“Push something, pull something, do something for your legs, and something for your core.  If you learn to pair them up then you can be out of there pretty quick.” – Mike Boyle

Listening to the Fitcast early this morning (4:30a.m.) per usual I came across this little piece of philosophy from world-renowned strength coach Mike Boyle.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mike, he is one of the most intelligent and successful strength coaches in this industry and has worked with athletes and teams from all over the world.  It doesn’t stop there though, he has also written books, produced DVDs and pretty much created many cutting-edge methods in strength training and has inspired millions.  Even more, his gym was voted #1 gym in the country and is located in Woburn, MA.  Needless to say, I follow his work and share his passion for knowledge in this field and the more I listen to him the more inspired I become.  Check out his website at bodybyboyle.com, his forum at strengthcoach.com,  his blog at mboyle1959.wordpress.com, and his podcast at strengthcoachpodcast.typepad.com.

Before I finish brown-nosing I just want to say that I have listened to all 65 episodes of the StrengthCoach Podcast before I began listening to the Fitcast.  Sorry Kev.  Both are priceless resources but the gems I have found listening to Boyle’s podcast have inspired me to take my knowledge in my field and other related fields to the next level.  You become the best by learning from the best and I have to say thank you to Mike for sharing his knowledge with everyone.

One of the many things I have learned along the way is that no matter what your goal is simplicity with intensity rules.  Too often people want to cram a  bunch of extra work in their program which is all to often completely unnecessary.  So the next time I see you spending 2 hours on the eliptical, doing biceps curls, or spending countless hours in yoga or pilates and then complaining that you don’t have time to workout or get in better shape I am going to give you a flying headbutt.  In all seriousness, the more simplistic your program is the more likely you are to follow it and succeed.  No matter what your goal is (unless it is to learn how to perform a flying headbutt), you should focus on a few key moves to enhance your training.

Especially for those of you who are crunched for time for whatever reason, family, work, tonights episode of Hawaii 5-0, or whatever other excuses you may have then I am a fan of whole body workouts.  Warmup aside, you only really need to focus on upper body pushing and pulling and lower body squatting and bending.

For pushing you can easily bang out a few sets of pushups modified to your level.  For pulling get on those rows or pullups.

For lower body squatting, unless you have perfected the squat you should start there.  For the bending add in a hip extension exercise such as hip extensions or even better try the hip thrusts that Bret Contreras made popular.

I also like to have my clients do something for their core as well which can be planks, side planks, anti-rotation holds, or rollouts.

Now I understand that you all may be starting at different levels but I’m pretty sure that you are all working out for the same reason: to enhance your fitness in some way.  Under that premise then, you should aim to increase what you are doing each week either by repetition or resistance.  Without increasing stimulus your body will not change.  You can load (add weight) to any exercise so if you want to get stronger and more fit there you have it.  Simple right?

Here is a basic beginner’s program that includes all the essentials:

Set one:

Squat 3×8

Pushup 3×8

Plank 3×30 sec

Set two:

Hip Thrust 3×8

Row 3×8

Side Plank 3×30 sec

Bada bing bada boom.  If you are crunched for time and new to fitness then this is your foundation.  It’s simple, it gets you in and it gets you out and if you are increasing the weight/difficulty each week then it gets you stronger.

Remember: As your goals change, so will your program but these are the basics to get you started.


Written by Steve