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5-Minute Micro-Routines to Build Muscle

Online Personal Training

High frequency training is one of the most important factors for muscle growth, yet it’s habitually neglected.

What gives?

Rather than opt for frequently training muscle most dudes train sporadically and as a result, stay small, un-athletic, and softer than they want to be. Basically, they develop the “dadbod,” unintentionally. Well, I’m here to change that.

In today’s post I’m going to show you the strategy I use with my online clients to help them:

  • build more muscle
  •  move like athletes
  •  cut body fat

Starting today, you’ll have the blueprint to accelerate progress. You’ll build an athletic body, no matter how busy you are.

It all started….

…with a message from my online client Jake:

“ Eric, I literally can’t get my workouts done right now. I’m so damn busy and can’t get workouts in with my current schedule. That’s why I keep missing the scheduled sessions.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t a rare message.

Most of my clients are extremely busy. They lack  the time to find and execute the training programing best for them. That’s why they hire me.

Back to the story.

In this case, Jake was already following a condensed, minimalist training routine. Once his schedule got exceedingly busy, training sessions started falling by the wayside.

This causes two major problems:

First, without frequent stimulation and reminders of a goal, people take a  “fuck it” attitude and revert to past behaviours. They don;t stay the course when things get busy.

This means half-assed workouts and poor dietary decisions. The result? No results. The lean, athletic body they wanted doesn’t happen. One missed workout turns into two or three. A snowball effect takes hold. 


Second, you can’t win with sporadic workouts. Consistent training is essential. So are small wins along the way in your fitness journey. They build momentum for long term success.

Beyond the psychological havoc inconsistency brings, it’s physically impossible to build a high-performance body if you don’t train consistently.

Aim for Consistent, Small Wins

Instead of scrapping the whole plan when you get busy, it’s best to implement simple routines that take place at the same time each day. Mornings are best. You’ll reinforce goals, achieve small victories and eliminatesdecision fatigue.

Here’s What to Do:

  1. Pick two or three exercises and do them every morning right when you wake up. Pick one from the Following:

Upper Body Exercise:

Push up; feet elevated push-up, chin up (get a simple, 30 dollar doorframe chin up bar), Pike push-up, and elbow tap push up

Trunk Exercise:

Mountain climber, plank, push up plank, side plank, glute bridge, bird-dog, elbow tap

Lower Body Exercise:

Bodyweight squat, split squat, step back lunge, forward lunge, lateral squat, toe-grab bodyweight squat, single leg RDL

  1. Perform the exercises in order for sets of 5-10 reps for five minutes without rest.

That’s it.

Take your morning pee and do a simple routine.

Why 5 Minute Micro-Routines Help you Build Muscle

Seven days per week for 5 minutes each adds up to a lot of additional training. At the end of the week, you’ll have busted out an additional 35 minutes of resistance training extremely dense microcircuits.

To quantify the volume: let’s say you do 45 push-ups during each workout.

In 30 days, that’s an additional 1,350 push-ups in a month.


If you did an additional 1,350 push-ups next month, would you be bigger and stronger?

Without a doubt you would be biggest, stronger, and consistently making progress, and that’s without taking your other training into account.

Wrap Up

You’re busy. I get that.

Still, there’s no excuse to completely abandon your training. You, me, and Richard Branson have the same 24 hours.

You CAN make time to make progress if you want it.

Dense, high frequency training is the best way to add muscle fast when you’re in a time crunch. More specifically, five-minute morning routines create tons of additional training volume for muscle growth while “winning small” each day to keep you on-track and engaged in your progress.

More importantly, these small circuits reinforce why you’re training in the first place, leading better consistency with your big training sessions.

Take action and get started.


P.S. How much are you getting from your current workouts?

Have you really changed your body and your life over the last six months, or even two years?

Most people jump from program to program. Others hit the same workout they’ve done since high school.

Neither is a good option.

A lack of variety never allows the body to change, while too much variety never allows you to get good at anything.

Rather than being disappointed despite your efforts, let me do the planning and coaching for you. I charge depending on your coaching package. I offer three separate tiers. There is something for every budget.

If you’re a serious action taker and ready to get results: let’s do this thing.

Bach Performance: Must Read Fitness Articles of the Week 9/5/15

Message of the Week:

“To Hell with circumstances; I create opportunities. ” – Bruce Lee


I love this quote, and anything by Bruce Lee for that matter. Nothing in this life comes easy.

Not the body you want. The health you deserve. The success you crave. We can’t wait for it, we have to grab opportunity by the horns and take advantage. 
If the opportunity isn’t obvious, keep grinding and make things happen. Your success is up to you. Don’t focus on the haters on the naysayers; rather, focus on getting better every day. 
Better every day will create your opportunities. 

Eric’s Updates

Okay, I must admit, one of these articles are from last week.
First, I wrote an article for T-Nation last week covering auto regulation. If you’re unfamiliar with auto-regulation, really give this a look. I’ll show you how to make adjustments in Flexible Training for Faster Gains.

When you’re a beginner, straight work sets work great to stimulate massive gains in strength, performance, and muscle. That changes when you get stronger.
Ramping sets are you answer.

Here’s how to Ramping Sets for More Strength

Lately, I’ve received a ton of questions regarding the equipment I use for training. After an awkward endeavor with an athlete at our gym and a foam roller, I had to write this post. All of these tools play a big role in my training and recovery. Here are my go to gym bag essentials.

Training Update

I’ve been playing around with a ton of Olympic Lift variations to improve my explosiveness and activate a greater number of muscle fibers before strength and hypertrophy work. This week’s training video is on the barbell jerk.

Client Update

My client Jenna has been crushing her workouts as of late. A track athlete, Jenna has worked her ass off to build strength, which is paying off with more explosiveness, power, and as you can see: Hops. Keep up the great work Jenna!

Looking to Upgrade your Training? 

Swing in and fill out the opt-in form here, and I’ll get you leaner, stronger, and more muscular by Christmas. I’ll get back to you ASAP for the next steps.

Recommended Reading and Videos

  1. Annihilate or Stimulate, which is Better? by Tony Gentilcore
  2. How to Self-Publish a Niche Book from an Off-the-Grid Eco-Home in Uruguay by Jonathan Goodman

  3. Wheat Thins and Pringles: Equals 84 by Mike Vacanti

4. Barbell Landlines by Elite Sports Services (hey look, I’m doing demos!)

5. How to Build a Successful and Rewarding Career in Fitness by Precision Nutrition

6. The Real Judgement-Free Zone by Christian Thibaudeau

7. Why I stopped Caring About Leanness by Propane Fitness

8. The Final Word on Carbs at Night by Jason Ferruggia


Interested in being featured on Bach Performance Must Read Fitness Articles or becoming a contributor?
Contact us here, and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

The 11 Laws of Athletic Muscle

athletic muscle

I almost quit.


I failed as an athlete trying to build athletic muscle and as a college meathead trying to re-establish some semblance of athleticism.

From those days forward, I’ve been on a mission to build a body that both looks good, and is able to perform outside the gym.

Truth was, I wasn’t’ happy with my porous results and I wouldn’t be happy unless I had the best of both worlds—being athletic and muscular. Not one, not the other, but both. I battled with the question, what’s the point in being just strong, just athletic, or just jacked?

athletic muscle

I found I wasn’t alone. There were hundreds of others who felt the same way, you’re probably one of them.

There’s more to building athletic muscle than deadlifts and lifting weights. There’s no perfect recipe, and that’s a big part of what Bach Performance is about.

That’s why I’m excited for my brand new post with T-Nation.

I’ve expanded my Seven Laws of Athletic Muscle to 11 laws to help you build a high performance body. What’s needed are sound principles to make real change and get things done.

Your body should exude confidence in your abilities and perform in the world, not just the platform. These 11 tips will take your training to the next level.

Read it here: 11 Laws of Athletic Muscle

4 Benefits of Total Body Workouts

Four Benefits of Total Body Workouts Overview

-Total body training improves workout efficiency by minimizing the fluff to get you strong and muscular in a hurry

– You’ll hit major movement patterns multiple times per week in a variety of intensities and rep ranges to stimulate the most number of muscle fibers

– When in a time-crunch, total body training is best for making huge strength gains when you’re short on time.

To simplify getting Strong, Lean, and Muscular, Pick Up Your Free Physique Hacking Cheatsheet

Some experts say you need to work every body part individually once per week. Others say work the body as a whole, integrated unit.

I side with total body training, especially if you’re a busy professional, or student.
You don’t have all day or time each day to hammer your palmaris longus and flexor carpi ulnas because your uncles’ bodybuilding magazine said so.

Instead, you need workouts that offer the best bang for your buck.

Time efficient with enough training to build muscle and strength, but efficient enough to get you on with your life. That’s where total body training comes in. Here are 4 Benefits of Total Body Workouts.

1. Potentially Faster Gains in Strength

If strength is your goal, it’s imperative to perform movements that allow you use the most weight and greatest number of muscles. Compound movements such as squat, deadlift, and bench press variations are really FULL-body movements that build total body strength.

Back in 2000, a study compared 1 day and 3-days per week of equal-volume resistance training (McLester, et al 2000). Twenty-five experienced subjects were randomly separated into training groups.

Group one performed one day per week of strength training with three sets to failure, using rep ranges moving from three to ten reps per set. Group two performed workouts three days per week with one set to failure per day while working in the same rep ranges.

The workout volume between the two groups was exactly the same, yet group two had greater increases in both lean body mass and improved one-rep max strength. With total volume held constant, spreading the training frequency to three days per week produced superior results in both strength and size.

2. Build Muscle Faster

For those interested in size, while it’s true that isolation work (think: bicep curls, pec deck) is great for hypertrophy unless you’re a competitive bodybuilder – and most you aren’t – the more you stimulate a muscle to grow, the less likely it will grow.

Basically, endless isolation is a poor use of your time, unless you already have a significant base of total body strength, and time your curls, bro.

Plus, It doesn’t make sense to train your “legs” one day only then wait the magical 5-7 days to train to squat again.

With full-body training – assuming appropriate loads and rest – you’re “targeting” any given muscle group 2-3x per week, for a great training frequency.

3. Total Body Training is More Time Efficient

If you’re busy with family obligations or a fast-paced career you have minimal time to train.
I get it, most of my clients are extremely busy with a limited schedule, too.

Instead of trying to perfect everything its best to pick the most effective exercises in a total body training split.

You burn a heckuva lot more calories in a given session when you perform a full-body training session as opposed to just doing an “arm day” or “shoulder day.”

4. Focus on the Essentials

The truth is that most people will only be in the gym for an hour, warm-up included.  When you factor in the inevitable gym selfie and#gymlife tweets, the actual time training really isn’t that much.

While I can harp on being hardcore and just getting your work done, social media isn’t going anywhere. To maximize your training, in spite of a lack of focus, total body training eliminates the fluff and focuses on the essential movements.
Focus on the big lifts like squats, chin-ups, deadlifts, presses, and sprints in your training. Sometimes getting in, hitting the major lifts, and creating a physiological response is your best option


Want Help Getting Started?

Let me cut through the fluff so you can build a lean, muscular physique without living in the gym.


In this Free guide, I’ll show you…

  • How to gain strength and get lean in less than four hours per week
  • The real reason constant dieting doesn’t work…and how to reboot your metabolism
  • The best exercises to stimulate massive fat loss without losing strength and muscle
  • How to enjoy your favorite foods and still make progress in the gym
  • How to exercise so it improves your life rather than consumes it

Click Here To Grab Your Free Cheatsheettotal body



McLester, J., Bishop, E., & Guilliams, M. (2000). Comparison of 1 day and 3 days per week of equal-volume resistance training in experienced subjects. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 14(3). Retrieved from http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2000/08000/Comparison_of_1_Day_and_3_Days_Per_Week_of.6.aspx

Discover the Power of Complex Training

[A variation of this article was originally published on EliteFTS.com]

Here’s what you need to know:

1.Post-Activation Potentiation is the driving force behind the benefits of complex training.

2. Complex-pair training, when scheduled in appropriate training blocks, can improve power and rate of force development (RFD).

3.Complex training works best in trained, advanced level athletes. Unless you can move a decent amount of weight this isn’t for you. If this is you, stop watching Miley Cyrus twerkin’ it, go pick up heavy stuff, and raid the fridge.

Adding 5 pounds to the bar each workout might work when you’re a rookie, but not once you’ve earned your keep in the power rack.

Long term gains aren’t achieved solely by linear workouts. Soon, your linear periodization and s-medium T-shirts no longer get the job done.

You’ve hit the dreaded plateau.

Plateaus will occur in the weight room. Luckily, one strategy reigns supreme in helping you bust through your current levels of strength, power, and muscular development. The time has come to add strategically designed complex training to stimulate explosive growth and strength.

Enter complex-pair training, an advanced training strategy to add some spring to your static strength, new slabs of muscle, and develop a powerful physique.

This advanced strategy has an athlete perform a high-intensity strength training exercise followed by an explosive exercise that mimics the biomechanics of the strength training exercise, such as a deadlift and a broad jump.

The driving force behind complex training is a phenomena known as post-activation potentiation.

What Is Post-Activation Potentiation?

Post-activation potentiation, commonly abbreviated as “PAP” is a physiological adaption describing the immediately enhanced muscle force output of explosive movements after a heavy resistance exercise is performed (Robbins 2005). It is believed that the contractile history of a muscle influences the mechanical performance of subsequent muscle contractions.

Essentially, the nervous system becomes excited due to the heavy load from the previous exercise, causing in increased response in the subsequent explosive exercise (Rixon et al. 2007).

How PAP Works

Post-activation potentiation primarily occurs in type 2 fast twitch muscle fibers, so the advanced technique is best used to maximize performance of explosive based activities such as weightlifting, sprinting, jumping and throwing activities (2,6).

Luckily, type 2 muscle fibers are also the muscle fibers with the most potential for muscle growth.

*Note: This is awesome.

There are two proposed mechanisms for PAP. (Stay with me on this one, as the science gets a little heavy.)

1.) According to Hamada et. el (2000), there is an increased phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chains during a maximum voluntary contraction (MVC). This allows the actin and myosin binding (for muscle contraction) to react to the increased calcium release. This reaction triggers a cascade of events leading to enhanced force muscle production at the structural level of muscle (Horwath & Kravitz ).

Thus, increased muscle activation yields a greater duration of calcium ions in the muscle cell environment, yielding a greater phosphorylation of the myosin light chain protein (Rixon et al. 2007).

Basically, the chemicals in your body that make your muscles contract get hyper sensitive and contract harder. 

2.) The second theory is based on the H-reflex, an excitation of a spinal reflex elicited by afferent muscle nerves. It is theorized that the PAP intervention enhances the H-reflex, thus increasing the efficiency and rate of the nerve impulses to the muscle (Hodgson, Docherty, Robbins, 2005).

In other words, your nervous system get’s jacked up full go from a heavier exercise that matches the movement pattern of the unweighted movement, such as a power clean. When an explosive exercise such as a vertical jump is performance, the body is primed and ready to fire on all cylinders.  As a result, the fully engaged nervous system powers up your jump to new heights.

The complex pair is then repeated for a number of sets. Over time, this improved neuromuscular efficiency improves the muscles ability to generate power.

It’s fun to be jacked, but the real bad-asses are jacked and explosive. You should have a little pop to go with your physique, not be as soft as melted butter.

Here are some common sample exercise pairings

Main Exercise:                        Explosive Movement:

Bench Press                               Clap Push Up, medicine ball chest pass

Shoulder Press                           Overhead medicine ball slam/ throw

Squat                                          Jump squat, vertical jump, box jump

Deadlift                                      Broad jump, kettlebell swing

Explosive Exercises For Complex Pairs




Rest Periods

There is a balancing act between fatigue and PAP following a heavy strength movement. The key is finding a balance between the two, and I’ve found everyone to be different.

If the potentiation of the nervous system exceeds the level of fatigue, the explosive movement will be performed with more force and a higher rate of force development.

Bingo! Then we have both acute and long-term benefits of PAP.

But how long do we rest?

As it stands there is no uniform agreement about the optimal recovery required between the pre- load stimulus and subsequent muscle performance to gain optimal performance benefits (Macintosh et. al).

A comprehensive meta-analysis (Wilson et al) of Post Activation examined multiple variables, including rest periods and found both rest periods between 3-7 minutes and 7-10 minutes to yield significant power increases due to PAP, whereas longer time periods did not.

It’s important to note that the explosive exercise tested in many trials happened to be competitive sprint testing, rather than solely potentiating to bust through lifting plateaus.

As a Coach I must work within the time constraints of a typical session. For this reason, I   keep rest periods anywhere from 1-3 minutes between high intensity resistance exercises and explosive exercises, with active rest and mobility exercises performed between. A 1-3 minute rest period allows for PAP training stimuli while promoting a higher workout density and sufficient training volume, both important variables.

complex training

(Contreras, Post-Activation Potentiation: Theory and Application)


To develop power, training intensity must be high enough to produce a potentiation effect. Workloads between 70-95% have shown the greatest positive effects on subsequent explosive exercises, although loads above 80% 1-RM have appear to have the greatest potentiating effect(4,12). In explosive exercises that use resistance (if at all) stay light, under 10 lbs. This places focus on moving fast and speed development.


Volume is a tricky when it comes to PAP. Too much and you risk fatigue and limited PAP response. Too little and there isn’t a large enough training response for your ambitious goals.

“So what do I do?”

Volume can be achieved in a few ways, by increasing the number of sets total, the reps in each set, or both. Gilbert and Lees (2005) found performing as few as one set, and up to five sets, of an exercise has been successful in eliciting potentiation.

Gullich and Schmidtbleicher (1996) found sets consisting of greater than five total repetitions or 5 seconds of total contraction time are not advisable because of the fatigue induced.

In most cases, I use 3-5 sets of 3 repetitions. Do 3 Sets if you’re shooting more for strength/power gains and 5 sets if you’re aiming for hypertrophy and more power endurance.

Complex Training Workout Program:

Complexes maximize workout efficiency by combining a strength movement with an explosive movement. By maximizing the rate of force development (RFD) you will blast past stubborn plateaus and reach uncharted levels of muscular development, power, and strength.

A Sample 6 Week Progression may look something like this:

Week Load Sets/Reps(Strength Movement) Sets/Reps(explosive) Rest Between strength/ explosive movement
1 80% 5X4 5×4 60 s
2 85% 5X3 5×5 90s
3 90% 4X3 4×6 120s
4 (back off) 85% 3X3 3×3 60s
5 90% 5X2 5×5 90-120s
6 95% 5X2 5×4 120-150s


Monday: Movement Focus Squat Pattern

1a. Strength: Squat

1b. Mobility: Ankle/ Hip Mobilization

  1. Explosive: Countermovement Vertical Jump

Accessory Work: Vertical pulling, pressing, sled work


Tuesday: Movement Focus Horizontal Press

1a. Strength: Close Grip Bench Press

1b. Mobility: T-Spine Mobilization

1c. Explosive: Supine Medicine Ball Chest Pass

Accessory Work: Single leg, hinge pattern, weighted carries/ offset loading


Wednesday: Active Recovery/Off


Thursday: Movement Focus Hinge Pattern

1a. Strength:Deadlift

1b. Mobility: T-Spine/ Hip Mobilization

1c. Explosive: Broad Jump

Accessory Work: Horizontal Pulling, horizontal pressing, sled work


Friday:Movement Focus Overhead Press Pattern/ Olympic Lift

1a. Strength: Split Jerk

1b. Mobility: T-Spine/ Hip Mobilization

  1. Explosive: Overhead Medicine Ball Press-Throw

Accessory Work: Squat Pattern, Single Leg, weighted carries/offset loading

Wrap Up:

Unleash the power of complex training to shatter your strength training plateaus. As Yuri Verkhoshansky described PAP “ Imagine lifting a half-full can of water that you thought was full.” In other words, your jumps will feel like jumping on a trampoline after an extra scoop of pre-workout powder in your shaker cup.

The combinations included are by no means an end-all, but it’s important to match the movement patterns of the strength exercise and the explosive exercise. I wouldn’t advise training this way for long bouts of time, but strategically planned complex cycles will add plates to the bar, new found power, and pack on new slabs of muscle.


1.)Contreras, B. (Designer). (2010, 05 4). Post-Activation Potentiation: Theory and Application [Web Drawing]. Retrieved from http://bretcontreras.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/capture.jpg

2.)French DN, Kraemer WJ, Cooke CB. Changes in dynamic exercise performance following a sequence of preconditioning isometric muscle actions. J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Nov;17(4):678-85.

3.)Gilbert, G, and Lees, A. Changes in the force development characteristics of muscle following repeated maximum force and power exercise. Ergonomics 48: 1576–1584, 2005.

4.)Gullich AC and Schmidtbleicher D. MVC-induced short-term potentiation of explosive force. N Stud Athlete 11: 67-81, 1996.

5.)Hamada T, Sale DG, MacDougall JD, Tarnopolsky MA. Postactivation potentiation, fiber type, and twitch contraction time in human knee extensor muscles. J Appl Physiol. 2000 Jun;88(6):2131-7.

6.)Hilfiker R, Hübner K, Lorenz T, Marti B. Effects of drop jumps added to the warm-up of elite sport athletes with a high capacity for explosive force development. J Strength Cond Res. 2007 May;21(2):550-5.

7.)Horwath, R., & Kravitz , L. (n.d.). postactivation potentiation: A brief review. Informally published manuscript, Exercise Science , Retrieved from http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article folder/postactivationUNM.html

8.)Macintosh BR and Rassier DE. What is fatigue? Can J Appl Physiol 27: 42-55, 2002.

9.)McCann, MR and Flanagan, SP. McCann, MR and Flanagan, SP. The effects of exercise selection and rest interval on postactivation potentiation of vertical jump performance. J Strength Cond Res 24(5): 1285-1291, 2010

10. Rixon KP, Lamont HS, Bemben M. Influence of type of muscle contraction, gender, and lifting experience on postactivation potentiation performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2007; 21: 500–505.

11.)Robbins, D.W. Postactivation potentiation and its practical applicability: a brief review. J Strength Cond Res. 2005, 19(2): 453-458.

12.)Saez de Villarreal, E.S., Gonzalez-Badillo, J.J. & Izquierdo, M. (2007). Optimal warm-up stimuli of muscle activation to enhance short and long-term acute jumping performance. Eur J Appl Physiol, 100 (4), 393-401.

Part 3 Training Essentialism: Eliminate Useless Exercises

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.

Limited Attention:

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?

Photocredit: www.lookgreatnaked.com/blog/stay-away-from-the-pink-dumbbells/

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.

Example Goals:

“ 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


Dynamic Warm-Up

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.

Recommended Reading:

The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

80/20 Pareto’s Principle

Part 2 Training Essentialism: 4 Tips to Improve Workout Consistency

In our last post we covered a few things. First, we covered the most important parts of your workout, 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. 

Moving on– here’s how to workout consistency. Knowing what to do is great, but a plan is 100% useless unless you take actionable steps to get’er done.

The biggest problem affecting your training isn’t exercise selection, sets, reps, weights, or even your motivation. Those are all important, but the problem is more simple than that.

What do you think it is?




Workout consistency. I don’t mean consistency in the sense that you’re unwilling to put in the time; rather, you gnaw off a bigger chunk than you can chew. Your determination exceeds what your capable of each day. You have a job, school, family obligations,  a million projects and people vying for you attention and time. If it were possible, you’d run on 28-hour days to fit everything in.

Sound familiar?

Training four or five times per week with strength work, mobility, and conditioning is great, but sometimes it’s impossible to do everything. Instead of the perfect plan you need a plan that’s focused on your goal while accounting for the constraints of your life. Small wins accumulate big over time. That’s why the best coaches start grand goals on a small scale–the best path is taking small, progressive victories to get big results.

It’s like a drive in Football, unless you’re the Raiders: Four yards, two yards, five yards, first down. Another first down and then it hits—big play touchdown! Progress is the most effective form of human motivation—to get success need to set yourself up for success with the right play calls.

how to improve workout consistency

Improving Workout Consistency

With the following tips you’ll have everything you need to focus on your goals plus the motivation and attention to reach them. Information is only as good as how you use it. Grab a pen, piece of paper, and customize your goals to the following tips. You’ll set yourself up for huge gains in the gym and eliminate the guilt of missing workouts.

1. Know what you’re capable of Doing Consistently 

If you have kids at home, a job that requires 60 hours per-week, and long work trips planned then a five-day per week body-part split over the next two months isn’t practical. Instead, budget the time that you’ll be able to get to the gym under any circumstance. Move to a total body routine and hit the major muscles in each workout for 2-3 workouts per week. Add in 20 minutes of sprints one day and a walk a few more places. The program 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.

Know what you’re cable of doing and execute.

2. Forget about Tomorrow

Being overwhelmed with responsibilities make it difficult to get your training in. Today’s workout becomes, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” There’s always tomorrow and another day. Problem is, the “tomorrow” mindset becomes next week, and suddenly, you haven’t hit the gym in six days. Focus on the now and win the day.

3. Schedule Training like an Appointment

Treat exercise like an obligation as you would a meeting at work and stick to it. The biggest, baddest dudes in your gym make exercise a priority no-matter what. Once you add workouts to your calendar and block time off they become part of your routine. When others come up look at your schedule—are the mandatory?
If not, turn it down or move it to another time.

Your workout is time for you. Sprint, lift heavy steel, throw different implements, and have fun. Building your body is much more powerful than your one-rep max, it’s about the focus, workout consistency, and effort you put forward towards the big picture.

4. Focus During Your Workout

The less frequent your training sessions the more important intensity becomes.
Drink extra coffee.
Boost up your pre-workout.
Blast some Lil Jon and get out of your mind.

I don’t care, do whatever it takes to go balls to the wall when you hit the gym. Going through the motions is for losers—get in and get after it.


Wrap Up

You’re busy and determined—that’s a good thing. Don’t let training fall by the wayside; rather, optimize your training with what you’re capable and willing to do.

Know what you’re cable of Doing Consistently.

Stop putting it Off Until Tomorrow.

Schedule it like an Appointment.

Get in and get after it.

With this information you have everything you need to build a leaner, stronger, and more athletic body. Quit majoring in the minors, it’s time to get to maximize your training on your terms.

Recommended Reading:

Training Essentialism: What Every Workout Needs 



Last Chance To Win some cold hard Cash While Building Muscle

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Join my latest Fitocracy Group Minimalist Mass building.

This isn’t a program just for powerlifting, bodybuilding, or for athletes — it’s a combination of these disciplines to get you the best results in the shortest time possible.

You’ll lift heavy, occasionally chase the pump, and move like an athlete.

Workouts will be brief, intense, and goal oriented, and will pack on the kind of muscle that looks and performs like a muscular athlete.

Join NOW before the group closes for good: on October 27th

photo credit: Runar Eilertsen via photopin cc

photo credit: linda sellers via photopin cc

10 Tips to An Explosive Deadlift

Deadlifts build epic strength.

Deadlifts get you jacked.

Deadlifts help you get athletic. Deadlifts require full body tension, strength, and sheer willpower to build strong bodies and stronger minds.

Deadlifts build a chiseled back, vice-grip forearms, and an athletic booty to grab the attention of both sexes. As such, the deadlift is the most cherished movements in training for helping you look better naked, be strong as an ox, and improve performance. 

Yep, few things get your testosterone pumping and your manhood on like deadlifts, except maybe this steak recipe and watching Predator re-runs. 

Perfect then..right? All you need to do is grip a barbell and rip it from the floor. .Well, no. For all the love deadlifts get most lifters either incorrectly program them or butcher them with such awful form they end up with porous strength numbers and debilitating back pain. 


While I love deadlifts I try not to put any exercise on a pedestal—all exercises are a tool for a physiological response to help you improve performance, look better naked, or feel better–not an end all be all to training.

Like anything else, there’s a risk-reward for pushing your body to the limits. The deadlift is a great exercise, but you need intelligent planning to maximize your training without snapping your back in half like a toothpick.

The ten tips below from my eBook Eight Weeks to an Explosive Deadlift will help you boost your deadlift sky-rocket and reduce the chance of injury. 

1.Pull the Bar Tight:

When the bar drifts away from your body you open a pandora’s box of issues: A greater tendency to round the back, increased shear stress on the spine, and a difficult position to finish the lift.

Unless you want to miss lifts and incur flexion based back injuries then use the lats to pull the bar tight to your shins. The lats connect your spine to your shoulder with tons of connection to the fascia in the low back. Pulling the tight both ensures a vertical bar path and further engages the core to resist forward flexion and keep you safe. 

2.Hammer Glute Function:

Most clients come in with lousy glute function and sad anterior core stability. I’ll get to anterior core stability soon, but optimal glute function is essential for everyone, especially individuals with extension-based back pain that deadlift.

To quote Eric Cressey, “Extension-based back pain typically is worse with standing than with sitting. These folks will present with everything from spondylolysis (fractures) to spondylolisthesis (vertebral slippage), to diffuse lumbar erector “tightness.”

Typically, those who suffer from extension-based back pain will have short hip flexors, poor glute function, and a lack of anterior core stability. Effectively, hip flexor shortness and insufficient glute contribution leads athletes to substitute lumbar extension for full hip extension.”(Cressey)

This is a big no-no, especially for athletes. Having powerful hip extension is the name of the game for most athletic tasks like sprinting, jumping, and of course, deadlifting. If you substitute lumbar extension for full hip extension you’re limiting your training, missing lockouts, and opening the door for further pain and injury.

Consider adding the following exercises at the end of your dynamic warm-up for better glute activation and trunk stabilization before deadlifts. Basically, these will reduce injury risk and give you more strength. Good deal, right? 

Quadruped Hip Extension

Quadruped Fire Hydrant

45 Degree Back Extension

45 degree banded back extension


3. “Too much” Core Stability doesn’t exist:

A few weeks ago I received an email asking my thoughts on core training. The jist of it was, “all you need for a strong core is to squat and deadlift, right bro?”

In all honesty, there’s no such thing as too much anterior core stability to prevent power leaks in movement. While I’d like to agree and never suffer through monotonous planks again the answer isn’t cut and dry. Core stability is as vital for performance as it is injury prevention.

It’s best to integrate different aspects core training into each workout. Rather than repeated flexion via crunches (especially if you sit all day) it’s important to train the “anti” flexion and anti-rotation movements. 

4.Train with Lighter Loads:

For years I trained with frequent, near maximal intensity sessions.Whether it was my ego or lack of experience I thought “How could I get stronger without pushing intensity above 90% for most sets?”

After injuries, plateaus, and frustrating sessions I dropped my training maxes and hit a 500 lb deadlift at 165lbs when I was 23. Skip ahead a few years and the answer is obvious:

Tweet: Training isn’t about putting your body through hell; it’s about minimizing risk and maximizing results.

Back off your maxes 5-10%, optimize form, and avoid missing reps. You’ll stay fresh, groove the deadlift pattern, and have a longer training career.

5. Double Check your Deadlift Set-Up:

Your set-up should be consistent and rehearsed every time you prepare for your lift. Double-check your set-up with these tips:

  • Stand with the bar over the tops of your feet, not necessarily against your shins, although bloody shins means you’re hardcore, bro.
  • Hip hinge rather than squat to the bar. Pop your butt back into full twerk position and hinge back until your arms reach down outside the knees. Your butt doesn’t need to be down, it’s a deadlift not a squat.
  • Get your Chris Farley on and double tuck that chin. Keep your eyes looking straight forward to maintain spinal alignment.
  • Crush the bar with your grip. Stop and make a fist as hard as possible. Feel the tension all the way through your upper back, shoulder, and arms?

We call that irradiation, tension that packs the shoulders and increases muscle activation to produce more tension and stability. Crush the bar.

6. Slow then Go:

Most lifters try to rip the bar off the ground for every deadlift.

While you need to produce significant power, trying to rip the bar leads to the hips shooting up and a loss of position. Basically, this is a first class ticket to massive lumbar flexion under load.

If jacking up your back and walking like quasi-modo sounds fun, keep doing that, otherwise try the cue  
“slow then go” to teach athletes to drive hard while maintaining tension and then speed up the bar once you’re moving.

I’d rather miss a lift in good position than make a lift with tons of lumbar flexion. Remmeber, minimize risk and maxmize reward with your training. 

7.Stop Dropping Deadlifts:

The logic behind dropping deadlifts is this: If you’re competing, you only need to worry about the concentric (up) phase of the lift. Besides, lowering your deadlift creates excessive stress and muscle damage. While this may be true, what are your goals?

Are you competing? If so, some organizations require control all the way to the ground. Those who don’t? Fine, drop your deadlifts.

Looking to train for muscle gain? The eccentric component creates additional muscular damage, a vital piece for muscular hypertrophy. If excessive soreness impacts your training frequency then check your training loads, rest periods, nutrition, and training split.

Athletic Performance/Core control? If you’re lifting a deadlift and are unable to control the eccentric it’s to heavy. Eccentric strength and maintaining position is vital in all sports. Consider dropping the load and controlling the eccentric.

It’s a common perception that you need to drop deadlifts. You don’t. If you’re near max weight that’s find, but consider everything within the context of your goals. Look into performing controlled drops from knee-mid-thigh instead of a drop from lockouts. Persevering the nervous system near competition is great, but keep the value of eccentric strength in mind for maximize gains in size. 

8.Add jumps for an explosive deadlift:

If a big deadlift is your focus, then channeling your inner Vince Carter and add jumps is a great for improving power. Jumping matches the mechanical movement of deadlifts while training explosive power at lower training intensities.

This aids strength development as generating force faster with lighter-load movements increases neural activation and improves your rate of force development.

The deadlift is a starting strength movement, so box squats, vertical jumps, and box jumps are your best bet.

I’m a big fan of non-countermovement jumps until proper landing mechanics grooved. Once you’ve practiced landing with balance and control mix in both countermovement and non-countermovement jumps.


Multi-response jump squat:


Dumbbell Jump Squat: 

Broad Jump:


Box Jump:


9.Warm-Up with Speed Deadlifts:

Rather than jump headfirst into heavy work sets spend time warming up with submaximal loads. These sets aid the warm-up, and work as strength-speed and power movements for extra training volume.

Power= Work/Time

Use loads between 30% -85% for low-rep sets (Baechle& Earle, 2008) to train power with optimal technique. I prefer a 3×3 warm-up bebfore diving into heavy loaded sets. 

10. Use More Variety:

While deadlifting is a technique intensive skill it’s also important to include variety. Not only will variety keep you intrigued, you’ll also minimize weak-points and limit overuse injuries. Like anything else, form is vital. If you lose proper spinal position during your pull or have a history of back pain then be conservative with your choices.

Other deadlift variations:

Snatch Grip Deadlifts: If you hold proper position then the snatch grip deadlift is cruel, yet effective exercise. Yes, you’ll use much ligher weight, but the increased range of motion and full body tension makes up for that. Snatch grip deadlifts are a powerful muscle builder for the entire posterior chain. 

Sumo Deadlifts: The sumo deadlift is a great option for lifters with short arms and long torso’s. The wide stance allows for a more vertical spine and less shear stress on the lower back.

If you squat wide then the sumo deadlift will improve your squat, as long as volumes and intensities are kept in check in regards to hip health. 

Trap Bar: I love the trap bar. The learning curve is short, shear stress on the spine is reduced. I prefer the trap bar as a tool to train both the squat and deadlift with most of my athletes. If you suffer from back injuries or are looking to change your workouts give the trap bar a try.

explosive deadlift

 Deficit Deadlifts: Although snatch grip deficit deadlifts are a killer exercise for muscular development, I’m not a fan. With any exercise, performance gains versus injury risk come into play.

Most clients have the mobility of a monkey wrench, so loading the lumbopelvic region in a bad position has risks that outweigh the benefits. Jamming square pegs into round holes rarely achieves desired results, so unless you maintain neutral spine steer clear. 

10 Tips to an Explosive Deadlift Is a Wrap

If you’re looking to get stronger, shredded, or more athletic the deadlift will get you there faster. Take these 10 Tips to an Explosive Deadlift into consideration for your future programming to maximize your gains in strength, size, and athleticism.

One last Thing…

Eight Weeks to an Explosive Deadlift is my top secrets on improving your deadlift, including the step by step plan I used with client Raven Cepeda to boost his deadlift by nearly 100lbs in six months. 

Even better, improved strength in the deadlift will carry across more than the platform, it will build a foundation to build more muscle and athleticism from your training, all for less than the cost of Chipotle Burrito. Grab it today. 


Eight Weeks to an Explosive Deadlift_Kindle cover-2


========> Eight Weeks to an Explosive Deadlift




Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. “Resistance Training.” Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. 3rd ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2008. 400-401. Print.

Cressey, Eric. “T NATION | More Lower Back Savers.” Testosterone Muscle Articles. Testosterone Nation, 5 May 2009. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.

Leyland, Tony. “Biomechanical Analysis of the Deadlift.” Sfu.ca. Simon Frasier University. Web. 4 Dec 2013. <http://www.sfu.ca/~leyland/Kin201 Files/Deadlift Mechanics.pdf>.


Part 1: Training Essentialism: What Every Workout Needs

Doing less but better is what every workout needs for more efficient training and faster gains. As a trainer, I have the privilege to meet and get to know many successful clients.

Most of them hold high status jobs, make great money, and live the “American dream.” Unfortunately, most are consumed and overwhelmed by all pressures around them. They’re eager for success in all walks of life, willing to take on more and more opportunities. Every opportunity is a “yes” and performed with enthusiasm. Determination and passion are enviable traits, but always saying “yes” leaves you focusing on the trivial many, rather than the vital few.

Plain and simple, saying “yes” is akin to reading every fitness blog and magazine around and getting information overload. Having too much information clouds our vision of what important.  Applying every training style to your workouts over-complicates training and leaves you confused on how to train.Tweet: You can anything, but not everything. You must selective.

In this first of three posts I’m going to dive into what your exercise program needs. By eliminating the trivial bull-shit in your workout we’ll maximize your training. Every decision is either a hell yes, or an absolute no.

Defining Training Essentialism:

Before deciding what is essential to your training you must be clear on your goal. Focus on one thing at a time to accomplish your goal.  I want to “lose 10 lbs and add 50 pounds to my deadlift,” doesn’t work, you need just one. Look for the minimum effective dose, the 20% in your 80/20, or the few variables that lead to the most success.

Drop the bicep curls, get good at pull-ups.

Drop the hamstring curls and do deadlifts.

Train the body with total body workouts three times per week instead of missing 1-2 workouts per week with a 5-day body part split.

Understand the Fear of Missing Out

Flashback ten years ago I read every fitness magazine, book, and blog I could get my scrawny little fingers on. I ate every tip up—every tip, suggestion, and exercise was something I had to add immediately to my workouts. I gained a ton of knowledge, but not results. A common misconception is that if you can fit something in, you need to. Busyness is rewarded as more valuable over productivity or less. This concept is known as the fear of missing out and is relevant across all areas of life.

“To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.”- Lao Tzu

It wasn’t until I simplified training that I started seeing great results. Pointing your focus in one direction at a time yields superior results to focusing on 10 factors.

training essentialism, what every workout needs
Photocredit: picture: http://glennstovall.com/blog/2014/06/02/learning-to-say-no/

Focus on One Goal:

What is your through and true number one goal? This should be clear. In the examples below I have included the most common goals and vital components to reaching them.

Building Muscle: Progressive overload in big, multi-joint movements. Train with enough volume to build muscle and eat enough calories to support muscle growth.

Unleashing the Inner Athlete: Incorporating movement skills like acceleration, top-end speed, and agility mechanics. Build strength and power to express strength on the field. Relative strength is key.

Building Strength: Progressive overload in the major movement patterns. Minimize weak points in training to prevent injury and improve strength.

Lose Fat and Look Great Naked: Be in a caloric deficit to lose fat while training to maintain strength to preserve muscle mass.

What all Training programs need:

Every good training program has essential qualities that improve training, regardless of goal. Occlusion training, slide boards, tempo training and the hottest eastern European squat program are all great, but the human body hasn’t changed significantly over the last hundred years. The exercises, methods, and progressions that worked best years ago still work best today. Your training doesn’t need complicated methods, your training needs to create a stress above baseline for physiological adaptation. Focus on the quality ver quality in your workouts. Save for specific injury considerations all training routines should have the following:

 Progressive overload:

You must overload the systems current level of fitness to receive a training effect. Serious work must done. You should sweat, strain, and let out the occasional uncontrolled grunt.  Tweet: “ no strain, no gain.” Volume, intensity, increased range of motion, and shorter rest periods are all potential variables.

Improve your health and wellbeing:

If you’re getting hurt physically or mentally hurt from your training you’re training wrong. You need a baseline of conditioning and exercises that are pain free. Discomfort and strain is necessary with pain and injury kept minimal.

Workout Movement Patterns:

Compound basic movement patterns always have and always will be the driver of success in your workout program. The body moves as an integrated unit in sport and life; you’re training should reflect that.Instead of curls, leg extensions, and biceps curls do deadlifts, presses, sprints, and pulls.

The basic movements are the squat, carry, hinge, lunge, sprint, push, and pull. These movements require the body to stabilize, transfer, and product force acrossed many joints like movements in life. I include core work and conditioning work is essential in every routine. You have no reason to be out of shape or set yourself up for injury due to pathetic cores strength.

These are my favorite exercises from each movement pattern:

Squat: Front squat

Hinge: deadlift/ any Olympic lift

Lunge: Bulgarian split squat

Carry: Single arm farmers walk

Press: (vertical) push press

(horizontal) Floor Press

Pull: (vertical) narrow grip chin-up

(horizontal) Dumbbell one-arm row

Core: paloff press

Conditioning: hill sprints

In all actuality you don’t need more than 2-5 exercises to get a great workout. Cover your bases with the basic movement patterns, improve with progressive overload, and reap huge rewards.

Workout Quality Over Quantity:

A stunning what happens when technique takes precedent over weights. Injuries fade, performance increases, and confidence sky-rockets.

Overload is still important and necessary for gains, but piling weights and volume on a faulty base of movement sets you up for injury.

Stay tight on your deadlift rather than losing lumbar position and snapping in half. Learn how to land on a jump without knee valgus (diving in) before performing dumbbell jump squats. Learn how to sprint efficiently before blowing a hamstring.

“It is quality rather than quantity that matters.” – Seneca

Workouts must fit your schedule:

A workout program that doesn’t fit your schedule is a program that won’t be done consistently. This, above all other factors is necessary to see results. Check out this post on a friend of mine who made a huge transformation. If you’re slammed with work this month and your schedule doesn’t allow for five workouts get one that has three workouts. Hitting workouts 75% of workouts while missing 25% is a huge problem. All well-designed workouts play off of one another– missing a piece throws off the balance of the program.

Be Enjoyable Most of the time:

You have enough obligations in life. Working out with a routine you hate isn’t one of them. Take time to enjoy yourself while you’re getting better. Save for the occasion set of high rep squats, training should be fun. If weights aren’t your thing that’s fine—incorporate bodyweight movements, get out and go hiking, and enjoy yourself. Being in shape isn’t about your one-rep max, it’s about being able to do what you enjoy and maintaining good health.

Wrap Up:

Do less, but do it better.

This isn’t a quick tip or strategy; rather, a mind-set to apply to all facets of life. In the gym you don’t need to “isolate” every muscle group and choose one-body part for every day of the week. You don’t need a thousand different tempos, a complex eastern European squat program, and forty exercises to make progress.Worry about every minute detail approach leads to over-analyzing, and sub-par results.


You need progressive overload on a few exercises.

You need to train consistently.

You need to train with focus and intensity.

The rest is fine and wonderful, but when all else fails, simplify.


Recommended Reading:


Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Photo credit:

McKeown, Greg. “The Essentialist.” Essentialism. New York: Crown Business, 2014. 6. Print.



Jump Squats to Bust Your Squat Plateau

Before we get to the meat of today’s post I have a few housekeeping items to cover:

1.  I have three elite online training spots remaining through my online training platform with Trainerize.

The platform itself will never go away,  and will always be available to start whenever you’d like, but this will be the only time you’ll be able to purchase month #1 at a discount.

All you have to do is fill out the coaching form here, work with me to execute a kick-ass plan, and damn, you’ll be lookin’ good! The app lets you bring your online training with you to the gym with full videos, descriptions, and tracking software through your smartphone app. The app is free and allows us to communicate, make changes, and alter your training as needed to keep your high performance gains coming. Pretty snazzy stuff. 

2. In a few weeks I’m rolling out a brand new group training program on Fitocracy. What is it?
Minimalist Muscle Building. I designed this program for one thing in mind: Big results with minimal equipment, and minimal time. Workouts don’t need to be complicated marathon sessions, they just need to be effective. Here, we maximize program efficiency to get you results in the most efficient means possible. Plus, it’s free join Fitocracy and an economical way to get great coaching with me in a small group setting.

Check out the group here and join today, you won’t be disappointed. Here

Now, if some douche-canoe at your gym gripes about you having your phone out in the gym under the impression you’re taking selfies you can say back “Back off!” I’m Getting Swole with Bach Performance!”

Jump Squats to Bust Your Squat Plateau

Having great squat technique and lifting respectable weight has tons of benefits: tons of trunk and core stability, improved, athleticism, lean muscle, and overall enhanced sexification.

The thing is: Plateaus occur and they’re very hard to conquer.

The biggest mistake I see people make is only focus on maximum strength rather than explosiveness. Yea, it’s great to be strong, but it’s epic to display strength fast in the form of power. When you have both you open up a whole pandoras box of awesome athleticism.

The kicker?
You need to know how to improve explosiveness in a way that enhances your squat numbers and athleticism without excessive risk to your body. Luckily, I have you covered. There’s a whole host of benefits and considerations you will see. In my recent guest post on Blood and Iron I discuss jump squat variations, show some videos of my jumping skills,  and which types of jumps you need to  incorporate to jump past your squat plateau. Plus, there’s a pretty sweet workout to safely and incorporate jump squats into your program.

Continue Reading…….


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