Bully Busting 101 Part 3: Strength Training

The high school or workplace bully preys on the weaker people. By getting physically stronger, you are less of a target and more equipped to protect yourself. Martial arts training is not enough. Your body needs to be stronger to train hard and avoid injury.

I stumbled across this workout back in the late 70’s. It was the first time in my scrawny life that I made noticeable improvement within two months. The down side is that it is only good for about 6-8 weeks before the body becomes stale and you have to progress to another workout routine.

It is a 6 day cycle and, I kid you not, only takes 20 to 30 minutes at a time.

DAY 1 and 4

Cleans 10 reps 5 sets

Overhead Press 10 reps 5 sets

The Barbell Clean is one of the Olympic style lifts. If you have no experience or are a beginner, start out with just the empty bar. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. While bending your knees and keeping your back straight, grasp the barbell with an overhand grip like you would do in a dead lift. Straighten your legs until the barbell is about thigh level.

Bend your knees slightly and then, using the force from your hips, yank the barbell upwards while flipping your hands underneath the barbell. The bar should be resting in front of your neck, on your upturned hands, with your elbows out in front of you. Just like the front squat position.

Then lower the barbell back to about your knee level.

This is very similar to lifting a sandbag or a box onto a chest-high counter or shelf. You have to quickly hoist the load from thigh to chest level as you change your grip to get your hands underneath the object. If you are not sure of this movement, get some competent help.

Seated Overhead Press is a military press from the seated position. No resting the weight across your shoulders between repetitions. Strive for good technique. The sitting position minimizes cheating. The weight should only be lowered until your arms are parallel to the ground (not like the diagram) before pressing the weight back overhead.

If you feel a pinching-type of pain in the back of your shoulders, you might have a too short of internal rotator muscles. In which case, press the bar bell in front of you. Better yet, just use dumb bells. (A dead give away to shortened internal rotator muscles is when the person’s arms are hanging relaxed and their knuckles face forward instead of outwards.

DAY 2 and 5

Upright rows 15-20 repetitions Only one set of each exercise

Bicep Curls 15-20 repetitions

Tricep Extensions, palms up 15-20 repetitions

Tricep Extensions, palms down 15-20 repetitions

Only 15 seconds between exercises. This is very important not to let the muscles fully recover between sets. (You will want to make sure that all of the weights or machines are available for this arm workout, so that there will be no interference.) With the major muscles worked the day before, these high-rep exercises give the arms more of workout and definition. Once you are finished you are finished. Maybe warm up and cool down with some abdominal exercises, but do not over do this part of the workout. Each exercise is performed in good form to failure.

These arm exercises can also be performed with rubber cables and springs.

Upright row is performed by holding the barbell (or dumbbells) in an overhand grip, slightly closer than shoulder width apart. Raise the barbell to about the level of the collar bone before lowering the weight. (If you have rotator cuff problems, substitute lat pull downs or bent-over-rowing for this exercise.)

The bicep curl should be performed with your back to the wall. This way, you minimize the risk of lower back injury or cheating on the movement. No resting at the top or lower portion of the exercise. Use an E-Z curl bar if available.

Tricep Extensions (“nose-breakers”) are performed while lying on your back on a bench. Hold the barbell straight out from your body. Keep your upper arms steady, while you lower your forearms towards your forehead. Do not quite touch your forehead before straightening your forearms. One set with your palms towards you and the second set with your palms away from you.

DAY 3 and 6

Squats 1 set of 30

Run 1 to 6 kilometres (.6 to 4 miles) right after the squats. You will feel wobbly at first. But, you should feel stronger by the second or third week.

The squat is a great strength and stamina builder. Keep your back flat and feet flat on the floor. Only bend your knees so that they are just above your toes and your thighs parallel to the floor. Start without weights and later add a light weight or empty bar. Some people lack the flexibility and have to start with a broom handle.

Strive for good technique rather than lifting heavy. Start with an empty bar or about one third of your body weight.

With weight across your shoulders, inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up. Some lifters take a deep breath while standing, hold the breath, squat and then exhale on the way up. The logic is that holding the breath momentarily makes the body more stable. Use with caution if you want to try this type of breathing.

At first you will have to pause between a few repetitions. After awhile you can perform 30 non-stop repetitions. This will have you huffing and puffing in no time. If a bully tries to chase or fight you, he/she will run out of breath before you do. (Then it is pay back time.)


You must rest to allow your muscles to recover and strengthen.