The Cerutty Legend “We can become what we believe we can become”

Excerpted from and very close to what I prity much try to achieve in my current weight training workout. I mostly do single-leg excersises and low reps. Upper body bent-presses, push-presses, dumbbell snatches, chin-ups, pull-ups, some dips, all body-weight, lots of push-ups, mostly kuckle-style with one leg raised.  My heavy lift is only the deadlift and variations: farmer’s walk, single-hand barbell and sumo (wide-leg).

Two areas where Cerutty was particularly innovative were the use of weights and diet.

Percy saw strength training as essential to a runner’s development. He blew the myth that lifting heavy weights made and athlete bulky and slow. He advocated heavy weights with low repetitions.

The starting weight was what an athlete could move six times, but not ten (except for the dead lift). As soon as the athlete could move the weight ten times, the weight to be lifted was increased. Also, it was not uncommon for reps of two or three to be practiced.

The basic exercises were as follow: the snatch (to warm up, with a quarter to a third of the athlete’s weight), the rowing motion, military press, bench press, curls, the dead lift and one handed swings. The starting weight for the dead lift should be that the athlete can lift twenty times. This weight is lifted in three sets of ten.

Other weight lifting exercises were included, as were sit ups, chin ups and press ups. Sand hills, hills and stair climbing were preferred over weights to make the legs stronger.

His view on diet, as it was on most things, was strict and uncompromising. Raw, unrefined and unprocessed was how Cerutty liked his food. Rolled oats, dried fruits, fruit, vegetables, fish, water (litres each day), milk, nuts and a little meat were the basis of the diet. “Tasty” dishes and processed white bread were avoided. The food was predominantly uncooked.

Much of what is common knowledge and accepted these days was advocated fifty years ago by Cerutty.



About Maurice

Chemical Engineer, dedicated follower of tech innovations, trail-running geek-father of 2 girls. Τοῦτο ἔχει ἡ τελειότης τοῦ ἤθους, τὸ πᾶσαν ἡμέραν ὡς τελευταίαν διεξάγειν καὶ μήτε σφύζειν μήτε ναρκᾶν μήτε ὑποκρίνεσθαι. Perfection of character is this: to live each day as if it were your last, without frenzy, without apathy, without pretence. Marcus Aurelius
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