There comes a time when you begin to realize that your workout sessions are getting too long.
Even though your intention was to go in and out of the gym within 60 minutes, you find time slipping by as you go through your training program tediously, knocking off each exercise.
It can feel frustrating knowing that as you pass the 60-minute mark that you’re only halfway or more through your program.
I remember feeling this feeling of frustration.
As much as I love training and improving my physique, I realized that there’s only so much time I can devote to each training session without living in the gym.
Having worked in the gym for years, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time in there training for hours on end.
Yet how often do we see this happen over and over again as eager trainees invest more and more time into their training programs with less and less return on their investments?
The key to life is continuous balance.
Unless you’re a high-level athlete whose only purpose is to train vigorously every day, then attempting to follow a world class athlete’s training program will only lead to frustration and repeated plateaus.
In order to make the shift away from stubborn plateaus there’s 3 principles to keep in mind:
Simplicity is what separates the complicated, overly detailed program which leaves you frustrated from the simple program which delivers results consistently.
If you’re curious if your program needs fine tuning, head over here.
Clarity on the other hand keeps your mind focused on the most important movements which move you forward rather than the ancillary movements which can derail your training goals.
Progression is the last component to be addressed.
As you adapt to your training, maintaining a healthy balance between science and application will reap benefits repeatedly.
Test these principles for yourself and see how they can make an impact in your training.
This leads us to our next topic which is understanding which movement patterns will deliver the best results for the time invested.
Here’s the top 5 movement patterns you can use to immediately improve your programming today.
The squat is one of the most fundamental movement patterns that we can use as human beings.
Without this movement we wouldn’t be able to sit down on the multitude of seating options that we have available to us.
It’s also one of the most effective ways to build fantastic lower body strength.
Seeing as squatting is natural for us as human beings, progressing this movement can much easier than other movement patterns.
Focusing on a total body movement like the squat can help increase your strength exponentially while adding the necessary foundation to other secondary lower body lifts like lunges or hinge movements.
Coveted by many for it’s fantastic ability to build total body strength, a little known fact regarding deadlifts is it's connection with the human nervous system.
Although all strength training movements tax our central nervous system, the amount of impact that the deadlifts has cannot be understated.
As you progress and add more load to your deadlifts, you’ll find that the fatigue will tend to accumulate faster, making your recovery sets even more important.
That being said, being intelligent with your deadlift programming will add a powerful tool to your training assets while giving you a superior advantage over other fancy but ineffective movements.
Remember the key to strength training is building strength and using deadlifts in this manner will lead to continuous progression and repeated results.
For many guys and gals this is the pinnacle of upper body strength.
Yet it can be easily misconstrued that bench pressing alone will create superb upper body strength.
While all the movements listed here should form the foundation of your strength training program, it needs to be noted that without correcting any movement deficiencies or instabilities, benching can become increasingly more difficult and harder to progress.
That being said, the bench press is a strong indicator how strong your upper body strength limits extend to.
Use this movement to increase your upper body strength and amplify your training progress.
Weighted Chin Up
While most people tend to focus on horizontal pushing movements like the bench press mentioned above, it’s easy to forget the value of upper body pulling movements.
A vertical pull like the chin-up has multiple benefits.
The first is the ability to pull your body dynamically through space.
While many exercises are done with both feet firmly on the ground, the chin-up and other vertical pulling motions are unique in that they force you to stabilize your core musculature, upper body and arms in a synergistic movement pattern.
There’s no getting around the fact that if your core is weak, lack shoulder stability or require more forearm strength, then chin ups will be out of your training abilities.
However by mastering any deficiencies in your body’s movements, you'll be able to adapt to the chin-up and access higher levels of strength and muscle development.
An added benefit to chin-ups is the ability to progress them as well.
Although typically a body weight exercise, the principle of progressive overload can still be applied here by using a weighted belt, weighted vest, or holding a dumbbell in-between your feet.
Focus on progressions and you’ll find this movement to be an outstanding addition to your training program.
Another pulling movement, this pattern is done in the horizontal direction.
As noted in its name, the barbell row is fantastic for building up terrific upper body strength by using one of the best tools for strength and muscular development in the gym: the barbell.
Since the barbell can be loaded incrementally and nearly indefinitely, this exercise can be progressed for long periods of time without stagnation.
By lifting heavy and often with the row, you’ll benefit from the dual-prong of effective strength training protocols and equally effective frequency.
Like the other movements listed here, you can also manipulate the training variables and use different training volumes or rep schemes which can allow you to focus on various training goals like hypertrophy, absolute strength, or endurance.
Adding these five movement patterns to your training program will allow you to progress your progress by using an integrated approach using different movement patterns which alone can improve your training but when united can act as a training accelerator to your training progression.
Keep the focus on your training goals and progress will never be far away.
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References and Further Reading