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The Purposeful Primitive - Iron Essays

From Fat and Flaccid to Lean and Powerful
By Marty Gallagher

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"Marty Gallagher has written the Great American Novel of Strength."
-Pavel Tsatsouline

Primitive Roots

I commenced my own transformational odyssey in 1962 when at age 12 my Irish father bought me a 110 pound set of weights for Christmas. I wanted to transform myself from what I was—an average boy—into what I wanted to be—a muscular giant. I was a daydreamer, a comic book reader, a superhero worshipper and in my mind's eye I would visualize myself transformed into Herculean proportion.

As a preteen I read Greek, Roman and Norse mythology and became a sport idolater. I wanted to become larger than life and instinctively sought out the tool that would enable me to achieve my imaginary physical goal: a barbell. My extremely supportive father enabled me to remake myself by purchasing the weights. He was a widower who worked long and hard and because of his work schedule I grew up with a lack of parental supervision.

Being a baby boomer, I had lots and lots of neighborhood mates and cohorts. Preteen males, we formed a roving tribe of "lost boys" and we actively and enthusiastically engaged in all types of organized athletic games. In those days parents sent children out to play; mothers particularly wanted the boys outside to preserve their sanity. Every single day we had enough male participants to form full football or baseball teams. The younger boys stood on the sidelines, anxiously awaiting their turn to be rotated into these massive sandlot games.

Once I obtained the tool of my transformation, my weight set, I set up a training area in my unfinished basement. Immediately my comrades and I began working out and…

Retro Home Gym
Old School Tools of the Trade

In this age of high-tech glitz and dazzle, the quest for physical transformation can confuse and confound the most astute and analytical individual. A serious fitness devotee seeks nothing less than complete physical renovation, but awash in a sea of conflicting methods and modes, who can sort the proverbial wheat from the chaff, the real-deal from the jive, the effective from the ineffectual?

Commercial gyms and omnipresent fitness infomercials continually churn confusion and purposeful obfuscation, promoting one exercise mode, machine or device after another, endless types and varieties, each presented as "the ultimate." Use of the device, we are told with the easy assurance of the unconsciously ignorant, makes transformation quick and effortless. If rapid and radical physique renovation were so damned easy the planet would be overrun with Arnold-clones and that just ain't so.

The cold truth is the process is…

Stone-Age Tools for Accessing the Third Dimension of Tension

  1. Olympic Barbell
    At some point if you use free weights you'll need to graduate from the pedestrian "exercise set" to an Olympic style barbell. The ball-bearing sleeves allow smooth, non-binding rotation of the load and the seven foot length is necessary for use in a power rack. Downside: the empty bar weighs 45 pounds so for exercises requiring less poundage you'll need to use dumbbells.
  2. Dumbbells
    We've selected six pairs of fixed poundage cast iron dumbbells, one pair each of 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 pound dumbbells. You can save money by buying…

You've Got About An Hour
Don't Apply Chronologic Boundaries To An Organic Undertaking

People often ask, "How long should a resistance exercise session last?" Is there a tipping point, a point of diminishing returns where energy nosedives so dramatically that further exercise effort is futile, if not downright counterproductive? The answer is yes. Experience and science converge on this one.

After 45 to 60 minutes, for someone in reasonably good condition, energy starts to fade quickly, strength plummets and performance begins to suffer so badly that logic dictates that the session should be ended.

Those in better physical condition might be able to…

Progress Multiplier: The Training Partner
The Only Thing Better Than A Hardcore Training Partner
…Is A Group Of Hardcore Training Partners

Any athlete that has played for a winning team knows that a group of athletes can develop a collective synergy that needs to be experienced to be truly appreciated. The optimal group dynamic creates a hurricane of momentum as players play over their heads and exceed realistic expectations on a routine basis. As a result of athletic synergy the grand total exceeds the logical sum of the combined individual parts. Team synergy can be replicated in resistance training by lifting with like-minded, highly motivated individuals regularly and repeatedly. A training partner, or better yet, a group of training partners, accelerates gains way past your wildest imaginings.

If the chemistry is right, if the person or persons pushes you and demands the best from you, if they do so without being reckless or hurtful, if they inspire you to do more than you would on your own, and do so without veering into injurious training practices—you are in for the most productive physical training period of your entire life. It is a predictable phenomenon and for this reason the athletic elite cluster together to train. It's only natural for the strong and capable to seek each other out.

The elite know that loafing or giving less than 100% effort is less likely when training in front of individuals who are your athletic equal or preferably better than you. If possible or given a choice, seek to train with…

How Simple Can The Physical
Renovation Process Be Made
Without Losing Effectiveness?

Recently I've had to do something I hadn't done in decades: introduce folks who've never lifted weights in their entire lives to my peculiar ways and methods.

Working with clinically obese folks caused me to undertake an unexpected reexamination of my own Purposefully Primitive methods and procedures. Could I break the basics of an already ultra-basic system down even further? Was it possible to create a framework sparser than the spare template already in place? Could I create a skeletal framework so limited that it could be used effectively by the untrained; people who work full time jobs, people with large families and lots of responsibilities? How simple can you make the physical renovation process without losing effectiveness?

My back-to-basics immersion caused me to deeply reconsider procedures and philosophies done for so long and so regularly that, in some cases, I'd forgotten why I do things the way I do them. I've lifted weights since the age of twelve and at age 57, I've accumulated 45 years of hands-on, in-the-trenches experience. That's good and bad. Anytime a person does something for that long they tend to get pretty damned good at it. On the downside they tend to become a bit dogmatic, automatic and pedantic. Elemental modes and procedures should not be taken for granted. It had been a long time since I'd pondered how, what and why I do what I do in the way that I do.

When I started explaining to the stone-cold beginners why I wanted them to do things in a certain way, I noted that…

All of my beginners were clinically obese, i.e. carrying a 30% or greater body fat percentile. Some of my new clients had 50% body fat percentiles. My goal was to see if it was possible to spark a substantive physical makeover in obese individuals using minimalist methods. The process would take ninety days and I would stay true to my Purposeful Primitive philosophy. That these methods worked for elite athletes was beyond dispute; grounded in biology, the methodological effectiveness is rooted in scientific "cause and effect," do this and that must happen. I believe in biological imperatives. Lift weights in the proscribed fashion and muscles are required to grow. Perform cardiovascular exercise as instructed and…

Ron: Started off weighing 241 pounds standing 5'9." This 48 year old Mack Truck factory worker was able to squat 95, bench press 95 and deadlift 135 for reps on day one. On day 88 Ron squatted 245, bench pressed 225 and deadlifted 400 weighing 175 pounds. Ron took 3rd place in his age and weight division at the 2005 AAU World Powerlifting Championships.

Betty: Started off weighing 305 pounds standing 5'2." This 61 year old grandmother was unable to walk 50 steps without stopping to catch her breath for 15 minutes. She was unable to perform a single squat with zero weight. She could perform one incline pushup with no weight and was unable to squat down to grab a deadlift bar. On day 88 she won her age group at the AAU World Powerlifting Championships with a 205 pound squat, a 100 pound bench press and a 195 pound deadlift. She was able to walk the circumference of a 154 acre farm without stopping and weighed 264 pounds.

Connie: Started off weighing 183 pounds standing 5'3." This 39 year old mother of five boys was able to squat and deadlift 75 pounds on day one and bench press 40 pounds. On day 88 Connie won the AAU World Powerlifting title weighing 148 pounds. She squatted 185, bench pressed 145 and deadlifted 185. In training she had bench pressed 95 for 10 reps.

Jen: Started off weighing 305 pounds standing 5'8." This 33 year old computer programmer on day one was able to do 10 incline pushups with no weight. She was able to perform one full squat with no weight and one deadlift with the empty 45 pound barbell. On day 88 Jen won her weight class at the AAU Championship squatting 200, bench pressing 105 and deadlifting 280 before barely missing 300. She weighed 271.

All final lifts were done under the strict scrutiny of three judges in high level powerlifting competition. No suits, belts, wraps or bench shirts were used in training or competition and no one ever did any lift other than the squat, bench press or deadlift. Sessions were done thrice weekly and everyone walked…

Ebb And Flow

Physical progress is an ebb and flow proposition. The only surefire bet in the world of fitness-related pursuits is that all progress eventually grinds to a halt, no matter how sophisticated the program or how great the individual effort.

Any untrained individual who suddenly subjects themselves to an intense progressive resistance program will generate substantial progress—for a while. The trick is recognizing when progress ceases and knowing what to do about it when…

Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis
Embrace Change, Legislate Contrast

Proper training and effective eating favorably alters the shape and composition of the human body. It does so by imposing biological imperatives. Do this and that will happen: simple scientific cause and effect. The biological imperative is the physical expression of the Hegelian Dialectic: thesis, antithesis, synthesis. The status quo thesis (your body as it is) is impacted by something radically different, the antithesis (a new system of training/nutrition.) Eventually that which was once radical and different morphs into the new status quo and becomes the synthesis. The synthesis becomes the new thesis and the process repeats itself.

If we are to keep the progress ball rolling, new modes need to be periodically rolled out. "New" is no guarantor of better. As Krishnamurti points out in an appropriate analogy…

Contrast Is King

Generally speaking most exercise and diet routines lose effectiveness after 4-6 weeks, but this can vary. Knowing when to change comes with experience.

The more training cycles you have under your belt, the better you'll be at identifying the signs of stagnation. Don't use change as an excuse to change every thing every week. Three to four weeks is the absolute minimum to stay on a selected course. Anything less and you can be accused of not giving the approach a decent tryout. Humans are creatures of habit and when left to their own devices prefer to follow a path they know. The iron elite are attuned to the body's subtle rhythms and patterns and they know that blind allegiance to a particular system, mode, methodology or approach is progress suicide.

The Purposeful Primitive understands that while anyone can design an initially effective training or eating regimen, the real secret to prolonged physical success is…

Direct Muscle Soreness &
Deep Muscle Fatigue

In my experience there are two distinct types of post-weight training aftershock: Direct muscle soreness (DMS) and deep muscle fatigue (DMF.) Both are the result of training intensely enough to trigger muscle hypertrophy. High repetition training is the culprit for DMS: I have never experienced "sore to the touch" muscle trauma using low rep sets, even when using multiple sets. Direct muscle soreness is fiber trauma related to high repetition training. DMS is caused by performing high rep sets that equal or exceed capacity in some fashion. This type of training creates intense muscle soreness that is a result of cellular micro-trauma.

Are the cells torn apart or pressurized? Forcibly expanded? Forcibly contracted? Ripped or shredded? The medical people can't seem to agree, but one thing is for sure…

Progressive Pulls
Old School Method for Total Back Decimation

Compound multi-joint progressive resistance movements done with a barbell or a pair of dumbbells are without question the most effective exercises ever devised for building muscle. No system of exercise produces the muscle growth free weight progressive resistance training delivers. This is a flat statement of undeniable scientific fact.

In my opinion the most effective single progressive resistance routine ever devised specifically for building the muscles of the back are progressive pulls. I was exposed to this routine around 1965 in an article in Strength & Health magazine. In the interceding decades I've added a few subtle twists. Anyone that I've gotten to use this program the way it is supposed to be used has gotten fabulous results.

Progressive Pulls will grow back muscle on a steel post and nothing more is needed than a barbell and a big pile of plates. This is hard and heavy work and if done correctly…

Base Strength

I once received a lesson in power and strength that lasted less than 15 seconds and provided me mental fuel that has burned for twenty years. In the mid-1980's I was at a powerlift competition coaching a friend. Coaching another lifter was George Hechter, the number one ranked heavyweight lifter in the world at the time. He was a smart, sharp guy and a protege of iron icon Bill Starr.

Dozens of athletes and coaches were backstage scurrying around getting lifters ready. George and I had just gotten our two lifters through the emotional rollercoaster of the squats and now done, we were filtering backstage. George and his athlete were walking ahead of me. As we passed the warm-up area, a squat bar still sat on the racks loaded to 505 pounds. It had been the last weight one of the lifters had used to warm-up. George walked over to the loaded bar, dipped under it, stood erect, took a step backwards and…

The Seductive Siren Song
Of Machine Exercise
Don't Lie Down In That Field Of Fragrant Poppies…
You Might Never Wake Up

They say that variety is the spice of life. In the world of resistance training this old cliche is often used as an excuse to avoid mastering tried and proven ultra-basic free weight exercises. Training with barbells and dumbbells using compound multi-joint exercises remains the most effective way ever devised for growing and strengthening muscles.

Thematically, mastering basic free weight exercise is the foundation on which all future resistance training efforts need to be constructed. Yet most young fitness devotees labor under the mythical illusion that using machines that mimic the basic free weight exercises are just as effective as the free weight exercises they mimic. This is a muscle myth of the first magnitude. There are a whole host of physiological reasons why free weights trump machines:…

Spawning Season
The Names Have Been Changed To Protect The Guilty

My name is Grill so they call me Grill Man. I'm 6'2" and weigh 350 pounds. I have a 14% body fat percentile and can dunk a basketball with either hand. My goal is to deadlift 800 in a powerlifting competition. I have done 771 officially and 780 in training. So I'm close. I'm serious as a heart attack when I walk into the gym. I go to the local Steel House at the same time of day every day five days a week and have done so for 15 straight years.

All through the Christmas Holidays my training had gone splendidly. I was preparing for the Mountaineer Open Powerlifting Championships in March. I always put a big red circle around January 2nd on my training calendar because I need to prepare myself mentally for the onslaught of the Mullet influx that strikes my gym. I have come to expect the migration and try to make allowances in advance. I was determined this year not to allow the annual mullet infestation to derail my…

Back In The Day
Life At The Muscle Factory

Back in the late eighties I ended up taking a job in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Anyone from Connecticut knows Bridgeport was one rough freaking place. Incongruously a yacht club had sprung up next to a waste recycling plant in the heart of Bridgeport, right next to a notorious ghetto housing project. My friend Bobby relocated to Connecticut to take a job working for his brother's import/export firm. He asked me to help crew his 28 foot, twin-screw Sea Ray from Deal, Maryland to its new home at the Bridgeport Marina. It was a terrific trip and as it turned out, it was a ploy by the brothers to lure me into taking a job with their firm. They enticed me by paying me way more than I was worth to do way less than I was capable of. On the first day at the new job Bobby walked into my office. I was nervously unpacking my stuff and trying to get my bearings.

"You look tense—let's go get a drink!" This was 10am on Monday. But hey what the hell, he was my new boss. "Meet the new boss—not the same as the old boss." We drove to the Bridgeport Marina in his new red Corvette. We arrived and parked. We walked towards the brand new complex of shops that lined a mini-boardwalk. The shops and boardwalk bordered a long line of docks that housed hundreds of boats. Suddenly a smell, make that a stench, hit me. It was putrid and overpowering. "Bobby, what in the hell is that god-awful smell?" Bobby, a rail-thin bon vivant with a wicked Jack Nicholson smile, gestured towards a…

Remembrances of Days Past
Coaching Team USA

In 1983 I had a horrific power accident at age 33: I was squatting with 700 for reps on a light day without spotters. After all it was only 700. Anyway, it was a hot and sticky day and my T-shirt was soaked. The bar slipped down my back. I was about to toss it backward and leap forward when a well-intentioned buddy saw what was happening and leapt to my assistance. It was a nice gesture at precisely the wrong time. He tried to wrestle the barbell while standing behind me. He wanted to save me. There is no way anyone is going to prevent gravity from taking 700 exactly where it wants to go: straight down. He and I got tangled up and I took the full brunt of 700 pounds dropped from four feet across my left lower leg. It snapped like a match stick.

I had squatted 840 the previous week weighing 250 and thought I had a real shot at breaking Danny Wohleber's 871 world record in four weeks at the nationals. That accident effectively ended up my career as a powerlifter, at least for the next decade. I made a comeback as a master lifter (over 40 years of age) at age 42, but I never hit the heights I'd achieved before the injury.

After the accident I wanted to keep my hand in the game and rather than become an official or an administrator (never my style) I decided to…

Praise for Marty Gallagher's The Purposeful Primitive

"I would venture to say that I have read every book pertaining to weightlifting over the last three decades, and I have probably read the majority of the articles in this area. There are two things I can say unequivocally about what I have read. One, Marty Gallagher is the best writer in the world of physical fitness and strength, bar none, and two, Gallagher's newest book The Purposeful Primitive is the best manuscript ever produced in this field.

Teeming with esoteric information on training, biomechanics, nutrition, and sport psychology, The Purposeful Primitive is a wealth of information that every serious lifter needs to read. You are going to like this book. NO! You are going to LOVE it. I promise you that. It's Gallagher's best work, and that means it is strictly world class."
—Dr. Judd Biasiotto, author of 46 fitness and health-related books, world powerlifting champion

"I really only have two things to say about Marty Gallagher that bear on his new book, The Purposeful Primitive. The first is that there are two classes of writers in powerlifting: 1) Marty Gallagher and 2) all others. The second is that one day, ten years ago, Marty called to say he knew a Russian guy who he thought might be a good writer for MILO, so we invited the guy to submit an article: It was called Vodka, Pickle Juice, Kettlebell Lifting and other Russian Pastimes, the author was Pavel Tsatsouline, and rest, as they say, is history."
—Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D, Publisher and Editor-in-chief, Milo Magazine

"As a student, athlete, teacher, researcher, professional coach, and businessman I have spent over 60 years in health, fitness and sport, devoted to 'how to become the best you can be'. The Purposeful Primitive has been a very interesting journey for me... back-to-the-future...

Marty does a wonderful job bringing out the art and science of training, extracting many of the critical universal and specific principles (guiding rules to action—social, emotional, mental, physical and spiritual) that are applicable to living a productive life in general, and in training for health, fitness and sport, specifically. In addition, I like the way Marty personalizes the lives of outstanding athletes and shows how they applied these fundamental, can't-miss principles in their training to help them become the best they could be in their sport. My recommendation: if you want to achieve something 'great in your life', add The Purposeful Primitive to your training library… yesterday."
—Dr. Bob Ward, Sports Science Network, former head strength and conditioning coach, Dallas Cowboys

"For those who buy or judge reading material by size, number of pages, volume, or distance able to be thrown and cause damage, Marty has your back on this one. For the intellectual athlete who actually thirsts for knowledge and sees content as King, you will get 30 years of genius and experience in the Iron Game mixed with the passion and ability of Hemmingway all wrapped up in one book and the result is The Purposeful Primitive. From me to you—Go buy the book and enjoy!!"
—Rickey Dale Crain, IPF/WPC/AAU World Champion, 2000 Powerlifting Hall of Fame Inductee

"Marty Gallagher is a brilliant writer who thinks deeply about subjects he knows and loves. His manifesto/encyclopedia contains a ton of wisdom, one-of-a-kind role models, awesome color photos… a truly fascinating read."
—Clarence Bass, author of the Ripped series, Lean For Life, Challenge Yourself, and Great Expectations

"Marty Gallagher has written a most interesting book that contains not only telling first hand biographies from powerlifting's heyday, but the routines and mindset of the top practitioners of the strength pursuit. His style is rich with anecdote, at the same time being right on point regarding the many divergent paths to the attainment of fitness. The basic truths underlying those paths have been distilled down to a certainty, allowing the reader to intelligently compose their own program. Good job from one who sought intensely over many years to grasp the essence of power and fitness and most importantly loves what he does."
—Hugh Cassidy, first world heavyweight powerlifting champion

"What can one say with certainty about the author of this book—Marty Gallagher? Nothing other than the facts that he has 'been there and done that' as an 800-plus pound squatter! That he has written over a thousand articles about fitness and nutrition in the published print media (not to include his amazing blog). That he is not just a genius, but the best interviewer and storyteller going. And that he has not only truly trained the world's strongest athletes, but that he has distilled the most useful information from 15 of the foremost weight lifters, bodybuilders, psychologists and 'bodymaster' nutritionists of the last half century into a form that can be used by anyone from overweight, exercise-adverse beginner to world champions in their sports.

From Olympic lifting to power lifting and bodybuilding, whether muscle gain or fat loss, from cooking to supplements, from changing exercise and eating habits to molding the psychology of a champion (whether one is even remotely interested in competition or not), Marty has covered it all. I only wish I had had a book like this when I was growing up and trying my best to get bigger and stronger. Marty has demonstrated, without question, that he is the current and undeniably best 'trainer of champions' and 'ultimate guide to physical—and mental—transformation.' This book not only provides the simplest instructions and cheapest financial and lifestyle requirements, it is absolutely the single best book ever written on being the best you can be physically and otherwise."
—James E. Wright, Ph.D, former Director of Sports Science, U.S. Army Physical Fitness School; former Health and Science Editor, Flex Magazine

"Absolutely magnificent. What a breathtaking book on a life with iron. Marty Gallagher delivers an outstanding, comprehensive book with a writing style worthy of Hemingway himself. This book takes you on a journey through the iron-history of the great ones and in the most sophisticated way Marty presents probably the best ever written material on life, iron and mental fortitude.

This book is impossible to put down once you start reading it. It should be the first read of any who aspire to lift weights and be healthy. There are not enough words in the English language (or Danish for that matter) to describe how excellent this book is. It is an absolute must to any Strength & Health enthusiast. I give it my highest recommendation!!"
—Kenneth "the Dane of Pain" Jay, MSc, Sr. RKC

"Gallagher takes the gems of the greatest strength athletes in history and distills the keys to success for all of us.

After reviewing profile after profile after profile of great strength trainers in history, Gallagher goes the next step: he sums up their approaches then shows that all of them are right. As a person trained in the basics of theology, I understood immediately Gallagher's great point: it's not 'either/or' when it comes to strength and body mass, it is 'both/and'. I live by the coaching point: 'Everything works...for a while,' and Gallagher breathes flesh and blood into this principle.

There is so much more to this book, of course. The mental training section blends the Western and Eastern approaches to the mind game of training. Again, we find 'both/and', but Gallagher also spends a lot of time detailing how to incorporate these tools in one's training.

But wait, there's more! There is a section on cardio training for strength athletes that really makes me more comfortable with this notion of 'doing cardio'. It's nice to see the return for the widely misunderstood teachings of Len Schwartz's Heavy Hands. Moreover, we see a commonsense approach to this whole overhyped field.

The section on diet towards the end of the book again reflects the idea of both/and'. It is simply this: refreshing. Gallagher gives clarity to the calorie conundrum. Yes, every diet approach works, but Gallagher shows us a way to link them together. Truly, this man of experience understands that success leaves footprints and every approach is worthy of discussion.

Oh, this book is a joy. I put this book next to Tommy Kono's Weightlifting, Olympic Style for sheer fun and delight and love of training. I am convinced that I will probably keep reading The Purposeful Primitive in bits and snips for years. It's just fun and funny while pounding into the reader the 'secrets' of advanced training. Many won't like the message. The secrets involve training really hard and really heavy."
—Daniel John, Head Track and Field Coach, Juan Diego Catholic High School, American Record Holder, Masters Weight Pentathlon

"The Purposeful Primitive both inspired me, and also challenged some of my long-held notions about strength and athleticism. In the foreword, Pavel calls Marty Gallagher his mentor, and once you read this book, you'll understand why. The Purposeful Primitive is the most significant strength-training book I've read in 10 years."
—Charles Staley, Staley Training Systems

"Marty's literary style intrigued me and I could not put the book down!! I was drawn into being educated by a powerlifter that made points that would make me a better high school teacher/coach as well as an excellent Olympic weightlifting coach.

I was hooked by page 263, with Marty's 'physical and psychological weak points'. "What's the toughest lesson to learn in all of fitnessdom? I would nominate prioritizing weaknesses and not continually playing to our strength.' There it is! That did it! If nothing else, this chapter needs to be read by all coaches and by all athletes and all trainers in the fitness world…

I highly recommend The Purposeful Primitive as a must read."
—Mike Burgener, Senior International Weightlifting Coach, Coach for the Junior World Women's Weightlifting Team

"Marty Gallagher has convincingly presented the concept that successful people in all domains 'stand upon the shoulders of those who have gone before them.' He has accurately indicated that most of the fitness gurus and elite athletes of today are chasing after the golden fleece instead of following the tried, true and scientifically and empirically proven and validated principles of physical training, cardiovascular training, nutrition and psychology.

Marty characterizes this by stating; 'Old school methodology is the modern solution for achieving true physical transformation.' Readers will sink their teeth into the substance and procedures of the masters found between the covers of The Purposeful Primitive.

The Purposeful Primitive is an enlightening read, filled with great insights into the masters of the last century in Olympic Lifting, Powerlifting, Bodybuilding, Cardiovascular Training, Nutrition and Psychology.

Great job Marty Gallagher, master of: writing, powerlifting, physical training, cardiovascular training, nutrition and psychology."
—Dr. Paul Ward, PED, QPT Publications

"WOW! My old friend Marty knocked this one out of the park.

I was so fascinated I could not put the book down. These are exactly the routines most of us experienced in those days. It brought back a lot of memories.

For all you young powerlifters out there who want to build real power like we did it in the old days this is the book to get. Thank you so much Marty."
—Dan Wohleber, former national powerlifting champion, multiple world record holder, 1st man to deadlift 900 pounds

"When Marty called and asked if I could pose for a few photos for his new book, I knew I didn't have to worry about associating myself with anything he was writing. I knew it would be a quality book focused on proven, basic training principles and based on Marty's vast store of real, first-hand knowledge. What I didn't know until receiving my copy and really giving it a close look, was that I was stumbling across a small role in one of the most comprehensive, well-written, and above all else, entertaining, books on weight training that's ever been written.

I have a pretty extensive strength training library, and Marty's book belongs on the top shelf with Dreschler's Weightlifting Encyclopedia, Starr's The Strongest Shall Survive, McCallum's Keys to Progress, and McRobert's Brawn. I realize now how lucky I am to have been in the right place at the right time to be a small part of Marty's crowning achievement and lasting contribution to the Iron Game. Thanks so much Marty for not letting these great stories and this wealth of information fade away with the old masters!"
—Chuck Miller, attorney, journalist, C.S.C.S., AAU world and national powerlifting champion

"I enjoyed Marty Gallagher's new book and particularly liked his 'resurrection' of the methods of the Iron Masters. So much of that Old School training wisdom has been forgotten or discarded in our modern era. The training philosophies of men like Bill Pearl and Ed Coan are timeless and grounded in principles that have stood the test of time. These philosophies are based in the idea that first and foremost, hard and sustained physical effort must be implemented for a protracted period. This requires using lots of Old School discipline.

I agree with Marty's premise that to modify the human body, to improve it, to make it more muscular and leaner, requires real work. Too many individuals in this day and age want to believe that some miracle method exists that can magically bypass the requisite pain and struggle. By spotlighting men from a simpler era, Marty shows that real gains can be gotten from methods that need not be unduly complicated. I would hope that modern readers could absorb some of the iconic lessons he relates in his own unique way."
—John Parrillo, CEO Parrillo Performance Products

"I have been studying the industry for 20 years. Marty is in a class of his own. Combine his fitness knowledge with a unique talent for writing and one has an unbeatable combination."
—Larry Christ, multi-time national master powerlifting champion

"Once again, Marty Gallagher has proven that he is powerlifting's most articulate and informative writer. The Purposeful Primitive is an outstanding read, with credible and essential information for beginners and elite lifters alike. I will be honored to promote the book at my gym and the many contests we host each year."
—Dr. Spero S. Tshontikidis, R.A.W. United, Inc.

"Wow! Marty Gallagher did a tremendous job! Not only was it a very interesting and entertaining read, but it can be used as a reference manual. A must read for anyone interested in fitness and or strength."
—Bob Gaynor, WPC World Record holder

"Marty Gallagher has laid out simple tried and true old school principles that yield results. I believe that is what this book is all about; results. In a world full of bells and whistles, this book is a great reminder of what training should look like. I think this is an outstanding resource for physical transformation. I would recommend this book to anyone who is serious about building a real-world body."
—Tim Anderson, RKC Level II, CPT

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