X-Man's Training Doctrine

Toney Freeman offers his ultimate training advice

Toney Freeman

has many years of serious training under his belt, and he isn't stopping any time soon. He has perfected his training philosophy over the years, and has some training advice that he would like to share. Read on to see the X-Man's Training Doctrine.


Most people mimic what they see at the gym without comprehending why they’re doing it or what benefit — if any — they’re getting. This is an easily avoidable training mistake. “You can’t just do what someone else is doing and expect to make gains,” he says. “It’s trial and error, you do X amount of things for X amount of time and reassess, then you take that data and reassess from that.”


Skeptics said he was too tall, too skinny and his limbs were too long. To combat those would-be setbacks and to get the results — and look — he sought, he began using more supersets, trisets and giant sets. “They weren’t lying,” he says of the skeptics, “but that’s why I train with so much variety — the other ways weren’t working. So I had to make every movement and every exercise all about me.”


Freeman’s free advice: forget counting sets and reps. It’s a distraction tactic that can disrupt the mind-muscle connection and inhibit you from achieving maximal results from a workout.  “When you’re counting in your head, you’re losing focus — no matter how good you are,” he says. “It doesn’t matter how many reps or sets you do. It’s just a goal. If you’re doing too many reps, add more weight. Go until you break form.”


You won’t catch him doing the same workout twice. In fact, it’s tough to get him to recite the order and exercises from his last workout. Freeman prides himself on changing it up.  “I’m all about variation,” he says. “I continue to keep my muscles guessing by not giving my body a chance to get comfortable. This approach is part of what allows me to keep making gains at my age.”



waste your time trying to compete against another competitor; you’re giving him your energy and you can’t afford to do that. You use those guys to gauge how far you have to go. That’s why it’s important to get compared to everyone. Say you’re the rookie who nobody knows — it’s important to compete early on and get compared with the top guys to see where it is you gotta go.”


“My roots are in bodybuilding. I was a skinny kid and bodybuilding gave me the body that I wanted, so I’m loyal to the sport whether I make money or not. As a professional, what drives me is the opportunity to be the best in the world, even if it’s only for a moment.”


“I don’t run from the chore. I have accepted that it takes x amount of food and training to be the best. Either put forth the effort or expect nothing.”


“I have a love-hate relationship with the gym. I don’t hate it while I’m doing it, it’s just that I hate that you have to continue to progress just to stay the same — much less improve. In order to excel, damn, dog, you have to tear down the whole barn and build another one. It’s crazy that each year you continue to make gains, and then you have to figure out how to make them again. As soon as you stop, it starts back in the other direction.”

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