There's no doubt that effective training is essential to the success of any individual looking to make progress in the gym.
But with all of the endless options and seemingly promising training programs available today, where should you start?
Well, it might be as simple as sticking to the basics of fitness training.
In this blog post, we'll discuss some simple but effective training methods that will help you make consistent gains over time.
Without further ado, let's find out exactly why you should choose to stick to the basics instead of opting for complex training programs.
What Are The Basics?
When we’re talking about the basics of training, different people will think of different things.\
For some, the basics may represent rep ranges, or numbers of sets, while for others, it may just simply mean “bench, squat, deadlift, repeat.”
With this in mind, let’s have a look at the 3 most important ‘basics’ in fitness training.
#1 Compound Movements
Because the goal of training is to provide effective stimulus, exercise choice is an inevitably important part of your training journey.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of exercises that you can do - compound and isolated movements.
Compound movements engage two or more muscle groups, while isolated ones do the same, but with a much greater emphasis on one of the working muscles.
In general, compound movements are more effective due to the fact that they hard-engage more, bigger muscle groups at once, and thus, allow you to lift heavier weights and create greater stimulus as an end result.
With simple words, compound exercises allow you to do more work for less time, which is both more effective, and efficient.
This is the main reason why the training protocols we create for most of our clients revolve primarily around compound movements, and we use isolated movements to target lacking muscle groups or simply, finish off a workout.
What are the compound movements that should be at the core of your training regimen, you may ask?
Here are our top 7 choices
- Bench press (Dumbbell, barbell, incline, decline)
- Squat (Barbell, machine, dumbbell)
- Deadlift (Barbell, dumbbell)
- Pull-ups (overhand, underhand grip, close grip, wide grip, neutral grip)
- Rows (barbell, dumbbell, cable, machine, T-bar)
- Overhead presses (barbell, dumbbell, machine)
- Dips (parallel bar, bench)
Integrating these movements and all their variations into your workout routine, grants sufficient stimulus, if the exercises are done with the right intensity (weight.)
#2 Progressive Overload
Speaking of weights, perhaps something more important than exercise choice, is the principle of progressive overload (PO.)
Progressive overload (PO) is an essential principle in fitness training, and it is perhaps the most fundamental teaching that any new trainee should keep in mind.
This principle states that to achieve optimal results, you must constantly challenge your body as you strive to meet your fitness goals.
By progressively increasing the stimuli of your training over time, you will continue to force your body to adapt and improve.
Gradually increasing the stimulus over time implies that you will achieve a heightened level of performance and make continual progress toward achieving your goals.
While most people think of PO as just increasing the working weight, there are more ways to make your body do more, such as:
- Increasing the number of repetitions
- Increasing the number of working (high-exertion) sets
- Decreasing rest between sets (doing the same amount of work but for less time)
- Doing all of the above on an entirely new exercise
- Slowing down the pace (increasing time under tension)
Whether you are just starting out on your fitness journey or looking for ways to push yourself further, remember that progressive overload is the key to unlocking all of your potential.
#3 Rest Times
In most gym settings, there is typically little focus placed on rest times between sets and between workouts.
This often leads to quickly diminishing returns in performance, as weight training is a highly strenuous activity that demands adequate rest in order to sustain performance over long periods of time.
In light of this fact, the goal of every training session should be to maximize the amount of time that we can sustain our peak performance.
Of course, this is only possible through providing sufficient rest between sets and between workouts.
Though most coaches would advise you to rest 60-90 seconds between sets, this may be too short to recuperate after a truly challenging set.
If you've been experiencing suboptimal performance in your training, try taking 2.5-3 minutes of rest between your heaviest bouts.
This will allow you to squeeze in an extra couple of reps or, at the very least, sustain your performance.
On the other hand, you should also consider rest times between workouts, as any high-exertion workout demands a proper time frame before the next training session.
Broadly speaking, the optimal rest period between workouts for a certain muscle group forms at around 72-96 hours, depending on the amount of work done in a workout.
To put it simply, if you trained your chest on Monday, you'd be best off training it again around Thursday-Friday.
By optimizing your rest times between sets and workouts, you can ensure that you're giving your body enough downtime so that they have time to recover and perform at its best each time you step into the gym.
Regardless of how well-optimized your training protocol is, it is nothing without consistency.
This principle holds true for both athletes and non-athletes alike.
Whether you are trying to get stronger, lose weight, or simply improve your cardiovascular health, the key to success is being able to stick with your routine consistently over time.
Even a perfectly crafted training program will yield limited results if you only complete it part of the time.
To achieve meaningful results and achieve your fitness goals, it is essential to practice the fundamentals day in and day out.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s Get Started!
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