Why Simple is almost always Better than Sexy

While the title of this blog post may suggest an intense debate over what style of lingerie is best, I actually wanted discuss training (as per usual...).

Each and every week there seems to be a new method of training, using some new fandangle piece of equipment that is suggested to help you build more muscle, become stronger, and increase athleticism (often in a fairly short amount of time).

These methods often include things like agility ladders, suspension trainers, unstable surfaces, among a heap of other unique pieces of equipment.

Now while I won’t say that these methods don’t have any merit at all, people often become focused on these a little too intently, and as a result, lose sight of the bigger picture.

 

The Big Picture

The bigger picture is simple (and unfortunately not all that sexy).

Assuming you have no abhorrent and glaring movement deficiencies, basic strength exercises should make up the bulk of your training. This holds true whether your goal is to improve athleticism, increase strength, build muscle, or lose fat.

Simple barbell movements have been the staple of exercise programs for decades. Funnily enough, this is for an extremely good reason.

They work.

Squats and deadlifts (and their single leg variations), presses, and rows should make up the bulk of your training. These exercises are large compound movements that require the simultaneous work of a number of different muscle groups, and subsequently use a heap of muscle mass.

Additionally (ultimately because of the above), it is with these movements that we can use significantly greater amounts of external load.

This makes them extremely beneficial for hypertrophy (due to the increased mechanical tension associated with increased loading) and fat loss (due to the huge energy expenditure associated with the large amount of muscle mass used).

Furthermore, looking at the movement’s occurring at specific joints, these exercises replicate those of ‘athletic’ movements such as jumping, bounding, and sprinting. It therefore makes sense that by becoming stronger and more powerful in these movements, we are going to improve our ability to perform those more athletic movements.

These movements can be performed a number of different (simple) ways to help us achieve our individual goals:

Strength: Heavy weight and sets of 1-6 repetitions
Hypertrophy:  Moderate weight and sets of 6-15 repetitions
Power: Light to moderate weight and sets of 1-5 repetitions moved EXPLOSIVELY with INTENT.

See, simple (and kind of sexy?).

While there is a place for sport specific exercises, suspension trainers, unstable surfaces, and in some cases, machine based exercises, we should not forget that basic strength exercises still reign supreme.

They provide a fantastic way to put on mass, build strength, and improve athleticism, and as such should ALWAYS make up the bulk of our training.

 

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