Regardless of whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or professional bodybuilder/powerlifter, we can all benefit from having a simple workout.
There’s an old saying that has its origins amongst sailors in the US Navy: Keep It Simple, Stupid or K.I.S.S for short.
This acronym was reportedly coined by Kelly Johnson, an engineer working for the Top Secret Skunkworks department at Lockheed Martin. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple, rather than made intentionally complicated.
Do you think that if engineers designing some of the most sophisticated machinery ever to exist depend on simplicity, that perhaps you can benefit from this principle in your workouts? Of course you can!
For beginners, the KISS principle is great because it gives them an easy to understand set of instructions to follow for their first workout program. The easier something is, the more likely a beginner is to stick with it.
For more advanced lifters, using a more simple exercise routine can have numerous advantages, most of which revolve around saving time in the gym.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO IDIOT-PROOF YOUR WORKOUT?
As we mentioned above, one of the biggest obstacles for new lifters is that their weightlifting routine is too demanding. If you’re a newbie to the gym, chances are you’re going to have trouble spending an hour and a half in the gym, five days a week.
For these guys (and gals), an idiot-proof workout means they’re more likely to stick with their workout and achieve success in their fitness goals.
When people taste even a slight amount of success in the gym, more often than not they will be hungry for more.
Idiot-proofing your workout means boiling it down to the most simple movements with the least amount off days per week in the gym while still seeing muscle gains. To see how we do that, continue reading.
WORKOUTS THAT CAN BE DONE AT HOME OR IN THE GYM
One of the hallmarks of an idiot-proof workout is that you can do it almost anywhere, with minimal equipment. After all, the more equipment that’s required, the more complicated the workout will be and the more likely something can go wrong.
Ideally, you’d be able to do this workout at home in your garage or backyard, or even at the local neighborhood park. This doesn’t mean you can’t workout at the gym, but it definitely gives you some options.
With all the introductory info out of the way, let’s finally get into the 5 basic exercises that can give you a simplified workout.
PUSHUPS (OR A PUSH VARIATION)
Pushups are one of the most basic and fundamental movements to ever grace the planet. Nearly everyone is familiar with them, having learned to perform a pushup back in middle school gym class.
The beauty of the pushup is in its simplicity. It doesn’t require any equipment whatsoever, so it’s perfect for this workout plan. There are also a number of variations to the pushup, allowing you to target your triceps, pecs, and deltoids.
You can do incline or decline pushups to change what part of your muscles are being worked, and can even drop to your knees if a standard pushup is too challenging for you.
The pushup is a great tool to have in your workout arsenal, and can give a lot of strength and muscle gains to your upper body just from pushups alone.
While the pushup can cover most of the upper body muscles that are required for ‘pushing’ motions, the pull-up covers the rest, including the biceps, rear deltoids and back muscles such as lats and trapezius.
The pull-up can be performed in a number of different locations, including at your local park, but the most convenient is done on an at-home pull-up station, which usually hangs in a door frame.
These are very inexpensive, lightweight and easy to set up, and can provide a great workout from inside your own home.
If you’re just starting out with your fitness journey, then standard pull-ups are probably too difficult for you. If this is the case, then you can make them easier by wrapping a resistance band around the bar and then stepping through it with one foot.
Check out a pack of our Gunsmith Resistance Bands, which have varying levels of resistance to help you grow as you get stronger and able to lift more.
Lunges are a very basic movement that works almost every muscle in the legs and hips, and can be performed at varying speeds with or without weight for an increased challenge.
Lunges are also super easy for most people to do, and therefore one of the obvious choices for this workout plan.
Chances are if you can walk, you can also lunge. Start off with just your bodyweight, and as you progress you can add weight.
Jump squats are another great leg workout, that combines two movements: a squat and a vertical leap.
Squats by themselves are excellent for building muscle, but by adding the explosive movement with the jump you can take your gains to the next level.
If you’re just starting out, then you’ll want to work on your squats first, and get your form down perfect. As you progress and feel more comfortable with your squat, then you can add the jump.
At some point you’ll be squatting all the way down and jumping as high as you can, which will blast your legs. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional bodybuilder or powerlifter, after a couple of rounds of jump squats, your legs are going to feel like jelly.
One thing to keep in mind with jump squats is to land softly so that you don’t put too much stress on your shins or knees. Focus on absorbing the impact by bending your legs when you hit the ground.
Sprints are one of the best full-body workouts out there, and by incorporating them into your training you’ll not only build muscle but also your stamina and endurance.
Sprints not only train your muscles, but your entire cardiovascular and nervous system. A couple of rounds of sprinting full-out will leave you feeling like you got hit by a truck, but in a good way.
When adding sprints to your workout, aim to incorporate them with a Hight Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, type of timing. This usually means have 15-30 seconds of sprinting with 30-90 seconds of rest.
What good would all of this information be if we didn’t give you a sample workout to put it all together with? In this section, we’ll go over a basic workout that incorporates these 5 exercises in a 3 days per week schedule.
As you progress, you can feel free to add exercises or even full days to the cycle. This is just to get you started.
Pushups 4 x 15 (add one rep per week)
Walking Lunges 4 x 12 (six lunges per side)
Assisted Pullups 3 x 8
Incline Pushups 4x12 (put your feet on something so you’re pushing more with your shoulders)
Jump Squats 3x10
Assisted Pullups 3 x 8
Decline Pushups 4x15 (Put your hands on something like a chair or bench)
Sprints 4 rounds, each round consisting of 4 cycles of 15 second sprint followed by 45 seconds of walking/jogging for cool down.
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