't even know they are following something that's very close to this program. 
The basis of using complex lifts like squats, deadlifts, bench press, military press, and more exercises that recruit the most muscle, a lot of that advice has roots from this book.  Another reason this program is still looked at as a true classic results producer? Arnold looked up to Reg Park as inspiration, and look what happened with Arnold.  Yes, THAT Arnold.

Honorable Mention:  The Program That Never Left The Weight Room

No matter what gym I've been in, I have always found THIS one program with a handy-dandy 1RM chart to help you out in getting the right weight and reps for each set.  I have yet to find the true origins of this plan, but strength coaches swear by it.  As one strength coach told me, "I don't know who made this program, but damn if it doesn't work every single time."  You can get this program here on Kindle for only 99 cents in the "Just The Workouts" guide, and don't forget to check out "Just the Chart" for your Kindle too, where you can simply tap on your 1RM weight in the table of contents and get all your phases, weights, and reps laid out for you in one tap of our screen.  Yep, this classic program is easy to read on your phone that you keep tweeting workout selfies with. So, put your phone to good use and get this quick to read guide, and the chart guide too, for less than the price of a Mountain Dew.

Train The PJ Way
PJ Wimpleton
Coach Rick Karboviak

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