I’ve been training for 16 years.  I’ve tried many different programs, set/rep schemes, you name it I’ve tried it!  My training philosophy has changed a ton over that time.  For awhile, I followed trends and did workouts from the magazines when I first started.  It wasn’t until I purchased Bret Contreras’s program 2×4:  Maximum Strength that my assumptions about training were questioned.  I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical when starting the program for a few reasons:

  1. The program consisted of 4 lifting days only.  Having grown accustomed to 5-6 training days a week, I felt that this wouldn’t be sufficient to reach my goals of getting bigger and stronger.  
  2. The total volume was very low and didn’t look like it was going to be very difficult.  

Despite doing less of everything across the board, my results were astounding.  Some of my accomplishments/results during the program include:

  • Adding an inch around my arms, legs and shoulders.  
  • 335 pound deadlift
  • 315 pound squat.  
  • 220 pound bench press
  • Finally filling out medium t-shirts!  

The beauty of Bret’s program like so many others is the simplicity.  I’ve tried everything from his 2×4:  Maximum Strength program to Dan Jon’s 10,000 Kettlebell Swing program and have noticed the same main movement patterns are in each:     

  • Push
  • Pull
  • Hinge
  • Squat
  • Carry
  • Row
  • Lunge

Think of these as the main ingredients to your “training menu,” coined by Tony Gentilcore.  Taking this simple approach will pay huge dividends.  

I’ve taken the minimalist approach a step further with my current programming.  My training goal is to complete the Kettlebell Sinister Challenge, created by Pavel Tsatsouline.  The goal is simply to perform 100 Single Arm Swings in 5-minutes, rest one minute then perform 10 Turkish Get-Ups (per minute) with the 48Kg (106lb.) kettlebell.  My program?  It consists of just two movements; kettlebell swings and kettlebell Turkish get-ups.  As of this writing, I’m still training for it and making steady progress.  However, I can tell you that the results so far have been astounding.  I’ll go over this in a future blog.    

Now, I understand that these may not be your goals but the principle still applies.  Whether you’re focused on health, fitness or sports performance, follow a simple program built around the basics.  You don’t have to flog yourself in the gym to get results.  Forget about those stupid #onmygrind Instagram posts, focus on what it takes to get results.  Hire a great coach like I did, and there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.  

Demarco and Eric discuss this topic in this week’s podcast!

To your lifelong health and success,

-Demarco Crum, CPT