Walk into a gym these days and you'll find people doing exercises that look more like advanced gymnastic routines than weight lifting. While there is definitely something to be said for new training techniques, there's nothing like the fundamentals for some dense muscle gains.  


weight lifting, back, strength, muscle, old-school,


Basic, heavy compound movements have withstood the test of time when it comes to building lean mass and size. A huge proponent of old-school weight lifting is Zach Even-Esh, founder of the Underground Strength Nation.


Breaking Muscle Shop

Zach focuses on hard-core lifting, without any bells or whistles. In this four week strength and conditioning program, he incorporates all of the classics, from rope climbs to ring work. Get back to the basics with a program that Arnold would approve of.


READ MORE: The 4 Undebatable Fundamentals of Training


Strength and Conditioning Cycle

This strength and conditioning plan covers the fundamentals of weight lifting. These multi-joint movements are sure to leave you shaking, drenched in a pool of your own sweat. 


This workout is a four week cycle with week 1 repeated on week 2, and week 3 repeated on week 4. The "repeat week" technique is used as an opportunity to add more reps, less rest, improve technique or add weight. Push yourself hard and make improvements the second time around. Note: Be sure to warm up before starting any of these workouts.


Week 1 

Week 1 - Day 1: Full Body Work

From rope climb to farmer's walks to the prowler push, this workout targets your whole body. 


Week 1 - Day 2: Upper Body

This upper body workout uses a mix of bodyweight, dumbells and rings to hammer your upper body.



Week 1 - Day 3: Lower Body

This wouldn't be an old-school workout routine if you didn't find squats on leg day. There are Zercher and Bulgarian split squats in this workout. Double the fun.


FURTHER READING: Squat Therapy: 4 Drills for a Better Squat


Week 2: Add Weight, Less Rest 

Note: Keep records of your workouts so you can track your progress


Week 2 - Day 1: Full Body Work


Week 2 - Day 2: Upper Body


Week 2 - Day 3: Lower Body


Week 3 

Week 3 - Day 1: Full Body

Start out the third week with another full body workout. This time make it really interesting with some tire flips, weighted pull ups, and the classic bench.


Week 3 - Day 2: Upper Body

Bring out the medicine ball and rings for this intense upper body workout. 


Week 3 - Day 3: Lower Body

This lower body workout is brutal. Once you're done with these walking lunges, sandbag power cleans, and lunge jumps, you'll be waddling for a week.



Week 4: Add Reps, Improve Technique   

Week 4 - Day 1: Full Body


Week 4 - Day 2: Upper Body


Week 4 - Day 3: Lower Body


Now, go get back to your weight lifting roots!