Saturday, December 1, 2012

Johnny Grube's Wildman Training

I originally bought this on a whim. I'm pleased with it though. I told Johnny Grube I'd write him a review and I've been meaning to get around to it for a while now. This book is the very definition of no fluff and straight to the point training information. No backstory on how and why he discovered this method of working out. No long-winded explanation on why it's better than any other approach. No scientific mumbo humbo. It's very streamlined in that regard but that can be a good thing. I usually don't give a shit about much of that other stuff anyhow.
That's his website. Johnny Grube is a simple, blue collar guy who loves to work out but doesn't want to waste a lot of time at it. That being said though, he's good at working out. According to the above website he's set several world records.
His methods are extremely basic. I like that. The basics are what work and they always will. He really likes bodyweight training as opposed to lifting weights. Although he does lift things like punching bags, rocks and logs, the majority of what he does seems to revolve around calisthenics, skipping and sprints, which is very similar to what I've been doing the past couple of years. I can't remember how long it's been now since I last picked up a barbell and I don't give a shit either.

I guess Grube used to lift weights and it sounds like he was better than average at it with some impressive numbers to show for his efforts. Hip belt lifts with over 1,200 lbs. Push presses with 285. Deep squats with 600. Just some examples he's told me about.
He's the guy on the far left here. Back when he worked as a professional wrestler. I think he's only 5'5" or something like that but not exactly small by any means. I guess he got sick of lifting weights when he entered a toughman contest and was dead tired by the end of the third round. That'll happen. This lead him to become interested in what he calls "conditioned strength." In other words he wanted to get his ass in shape.

Here he is more recently. Much smaller but definitely not weaker. His barbell lifts have undoubtedly gone down but he can move furniture or load trucks all day long without getting tired. He's also capable of some really impressive one-armed pushup variations. But his endurance has become much better. He told me that a few years ago his muay Thai instructor would have him doing bag work mixed with calsithenics for about an hour before sparring with him and still couldn't finish him off even after 10+ rounds. He attributes this to his quick, fast-paced bodyweight workouts as opposed to heavy weight lifting and sprinting as opposed to long distance jogging.

With that, I've already given you more background on the man than his book even comes close to. But I wasn't looking for an autobiography when I bought it so that's fine.
His Wildman Training Manual is put together very cheaply. That doesn't bother me at all because I only paid 20 bucks for it which is by no means expensive when it comes to books about working out. The pages have printing on only one side, it's full of typos, spelling errors and bad grammar but the information as a whole is very solid. I recommend it to anyone who likes this kind of training.

Grube's workouts are extremely fast-paced with a heavy emphasis on the legs. They look easy on paper but so do a lot of things. Nothing about it is easy and if it is then you're not going fast enough. It's as simple as that.

His diet advice is equally simple. Eat as naturally as possible and drink plenty of water.

Let's see, for the book as a whole I'd give it three out of five stars. That's only because it needs some heavy editing. It's not as bad as what Steve Justa put out a few years back but still, that many grammatical errors is a distraction to the reader. It's what in professional writing they call noise. The book would have been quite a bit thinner if the pages had had text on both sides. That just seemed strange. I guess it's all in what you make of it though. It's spiral bound and about the size of a magazine so it's easy to lay out flat somewhere and the printing on only one side doesn't make it any more difficult to read. In Grube's defense, he's not a guy who makes his living from the fitness industry so if he's put this together and published it by himself to sell through his website as a way to make some extra money on the side then he really shouldn't have to spend a lot of that money making his books look pretty. I don't blame him at all. If you were buying something like this off of me you'd be lucky if it wasn't hand scrawled with a crayon on the back of a used Kleenex.

As far as the content itself I'll give it a five out of five easily. This is good stuff. Get your punk ass off the couch and train! Work out for as little as five minutes at a time and multiple times a day if you can swing it. You can do this stuff in your basement or backyard, while walking your dog or playing with your kids at the park.

Quick aside: My dog is being a real douchebag right now. If he was a person he'd be waking up with some serious bruises for acting like this. Fuck dogs are stupid. Filthy four-legged attention whores. This moron can't even grasp the concept of fetch. I throw a ball, he chases it while growling as if he's pissed off that it's getting away, and then he brings it back and puts it on the floor between his own front paws. He won't give it back to me though. I have to fight him for it as if it's the last beer in the fridge at a house party. What an asshole.

When The Wildman Training Manual arrived, Grube had thrown in another of his books, How To Build Explosive Pushup Power, with it. My review of it is pretty much the same as the Wildman Manual. It's put together and written in the same way but the content is very good. Lots of pushup variations to choose from and a very straightforward method for doing a lot of them. I've personally improved my pushup numbers considerably in the month or two since I read it. I rarely got past 70 before but could do 100 in about five minutes. My best recently is 150 consecutively and while I haven't timed myself yet I won't be surprised if I can do 100 in about 60 seconds now. Grube's method isn't rocket science and I actually feel kind of stupid for not thinking of it myself but it works. Very effective.

About a week after I had ordered from him I was talking to him on Facebook about skipping ropes. I mentioned that I use a weighted steel jump rope because all the speed ropes I've ever owned broke in a matter of months. And while I like the steel rope, I was starting to miss the quicker aspect of training with a lighter speed rope. He told me that he has speed ropes specially hand made for him by kids with learning disabilities (or something along those lines) and offered to send me one for free. It arrived a few weeks later and it's been great. I use it almost every day and I'm not noticing any significant wear and tear yet. If it does ever break I'd have no problem buying another one off of him.

Why did he give me these freebies? I don't know. It could be just because he's a solid guy and he likes to make his customers happy. It could be because I've become somewhat of a reluctant, low-level online fitness celebrity. Either way I'm happy with the products and would buy more from him.

Book reviews aren't really my thing so I hope this all came off as positive because that's what it was meant to be.

Big thanks to Johnny Grube.


  1. That's a big improvement, I dismissed him because I didn't like his writing but I'll give him another look. Are you still boxing?

  2. I wish I was still boxing. McGrory's Boxing Club trains out of Normanhurst Community Centre, which is owned by the city. The boxing club has been set up in the basement there for something like 60 or 70 years. They've produced numerous champions at numerous levels of the sport and kept countless kids off the street. Membership is only $20 a month for kids and $25 a month for adults, cash, no bank account bullshit. They never even really chased you for money though anyway. You could go months at a time without paying easily. It was a city-owned building so they didn't have much to worry about as far as rent. Equipment was only upgraded or replaced when it was absolutely necessary. Basically, all the money they made was put towards getting kids to competitions and these kids usually came home as winners. If I showed you a picture of the inside of McGrory's you'd probably think it was a shithole. Ancient bags wrapped in duct tape, ring taped off on the floor, the whole place in one tiny room. Somehow they managed to train great boxers though, especially anybody who was lucky enough to have started out as a kid. Best gym in Hamilton, by far.

    Unfortunately, the city went and sold that building right out from under us. The head coach there, Vinny, went before the Board and pleaded his case but they weren't interested. We've got until New Years to get out and then Normanhurst Community Centre is going to be torn down so they can put up, get this, BATHROOMS! Wow...

    1. That's fucking horrendous. The people that get involved in running stuff like that are always cunts.

  3. That website reminds me a lot of Solitary Fitness. He makes some good points.

    Shame about your boxing. All you really need to keep sharp on fighting skills is a few half decent training partners. If you all know what you're doing you can skip paying for a club, unless you want to fight amateur/pro of course.

  4. New Diet Taps into Innovative Idea to Help Dieters LOSE 23 Pounds in Just 21 Days!