One Exercise Workouts

by Lee

Isn't abbreviated training unbalanced training? Not when you follow the Push, Pull, Squat rule!

Here is how this simple formula works:

    Each week you include some variation of the squat exercise along with a variation of a pushing movement and one pulling movement. Use this simple rule to train all three exercises per session, or employ a split program where you concentrate on a single exercise per session - the decision is yours.

    And what about ultra-abbreviated training? Is there a way you can perform only one exercise per workout and still keep your program balanced?

    Again, the solution is simple.

    Do different workouts using a different exercise each session (see the split program above), or specialize on one exercise per training period before you specialize on something else.

    Try this:

  • Concentrate on the squat for 6 weeks, then
  • Change to the bench press for 6 weeks, then
  • Move to the bent-over row for 6 weeks.

  • Rotate your exercises in this manner and over time you build balance. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

    Think it can't be done?

    William Boone built world class strength in the 1930s and 40s and would gain 80-100 pounds of muscle. His secret? One exercise workouts!

Comments for One Exercise Workouts

Average Rating starstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Missing Information
by: Steve

Just reviewed William Boone's training program. He did squats only on 2 days of the week (M&F) and standing presses only on 1 day (W). However, he stated he performed up to 10 sets of low-rep presses - not one set as you advocate. I believe the average trainee would seriously overtrain with this type of program and risk injuries to his muscle joints.

William Boone Training
by: Lee

Thank you for the info, Steve. You are right: William Boone's training program did include periods where he practiced multiple lifts as part of his weight lifting regimen. A 1937 issue of Mark Berry's magazine Physical Training Notes contains a letter from Boone to Berry detailing this, saying how his routine included three exercises, namely the Two Arm Press, Two Arm Curl, and the Deep Knee Bend. On Wednesday, Boone would practice the Arm Press followed by the Arm Curl, then on Monday and Friday, Boone would concentrate on one single exercise - the Deep Knee Bend.

Would the average trainee risk joint injury or overtrain with this kind of program? I don't believe so. An ultra-abbreviated routine of this type is typically low frequency, low volume, and is therefore joint-friendly while allowing adequate time for rest and recovery.

For an example of what is possible with this style of weight lifting, please consider Brooks Kubik who employs the same ultra-abbreviated methods in his own Dinosaur Training. Often performing one exercise workouts, Kubik rotates between different single exercise workouts.

An illustration of a one exercise workout program would be:

Tuesday - Squat
Thursday - Press
Sunday - Deadlift

This program doesn't look like much when compared to your typical workouts, does it? But add significant poundage to these lifts and then imagine how much stronger and bigger you would become - suddenly things start to look very exciting.

One exercise workouts? It really is amazing what you can achieve with dedicated hard work and a handful of basic movements.

Boone Training Stats
by: Pete

Wow! William Boone was strong! I just checked some of Boone's training stats and was blown away by the heavy iron he could shift. How does 300 lbs in the one arm bent press sound? Or a deadlift of 700 lbs?! Strength like that isn't too shabby. Again. Wow!

700 Pound Grizzly Bear
by: Lee

Thanks, Pete - those weights are truly impressive. And for anyone struggling to picture what 700 pounds looks like? Imagine wrestling a 7-foot tall Alaskan grizzly bear from the ground. Strength like that gives you goose-bumps!

One Exercise Workout - How Many Times to Squat?

On the ''One Exercise Workout'' I understand you squat for six weeks, but how many times a week?

Just Two Exercises to Build Your Body?
by: Lee

All of the lifts on the One Exercise Workout can be practiced once per week. So a typical workout would see you perform the squat for six weeks; a pulling exercise like the bent-over row for the next six weeks; and a pushing exercise like the bench-press for the final six weeks.

Your One Exercise Workout would therefore look like this:

Squat - Weeks 1-6
Bench Press - Weeks 7-12
Bent Over Row - Weeks 13-18

We talk about ultra-abbreviated routines in this month's ezine, explaining how just the basic lifts can provide all the muscle building firepower you will ever need. For example, 1960s Mr. America Tony Pandolfo was a big fan of the deadlift and bench press, saying: "If you work the heck out of the deadlift, you'll get growth in your upper and lower back, thighs, and hips. If you press or bench hard, your upper body will take off!"

Employing the Push, Pull, Squat rule, we could therefore reduce the One Exercise Workout to just two exercises to build your body and still target all the major muscle groups.

An ultra-abbreviated routine might look like this:

Deadlift - Weeks 1-6
Bench Press - Weeks 7-12

Thanks for your question and good luck in your training!

Less is waaaaaay more!
by: Anonymous

I wouldn't doubt Boone gained massive size & strength from concentrating on one (1) lift for extended periods of time. All I do is Hexbar DL and I make huge gains. I agree w/ Tony Pandolfo that a press or row is also needed for arm gains as the DL will do little or nothing for biceps/triceps IMO. To add to this ^ I only lift once ever 4-6 wks NOT once a week. Although I think most other people probably will need to train more frequently than I do. As Arthur Jones said "If your not gaining always do less NOT more". Less volume, Less frequency w/ More intensity. This ain't rocket science.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Comments.

Recent Articles

  1. Minimalist Training - How Little Can You Do to Get Insanely Strong?

    Jun 29, 20 11:35 AM

    Hear how minimalist training helped 80s powerlifter Mark Chaillet crush his competition and get insanely strong.

    Read More

  2. Deadpool Superhero Workout - Two Critical Exercises to Develop X-Men Strength

    Apr 23, 18 05:22 AM

    Discover how the Deadpool superhero workout develops freaky fitness and X-Men strength.

    Read More

  3. Why Weight Training Too Hard is Hurting Your Gains

    Sep 25, 17 10:50 AM

    Feeling fatigued? Discover why weight training too hard at the gym is hurting your gains.

    Read More