Like a modern-day Sisyphus, Tony Sentmanat drags a 150-pound sled up and down the block-long parking lot that runs in front of a strip mall stretched along Highway 157 in Arlington, Texas.
This Marine Corps vet, former SWAT operator, combat trainer, and marksman is here to train with IFBB pro bodybuilder and repeat Arnold Classic winner Branch Warren. Warren, known as the "Texas Rattlesnake," is here to work on his functional strength, agility, and mobility after a long career making the iron go up and down.
Taking turns, Warren and Sentmanat drag the sled about 30 yards in each direction—past the pawn shop, around the potholes, and close enough to the faded blue dumpster to catch a whiff of the oil-soaked car-part boxes baking in the sun. When they're done with that, they farmer's-walk the same distance with a hex bar loaded with 360 pounds of iron. From there, they take a 10-pound sledgehammer to a giant truck tire.
All this insane action takes place at the end of a grueling leg day inside Metroflex Gym.
"We're doing this mostly for Branch's sake—to get moving, to get more functional," Sentmanat says. "As Branch gets up in age [he's 43], he wants to be able to move around better. That's also why he's lost a bit of weight and gotten leaner. So, we decided to go outside after our inside workout and see how much we had left."
The workout totals only six exercises, but it's enough to destroy lesser men. These behemoths do the whole thing crazy-heavy, piling on the 45s like pancakes at a firehouse fundraiser. And when they're on the machine, they use up every pin hole on the stack. Like they say: "There's no magic pill. Bring the pain."
Push yourself to the limit. This calls for 6-8 reps. Make sure you earn every one. The last one should burn you out every time. If you go heavy, grab a partner so you can spot each other.
These guys start with four 45-pounders on each side of the apparatus, then work up to a total of 22 plates—990 pounds, the weight of the press itself. Then they do 4 sets…of 20, and Branch reps out 30 times in his last set!
This time, they go from 8 plates to 12 plates to 14 plates per side, and they go deep and fast. Don't cheat on these by barely bending your knees. You're on a machine, but it's still a squat. At the bottom, your thighs should at least be parallel to the floor.
After a leg-day workout that would make any mere mortal wobble, the dynamic duo heads outside to burn whatever's left in their tank. They'll drag the sled and carry the hex bar for a total of 60 yards per set for 4 sets—and they don't dawdle. Pull the sled at a run, do the farmer's walk as fast and heavy as you can, and slam the sledgehammer down hard AF, as if the tire just insulted your mother.
Job done. Now crawl on home and try it again in a few days.