Consolidation Training: A Powerful Weapon, In The War Of Mass Construction

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I’ve had a lot of success with consolidated workouts over the years, so wanted to speak to them here. First, let’s define our terms. Consolidated training means cutting your exercise selection back to 2, 3, maybe 4 big movements at the most. These are incredibly demanding exercises, and require a great deal of mental as well as physical effort. Let’s look at an example, here we have a full body workout consisting of just 4 exercises that work the entire body. You’ll notice there are no curls, tricep kickbacks, leg extensions or like isolation exercises that deliver little bang for your buck. At first glance, most of my trainees say, “That’s it”? Yeah, that’s it. Until you try it. Here’s what you’re in for:

Sample Workout

20 rep breathing squats
20 rep breathing pullovers


Chinups are placed first because they require the most energy of all the upper body movements. You for sure wouldn’t want to try them after 20 rep squats – you’d be wiped out. Dips are up next, a movement that’s been favorably compared to the upper body squat. 20 rep breathing squats are  man-makers, and with any amount of challenging weight will put weight on a rake. The pullovers are done with a light weight/straight arms, such that they expand the rib cage after heavy breathing quats. And you’ll for sure be huffing and puffing like a locomotive by the time you hobble over to perform them.


Despite just using 4 exercises, this workout takes around an hour. Why so long? Well, after you’ve built up to some pretty impressive poundages, you need to warm up progressively. I dip with in excess of 100lbs for example, so it takes time to build up to that weight before I launch into my work set.


You should be resting at least 3 minutes between sets. 5 or more if you really want to be at your strongest. This, due to the fact your CNS takes longer to recover vs. the muscles. Muscle takes around 3 minutes to recover the spent chemical energy (ATP, etc). The CNS takes much, much longer. The former Soviet teams waited up to 20 min!, and used visualization techniques during that time. It allowed them to crush their own records and the proof’s in the pudding: The U.S. got its clock cleaned (and still does) at international competitions.

Observe how this differs from the “typical” chest routine you’ll see in most gyms. That usually consist of 4 sets of flat bench, 3 sets of inclines, 3 sets of flyes and 2-3 sets of cable crossovers. Then they hit arms, LOL. These guys are wasting their time on flyes and cable crossovers IMO, they’d be much better served to pour themselves into the first two exercises and cut the workout then and there. They’d grow faster.

Unfortunately, consolidation routines are often looked at as the last resort for most trainees. They should be among the first places you look to get back on track. These needn’t be HIT one set to failure affairs either, and their merit was seen by everyone from Arthur Jones, to Mike Mentzer to Perry Rader. 2-3 hard work sets in the 4-8 rep range is plenty. Pouring yourself into these 2-3 sets is FAR superior, vs. spreading you intensity out over 12-13 sets in a typical workout. There’s just no comparison..

If you’ve been struggling to make progress and looking for a better answer, give this consolidation routine a try. Don’t add work, pour yourself into progressive poundages and watch yourself grow. Quality resources in this area are “Super Squats”, by Randall J. Strossen and “Hardgainer”, by Stuart McRobert. Both are must reads, IMO and have changed the lies of many. That’s no understatement.


There is beauty in simplicity, and you’d be wise to put this information into practice.


By | 2017-04-07T01:10:29+00:00 April 4th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|1 Comment

About the Author:

For almost 30 years, Rob has devoted his life to the pursuit of mastering physical culture. He is a former power-lifter, and is currently a radio personality, product formulator and an accomplished writer. Rob is perhaps best known for his strength training e-book series, The Blueprint. He can be found training hard in the gym every day, just like you. At almost 45 years of age, he can still be found doing 1 arm pushups. Also just like you, he takes this lifestyle seriously, with an eye for RESULTS. After all, RESULTS are what really matter. His goal is to help others learn from his hard won knowledge and first-hand experience.

One Comment

  1. Matt April 4, 2016 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    Great article. How many times per week would you do this?

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