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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Keep it Simple Stupid

You have no idea how to work out. It's not your fault, you haven't been educated enough. Don't take it personally, it's just the truth. I know that you have been lifting for 10 years but that doesn't mean that you have any clue about training. Here is my point, Too many times we are trying the newest exercises in Mens Health. We buy Muscle & Fitness magazine because we want a bigger chest in 8 weeks. The truth is that most people haven't even mastered basic, proven strength training methods and yet they are trying advanced drills. Here it Comes....and the catch line is Keep it Simple Stupid! I got the idea to write this after I finished my RKC last April, not only was this a life-changing experience but it truly opened my eyes about Strength Training. Strength is a skill, in order to get strong you must first develop the proper technique(s). This comes through fixing imbalances, always practicing perfect form and logging thousands of perfect repetitions. Someone once told me, the most elite athletes in the world all have something in common, they all have mastered the basic skills and techniques in their sport. We can take this quote and apply it directly to our workouts, My challenge to you is to take these 5 exercises, learn them, practice them 3 days a week and see how you progress in 4 weeks.


Start with your hands directly underneath your shoulder joint, keep your body in a straight line from ears to ankle. Create tension in your abdominals and squeeze your quads and glutes. Tighten your lats as if you are squeezing a piece if paper underneath your armpit. As you descend into your push-up, keep everything tight. Think about spreading your hands apart as you come down. Create that slight tension outward as you get to the bottom. Do not rest, stay tight. As you get ready to push-up, are you tight? Have you lost any tension in your body? From there slowly push to the top while keeping everything tight. Think about sliding your hands together as you ascend. Squeeze your chest and lats on the way up and finish just as you started. Try to complete 3 or 4 sets of 10 exactly as I described and see how you feel.

Body Weight Squat

Start with you feet roughly hip width. You can toe out slightly but not too much. Slightly extend your hips. Create outward tension as if you are trying to spread the floor apart. This will help activate your hips as you squat. As you descend, keep your stomach tight and sit back as if you are sitting onto a chair. Your posture should be tall and not hunched forward. Go as deep as you can and try to bottom out on your squat. You spine will most likely be in flexion at this point but as long as you are not loading the spine in flexion then thats ok. From here drive your feet into the floor, keep everything tight, stomach, hips and lats. Stand up tall and repeat. Try 3-4 sets of 20


In my opinion the pull-up is the best upper body exercise when done correctly. If you can't do a pull-up order a superband from perform better, they will assist you until you have developed the strength/skill to perform a body weight pull-up. http://www.performbetter.com/detail.aspx_Q_ID_E_3889_A_CategoryID_E_352 Start at the bottom, set your shoulders back and down and try to pack your shoulder into the socket. This should be the first part of your pull-up. Remember the lats are the prime mover on these, if you don't do this you will be doing the pullup incorrectly. Start from a dead hang, keep shoulders packed and pull upwards, keep tension in your lats as you pull, and you should feel them working. Continue to pull until your chin has easily cleared the bar and the bar is at the bottom of your throat. Pause at the top. On the way down think about pulling your body down and slightly away from the bar. Try to envision it as if you are performing a overhead press. Keep all of the tension in your stomach and lats and control to the bottom. Try 3 to 4 sets of these. Do as many perfect reps as possible, once form is sloppy, STOP!

Bulgarian Squat

I am pretty sure that these didn't originate in Bulgaria but it is a great exercise. I will start with the Left leg forward for descriptive purposes. You can use a bench or a chair for the back leg in this exercise. Make sure the your have perfect posture on these, shoulders stay directly over the hips and remain that way through the exercise. Start with your Right leg on the bench, being on your toes is slightly more challenging while laces are a bit easier. Reach your Left foot forward far enough that the majority of weight is in your heel. Keep tall and imagine a plate of glass in front of your face, Squeeze your right glute and keep your stomach tight and go as deep as you can while remaining tall and keeping your weight into your heel. Keep tension in your hips throughout the exercise. Try 3 or 4 sets of 10 on each leg.


I have a problem when people do the plank wrong. Some say it's too easy while others say they can't feel it. If you feel it in your back you are most likely doing it wrong or do not have the strength to perform it correctly. You may need to start with a slightly less challenging exercise. Start with your elbows tight to your rib cage, keep tension in your abdominals and tighten your lats. Keep everything tight, make sure that your quads and glutes and tight at the same time. Keep your feet hip width and drive your heels back. Make sure that your spine stays neutral, don't arch your low back and round your upper back.. Keep your head neutral and facing down. Hold this and stay tight, try to squeeze everything while keeping mental notes of what's tight and what's not. Try performing 3 to 4 sets of 30 second holds.

Remember, stay hydrated throughout the day and make sure that you surround your workouts with Protein. You have already done the workout, make sure you take full advantage of it with proper nutrition.


  1. great work! love the blog! - julia

  2. This is awesome mike! Thanks for being such a great role model to our kids! Love, the webers