4 Steps To Simplify Your Training
Believe it or not, I wasn’t always a magical, awesome super trainer guy. I used to be an average skinny teenager looking to jump aboard the gains train. In high school, I read all the muscle magazines (no Strength.com back then) and tried to do every program recommended by bodybuilder of the month, Pump McPumpinsteen.
Being young and impressionable, I truly believed that the 2 ½ hour, 57 set “chest bomber blast” was going to give me pecs like Schwarzenegger in only 28 days. All it gave me was an AMAZING bout of delayed onset muscle soreness. I bounced magazine to magazine and from program to program and got OK results at best.
One day in my Senior year, I found out one of my teachers had been running an after school weightlifting program and my friend/lifting partner wanted to go. We went on the first day and the coach Mr. Knepper, introduced us to his K.I.S.S. (KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!) training system. It was COMPLETELY different than what we had been doing, almost laughably, but as I would learn, simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy or ineffective.
It broke down like this:
There were basically 2 workouts that alternated on Mondays and Thursdays
WORKOUT 1: Squat, Weighted Pullups/Bent Over Barbell Rows, Abs
- Squat – 1 set of 20 reps, 5 seconds between each rep (torture)
- Upper back exercise rotated every other week – 4 sets, 8-12 reps
- Abs – Weighted Roman Chair Situps (I know, I know…) – 2 sets, 25 reps
WORKOUT 2: Squat, Bench Press/Weighted Dips, Low Back
- Squat – 1 set of 20 reps, 5lbs increase from last session with 5 seconds between each rep (more torture)
- Pressing exercise rotated every other week – 4 sets, 8-12 reps
- Low Back – Weighted Roman Chair Lumbar Extensions (I know! Enough already…)- 2 sets, 25 reps
We only had access to the weight room twice a week, so coach needed to us to have a program that would hit the most in the least. Funny thing is, we got STRONG. Our numbers went up almost EVERY week. Most of all we had a simple plan to follow that didn’t require any fancy machines or hard to find equipment.
I was getting bigger and stronger in those 2 intense sessions than I was using the magazine workouts. Plus I wasn’t always in the gym. I could actually hang out with my friends more without feeling like I’m missing a workout. I wasn’t working out anymore. Now I was TRAINING.
I’m not saying the K.I.S.S. program was the best program ever, but it WAS the best program for us at THAT time. It was simple, had a well defined path to progress, and had just enough volume and frequency to stimulate steady increases in size and strength without beating up our joints.
You don’t always need to to bust out 2 ½ hour marathon daily training sessions to get bigger and stronger. There are times that two 45 minute sessions a few days apart can outperform longer, more frequent ones.
Here is a 15 minute exercise to help you simplify your training:
Define your “Why”: What is the goal of this program?
Refine your “How”: Does the set/rep scheme support the goal?
Assess your “What”: What are the tools at your disposal, and what is absolutely essential?
Outline your “When” Set a hard deadline of 60 minutes per workout. What you don’t get done, scrap it for the next workout unless you can work harder next time and get it in.
Think “addition by subtraction”. Start cutting away what is unnecessary in your training, maybe even try Mr. Knepper’s K.I.S.S.program for a few weeks. (don’t plan on walking anywhere the first week or 2) I guarantee, you will be more focused and productive in the gym than at any other point in your life.
By Chad Smith, Fitness Coach