Keeping it simple makes exercise easier

You know the book (Insert Subject Here) For Dummies?

It breaks down a subject into its simplest form to understand a subject better. People who haven’t been blessed with all the smarts are able to read and implement the subject.

It’s an easy way to learn something unfamiliar and complex. And the creators of this series are on a winner. They’ve written 366 books and sold 15 million copies worldwide. Not all the 15 million copies have been bought by dummies.  

That’s because there’s a market for keeping it simple or KISS. I’ll leave the stupid out because I don’t want to insult anyone. Myself included. 😊

Anyway, that’s how I feel about exercise. Whether you’re starting out your fitness journey or an experienced gym rat, everyone could do with a dose of simple.


Life is already complicated enough without exercise muddying the waters.

How KISS Principle Relates To Exercise

When it comes to exercise and lifting weights, there is no shortage of choices or information. It’s a matter of doing something over nothing and being consistent. Someone who picks up a dumbbell will be in better shape than Mr. Couch Potato.

It’s that simple.

But if you’ve spent any time in a gym or on the internet, there’s a multitude of bright shiny toys and methods when it comes to resistance training. Some good, some bad and some ugly. Remember the shake weight?

Now these (probably) work so it’s not my job to cast doubt of these shiny toys and methods, except the shake weight.  But I do want to bring to your attention to fundamental human movements.

What do I mean by fundamental?

Movements you perform daily and should play a starring role in your exercise routine, no matter what tool or method you use to train. They are

Sitting down to go number 2. – Squatting

Bending over to pick up something from the floor. – Hinging

Opening and closing a door. – Pushing and pulling

Walking, running, carrying groceries, or climbing stairs- Carries and Locomotion

Ideally you would train these movements with resistance. However, if lifting weights isn’t your thing, it’s important to find something you enjoy and do it consistently. Your health depends on it.

However, If your current exercise program you’re doing lacks two or more of these fundamental human movements, then it’s time to keep it simple and bring more ‘balance’ to your exercise.

Note- some people do specialized programs for different reasons. I’m referring to the general population here.

How To Keep It Simple Whether You’re a Beginner Or Advanced

This is where exercise regressions and progressions come in. When you first start training or come back from a long layoff, it pays to start off with an exercise that is less difficult to build movement quality and confidence.

For example, a body weight squat (regression) over a barbell squat (progression).

Obviously when you’re more experienced, body weight squats are less challenging and to keep progressing and getting stronger you need to add bite to your squats. For example, a barbell squat over a body weight squat.

This scenario plays out with all fundamental human movements trained with resistance.

Let me give you a real-world example

This is a sample of a program I wrote for an experienced strength and conditioning coach who’s been lifting for many years and looking to his maintain muscle and be challenged.

1A     Offset front squat  3x8ea

1B     Resistance band pull a apart 3x15ea

2A     Bottoms up KB S.A floor press 2×12

2B     Serratus Slides 2×5

3A     Barbell hip ext.     5,4,3,2,1 x2

3B     TRX row     2×15

This is my son’s program who is starting out on his weight lifting journey. He needs movement quality and to add muscle.

1A.  Farmers carry 2x40yards

1B.  Goblet box squat 2×10

2A.  Single arm row 2×15 each side

2B.  Single arm floor press 2×8 each side

3A.  Stability ball hip extension 2×8

3B.  Triceps extensions 2×12

Except for the serratus slides and pull a parts, the exercises are advanced and more challenging in the coaches’ program than my son’s. Plus (minus carries in the coaches’ program) both programs cover all the fundamental human movements.

This is an example of keeping it simple and taking the view from 10,000 feet instead of adding more complexity to a complex world. Because why make your brain hurt along with your body?

Wrapping Up

It’s not that complexity doesn’t have a place in resistance training because if you’re paid to play or a weekend warrior wanting to beat the competition, you need an edge.

But for most of us who want to look, feel, and move better, keeping it simple works just fine.

If you’re looking for a program to help you get in shape, click HERE for a free 4 week program.

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