How many times have you started the perfect new training split only to realize it doesn’t fit your goals or your busy schedule, leaving you banging your head against a wall wondering “where to go now” with your training.
In today’s post we”ll work together to Eliminate Useless Exercises to optimize your training. Before we dive into that lets rehash what we covered in the past two posts.
First, we covered the essential pieces what every workout needs. The 80/20 if you will, that give you the most bang for your buck. Training for one goal while ensuring progressive overload in the major movements is key to long-term results. If you haven’t read part one What Every Workout Needs please do so now.
In part two we addressed the biggest issue of all: training consistency. A plan is only as good as it’s execution. To set yourself up for success you must understand your limits and create a plan that accounts for your goals and busy lifestyle. Your training isn’t 100% perfect for your goal, but a program performed with focus and intensity consistently will beat the perfect program performed sporadically every time.
Moving on my friends. It’s time to delve into the truth about elimination. I don’t mean throwing away all your clothes, getting rid of your possessions, and moving to a shack in Guam, but eliminating unnecessary barriers in training. The biggest problem most guys have is focusing on too many damn goals at once. You have a limited attention. Remember this: You can do anything, but not everything.
Throughout the day you have a limited attention. Despite all the advances in technology that make information easily attainable it’s only possible to absorb so much. As an example, Tim Ferris breaks it down into attention units.
The choice-minimal lifestyle becomes an attractive tool when we consider two truths:
1) Considering options costs attention that then can’t be spent on action or present-state awareness.
2) Attention is necessary for not only productivity but appreciation.
Too many choices = less or no productivity
Too many choices = less or no appreciation
Too many choices = sense of overwhelm
Tim Ferriss breaks attention down to “Attention units.”
If you start the day with 10 attention units, have a complicated workout with percentages, a choice of six squat variations, fluctuating volume, and advanced methods it might demand 3/10 daily units calculate and complete. If work, family obligations, and a big side project take up 9 attention units before you get to your workout we have a problem— attention debt. Focus diminishes, effort dwindles, and your workout sucks.
It’s safe to say, after a grueling day even a Tracy Anderson workout is a strain for your mental capacity.
Side note: What in the actual hell is this exercise?
Don’t Strive For Exercise Variety
Don’t strive for variation—and thus increase option consideration—when it’s not needed. Too many choices zaps your focus and negate your ability to put into energy into what matters most like building strength in major, multi-joint lifts. You should enjoy exercise, but remember exercise is a results-driven with task, not solely enjoyment driven. Your goal is to create a physiological response in the body to build muscle, shred fat, and improve athleticism. Stick with the major movement patterns, get stronger, and get a routine that works around your limited time.
Define, identify, and eliminate
Instead of giving up altogether you must first define what is essential to your goal. The next step is ruthlessly hacking away at the unessential. A plan is only as good as its execution—this is the way to set yourself up for success.
In this post I’m going to provide you with the path to stick to your goal, hack away at the unessential, and optimize your workout plans for optimal effort and consistency. I’ll use real-world examples from my clients to give you a template to hack away your workout and focus on the important parts. As a result, you’ll have a clear vision of the goal and the brainpower to do it.
Remove the Unessential:
Before hacking away chunks of your workout you must first define what is essential. These steps help you define what’s essential to your goal, and what must be eliminated.
1.) Define Your Goal and Stick to It
If you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve how will you possibly make the changes to make it happen?
It won’t happen. Define your goal, and as Dan John says “ The goal is to keep the goal, the goal.” If you constantly change workout goals and never see them through you’ll never have success. Rep schemes, exercises, and programs shouldn’t always change—the body needs to strain and adapt to stress to grow. Patience, dedication, and time are required. It’s painfully difficult in today’s “everything right now” world, but all true accomplishments take time. Define your goal and stick to it until it’s complete.
“ I want to look awesome naked by losing fat and gaining muscle. I want to look better than guys 20 years younger than me and be able to play sports with my kids.”
“ I want to be strong. I don’t care what else. I want to be able to lift a fricken’ house.”
“I want to gain muscle so I (begrudgingly) fill out my schmedium t-shirt and have to buy a large. This will be 2-3 inches on my chest and – or so.”
2.) Identify Your Obstacles To Reaching The Goal
Here’s the fun part: Take an introspective look at your training and lifestyle to see what factors hinder you from reaching your goal.
Take these examples from my clients:
“I work 60 hours per week and start missing gym sessions after I start training 5 days per week.”
“ I can’t eat enough calories following an intermittent fasting diet to support training and muscle growth.”
“ My kids are in hockey season, I run my own business, and I need for time for my family. I’ll train 30 minutes 4-5 days per week, but can’t do longer workouts. The sacrifice isn’t worth neglecting my family.”
Identify in order to eliminate. Look at the big picture and your whole lifestyle.What obstacles are the biggest roadblock to my success?
Are they removable?
Do they fix more than one problem?
If the answer is “yes” to any or all of these problems then take the next step to elimination.
3.) Remove the Obstacles
Identifying and being aware of what’s holding you back is great, but you need to take action on and remove your obstacles. As the father of the light-bulb (and maybe light sabers?) Thomas Edison said, ” Knowledge without action is meaningless.”
No-one will do this step for you—it takes real willpower to remove obstacles. That’s why building an awesome body is more than physical—it’s mental growth, sacrifice, and determination.
Obstacles you remove/ changes you could make to fit the goals above could be:
– One less training day per week
– Take out isolation work
– Reduced rest periods
– Shorten up your fasting window to get more calories
– Decrease training volume during workouts to allow a greater training frequency
Changes highly dependent on you and your goals. Using an example below I illustrate the entire process of hacking away the unessential with one of my online training clients:
Tom: Hey Eric, I need to reduce my training and switch to mornings. Tom JR. has hockey every night during the week, work is insane, and I need to spend my nights with my wife instead of the gym.
I still want to be a shredded Beast (*goal*), but I need more time for my family. (*Obstacle*)
Here’s how we *Removed the Obstacles*:
We shortened all Tom’s workouts and took out anything that appeared redundant. Tom still wanted to workout for 30 minutes each morning in his basement and only wanted the essentials. Each week we made sure Tom had the following movements:
– Weighted Carries
– Upper Body Pull
– Upper Body Push
– Lower Body Squat pattern
– Lower Body Hinge pattern
– Single Leg movement
– High-Intensity Intervals,Versa Climber
So a sample workout could be:
Dynamic Warm Up (Top-secret recipe)
1a. Weighted Chin Up 5×8
1b. One Arm Push-Up 5×8
2. 5x 30 sec (30 sec rest) Versa Climber SprintO
1a. Kettlebell Floor Press 4×12
1b. Goblet Squat 4×12
2a. Kettlebell Swing 3×20
2b. Farmers walk 3×50 steps
Spread out over the course of 5 days Tom gets in five efficient, challenging workouts without missing any major movements. Plus, he’s able to see his son play hockey, spend time with his wife, and relax. In the end training is about more than building an awesome body, it’s about building an awesome body and hitting your goals on your terms. Training should improve your life, rather than consume it.
Now it’s Your Turn:
Embrace essentialism into your workouts and eliminate all that is unnecessary. It’s a subtle way to produce dramatic results in the gym with less overwhelm.
-Focus on the big movements
-Ensure progressive overload
-Schedule your training when it fits your life. Make it a priority, but don’t sacrifice everything else for your gains.
-Remove unnecessary exercises
Define your goal, identify the obstacles, and ruthlessly remove them.
The biggest mistake most guys make is focusing on every finite details of their program. Keep your eye on the prize, remove anything that isn’t essential, and see the best gains of your life.
“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”-Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
McKeown, Greg. “Subtract.” Essentialism. New York: Crown Business, 2014. 190-191. Print.
Ferriss, Tim. “The Choice-Minimal Lifestyle: 6 Formulas for More Output and Less Overwhelm.” Fourhourworkweek.com. 6 Feb. 2008. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.
Wow. Christmas is less than two weeks away. That means crazed shoppers dropping the “people’s elbow” on their fellow deal-fanatics, glorious sugar bomb christmas cookies , and ugly sweaters at the Christmas party.
Oh yes, Christmas parties. Freezing nights with sugar-bomb cocktails, prime rib, awkward conversation and unfortunately, Fireball. Besides the pounding headache the aftermath leaves residual blubber floating around your waistline topped with regret, and panic.
Instead of locking yourself away from holiday festivities add an extra 10 minutes into your workouts. 10 Minutes is all you need to maximize your fat loss.
I recently published an article with my friends at Fitocracy which provides the perfect recipe for blasting those additional holiday calories and preventing the post-holiday fat-panic. Continue Reading Here ==> For 10 Minute Fat Loss
Strong. Shredded. Athletic.
In the last post I hooked you up with a brief muscle building-workout:Shoulders to Boulders.
But, not everyone is focused on getting huge all the time; sometimes, we’d like to shred fat and improve the look of a body part even when short time.
This is especially true with arms.
Great arms, whether it’s big biceps or toned triceps, aren’t easy to come by: They’re earned with hard work and worn like a badge of honor.
While it’s possible to build a good set of arms even when you’re training is lacking balance a well-designed program adds icing to the cake. With only 30 minutes to hit the gym a well-designed exercise program will get the job done.
Luckily, you don’t need to search the web for that program.
I have it right here.
This workout will blast the arms with supersets, making your rest periods shorter and workouts more efficient. Muscles will be challenged through different angles and rep ranges to recruit the maximum number of muscle fibers and build better arms fast.
Chin Up: Chin-Ups are great for building great biceps. By supinating the palms—palms facing you—greater emphasis is placed on the biceps. With this compound exercise you will stimulate fast-twitch muscle fibers for growth. Perform four sets of five reps, using weight if necessary.
Reverse Grip Barbell Floor Press: *** USE A SPOTTER.
Have a spotter? Good, if not, use a normal, supinated grip for the press. Supinating the grip while performing a pressing exercise increases the range of motion (ROM) of the triceps, the biggest muscle of the upper arm. Compound exercises like the floor press add muscle to your arms and boost your lockout strength in the bench press. Perform four sets of five reps after your chin-ups.
Barbell Curl: You didn’t think I would forget these did you?Curls are necessary to build arms. Pick a moderately heavy weight and a shoulder width grip for your curls. Three sets of eight to ten reps will finish off fast twitch fibers and recruit moderate-slow twitch muscle fibers.
Parallel bar dips: Dips are a great exercise for shoulder, chest, and triceps development. If needed, add a dip belt and perform dips to 90 degrees, extended the elbows just short of lockout at the top. Three sets of eight to ten reps will do the trick.
Dumbbell Hammer Curls: Hammer curls are a biceps curl, only with a neutral grip. This variety places more emphasis on the brachilias and brachioradialis, two important elbow flexors. Perform these under control for two sets of 20 reps.
Overhead Triceps Rope Extension: Using a rope attachment on a cable extend the arms overhead, flexing the triceps. This exercise will give the triceps a huge stretch and a powerful contraction to stimulate the long-head of the triceps. Perform two slow sets of 20 reps.
1a.Weighted Chin Up 4×5 Rest 60 sec
1b.Reverse Grip Barbell Floor Press 4×5 Rest 60 sec
2a Barbell Curls 3×8-10 Rest 0
2b. Dips 3×8-10 Rest 30 seconds
3a.Fat Gripz Hammer Curl 2×20 Rest 0
3b.Overhead Triceps Rope Extension 2×20 Rest 0
A good set of arms, whether that’s bulging biceps or toned triceps, looks good on everyone. Luckily, this can be achieved by mixing compound, heavy exercises with isolation high-rep exercises.
Time is no longer an issue. Thirty minutes is all you need to build better arms fast.
Attention: Time is Dwindling!
If you’re looking to build muscle, shred some fat, and build a healthy lifestyle I’m opening up my coaching program for a few lucky clients.
Even better, Apply for the Coaching program today and you’ll qualify for my Holiday Discount. This rate is top-secret and reserved for a few close friends and family, so take advantage before it goes away. You can check it out here. <==
Strong. Shredded. Athletic.
The last few posts we talked about quick workouts: 30-minute fast-moving workouts to blast a body part in minimal time.
The feedback back has been an uproariously positive both here and on Facebook, so thanks for being awesome. In case you haven’t been hangin’ around you can see yesterdays workout right here. >> 30 Minute Back Blitz <<
30 minutes is plenty of time to promote explosive growth and shred body fat: Especially when you’re blasting squats, jumps, and lunges.
A balanced physique goes a long way towards a completely awesome body, and no area of the body is consistently neglected like the legs.
Guys with athletic and muscular legs…ergh butts grab the attention of females because a well-developed lower body screams power, confidence, and athleticism.
Similiarily, ladies with toned and shapely legs are the ultimate display of feminine strength and beauty.
This lower body blitz consists of compound exercises combined in super-sets to build strength, muscle, and burn fat. No leg extensions here! You’ll go from Twigs to Tree Trunks in less time than it takes driving to the gym.
This workout utilizes a highly effective strategy known as the contrast method. The contrast method combines heavy loaded exercises with explosive exercises performed in pairs. The contrast method utilizes the phenomena of PAP, which improves motor-unit recruitment and stimulates more muscle fibers.
Barbell Front Squat: Squats are a staple in great workouts. Front squats challenge the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core to maintain position while taking stress off of the spine when compared to the back-squat.
Box Jumps: Combining this body-weight jump directly after a high-intensity strength exercise engages the muscles of the legs and train explosive power. Perform three sets of 10 reps directly after sets on the front squat. Be conservative with your box height and focus on landing in solid, stable position.
Back Squats:Back squats place a greater emphasis on the hamstrings and glutes than the front squat. Perform one set of 10-15 reps with the heaviest weight you can handle, this should be NEAR failure.
Body weight jump squats: Immediately following your set of squats perform 1 all-out set of jump squats for 60 seconds. Rest one or two minutes and proceed to the next superset.
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts: This hip-dominant lower body exercise blasts the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Perform three sets of eight, moving immediately to the next exercise between sets.
DB Calf Raise: Holding the same dumbbells from the Romanian deadlift immediately proceed to knock out 20 calf-blasting raises. Perform each rep slowly and deliberately rather than bouncing.
Alternating jump lunges: Using your bodyweight assume a lunge position and proceed to perform 20 jumping lunges, 10 on each leg. Stabilize your body between each jump.
This combination of heavy compound exercises, jumps, and varying rep ranges blasts the legs and promotes powerful training response in 30 short minutes.
The Workout: Twigs to Tree Trunk Legs
1a. Barbell Front Squat 3×5 Rest 0
1b. Box Squat Jumps x8 Rest 60 Seconds
2a. Back Squats 1×10-15+ Rest 0
2b. BW Jump Squats x60-120 seconds
3a. DB RDL 3×8-10 Rest 0
3b. DB Calf Raises3x20 Rest 0
3c. Alternating Jump Lunges 3×20 Rest 1 minute
There you have it: A quick lower session to build powerful, dense legs and develop a fully rounded physique.
72 Hours and Counting
If you’re looking to build muscle, shred some fat, and build a healthy lifestyle I’m opening up my coaching program for a few lucky clients. I want to help you.
Apply for the Coaching program today, as the I’m having a short-term Holiday Sale! This rate is normally top-secret and reserved for a few close friends and family, so take advantage before it goes away. You can check it out here.
What is your go-to legs exercise? Better yet, how to you speed up workouts when short on time?
Strong. Shredded. Athletic.
Yo! As you found out yesterday I’m rolling out FREE workouts for the entire week. Get the first one, Pecs of Steel right here: >> Pecs of Steel<<
These are concise workouts that get awesome results. The cool part –Each workout takes only 30 minutes to nail a body part for explosive growth. The workouts are precisely designed to allow progress even when time is an issue.
Today is kickin’ off with the Bigger Back Blitz.
For guys, a jacked back stretches your shirt and builds the ultimate power look. Large traps and lats are a staple of a powerful, athletic physique.
For ladies, a toned and defined back helps create the look you’re going for—the hourglass body. Bringing up the back makes your waist appear smaller and creates symmetry with the hips.
If you’ve only got 30-minutes to train your back this super-set filled workout is exactly what you need.
Consisting of six of the best exercises this workout will hit your back from every angle to improve strength, muscle size, and muscle density.
Pull Ups: Pull Ups are the head-hancho for building up your backside. Pull-ups are a multi-joint exercise that will add slabs of muscle and definition to your lats and biceps.
Pull-ups will stimulate type-two muscle fibers, explosive fibers with the greatest growth potential. Perform four sets of five reps.
Too easy? Add some damn weight!
Face Pulls: Face pulls are a fantastic horizontal-pulling exercise for building stable shoulders and fully developed traps. In a cable stack use lightweight and row the rope attachment towards your eyes, driving your elbows as far back as possible. Perform four sets of 10-15 reps between sets of pull-ups.
One Arm Dumbbell Rows: One-arm rows are a fantastic multi-joint exercise that will add thickness to your back, biceps, and forearms. Using a heavy weight perform three sets of 10-12 reps in the one arm row. Drive your elbow back as far as possible. By hitting a slightly higher rep range both moderate and fast twitch muscle fibers will receive stimulus, promoting greater growth.
Dumbbell Scarecrows: DB scarecrows are a phenomenal exercise for building stability in the shoulder. The external rotation will strengthen muscles in the rotator cuff to support the shoulder. Weight should be kept light for three sets of 10-15 reps.
Side-to-side Rows: In a power rack or smith machine set a bar at waist height. Line up underneath the smith machine and perform a row, first to the right side and then to the left. Perform two sets of 10 reps per side, so 20 reps per set. This high rep sets will fatigue slow-twitch muscle fibers and force them to grow.
1 Arm Iso-Lat Pull Down: Set up by a cable stack and prepare for a memorable time.
Pull the handles down to shoulder height and perform 15 pull downs with your right arm while holding your left arm down by your shoulder. Switch arms and repeat, that’s one set. This exercise gives the lats a great stretch while creating a ton of muscle-building time under tension. Perform two sets of 15 reps.
This combination of heavy, compound exercises, isometrics, and extended sets recruits a tremendous number of high-threshold and low-hreshold motor units to create a powerful training response.
1a. Pull-Up/ Chin Up 4×5
1b. Rope Face Pull 4×10-15 Rest 30-60 seconds
2a. DB 1 arm Row 3×10-12
2b. Dumbbell Scarecrow 3×10-15 Rest 30 seconds
3a. Side-To-Side Row 2×10/side
3b. 45 Degree 1 arm Pull down 2×15-20/side Rest 30 seconds
There you have it: A quick Bigger Back Blitz is your key to building the coveted-power look.
By the Way
If you’re looking to build muscle, shred some fat, and build a healthy lifestyle I’m opening up my coaching program for a few lucky clients.
Here’s what people are saying:
- Eric’s coaching is essential in my training as he breaks down complex scientific topics and applies them to my powerlifting, and making me a better Strength Coach. -Raven Cepeda, trainer, Monster Milk Athlete/Power lifter, Team USA Decathlete Denver, Colorado
- Eric’s extreme attention to detail and motivation pushed my body to new limits. -Dr. Kyle Anderson, Eau Claire, WI, Chiropractor and Business Owner
- My results with Eric have been the best of my life! -Bevan Cox, SCADA Analyst, Houston, Texas
Apply for the Coaching program today and you’ll qualify for my insiders discount. This is normally top-secret and reserved for a few close friends and family, so take advantage before it goes away. You can check it out here.
What is your favorite back exercise? Better yet, how do you speed up workouts when short on time?
Strong. Shredded. Athletic.