Do you remember the scene from The Matrix when Samuel. L. Jackson told Keanu Reeves he would show him just “how deep the rabbit-hole goes”?

Sometimes a personal trainer has to be like Jackson.

matrix
At your own risk

On the surface, exercise is simple. You strap on a pair of shoes and run. You grab a dumbbell and do a few curls.

However, as you go further down the rabbit hole, exercise becomes more and more complex.  Supersets, giant sets, circuits, mobility, core stability, breathing and metabolic training. Confused yet?

Exercise terminology is complicated and the methods are numerous.

Exercise can be overwhelming for the general population looking to get fit and healthy. It’s not a lack of information that’s stopping them, its information overload. Paralysis by analysis.  The rabbit hole just looks too deep.

So where do you start?

You start by keeping it simple.

A great coach named Dan John has broken down exercise into 6 movements which are

  1. Squat
  2. Push
  3. Pull
  4. Hinge
  5. Carrying something heavy
  6. Groundwork

Although there are many other exercise movements, these are a great place to start.

I’m assuming you’re at different places in your fitness journey, so I’m breaking the first 4 movements above into beginner (you’re new to weight training), level 2 and level 3 exercises.

For the carry part, you’re on your own

1. Squat

 

Beginner- Stability ball squat ( add weight if necessary)

 

Level 2 – The body weight squat

 

Level 3 – The Goblet squat

 

 

2. Push

 

Beginner – Incline push up (Use a height where you’re able to do 8-12 reps)

 

Level 2 Dumbbell bench press

 

Level 3 – Push up

 

 

 

3. Pull

 

Beginner- Standing single arm cable row

 

Level 2- Kneeling Lat Pull-down

 

Level 3 – Inverted row

 

4. The Hinge

 

Beginner- Swiss ball hip extension

 

Level 2- The Stick

 

Level 3- Dumbbell Romanian deadlift

 

5. The farmer’s walk

 

 

6.  Groundwork (include in your warm up)

 

Crawling

 

Rocking

 

Rolling

 

For example, a beginner circuit would look like this.

  1. Stability ball squat
  2. Incline push up
  3. Single arm cable row
  4. Swiss ball hip extension
  5. Farmers carry

Instructions

 

Be honest on where you are in your fitness journey and choose the appropriate level of exercise for you. Try to keep on the same level for exercises 1-4.

For the carry, choose a weight that allows you to do the distance specified and use some of the groundwork moves in your warm up before get after it.

You will do the exercises as a circuit (one exercise after the other with little or no rest in-between) 1-5 (in order), then resting and repeating for a specified amount of circuits.

You will train 3 times a week, and you’ll rest 48 hours in between trainings.

What is your goal?

 

You’ll start by sticking to one goal. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen people make is chasing too many goals simultaneously.  You’re more likely to have success if your stick to one goal, so decide if your goal is

  1. Fat loss
  2. Lean muscle gain
  3.  Getting back into shape

So take a moment to decide before you read on. This has a huge bearing on which style of training you will choose below.

Putting it all together

 

1. Fat loss

 

Day 1– Complete 8 reps (select a weight that allows you to do 8 reps) of each exercise 1-4 in the circuit fashion explained above. If doing the standing single arm row, do 8 reps on each side. For farmer’s walk do 20 yards and then walk back for 20 yards for a total of 40 yards.

Each set will take you 1 minute to complete and each circuit 5 min to finish. Do a total of 4 circuits in 20 minutes.

Day 2 – Choose a lighter weight (when using resistance) than day one. Do as many reps of each exercise 1-4 as you can in 30 seconds (single arm row do 30 sec on both arms) and do the farmer’s walk for 30 sec total.  Rest for 30 seconds at the end of each exercise.

Again each circuit will take you 5-6 minutes. Rest 60- 90 seconds at the end of each circuit. Do a total of 3 circuits.

Day 3 – Do 15 reps of each exercise 1-4 in a circuit fashion. For the farmer’s walk, do 20 yards there and back for a total of 40 yards. Rest as little as possible between exercises and rest 60 seconds at the end of each circuit. Do a total of 3 circuits.

2. Muscle

 

Day 1 – Do 6 reps of exercises 1-4 with a weight (heavier than usual) that allows you complete each rep. The farmer’s walk do 20 yards there and back for a total of 40 yards. Rest as little as possible between exercises and 60- 90 seconds at the end of each circuit. Do 4 circuits.

Day 2 – Do 10 reps of exercises 1-4 with a weight (5-10 pounds lighter than day 1) that allows you to complete each rep. For the farmer’s walk, do 20 yards there and back for a total of 40 yards. Rest as little as possible between exercises and 60- 90 seconds at the end of each circuit. Do 3 circuits.

Day 3- Do 15 reps of exercises 1-4 with a weight (5 pounds lighter or the same weight as day 2) that allows you to complete each reps. For the farmer’s walk, do 30 yards there and back for a total of 60 yards. Rest a little as possible between exercises and 60-90 seconds at the end of each circuit. Do 3 circuits.

3. Getting back into shape (perfect for those just starting out)

 

Day 1- Do 15 reps of exercises 1-4 with a weight that allows you to complete each rep. For the standing single arm cable row, do 15 reps on each arm. For the farmer’s walk, do a total of 20 yards. Do 2 circuits, resting as much as you need between exercises and circuits.

Day 2- Do 12 reps of exercises 1-4 with a weight (5 pounds heavier than day 1) that allows you to complete each rep. For the standing single arm cable row, do 12 reps on each arm. For the farmer’s walk, do a total of 30 yards. Do 2 circuits, resting as much as you need between exercises and circuits.

Day 3- Do 10 reps of exercises 1-4 with a weight (same weight as day 2) that allows you to complete each rep. For the standing single arm cable row, do 10 on each arm. For the farmer’s walk, do a total of 40 yards. Do 3 circuits, resting as much as you need between exercises and circuits.

Wrapping up

 

Do this training for 6 weeks in total. If you need more than 48 hours to recover between trainings, take it. When the current level of an exercise becomes easier, go up a level. When the weight becomes less challenging, go up by 5 pounds. Don’t hold yourself back.

Keep this simple and the results will come.

Any questions or need you need help with your exercise programming? Contact me here. No question to great or small.

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