View Full Version : The Keys to Progress

01-27-2003, 08:31 AM
The Keys To Progress

I've made a bold decision to follow the routines and advice given by John McCallum in his book "The Complete Keys To Progress." Originally a series of articles printed Strength & Health magazine in the 60's, KTP takes a person from the beginner/intermediate stage of lifting to advanced lifting in several years. Each "month" McCallum will talk about training, routines of famous bodybuilders (at that time), nutrition, gaining weight, health issues, concentration, or many other BB'ing topics. He leaves few stones unturned. Most chapter themes are wrapped around entertaining and humorous stories that make the book much more than just your average training book.

The idea is to follow the book chronologically. You follow the last routine given until a new one is listed with each "chapter" (originally a column in the magazine) lasting one month. Not every chapter lists routines. For example, the first routine is listed in Ch. 1 and the next routine is not until Ch. 5 so you follow the first routine for 4 months. I'm not sure how long the entire "program" is, I lost count at 2 years. Since I always talk about how this is the best training book I've ever read it's time to put my money where my mouth is, place my trust into McCallum's hands, and give it a go.

My short term goal is to just complete the first routine "Time Factor" which is 4 months long. My long term goal is to complete the first 5 routines which will take 14 months total. My super long term goal is to complete the whole book which would take well over 2 years. We'll see how far I get. I know of several people who have done the first 4 routines and only one person who has completed the entire book.

Anyone interested in KTP can get it at www.davedraper.com or www.ironmind.com You can also read an excerpt from KTP at Dave Draper's website.

Time Factor

The first KTP routine is called "Time Factor" and here is how it is layed out in the book:

Press Behind the Neck: 2 sets of 12 reps
Bent-rowing Exercise: 3 sets of 15 reps
Bench Press: 3 sets of 12 reps
Curls: 1 set of 10 reps
Squats: 2 sets of 15
Pullovers: 2 sets of 20 reps (each set done right after a set of squats)
SLDL: 1 set of 15 reps
Leg Raises: 1 set of 25 reps

This is done 3 times a week for 4 months. This is a routine designed for beginners or intermediates and I rate myself as somewhere in between the two.

The only change I'll be making is to do the Press to the front and not behind the neck. 3x a week is going to be tough and will demand lots of good food and plenty of rest. The food part I can handle but I'll need to work on getting more sleep.

My plan is to do the exact reps and increase the poundage at least every other workout via microloading. I'll be starting the weights out a little low to adjust to the higher rep range. I'm used to working in the 5 - 8 rep range so this is a bit of an adjustment for me. But this routine is meant to work on size, strength, and conditioning, and conditioning is what I really need right now. This routine will wear my ass out but that's the way I want it. My first workout is tonight. Wish me luck.

01-27-2003, 09:02 AM
This is going to be a tough routine, that's for sure. Enjoy it!


01-27-2003, 12:20 PM
Good luck with it TMan, and be sure to keep in mind that a lot of the principles in KTP are outdated. Such as the breathing squats principle, and a few others.

Just something to keep in mind.

01-27-2003, 12:26 PM
NateDogg: Thanks! Yeah, it's gonna be hella tough!

MonStar: A few things (I won't say 'alot') in KTP are outdated but I disagree that breathing squats are one of them. They are still encouraged by 'modern' writers like Strossen and several writers from Hardgainer magazine. Many still think 20 rep breathing squats is the best exercise for building mass. I guess I'll find out for myself (especially with the 2nd routine in the book). Thanks for checking out my journal!

01-27-2003, 09:28 PM
Just after the first workout I can already tell that this is the routine I need to do. The poundage was all sub-maximal but some of the sets wore me out. My conditioning is horrible and hopefully this routine will kick it into high gear.

Overhead Press (to the front) - 70x2x12
Bent-Over BB Rows - 100x3x15
Bench Press - 110x3x12
BB Curls - 70x10
Squats - 75x2x15
Pullovers - 25x2x20
SLDL - 95x15
Leg Raises - BWx25

No real surprises here. All sets were sub-max except maybe the curls which is pretty close to my max. The squats are what really made me realize that I need work on my conditioning. The poundage, 75 lbs., was not that difficult at all. I was just getting tired from all the reps. Had to do a few "breathing squats" just to catch my breath. That's pretty pathetic. This routine is gonna do me alot of good.

01-28-2003, 06:27 AM
Looks like a tough program but I am interested to see how it pans out. Good luck with it. How much do you plan on increasing the poundage by? Are you going by a percentage or just kind of estimating by what the first workout felt like? I know you said microloading but I am not really familiar with what that means.

01-28-2003, 06:32 AM
Good luck.

01-28-2003, 06:46 AM
Hey mate,

I'm doing a routine from ...Keys to Progress. that book kicks ass. So far my routine is working for me.


01-28-2003, 07:13 AM
bradley: I'll be increasing the poundage by whatever I think I can handle, so basically estimating. I'm easing my way into the routine for now so no huge jumps in weight. Nothing more than 5 lbs. Microloading means adding weight to the bar in less than 5 lb. increments. I have 10 ounce weights (actually they are just big washers) so one on each side of the BB would be 1.25 lbs.

ericg: Thanks!

Robert: Which routine are you doing? There are some really cool routines in the book.

01-29-2003, 08:41 PM
Second workout is in the bag. Although all the poundages are slightly up, tonight felt easier than the last workout. I didn't feel quite as tired afterwards like I did last time. It'll be interesting to see how I handle it after all the poundages get tough. That should be in about a week or so.

OHP - 72.5x2x12
Bent-Over BB Rows - 105x3x15
Bench Press - 112.5x3x12
BB Curls - 71.25x10
Squats - 80x2x15
Pullovers - 26.25x2x20
SLDL - 97.5x15
Leg Raises - BWx25

Everything went up at least a little. Some of the exercises are starting to get tough most notably OHP, bench, and curls. The squats actually felt easier this time. Not as exhausting as last time but still tiring. Workout felt good overall.

01-29-2003, 10:29 PM
I've read most of KTP. I think the 2X25 on squats makes more sense than 1X20. I've tried 20-rep squats. It turns into 12-rep squats followed by a bunch of singles. It'll be interesting to see how long you can keep this up at 3X a week- hopefully for the entire time. Let us know how it works for you. :thumbup:

01-30-2003, 09:18 AM
Thanks, Delphi. Yes, it will be interesting to see how long I can keep this up. I think I can do the 4 months. I know others have, so it's definitely doable.

Paul Stagg
01-30-2003, 09:28 AM
The entire series of articles ran for over 5 years, I think.

If you follow his advice, work as hard as you can, and eat like he suggests, you'll get big and strong.

The squats should make you want to die... not be 'tiring' (It's ok to ease into this if your conditioning is off, but don't wait too long to go after it)

I think its OK to leave a rep in the tank on the presses and pulls, and focus on the squat poundage.. but the key to this is to learn how to work hard, and how to force poundage increases. You'll want to get complacent - You'll squat 135 on monday for 2x15, and it will suck. On Wednesday, you'll want to leave it at 135... but you have to FORCE 140.

You'll adapt to the 3x a week workouts.

01-30-2003, 11:47 AM
Thanks for the advice, Paul. I am easing into the routine but I should be training very hard in a week or so. My focus is on the squats. I'll keep what you said in mind and work hard on the progression. It's going to be tough but weight training isn't supposed to be easy.

01-31-2003, 11:08 PM
Woke up this morning with a pain in my lower back. Didn't feel a thing when I went to bed. The pain isn't real bad though. It's probably a combination of sleeping in a bad position, working the lower back in training, and holding a 15 lb. 5 month old baby for long periods of time while standing (he won't let you sit when he's grumpy). Anybody with kids knows how that can make your back sore. I had the exact same back problem about a month ago and it goes away on a couple of days. Still to prevent this from becoming a problem I think I'm going to have to change the routine. I'm going to do the SLDLs every other workout. Hopefully, this will work out better for me and my back in the long run.

OHP - 75x2x12
Bent-Over BB Rows - 110x3x15
Bench Press - 115x3x12
BB Curls - 71.25x10
Squats - 90x2x15
Pullovers - 26.25x2x20
SLDL - 100x2
Leg Raises - BWx25

Yep you read it right, I only did 2 reps on the SLDL. My back felt fine during the rows and squats but I felt some pain with the SLDLs. I decided it'd be in my best interest to not work through the pain. Other than that, the workout went well. Most of the exercises are getting tough now. Should only be another workout or two and I'll be at maximum effort.

Squats are getting heavy now but still not too hard, just the last couple of reps felt tough. My goal is to try to get the reps done with only 3 deep breaths between reps at the most. Right now I only need the 3 breaths on the last 3 or 4 reps.

01-31-2003, 11:13 PM
Originally posted by TMan
holding a 15 lb. 5 month old baby for long periods of time while standing (he won't let you sit when he's grumpy)

My son was the same way. As soon as you'd sit down with him, he'd go berserk. So we walked up the hall, down the hall, up the hall, down the hall....

...up the hall, down the hall, up the hall, down the hall....

02-01-2003, 07:49 PM
Hey T-Man, i took one of the workouts from the book but adjusted it slightly.

Front squats
standing calf raises
Bench press
Cheat barbell curls

I placed in a biceps exercise because i wanted to work my biceps basically. I don't do any direct tricep work though. I left out shoulders, i only do these once a week because i'm having problems with my shoulders just now. I swapped barbell rows with deadlift cause i'm into powerlifting so i wanted a workout that involved the deadlift. Mon i'll do everything above, as well as on the Friday to. Wednesday however i'll leave out the barbell curls, all the squats and the deadlift. And replace it with shoulder shrugs and leg press machine. Just to give my lower back abit of a rest.

For the past couple of weeks, i've been able to keep adding on 5 pounds in every workout in all the exercises which is great. My lifts have increased greatly cause of the 3 full body workouts. My rep targets are 8 - 15 reps with the heaviest weight possible. the max sets i do for most exercises are only 2. My deadlifts only involve 1 all out set.