Train once a week, lift heavy, go to max: Be strong, stay young, save time


Paul’s PUMP! Once a week, to max, for life workout

Basic beliefs: Don’t keep track of exact weights or at least you don’t have to. Generally remember how much. Each day is different. And life it’s logical. Sometimes you will do a heavy set and think you’re done and then be able to throw an extra 30 kilos and nail another set. Gains are not incremental. So play around. And don’t think too logically. Always try to surprise yourself.

What is the workout?
1. Very little warm up (10 deadlifts with the bar only)
2. Need straps for deadlift once you get stronger. Try not to use them until absolutely necessary. For me, after I passed 270, I usually need straps but it greatly depends on the type of bar. slippery or not slippery. Fat or skinny. Rough or fake rough.
3. Watch me and others style but don’t mimic exactly. Feel your body. Focus on form what feels good to you. Move your ass around. Wiggle feet. Keep tweaking till it feels right. It will get easier to find your optimal form.
4. Don’t expect anything. Some days you are just stronger than others. I always try very heavy. See how it goes. Once I get the bar off the machine, I try to do 6. Aim for sets of 6 or at most 8. If you can only do 2 or 3, lower the weight a bit. If you get to 4, kill yourself to get the last two out.
5. I don’t use sleeves unless it’s some kind of weird bar that is insanely slippery. You need to learn to balance the weight. Focus on balance from the beginning. Build your whole body up at once. That means both sides of body and both arms.
6. I usually do 5-6 sets of deadlifts but I used to do it in one set. Theoretically, one set, Mike Metzger Heavy Duty style is enough. However, I have found that one set truly going to max is almost impossible to do. The weight will always be too much, too little or you simply won’t be able to go to max on that one set.

I use a lot of tricks to get myself to go to max. Nothing works every time but if I imagine my mom about to get crushed by a car, I man up and finish it. Some people imagine their dog being crushed or son under a car. Or some guy is trying to rape you in prison. Whatever it takes so you temporarily become superhuman.

Think of something that pisses you off and fires you up. Where you absolutely have to get it done. I have a few reliable ones I use and they help a lot. You need to somehow trick yourself into going to max.

The next question is ‘how many sets?’ My answer, ‘it go until you past safety. Where you feel like you might have an aneurysm. Where you think, ‘this cannot be healthy’. Where you look like the craziest guy in the gym.

Remember that you only need to do it once for each exercise. You can’t do it twice anyway. Can Usain Bolt run his fastest twice in a row? Not possible. Once you’ve done it. Once you’ve maxed it out, you will know. Or over time you will learn to recognize max. It’s that point where if you kept going on another set, you could, but there is nothing left.

Your muscles are burnt. Caution: sometimes I feel like that with one set and rest for 4 minutes and have more to give. So if you are not absolutely sure you are maxed for the day on that exercise, rest and try again. But don’t fuck around. You want to get to max and move to the next exercise and get out of the gym. The reason being that you can only go to max a short period. After that it’s just a waste of your day. Max the fuck out and get out of there. It’s bad karma to stay in gym. Get er done and get to eating.

Ok, but you’re not done yet. You’re just done with one exercise. Now you’re doing squats. With squats you need to practice and get your balance if you’re new at this. Also you want that form that feels great. It takes experimentation to find that form for you.

For me, I destroyed my knee playing football in Shanghai so I can’t do deep squats anymore. I go as far as I can and no more. If I go any deeper, my knee swells up and I can’t walk much for a week. Lots of ice and rest. As long as I toe the line, I’m fine. So this workout works whether you are injured or not. Rich or not. Athletic or not. This is a lifelong workout.

You can do this same workout with small adjustments for the rest of your life so take your time, concentrate and get it right. It will pay off greatly long term.

So back to squats. How heavy should you go? For men and women the answer is the same; heavy. Women’s legs are just as strong as mens, pound per pound. So don’t be afraid to put on some big plates with that little Japanese girl. She is stronger than she thinks. Especially her legs. And strong legs are sexy.

The motivation you need for legs is two things. One, as I said, it’s sexy. Two, look at unhealthy old men. Why are they so fucked? Their legs. If your legs are bad, you’re unhealthy. It’s that simply. And that important. So they two exercises so far are the big ones.

Deadlift for back and to connect your upper and lower body and squats for mobility. If you’re not mobile, life sucks. And squats will make you very strong. Strong in sports, strong at work and strong in the unhappy event that you are involved in an altercation or are robbed.

Legs are the key. You know when you watch boxing and they say, ‘he lost his legs’. That’s right before he gets knocked out. In his face. So your legs protect your face in a way. Strong legs make you a powerful man and confident woman. You will feel it as you build your legs. Your confidence will rise. Your balance will improve. People will avoid angering you. They instinctively know you would be trouble.

So back to squats. I’ve found that getting under the bar and, again, wiggling my ass, shifting my feet, moving my shoulders around like an idiot helps. I soon find a comfortable position.

You want to bar to be behind the top of your shoulders kind of. Resting ever so slightly below that lump on your spinal column about shoulder level. There is nothing to really rest it on so it will feel weird in the beginning. I find the bar is almost stuck between my hands and my back muscles. It’s not resting on the lump of spine. Keep a good hold on it and eventually your get the feeling.

Once you have the position, go for it. I like to go quite heavy on squats because I know my legs are much stronger than I think. Contrary to how I feel, I have never collapsed under the weight even though I often feel like I will.

On squats go as low as you can go comfortably and back up. Don’t rest at the top. As soon as you hit the full extension (meaning standing up completely), start to go back down. Feel the form from the beginning. Don’t let yourself relax and let the weight down in an out of control manner. Let it crush you on the way down. Like all of heaven is pushing you into the floor. Like the moon is coming down on your back.

Remember to breathe. On squats it’s easy to remember. Breathe in on the way down (the easy way) and breathe out on the hard way (the way up) Don’t worry about making weird noises or spitting. Try not to but when you’re going to max on squats, almost anything can happen.

I try to be nice in the gym. I put weights back. I wait my turn. But when I’m lifting to max, I don’t give a fuck. If I somehow spit on the mirror or it sounds like I’m cuming or having a heart attack, I don’t worry about that. I’ve got other things on my mind. Like 374 pounds of steel that could cripple me if I fell the wrong way. So ignore everything. Ignore if your pants fall down or willy falls out of your shorts. Just finished the goddamn set.

In order to go to max on squats, I try to put more weight on the back of my legs for most sets and then the front for the last one or two. I like to use the smith machine for squats because I’m going so hard that I’m never sure what will happen. And I don’t have time to get a spotter or workout buddy. I do it alone.

I go alone. I push myself alone. I look at the other guys as fat guys at Starbucks when I’m in the gym. Usually they are wasting time anyway. No one is going to max. So I can’t get inspiration from them. And I can’t copy them. Sometimes they cheer me or on give me advice, “dude you’re gonna have a heart attack if you workout that hard!” BS like that I hear all the time. Ignore it.

I try to throw in some calf raises at the end of my last couple sets of squats. My calfs are very strong naturally so I don’t have to do much for them. If you have skinny legs, you might want to add calf raises to each rep.

With all exercises, I do supersets on the way down. So I do a set, take off 10 pounds: Take a couple minute break and go again. Squats are funny. It’s not easy to go to max on squats for some reason. If it’s not max at least you need to go until you can hardly stand up and feel like vomiting.

If you feel like you might hurl when doing squats, you’re doing it right. Remember what Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “If you don’t vomit during a workout, it wasn’t a good workout”. This is my mantra. I have never actually vomited but have choked up stuff before and crawled across the gym because my legs would not hold me. I have even been so shaken up that I could not crawl. So slithered over to a bench, slithered up the bench and sat down. That’s fine. In fact, that’s awesome!

Pat yourself on the back when you do this. You are doing it right. You will have success when so many others never have any gains at all or even continue the miserable road to obesity that they are on. You are not like that. But you are doing it right. Realistically.

Remember Usain Bolt. Sprint your heart out. Then take a victory lap and selfie with some cutie. Even if just in your mind. Pat yourself on the back. You da man. OR contact me. I’ll tell you. Getting in high school football shape at 50- years old, you’re in the 1% of humans on this planet.

After your maxed it out and slithered to a seat a few times, you’ll feel it. It’s over. Your done. Again pat yourself on the back. After the deadlift and squat, you’ve done the hardest and most important exercises.

Next hammer the pull down. I like a grip just past the curves on the bar. No on the very edges. But whatever works for you. Pull it down. Go heavy. You should be writhing like a mutherfudger because even though the muscles are small on your back, they hurt the most (along with your forearm) Anyway, do sets until your muscles are toast.

Again, remember to breathe. Don’t hold your breathe! When you back is on fire like you had road rash with a tshirt and flip flops off a bike a 100 mph, do one more thing. Grab the bar close grip, facing toward you and do two heavy sets. Feel your muscles. Pull down fast and go up slowly.

The deadlift and squats are for health and body strength. The pulldown is for wings. Girls like wings. The make you look good. Don’t forget the wings. Feel them bulging out. Like a triangle of a body.

When you’re done, go to dips. I like to do about 30-35 dips in one set to get started. Slow or fast, doesn’t matter. Don’t focus on the feeling of burn. Focus on not swinging around. Clean with all your body balancing on the very back of your arms. Your triceps.

Remember that your arm is 2/3 tricep and 1/3 bicep. So if you want nice arms. Burn them to the ground. After you are too tired to do dips, switch to dips on the back of a bench. This is easier and a nice way to finish. Keep hands close together but don’t forget form. It’s easy to get wild after all that hard workout. If you lose control on dips, you can be injured. So keep your wits about you. You’re almost done…for the week!

Next, curls. I like to pick to dumbells and touch them together in a V shape. Just gently touch them together. I find this position easy on my wrists. Feel your biceps burning. Do 3 quick sets to max. Burn the living fxxk out of your biceps. It helps to look in the mirror on all exercises but especially on curls. Curls look good so you will go harder when you see yourself looking cool in the mirror. Have no shame. Do whatever you need to go to motivate yourself. And recall, you’re almost done.

Last, forearm curls. These hurt for some reason. Even though they’re a tiny muscle. So expect pain on the last reps. But you won’t feel that they are all that heavy but just that your forearms are on fire and you feel like someone injected molten lava into them during the set. To push to max, go as hard as you can, pause, keeping position, and do two more. Then pause again, and do two more. Your face should look 30 years older than you usually do. Sweat should be poring off your face on this one. You will wonder how this could possibly hurt this bad but before you know it, you’re done.

Now, eat that banana your brought, take a shower and get some food in your ASAP. I recommend some low quality carbs as they turn to sugar the fastest. You need to feed your muscles. So white bread, spaghetti, noodles, white rice. I eat 4 eggs or 2-3 chicken breasts if I went really hard. Veggies, carbs, and solid protein. I have heard and believe that a cup or two of coffee takes away much of the muscle soreness the next day. It won’t help you get bigger muscles or heal faster but you’ll feel better. And that’s no joke. Cause you’re gonna be sore as shit. And not just tomorrow. Every week for the rest of your life.

It doesn’t get easier because you’re going to max. So as you get stronger, max is more. But you will get used to it. And it will become natural to be an animal in the gym. When you enter the gym, there is only one thing you will do. This workout to max and get out. That’s it. No other choices. No need to make friends. I’m a very friendly person but in the gym I could give a fxxk. I’m there to workout and get out. Just like when I need to sleep. I’m going to sleep. I don’t need that call from a friend. That can wait till I’m rested. And even that friend will respect that and benefit. Cause I’m ready to go when I answer. And same with the gym. The guy is for going to max on my workout. And that’s all it is for. I almost forget that I workout every week because I go so rarely but inevitably that next Monday or whatever day you choose rolls around, you pick up a banana, and head to the gym. Once inside, you go to work.

After you finish your once a week workout, have fun. Drink beer. Relax. You have a free week to live your life. The heavy lifting will erase many bad habits that you will inevitably have. Don't worry!
After you finish your once a week workout, have fun. Drink beer. Relax. You have a free week to live your life. The heavy lifting will erase many bad habits that you will inevitably have. Don’t worry!

That’s it. Relax in the glory that you are actually changing your life. You will see huge gains fast. And when you feel your body, you’ll know.


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