The PSYCHO Trainer Method of getting HUGE.

Copyright 1995 Joe Pasko... No part may be copied or reproduced without written consent.


So you want to get BIG and get big FAST ?? If you're like most guys, you've been working out a few times a week and are seeing some decent results, but this isn't enough. That workout rut has taken hold, and results are coming more slowly. What you need is a kick in the complacency. Summer is here, and looking like a slug just won't do. I'm going to introduce a workout philosophy here that has worked wonders with a number of rut stuck couch-potato turned muscle-men. I call it the psycho trainer method of inspiration.

Psycho trainer method of inspiration ?

Yes, there are two parts to the psycho trainer method of getting HUGE quickly:

  • 1. A sadistic partner.
  • 2. Some sadistic exercise methods.

    Make no mistake about it, this workout is going to hurt, and it will hurt a lot ( You'll learn later that this is a good thing. ) There are a few general benchmarks to the workouts that will let you know if you're doing them correctly.

    Signs of a good set:

    It really sucks and hurts (This is a general guideline, below we'll outline what constitutes proper hurt and suck).

    You can't move that well the next day after doing an exercise.

    You can't move that well two days after doing an exercise.

    During an exercise you hear weird animal noises, then realize your making them.

    Your face changes more than 4 shades of red, purple, or black during a set.

    You see stars, get tunnel vision, and then come-to with a bar resting comfortably on your neck.

    "Sounds great, but how do I do it ?"

    I'm glad you asked. The first thing you'll need is a good workout partner or two ( Two is better than one, as it reduces the possibility of one person wimping out and dragging the intensity of the workout down to a sane level.) Whether the partner is stronger or weaker than you is irrelevant, attitude is everything (The more sadistic, the better.) The next step is to become a psycho partner yourself. This will allow you to push your partner hard, thus making him/her push back harder. Revenge is a great motivator for these types of workouts.

    "I'm ready, what can I do to become a psycho partner ?"

    To truly become psycho, we need study one of the most psycho motivating people of our current day and age and emulate him. Rent the video Full Metal Jacket, and pay close attention to the drill sergeant. This sergeant is probably the best role model for the psycho trainer. He elevated recruits to physical levels that they didn't think they could reach, all through fear, intimidation, force of will, and humiliation. This is a good thing.

    Beware the slacker, in all his shapes and forms .

    The arch nemesis of the psycho partner is the slacker. You need to find when and where your partner is slacking, and this may not be obvious. If your partner does 185 lbs on bench for 10 reps without a spot, this is a sign that he needs more weight (Sometimes he'll even grunt a bit to make you think that he's working, don't be fooled). This is the "It's heavy, I'm going to stay at this weight next set" variety of slacker. Don't let your partner get away with this. If you can do 10 reps of something without a serious spot, it's time to increase the weight. INSIST that the partner up the weight and go for a few less reps, (In this case, say 205 lbs for 6 reps). Many people have unconsciously put self-imposed limits on what they can lift. Don't buy into these limits, force your partner to smash these barriers.

    The next variety of slacker is the "I'm just going for reps this set " kind. Ok, using light weight and going for reps can be a good thing, but now let's really go for some reps, not just 10 or oooohhh 12 reps, let's get psycho . 20 reps should be the minimum for this person, 30 or higher is better. If they can do 12 reps without a spotter, they can do 20 with a psycho spotter. Again refer to the above signs of a good workout to judge whether your partner is putting out an earnest effort.

    The Everyday Lifting Rut, and the lying principle:

    Lying to your partner is one of the best ways to snap them out of the usual rut. Universal machines are the best for this type of inspiration. If you're doing an exercise, say cable rows, and your partner sits down and tells you to put the pin in at 150 (He usually does 10 reps, but insists that it's heavy), have some fun. Put the pin in 170, and use some of the motivational methods listed below to force him to squeeze out at least 8, then berate him for not getting 10. If your partner tries to avoid this by setting his own pin, don't worry, this can be overcome in a few ways. The best is to point out a nice looking female, and as the would-be-slacker looks, drop the pin down a few plates....Cha Ching. If you simply can't fool, shame, or trick your partner into doing more weight, INSIST that he get at least 12 reps, then do a Break-Down(Explained below under sadistic exercise methods).

    Motivation during the set is important .

    Total effort should be given to each and every set after a warm-up. There is no excuse for just doing a few reps and putting the weight down. Below are some of the better phrases that are good to scream at your partner during lifts. Anger, fear, and humiliation are the cornerstones of the motivation.

    Was effort expensive today, you couldn't get much ?

    Lift you worthless piece of S--t.

    I don't mean to say anything, but my girlfriend lifts more.

    You lift like old people F--k, slow and ugly.

    Of course it's heavy, that's why they call it weight.

    That's not bad....for a girl.

    I've seen your pool cleaner lift more... hey wasn't he at your house today with your wife while you were at work ?

    Worthless must have been on sale, it appears you stocked up...

    That's OK, just take it easy this set, By the way, how was that McDonalds you had for lunch today ?

    Feel Free to improvise on the above list. Screaming at your partner with a fervored intensity is important. Sell the concept that he's worthless unless producing total effort every set (laughter works well here also). Again, see Full Metal Jacket for details. The louder you scream, the better. Public humiliation can be extremely motivational. Try to anger your partner (Make sure that he's already lifting, lest you become the focus of the anger rather than the weights.)

    If your partner can talk during a set, or right after it, they were not lifting with psycho levels of effort and concentration. Up the weight, force more reps, and use motivational phrases to increase the mental and physical focus of the workout.


    If you see that your partners dying, and only has 1 rep left, scream to get at least 3 more and spot him(Spot slowly, and don't give too much help. the lifter should be purple by the time the third rep hits the top.) Know your partner, and know his limits, push him beyond those limits, and insist that he do the same. Again, use the above effectiveness gauge to judge if they proper effort is being put forth. Demand total effort, be uncompromising.

    Push Yourself....The boastful claim methods.

    If you are stronger than your partner, never fear, you too can apply the psycho methods to achieve great results. Exercise where reps are important are a great candidate for the boastful claim method. If you know that your partner can do about 6 pull-ups, offer to do as many as he does TIMES TWO. This will motivate him to do more, just to hurt you, and motivate you do more, to save face. These are both good things. If you have two partners, both weaker, it's ok, modify the boast to "As many as all of you plus 1". Never let the weaker partners get the best of you in these contests. Make it a matter of pride and a challenge to your manhood. Stupid testosterone games are great for this type of training. If you are the weaker partner, jeer at the stronger if he fails to double you in reps or live up to a boast. Continue to rub his nose in it for at least the remainder of the workout.

    If you are the roughly the same strength as your partner, let it rip . Pull'em out and see who's is bigger on every set. Make it a competition. Be PSYCHO. Bet beer, money, and bragging rights on exercises. Laugh at the loser of the competition, don't be the loser. If you are the loser, beat him on the next exercise. Crushing total effort should be the goal of every set. Only this level of intensity will bring the quick and extreme results that you desire.


    Just lifting more is not enough to be psycho. You need to go for the BIG HURT . This can be achieved by upping the intensity of each exercise. There are two recommended ways for reaching psycho-intensity levels: Pre-exhaustion and Breaking-Down:

    Pre-exhaustion :

    Good for use on complex exercises like bench press and military press. Let's look at the bench press. Warm up. Get dumbbells that you would normally use for flat-bench dumbbell flys for me, that's about 40. Load the bench press with slightly more than warm up weight, for me about 150lbs. Do a set of dumbbell flys until you fail, and fail hard(At least 12 reps). IMMEDIATELY drop the weights and start bench pressing the weight. NOTE: This will hurt and suck, this is good. This is a great for developing the chest, especially when the shoulders and arms are already tired from the weeks previous workouts. Pre-exhaustion uses an isolation exercise(flys) to fatigue the chest to failure, then use the relatively fresh shoulders and arms to force even more stress on the chest during the bench press. Fun fun fun.

    Break-Downs :

    Break downs are a great way to increase the intensity and can be used on almost any exercise. They are generally best to use in conjunction with your normal work out. Take again the faithful example of the bench press. Warm up. After a few sets of your normal routine load about 90% of your max onto the bench, or about what you can do for 2 unassisted reps. Bench press the weight for 4 reps, getting help as you need it from your sadistic spotter(NOTE TO SPOTTER: Remember that the lifter should be just about purple by the time the weight gets back on the rack.) IMMEDIATELY after putting the weight on the rack, strip off about 60% of it and keep benching, getting at least 8 reps. You need to strip off a good chunk of weight to make this principle work. If you are benching 150 lbs. fail hard, and then pull off 20 lbs, the weight isn't going to feel any lighter, and you won't be able to get the reps that you need. In the last stage of a breakdown, you should be able to bench at least 6 reps unassisted to make it work. Psycho trainers are very important in the last stage of the break down lift. The weight is light, but the lifter is tired. Motivate him using the psycho principles to focus his effort on lifting and get his mind off of the awesome hurt he's feeling(If doing it right). Two break down sets per exercise are usually enough.

    "Still not enough ?"

    No problem. Combining principles of pre-exhaustion with the Break-Downs is enough for even the most seasoned lifter. An example ? Still no problem. Let's go back to the bench press. Take those 40's that you were doing flys with and also grab a pair of 25's. Load the bench with weight that you could normally do 12 reps with (For me about 205). Do flys with the 40's until you fail HARD. Drop the 40's, grab the 25's and get at least 8 good reps. Drop them, grab the barbell with 205 on it (MAKE SURE THE SPOTTER IS READY). Force out at least 4 reps,(Enough you say ?? not hardly). Strip off half of the weight and lift 100 lbs until you fail completely. This usually happens at about the 5 rep mark. One or two sets like this is usually plenty per body part. Inspire your partners to new levels with your training intensity. Lead by psycho-example.

    "How Often ?"

    Three psycho days per week of weights is enough. More will get you less. I've learned this the hard way. Lifting seven days a week like a psycho is too much stress for your body to handle. You will work yourself into a bad cycle of over-training where you actually see negative results. Harder, not longer, is the goal of these workouts. Doing a bzillion sets of an exercise may make you better at that exercise, but not improve the body part as much as doing fewer and harder sets. Psycho training should be used in conjunction with sensible planning. Train psycho for a week, and use your normal training routine for a week, or alternated psycho and normal workouts. As always, let your body be the guide. Rest is key. The body can't heal the massive amounts of stress you've placed upon it in a single day(Sometimes it will take 2 or 3 days to fully recover). Below is a sample workout and ways to divide your body up to maximize the psycho principles. These are general workouts and can be modified to suit your tastes. Remember, superior effort brings superior results. Get PSYCHO and have fun.

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    Workout plan 1:

  • Monday: Chest & Back:

    Bench Press: 3 sets 4-8 reps, 60-80% of max. 2 of the previous sets should combined pre-exhaustion and Break Down. (As specified above).

    Incline Bench Press: 3 sets incline bench press, 4-12 reps, 50-100% of max.

    Lat Pull downs. 3 sets of 4-12 reps, 50-80% of max. 2 sets break downs.

    Cable Rows: 3 sets of 4-12 reps, 50-80% of max. 2 sets of break downs, from 90% to 60% of max. 1 set double break downs(Fail, drop 60%, fail drop 60%).

  • Wednesday: Shoulders & legs.

    Hack Squats: 3 sets of 15-6 reps, 50-80% of max. 1 set of 30+ with warm-up weight.

    Leg Curls: 3 sets of 12-8 reps, 50-80% of max.

    Leg extensions: 3 sets of 12-8 reps, 50-80% of max.

    Military Press: 5 sets of 12-8 reps, 50-80% of max. 3 sets pre-exhaustion using lateral dumbbell raises first.

    Shoulder Shrugs : 2 sets 50-90% of max. 2 sets double-break-downs.

    Calf Raises : 3 sets 20-10 reps, 50-90% of max break downs on all sets.

  • Friday: Arms

    Preacher Bench curls : 3 sets 15-8 reps 80-50% of max.

    Straight bar curls: 3 sets all break downs.

    Concentration curls: 2 sets of double-break-downs.

    Lying french presses: (Skullcrushers) 1 set normal 8-15 reps. 50-70% of max. 2 sets of break downs.

    Triceps pushdowns: 2 sets normal 15-6 reps 50-80% of max.

    Triceps kickbacks: 3 sets 10-12 reps WITH GOOD FORM.

  • Workout plan 2:

  • Monday: Chest & Back:

    Bench Press: 3 sets with pre-exhaustion and Break Down. (As specified above).

    Incline Bench Press: 3 sets incline bench press and Break Down 4-12 reps, 50-100% of max.

    Lat Pull downs: 2 sets of 4-12 reps and a break down., 50-80% of max

    Dead Lifts: 2 sets 15-10 slow reps (2-4 seconds up and 2-4 seconds down)

  • Wednesday: Shoulders & legs.

    Squats: 3 sets of 15-30 reps, 50-80% of max.

    Leg Curls: 2 sets of 12-8 reps, 50-80% of max.

    Leg extensions: 2 sets of 12-8 reps, 50-80% of max.

    Military Press: 3 sets of 12-8 reps, 50-80% of max. 2 sets pre-exhaustion using lateral dumbbell raises first.

    Shoulder Shrugs : 2 sets 50-90% of max. 2 sets double-break-downs.

    Calf Raises : 3 sets 20-10 reps, 50-90% of max. Toes in + out on at least two of the sets.

  • Friday: Arms

    1 60 second chin up (30 sec up 30 sec down) followed by straight bar curls (8-12 reps) do this cycle twice

    Concentration curls: 2 sets of double-break-downs.

    1 60 second dip (30 sec up 30 sec down) followed by Lying french presses (Skullcrushers) do this cycle twice

    Triceps pushdowns: 2 sets normal 15-6 reps 50-80% of max.

    Triceps kickbacks: 1 set 10-12 reps WITH GOOD FORM.

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