Simplify Your Training Pt.1
The internet is like you local city library…except none of the books are in order, there is a group of know-it-alls shouting at the top of their voice and the librarian is a chimpanzee.
There is a lot of information out there, which is in itself a wonderful thing. However, the availability of a huge amount of information also means the availability of bad information. Terrible sometimes. But don’t fret, I’m about to help you tackle that problem in this 3 part series of blogs.
What I want to show you is this: It isn’t complex, its actually quite simple.
A lot of the time people search the internet for some sort of magic pill answer. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked ‘whats the one way I can *insert goal here*’ or ‘what exercise can I do to tone up *insert body part here*’.
Here’s the thing, if you want a magic pill you’re in the wrong mindset to succeed before you’ve even started. Believe me, I know what desperation feels like (see my previous blog on my own transformation). I also know that there isn’t a magic pill.
Sorry to burst your bubble…Let me make it up to you though.
Here are some things you can start putting into practice to simplify things and get moving with your progress. In this blog I’ll be focusing on training:
- Hire a coach: An obvious one coming from a coach perhaps, but this will always be top of my list. The best way you can simplify your training is by having someone else take care of it. Now, I know not everyone can afford to see a coach 3 times per week, but there are plenty of affordable options out there such as online training. BUT, proceed with caution. Just because someone has six pack abs on Instagram does not qualify them as a good coach. You must connect with your coach on a personal level for whichever option you choose. Get in touch with them or meet them, find out what they are all about and if possible speak to some of their clients about their experience.
- Follow a tried and tested programme: This, for me, is the next best thing. There are some awesome programmes out there. Here are just a few: Strong Lifts 5×5, Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1, German Volume Training, German Body Comp, GZCL, 6/12 heavy/light. The thing about a programme is that to get the results you have to stick to it. If you’re ready to focus, pick one that suits your goals and get to it!
- Pick a rep range that you would like to get stronger in: Christian Thibaudeau’s ‘double progression’ method entails not moving the weight up until you lift the top end of the rep range with good technique for the tempo you assign. For example you start with a 50kg bench press at 6-8 reps for your training block with a tempo of 402. The first week you get 8,8,6,6 reps…the second week you get 8,8,7,6 reps….the third week you get 8,8,8,8 reps, week 4 you move your weight up. Heres how I have used this in the past: 4 week training blocks followed by a 1 week de-load (use <50% of the weight you used for the training block for the same reps and tempo, work on movement, technique and mobility). Do at least 2 blocks of the same rep range with 2 big lifts and 3-5 accessory lifts.
- Focus on one thing at a time: If you are really confused about how to progress, your goal might involve a few different aspects that you might be trying to chase all at the same time. Getting ripped, strong, fast, well conditioned and being able to run marathons is quite the ask all at once. Pick one and attack it. Which one of your fitness and health goals means the most to you? Thats the one you’re going for in your next training block.
- Cover the basics and attack your weaknesses: Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, Bent Over Row and Military Press…aka “the big 5”. I’m going to add another I feel needs to be in there which is chin ups. Here you have a squat, a hinge, a vertical push and pull and a horizontal push and pull. Choose either a squat or a hinge and a vertical or horizontal push and pull for 4-6 sets of 4-6 reps for each of the three big exercises you choose. For the rest of your session, 3-5 exercises, 3-5 sets, 8-15 reps. Strong chest and weak back? Back attack. Big quads but small hamstrings? Time to fire them up. Here’s an 2 day full body example for someone who works 9-5 at an office job:
10-15 minutes foam rolling and warming up
A. Trap Bar Deadlift 4×6 401 tempo
B. Chin up 4×6 401 tempo
C. Military Press 4×6 301 tempo
D1. Bodyweight Row 3×10 222 tempo
D2. Face Pull 3×15 222 tempo
E1. Hamstring Curl 3×10 222 tempo
E2. Hip Thrust 3×15 222 tempo
10-15 minutes foam rolling and warming up
A. Squat to Box 4×6 401 tempo
B. Bench Press 4×6 401 tempo
C. Bent Over Row 4×6 401 tempo
D1. Db SLDL 3×10 222 tempo
D2. Single Leg Hamstring Curl 3×15 each side 222 tempo
E1. One Arm Row 3×10 each side 222 tempo
E2. Lat Pull Down 3×15 222 tempo
To be effective, training does not have to be complicated. In fact, the simple things done well will get you a hell of a lot further than doing complex things badly! Just because they are simple doesn’t mean they are easy. What it does mean, however, is that you have a clear path forward.
Struggling to get the most out of your training? I am currently opening up morning slots from August to take on three new clients interesting in becoming strong on all levels. Sound like something you would be interested in? Get in touch below and we can get the ball rolling.
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