"Keep it simple, stupid"....Why over thinking your training works against you

Over time I have grown as a coach. It used to be all about making sure that my clients got a great workout that was challenging, new, and changed every time. 

I'm sure that most of you approach the gym and your workouts that way. However, this is counter-productive. There is no such thing as daily muscle confusion. It's a buzz word and really keeps your body from adapting to the stress you put on it.

To often coaches and trainers want to make guys break. They confuse breaking someone with developing someone. We have to remember that if we take athletes or clients to the breaking point and they are constantly broken down and sore, what we are really doing is taking them to a point that they are not conditioned to do. This is poor coaching. 

The key to developing an effective workout program is to keep it simple and not complex. If you are leaving workouts broken you need to reevaluate if your coach is competent to develop your fitness and get you to your goals. Keep it simple in the movements you choose and implement different variables to the simple things. Progress and change come from the consistency of  stress you put on your body. The secret is it doesn't need to be complicated just consistent.

Here's an example. Let's take shoulder training. We could make it extremely complex stand on one leg, BOSU balls, or use different devices and toys. But the limiting factor for these drills is not the max strength you can gain in the muscle but the tools your implementing. I can only get as strong as my balance on the BOSU will let me. This will be far less then what I could develop using a simpler approach of say, seated shoulder press.

When I'm doing my seated shoulder press, which is a simple exercise, I can vary other aspects of the movement like the tempo of the movement, or use one arm at a time. Here is an example of a shoulder press progression that is simple yet will yield greater results than gimmicks like single leg balancing kettlebell pressing.

  1. Traditional seated shoulder press With a slow tempo
  2. Seated DB shoulder press with a moderate tempo
  3. Seated single arm shoulder press with a slow tempo
  4. Seated single arm shoulder press with a moderate tempo
  5. Arnold shoulder press
  6. Single Arm Arnold Press
  7. Seated Straight Bar Press with slow tempo
  8. Seated Straight bar press with moderate tempo

This is just to name a few. These are simple movements with added challenges. If each drill was progressed for 3-4 weeks before rotation, these alone would take up to 32 weeks. And we never stood on a ball, or added some gimmicky tools.

We also didn't break our athlete or client using some gimmick we saw in a magazine or on some workout DVD.

Something I want to remind you. Derek Jeter didn't become the best shortstop because of doing his jump throw from behind 3rd base. He was exceptionally good at the simple things like fielding easy ground balls and making the easy play. So don't try and do the most complicated things in the gym. Just get really good at the simple movements with great pain-free movement and you will progress much further and reach your goals quicker.

If you want to learn more about some simple exercises shot me a message here and I'll send you some more info.