How to Simplify Your Gym Program and Get Better Results
Having a complicated and complex gym program might sound cool and look sophisticated on paper, but does that actually equate to you getting better results?
In my professional opinion, no.
I have used, followed and created hundreds of different training programs over the last 10 years of coaching and being involved in gyms, which is since I was 16 years old.
In all that time, I can say with absolute confidence that the simplest programs yield the best results.
Every single time.
The reason for this is that complex does not mean better.
You may have this preconceived notion that if something is simple, it is too basic and it will be ineffective.
This could not be any further from the truth!
Complex exercises and gym training programs usually lead to confusion and poor application.
Simply put, if it's too complicated to follow and execute, it'll end up producing minimal or reduced results.
If you can't remember what an exercise is, how to do it the right way or what muscles you should be using, what good is it going to be for you?
It *may* be the best exercise in the history of the universe (Unlikely. But, possible), but if you get confused about how to do it or why it's in the program, the results you see from doing it will be poor.
Today's article is all about helping you simplify your gym program so you can get better results.
Taking what you know (or don't yet know), breaking it down to simple pieces so you can create a simple plan and execute it at a high level.
You'll get rid of all the fluff, fancy exercises, fads and show you that the basics are the best. Because, they are!
I feel that the there are two big factors regarding gym programs which contribute to poor results.
1) Doing too many exercises
If doing one exercise is good, then doing two must be better. And if doing two is better, three must be great. And if three exercises is great, four must be amazing. And so on.
See where I'm going with this?
There's a quote which I really like and also happens to illustrate the difference between doing more and doing better.
"More isn't better. Better is better."
See the difference?
When it comes to following a gym program there are a few things which need you to identify and address.
What is your goal? (purpose)
How long do you have to train? (duration)
Any injuries or limitations? (contraindications)
Training age (Experience lifting weights)
Training History (previous programs and results)
Once you take all of these factors into account, you have a baseline of what you can do.
Designing and following a gym program isn't about seeing who can do the most amount of exercises, sets or who can train for the longest.
It's about getting the best results out of a given program. And when it comes to that, less is more.
This is a concept which I picked up from either, "The Power of Less" or "Essentialism". Both are great books to read in the topic of increasing productivity and becoming more effective.
You just need to translate what they are talking about in terms of training in the gym, instead of purely for productivity.
It's about enhancing what you do and how you do it, so you can better maximise your time (and results) when you're in the gym.
So how do you do that?
Do fewer exercises, but with better quality.
Like I mentioned earlier, you want to strive for better, not necessarily more.
Most people I see and encounter in commercial gyms end up doing over 8 different exercises in a single session. That's quite a lot!
If you are just starting out, or even an intermediate lifter in the gym, you'll have a hard time remembering all the nuances and fine details about how to maximise each and every exercise on a program like that.
I would encourage you to strip back your exercise list to 4-6.
Yes. That's right!
Perform just a handful of exercises and become extremely competent in them.
This way you know you are giving each exercise 100% attention, focus and doing it to the best of your ability -- instead of trying to remember everything you got taught in your initial session, which just quickly walked you through your program.
2) Trying to do all of the "advanced" exercises.
The advanced exercises which you see online and on social media are there for one thing (in my opinion), to grab your attention and get likes and follows.
They look great, but aren't very (dare, I say) functional, or beneficial for your goals.
You also need to put those advanced exercises into context.
Generally, the people who are performing these exercises have a high training age, meaning they have been training consistently for many years, not just a few weeks or months.
The reason they may be doing this advanced stuff is because they have completed hundreds, if not thousands of repetitions of the basics.
Technically, their form is immaculate and they have the body awareness to do things which newbies just aren't capable of doing (yet).
What most people don't know, or haven't been told is that all of the advanced exercises are just variations or progressions of the basic lifts.
Squats, presses, rows, deadlifts and something dynamic or explosive.
Now, do these exercises do anything different or unique? Well, they do. Kind of.
But, do you need them? Probably not.
There is also a risk to reward ratio when it comes to training in the gym. This is the potential of you getting injured when performing a given exercise or movement.
The simplest exercises generally have a low risk, whereas the complicated exercises shift towards a high(er) risk.
so My advice to you is this.
Keep your training program as simple as possible.
Simple is easy to follow, which builds consistency, which gets you results, which builds motivation, which comes back to better consistency.
See how that cycle works?
But it all starts with a plan which is simple enough to follow and effective enough to get you meaningful results.
The basics have been around for hundreds of years and with good reason -- they have produced consistently great results.
Stick to the big, staple exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, presses, rows and all of their variations.
If you can stick to a program like this and execute it to the best of your ability, your results will show!
I hope that makes sense and provides you with enough knowledge and reasoning to pursue a simple program.
If you have any questions or need pointing in the direction of what to do next, please feel free to reach out, or post a comment below and I'll get back to you.
Until next time,
Do less, but better.