Sometimes the best choice of exercise is the basic one.
Basic movements that are executed with proper resistance and shortened rest periods can produce a massive training effect that can re-shape a person’s body.
Most of my training sessions are as uncomplicated I can possibly make them.
I have talked about perfecting the kettlebell complex for fat loss in the past, but the “complex” is nothing more than a series of simple exercises crammed together without rest.
The reward is an extremely large metabolic training effect.
You cannot deny that complexes will strip fat and build a resistance to fatigue. If you do have an argument that simple movements don’t produce effective results, I’ll have you know that my performance outside of the gym with activities like trail running, cycling, obstacle course races and hockey has not slipped a bit since I began my self-experimentation with kettlebell complexes.
And I have been working the complex for about a year now.
One of my favorite training methods are tri-sets using basic exercises and incomplete rest periods.
A tri-set means that you’ll group three different exercises together, moving from one to the next until you complete the number of sets of each exercise for that day.
It would look something like this:
A1) Dumbbell Bench Press 3×8
A2) Deadlift 3×8
A3) Anti-Extension Roll Outs 3×10
All of the movements within this cluster are basic exercises. It’s the resistance used and the shortened rest periods that is going to produce such a large training effect.
As you can see, once you finish a set of bench press (A1), you rest for a set amount of time, usually somewhere between 30-60 seconds (depending on your fitness level) before moving on to the deadlift (A2).
When I use a workout that is structured like this, I always incorporate at least two different tri-sets. I prefer my training efforts to be total body versus a split type approach.
The second would look something similar to the following…
B1) Chin Up 3×8
B2) Front Squat 3×8
B3) Anti-Rotation Press 3×8
Organizing a workout with tri-sets using basic movements is a fantastic method for getting in and out of the gym. The rest periods will keep the workout moving along. No time will be wasted.
Also, because of the shorter rest periods, your fatigue level won’t overpower your ability to give effort. By the time you hit the 3rd round of the tri-set, you’ll experience manageable fatigue.
Managing fatigue during a workout is important. If you drain yourself too early in the session, you won’t have anything left to give later in the workout, leaving a lot of benefit from exercises scheduled in the second tri-set on the table.
This style of training is really popular with athletes. Strength coaches use tri-sets to make sure that a program is time efficient and balanced for the athlete’s body and development. You’ll notice that most athletes tend to be quite lean (notice I said most, not all). Transitioning your training to reflect that of an athlete’s can do wonders for fat loss, strength and power increases and overall performance.
The movements, as you can see from my example tri-sets above, work best if they are non-competing movements. This means that you’ll be exhausting different muscles for the exercises grouped within a tri-set. A perfect example of this is pairing a squat (lower body pushing) with a chin up (upper body pulling)
This is an important feature of this particular workout structure.
Tri-sets also represent a total body training session. I would recommend using a workout like this 3-4 times a week max. You’ve got to give your body a chance to recover and regenerate in between training days.
The decrease in training frequency during the week is great for a person that is pressed for time, whether with family or career.
Lastly, notice that all of the movements listed a basic exercises. There is no real reason to complicate your training with complex exercises in my opinion. Adding complexity to a training session can actually take away from effort aspect and add an element of risk that just isn’t necessary. The reward is rarely worth the risk.
Pick movements that take very little set up and thought during the set. Place your focus on exercise technique, breathing and moving more weight than the workout before rather than squatting on a physio-ball while attempting to juggle three tennis balls.
The video makes my point…
Cheers to basic movements organized to produce large training effects…