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As I have quoted before from my good friend and colleague, Peter Harding. now with the London Irish rugby team in the Guiness Premiership in England:
“Complicate to Profit”
As both Peter and myself believe, Simplicity in programming is a reality that we can not deny, the longer I am in this game the more I realize this each and every day.
Most of us just do not have the time to train for hours each and every day, but we still want to be competitive at least with ourselves and lift good weights and get results for our efforts. We often get caught up with the latest programs and neglect the simple rationale so often quoted in the IronMan magazine of Peary Rader’s ownership, that hard work on a few basic exercises will hold you in good stead over an extended period of time.
By all means experiment to see what works best for you and the people that you train, but just for a moment reflect on the wisdom of the ages. Bill Starr is the master of simplicity and I have been trying to replicate his formula for over 25 years in my programming. His masterpiece of 5 x 5 with three basic exercises, the Big 3 of Power Clean, Squat and Bench Press is still, I believe the singular most result producing workout in the history of programming. Bruce Walsh, the father of strength & conditioning in Australian sport modified this formula slightly and substituted the push press for the bench press, as we play most of our sport on our feet and not lying down. Whichever you use you will gain like never before.
Other pearls of wisdom, came from the pages of IronMan magazine, as a boy growing up I remember reading that if you use a bar for one exercise and are doing two exercises per body part then use dumbbells for the next. Makes good sense to me, if you are benching with a bar then do inclines with DB’s as your next exercise. I would add also for the lower body that this holds true but also might add that if the first movement is a bi-lateral movement the use a unilateral movement as your second exercise, which of course could also be used with DB’s.
Something else that I am trialing at present is the varying of sets and reps schemes based on the above ideas. For example: using my two favourite lower body exercises; I would do 3 x 6 on safety bar box squats slightly above parallel then move onto cambered bar Simmons’ Good Morning Combo using 6 x 3. Of course I could very easily flip the order and use the sets of 3 as a neural potentiator for the more hypertrophy oriented sets of 6. Either way it is good solid basic program, which takes a minimal amount of time to get results from.
There are many such movement combinations that you can use, another of my favourites is to do power snatches for 3 x 6 after having done block cleans + push press for 6 x 3. Let me know some of the movements that you think would be an ideal mix and we will publish them on this web site for us all to learn from.
Stay well and Lift Strongly,