1. Prioritize Strength Training
The Focus should be to strengthen the six foundational movement patterns (below), and then add in your assistance movements afterward to further enhance the main lifts.
It’s important to note that strength provides the basis for success across multiple exercise forms, increased resiliency and longevity, and connecting to every biomotor ability (Strength, Endurance, Speed, Flexibility, Coordination) . Even if the goal isn’t necessarily to improve maximal strength (lift the most weight possible for 1 rep), there are still connections between maximal strength and other measurements of strength such as strength endurance. For example, if your 1RM in a lift increases, it’s likely your 5RM will too. However, Improving your 5RM-squat will seldom carry over to your 1RM squat.
The six foundational movement patterns are: squat, hinge, lunge, push, upper-body pull (vertical and horizontal), carry. And I would even argue a 7th, which is rotation. Here’s a quick list of movements that encompass all six (seven) patterns:
- Split Squat
- Rows (Barbell/Dumbbell)
- Hip Thrust
- Cable Facepulls
- Bench Press
- Farmer Carry
- Walking Lunge
- Overhead Press
- Russian Twist
2. Develop Your Aerobic System.
You should add aerobic conditioning to your training programs each week, and NO CARDIO DOES NOT MESS WITH YOUR GAINZ BRO.
Now, word of wisdom would be not to go balls to the wall daily because this is a one-way ticket to overtraining and that is not what the goal is here.
A better approach would be learning to distinguish the difference between the aerobic and anaerobic systems, how they overlap and how we can improve the two most effectively.
I suggest to focus on building the base of fitness, which is the aerobic system. The aerobic system affords us the ability to recover better and LIVE LONGER. It’s pretty well established via multiple studies and if you can recover better between bouts of exercise and live longer you can get the gainz you seen on your favorite influencer pages (lol).
Suggestions would be:
- Include the Cardiac Output Method AT LEAST once a week in your plan. This is cyclical style work, i.e., light row, jog, run, light sled pull for 30+ minutes with a heart rate of 130-150BPM (conversational). This will carry over like you wouldn’t believe to other modalities.
- Include more work to rest conditioning pieces. Every Minute on the Minute Training would be a great example. If you’re not programming planned rest in at least one to two conditioning sessions a week, improving work capacity long-term will be tough to do.
- Understand the connection between the amount of muscle worked with a given movement and how that relates to spiking the heart rate.
List of benefits of improving the aerobic system:
- Improved recovery
- Improved sleep
- Improved ability to pump blood to the extremities
- Improved ability to replenish ATP for explosive movements
- Decreased resting heart rate
- Longer lifespan!
3. Avoid Not Having a Plan
Honestly, This seems to be the greatest pitfall. No matter what "Programming" you follow...
Just make sure you have a damn plan.
Too many times I have dealt with clients that have been spinning their wheels jumping from plan to plan and goal to goal. Simply,
- Establish a goal.
- Find / Create a plan in alignment with your goal.
- Stick to the damn thing for longer than 1 month.
I offer a generalized 6 week Upper/Lower Program that can get you going in the right direction.
These are only 3 key areas that will not only improve your results in the gym but also allow for a more consistent approach while staying motivated to train inside and outside the gym.
Expediting recovery via aerobic development, improving how people look and feel with strength work using the six foundational patterns, and replacing the monotony of yo-yo planning will increase your chances of success exponentially.