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Keys To Progress - Training Routines By John McCallum

Strength Oldschool

By Strength Oldschool

Keys to Progress by John McCallum

If you haven’t read this book yet It’s a MUST read! I wish I came across this book when I started out training instead of relying on Flex Magazine lol!

* To Buy this book click here.

One of the things I remember reading from 'Keys to Progress' which I didn't understand at the time was how Reg Park when going for Bulk would handle the heaviest possible weights 3 times a week, full body training BUT... DID NOT TRAIN ARMS!! He just stuck with the big compound movements which hit more than one muscle group at a time. He didn't do any isolation exercises, no direct arm movements like dumbbells curls, barbell curls etc. That always fascinated me.

Huge Reg Park

Here’s the articles…

“The Complete KEYS to PROGRESS” by John McCallum

Page 1.

The Time Factor

There’s a young man down the street from me who trains with weights. He’s been at it for about three years now but you’d never know to look at him. He’s got no build at all. My grandmother’s been dead for twelve years and she probably still looks better than he does.”

When I bought the book and read that first line I bowled over in a fit of laughter and was totally hooked straight away. This book is great, highly recommended and contains plenty of old-school training routines.

On page 2 of ‘Keys To Progress’ John McCallum explains how he popped in to see Earl down in Chula Vista one summer. He asked Earl how a man should train. Earl replied….”From an hour to an hour and a half.”…..”Three times a week.”

Good basic Routine #1

  • Press Behind Neck: 2 sets of 12 reps
  • Barbell Rows: 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Bench Press: 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Barbell Curls: 1 set of 10 reps
  • Squats: 2 sets of 15 reps
  • Pullovers: 2 sets of 20 reps
  • Stiff-Legged Deadlift: 1 set of 15 reps
  • Leg Raises: 1 set of 25 reps

* Completed in 1 hour or less.

* Superset the pullovers with the squats. Eat loads and train on this 3 times a week.


One of John McCallum’s simplier workouts went as follows:

Page 12.

  • Press Behind Neck: 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Squat: 2 sets of 20 reps
  • Pullover: 2 sets of 25 reps

* Superset the pullovers with the squats. Use light weight on the pullovers – go for the stretch.

* 3 times a week perform this workout. Work hard on getting your squat poundage up. Eat, Eat and eat some more. Include supplements and sleep loads!


Page 28: Power Training – Keys To Progress

Jim Bradford is briefly discussed for having incrediable shoulder development.

Jim Bradford Training

Olympic Lifter Jim Bradford Holding a Man

Olympic Lifter Jim Bradford in 1960



  • Barbell Shoulder Press: 5 sets of 3 reps
  • Barbell Curl: 5 sets of 3 reps
  • Squat: Sets of 3 reps —- adding 10 lbs every set —– keep going until you miss
  • Pullovers: 8-10 reps (light weight) after every set of squats


  • Bench Press: 5 sets of 3 reps (using same weight on each set)
  • Hang Snatch: 5 sets of 3 reps
  • Hang Power Cleans: 5 sets of 3 reps
  • Deadlift: Sets of 2 reps until you miss (each set increase poundage by 20-30lbs)


* This book is a must read, very funny and superb training articles and stories – To Buy this book click here.

* The articles were written in this book many, many, years ago but don't let that put you off. If you're starting training and looking to get bigger and stronger, then buy this book. Skinny people will love this book - Follow the training guidelines to a 'T' and eat big and you'll grow! You won't regret it.

Keep training hard,

Strength Oldschool


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