The best exercise program in the world

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You have heard me say this before. It is the one that you do! I read an interesting article about strength training and consistency. So many times throughout my career as a coach, people have asked me to put together a program with all kinds of sophistication which I have obligingly done, but 99 times out of 100, when I asked how that program was going, I was met with a sheepish look that said, ‘I haven’t really got to it yet!’. And they never do! So now, I just don’t do it. I will only work one on one with clients  or in a controlled group programmed by me.

This article I read was written by a veteran in the field of exercise prescription and the psychology of how people are and he suggests keeping it real simple and you will give your average person a real shot at doing something worthwhile.  I tend to agree.

If you did a 20-30 minute whole body strength session every week, with out fail over the past year, just once per week mind you, do you think you would be stronger and have a better body and faster metabolism? Absolutely. That would be 52 sessions. Now ask yourself how many strength sessions have you done over the past month or three months even.  Most people think that they have to do 3-4 sessions per week or it’s a waste of time. I would like you to rethink that. If you are working with a trainer, then yes you will be programmed to perform a certain amount of sessions per week aimed at a defined outcome  but if you are the one driving your own show then set your goals a little lower but just make sure what ever you do, you do it CONSISTENTLY. Once strength session every week for a year? It would be an achievement better than most but eminently achievable.

Usual disclaimer for the exercise routine suggested below: “consult your doctor before starting any exercise program and get advice on your program before starting to make sure the exercises you do are suitable for your individual circumstances”.

Okay here is a plan. 5 exercises only. You must include a squat or a lunge (both would be good). You must have a push exercise (chest press on bench, ball or using cable machine, push up would do the job too) and a pull exercise (lying on a bench using dumb bells to perform a row movement, bent over row using the smith machine or low row movement on the cable machine, just think any exercise that brings the shoulder blades together). You will need to include an ab exercise (on a ball or on the floor or performing a standing rotation using the cable machine) and a back strengthening exercise (like back extension on a swiss ball or holding a plank or alternate super person).

Each exercise is performed slowly with control. 3-4 seconds on the first part of the movement and same on the return. I suggest working to a 45-60 second time interval. Pick a load that is very difficult to continue with good form by the time you get to the end of this time interval. This kind of load will allow for a warm up to be included in the performance of the actual exercise. 5 minutes on the cross trainer or fast walk etc. before starting wouldn’t hurt either. Go from one exercise to the other continuously (rest only if you absolutely have to). Progressively overload your performance over time by increasing the weight slightly or the time performing it up to a maximum of 90s. Perform as many of the exercises as you can and record this in the time frame you have committed to, be it 20 or 30 minutes. Commit to doing this once per week. Do it twice and consider it a bonus, three or four times and your a legend.

Keep checking at under ‘do it yourself’ for downloadable programs designed specifically for that gym. Keep it simple folks and you will achieve a better outcome.

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