We live in a world made up of short attention spans. It has become place over run with gimmicks, shiny new objects, and Apple’s ability to sell anything outside of a big bag of dog poop (actually they could probably sell it if they wanted to). We don’t just drive cars anymore, we have to have a car with GPS that tells us our driveway is 433.988 feet away and the passenger and driver must have different air conditioning temperature because we all know that you get hotter when you are driving. Don’t ask questions its science!! But it’s not just everyday life that this is happening in, it is going on in the world of strength and conditioning, fitness, exercise, working out or whatever name you fancy. There is a serious urge to stand on Bosu balls while doing squats, and for people to pull themselves up onto a pull-up bar and do the “truffle shuffle” (Goonies, if you haven’t seen it I am a little worried). I think in both life and the gym we as a society have lost focus on what is important, and in both walks of life we need to ask ourselves “is this really a necessity? Do I need this?”
Stronger Legs and Butt: Squat, deadlift, lunge, hip thrust, unilateral variations. Don’t be every girl I dated in college and over-complicate things. You don’t need to walk backwards on the treadmill, and run in 150-degree weather while a cheetah chases you to get stronger. Stick to what works best and what has always worked best. Exercises that involve multiple joints and multiple muscles groups. This will allow for maximal neural activity and will get you the legs and butt you want. So please save your $39.99 and do not purchase Brazilian Butt blaster, or some other early morning commercial that involves a guy wearing cargo shorts with his shirt off, as if we all workout in cargo shorts and no shirt. Well maybe on Fridays.
Arms, Chest, Back AKA the GOOD STUFF: Pull ups, rowing variations, dumbbell pushing/pulling variations both horizontal and vertical, and… BENCH! If you want to gain size, strength, or get “tone” (I just died a little inside saying that) do all of these. Same as the lower body, keep it simple and do what you know. If you want a strong chest you do not need to do low, high, and middle cable rows for sets of 60.
Core: One of my favorites and perhaps one of the most misunderstood aspects of training. While everyone has their own definition of core, I am going to go ahead and for the sake of this article refer to the muscles that make up the abdominal region as “core” (once again just for the sake of the article). Everyone wants the 6-pack, the killer abs that make the ladies get up from watching the bachelor/bachelorette and see who/what is walking down the street. It’s important to remember that our core muscles are not made to twist, turn, and curl. They are for support and stabilization. They need to be strong to resist rotation, twisting, turning, and to help protect our spines. Train them that way by doing plank variations, rollout variations, farmers carries/holds, and anything that will challenge the core by making it resist the urge to lean in any direction.
Summary: As Bud Kilmer said to Mox (yes that’s the cover photo) don’t be the “dumbest smart kid,” and “stick to the basics.” We don’t need the IPHONE 8 just like we don’t need karate kicks on a stair climber. Keep your program simple and don’t over complicate things.
Brett Cummins, CSCS, USAW, CSAC, CSAS, CFSC
Trainer at Forge- Rx