“Keep it simple, stupid”.
You’ve probably heard this phrase before. KISS applies in many aspects of life, and your training should definitely be one of them. Your training does not need to be complicated in order to achieve excellent results.
You don’t need the latest wearable fitness tracker. You don’t need to perform a circuit on 20 items of machinery. You don’t need to structure intervals within intervals with 5 extra burpees if your number of thruster reps is a prime number.
You just need to get work done. Performing a simple workout, with basic equipment (or no equipment) does not mean that it is ineffective. This might mean that you always do simple bodyweight workouts. Fine. Or it might mean that you throw in simple kettlebell workouts when you can’t make it to the gym. Also fine.
My workouts used to be really complicated. I’d warm up with some mobility work, then about 5 minutes of skipping, then some more specific warm ups for the Olympic lifts I was going to do. Then the Olympic lifts, then some dead lifts or presses then, a 10-minute conditioning workout (Met Con for the Crossfitters reading this), and then some gymnastics progressions. The whole thing would take me about 90 minutes, sometimes more.
What was I trying to achieve? I wanted to be a Crossfitter…but I wanted to get really strong…I wanted to be better at Oly lifts…I wanted to be a gymnast... These are all great goals, and I’m sure you can work with a coach to make a sensible programme. But repeating that 4 times per week was not sustainable, wasn’t getting me anywhere fast, and arguably contributed to injury problems I’ve had since then.
My goal now is to get stronger,sustainably, to build a strength base coming off the back of injury rehab. After that, if I have specific goals, the programme can change, or I can add more according to my body’s resilience.
These days I’m following a fairly simple strength building programme, focussed on the main lifts (deadlifts, squats, rows, presses) with some accessory movements included. Warm-ups are based around specific exercises that my physio has recommended for me.
There’s always a core training element at the end, which I believe everyone should include. I’m done in 60-70 mins. Sometimes I don’t even bother going to the gym! At home I could do some push-ups, pull-ups, kettlebell squats, kettlebell swings and a bit of skippingand be done in 10-30 minutes, depending on my schedule. You can do a lot worse than doing 30 minutes of bodyweight work 4-5 times per week.
Assess your priorities. What is most important to you at the moment? Do you want to get ripped for the beach, do you want to enter a powerlifting competition, do you want to run faster? Or do you just want to look good naked and feel healthy? From there follow a robust and simple programme that caters to those goals.
Only if you are at an elite or competition level do you need to be spending more time, effort and money making things complicated. And at that stage you should be working with a coach who will tell you what to do!
Move often, challenge yourself, train according to your body’s limitations (injuries, health conditions) and get it done. Keep it Simple, Stupid.
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