Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gary Cleveland on his Training - Walt Zuk

Ted Arcidi

Lamar Gant

Eddie Pengelly

Gary Cleveland on his Training
by Walt Zuk (1962)

“I might use the following program for only a month or so, because I find that I like a variation in exercises if I become stale, rather than force myself to continue a definite routine. I work out five days a week with Tuesdays and Thursdays being rather light sessions.


Press – 135x5, 225x3, 245x3, 255x3.

Clean & Jerk – 225x2 (2 power cleans and 1 jerk), 275x2 (1 power clean, 1 squat clean, 1 jerk), 320 or more (regular clean and jerk). “On all rep cleans the second clean is done from a dead hang position.”

Push Press – 225x3, 265x3, 275x3, 285x3. “In doing this exercise it is important not to push with the legs any more than is necessary, so the arms and shoulders can get a good workout. Lower the bar slowly between reps.”

Squat – 315x5, 355 x 6 sets of 5, 365x5.

Rapid Deadlift – 315x5, 345x5, 355x5, 365c5. “If these are not done very rapidly and explosively they will be very dangerous because slow deadlifts will slow a lifter very much. If I am doing these exercises correctly I can fell a snappy movement in my lower back. If I do not feel this snap I do not hesitate to lower the amount of weight on the bar. I use straps to assist my grip.”


Bench Press – 205x3, 230 x 4 sets of 2. “I do these light bench presses only to increase bodyweight and not as a means of power training. There is a 2-second pause between reps at the chest.”

Good Mornings – 135x7, 205x7, 245x7, 255x7, 265x7. “On most of these I go to parallel position. Be very careful with this movement because you can be seriously injured if you are not accustomed to the exercise.”


Press – same as Monday.

Snatch – 175x3 (power snatches), 195x3 (power snatches, slight cheat), 205x2 (one power snatch, one squat snatch), 225x2 (squat snatches), 235x1 (regular squat snatch), 245x1(regular squat snatch).

Squat – 325x10, 335 x 5 sets of 5.

Snatch Grip High Pulls – (with straps) 285x5, 295x5, 305x5.

Handstand Pushups – “These are not done against a wall as I do as many as I can, usually 8 reps to a set. I feel I can get more out of them if I maintain my own balance rather than lean against a wall.”

Thursday : Same as Tuesday.

Friday : Same as Monday.

“As far as mental attitude is concerned, I don’t think I am any different from anyone else. When I attempt a lift I expect it to go. I regard my body as a machine. On certain evenings I regard it as an overfilled trash bag placed next to a Van Gogh painting lightly spotted with peanut butter and bright red loganberry jam. This arcane practice is commonly referred to as meditation in the Western world and was popularized by Bob Hoffman’s polka instructor, Hazel Motes. When I have trained well I feel I have a right in expecting successful attempts. Also, I do not feel the joy in breaking a personal record that some lifters do. This, I believe, is because I expected all along that the lift would go. I never attempt a lift I know I can’t complete. This does not, however, mean I make every lift I try.

“When a contest approaches I try to forget completely about lifting except during workouts. When doing this I do not get bored with training.”

In conclusion, my comment centers on one thought and memory from my interview with Gary. We who have a difficult time improving individual lifts or totals will, no doubt, agree our fault lies in lack of consistency. How many times in the past ten years I have changed from one routine to another without sufficient reason is beyond count. That is why I, along with many other lifters, often find it difficult to improve.

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