Periods, Cycles and the Power of Greyskull

About a month ago my son told me he started a new weightlifting program called the Greyskull LP by John “Johnny Pain” Sheaffer.¹  I was intrigued, so I did some research.

This is one hilarious picture (thanks to Matthew Oliphant, whoever you are). I can’t believe how perfect it is for this blog post!

My research revealed two things.  (A) The Greyskull LP program is highly regarded by many experts, and (B) the science of strength and muscle hypertrophy  has progressed a great deal since I got my fitness instructor certificate about ten years ago.

So I started the program, modified slightly for dumbbells because that’s what I have and I don’t want to spend money and space on barbells.  Results are amazing. Only three weeks in, and I’m already pushing more iron that I ever have before.

Which brings me to another realization.  The “LP” in “Greyskull LP” stands for “Linear Progression” and it’s probably what makes the program so effective.


Linear progressions, clipboards, and rigid systems have not been my thing.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely rigid about my workout schedules.  I don’t skip workouts and I repeatedly have to check myself to prevent over-training.  But for many years, at least since this post back in 2013, I have been rolling dice to arrive most aspects of my solo workouts (except for grip strength).  Does that give me good all-around fitness?  Probably.  Does it help prepare me for anything, in true martial arts fashion?  Maybe.  But random workouts cannot  match the consistent gains of progressive, period-ized workout programs (especially when it comes to weight training).


Bottom line: I recommend a mix of progressive, random and static or maintenance workouts, depending on the goal or goals.  

Here’s what my workout schedule looks like right now.  I’ve added colors and the letters “STA,” “LP” and “RND” or “MIX” after each section so that you can see which ones are which type.  Red blocks are static or maintenance workouts, green are progressive, and yellow are random or mixed.


I’d be interested in the opinions of other martial artists.  How do you train? In your opinion, am I on the right track or lost in the weeds?


¹ My understanding is that the program is called the Greyskull (with an “e” instead of an “a” to avoid copyright issues) because it makes you look like He-Man.

5 responses to “Periods, Cycles and the Power of Greyskull

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