Strength Building Workouts

Bill Kazmaier Training Routine

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Bill Kazmaier Training Routine. Bill Kazmaier is one of the strongest men to have ever walked the planet. He lifted in a primitive era – I say that facetiously – before triple ply this and uber ply that. Some speculate that if Kaz would have trained using modern gear, he may have hit a three lift total of 3,100+. This may or may not be true, but it sure is fun to speculate.

Now, let’s get down to the point of this article. Bill Kazmaier’s training philosophy and routine.

Powerbuilding. Bill Kazmaier may have been the first true powerbuilder. He trained heavy, working the three main lifts with all assistance work twice a week. Yes, you read that correctly. The Kaz used an animalistic high intensity, high volume workout routine. He hit the deadlift, squat and bench twice a week.

Heavy/Light. Bill Kazmaier used a heavy/light approach to training. His first bench press workout of the week was heavy, and his second was light. Bill alternated heavy/light workouts on squat and deadlift days. But the volume remained on all training days, and the workouts were always long and grueling.

billkazmaier2Eating. To say that Bill Kazmaier ate big is an understatement. And as the years pass, I’m sure the stories of his eating will grow like tall tales. It is currently said that Bill could swig down an entire gallon of milk in one sitting, and easily destroy a buffet.

Pre-meet Training. As the Kaz approached a meet, he would cycle down on reps. First Bill would use an 8 rep scheme, then cycle down to five reps, and finally heavy triples.

Bill Kazmaier Routine.

Monday

Bench (heavy) warm up, then 4 sets x 10 reps
Wide Grip Bench 3 sets x 10 reps
Narrow Grip Bench 3 sets x 10 reps
Front Delt Raise 4 sets x 8 reps
Dumbell Seated Press 4 sets x 10 reps
Side Delt Raise 4 sets x 10 reps
Lying Tricep Push (after 2 warm up sets) 6 sets x 10 reps
Tricep Push Down 4 sets x 10 reps

Tuesday

Squat (heavy) warm up, then 4 sets x 10 reps
Deadlift (light) warm up, then 3 sets x 10 reps
Shrugs 2 sets x 15-40 reps, 1 set x 10-20 reps
Seated Hammer Curls 4 sets x 12 reps
Standing Curl 4 sets x 10 reps
Close Grip Chin Ups 3 sets x max on each set
Seated Row 4 sets x 10 reps
Leg Extensions 3 sets x 10 reps
Leg Curl 3 sets x 10 reps
Calf Raise 3 sets x 15-25 reps

Thursday

Bench (light) warm up, then 3 sets x 10 reps
Wide Grip Bench 3 sets x 10 reps
Narrow Grip Bench 3 sets x 10 reps
Dumbell Seated Press (heavy) warm up, then 4 sets x 8 reps
Front Delt Raise 4 sets x 10 reps
Tennis Backhand Cable Extensions 4 sets x 10 reps
Prone Tricep Extension 4 sets x 10 reps

billkazmaier1Saturday

Deadlift (heavy) warm up, then 4 sets x 8 reps
Squat (light) warm up, then 4 sets x10 reps
Shrugs (heavy) 4 sets x 10-15 reps
Seated Hammer Curl 4 sets x 8 reps
Concentration Curl 4 sets x 12 reps
One Arm Row – 3 positions 3 sets x 10 reps
Wide Grip Pull (down to chest) 4 sets x 10 reps
Leg Extensions 3 sets x 10 reps
Leg Curl 3 sets x 10 reps
Calf Raise 3 sets x 15-25 reps
(Ab Work When Possible)

Bill Kazmaier 10 Week Bench Press Routine. Bill used this routine to set a world bench press record.

Week 1:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 410/3/15. Narrow and wide bench presses, 350/3/10. Dumbbell presses, 100/3/10. Front raises, 75/3/10. Lateral raises, 75/3/10. Modified triceps presses, 300/4/15. Decline triceps presses, 335/3/15.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 435/3/15 (wow). Narrow and wide bench presses, 375/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 2:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 420/3/15. Narrow and wide bench presses, 360/3/10. Deltoid work same as week one. Modified triceps presses, 310/4/15. Decline triceps presses, 345/3/15.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 455/3/10. Narrow and wide bench presses, 385/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 3:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 430/3/12. Narrow and wide bench presses, 400/3/10. Dumbbell presses, 100/3/10. Front raises, 75/3/10. Lateral raises, 75/3/10. Modified triceps presses, 320/4/15. Decline presses, 355/4/10.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 480/3/8. Narrow and wide bench presses, 400/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 4:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 440/3/12. Narrow and wide bench presses, 380/3/10. Dumbbell presses, Front and Lateral raises, same as week 3. Modified triceps presses, 330/4/15. Decline triceps presses, 365/4/10.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 500/3/8. Narrow and wide bench presses, 410/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 5:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 450/3/10. Narrow and wide bench presses, 390/3/10. Dumbbell presses, 110/3/10. Front and Lateral raises, 85/3/10. Modified triceps presses, 340/3/15. Decline triceps presses, 375/4/10.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 495/10, 525/5/5. Narrow and wide bench presses, 420/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 6:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 460/3/10. Narrow and wide bench presses, 400/3/10. Dumbbell presses, Front and Lateral raises, same as week 5. Modified triceps presses, 350/4/15, Decline triceps presses, 350/4/10.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 495/8, 545/4/5. Narrow and wide bench presses, 430/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 7:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 470/3/8. Narrow and wide bench presses, 410/3/10. Dumbbell presses, 120/3/10. Front & Lateral Raises, 85/3/10. Modified triceps presses, 370/5/10. Decline triceps presses, 395/4/10.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 495/8, 540/5, 570/3/5. Narrow and wide bench presses, 440/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 8:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 480/3/8. Narrow and wide bench presses, 420/3/10. Dumbbell presses, Front and Lateral raises, same as week 7. Modified triceps presses, 380/5/10. Decline triceps presses, 405/4/10.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 495/8, 570/5, 590/3/3. Narrow and wide bench presses, 450/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 9:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 490/3/6. Narrow and wide bench presses, 430/3/8. Dumbbell presses, 130/3/10, Front and Lateral raises, 95/3/10. Modified triceps presses, 390/5/10, Decline triceps presses, 415/4/8.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 495/8, 570/5, 610/2/3. Narrow and wide bench presses, 465/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Week 10:

Light Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 500/3/6. Narrow and wide bench presses, 440/3/8. Dumbbell presses, Front and Lateral Raises, same as week 9. Modified triceps presses, 400/5/10. Decline triceps presses, 425/4/8.

Heavy Day: Regular bench presses, 225/10, 315/10, 405/10, 495/8, 550/5, 590/5, 635/3. Narrow and wide bench presses, 475/3/10. Assistance work same as my light day.

Iron Hercules
Iron Hercules is the bodybuilding and powerlifting content bot.
16 Comments
  • Steve Jacobson Mar 31,2014 at 2:55 pm

    I saw Kaz do basically this workout in Madison, WI in the late 70’s when “all” he was at the time was the Strongest Badger. I used to go to the gym where he would train and it was mind blowing what he and his workout partners did on the bench. VERY humiliating for the rest of us normal human beings…

  • K@ Dec 27,2013 at 4:45 pm

    I like this. Except the first part. I will never do 10 reps back squats. Nor deadlifts. 5 reps max. :) For the rest. Awesome. Change the big lifts to 5/3/1 or 5×5 or 8×3 and you got yourself a beast routine. Push Lower routine.

    • K@ Aug 9,2014 at 5:57 pm

      Its cause i had knee surgery :)

  • gary Aug 8,2013 at 6:17 am

    i was wonder if anybody knew whether or not the kaz arched on his assistance work bench press’s or just on his first 4 heavy sets.

  • gilbert Dec 13,2012 at 9:54 am

    bill was the best for 10 yeears 1980 1990 . too bad he tore his pec . he had a lowbodyfat to for a strongman

  • Mike Aug 11,2012 at 5:32 am

    This routine is actually quite similar to Louie Simmon’s conjugate method out at Westside Barbell. You know, the place where their guys squat up to 1100 pounds. I don’t know why people think this program is fake, especially since Louie got his idea from the Soviets who trained back in the 50’s.

  • Jay Jul 19,2012 at 12:50 am

    This looks like a routine he did…

    when meeting Kaz several years ago I asked him about his training and he mentioned the high amount of volume and high reps. He was a genetic freak and his recovery ability was phenomenal.

    People now are so worried about overtraining and all that they forget that our bodies can withstand a tremendous amount of punishment… given that we work up to it.

    • kelly Mar 29,2015 at 5:37 pm

      Bill was a genetic freak and recoverd fast because he was takin a 5 gallon bucket of steroids a week. He admitted large steroid use awhile back in an ESPN column.

  • Nathan Jun 3,2012 at 10:49 pm

    I have to agree with the first poster, this doesn’t seem like a viable routine, ecspecially from the 70’s.

    A you don’t need to do a bunch of high rep assistance work to “look muscular” with his genetics he would have looked full and huge on a typical powerlifting routine.

    Second this has him training like a bodybuilder. While anerobic endurance would have been important, he’s working so far under his 1 rep max % it’s laughable considering the numbers he put up and the weight he was required to move as a strongman champion.

    That bench workout? No way. Not even in 1975.

    • K@ Dec 27,2013 at 4:43 pm

      lel.

  • Jake T. Thomas May 9,2012 at 3:26 pm

    This routine is nonsense. There’s no way Kazmaier trained like this. No chance in hell. This is a bodybuilding routine. He didn’t train like this at all. He either lied to whoever acquired this information, or the author or this article made it up. Either way, totally 100% bogus.

    • Mick Madden May 11,2012 at 5:07 pm

      Yes, because powerlifters and strength athletes NEVER use assistance work over 5 reps, and Bill CERTAINLY didn’t look muscular.

      /Sarcasm.

  • Dave Mc Jan 9,2012 at 7:35 pm

    what % of max for light and heavy day?

  • james Mar 13,2010 at 5:37 pm

    I am using this workout right now, and you would not believe the difference it makes.

  • Tony E Nov 25,2009 at 6:41 am

    This is an awesome Article!

  • Don’t miss these great links! Nov 19,2009 at 2:13 pm

    […] Anyway, this defence of power-building made me think of two things.  Firstly, I thought of that article about the great Bill Kazmaier, where one of his typical routines is outlined and the sheer volume and the (relatively) high reps […]

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