T Nation

Keep it simple

I just read the the SWIS article and it got me thinking. What is going on here? Why is everyone trying to rewrite the book on training? There are it seems like a million workout routines but all you need is simple excercises, hit each muscle once a week, and keep the intensity high. This isn’t rocket science. A couple of pointers. 1. Try not to train 2days in a row. Personally monday-wensday-friday works for me. 2. Do not do any upperbody with lowerbody. 3. If you are in the gym for more than 45minutes then you aren’t training intense enough or you are yappin’ like a woman in a grocery store. Shut up and train.(unless you are a powerlifter you don’t need more than 45minutes). 4. Protein, protein and more protein. Seriously anyone who hasn’t figured out yet how important protein is yet is either new to lifting or doesn’t pay attention to the facts. Hey if I have offended anyone I am sorry. It’s just that I think all of this crap is confusing everyone when what is needed is for everyone to get on a simple intense program and stay consistent. Good luck!

No kidding, just push, pull & squat. It’s not rocket science! (but is nice to know why things are the way they are-that’s what all those russian texts are for). Norb Scemansky said the easiest way to squat big is ‘squat, add some weight, squat again’. :slight_smile:

doesn’t matter that you are right (although I think you consider protien to be too important, I just don’t think you need more then 125-175 grams a day) all that matters is someone will come out with a “new” training system and everyone will try it. they will get nothing out of it, go back to basics and gain again, then they’ll start another “new” perodization routine, maybe gain a little in the begining (just carry over from the “basic” routine) then they won’t gain again, so they’ll go back to basics, and so on, and so on… they’ll look back over the year and say “gee, I made good progress this year, the perodization works!!” some heads are too think for anything to soak into.
p.s. I also think you can train lower body with upper but thats another issue. in general I agree. BASICS WILL ALWAYS WORK

Nice to see some people that agree with me. I really wish I could get through to people how simple it really is. Once you have a simple routine and you understand the need for intensity your workouts become fun. It’s easy to look forward to 3 kickass workouts that won’t take to long and keep you healthy and strong. Anyway thanks for responding. Oh and about the protein intake if you are at 175grams now try and do 350 for 4 weeks. Use mostly quality protein powders like Metrx, Biotest, Beverly etc. Get the bulk of your protein from these sources and tell me your results. Seriously when you use mostly high quality protein powders in this fashion it always works.

Dietrich, I tend to agree with you for the most part, but I am confused by your 1st 2 points. Why not 2 days in a row? You have essentially eliminated the 4 day split. There is nothing wrong with working out 2 days in a row as long you plan accordingly. Also, why not upper body with lower body? I split my leg training into two separate days, so I am often doing shoulders with hamstrings, or triceps with hamstrings. If you are working out only 3 days per week, and not ever doing any upper body with lower body, than you have an imbalance between your upper and lower body training.

Dietrich, while I agree with your basic point (that people often overcomplicate things), I find your post to be a bit too dogmatic. People can train more than one day in a row. I’m doing it now and making great gains (on Phase II of the Growth Surge Program). Of course, you have to do other stuff as well to make it work, but it’s not out of the question. Also, I’ve trained upper and lower body on the same day (GBC) and had good, productive workouts. Any “rule” can be broken, given the right situation…

The longer a person trains the more variety he needs to continue to progress. But I see what you mean. A person should never abandon the core lifts and the basics. I like the oddball programs mainly for variety and to kill boredom. Makes me excited about training again trying something new. Plus, the novelty factor always leads to new gains.

its so simple yet it also is very complicated. Its simple for you when you know what works for you, however different variations are neccessary for different people…

I must disagree. If everyone thought like that, we’d all still be doing three sets of ten and eating Joe Weider SuperBulk5000. People who aren’t open to experiment with new and/or different training methods are the ones that look the damned same every year - not always, but often. The guys who re-write the book on training come up with lots of good stuff that trickles down to the masses. If it weren’t for them…3 sets of 10 ad infinitum.


I thought in a similar way until I gave Ian King’s “12 weeks to SS” a try. I thought it was a joke, but ended up making some of the best gains ever on it. Ditto on Westside training.

Many of ian kings workouts take more than 45 minutes (parts of the limping series, and the 12 weeks to super strength), and I have had good results with them.
-Jason

Dietrich, you and eveyone else have made excellent points. With that put aside, I was at the SWIS symposium and the MAIN focus was NOT training programs, but injury prevention and rehab… Just wondering how your comments where related to the symposium.

Great comments. As for all of my comments my main purpose was to express the fact that basics always work. Alot of people that I have trained or trained with who have expressed a lack of progress were in most cases making more simple mistakes like a lack of intensity, lack of proper nutrition or nutritional timing, and or improper technique. It is of course true that all kinds of programs work especially with the proper nutrition and recovery but my points were to remind people how great the basics are. Besides it seems like everyday people are getting confused because of the large amount of programs out there. I don’t and besides I have used different programs over the years but the one that I will outline in my next post is the one that gives me the best success.

This is the basics of my workout. Monday Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps. 5-6sets of barbell bench, 2-3 sets dumbell. I alternate every so often as to which of these I use for incline and which is flat. Also the reason I don’t do a specific fly movement is because I follow a wide arch curve when using the dumbells. Almost like mimicing the cybex vr2 incline bench. For shoulders I use either barbell of dumbell presses for 3-4sets. Once in awhile throw in a machine press for variety if you have one available then do 2-3sets of lateral raises. Remember with all of this once you have done your first chest excercise there is very little need for warmup from that point on. For instance I go right in heavy for everything from that point on. Anyway then triceps again simple. Sometimes I only do flat tricep extensions or skull crushers or I mix up some extension with pushdowns or dips. Anyway 5 sets heavy with 100% intensity does the trick. If at this point you are not completely drained with super pumped muscles then you just aren’t using enought weight combined with the proper techique and intensity.

Wensday. Legs only. 5-6 sets of squats or presses. Again go ultra heavy with all out intensity. Most of the time you won’t even want or be able to do leg extensions but if you do them go heavy for 2-3 sets max. For hamstrings do either heavy leg curls or stiff legged deadlifts. You can also mix the 2 but keep it to around 4 sets. Get the job done without overtraining. Then do 3-4 sets of calves. Go super heavy. High reps is not the key here. What is key is heavy weight for at least 8-10 reps.

Friday. Back, Traps, Biceps. For back I use almost exclusively close grip Rows. Usually I do barbell but every 3rd or 4th workout I do a machine instead. I make sure to bring the bar in very low on my stomach and use extreme concentration on NOT using my arms to do the work. I do my best to make it all Lat work. I do 6-7 sets and after this your back from top to bottom is trashed. If you do pulldowns use underhand close grip for 2-3 sets max. Then I do 3-4 heavy set of barbell shrugs. The key here again is to isolate the traps. Hold on to the bar tightly BUT at the same time let your arms relax a little so as to not use any arm strength on the movement. Then just flex your traps as hard as you can to bring the bar up. Remember it is NOT important to have your shoulders touch your ears. This is such a load of crap. Also DO NOT put your head forward. If anything tilt it back and the squeeze it causes on your traps is unreal. Then biceps. Choose one or two excercises and go heavy for 6-7 sets. With all of this again the key is to go all out. No wimpy extra warmups for every damn excercise unless you have some kind of injury. Throw abs in a couple of times a week and if you do cardio do it on your off days but don’t over do it. AGAIN PROTEIN PROTEIN PROTEIN and alot of rest.

I agree that the basics are important, but variety is equally important in the long run. Plus, not everyone has the same perception of the basics. For instance, I thought a lot of things were missing from your “basic” program. The following are just constructive criticisms based on what works best for me, although your program may be well suited to your genetics and tastes.

  1. No close grip bench. Great way to improve pressing strength.
  2. No deadlifts. The greatest exercise ever. Enough said.
  3. Squats OR leg presses…it’s okay to use leg presses, but I would never use them as a substitute.
  4. Leg Curls or Stiff Leg Deadlifts…why not both? They constitute the two functions of the hamstring.
  5. 3-4 sets of calves once a week is not sufficient for optimal development in most people.
  6. Pulldowns are not as good as chins. If you don’t believe me, read Poliquin’s stuff.
  7. Bicep training is not as simple as choosing one or two exercises, as not all movements are created equal (i.e. high cable curls vs. preacher curls).
  8. Many trainers without genetic gifts will need direct forearm work.
  9. Posterior Delts are the key to any bodybuilder’s rear double biceps pose. Relying on back training alone will lead to weak development.
  10. I don’t think it’s ever a bad idea to incorporate more core strengthening work, as it will improve stabilization. Any ab work, good mornings, or hyperextensions would do fine.
  11. Movements like power cleans, high pulls, or even upright rows are certainly basics, and deserve a place in any routine, even if only occasionally.
  12. Finally, variety is fantastic. I assume that you were just giving a sample workout, and that you do infuse variety whenever possible. Those new to training should realize, for example, that you can shrug in front or behind your body with a barbell, use a trap bar, or use dumbells.

Obviously, you know what works for you, but it is a difficult task to tell others what would work best for them. You did hit the nail on the head when you emphasized the importance of being consistent. Just some food for thought. Keep up the good work and thought-provoking posts, Bro.

Simple doesn’t mean 3x10 on every exercise. To me simple means low reps on a few basic multijoint lifts (no isolation crap!) that work more or less the whole body in one workout, like a push, a pull & a squat, then some grip & forarms & then something else if I feel like it.

Some good points there. Yes squats are better than leg press but that would be my choice as a switch off. As for cleans well I always thought they sucked. I when this one school my friend coached at stopped all cleans and had the kids do deadlifts. I swear by the end of that year they were killing the other kids. Seriously cleans suck. Sorry if that sounds bad but they just aren’t worth the time or effort. I do appologize for forgetting to include my rear delts. I also have felt that close grips are a waste of time. Seriously when you use the right grip on your barbell chest movement and also go balls out on tricep extensions I find that my strength just continues to climb. I use to do close grips and when I stopped my chest got much stronger. I think it was causing overtraining. Also I mentioned pullldowns but you may have noticed from the tone of my statement I barely do them. Try going nuts on rows the way I described them and tell me if you have any left in you for another back excercise. Anyway thanks for the input and I hope my ideas and yours can help people.

What do you consider heavy???
You think you were Overtraining on only 3 days a week because if close grip benches are you kidding?
Power cleans suck??? wake up

Whether or not you go nuts on rows is pretty much immaterial. The point is that chins should be included in any back routine because it is important to hit muscles from different angles, just as you try different tempos and rep schemes. The important thing is that you seem to have found what suits you best. I know guys that swear by power cleans, so I guess it just goes to show that “the basics” mean something else to everyone.