Bradley J. Steiner’s General Rules for Training (1972)


As stated previously, no definite rules can be said to apply to all trainees at all times, since every case is uniquely different – and the final trainer is the individual himself. However, there are helpful guidelines that can be followed, and I present the following as such, to be considered in light of your present stage of development and current goals . . .

1.) It pays to include jogging, running, some form of conditioning work in your schedule at least twice a week. This adds that final edge to an intermediate lifter’s development, and helps in developing your ability to recover quickly from lifting. Consider the health benefits of getting out and doing some conditioning work two or three times a week. Now do it.

2.) Overtraining is the bane of many lifters’ existence! Avoid this by training sensibly for periods of time that are not excessive. Take periodic layoffs and back-cycle regularly. A two-hour workout employing rugged barbell exercises is plenty for anyone who gives fully of himself, no matter how advanced – and many will benefit more by a workload reduced to less than this. If the RIGHT method of training is used there is not a great need for a great quantity of time. 2 sets of 3 can often be more effective than 6 sets, especially if the 2 sets are worked HARD.

3.) Heavy weight is the main key to strength gains. 20 minutes of heavy lifting will build more strength than 3 hours of light pumping.

4.) Strong concentration is vital for your success. Problems should be left outside the training area.

5.) That LAST REP, the one that feels impossible to make, is of much greater importance than the next set.

6.) If you neglect your nutrition you cut your own engine.

7.) Good form PLUS heavy weights is what gets benefit from your endeavors.

8.) On days when you just cannot “get up and go” even after fifteen minutes of training, take it easy. Just do some stretching and light leg work, then call it quits for the day.

9.) High energy days call for harder work. Not longer workouts, HARDER work.

10.) Sometimes the best way to overcome a sticking point or staleness is to layoff entirely or lighten up on your training for a week. If you’ve been training hard without a break for two months (or more) there is no question that you need a break. Learn to deload. It’s not complicated. It works.

11.) Don’t be too quick to give up on a new program that starts out feeling difficult or awkward. Give your body at least two weeks to break into a routine, a new movement or an exercise variation. Take a tip from Reid Fleming. Try to milk a routine as long as you can. Learn to deload. It’s not complicated. It works.

12.) As you become more experienced try to discover what your own unique style of training is.

Finally, remember the importance of persistence. Keep at your training. If you start and stop, hem and haw, you’ll never actualize your potential, no matter how great it may be. Do not expect quick results. Do not resent the effort required of you for the attainment of your goals. Once you accomplish them they may appear unimportant when compared to your next goals. In the doing lies fulfillment. The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout. Down came the rain and washed the spider out. So the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout. Face it. Life is Sisyphean.

Source: Bradley Steiner, Powerlifting and the Development of Herculean Strength (Health Culture, 1972).