Modern techniques and training programs

Lift For Life

These days I am more aware of father time and mother nature than I ever was as a youth.
As a youth you could storm out on your own path like the unruly teenager you were.
What do they know?
But just as you find yourself saying the same things to your kids, that your parents said to you, you do eventually listen, absorb and accept.
With age comes as many negatives as positives. The trick is to become fluid enough to work around them and be at one with mother nature and father time; not to fight them – as you will never win, but to rather flow with them.
This way there is no strain, upset and anguish, only focus on that what can be done.
With these points in mind the program I am outlining here for you is a blueprint for me. This is not to say you cannot gain something from it whatever your age. Pick and mix what appeals to you and your needs.
Here are my goals, these were the base behind this program.
After years of bodybuilding and powerlifting even though I have done things natural. Extreme levels of conditioning and the stress you put the body under with structured over-training for events, if we are honest – is not healthy.
My goal now is to have robust health. No extreme of anything – remember ‘flow’.
Strength is the basis of all life and youthfulness. I want to be as strong as I can without pushing the envelope too far. Now at the risk of sounding like a pussy hear me out. As I train now I must live by the rule DO NO HARM. There is no gain that outweighs the risk at this point in my life. I train now ‘to train’ not demonstrate strength.
I have found that lifting hard but within my means allows me to when needed demonstrate strength at a contest and such.
But even so, again I will only lift with my base strength. To me – maybe not you being younger than I, will maybe not agree here,
I pushed my potential when I was younger.
Now I see too many guys my age or a little older having to stop training through injury – and many are undergoing operations. Like I said that risk I’m not willing to take now. I want to train for life – I cannot see the point in squatting 500 now – and later in life not be able to squat at all. I would rather do 300 in my 60’s and beyond. If I win a power meet it will be on base strength – pushing it to far does not feed my kids.
I constantly strive to be fluid and mobile. Life and movement is energy – and the more you can move the more energy you have and zest for life.
With my weight training I try and work on some days from many different angles and with as much safe range as possible.
Running was a love for years but now old niggles are felt too much and it is too much alongside the weights. But, remember I said I focus on what can be done.
So now I walk miles every day, power walk if you will. I walk briskly and also cover agility here walking hills, woods – creating balance and coordination.
I am out in the fresh air and natural light for hours each day and feel that it clicks everything into this machine that is my body.
Recently we – Jo and I have started Olympic Lifting. This is a very athletic way of training and just suits me fine as I move forward in my life – training journey.
I noted years ago that there are far more ‘old Olympic Lifters’ than any other weight sport. Obviously being more athletic agrees with father time’s rules.
So with the above in mind here is my week’s schedule.
All Body Weights Session
This could be anything – lots of super sets and higher in reps – med weights.
To give you an idea here is one we did last week.
Shoulder Press Machine
Pull Downs
Incline Fly
Lat Raise
3 Rounds 15 reps each
Front Squats 5 x 5 nothing heavy, but smooth and deep
Flat Dumbbell Bench
Low Row
3 Rounds 15 reps
Incline Dumbbell Curls
Push Down
3 Rounds 15 reps each
Power Day
Just the basics – as you can see I add up the weight as I lower the reps to a top 4 (but not max) for that day
Train to gain strength not demonstrate it
Squats 10 – 8 – 6 – 4
Bench Press 10 – 8 – 6 – 4
Dumbbell Incline 3 x 10
Abs Neck Calf’s 3 sets each 15 -20 reps
Walk miles morning and late afternoon
Olympic Lifting 3/4 of an hour
Then a quick all body session with super sets and medium weights
Walk miles
Power Day
Olympic Lifting – 3/4 of an hour then
Power Work
Dead Lifts 5 – 4 – 3
Shoulder Press 10 – 8 – 6 – 4
Bent Rows 3 x 5
Abs 3 sets
Walk miles
I do walk around 5 miles every day but on off training days will do even more.
I also do lots of stretching and eat very well. This I will write about soon.
I hope you enjoyed this article and had a little incite in to how my mind ticks in order for me to set my training for me. The idea is for me to make your mind tick over so you can come to mind with what need and want.
Love to ya all Ian

Power Bodybuilding Program

This program is based on powerlifting the main moves and some bodybuilding to keep the main moves strong without any weak spots through the body.

The main lifts each day is on a 12-week cycle.

This we call the Coan program, as in Ed Coan the greatest powerlifter ever, used a basic cycle like this and still does.

We use to work this cycle 12 years ago and have done on and off for many events.

For me/us it has been awesome for gaining raw strength.

All you do on each main move is set a weight 12 weeks from now and count it back to week one with a reduction in weight and rep counts accordingly.

To give you an idea.

Here is my Dead Lift Cycle

1 130 x 8

2 135 x 8

3 140 x 5

4 145 x 5

5 150 x 5

6 155 x 5

7 160 x 5

8 165 x 3

9 170 x 3

10 175 x 2

11 180 x 2

12 185 x 2


Now as you can see the weight goes up and reps decrease.

The end weight is not a balls out max.

Think about this – I can do around 200 so I have not overtaxed myself there.

If I do 2 clean crisp reps with 185 my max at a meet will be a judged 195 or so.

So if you can do 150 or so as a max now – tap in 160 at the end.

You do not have to balls it out to get strong. Work up to that over 12 weeks – test yourself then set another 12 week. Maybe then setting out 165-170 for 2.

Eat right and work on it and all the lifts.

The main lifts for me go up in 5kg a week on Squat and Dead Lift and 2.5kg a week on Bench and Press.

I advise you to keep the pressing moves at 2.5- 5kg jumps are too big.

So we have a main move for each day and train four days a week with weights.

The main moves are for ONE main set after warm ups.

The other moves are ONE tester set and ONE main set.

These can also decrease in reps, as you get stronger. Or set a rep range and stick at it adding weight as you can over the weeks.

So let’s map this out.


Day One

Squat Day cycle weight and reps planned

One Leg Leg Press 1 tester 1 set 12 reps

Leg Curl 1 tester 1 set 12 reps

Leg Extensions 1 tester 1 main set

Cal Raise 3 sets

Abs 3 sets


Day Two

Bench Day

Bench Press cycle weight and reps as planned

Close Grip Bench Press 1 tester set 1 set – I chose on these to follow the same reps as main move.

Incline Bench same as above

These two moves are also paused to increase power off chest for a meet

Fly 2 x 15

Abs 3 x 20



Day Three

Dead Lifts cycle weight and reps

Bent Over Rows 1 tester set 1 main set reps same as the dead lifts

So if I’m on 5’s in dead’s I will do the same on these

Chins 1 tester set 1 main- reps same as above -weight added

Pull Downs Hammer 2 x 8

Bent Over Lat Raise 2 x 12

Calf Raise 3 x 12


Day Four


This is a shoulder press – this cycle I have opted for a seated shoulder press

This is done on a basic cycle for reps planned

Front Lat Raise 1 tester set 1 main set 8 reps

Side Lat Raise -same as above

Barbell Curl 2 x 8

Extensions 1 tester set 1 main set 8 reps

Push Downs 1 tester set 1 main set 8 reps

Abs 3 x 20



I/we train






Day 1 is Squat Day and so on …

The other days – I walk, run, lunge and stretch.


Don’t over push the main cycle weights — your better edging on just below your max or only a smidge above.

I know it seems like nothing 10kg in 12 weeks but do 3 cycles like that and your really movin iron.

But in real good style. Strong and safe.

Keep checking out my journals you will see how this program pans out. Love to ya all Ian x





Strength -Size -Agility


The program here is a kind of full circle thing for me.

I love it because I’m training just for the feeling of being ‘in shape’ for the love of just doing ya know.

For years I have trained for some specific goal. Bodybuilding shows, powerlifting meets, photo shoots.

Every one of those goals needed laser like focus and dedicated specific plans of action.

But now at this point in my training life, I feel as though I have come full circle. Back to the days as a kid when I trained to just love it and feel awesome.

No specific direction with it apart from doing cause I loved it and felt awesome and looked good as a side affect and not through obsession.


When I was a kid I trained with weights to be strong and to be like Conan, don’t laugh, functional strong and look it. I did free hand exercises also, body weight moves that gave me athletic ability for being active outdoors.

I also run, cross-country, through woods and the beach, I also walked everywhere.

This gave me fitness, agility and health.

As the months have worn on and I have been slowly moving towards these segments of the training baseline. I have felt better and better.

If I was powerlifting for instance I felt tight, sluggish, unhealthy.

Bodybuilding – weak – drawn.

Since I have done a more rounded health approach program I have noted a few things.

I am strong all the time.

I look as lean and muscular as if bodybuilding.

Also this has taken no obsessive direction, but rather happened as a side affect of the training I have been doing.

So – just like when I was a kid, I feel awesome and feel like I am starting my journey all over again.


The Program

Two Weights Days

Two Runs

One Dino Bodyweight Day  

Walk Everyday

Eat Natural


Weights Days

Program A

Rack Press Shoulders 3 x 5

Dumbbell Bench Press 3 x 8

Dumbbell Rows 3 x 8

Close Grip Press In Rack 3 x 5

Dumbbell Curls 3 x 8

Calf Raise 3 x 10


Program B

Squats 1 x 20

Trap Bar Dead Lift 3 x 5

Rack Bench Press 3 x 5

Chins 3 x 8

Dips 3 x 12

Curls 3 x 12


Notes On Weights Days

I have kept the reps on the low end so I can move some iron. The 8 and 12 rep prescription’s are for bodybuilding work.


Simply – if you get your rep goals add a small amount of iron to the bar next session.

If you don’t get them you don’t move up.

Start this program conservative – so you can spend weeks building up.

Don’t balls to the wall it first session as your form will break and so will you.


Note the workouts cover nearly all body apart from A that has no squats as the 20 rep Squats and heavy Dead Lifts leave your legs needing more recovery.

I do my weights days Tuesday and Saturday.


Dino Bodyweight Day

This I picked up from Brooks Kubik – check out his book Dinosaur Bodyweight Training.

This day for me is a full body free hand training day.

I will do as I feel with this, for as many exercises sets and time I feel like doing on the day.

All I am looking for on this day is full body synergy –mind and muscle.

This day will be for me on a Thursday, right between my two weights days.

Check my journals for this day for ideas if you need them.



Simply run, just get out and run.

Start steady and in time you will find your flow.

As the weeks go by you will find you feel, lighter, fitter leaner, energized.

At present you may be able to do 5 minutes but soon you will have no problem covering a few mile.

Run outside on earth – not roads or pavements. I brisk walk to a place I like to run and then do a session; I like woods, hills and being in the fresh air come rain or shine.

For me this all adds to the health aspect being outside in nature.

Morning Run Hills Included x

Morning Run Hills Included x



I use walking as a recovery health base.

My baseline is 2 hours a day.

Its easy to do – I do at least an hour early morning then a 2 to 3 shorter walks though the day.

You body works better after walking, it seems that everything clicks into place where it should be.

Not only that – you become lean -devoid of body fat without analysing a frigging macro.

You also flush toxins from your body -and this aids recovery.

So you get stronger and more muscular.


Eat Natural

I have covered this so many times.

Eating clean is simple.

Just eat natural healthy food.

Check out my nutrition section and also my book for ideas to structure how you want and need to eat.

I tend to structure a baseline-eating plan and follow that and make adjustments as I go.

I count nothing – all I do is eat for health and vitality.


End Note

This is a program that would fit most trainers that just want to be the best they can be all-round.

As the name of the program implies Strength Size Agility.

All bases are covered here and its not life consuming either.

The above can fit into even the busiest life and family obligations.

I will keep posting up journals to keep you motivated and I will also post up on youtube how to fill in the baseline journal log sheets.

(check this out by clicking the youtube icon at the top of the homepage)

Email me I will send these out to you in a PDF all you have to do is print them and keep them in a file.

Take care an enjoy feeling and looking awesome x

Love Ian






Conan HIT Program

This program is a variant on the Conan Program.

This one being on a three day split.

Let me give you the base work here then get into the HIT (high intensity training) for the building work as I call it.

The base strength moves are:

  • Day 1 – Bench Press and Dead Lift
  • Day 2 – Shoulder Press
  • Day 3 – Squat

Now each week is a different variation of the strength move, rotated over three weeks, so:

For Bench

  1. Rack Bench Thick Bar
  2. Incline Bench Press
  3. Floor Press

For Dead Lift

  1. Rack Dead Lift from Just Below the Knee
  2. Trap Bar Dead Lift
  3. Stiff Leg Dead Lift

For Shoulder Press

  1. Rack Press Thick Bar Bench 80 Degree
  2. Hammer Press Behind Neck
  3. Push Press

For Squats

  1. Rack Squat Off Pins at Bottom
  2. Front Squat
  3. Box Squat

These main moves are worked to a single for the day.

I may add a perfect non-grinder rep that is a perfect rep, hard, and your max – but a strict max.

I start at 5 reps after warm-ups and do set after set until I reach 3 reps, then 2 reps, then a few 1 reps until I think ‘enough’.  This could be 7 to 10 sets.

Make a note of your max – three weeks later, beat it.

After the main move I do some building work.  Hard stuff – and I work hard and fast.

Here is where the HIT work comes in – you may ask why?

Well, I felt I needed a shake up –and some tissue growth and I know of nothing better for short bursts. I do some HIT every year and have done for around 25 years. I am not a HIT purist – but take something from all forms of training and do what I enjoy and gain from.

I suggest you do the same – after all these years you know what to do – all you need are ideas to keep you motivated and progressing, so you can train ’til they pop the lid on ya box.

As you will be able to tell from the journals, the HIT work is mostly one set per exercise.

I don’t worry about how many exercises there are per body part as there is invariably a cross over movement that covers lots of different areas at once, a compound exercise. In fact, most I do is just that.

I do as many moves as I feel I need to trash the body part, don’t make this ‘not’ simple – just do and work it hard.

Day 1

  • Chest and Back

After the main moves of the day, I move right into this block:

  • Hammer Chest Press
  • Pull Over
  • Chin
  • Dip
  • Row Machine

One after the other no rest

The order here is so the Pull Over pre-fatigues the Chins, also the Pull Over stresses the chest too, so the block is harder.

Drills done at the start of the session or the finish.

Drills as you now know are agility work for fitness and function.

Day 2

  • Shoulders and Arms

After warming up and main move of the day to a max single, I move into this block:

  • Lat Raise
  • Press Hammer Machine
  • Lat Raise – again but lighter
  • Bent Over Lat Raise

Four moves, again non-stop.


  • Thick Bar Curl


  • Underhand Chin Up (pausing top and bottom)


  • Triceps Extension


  • Push Down or Dip

Main move done plus the HIT – we will do some Drills.

Same as in the Conan Program.

  • Prowler – Sled – Farmers Walk etc

Day 3


Main move – you got this


  • Leg Extension
  • Machine Squat or Leg Press, depending on Gym that day
  • Hack Squat

I have missed out leg curls here because hams get a huge amount of work Dead Lifting and Squatting.

Drills wrap up the day.


I am trying to work towards 12 reps per upper body move and 15 to 20 reps on lower body, I found this works well on this type of training.

When I beat those reps the weight goes up next session – simple.

I will include forced reps at times and drop sets, depending on the feel at the time and mindset.

The reps are bang on – body set right and there is a pause on some if I feel the need to bring in the mind more and feel what I’m doing.  This is mostly on pressing work, as for me this is an area I have to concentrate more on.  The pausing really works the muscles into the ground

So there you have it, give some, or all, of the ideas here a try.

Let me know how you get on.

Be Old But Strong of Mind and Body – Ian

Conan Program

Over the last year or so I have had some definite goals training wise, two main ones to be exact, and from those two goals grew the present one.

This may be just what you are looking for yourself.

Let me first cover the aforementioned goals, so you can see how I came upon this one.

First goal was towards my 50th birthday, a photo shoot to celebrate that point in time, and also have the shots for my book – Old But Strong.  I pulled myself in good shape, look wise, but after three years of turmoil I did not ‘feel’ good.  Look wise – nearly as good as the old days – but mind and strength, nowhere near previous levels.

After the shoot I got right into some powerlifting training for a meet.  Great program, good gains ‘but’ – but something was missing.  Again I did not feel just right, you know.  I felt not as fit as I normally do, I felt tight and heavy, and not as strong and as healthy as I know I could be.

So after the meet – a new program was born.

I wanted a program that got me in ‘shape’ not just strong – not just looking good picture wise BUT GOOD INSIDE AND OUT.  I wanted to feel awesome, and looks as a side effect of the program.

I wanted to be able to do a variety of things and look like I could.  I found myself day dreaming about when I was a kid and how the comic character Conan was my hero.

Although Conan was a drawn image, the images where no less inspiring for my young mind, and even to this day.

My favorite artist was John Buscema who created the Conan image – in just the way I thought he should and would have looked.  Strong, muscular, supple, athletic, and just lean enough.  Even though he was a ‘made up image’, John depicted this image in his art work.

Conan looked like he could do just about anything – including fighting a Sabre Tooth Tiger, which of course he did.  He looked even animal-like himself – a real man’s man, and a barbarian.

This may all sound a bit daft to you, but to me, it’s a goal, it is inspiring and exciting.  I think to myself, train for not only looking strong and agile, but bloody be it also.  Nothing is sadder than all show and no go like so many that ‘train’ for a look.  Sure I did the stage and photo shoots, but it has always been strength and health first.

So after not feeling in ‘true’ shape, the Conan Program was born.

You may remember a time when you felt just ‘in shape’ – you walk different, hold yourself proud.  Sometimes you feel like bursting into a run or tearing up the weight room just because you feel a power and energy pulsing through you.  It’s an awesome feeling I have had many times in my life and I wanted to feel that again.

For that I had to have a program that covers a portion of each area of feeling and looking awesome.

Take what you need from this program and fit it to YOU.  This was the whole focus of my recently produced book, Old But Strong – thinking for yourself and adapting.



I have a base move that I start with on each day I train, those moves are:

  • Day 1 Bench Press
  • Day 2 Dead Lift
  • Day 3 Shoulder Press
  • Day 4 Squat

Now each week is a different variation of the strength move, rotated over three weeks, so:

For Bench:

  1. Rack Bench Thick Bar
  2. Incline Bench Press
  3. Floor Press

For Dead Lift:

  1. Rack Dead Lift from Just Below the Knee
  2. Trap Bar Dead Lift
  3. Stiff Leg Dead Lift

For Shoulder Press:

  1. Rack Press Thick Bar Bench 80 Degree
  2. Hammer Press Behind Neck
  3. Push Press

For Squats:

  1. Rack Squat Off Pins at Bottom
  2. Front Squat
  3. Box Squat

These main moves are worked to a single for the day.  I may add a perfect non-grinder rep that is a perfect rep, hard, and your max – but a strict max.

I start at 5 reps after warm-ups and do set after set until I reach 3 reps, then 2 reps, then a few 1 reps until I think ‘enough’.  This could be 7 to 10 sets.

Make a note of your max — three weeks later, beat it.

After the main move I do some building work.  Hard stuff – and I work hard and fast.  This can be whatever strikes me that day.

After this building work I move to drills, fitness and agility work.  This can again be what takes my mood.

Let me give you last week’s sessions:


  • Abs to start
  • Assorted moves 9 – 12 sets total
  • Rack Bench Press Thick Bar to a single


  • Incline Dumbbell Press
  • Chins

Back to back for 5 sets, no rest, 12 -15 reps


  • Dips 3 x 12
  • Drills
  • Prowler 6 rounds heavy weight at least bodyweight on it


  • Calves and Hypers to start 6 sets total
  • Dead Lifts in Rack to a single


  • Chins
  • Rows

Back to back no rest 3 rounds 12 reps

  • Drills
  • Farmers Walk 6 rounds with around 60kg each hand


  • 300 Lunges


  • Abs to start
  • Assorted moves 9 – 12 sets total
  • Rack Shoulder Press Thick Bar to a single


  • Lat Raise
  • Bent Over Lat Raise

3 Rounds, 15 reps


  • Thick Bar Curls
  • Close Grip Floor Press

3 Rounds, 12 – 20 reps

  • Drills
  • Sled Pull 6 rounds around 50kg


  • Drill Day
  • Prowler
  • Rope Work
  • Clean and Press
  • Wheel Roll Outs
  • Skipping

Just kill it 30 minutes non-stop.


  • 300 Lunges
  • Rack Squat off the pins to a single


  • Leg Press
  • Step Ups

3 Rounds, 20 reps

  • Drills
  • Prowler 6 rounds Light Weight Sprints


  • Long Walk


The other moves can be of your choice – but man up OK!

No wimpy stuff.

Work fast and hard.

Keep a note of your weight and reps and when you do them again –beat it!

This program also works for ladies – I train with two girls that are getting ready for the stage.  Can you visualise how good they will look on stage?  Different to others, yeah?

Well that’s the program guys, that’s my goals – if it’s what your looking for give some, or all, the ideas a try.

Be a Conan – strong, agile – awesome.


I eat really clean and simple, but that’s another blog.

Until next time.

Train Hard and Eat Clean by Crom.

Ian x

Train For Gains

Having done eight weeks of the Conan program with a four-week block of Conan HIT incorporated into those eight weeks. I think it’s about time for a change for body and mind. The HIT has been just incredible and in six weeks or so we plan to return to it with an experiment on just how much we can gain over another eight-week block. Let me give you the reasoning behind this program and the future goal.

I have a photo shoot in three weeks and the girls have major figure shows soon after. They more than me need a change of stimulus. That’s not to say the HIT has not worked, quite the opposite it has worked big style. But that said you can get too much of a good thing and we are all very lean and on a prep diet.

This can at this stage in the game draw too much on your resources, making recovery and carb storage an issue. I know with experience when to back off, I also know the girls need a NEW stimulus and focus down the final stretch.

Like I said, we plan on going back to HIT after the events noted above.

This will be all documented on this site for you, but here’s a quick heads up.

I/we will have a starting point and ripped stage look point from which to work from. I will conduct body fat tests that will give us a lean mass and body fat percentage and starting strength/reps on all the base moves.

Over the eight weeks I will document everything training/food recovery work …everything.

Let’s see what a 51 year old and two figure girls can gain in that time frame.

So that’s the goal.

You may like to follow the whole plan yourself with adjustments to your needs and wants.

You have a few programs here now to try, so if I can suggest something I would say get stuck into one of them, maybe this or another that excites you.

Give it six to eight weeks and then have a look at the new one and see if it’s up your street.

Anyway let’s get back to this program

I have called this program Train For Gains for want of a name to identify it.

The name came and program came to me while reading the classic book Keys To Progress by John Mccallam.

One of the favorite chapters is Training For Gaining, whereupon he accounts a workout by the great Reg Park.

The workout as you can guess covered basic moves and hard graft.

After using machines and free weights over the last eight weeks my goal was to base it down to being able to train at home/base gym with just a rack bar and dumbbells.

We have been to some awesome gyms and used to brilliant kit- but when you go somewhere new, there is a break up in focus as everything is slightly different. Over the next few weeks we need everything standardising, what with shows and shoots coming up. So the basics it is.

I will give you the program here then some notes at the end.


Day 1


Bench Press

2 Rounds

Incline Bench Press 2 sets

Pull Over


2 Rounds

Bent Over Row 2 Sets

Shrugs 2 sets


Day 2

Lat Raise

Standing Press

2 Rounds

Bent Over Lat Raise 2 Sets

Incline Curl 2 sets

Curl 1 Set

Triceps Extension Dumbbell 2 sets

Dips 1 set



Day 3

Squats 1x 20

Leg Press

Front Squats

2 Rounds 15-20

Leg Curl 2 sets 15 -20

Stiff Leg Dead Lifts 1 set 20

Calves 2 Sets 15 -20



Three days a week – for me- Tuesday -Thursday – Saturday.


As you can see I have dropped the main move section, heavy singles none of us at present have a powerlifting meet till the year-end. So that said I have put a pre exhaust section for each body part, to work the muscle tissue more and stress different areas and quality’s.

Only the legs do not have this at the start.

I wanted to work on and have the whole program built around 20 rep squats.

Just as McCallam did with so many of his programs.


I have listed the reps on legs but not upper body.

The plan with rep ranges and progression is on upper body aim between 8 and 12.

If I cannot get 8 –weight stays – if I get past 12 it goes up next session, simple.


I will start each session with sit ups and hyperextensions 2 to 3 rounds as a warm up along with my usual warm up per area.


The squats are the base of this whole program.

Aim for 20 reps after a few warm up sets and move the weight up week on week.

I did these years ago with good results.

I am feeling good these days, eating well and recovering.

So I will push on in a slightly different direction to HIT.

The sets are still low on this program but no forced reps or the like. Just a base weight/reps progression.


Any questions shoot me an email

Love to ya all Ian x