Friday, March 2, 2012

Think you need alot of different equipment for an effective workout? Please read on....

I did not write this..however I wholeheartedly agree with this article.

Enamored with Exercises

One of the hardest things for a coach can be which exercises to put into their program and which to leave out.  These days this problem seems to be even more challenging because there appear to be so many options with regard to various training tools and people trying to invent “new” exercises:
  • “When do we do kettlebells?”
  • “Where should I program in the TRX exercises?”
  • “At what point during the workout should I do the Turkish get up?”
  • “Where do we do speed work?”
  • “What about plyometrics?”
  • “Should I use the agility ladder?”
  • “Do we deadlift or squat?”
On and on the list goes and in the end I think people can get paralyzed with all the options that they end up doing EVERYTHING!
It is easy to get enamored with certain exercises and feel that your program is inferior without them – “If I don’t do Turkish get ups my athletes will never improve.”
The fact of the matter is, there is nothing wrong with any of the exercises above.  What is more important is how you use them. As I stated, people end up getting so hung up on certain exercises and training tools that they don’t know how to write a program without them.  This leads to programs that are incredibly long in duration and sometimes a bit muddy in terms of their focus and direction.
Less Is More
A few weeks ago, on his facebook page, my friend Charlie Weingroff posted THIS link to the old Bill Starr 5×5 program and asked “Does it need to be more complicated than this?” 
I really don’t think it does!!
In reality, I believe that you can actually do a ton with only a hand full of exercises if you can do them well and know how to manipulate other training variables in order to get what you want out of them in terms of the specific stresses you are looking to impose on the individual.
Talking with my friend Joel Jamieson the other night he echoed these sentiments stating that, “There are really only about 7 or 8 exercises I use any more. I may throw something in that is “different” every once in a while just to keep people from getting bored, but I always come back to my main exercises. It isn’t like the squat just stops working! Look at Bondarchuk’s program. His throwers do the same five exercises year round!”
What I love about the Bill Starr program, linked to above, is that it uses only a small group of exercises – you can squat, press, and power clean or you can squat, press, and row – and you get good at doing the basics!
Nothing fancy, no crazy bells and whistles, just basic exercises and you do them three days a week so that you get really, really good at doing them.
This simple view of training is something that I appreciate most from guys like Dan John (his Intervention DVD was excellent) and Dr. Ken Leistner (one of these days in the near future I am going to buy this collection of all of his old Steel Tip articles).
I know it is easy to get enamored with exercises and believe that one exercise may have some sort of magical power. We have all been there before! However, I urge you to step back and remember that not only are the basics key…they also work! Pick 3-5 exercises that you feel are cornerstones of your training program and hammer them out. Instead of constantly rotating the exercises around change the rep ranges, sets, rest interval, and rep tempo to impart a different type of stress on the body and to get something different from the same lift.
The longer I work with people the more I find that my list of exercises begins to shrink.


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