In my last post I made it clear that I am beginning a crusade to get rid of all the useless clutter in my life.  Basically all the shit that is holding me back professionally, physically, and emotionally.  It’s time to let go and clean house.

So far all I have gotten rid of are a couple of my unmatched socks, an old toothbrush and drawer full of old tickets from concerts and sporting events….  OMG NoooOOOOooooooo I might need those one day!

Hey, it’s a start.  In any case I have actually started a list of things I need to do to start getting rid of things.  Spring cleaning for your eternal soul if you will.  That is trademarked by the way so don’t even think about it…

Anyways, as I was getting rid of crap in my office I came across a huge stack of papers in one of my ‘filing areas’ (aka stacked on my desk) covered in blood, sweat and chalk which I realized were my training logs and programs for the past 4 years.  Yes, I am very Type A and literally every deadlift, pull-up, BOSU Ball squat, and side plank are on paper with sets, reps, and sometimes even how I felt that day.

Flipping through almost half a decade of strength training it is easy to see how my philosophies have changed over the years.  There was significantly more volume in the exercise selection as well as significantly more useless crap.  I guess I never truly understood the 80/20 rule back then.  For those of you not familiar, it basically states that 80% of results come from only 20% of the effort.  Therefore the other 80% of the effort (eg exercises) are utterly useless.  Sex panther, that shit smells like pure gasoline.

Looking at some of my most recent programs, each training day consists of no more than 3-5 main exercises.  You might be thinking that would make for a short ass workout; some days it takes up to a half hour to just get through deadlifts.  You might be thinking that I am probably overweight and not ripped; I have remained around 10% bodyfat for over a decade.  You might be thinking that all I do is powerlifting; child please, I like to lose the body fat in the summer too!

[quote author=”- Steve Bergeron”]In an age where everyone is looking for the next minimalist shoe to wear to run their next 5K, why do so many people feel that they need to do so many different exercises to get strong?[/quote]

I’m not saying that any one exercise is better than the next *coughdeadliftcough* but the variety that is used in most training programs is definitely a progress killer.  All you need is one big movement and a few accessory movements to reinforce it or work on a weak link.  

I know your thinking “What’s the good in doing that?”.  I will tell you:

  • Less to think about 
  • Less to remember 
  • Less stress (body and mind)
  • Faster recovery
  • Easier to stick with the program
  • Better results
  • Pie (everybody loves pie)

If you think that only doing a couple exercises in a workout isn’t going to benefit ‘you’ personally then look at some of the world’s top athletes.  Most olympic weightlifters, powerlifters, bodybuilders typically focus on a few key moves to train and they know how to move some serious weight.  Many of the hockey, baseball, basketball and other team sport strength programs I have seen over the years rarely include more than 3-5 strength movements on a typical training day.

Squats. That is all.

My Proposal…

For the next month (or forever?) stick to only using 3-5 strength exercises each training day, the fewer the better.  Seriously, go squat for an hour and tell me how you feel.  Probably like a goddamn sexual tyrannosaurus.

That doesn’t include “filler” work such as mobility work and corrective exercise.  It doesn’t include your warm-up, conditioning or that “finisher” thing that you feel like you have to do to see your abz (I’m being generous here).  Just the strength stuff.  Squats, deadlifts, bench, push-ups, rows, etc. and all the variations.  

The only catch is you have to life like you mean it.  Get better at a movement, lift more weight and add in some extra sets.  Work up to some heavy triples for your deadlift then drop the weight by 10-20% and do some more.  Heck, drop down to 50% of you max before you go and rep out.  Finish with some pullups and ab-wheel rollouts and call it a day.

Here is what that would look like:

Warmup (obvi)

Deadlift

  • 3 warmup sets of 5 @ 135lbs, 155lbs, 185lbs
  • 5×3 @ 225lbs
  • drop down to 200lbs and do 3 more sets
  • drop to 155lbs and go till your form deteriorates

Superset Pullups and Ab-Wheel for 5×10 each

That’s it.  Done.  No matter what your goal is you are one step closer.  No stress, no mess.

Your welcome America!

 


Written by Steve