It always amazes me where simple motivation can come from. Today is a video of a 60 yr
old “young” man who certainly is an inspiration in my eyes. A video that inspired me to write a whole article around him.
Before I get to the video, I first want to go back over a little bit of my own story.
I grew up reading lots of exercise books and even as I later moved on to work as a trainer, I prided myself in devouring any and all things exercise related.
100s of books, DVDs, seminars, and much more. However this lead to a problem…too much information.
Pretty soon my head became a walking Rolodex that I couldn’t shut off. I would be in the gym, thinking about what “split” bodypart day it was and could easily come up with 10-20 exercises to do.
I would then spend more time experimenting thinking “varied and complex” was better.
However as time went on I felt it also lacked a certain “enjoyment” factor. Pretty soon it was clear to me that I was over-complicating things. I had become my own worst enemy!
This eventually lead to burnout and quitting the gym, but also a new appreciation for a simpler plan.
If you were to ask me the best way to build muscles 10 years ago, I would probably would have belted off some blurb about rotational sets of glycolitic and strength pathways, rep range alternations and something about an East German pyramid plan (not pyramid scheme).
That would be me using complicated terminology to try and sound more like an “expert”.
Now I simply give 2 words:
It’s time for most people to just get back to mastering the basics. The 80/20 rule comes into play…and it’s probably more like 90/10. Do the simple exercises (the 10%) that give the most results (90%) when done consistently with intensity and progression.
Too many people I see in online forums are discussing advanced programs when they can’t even do say 10 pullups or a single one legged squat.
Simplicity works, because you focus on what gives the most results. Learning is nice too but unless action is taken consistently with that knowledge, it’s of no real use. Too many people experience “paralysis by analysis” and also lack the steady progression that leads to results.
A simple lesson also found in the fable of Milo from Greece around 500 BC. Milo was known as a champion Olympic wrestler and for his feats of tremendous strength. How he got his strength is an interesting tale.
As a boy was given a bull calf to raise. Story goes each day he would pick up and carry his calf. As the calf grew, so did Milo. Pretty soon he was a big strong man carrying an adult bull around.
Now it’s a great story (how true I don’t know) but the lesson is still there, simple progression and consistency works.
The ultimate wisdom of all my years leads me back to knowing that less is better in most cases. Or as Leonardo da Vinci said:
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”
So here’s the video of a man who only does 3 main exercises. That’s it. Pushups, dips and pullups at the local park.
I’ll let the video speak for itself, but he shows that simple can work.
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If you can’t see the video, here’s the link for it on Youtube.
In the end how you want to workout is of course your decision. I could easily still do some rotational work (switching up resistance factors or time under tension intervals), but I try and keep it as simple as possible.
In the end, find what you enjoy doing and stay at it (avoid burnout). When you pick the right exercises (that 10%) and find ways to keep progressing (challenging the muscles), the results (90%) come.
No more excuses. Just simple action and repeat.