The Godfather of Bodyweight Training

When I was a kid in the 70’s and 80’s kids were more active in all areas. Kids that weren’t active
were usually fat, but very few were fat. As kids we played sports, climbed trees, ran, jumped
could ride our bikes all day without any problem. Kids could do pullups, pushups could
run a full sprint of 100 yards without hesitation.

But in the early 1980’s I was turned on to lifting weights and started buying and reading all
and every book and muscle magazine I could get my hands on. The magazines gave to types
of training bodybuilding or powerlifting.

Very few of these magazines featured any type of bodyweight training, so you either power
lifted or wanted to train like a bodybuilder. Another thing was my biggest objective to get
as big and strong as possible.

SlowlyI got away from almost all bodyweight training except from pushups, pullups and dips
dips and pullups were always done with extra weight and pushups were done after for a

I went from 145lbs to 240 lbs in a couple of years and had no idea what I gave up adding
that much extra weight to my 5’7 frame.

Fast forward in 1994 I went to NY to fight in the toughman weight class 175lbs to 400lbs
rules were fight 3 – 1 minute rounds wearing 16 oz gloves. I weighed 220 lbs for the
competition I could squat 600lbs, hip belt lift 1,200lbs and push press 285lbs.

The first round I swung my ass off, and then won the second round, the third round
I could not hold up my hands and was beat on for the entire round, I won the first two
rounds so I won the fight.

I went home and knew something was wrong and I had to make a change. I had a
issue of  “Blackbelt” magazine at home and found “Combat Conditioning” by
Matt Furey  and knew  I needed to try this. I trained using my bodyweight  for
years, and I needed validation that it was okay to train different and it felt right.

Like they say “When the student is ready the teacher appears”

Not only did I lose 85lbs in 5 months but Matt Furey turned my life around by
becoming my mentor, even though I have never talked to him or  even
emailed him.

But because of him and his recommendations, his products ( I have every book
he has ever written) he exposed me to people like Dan Kennedy, Peter Ragnar
and Strong man Bud Jeffries  . He also changed my personal
life exposing me to many different authors like Maxwell Maltz,
if Matt recommended them I read them.

Matt Furey became my first ever role model and I was in my 20’s until then I had
no direction for the past 20 years my life was changed with his teachings.

The reason I call him “The Godfather” of bodyweight training is because HE started
it all! Bodyweight training  has been around for many, many years but until Matt
started marketing  his book “Combat Conditioning” bodyweight training was used
mostly as a warmup or cool down tool.

In 20 years my body has healed and my life is better having been exposed to
Matt Furey and all the people he shared with me over the last 20 years.

I personally will always be loyal to Matt whether we ever talk or meet, he changed
my life by exposing me to a “No Limit” type of thinking.

So remember almost any books, or bodyweight training program, and when you see
guys doing pullups in the park whether they know it or not Matt Furey brought this

Toughness Builds Winners

Johnny Grube



  1. Furey validated my gut feeling that BW could work. I re-read a lot of his articles on how BW can make you stronger and how high reps work. He also wrote a good piece on how bear crawls develop grip strength. Overall, he has been a positive influence.

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