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Peary Rader Old-School Workouts: Three Kick-Ass Programs for Size and Strength

by Mike Mahler

Many of today’s trainees suffer from the notion that you have to put in hours of training, several times a week, to pack on real size. This might be true … if you desperately want to be the next Mr. Olympia, and if you have access to the same “recovery methods.”

However, for people who want to get stronger, bigger, and most important of all, healthier, there are more effective alternatives. While you don’t have to train for hours on end with massive volume, you do have to work very hard and do a few things very well.

You have to focus like a laser and dig deep to make it through brief, intense programs.

The Master of Bodybuilding and Weight Gaining

As the founder of Ironman Magazine and the author of The Rader Master Bodybuilding and Weight Gaining System, Peary Rader knew the value of hard work that focused on bang-for-the-buck exercises.

His squat program worked so well that Rader put on close to 100 pounds of solid body weight in a year. A hardgainer, he weighed just 130 pounds before starting the program.

Even if you only achieve one-third of his results, imagine what it would do for your physique. Let’s examine three of his most effective programs for adding size.


Program One: Squat-Focused Brutality

Rader learned about the benefits of squat-focused workouts from fellow old-schoolers Mark Berry and J.C. Hise. Berry had trouble packing on size, but managed to add 29 pounds of solid muscle in one month on the squat program.

Hise was another frustrated lifter. After hearing about Berry’s results, Hise gave the same squat program a chance and put on 10 pounds in one month, and a total of 75 pounds over the next two years.

While these results sound too good to be true, once you see how brutal the workout is, you’ll see why it’s so effective.

Rader felt that the squat should be the primary focus of this weight-gaining program, and all other exercises should be secondary. If trainees were pressed for time, he told them it was okay to through periods in which the squat is the only exercise they do.

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