Starting To Better Understand Weight Lifting

edited March 2015 in Physical Performance

I have finally gotten back into weight lifting. It used to love it back in college and I was pretty good at it. Now I am 40 eating bulletproof and thankful for all the new information / resources out there. I am making progress I thought I would share my thoughts so far.   Perhaps this post can help you out or perhaps you can help me out with suggestions

Books I have read on the Subject / Opinion 

Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength and Barbell Training - Seems to me Mark is insecure about the fact that he is not jacked (even though very strong) his insecurity comes out as religion when he makes fun of body builders. What is wrong with being strong and jacked?? If I am going to workout I would like to optimize my time for both. Still I did learn the importance of compound movements vs isolation when it comes to bang for your buck. 

Doug McGrough- Body By Science - I think Doug and Dave threw me off the scent…at least on this subject. Dave is still my favorite source for biohacking info though :wink:. Anyway, I am just crushed / inflamed the next day if I do a very intense workout once a week. And it is hard to progress. I eat bulletproof / ginger all that good stuff. However, I am finding volume and working out three days a week at 80-90% is much more effective for me. To be fair I just found out I have the MTHFR gene mutation which means I am more prone to inflammation. 

Kelly Starrett - Supple Leopard - I am a convert. I have bought pretty much every mobility tool he makes 

Pavel Tsatsouline - Simple and Sinister, Enter the Kettlebell - He is a little to skinny to be someone I would really emulate. Plus he seems to be to focused on the Kettlebell probably because that is his marketing niche. But he did bring Kettlebells to America. Good info though. I have read his technique for Turkish Getup over and over. It is very helpful 

Dan John - Intervention - Ahhhhhh, what a blessing this book is. A guy who seems to understand most of the variables. Strength vs Hypertrophy. Kettlebells / Dumbells vs Barbells. Compound vs Isolation vs Full Body. And Function Movement realities vs what works for the non NFL football player. This is my go to book. His exercise in order of importance start with things like the Farmers Walk, Batwings, Turkish Getup, Squats and Hinges…..then Push movements. This has been hugely helpful to learn this.

Tim Ferris 4 Hour Body - I have not tried Occam's protocol

Plus Personal Consultation with a Functional Movement Specialist -


I workout at home. No room for barbells. I have tons of KettleBells and Dumbells Plus a Bench
Currently Limited hip range. No hinges or Goblet Squats just yet. Although getting close to being able to do this 



Overall Heath, Joint Mobility. Family and work are priorities, so 20% of the work for 80% of the results is my goal, not trying to be a top performer.

Workout Theme

I work out 3 times a week. Ski probably once a week and since I live in New England I shovel my but off at least once a week;-)

Everything is now at 80-90% effort. With a cadence of 1 second up and 2 second down. 
I do two to three major exercises each workout. One being a half body (i.e. Bench) and one being a full body (i.e. Getup). I am guessing this is optimized for recovery

Rep range is 5 to 8. Once I get to 8 I up the weight back to 5. Why? All the strength guys are all excited about 3-5 reps. The body builders seem to recommend up to 12. I figured I would hover in the middle

Workout A 
Dumbbell Bench 3 Sets X 5-8 Reps 

Farmers Walk 2 Sets X 60 Seconds 

Isometric Leg (i.e. Split Squat, Glute Bridge) to prepare myself for Swings or Goblet Squat. These where recommended by Movement Specialist, along with a hip hinge rocking stretch

Workout B
Turkish Getup - 2 Sets of 5 Reps for each arm. - All I can say is the constant load of this exercise makes small weights amazingly effective. I am shocked how it hits the upper body so well

BatWings - 2-3 Sets X 30 seconds. - I love this exercise. Seems to be much more effective than chin-ups and better on the elbows. I cannot stress how great this exercise it. In only a few workouts my posture has gotten much better I felt my chest stick out more naturally and my shoulders go back.
Isometric Leg stuff again. 

On deck- Shoulder Clean and Press and Goblet Squat eventually. Unfortunately no barbells means probably no Deadlifts at home, but Swings are in the future 



  • Not sure about rippleton, however i know ptsatsouline is against bodybuilders because their aim is to "get jacked" instead of getting strong, and that lot of the pumped up muscles are artificial. I'd rather press my bodyweight than preen myself in front of the mirror anyday.

    Im looking in to starett for mobility but have more than enough to keep going with pavels power to the people.
  • If you train at home, body weight training can take you a long way.  Lots of good sources on the internet.  I like:


    Sensible progressions.  


    One could also do these in a BBS manner maybe 2 times a week.

  • I would add regarding body weight exercise: this is not a good way to gain muscle mass if you are already at a certain point.  As a case in point I lost 10 lbs of muscle in 3 weeks doing body weight exercises instead of heavy weight training.  That is to say, my diet, supplements did not change, the only change was the method of training.

  • AndreasAndreas ✭✭
    edited July 2015



    Weight = Weight, barbell or body.  Losing muscle when doing body weight exercises instead of "heavy weight training" likely means you had something else in play.  


    Doug McGuff on his website (and I think in BBS) discusses that because it takes so much metabolically to build muscle, we've evolved to preserve it.  Losing 10 lbs of muscle in 3 weeks suggests you either undertrained or overtrained at body weight exercises, but more likely it just sounds like something else came into play.


    Consider competitive gymnasts (college level and higher) who train exclusively with body weight exercises.  Thy get incredibly lean with tremendous amounts of muscle for their size and both highly functional and absolute strength.  They easily dead lift and squat (when asked to test their strength) 2X to 3X their body weight!  


    Body weight training and progressions take some thought, but stop and think just how much it takes to do something like a BBS style muscle-up, an iron cross on the rings, heck gymnasts do inverted iron crosses -- all with body weight training.

  • katolotuskatolotus ✭✭✭

    I've been doing some bodyweight gymnastic type stuff using parelletts and rings. Its to hard to get a good workout on their own to start with, as it's really hard to even get in a position. Iron Crosses are years of training. Pull-ups are a good start if you can do them, press-ups and dips too. I'm working on (as it can't do) handstands, one-arm chins, L-sits. Pikes, Planches and levers. I lift heavy and do bodyweight stuff, so can't say one over the other, but love both! Gotta squat, clean, bench and deadlift!


    MMA Fighter


    SUCCESS: A lot of little things done well

  • I have found the Gymnastics Bodies Foundation and Handstand programs one good place to start if looking for a bodyweight program. Convict conditioning was good as well.


    I think the added mobility exercises of the Gymastics Bodies programs are quite helpful as well.

  • Just came across this today: 


    Navy Seals physical training guide: 


    Heavy emphasis on body weight training.


    Also, http://gymnasticswod.comhas great videos on progressions to exercises (feats)  like plants, muscle ups, handstands, and Iron Crosses.


    If one could scientifically optimize dose (hormesis) / recovery (rest) one might train the technique and strength to do these kind of things in short order.  Hmmm....?


    Anyone have any thoughts.

  • This is by far my favorite workout. It is a must atleast once a year,Jim stoppani short cut to size. It has it all varied rep range, drop sets and rest pause.

    I like to mix it up every 12 weeks but I 100% commit to the full 12 weeks no matter what. I think that's the secret. Eat based on your goals and stay focus for 3 months at a time no matter which workout you choose.
  • edited July 2015
    Are you interesting in bodyweight and unconventional (lifting odd objects etc..) training? Weight training was something I done in my younger days. I'm more into functional movements like bodyweight and unconventional training.
    "A powerful force of human nature"
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