Exercise Benefits of Simplified Workout Programs

workout programs

Simplified workout programs

I’ve been working with humans exercising since 2001, and there are two things that have stood out quite a bit as to how people perceive working out:

1) The more exercises done in a workout the better.
2) The NEXT workout program will always be the best one you’ll ever do.

Both of which are unequivocally, absolutely, positively FALSE, and by the time you finish the post you’ll know why.

Pondering this always releases a wee bit of lactic acid in my brain as I think about the amount of times I’ve slowed someone down to help them get results faster. Meaning? It’s not unusual for me to cut out at least 40-50% of the “program” people are doing when we start training together.

There are two very big reasons for this:

1) I’m an evil human being (also known as a Fitness Coach) who enjoys seeing the sheer terror on someone’s face when you tell them they’ll be doing LESS work to achieve MORE.

2) The other one is that by cutting out the fluff and focusing on progressing the basics, you get a heck of a lot stronger (usually in a shorter amount of time from focused effort), move better, and have a lot more fun being awake.

So what is this magical muscular movement sequence?

What workout wizardry will make you the envy of all of your friends? I’m not entirely convinced you’re ready for the answer because it’s so simple.

Are you ready? Are you sure? Well, then here you go.

When you exercise, to get results is to pick a variation of the following three exercises and progress them over time with the strategy you’ll learn by time you finish the post. All you need to get stronger is to progress the following exercises:

  1. Pulling
  2. Squatting
  3. Pushing

There you go, that’s the key to creating higher levels of strength. I will now drop the proverbial muscular musings mic and walk off stage…

I bet this seems WAY TOO simple to work. How boring does that look? And that my friends is the absolute beauty of the strategy and why it works so well.

When you’re working out, the more boring your exercises, the more exciting the results you achieve.

To drive it home further: doing less is the beginning of achieving more.

Your Success Sequence Simplified

A long time ago, in a Juan Carlos Santana (no, not the guitar guy) workshop I attended (and later read in his book “The Essence of Band And Pulley Training Companion Guide”) he broke down the following way to insert essentially limitless exercise progressions regardless of if you’re new to exercising, are an advanced athlete or fit somewhere in between.

It’s simple. It’s effective and it looks like this.

A Tale Of Two Halves

When you work out a few things are constant as you move. Your lower body is connected to the ground somehow while your arms are moving. Pretty simple, right? Nothing groundbreaking here.

Now for the magic: by altering the base of support underneath you (how your feet connect to the earth), you begin to challenge a whole host of muscles you didn’t think you had, were possible to train, or ever thought you’d want to do.

Now here is where the goods get delivered (my dad was a mailman, so I’m confident I can convert).

Ready for the solution to simplify the way you exercise? Here you go.

To exponentially improve the effectiveness (not too mention the efficiency) of your next workout, when you train your legs, try playing with the following bases of support to ramp up the challenge and exercise much more effectively:

  • Moving on Two legs: Most Stable
  • Using a Split Stance (one foot in front of the other): More Challenging
  • Training a Single Leg: Least Stable and The Most Challenging
Examples of this would be:
  • Two Legs: Goblet Squats
  • Split Stance: Bulgarian Split Squats (aka Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats, or the most hated lower body exercise in the history of the fitness industry)
  • Single Leg: Single Leg Bridges
Now To The Top Shelf

Not to throw the baby out with the bathwater (which 1. dates me, and 2. confuses me because I still have no idea what this means) when you train your upper body, you follow the same base of support concept as the lower body and it looks like this as you push and pull:

  • Two Arms Moving
  • Alternating Arms
  • A Single Arm Moving
Some examples of this would be:
  • Two Legs + Two Arms (Most Stable)
  • Two Legs + Alternating Arms (Less Stable more core stabilization involved)
  • Two Legs + Single Arm (Least Stable maximum core stabilization needed)

As you get stronger, you can start playing with a split stance position eventually working toward standing on a single leg while using the upper body movement patterns for variety. Just be sure that your base of support and upper body movement pattern match up with your current strength levels to get the most out of the movements.

Here’s what the progressions look like programmed into a workout using exercise bands:
  • Warmup (I love something as simple as getting up and down from the floor for 3:00-5:00)
  • 2-Leg + 2-Arm Squat Holding the Bands in Front of You
  • Split Stance + Alternate Arm Press (anchored behind you)
  • Single Leg + Single Arm Row (anchored in front of you)

I specifically used bands in the example above, and you’ll find out why if you keep reading. Unless you need to refill your coffee mug, then please go get replenish the elixir of life. Single origin, Ethiopian light roast pour over for me btw if you’re keeping score at home.

You Want Even More Variety?

Would you believe that by plugging in the three lower body support progressions into the three upper body movement patterns, you can generate 600 (yep, you read that right: six-zero-zero) possible exercise combinations with a two-handled exercise band alone? I discovered this prepping to coach a workshop one time and it surprised the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks out of me too.

Now ponder this. What if you plugged in the movement progressions done with your bands and added in suspension straps (my favorite!)? A kettlebell and bands? Bodyweight, bands and a stability ball? Suspension straps, a sandbag and bands? Bands and a hill to hike or run up?

In this reporter’s opinion, it would be just about impossible for you to run out of things do, or ever get bored from the ones you did. You’d hit your muscles in just about every way possible and you’d get pretty darn strong.

With only three exercises as your fitness foundation, progressed the right way, you remove one of the biggest challenges of putting together your own workouts: what to do and how to progress it.

I’ve stayed with the SAME three exercises for four weeks at a time and at the end of that period, I set a ton of PRs (personal records) on my mountain bike with a lot less effort in bigger gears. As I mentioned above, I slowed down with boring (in the gym) to go faster (on my bike) with exciting results.

I realize I just threw out a ton of information at you, and if your brain feels like it’s in a blender, this is where I can help you make sense of it all. How? I’ll create workout programs based on a push/pull/squat format, you master the fundamentals of those movements. However, they’ll get progressed over time, and we work together to make your friends jealous over your new levels of fitness while they’re still trying to figure out how to keep up with you on their own.

So, if you’re ready to clear the clutter to get the benefits of a simplified workout program, drop me a line through Trainerize. Let’s team up and get going.

Thanks a ton for getting down this far, it is very much appreciated!

 INTEGRATE Performance Fitness

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