Step ups Are A Blue Collar Exercise!

Over my 37 years of training and studying my training and eating philosophy has changed dramatically.

To many people follow what everyone else is following, and they defend it like protecting a small child, everyone thinks their way is always better, despite few ever getting worthy results!

Years ago I believed in heavy squats, later on I believed in hundreds of bodyweight squats, I also was sucked in by the exercise culture. It became a bullshit concept. When I realized that  instead of training for survival, which is why I originally started training at 12 years old, I was training strictly for doing exercises!

I continually go back to my past training life and realize things that I did, now I feel are useless, like long distance running did NOT improve my pushup numbers, but  I still continued distance running into my middle 20’s thinking something would change.

I thought being 240 lbs of strength of having over 18 inch arms, 21″ neck, and big bench made me capable, until 1994 when I entered the “Toughman” where the weight class was 175 lbs to 400 lbs, yup one weight class. I found out having a ” Push Press” of 285 lbs didn’t help me throw 16 oz gloves for 3 – 1 minute rounds.

I found out real fast about life, and how my  training regime and lacking conditioning could have gotten me killed.

I’m just glad I learned in the ring, in a controlled environment, and I didn’t learn about my lack of conditioning in the street!

I did win my first fight. But, my conditioning was so bad I couldn’t move on in the event, it was one of the most valuable experiences I ever had!

I use the simplest exercises, that give the quickest results in the fastest amount of time.

Time meaning, that when I train I actually train the whole time, with little or no rest.

Most go to the gym and spend more time resting than actually training, which leads to a false sense of accomplishments!

One exercise that is brutally tough to most people is Step ups!

That’s right, if you squat heavy weights it doesn’t mean Step ups are inferior to squats!

Anyone who has moved and a lot of steps were involved got a quick reminder that your legs and conditioning might not be what you thought!

Or maybe you had to walk up some steep terrain, and you found out how hard you were breathing.

Stepping, walking steps, walking steep terrain will easily call you out, even without extra weight you will be tested, but adding weight either holding something, shouldering, or wearing a weighted back pack will soon shut up the strongest squatters!

Step ups are natural, heavy squatting is unnatural, hundreds of squats are unnatural, but weighted step ups ARE natural!

I watched my old man a furniture mover strap refrigerators to his back and climb step after step when refrigerators were made of heavy steel, in the 70’s by himself.

Although my dad never visted a gym he was thickly built, almost like a caveman and could go all fucking day, despite being a heavy smoker and beer drinker.

Step ups will show you fast where your strength and conditioning level is.

Blue Collar Toughness and Strength isn’t for everyone, because most men are weak!

Johnny Grube


  1. I think it’s time for a new book @Johnny Grube . Would Love to see a new one .

  2. Nicholas Hobson says

    I used to do squatting, but hurt my knee, started doing high box step ups instead and haven’t been injured since. They are more natural than squats and more enjoyable even though they tire you out just as much. I haven’t squatted for nearly 3 years and I don’t miss squats at all. I much prefer Step ups.

  3. Recently, I did 300 step ups without stopping, my legs felt heavy afterwards.


  4. Glen MacCharles says

    I’ve gotten a lot out of this exercise.

  5. No real need for a new book but the thought is nice. I think Johnny has already given us all we need with his UFin5 and his other writings. The “simple” natural movements that always and will always work – training us for real life. Every few years I’ll incorporate a new exercise or whatever but I always end up having the best results with his epic 8 and ditch the new one. Its not even because I don’t like it (there are many that I enjoy) but it takes up too much space to do or it’s a “wasted” movement when I’m pressed for time. So, I end up doing one of Grube’s workouts or one I made up using his philosophy or “his” exercises. The fucker. haha. As a challenge (and to prove to others that the basic hard working approach pays), I’ve tried to find other exercises/routines that get me a buzz and make me faster and stronger or whatever – haven’t found it yet. Repetition and mastery of the basics will keep you climbing. “Jack of all trades but Master of none” – most people gravitate to the newest fad and never commit to one discipline, unfortunately. Why you guys literally run circles around them.

    I do predict, if there is another book, it will be focused more toward training for street/fighting survival. Emphasis on striking the heavy bag, toughening up the knuckles, keeping legs fresh, kicking ass and taking names…with a heavy accent on the right mindset for a real man…a wildman.

  6. The content has been extraordinary lately. It’s a shame for people who are missing out on this website . No one and in my opinion I literally mean no one on the internet is delivering quality like this . This is as real as it gets and I will continue to spread the word about this website at every chance I get . Thanks again John for all that you do . You’re much appreciated brother . Keep it coming.

  7. @Nance

    That would be a phenomenal book !

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