It Aint Strength Training Unless You’re Gettin’ Strong

I can’t take it anymore.

It’s gone too far.

It’s driving me insane.

I hate it.

No, I loathe it. Like Newman did Keith Hernandez.

I’m sure Doug Young (pictured) is rolling in his grave.

And Kaz would probably puke in his mouth if he ever saw or heard of such a thing.

It’s this overwhelming obsession with metabolic conditioning and it’s ruining real strength training.

I know I’ve said this countless times before but I can’t repeat it enough…

You lift weights to get bigger, stronger and more explosive. That’s it.

Not as your primary method of fat loss or conditioning. There are far better, less detrimental ways to achieve both of those goals.

The problem is our entire society has been polluted with this bullshit movement. Everyone these days thinks that a strength training workout should be more grueling than going five rounds with GSP or Brock Lesnar.

That is not remotely true, my friends.

You should always leave the gym feeling better than when you walked in; not completely wiped out in a pool of your own blood and puke.

How did everything that was so good get so bad?”
- Rocky Balboa, Rocky III

It’s all gotten way too out of control. Every single workout does not need to be a conditioning fest.

That’s not to say that building a small conditioning component into an effective strength program is a bad thing. Bill Starr was a fan of doing this way back when he was preparing the Baltimore Colts for Super Bowl V.

But there is an enormous difference between doing heavy sets of five on a bench, squat and clean in a three exercise circuit with appropriate rest periods and a workout that includes following up your five rep set of cleans with a 400 meter run, 20 kettlebell snatches, 35 box jumps, 10 kipping chin ups and a set of burpees.

That’s not strength training.

That’s just fucking stupid.

Finishers & Off Day Conditioning

What about the concept of finishers? Even a lot of the smart guys who haven’t allowed their strength training to turn into an aerobics class still feel compelled to always do a finisher these days. I’m here to tell you that you can let go of the guilt and that it’s okay if every single workout doesn’t include a finisher. Even if it’s a well thought out finisher that won’t have a negative effect on your joints or your training.

In the old days (hell, even 10-15 years ago) no one did finishers. You lifted weights to get jacked and then you went home and ate.

On off days you did conditioning or played a sport. Now I have guys asking me 20 times a week what kind of bodyweight circuit they should do on their off days.

NONE! Play a sport. Go surfing or hiking. Do something else.

The Man Maker Formula

There’s a very simple formula for being awesome that people have followed with great success for many,

many years:

•    Lift heavy
•    Sprint
•    Incorporate Flexibility/ Mobility/ Soft Tissue Work (Foam roll, ART, massage, etc.)

That’s the whole ballgame in a nutshell.

If you want to get lean you simply diet by cutting calories/carbs and you sprint a few times a week.

The inevitable next questions to follow my “run sprints” recommendations are always:

“How many sprints?”

“What distance?”

“What’s the work to rest ratio?”

The honest answer is I have no clue. I don’t know what kind of shape you’re in. I don’t know how much grass you have in your neighborhood, how long your hill is, how much experience you have running, how much you weigh, etc.

If you’re training for football or the 100 meter then we can get more specific. But if you’re just training to be an in shape, athletic, badass then heed Nike’s advice and just do it. Get outside and start sprinting.

Always do a thor

ough warm up and start slow and easy. I wouldn’t run more than 20-30 yards your first time out. Over time you can add distance to each sprint if you want. Or you can add more reps. Or both. You can also decrease the rest time. There are a million options. The point is to just get it done.

Two 15-30 minute sessions per week will do the job for most people. How you set up the distances and rest times within that 15-30 minute time frame is up to you.

Sprinting is something that everyone should be able to do with at least a decent level of proficiency. It’s a basic, fundamental human skill.

Snatching a kettlebell for 200 reps is not (and I’m a big fan of kettlebell training). So prioritize the sprints.

Jumping rope is another skill that I believe all able bodied human beings should possess. I’d rather see you do that any day of the week instead of some crazy bodyweight conditioning circuit of a thousand burpees and whatnot that’s just stressing your joints and delaying your recovery from the workouts that really matter.

Train For Strength, No Matter What Your Goal

Strength training is quantifiable and produces measurable results. “Fat loss” or “metabolic conditioning workouts?” Not as much. But you can always get stronger and see your numbers going up.

Dieting is responsible for 90% of your fat loss. I’ve seen fat asses train their balls off and never lose an ounce because their diet sucked.

Think about what type of training is going to have the biggest positive impact and focus your efforts on that. It’s Pareto’s 80/20 Law. Believe me when I tell you that real, old school strength training will make a bigger difference than anything else, no matter what your goal.

Keep it old school and always remember…

It aint strength training unless you’re gettin strong.

Become a Renegade Insider

  • Learn the 5 Essential Rules of Muscle Growth
  • Get Unusual Tips for Rapid Strength Gains
  • Boost Your Testosterone Naturally
  • Become a Master at Getting Shit Done. FAST
  • Find Your Passion. Live the Dream

114 Responses to It Aint Strength Training Unless You’re Gettin’ Strong

  1. Eddie December 30, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    Jason, this is really really really awesome…I recently decided to do a complex training cycle for the last month because I wanted to do something different, and felt this would be great for fat loss. I’m Wrong. I’ve lost 2-3 lbs in the last 2 weeks. But to see if this stuff really is as “magical” as they say, i ate a pizza for dinner. Guess what? I was 1.5 pounds heavier! It’s diet. My weight loss has more to do with not drinking, and sleeping better.

    However, here’s my question, I’m currently training with a group of guys for a relay race, it’s a 50 lap relay on a standard 400 m track. We run it like a 4×400 M relay you see in the Olympics. (Just instead of each guy running 1 400, we run 12). So to win, I’ll have to run 12 65 second 400 M laps with 3:15 break in between each one. The way to train for this will not include any type of circuits will it? (We’re debating adding barbell complexes in.)

  2. Ben December 30, 2010 at 12:49 pm #


    Thanks for the article. This has been the hardest thing for me. I used to think I had to go to the Y and lift 6 days a week to make progress and do multiple lifts for each bodypart.

    I’ve since changed to MWF and doing a curcuit of Deadlifts/Military Press/Chinups for 5 sets of 5 for two weeks. Then switch to Front Squat/Bench Press/Pullups the next two weeks. I’ve actually seen good progress after taking the summer off from lifting because of shoulder soreness and running a half marathon to kill the time.

    Does this routine make sense? Also, am I stupid for trying to lift MWF then maybe train for a marathon or a triathalon on the other days? Both are something I always wanted to do.

    Thanks for the great motivation.

    • Jason Ferruggia December 30, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

      @Ben: I would take both of those workouts and make them workout A & workout B. Rotate through them each week:

      Shib- Prowler and farmers walks are good. No need for the bike.

      Scott- Thank you very much. You too.

      Julio- Mix up the jumps as much as possible.

      Jay- Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

      Tracy- No doubt. Heavy lifting and gymnastics are where it’s at!

      John- Glad to hear it.

      Jeff- Not really. Sprint, walk, play your sport or do more sport specific conditioning.

      Chitto- That’s totally fine.

  3. Jason Ferruggia December 30, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    Eddie- Just strength train and run 400′s. That’s it. Always keep your conditioning specific to what you do.

    JD- Not at all. The way I train now is pretty much the way I’ve always trained. Anyone that’s trained with me will tell you that from Dave Tate to Craig Ballatyne to John Alvino to Smitty from the Diesel Crew and many others. It’s always been basic, hardcore strength training. I’ve been a huge fan of sprints for as long as I can remember. Walter Payton made me a fan of running up hills back in the early 80′s. I grew up reading about (and still do) all the guys I referenced here in this post and many others. It’s the reason my logo is based on a photo of Arthur Saxon from 1906.

    The Renegade Method is always the same:
    1) Explosive power development with jumps, throws, Oly lifts or sprints
    2) Maximal strength development with a big, compound barbell lift
    3) BW and DB assistance exercsises
    4) Sprints, prowler, jump rope for conditioning with some occasional other finishers thrown in

    Walking in the AM for fat loss has been a staple forever.

    As far as contradicting myself…. I’m sure I have done that. But I wouldn’t call it contradicting as much as always learning, evolving and getting better. Like Maya Angelou said-

    “I did then what I knew how to do, when I knew better, I did better.”

    I may try certain new things here or there but in the end it’s always pretty much the same.

  4. shib neddeff December 30, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    GREAT RANT !!…Prowler at the end of a workout combined with Farmer Walk is a great 10 min finisher thoughts on that combo…OR on the 1 day I bike say bike 2 min then 50 yd Prowler..back to bike for 2 that too much just thoughts :-)

  5. Scott R. December 30, 2010 at 1:11 pm #


    Point blank; best article of the year!!!! What a way to go on a tangent (sp?). You and your family Have a nice New Year.

  6. Julio G. December 30, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    Craig Ballantyne recommends bodyweight circuits and I have been following his advise on fat loss since I saw you recommended him… seems I might have to ask for a jumping rope (for intervals on off days) as a late christmas present :)
    P.D: when doing jumping rope intervals should we combine 1 leg jumps with normal jumps and other types (for fun or simply making it a bit harder) or better to keep it as simple as posible?

  7. Traze December 30, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

    I’m a beginner and this article came at the exact right time. I was ready for a 3-day strength training schedule with an emphasis on big, compound lifts, and eventually a day or two of rope/hills. Funny, last night I wrote in my journal to start jumping and throwing a day or two each week. Thanks for the article or I would have found a way to screw it all up by trying to mix in every conditioning/metabolic method known to man. Whew…

  8. Jay Ashman December 30, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    EXCELLENT article… I follow these same principles with my own athletes. People place a premium on conditioning over strength work too often in this world and don’t realize that getting in shape is a ton easier than getting stronger. Place a premium on strength work, hit the conditioning hard but using proven methods that won’t tap into your recovery too much and you will reap rewards for years.

  9. joe December 30, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    do work son!

  10. Charles December 30, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    I was just explaining this to a client the other day they client was saying that they “just want to look better.” Now and I stated that yes one of the goals of training is to look better however you want to get stronger too. Whats the point of looking better and being weaker??

  11. Tracy Langford December 30, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    Always agree! I used to do the bodyweight circuits and other stuff on “off” days, but found it hard to have a life when you’re that sore. Steve Reeves had an incredible physique and he mostly did full body workouts 3 days a week with power walking for conditioning. Who can argue with that success? Old school guys did a ton of gymnastics and handbalancing along with their heavy lifting.
    Appreciate your honest no BS attitude in your articles!

  12. John Giggins December 30, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    Doing your old school 70′s training now.Strength gains have gone through the roof. Thanks buddy

  13. jeff December 30, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    You don’t think metcon has any place in any program? Just curious

  14. Chito December 30, 2010 at 2:40 pm #


    Great article, as always! But is it the kettlebell exercises you have an issue with or because some people do them for an insane number of reps or minutes? I happen to love the kettlebell but unlike those nutheads who swing and snatch all day, I only do them as a warm-up exercise (your typical 3X10) instead of doing boring 5-minute treadmill jogs or whatever before my regular strength routine. Is this okay?

  15. Kyle R December 30, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

    Jason-that Maya Angelou quote is awesome! And as for cardio on off-days, I’m stoked that you brought up jump roping. I’d train heavy 7 days a week for more than 45 mins if YOU would let me (lol). But, running/walking?????? I can’t last 5 mins without being BORED out of my mind. Because of this I’ve put on way more unnecessary fat than I’d hoped to. You best believe I’ll be in the garage tomorrow morning (my off day) doing some jump rope.

    Much love for this. lol.

  16. Raymond - ZenMyFitness December 30, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    Fantastic article goes against what everyone says right now!
    I used to be a ‘machine’ at the gym with all the cardio, circuits etc but I never changed and was ordinarily looking.
    Ever since I started following the ‘Renegade’ way I lowered my volume, started lifting heavy, reduced the cardio … I have never had so many comments about how I physically changed in the space of a couple of months.
    Great advice that I will be following into next year!
    Thanks for articles.
    Happy New Year for 2011

  17. Sean Hyson December 30, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

    Another great quote from that Rocky movie that applies here is, “Hey woman! Hey woman! Since your old man ain’t got no heart, maybe you’d like to have a real man. Yeah, I bet chu stay up every night wishin’ you had a real man, don’t cha? Well, I tell you what. Bring your pretty little self over to my apartment tonight, and I’ll show you a real man.”

    You see, if you follow the advice here, YOU can be that real man. Ok, that quote really didn’t apply to anything but the Rocky III reference got me thinking about it. I can’t quote Maya Angelou like Jay can…

    In my opinion, the focus on circuits and “fun” conditioning workouts is one of the worst and maybe most destructive trends in the industry right now. People really think that’s how they have to train, and anything less is being a pussy. They really will fight you on the issue. “NO! I can’t rest longer than a minute between sets! My heart rate will go down.”

    “What the fuck does your heart rate have to do with lifting?”



    I have to at least admire their drive. You’ve got to be of a hard core mentality to want to train that hard every day and push yourself to the point of barfing. Or at least you think you can be that hard core until you actually try those workouts and you want to die after a week.

    Lift heavy, rest as needed, and go home early.

    • Jason Ferruggia December 30, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

      @Sean Hyson: Awesome comment, my friend. Great stuff.

      @DE- Correct. Reread the title of the article.

  18. DE December 30, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    According to this article all military/ spec ops units and law enforcement are training wrong.

    Those Navy SEALs must be some weak little girls with their 6+mile ocean swims, long runs on the beach and 1000s of reps of bodyweight exercises in a single day.

    • Alexander January 20, 2011 at 1:37 pm #


      They are training wrong. Hence why the US Army along with countless tactical units have made highly publicized changes to their training programs in the last 2 years

      And Special Forces training is mental conditioning and fortitude, and just because its brutally hard doesnt mean its smart

  19. Tom December 30, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    This is the best rant/take I’ve ever heard on this subject. bookmarking this, tweeting, facebooking in hopes that it reaches the people that it needs to reach, ie crossfitters, p90x’ers, etc.

    • Jason Ferruggia December 31, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

      @Tom: Thanks, man.

      @Bradstur- I will get to that.

      @DE- There’s good and bad in everything. If your goal is to build muscle and strength cut the conditioning. If your goal is to get ripped at all costs then its a different story. I’d still train for strength, diet and and work up to 10-14 low intensity cardio sessions per week (walking) and add in 2-3 sprint workouts. That would be it. I don’t like bodypart splits for the majority of average people. For advanced bodybuilders they’re fine. These are just my opinions based on 17 years in the trenches with a lot of people. No one has to pay them any mind.

      @Nick- True.

      @BrianK- Exactly.

      @Cesar- Good stuff. Honestly, I’m in agreement with guys like Martin Rooney on the subject of training for combat sports. You still need to be explosive and strong. I would do two strength/power workouts per week in much the same fashion a football player would train and 2 conditioning based days where you do sprints or prowler or swings or a combo of a few things. Of course this depends on your schedule of skill work. If you’re already getting in a lot of conditioning there even two sessions could be too much.

      @Michael M- Different goals, different training. My training system and this site is about size, strength, speed, and power, first and foremost, while also maintaining a good level of conditioning. You can’t have the goal of squatting 600 and out conditioning GSP. It doesn’t work.

      As for Craig, he’s excellent at what he does and deals with a different market than I do. For his audience he’s giving them exactly what they need.

      @Mike- Thanks

      @Blake- Nope

  20. Bradstur December 30, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    Just what I needed to hear right now; fantastic. I’d love for you to do an article on diet and the specifics on how to get lean! You mentioned low carb and reducing calories – do you have any specific recommendations?

  21. Will December 30, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

    Jason, thanks for this – finally, a bit of sanity (and wisdom) in a virtual sea of shit.

  22. DE December 30, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    It’s just that you rip bodybuilders and their training in one article and then come back in another article and tell people that they should train like them…….you are often very hypocritical.

  23. Nick Efthimiou December 30, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    I think you can trace the rise of this movement as the natural evolution from bodybuilding training – where people blitzed their way to 3 day DOMS – to ‘functional training’ by the masses.

    People generally chase the pain, and doing a PR set of squats with good acceleration doesn’t leave you feeling quite the same as 1000 burpees.

    Charles Staley said it best “Seek performance, not pain”.

  24. Grant December 30, 2010 at 7:38 pm #

    Amen brother, amen.

  25. Ben Swogger December 30, 2010 at 7:49 pm #

    Jason, your articles are always refreshing. This one is no exception. It’s funny because prior to me landing on your blog and grabbing my copy of MGS, I believed all the type of stuff that you mention here that 99% of the ‘other guys’ were saying. Now, you’re the only one I listen to. Much appreciated and keep up the good work!

  26. BrianK December 30, 2010 at 8:14 pm #

    @DE: I do not think Jay is being hypocritical by referencing the methods that bodybuilders use to get lean. Jay’s criticism of bodybuilders revolves more around the weight training programs they promote. For example, working one body part per day for 15-20 sets.

  27. Cesar December 30, 2010 at 8:14 pm #

    Hey bro, awesome piece on it ain’t strength training unless you’re getting strong. The title of this article is powerful and absolutely true. There’s a lot of bullshit out there and it’s definitely gotten out of control everywhere. I’ve fallen prey for some of it especially during my time of learning and self experimenting on what works and what doesn’t. I fell for the whole functional crap where I completely stopped hitting the deads, cleans, rows and got into the cables and stability balls. It was crazy how much size and strength I lost at the time but then got back to my roots and reminded myself about my time in the weight room during high school football. Heavy core lifts, supplementary BW or DB exercises and finishers doing sled drags coupled hill sprints or stairs on off days. Simple yet highly effective.

    Now, the question I have for you is, I’m currently training and competing in BJJ and since this sport requires a lot more conditioning than let’s say football, how would you go about creating an effective program while minimizing muscle loss but maximizing performance?

    I tried to do the whole metabolic conditioning circuits using Tabata protocols 2-3x per week along with 2-3x per week of BJJ but that really F’d me up and was more shot than conditioned, dropped size and ended up hurting my shoulder. Still trying to figure out the balance. Let me know you think and what you feel would be best to go about making things happen. I’m not planning to go UFC or anything but I do want to compete at high levels within the sport.

    Keep pumping this stuff out brother. Thanks for listening and I appreciate your time.


  28. nimrod69 December 30, 2010 at 9:03 pm #

    another solid article from da Man!

  29. Michael M December 30, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

    Ha, I wish I read this article a few hours ago. I was just trying to explain to a friend of mine who just so happens to be going into the military to be a Ranger, why I am not really into crossfit. The only “crossfit” I do is the stuff the crossfitter stole from other disciplines. I explained as best as I could why I do strength training (mostly powerlifting, strong man, and old school bodybuilding) vs this crossfit, high rep, high volume, circuit type training. I basically said what you said only a little nicer. I told him my goal is to be strong with decent conditioning, not super conditioned with little to no real strength. I basically ended the conversation saying I guess we have different goals.

    This article did help me to refocus on what I should be doing and helped me from getting sucked in to any current trends. Thanks Jason.

    One thing I do not understand though is you have recommended Craig Ballantyne (and vice versa) yet he makes his whole living preaching HIIT, circuit training, and constantly talking about how he proved these method while getting his masters degree. So what is the deal, is he all wrong or just has a different view?

    Also, the military has jumped all over this crossfit movement. What is that all about? So my question is if your goal is to go into the military (especially to be a Ranger) should you do crossfit like all the other future soldiers or just do a good strength and conditioning program geared to the military? Thanks in advance for your answers.

  30. Mike December 30, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    This is one of the best articles I have read in a long time. Thanks Jason!

  31. Blake December 30, 2010 at 10:46 pm #


    As far as recovery impingement, is jump rope too intense for skinny-fat hardgainers? I appreciate your input.

    Best Regards,

  32. TomG December 30, 2010 at 11:41 pm #

    Swings, burpees, etc. are for fucking retards? Nothing wrong with traditionalists, but let’s not get stuck in the past. You paint the Saxon era as if it was a Golden Era for strength training. When such a tiny minority of men were lifting heavy, I’d imagine genetics had a lot more to do with it than just the right workouts. Whatever that means. Hey, if mixing strength and conditioning makes me retarded, that’s fine. I’m a fucking retard. But I am one healthy fucking retard who doesn’t give a shit about being some super strong anachronism. I still like your site! Good provocative article.

    • Jason Ferruggia December 31, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

      @TomG: Never said that. Reread it. I said that a strength training workout that goes from cleans to 400m sprints and all that other stuff in a row (like many people do nowadays) is retarded. BIG difference.

      If you’ve followed me long enough you know I place a premium on being both strong and well conditioned. You misinterpreted the article. All of my clients always train for both. But you can’t combine the two into one clusterfuck of a workout. Proper strength work, proper conditioning work.

      @Peter- Thanks. Nope. Possibly. Same day. Maybe. Rerun and Roger.

      @Peter 2- Yup.

      @Dean Leach- Good points. There are a couple that I might say I regret only because when I had the money later on I would have rather paid a better artist to do them. Which reminds me that it’s been too long since I got any new ink.

      @Erik- There’s always bound to be a few people who miss the point. Kettlebell training is great. I have about $6K worth of KB’s in my gym. I like them and use them. There are a lot of guys who use them far more than I do that are in great shape. I have nothing against them.

      Evidence based research? Next time you’re in Jersey stop by my gym and I’ll show you what I’ve been working on for the last 17 years.

      @Eric- You can’t fight it. I would just give those people what they want. Not everyone wants to get big and strong and powerful. That’s their right. I hold nothing against anyone who just wants to get lean or just wants to improve their conditioning. It’s when you say that you want to get big and strong and lean and conditioned at the same time and your training reflects that I get a little annoyed.

      You can’t achieve that many goals simultaneously.

  33. Peter December 31, 2010 at 1:37 am #

    This is, hands down, one of the dumbest fucking things I have ever wasted my time reading. You mean to tell me that my swings–which help increase my deadlift and always have even when I haven’t been deadlifting–will make me weaker? And you mean to tell me that swinging heavier weights will make me weaker, inspite of the fact that the weights are, gee, I dunno, heavier?

    And unless you are a big sopping wet pussy, you can swing and deadlift not only on consecutive days, but even on the same day. And to top it off, if you are smart about it, you can avoid DOMs in the process.

  34. Peter December 31, 2010 at 1:39 am #

    Perhaps I was harsh. There are morons out there who don’t do anything intelligently–most of the X fitters I run across–but there are others who can stay conditioned, swing a lot, and get stronger too.

  35. Javier December 31, 2010 at 2:04 am #

    Jay, way to say bye to the year with a bang. That’s it, no more overthinking this fitness sh**T and time to as Sean Hyson said “Be that real man”. Time to go beyond average and strive to look like some of these old school lifters your always posting pictures of. 3x a week of heavy to moderate lifting OR DIE.

  36. Vaclav Gregor December 31, 2010 at 4:11 am #

    You have made many good points. It’s really weird that guys are starting to train for conditiong and fat loss instead of muscle growth. When somebody tells me that he does cardio, kettlebells swings and some workout for athleates from bodybuilding magazines I’m like what the f*ck?
    You work out in order to have more muscles, so for god sakes get a workout that is designed for that.
    BTW I like your sense of humour: “That’s not strength training. That’s just fucking retarded.”

  37. Dean Leach December 31, 2010 at 4:17 am #

    Well said Jason. Yah to the jump-roping & sprints. If your doing “FINISHERS” after every workout, then your not working HARD enough for that said, WORKOUT. Pussies.

    My last workout of the week is on Saturday, so on that day I’ll add in a finisher because I’ll have plenty of time to rest & recover from it. Sunday off, Monday off, workout on Tues.

    More people need to stretch, foam roll, work on posture…..lifting form, running form. OMG, besides being a tennis pro, I’m a security guard, and at the gait house I’m at I get to see a lot of action….it all being in a busy area. Anywoo, I see the worst walking & running form/posture! I mean it’s really BAD. People are not aware & it’s just plain sad. It’s especially bad with the older folks. Posture, foam rolling, stretching, get a goof Chiro, deep tissue massage & get some orthodits thingys….not the cheap ones at the drug store! Rant over.

    Jason, do you regret any of your tattoos?
    OUTSTANDING BLOG. Any deals for joining the inner circle here soon? You know, for the New Year?

  38. Dean Leach December 31, 2010 at 4:21 am #

    Hahahha, I made a funny. Not a goof Chiro, but of course a GOOD Chiro. If your near Vero Beach, Fl. There’s Steven Short, he’s awesome….OUTSTANDING ATHLETE HE IS.

    And in my area of Naples & Marco Island Fl. there’s Patrick Layton. Look them up. They are awesome. I don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t on a maintance program with my Chiro.

    • Eric December 31, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

      @Dean Leach:

      Dean, you live in the naples area, huh? I’ve been considering moving down to the area for a while, any ideas on what kind of opportunities there are for a strength coach/personal trainer in that area? If you know of any, shoot me an email: Thanks!

  39. Erik December 31, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    Abdiel, have you progressed in a linear fashion with your kb training where you “plateaued with you double 48kg swings, 30 on 30 off for 20 minutes? No, you are nowhere near this so the fat-loss thingy was stopped short by you and not the tool or methodology.

  40. Ste v mol December 31, 2010 at 10:10 am #

    Really good read, cheers.

    Also the doug young picture is awesome.

  41. Eric December 31, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    Good stuff Jay, definitely thought provoking.

    My question would be, one that I sometimes struggle with is explaining to the average cient (guy or girl) why maximum strength is necessary if their goals are just to be “healthy and fit”, I mean they’re argument is often that good conditioning and some strength is all they desire, how do you respond to this?

    I also would be interested to hear your response to Craig ballantynes bodyweight circuit training?

    Really enjoyed the minimalist posts and this one as well, keep up the good work.

  42. Mohammed Akif December 31, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    Hey Jason, in the off-season I want to get stronger, bigger and quicker for sports. I’m a novice strength trainee.

    I was thinking the following for strength-training sessions:
    1.Soft tissue/Mobility work (from Eric Cressey’s Show&Go)
    2.Short Truth About Quickness “movement efficiency” stuff (Kelly Baggett)
    3.Starting Strength (Mark Rippetoe)

    The warm-up and movement stuff would take 30minutes at most, strength training would take 45 at most.

    What do you think about it?

    • Jason Ferruggia December 31, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

      @Mohammed Akif: Looks good.

      @TCC- Agreed. That type of training, while I despise it, is all well and good and completely fine for people with the goals you mentioned.

      My point of the article is that it has gotten so out of control that I can’t train the average hardgainer, high school, college or pro athlete anymore without them expecting to be carried out on a stretcher after the 899 swings and burpees we did. I’m just sick of that question and ensuing discussion/ argument coming up.

      If the goal is to get bigger and stronger, run faster, hit harder, jump higher, etc. the training must reflect that and thus must be devoid of a lot of this other type of training. Lactic acid is the kyrptonite of fast twitch fibers.

  43. Uke December 31, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    Doug Young can’t see or hear anything because he died five years ago.

    Good article, though. Much of this conditioning paranoia is histrionics.

  44. TCC December 31, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    Sometimes strength and fat loss are not the overall goal. If going simply for strength and an impressive physique, then yes, Jay is completely correct. The reason CrossFit, SEALFit, Gym Jones, Military Athlete, etc have taken off within the military community is that simply being able to squat or deadlift large amounts of weight and having a low percentage of body fat does provide the same kind of preparation for, say, moving 10-miles through mountain terrain while wearing 40-pounds of body armor and carrying a 40-pound backpack that the other programs listed do. They are two different training styles with two completely different desired outcomes. Does the average person need to be able to fireman carry the weight of a grown man 400m? Probably not. Should a soldier or Marine be able to? Absolutely. Don’t bash a program because people use it for the wrong reason (trend, popularity); that’s the fault of ignorant people, not the program itself.

  45. Erik December 31, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    And one more thing, who the fuck is snatching like crazy when they can’t even stabilize the weight overhead for several minutes. It’s people doing any program without proper technique and progression that end up getting hurt and then blaming the fucking tool! STOP USING KETTLEBELLS UNTIL YOU ARE TRAINED PROPERLY!!!!!!!!! This also applies to trainer’s working with clients using tools that they don’t understand.
    Cesar, BJJ will mess with your joints like nothing else! Proper high-rep kb lifting won’t, check out the GS athletes out there, high volume of training with relatively light weight but the progressive model used will give you all the strength that you will ever need in the world we live in today.
    Unless you plan on being a body builder or power lifter, when or where are you going to need that kind of size or strength? You could argue this point forever and never get anywhere. Tell me of an occupation that requires a 5oo+ pound DL or squat or one that requires an insane amount of metabolic conditioning? There is none and there never was, ever, in the entire existence of joe homo sapio!!!!!
    If jumping around doing circuits gets people off there asses well then, it’s a start and you can always steer them in the “right” direction later.
    Stop polarizing this issue, people swing from one end to the other and never find THEIR true path because of this.

    • Jason Ferruggia December 31, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

      @Erik: Can’t argue with any of that. Good stuff. Like I’ve always said, I don’t train bodybuilders or powerlifters. I train guys to be strong, explosive, athletic and well conditioned.

      If your primary goal is to play football, baseball, etc. or get bigger and stronger you have to train accordingly. That means Olympic and power lifts with adequate loading parameters and rest periods, BW & DB assistance work and possibly a well thought out low volume finisher. Extra sport specific conditioning on off days. The one thing I don’t want to see is you combining it all into one hodgepodge shit show of a workout like so many people do these days.

      Although I’m an in the trenches guy one thing I share in common with “science guys” is that I do believe you should somewhat separate strength work from conditioning work. Like Charlie Francis always said you do high intensity stuff one day, low intensity the next.

      We could go back and forth all day on this but we both see each others points.

  46. Jay December 31, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    Great article. Just a quick question what happens if your carrying an injury but you still want to train old school e.g. a disk herniation that stops you deadlifting heavy and squatting heavy?.

    Keep up the good flow of no nonsense advice.

    • Jason Ferruggia January 1, 2011 at 11:22 am #

      @Jay: Is this a trick question? I’m not 100% sure what you mean. If you have a herniated disc you just need to work around it and do what you can do. Been there, done that. It’s possible to still train hard and get good workouts in.

      @Erik- I know all about working around injuries. I’ve had plenty. My systems are built around one heavy barbell lift per day followed by BW/gymnastics and db/kb assistance work. Overall it’s at least 80% BW though.

      @Jimmy- Great formula

      @Randy- Thanks for the comments and for being an inspiration.

      @Rea Turd- Keeping it simple and following the formula I or Jimmy laid out is the way to go.

      @Mohammad- You need to see a professional to assess your injury.

      @Scott Tousignant- Thanks a lot, man! I really appreciate the feedback and enjoyed reading your post. I especially liked the Tupac quote.

  47. Erik December 31, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    We agree Jason, I just get pissed trying to explain simple shit to people. In fact, one of my favorite books is Practical Programming. KISS at it’s best! And, just about anything Dan John has to say about anything! Just don’t like it when people start squawking about things they don’t understand (the “don’t I need to do x hours of cardio to be fit” and “I don’t want to bulk, just get toned so hand me those 5 lb’ers”). The in-your-face x-fit thing is a bad idea and people will some day pay for all the high-rep oly,dl,etc stuff carried to near death experience. Not to mention just plain burn-out that will ensue.

    Jay, I was born with a spondylolisthesis so I have to be careful not to load too heavy, especially in a bilateral stance situation. Still, you have lots of options with single leg stuff and there is nothing shabby about doing 200+ pound work with one leg. Remember, sometimes you can’t get what you want but you can get what you need,ha ha! Seriously, certain injuries and conditions can’t/shouldn’t be worked through in the name of “old school”. In fact, there is body weight stuff out there that is mind blowing so if the situation calls for it then don’t fret, just work on that one-arm pull-up and one-arm handstand push-up!

  48. Jimmy December 31, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    How boring is it to not actually have strength as a focus? I actually like to go to gym to challenge myself. I don’t understand how some guys I have noticed at some gyms can go to actually do marathon sessions of conditioing style training with weights. The sad part is many people thing they are doing something because it made them tired. I guess I am just old school and appreciate hard work with strength workouts. The formula seems to never change for those that make consistent gains.
    1) Get Stronger in the weight room
    3)Get Lean in the kitchen
    4)Recover properly

    This formula has worked for years for me and keeps working as long as I stay focused. Great points Jay.

    • Matt January 4, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

      @Jimmy: Jimmy, mate I think your opinion of others being boring is very narrow minded. Not everyone in the world has the need to be super strong. The conditioning workouts suit them and their life much better. I know many guys in the SASR (Australian Army Special Forces) and it is imperative that they have a huge amount of strength endurance. What those guys do I will guarantee will leave you wondering whether you are challenging yourself at all. There is not usually a need for them to have the strength to bench press a truck when they may need to carry over 60kg on their back for 3-4 days straight and cover distances of over 50-80km or more.
      I’m a strength coach so I don’t have a beef with anyone’s training methods as long as what they are doing suits their need. Specificity!! I agree some people just have no idea but if they are enjoying it, then why matter?
      Don’t be so quick to judge mate!

      • Ben June 12, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

        People in the special forces are not ‘norma’l people so fall outside the scope of this article. That point is made extremely clear in the article.

        Yes. if you NEED to do 20 pullups with a pack and a gun on your back whilst being chased by bullets, please go ahead and train your ass off for that event.

        The article was directed more at the skinny-fat guy who jumps like a monkey between lat-pull downs, skull crushers, bicep curls (against a wall – with the 50lb bar(??)) then attemps high rep cleans with probably no prior coaching of what a clean is (straight elbows, anyone?).

        What this guy could do in about half the time is squat (below parallel), press and chin and then leave.

  49. TomG December 31, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    Thanks, Jason! It makes a lot of sense.

  50. Jay December 31, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    Thanks for your advice Erik. I just don’t feel as if I’m truly training if I don’t squat or Deadlift.


  51. Louis December 31, 2010 at 8:21 pm #

    Nice rant! I have always told people do the conditioning to mimic whatever you are training for and also diet is a huge part of cutting fat! Nice work man!


  52. Randy December 31, 2010 at 8:47 pm #

    Jason: Just a qick note to let you know how much I enjoy aoo of your articles. You nail it every time. the only guys I really give any credit to in knowing anything about strength training are you and Wendler. To much fluff and BS in the field of getting stronger and conditioned. I have always believed in hard work and keeping things simple. Hard work on the basics works every time. Bosu ball etc. are a total joke. Most so called fitness experts are a joke. I am 53 years old and 90% of my training is still squats, bench press, deadlift, front squats, trap bar deadlifts and military press. Keep up the good work and keep spreading the true strength training message.

  53. Rea Turd January 1, 2011 at 3:23 am #

    I’m new to this whole fitness thing. I’m angry as hell as well. It seems that everything in the mainstream is wrong. And let’s not even mention the internet… Did I hear the 80/20 rule crop up? Yeah, 80% of people are talking shit. Anyway, after thousand of hours of research in the net (“Just do it!”, ha, I’m sitting on my ass suffering from paralysis by analysis) I’m left feeling weary and have just come to the following conclusion: calories in vs calories out is the most important thing for weight issues. Lift heavy stuff about for muscle gain with proper form (what this heavy stuff consists of is irrelevant; the important thing is resistance).

    I’m just so sick of all the contradictory evidence and advice out there. You can’t blame people for doing the type of workout they are doing – the average newbie is confused as hell. Also, wtf is a hard gainer? Isn’t everyone a hard gainer unless they are using special supplementation?

    Anyway, thanks for a no-nonsense article. Seems that keeping things simple is the most important aspect and having a specific goal in mind when you’re training. But, hey, I’m probably wrong and I’m sure there is x,y and z studies to show that only if you do THIS then you’re going to achieve THAT. Sigh..

    • Leigh June 22, 2012 at 2:37 am #

      I think an ectomorph is ahard gainer

  54. Mohammad January 1, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    Thanks for this great post Jason, great stuff.
    However, I used to lift weights, and at the end of the week, I play soccer. But after a while, I used to have some pain in my lower back, every time I play soccer, and especially when I run or do a sudden quick move. The pain wasn’t a big deal, and it used to go in a few days. But when this started to affect my workout in the GYM, I stopped playing any other sport, other than lifting weights, and now I’m all good, as long as I don’t play soccer, or do some quick movements. But the thing is, I really want to go back and do some conditioning, but I know that lower back pain will be waiting for me if I do so. I’m really confused about this pain, because I had more than one opinion about it. Some said that it’s a back injury, due to imperfect form while working out and especially deadlifts. Other people said that it’s a normal thing to a guy in my hight “6.1 feet tall”. So, what exactly could be causing my back pain, and is it possible to reduce it or even get rid of it totally?? I would really love to see your opinion, cuz I really trust you Jason, and I always see improvements in my workouts when I follow your tips. I would love to have an advice from you.

    Thank you very much.

  55. Scott Tousignant January 1, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    Bro… thanks for wrapping up 2010 with an incredible post that has me all fired up and ready to kick a$$ and take names. I’ve been feeling like this for a while now… basically every time that I see a video of a ‘fitness expert’ telling me not to lift like a bodybuilder and do more ‘functional training’.

    I think that it’s great that there are such a variety of training protocol available to the public to match up with their goals and lifestyles, but I find that many people are not following programs that match their goals… they’re just following them because they are the latest fad and are being bombarded with the message of ‘functional’, body weight, or interval training is the only way to go. The programs are said to be designed for the ‘busy person’, but, labeling yourself as a busy person should not necessarily determine the program that you follow. Hell… we’re all busy, does that me we should all be doing interval training… hell no!

    There was a few years when my kids were really young and I was working crazy hours, that I opted to perform quick workouts 5 days per week, with a lot of quick intervals in there. It served a purpose for the time. It kept me working out and being active. The problem is, it made me weak and skinny. Yes, the program fit my lifestyle at the time, but it didn’t match my goal of becoming stronger and bigger. I got really great at lifting light weights effectively and working up a sweat in a short period of time, but that’s not what I really wanted. This kind of training is great for many people and will match up with their goals and lifestyle, but it wasn’t matching up with mine.

    Since getting back to my roots of old school bodybuilding and focusing on strength, size, and shape, my workouts have once again become euphoric. I feel like I’m doing what I’m meant to do in the gym and I’m being rewarded with an improved physique that is moving closer and closer to what I’ve always wanted it to be.

    In the words of Tupac, “Ain’t Nutt’n Like The Old School Baby!”

    Scott Tousignant

  56. haris January 1, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    Hey J.
    Another awesome article as straight as an arrow.

    My question is simple. I don’t have access to a gym with dumbells or barbells as I’m a foreign student in Malaysia with VERY limited finance.

    I do have an empty gym where I CAN go, though. It just has a lot of padded space, an old machine with a pec deck, leg extensions, ONE lower pulley cable with a straight bar (that can only be pulled from the floor). NO pullup/chinup bar.
    THAT’S IT.

    I had been training for about 2 years on your workouts..trying to gain muscle and stay lean.

    NOW what should I do? Bodyweight training (TT- Ballantyne style) was my option, but you ruled it out above!!!

    PLEASE give me something with explicit instructions. I haven’t trained with regularity since I moved here 3 months ago. I’m MAD. PLEASE help me out bro.

    P.S. I have a Jump Rope with me here.

    THANKS in advance.

    • Jason Ferruggia January 2, 2011 at 7:23 am #

      @haris: I didn’t rule it out. Do Craig’s bodyweight workouts.

      @Storm- So you mean you train six days per week, I assume. The first thing I cant tell you is that strength gains will be compromised by doing that. If you want to do heavy KB stuff it should be on the 3 main training days. If you want to do it on off days it should be really light. It will still compromise strength and power gains a bit, though. I like Mike Mahler a lot.

      @Steve- I hope to be doing what you’re doing when I’m 68. Thanks for the inspiration.

      @Jamin- Thank you so much, bro. I really appreciate that. Good points.

      @Fortis- Exactly.

      @Stephane- Thanks. Happy New Year to you.

      @Erik & Jamin- But there are just as many that aren’t. I’m friends with numerous NFL and NCAA s&c coaches and it’s split.

      @Storm- Although it’s been around that long, like Bill Starr said- there’s also a reason it disappeared for a couple hundred years; the barbell and dumbbell were deemed more effective. Not saying that KB’s aren’t a great tool. Just stating what some people forget.

      @Jay- That’s really a whole article in itself. But there were times in the past when I couldn’t squat or deadlift for 6-9 months and I just came up with other exercises to get excited about and set goals on. Truth be told if I had to pick between squats/deads and sprinting I would choose sprinting any day. That’s one thing I can’t live without.

      @Mason- Thanks

  57. storm walton January 1, 2011 at 11:55 am #


    So for a kettlebell freak like me who trains for strength with a kettlebell 50 to 100pld 2 to 3 days a week,Because i strength train old school arnold style for the other 3 days(Deadlift,Squats,T- Rows,Cleans,Jerks,Snatches) are my favorites.
    What do you suggest and what do you think about Mike Mauler?
    Great Article,Stay Up

  58. Steve January 1, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    Im a 68 yr old man. Weigh 245lbs at 13.5% body fat. I train with heavy weights 5 days a week at 7-9 reps per set. I also teach weight lifting at the Job Corps in El Paso. Students and people at the gym always assume i am a bodybuilder, I am not. I tell themI train to lift weight weights; the heavier the better. If the body and the condition comes with the training, then I am happy. Yes, i do have a small spare tire around the waist but hey I dont impress the girls anymore so what the hell.

  59. Jamin Thompson January 1, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    Dude…this is probably the best blog post I’ve read all year (yea talkin about 2010) and if you go into any D1 or NFL weightroom these days it’s basically all simple, bad-ass old-school training. I don’t remember seeing a single kettlebell in our weightroom when I played @ Clemson (back in the day) and we definitely didn’t do any bodyweight exercises now that I think about it…but I do remember getting an ass kicking every workout and being in the best shape ever. It was lift + sprints(sled/parachute/sandpit) + training room/recovery + eat. Thats it. Boom.

  60. Fotis January 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    Great article!

    A quick question:How would you incorporate above average body weight exercises(one arm push up,half pistols etc) in your program? Would you still put them after the explosive and heavy movements,in something like 3-4×6-8?

    Thanks a lot!

  61. Stephane January 1, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    This really is one of the best, no BS articles I’ve read in a very long time.
    Happy new year and thanks for another year of great advice!

  62. Erik January 1, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    Jamin, kettlebells really only became mainstream in the last 5-8 years, that’s why you did not see them at Clemson. There are a number of NFL and collegiate level teams that are using them. Check out Art Of Strength and Anthony Diluglio put the Tennesse Titans through a KB and BW workout. Dude.

  63. Jamin Thompson January 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    @Erik Thanks for the stats bro but I’m not hating on kettlebells, I was simply stating that many NFL & Collegiate programs out there still haven’t hopped on that train yet. I use kettlebells & bodyweight stuff from time to time in my own training and they can definitely deliver an ass kicking (so can yoga & pilates if you do em right)…but they can’t replace old-school ‘real’ strength training, as this article suggests.

  64. storm walton January 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    You are right about that,but remember also that russian kettlebell training has been around since 1704 and every since i added them in my strength has increased and russian are by far the worlds strongest mofos,But i still do like the old school shit better,Due to the fact that The best bodybuilders are Arnold,Frank Zane,Lou Ferrigno,Nasser L,Flex,Ronnie,Jay Cutler and so On,But i hate this girlie man/man-gina movement that’s going on these days,(Spinning,Pilates,etc)Except Yoga & Martial Arts.


  65. Jamin Thompson January 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    Good point Storm and you’re 99.9% right, I just don’t know about the Russians being the worlds strongest though (our friends from Poland, Iceland, Finland, and Lithuania may slightly disagree lol) :D

    Peace bro

  66. Jay January 1, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    Hi Jason. No it’s not a trick question at all, I value your articles and own your strength training pdf. Due to some bad form and probably some bad loading patterns I’ve got a disk herniation – what I would give to turn the clock back and know what I know now.
    I’ve reached a nadir in my training where I can’t squat or deadlift without major pain, after two MRI’s a year apart the herniation onthe lower back hasn’t improved.
    Perhap’s its a pyschological thing but I don’t get the same thrill from training because I can’t train those core lifts. I am trying to be intelligent about this and adding in rehabing exercises and protocols – following articles and advice from people like Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson who I believe approach this subject with valuable information and insight.
    Perhaps I am taking this off topic but I wondered how someone with knowledge in the trenches approached – and in your case overcame – a similar problem.

  67. Mason January 1, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    Most inspiring article ever!!!!

  68. storm walton January 2, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    @ Jamin-Thanks for the input,i forgot about those other countrys:)

    @ Jay-Accupuncture is probably one of the best ways to treat that,My boss has the same problem and it works wonders,Also i do hanging excercises with a 100 pound weight vest for spinal elongation,Sorry for the hijack Jason.

    @ Jason-Your a smart mofo,your insights are great and motivating,Question i also do 100 weighted walking,hanging & Pullups,Is it to much stress on the body?
    Will Buy Your Program Mos Def:)

    Body Stats:

    Public Enemy’s-911 Is A Joke:)
    Peace Everybody,

  69. Rob January 2, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    One of the best articles I’ve ever read!

  70. Erik January 2, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    The whole “where did kb’s come from, country of origin, timeline” is somewhat debatable and they never were deemed the best tool for strength by anyone, ever. So, they were never truly supplanted by bb’s and db’s as they have always been an “accessory” tool if you will. Not the tool of choice if size is what you are after or limit strength but, they won’t make you weak if used appropriately. I think Kenneth Jay is a prime example, as is Max Shank.

    Jay, pain can be a mystery and what works for some (accupuncture) will not for others. Check out somasimple and saveyourself for some good info. Also, Feldenkrais therapy is something to look into, Moshe was light years ahead of his time.

  71. Erik January 2, 2011 at 2:41 pm #


  72. austin January 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    jay, can you do fasted sprinting in the morning? or is that too intense for an empty stomach/ not anymore effective? (i am an experienced sprinter)

    • Jason Ferruggia January 5, 2011 at 7:37 am #

      @austin: Yes, it’s too intense. Better later in the day.

      @Matt- Thanks. Just do what you can for now- back ext, rev hyper, ghr, hip thrust, glute bridge. I don’t think Jimmy was being narrow minded, and I agree people need to train for their goals, he was just saying for him it would be incredibly boring to train without chasing strength PR’s.

      @Martin Berkhan- Thanks a lot for the comments and for providing more proof that it works. Much appreciated.

      @Brandon- That must be your own insecurity as I never said that. Walter Payton was my childhood idol and I have been running hills regularly since ’84. The point, like Bill Starr said recently, is too keep STRENGTH in the program.

  73. David - Get Fit Get Lean January 4, 2011 at 9:40 am #


    Great advice especially about the walking. It’s free and it’s a great time to think while you’re out for 30 minutes. Training harder with more intensity and taking more days off equals success. It’s counter-intuitive but it works!


  74. Matt January 4, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    Bloody awesome post mate. I love it and it comes at a positive time for me too.
    What would your recommendation be on substituting an exercise for DL’s. I’ve got some weird hernia type pain when I lift (lower left abdominals). Its not a full blown hernia, but decided to back right off to give it some rest. Can squat n bench so will maintain those. Doing a 4 day/week Upper Lower split. Working well!
    I’ve got a great hill on a headland next to the beach that I can do hill sprints on. Decided its going to be in my schedule at least once a week from now on – BTW did it yesterday! Awesome!
    Keep up the great info mate.
    (Sunshine Coast, Australia)

  75. Martin Berkhan January 4, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    Good stuff. Agree with most of it. I approach strength training the same way with my clients and they’re always better off for ditching intense cardio on off-days – especially during fat loss.

  76. Martin Berkhan January 4, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    As a follow-up to my last comment, most of these guys spent no more than 2-3 days/week in the gym training heavy:

    …And some of them were former CrossFit/kettlebell-junkies that used to train 5-6 x/week and never got the results they wanted (i.e. they would lose too much muscle whilst approaching single-digit body fat).

    * Heavy training – MAX 3x/week during fat loss

    * Light cardio on rest-days.

    = Ideal for maintaining muscle while getting shredded.

  77. Brandon Gallagher January 4, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

    This post is… Nothing new. Another big guy who likes to lift heavy saying that everyone who doesn’t is basically a faggot. Lift heavy! Rest! Moderate conditioning! Absolutely revolutionary and powerful stuff here! Oh man you really nailed those guys with your witty-isms. Let’s all rush to our facebook accounts and repost!! Why can’t we all just talk about training without making it an OLD SCHOOL, HARDCORE, WARRIOR STYLE Cock measuring contest.


  78. Scott Brady January 5, 2011 at 6:48 am #

    Magic, just Magic.

    This site and your products have really helped myself to be a stronger mofo, enjoy my training even more and have also enabled me to achieve better results with my clients. For that I thank you sir.

    Keep up the good work Jay and I look forward to learning more in 2011.


  79. zach January 5, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    Awesome post. Keep bringin’ the truth!

  80. Stevie January 7, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    Brilliant post

    As soon as i step out my house there is a footpath that has no limit to how far i walk.

    About 300yards from my house there is a hill that has 3 different sections so you get a variety of distances and steepness for sprints.Thats all the cardio/conditioning equipment i need.

    Thats all the cardio/conditioning equipment most people need. And the best part about it is this type of equipment is easy for any1 to find and its 100% free, so why don’t more people use it? :-s


  81. Ray January 8, 2011 at 8:47 am #

    I agree. Best, no nonsense article of the year. Thanks for this

  82. Mike T Nelson January 9, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    Thanks again for the rant and proof that their are some trainers out there with their head still screwed on straight that recommend heavy basics. They have worked for hundreds of years, why on earth would they not work any more?

    If I hear form one more kid who wants to be bigger, but does not want to do deadlifts, squat, presses or any variation of them I am going to scream. It is not that they CAN”T do those lifts (they did not cause any pain or movement issues in these cases), they just did not WANT to do them. Big difference.

    Too many people are chasing way too many goals all at the same time. Yes, you can make some progress, but not nearly as much as when you work on a couple max at one time.

    Ina crazy world of Insanity fitness, thanks for the continued sane advice! Keep it up into 2011!

    Rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

  83. Brandon January 11, 2011 at 8:39 am #


    Legit article. Working with college athletes you think that their questions and motivations would change but the grip that the masses have has even sunk into their brains…They’re not strong enough to complete basic complex movements yet they want to complete the newest Crossfit or P90X workout somehow thinking they’ll get bigger, faster, or stronger. I talk to our athletes all the time about this and i’m pumped that you wrote this.

  84. SS February 2, 2011 at 5:04 pm #


    What if a guy is in the military, law enforcement, spec op unit or FBI agent? These guys need a lot of strength and unmatched conditioning. They also need to pass PT tests and the only way to do that is by doing regular intense conditioning. I know many of these guys and they are big, strong and have ridiculous conditioning…..Your thoughts?

    • Misty June 21, 2012 at 6:49 am #

      Two words regarding law enforcement…

      Derek Poundstone

      Ok, he’s the exception, not the rule. But proof it can be done. ;)

  85. sam September 2, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    This is one of the most informative and useful articles I’ve read for a long while.
    Some say knowledge is power: that’s definitely the case here.
    Thanks Jason for sharing your knowledge.

  86. facebook fans March 6, 2012 at 5:37 am #

    Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything in this way before. So nice to get somebody with many original the thing it this subject. realy i appreciate you for starting this up. this web site is a thing that is needed on the internet, someone after some originality. useful problem for bringing a new challenge to the net!

  87. John April 16, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    When I was a kid, I worked out a Milo Steinborn’s gym…Orange Avenue Gym, in Orlando.
    He was in his 80s then and could still squat 300 pounds, had a grip of iron and would put you through your paces if he came in while you were working out.
    He designed your workouts, which consisted of a warm up in the wrestling ring for about 10 minutes, squats, deadlifts, cleans, rows, benches, standing press, and some curls (maybe). Everything was done with an Olympic bar or dumbells.
    I do recall that he had kettlebells from the early days and could do a ‘windmill’ with one that had to weigh 135-150 pounds. On occasion, he would have you do snatches or cleans with a pair of bells that were heavy enough to allow you 6-8 reps per side.
    There were no cardio machines, no jogging path, no a/c, and no music. You went in to lift, lifted, and went home.

  88. ChrisD May 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    I absolutely agree with a lot of this. Coach Rut’s Max Effort Black Box has the perfect finisher tacked on at the end of a strength session and the programming is smart. The only thing I take exception with is the suggestion of 30-45 minute walks several times a week. Come on, guy, who the hell has time for that? Nobody with a job and a family can honestly say they have the time to do that AND hit the gym for strength training. For many of us, strength and conditioning on the same day is the ONLY option. On my off days, I swim or box pretty leisurely or take a long walk with the wife and kid on the weekend if our schedules allow.

  89. Tre Johnson June 12, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    THe Best Dam Article Ive read this year!! Good and wise and valuable!

  90. Will June 12, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    Awesome Article. This should be posted at the entrance of every gym in the World!

  91. Cone Nueve Once June 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    Awesome article Jason.
    It’s been a month since I’m free of fuckarounditis and never felt better, stronger, healthier.
    I’ve been following Muscle Gaining Secrets plus The Renegade Diet and my life is a happy one once again. So long tupperware baby sized meals, hello beef short ribs and eating like a man.
    Can not thank you enough.

  92. Jason Ferruggia June 15, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Thanks for all the feedback guys. Much appreciated

  93. Misty June 21, 2012 at 6:35 am #

    I started at empty bar and worked my way up to 225lb Deadlifts and 150lb Squat. Bench is still weak for me at 80lbs. But I keep plugging along. I also used to weigh 227lbs, as a 5’3” 35 year old woman. Now at 37, I’m at 175lbs, losing fat slow and steady and gaining muscle and more importantly, strength and confidence.

    I didn’t do this with CrossFit, TRX, bootcamps, zumba, body pump, etc. Though I’ve tried a few classes here and there of various things, to try them. But I didn’t like the feeling of over-training I was getting. The only class I’ve done with any regularity is Spin and I barely do that anymore.

    I did this with good ole fashioned barbell training and challenging myself to run. I also did a Half Marathon last year and a Warrior Dash this year.

    Simple is good, especially for a mom of 3 boys who has enough complications to deal with every day. Just give me a barbell, I’m happy.

  94. Misty June 21, 2012 at 6:41 am #

    I’d like to add the only real benefit I’ve seen from CrossFit lately is I’ve gotten many women coming up to me in the gym asking me to show them how to properly deadlift or squat. Considering just a few months ago most of these women were pure cardio class ladies, I’d count that as a plus, as getting most women to not be afraid of weights is a challenge. Though I also have to say, one of the women asking for squat advice was also a personal trainer at the Y, and that makes me sorta sad…..

  95. Leigh June 22, 2012 at 2:28 am #

    I picked this article up off fb, I play rugby in South Africa.
    I went on a 3 month old school program that you mention I’m a hard gainer. I must say I did get stronger and my bench was about 110.
    The following year I did a 3 month training regime the aka Mark Twight Gym Jones, program, which in which bech press is not done at all maybe some push ups every now and again. Funnily enough me and my partner tried tried to see if we could bench our old max and we both did 110kg with almost no benching.
    I find this strange. after both 3 month regimes we took photos, I didnt look like I had gained much muscle mass after the gym jones sessions, although after my old school gym program I had gained significant mass. I felt stronger after the old school program but I felt way less athletic on the sports field. I would maybe suggest doing to weeks on old school 2 weeks more gym jones type training and use the abcde diet program very interesting. look it up. Also I found the 10 sets of 10 reps method made me extremey strong. In both instances I felt stronger and my max deadlift etc was similar if not the same, the only difference I noticed was the gain in mass and my athletic performance. Would appreciate your comments.

  96. Jack August 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    I think this really falls into the KISS theory. Keep It Simple Stupid! It’s really what I needed to hear right now. Not because it’s a revelation to me. But because it’s what worked for me when I was young. Now I’m older (49) and trying to get back into shape by 50. NEVER too late.
    I tend to be a researchaholic. I’ve been flooded with this and that theory. And, in the process of trying to figure it out, I have been destroying my progress. I recently just said “Fuck it!” I’m going old school heavy and hard. Then I found this article and it just validated my thinking. Glad I finally put on my bullshit filter.
    Thanks for the great article!!!

  97. Gil September 7, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    Great article, Jason.

    To start, I was an admirer of Doug Young (RIP) from way back in high school when I played footbal and did some powerlifting . Mr Young was simply a tough, no non-sense brawny individual who got the job done. Any man who can still compete with 3 broken ribs in my book is simply in a class by himself.

    I agree with your asessment. In short, I think the mentality today and over the past 10-12 years has been if you are not puking after every workout, you are not working. I was also caught up in doing endless conditioning drills, yet when it came time for the next session, I was burned out and darined, thinking I accomplished something. In short, my workouts were beatdowns, not workouts.

    I’m straight up boxing now and the boxing workout in itself is probably the best conditioner. Granted, floorwork and running need to be done, but never before skill work. For a while I was doing too much conditioning. When I actually cut down on the conditioning, poured the effort into the bags and skillwork, my endurance has skyrocketed. I think doing TOO much extra work for the sake of it is harmful.

    Like Jack mentioned, I also used to research for hours for the “perfect” workout. KISS, “Old school, heavy and hard” seems the way to go. I also think stopping to smell the flowers helps as well.

  98. Robbie June 22, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

    I have to say though that training with weights SHOULDN’T be a matter of absolutes. Not everyone wants to get bigger. Not everyone wants to stress their knees with 50 rep movements. Not everyone wants to have a 1RM thats 3x their bodyweight. So i think that its just a matter of doing what makes you happy and fulfilled. If i feel better by using weights as metcon resistance, then why not?

    Personally i try to mix it up; i used to only lift heavy and do steady cardio, but now i do metcon, bodyweight circuit, etc.I keep an open mind in this sort of thing. And what have i got to show for it?i can outrun everyone in my basketball game, still bench the same weight and, recorded my best 1rm deadlift EVER. All this without going as heavy as i usually do during my training days then every so often testing my strength.

    My point is, people should be more open to trying new things.

  99. Luke January 24, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

    In some ways I agree with you. In other ways, I think you’re a little to broad in your condemnation.

    I was once invited to crossfit, and I declined. I agree with you that there is this “extreme” being pushed around magazines etc. as someone who used to do strength training for football, I get what you’re saying. I personally love in a completely sarcastic way the fact that people will do strength training and end with a cardio. Then they go and eat their special little power bars and don’t beef up, or beef up slowly.

    But as I grew older, although only in my thirties, I don’t have a need for the strength training I had in high school and college for football. I didn’t need explosive power anymore. I feel almost as if you threw out the baby with the bath water on this part of the article. Not everyone needs to lift for explosive power. I lift kettle bells now, focusing on core workouts and strength training in a very minimal sense. I used to have back trouble, I used to be 120 lbs heavier, or just too heavy. I was borderline diabetic and diet alone didn’t just cut it. Sure I lost about 50 lbs by a healthy diet, but the rest needed work too. Now I am distinctively stronger, able to lift my kids one in each arm. My back no longer troubles me. I can spring up stairs. I can hoist heavy things up easily again. Not to mention I can work outside and do minor landscaping again without dying from pain the next day. I think there is a place for this new type of workout, no not crossfit, I completely agree that this is bullshit and harmful for the person. I also completely agree that thinking this is a good workout is also deceiving a great many people, and heaven forbid if you tell someone the truth. I get what you’re saying, or maybe I get why you’re ranting, is a better way to put it.

    Kettle bells have made me stronger in a way that I use every day, while keeping me lean. My blood pressure is now healthy and I feel like I did at 21. But I don’t have a need for explosive strength. Your point that strength training alone is quantitative is just not true. Kettle bells are much more natural and mimick daily life far better than crossfit and strength training. Picking up a kid, is a lot like a kettlebell swing. Pulling something up, or simply pulling a lawn mower cord is much more like a kettlebell snatch. Of course I could be wrong about what you mean, and perhaps what I do, you would see as strength training. I only do 10 reps, and I mimick a lot of what I did for strength training, with more core workouts.

    But I do appreciate your candor and time in blasting away some myths out there. Extreme workouts are not healthy and are detrimental in the long run. Doing something every day is not necessary. But some other workouts have merit. At least with kettlebells, there is no isolating pulley and lever. It is real weight, with exercises that mimick real life (at least my workout routine does)

    Thanks for the thought provoking post.