Workout Routines

The Classic Iron Workout Program: Build strength all over on day 1

Get serious gains by going back to basics with this old-school barbell workout routine.

The Classic Iron Workout Program: Build strength all over on day 1
Duration 30
Exercises 4
Equipment Yes

While there's certainly nothing wrong with trying unique exercises once in a while, it's hard to beat the classics—they're standards for a reason, after all.

That's why we recruited Sean Collins, C.S.C.S., a USA Powerlifting club coach and head powerlifting coach at Murder of Crows Barbell Club in Brooklyn, to create the Classic Iron Workout Program. Be warned: Just because these workouts incorporate exercises you probably know, it doesn't mean they'll be easy. These are intense, full-body, no-nonsense lifts, all designed to build your overall strength and improve your body's response to training under heavy loads.


On day 1 you'll tackle two classic "big-rock" lifts: the front squat and the barbell bench press. You'll have plenty of time for rest between sets, so make sure you pick a challenging weight that won't tempt you to slack off.

You'll then follow that with "density reps" of an incline dumbbell row. When doing density reps, you'll effectively do as many reps as possible within a certain amount of time (eight minutes, in this case). Rest as needed, but try to keep your work periods consistent. Choose a weight that you can comfortably lift for eight reps. Aim to do 30-40 reps within the eight-minute time span.

Perform all four exercises as straight sets.

For more strength-building work

Check out our 10 strength-building strategies that will never die, our seven favorite exercises for building brute strength, and 10 ways to build strength without the size.

For a complete archive of our daily quick-hit routines, go to

Today's Workout The Classic Iron Workout Program: Day 1

Exercise 1.

Front Squat You'll need: Barbell How to
Front Squat thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
4-6 min. rest

Exercise 2.

Bench Press You'll need: Barbell How to
Bench Press thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
4-6 min. rest

Exercise 3.

Incline Dumbbell Row You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Incline Dumbbell Row thumbnail
1 sets
Density: As many as possible for 8 minutes reps
As needed rest

Exercise 4.

Battle ropes You'll need: Rope Attachment How to
Battle ropes thumbnail
-- sets
Tabata: 20 sec. on, 10 sec. off for 4 min. reps
As needed. rest