• Robert Karpathios

Keep it Simple, Stupid

Keep it simple, stupid – a lesson on appropriate exercise selection.

When it comes to strength training, the K.I.S.S. principle has never been more appropriate. The entire premise behind strength training is to improve authentic, human movement patterns. How exactly do we do this? We do this by prioritizing movement quality as well as holding performance related standards. This is all applied, however, after we address any major movement restrictions and/or imbalances.

Once the trainee can express sufficient, pain free range of motion, we can then begin to implement compound, multi-joint movements such as squats, deadlifts, push ups, chin ups etc. These are the biggest “bang for your buck” exercises when it comes to becoming stronger and increasing muscle mass. We must embrace this concept of simplicity and understand that just because these movements are classified as simple, that does not mean they are easy or ineffective.

Too many trainers have shied away from this concept and want to reinvent the wheel with tacky, ineffective exercises that look more like a circus act than a workout. Balancing on a stability ball while pressing dumbbells isn’t going to get you anywhere, and let’s be honest here, doing curls while standing on a BOSU isn’t going to do much for anyone.

Below you will find a list of highly effective movements that novice strength trainees – and pretty much everyone for that matter – should be implementing in their program regularly.

Upper Body

  • Standing Overhead Press

  • Bench Press

  • Push up

  • Chin up

  • TRX Row

  • Barbell/Dumbell Row

Lower Body

  • Squat

  • Deadlift

  • Lunge

  • Split Squat

  • Step Up

  • Kettle Bell Swing

Mid-line Stability

  • Dead Bug

  • Plank

  • Ab Wheel Roll Out

  • Hanging Knee/Leg Raise

  • Anti-Rotation Cable Press (Pallof Press)

Please keep in mind that the trainee must first qualify before performing these exercises. They must be able to demonstrate safe and effective mechanics while performing each movement.

This route may not be the most glamorous, but it’ll get you to where you’re going a lot quicker than much of the gimmicky tactics you see these days.

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