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On the left is a picture of an old time strong man from way back in 1898. On the right? A modern-day bodybuilder.

Now – how would you rather look?

Nearly every single guy I survey reports they would MUCH rather look like the old-time strongman.

And yet – without even knowing it – most guys eat and train more like a modern-day bodybuilder than an old-time strong man. So in this article, I’ll show you five ways to get a body like an old time strongman.

1. Back Away From The Bench!

While modern-day bodybuilders love the bench press, the strong men of yesteryear preferred a different upper body exercise.

Old school strong man Herman Goerner demonstrating the overhead press.  Good exercise form, terrible fashion choice.

Old school strong man Herman Goerner demonstrating the overhead press. Good exercise form, terrible fashion choice.

The Standing Overhead Press.

The old-timers considered the standing overhead press the ultimate test of strength. This exercise will strengthen your shoulders, your triceps and even your core – without over-developing your pecs like the bench press sometimes can.

Shoot for barbell overhead pressing your own bodyweight and you’ll be on your way to true old school strength. So if you weigh 185 pounds, your goal is to press 185 pounds over your head for a single rep – without any knee bend.

When you can do that – you’ll be stronger than 99% of all gym rats.

2. Cut Out The Cardio

Here’s a picture of an old-school gym from the early 1900’s.

A gym from the turn of the century. No treadmills and thankfully – no Katie Perry music either.

A gym from the turn of the century. No treadmills and, thankfully, no Katy Perry music either.

See any treadmills, elliptical machines or exercise bikes?

Yeah, me either. That’s because the old-time strong men got lean and muscular by grunting, straining and lifting heavy objects – not by traipsing along on a treadmill at 3.2 miles per hour while watching daytime television.

Lift hard, lift heavy… and let your diet take care of the fat loss. And speaking of diet…

3. Skip The Shakes


The single best advice I can give anyone looking to build muscle, burn fat and achieve optimal health is also the simplest: Eat real food.


Cut out the cakes, cookies and chips. And – shocking as it may seem – you might want to cut out the sugar-laden protein shakes too.

Instead, eat like a man. Steak, eggs and veggies. You’ve got teeth for a reason – use ’em.

When you eat real food – no straw required – you might be surprised how fast your body changes. Here’s an easy rule of thumb: If the food you’re about to eat didn’t exist when your grandfather was a kid… don’t eat it.

4. Lift Heavy Stuff

Arnold deadlifting 710 pounds

Arnold deadlifting 710 pounds

It seems almost everybody in the gym lifts in the 8-10 rep range. And while that’s fine for beginners, you’re missing out on a lot of potential muscle if you never challenge yourself and lift heavy.

The old-timers lifted heavy – usually sticking with 5 reps per exercise. That’s because 5 reps seems to provide a near perfect combination of strength and size gains. Sometimes, the old-timers would lift even heavier – often using weights they could only lift once or twice. This not only builds muscle, but also strengthens the joints, tendons and ligaments.

Recommendations: Every once in a while – after properly warming up and with proper spotters, of course – go all out and see how much you can lift on a given exercise for a true one-rep max. Not only will you strengthen your joints and ligaments, but when you return to your regular training weights they’ll feel lighter and you’ll find you can perform more reps.

5. Power Down To Power Up

This guy gets it

This dude gets it

I’m fairly certain the old-time trainers didn’t burn the midnight oil chatting away on Facebook or mindlessly melting into the couch while Jimmy Fallon laughs at his own jokes for the 90th show in a row.

Legendary strongman Doug Hepburn – arguably the strongest man in the world at his peak – slept 10 hours a night.

And we now know just how important sleep is for anyone interested in optimal health and fitness. While you sleep, your body produces human growth hormone, secretes testosterone and repairs muscle tissues. Believe it or not, you can actually gain muscle mass and melt away body fat just by getting upwards of 9 hours of sleep per night.

Let Tivo take care of the “must-see” TV and get yourself 9+ hours of sleep for just one week – you’ll be absolutely amazed at how fast your body changes. You might think you’re too busy to ever manage 9+ hours of sleep a night for a week.

But consider this: A leading strength coach tried this experiment and reported that his cravings for sweets vanished and he dropped an incredible 22 pounds in a week. Yes, 22 pounds in ONE week. So if you want to get into shape FAST, carve out some extra time for sleep.

Follow these five tips and you too can get a body like an old-time strongman. Whether you choose to compliment your new physique with a stunning handlebar mustache is completely up to you.

For more information on how to get a body like an old-time strongman, visit

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