Simple NOT Easy – by Jamie Bolton

Every day we’re faced with problems. Every one tends to have a simple answer. Often an easy one too. Rarely do the two coincide (but it’s beauty when they do).

Want to gain strength? Then your best friend is 5/3/1, your simple but not easy answer.

Want to lose fat – then eat healthier and eat less carbs. Damn simple, apparently not ‘easy’, despite that being a pretty simple prescription.

The reality is most people know exactly what they need to do in the broadest sense in order to meet their goals.

Look at it like this, take the obesity epidemic in the western world. Are you really trying to tell me that these people don’t know what they need to do to lose weight? In short, they need to eat less and move more. It isn’t more complicated than that. Heck for 90% of people out there, their goals could be met with similarly simple, one sentence prescriptions.

People are all too willing, and wanting, to listen to the ‘easy’ answer – the ‘grapefruit’ diets, the ‘double your bench in a day’ type crap that gets plugged constantly. You know what too – it sells a tonne. Why? Because it sounds EASY – an excuse to not work hard. It’s easier to look for the quick fix, the fad, that promises 100% results and 0% effort. People seem oblivious to the bullshit being pushed on them, which fails every time (but people still buy the crap). The irony is they don’t seem to learn, and when the same rubbish is repackaged and pushed on them 6 months later, they fall for it again.

Enough said...

To me, time wasted looking for the easy answer is ‘harder’ in the sense that it’s flawed and inevitably doesn’t work. Why waste time mentally masturbating over some new fad? If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. The basics in diet, training, even in life do not change that much. The simplest route is nearly always the most effective. The ‘easiest’ route most of the time isn’t even a route. Well it is, but it’s one that halfway there has a load of u-turn marks as people fail and end up back where they started.

Maybe it’s just mindset. For me, improving my conditioning is as simple as doing more hill sprints. Leaning out as simple as cutting back some carbs and calories. Stronger as simple as busting my balls in training. Easy? Perhaps not, but it gets easier.

So simple, yet so hard for people to adopt and do!!!

There are time proven, and proven again results. Most people know what they need to do. But people somehow think the ‘eat chocolate on monday, only soup on tuesday….’ rubbish or whatever is being shouted about now somehow has something the old stuff doesn’t.  Ask any respected coach (read: one that has been around longer than the latest fad), heck ask a bunch, and you’ll see more similarities in their approaches than differences. Why? Because there is no magic pill !

‘Complexity’ or ‘looking for the easy way’ detracts from getting on the quickest, most effective path to results. Look for the ‘simplest’ path, start walking down it and get to results-ville. There is no easy option. Just simple hard work. To quote the legend once again: “The route to our goals is simple, not easy.” – Dan John.

Until next time. Train Hard. Train Smart. Be Strong.

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Great Reads – by Jamie Bolton

Today, I thought I’d share with you some recommended reading on the world of strength training. By no means an exhaustive list, but these are the best of the books I’ve read so far. Enjoy!
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Lifting Principles:
Science and Principle of Strength Training – Zatiorsky and Kraemer
Starting Strength – Mark Rippetoe & Lon Kilgore
High Threshold Muscle Building – Christian Thibaudeau
Strength Anatomy – Frederic Delavier
Never Let Go – Dan John
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Nutrition focused:
Nutrient Timing – John Berardi
Warrior Diet – Ori Hofmekler
Anabolic Diet – Mauro Di Pasquale
The Ketogenic Diet – Lyle Mcdonald
100 Healthiest foods on Earth – Jonny Bowden
Paleo Diet for Athletes – Loren Cordain
Eat Stop Eat – Brad Pillon
In Defense of Food – Michael Pollan

.Program-based books:

5/3/1 – Jim Wendler
Maxmimum Strength – Eric Cressey
Huge in a Hurry – Chad Waterbury
Scrawny to Brawny – John Berardi
You are Your Own Gym – Mark Lauren

.Different Angle:

Never let Go – Dan John
The Primal BluePrint – Mark Sisson
Four Hour Body – Timothy Ferris
Survival of the Fittest – Mike Stroud

 

I know what you’re going to ask what my choice would be if I could only pick 1 or 2. I’d have to go with – Never Let Go by Dan John, and the Primal BluePrint by Mark Sisson. These 2 in particular really changed the way I think about things. But all of the above are worth reading.
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Time to get your head in a book?

A Simple Method for Complex Results – by Jamie Bolton

If I said I had the secret to take nearly every trainee one giant leap towards their goals, most would laugh.
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“Here we go again. Yet another site. Elite Kinetics sells its soul to the devil and starts pushing some silly equipment / supplement / <insert silly nonsensical item>.”
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.But I’m not about to do that. I’m not pushing any product here. What I’ve got here isn’t some one-size-fits-all crappy answer. It’s complex. Actually, it’s complexes. And in fact, it’s probably the one thing every trainee could do with adding to their program.
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I’m sure I’ve got you all on the edge of your seats now. So I won’t wait any longer.
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Complexes
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Dan John defines complexes as “...a series of lifts performed back to back where you finish the reps of one lift before moving on to the next lift. The bar only leaves your hands or touches the floor after all of the lifts are completed.

In other words, multiple exercises back-to-back with no rest in between. Typically with a barbell, but dumbbells or kettlebells, work just fine too.

Sounds simple? It’s not. It’s brutal. It’s hell on earth. Sometimes – it’s chunder time.

So why on earth are we doing them? This is why:

  • More time on the basic movement patterns
  • Increase training volume in a time-efficient way
  • Fast, total-body warm ups
  • Strength endurance development
  • Increased calorie burn
  • Rip off body fat
  • Increase work capacity and overall conditioning

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? It is. Let me give you some examples.

Javorek Complex #1
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Istvan ‘Steve’ Javorek is the godfather of the complex. The man who came up with this great weapon. Here’s his barbell complex #1:
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Barbell upright row x 6
Barbell high pull snatch x 6
Barbell behind the head squat and push press x 6
Barbell behind the head good morning x 6
Barbell bent-over row x 6
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The JB Complex
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I may not be the first to do this one, but I do it all the time, so I’m putting my name on it damn it! This is my usual warm-up complex, and as several of my trainees can attest to – most definitely a favourite of mine:
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Push up (hands on barbell) x 6
Barbell Row x6
Barbell Hang Clean x6
Barbell Push Press x6
Barbell Back Squat x6
Barbell Good Morning x6

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Dumbbell Hell

Let’s not forget our friend the dumbbell. Dumbbells provide an additional stability component as they move separately from one another. Here’s a great example:

DB Renegade Row x5
DB High Pull x5
DB Military Press x5
DB Thruster x5
DB Lunge (DBs at shoulders) x5
DB Squat x5

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Implementation
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Complexes can be used in a multitude of ways. Each for slightly different purposes, yet the benefits are common to all.
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Warm ups. I hate lengthy, boring warm ups. Heck I used to not bother. Until I found complexes. A couple rounds of complexes for (without exhausting myself) and I’m good to go. My body is ‘warm’, heck I’m usually sweating at this point. Moreover, my mind is ready. Ready to hit the metal.
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Finishers. I always include some form of finisher/conditioning at the end of a session. Complexes are a great way to do just that. You get all the benefits mentioned above, and you don’t need to worry about special equipment like prowlers, farmers handles etc. 2-4 sets of 8 reps and you’ll be smoked.
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Extra Conditioning. Sometimes on ‘off’ days you just want to do something. For me, this is that something. Get a great conditioning hit and more time on the basic lifts, without detracting from recovery. In fact it may help recovery. What’s not to like?
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Putting your own complex together
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You can set these up in any manner you can think of really. There are only two considerations to remember. One – end with the toughest exercise. Two – make the bar move in some logical order from front to back, i.e. don’t do back squats followed by rows then good mornings and so on. A better option would be to put the rows first. But then, how does the bar get from rows to back squat? Time to add in some presses. You get the picture.
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Finally, sets and reps are arbitrary really. You can go with what I’ve prescribed above. You can up the reps to 8 or more. Or you can drop the reps and up the weight. These really are your oyster. A great, albeit (very) sadistic option is to go through these set by set as ladder reps, i.e. 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps.
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Have some ‘fun’ with these and experiment. And if you come up with an awesome one – let me know!
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