*Edit note: Now that I’ve moved away from (physically) training guys, even more so I believe in this philosophy of keeping things simple. Yet so many guys still want to (and need to) focus on improving themselves physically – so I want to offer this as a one shop stop solution. Put the information below into action! – Mike 2016
Squat, lunge, bend, push, pull and sprint.
There, that’s it. That’s what your training should mostly consist of.
Make sure you include almost as much time on mobility as you do lifting and you’ll be pretty bang on.
Need it be more complicated? Of course, some need the 1%. They’re called athletes.
You, me and all the bros down the gym, we’ll do just fine working on the 99%.
You’ll note I’ve included myself in there too. Even though I may have been training since I received the Hulkamania Workout Set as an 8 year old (Seriously…), and I like getting as strong as I can without being a competitive lifter, I still focus my training energy on the 99%; squat, lunge, bend, push, pull, sprint and plenty of mobility work (could do more of this).
All the tricky math isn’t really that important when your aims are to look good naked and feel better each and every day, all day. I’m speaking on behalf of most guys here in terms of what we want. That’s because I’m one of you and I’ve also this and heard variations of the same thing confessed to me by hundreds of guys over the years.
Everyone’s 99% will be individually different
This is a no brainer. Obviously, I’m not going to be lifting the same load as a total newb, and I may be doing a tonne more overall work than him too, but the principles stay the same; progressively overload your muscular and nervous systems. Then from time to time change the numbers, adjust your movements a little and add in some different accessory exercises. And ensure a good energy output and hormonal response is encouraged.
Then do this consistently, with intensity and purpose. Here at MC² we’re about training like a beast, so don’t ‘switch on beast mode’ become a beast.
It depends on the goal though, right? Sure…
- Want to get stronger? Follow the above guidelines
- Want to get leaner? See above
- Want to get more muscle? Above
- Want to improve your health, hormones, bone structure and vitality? Ah yep!
- Want to look good naked? Guess what genius…
As soon as you want to lift more than the entire gym combined or make the local professional football team then we can look at hitting the 1%. Until then, see above…
How to hit the 99%
Below I’m going to describe how to perform the basic lifts. I’m going to include videos which have detailed instructions in the YouTube descriptions (so click to watch them on the YouTube). I’m going to include a sample training program for guys who want to cover a bit of all of the above goals (bullet pointed above). As, from my experience this is what it takes, done consistently, to achieve said aims.
Before we hit that, let’s check 3 key areas for mobility (see the attached document for the specifics):
- Thoracic spine- any kind of kyphosis is a red flag. Go and see a qualified professional such as a good physio or osteopath (and do this). Otherwise, if you can get adequate extension like the image and also with arms above head without creating more arch (lumbar curve) in your lower back, you’re good to go
- Hips- keep spine neutral and bend forward with knees straight. Can you get to 60°? Tick. If not this needs work, both mobility at the hips and strength in the spinal erectors
- Ankles- crucial for squatting and lunging successfully and risk-free. See the images, if you are close to this you’ll probably be ok (maybe a small 1-2cm plate under your heels when squatting will do), if far off then you need work here.
The squat: back/front squat, goblet squat, bodyweight squat etc…
No matter the specific one you choose from the above, get the loading right for you and the movement bang on and you’ll thoroughly work your quads, gluts, adductors and torso. Let’s check out the back squat and the kettlebell goblet squat.
Barbell back squat:
Kettlebell goblet squat:
The bend: deadlift, Romanian deadlift, good morning, hip extension etc
So many options, but one of the best measures of total body strength is the dead lift. Let’s look at that and a more hamstring dominant exercise, the Romanian deadlift done with dumbbells.
Barbell dead lift:
Dumbbell Romanian deadlift:
Lunge: reverse lunge, walking lunge, side lunge, step up etc
Single leg work is a vital cog in any strength program, especially for the man wanting to age well. Don’t believe the ‘knee must not go over the toe’ hype. Simply make sure your knee tracks nicely in line with the middle of your foot and you’re getting some valuable leg and full body (sling) training in. We’ll look at the walking lunge and the step up.
Barbell athletic walking lunge (can also be done by holding dumbbells or kettlebells at your side):
Push: bench press, military press, Arnold press, dumbbell chest press, dips etc
So many options, with the bench press being arguably one of the most popular among many guys. Because of that we’ll look at it in a medium grip (recommended for most especially newbs for ease on the shoulder joint) as well as the standing military press. This is the dead lift of the upper body, in my opinion, requiring full body activation and control to lift heavy loads.
Barbell (medium grip) bench press:
Pull: chin up, bent over row, lat pull down, bicep curls etc
Often poorly neglected or performed leading to a more kyphotic shape paired with too much chest/push work, pulling exercises are crucial not only to help you stand up tall but also strengthen your bend (think – deadlift), your pressing (think- bench) and play a large part in what is happening at your pelvis (think- hips). We’ll look at the chin up (neutral grip) and a version of bent over row called the Pendalay row.
Neutral grip chin ups:
Sprint: intervals, hill sprints, stair sprints etc
To me, simply can’t be beaten for bang for your buck cardio and effective movement with no equipment. Sprinting is such a primal activity that acts to aid in hormonal activity and also activates the fast twitch muscles fibres helping to promote the growth of new muscle and burning excess body fat. For one of my favourites, we going to include a hill sprint protocol into the attached program.
Mobility: foam roller, trigger point release, active release technique (ART), massage etc
Absolutely vital to keeping your body firing as a well oiled and effectively functioning machine. Think of this like keeping the wheels aligned in your car, oil clean and the engine running smoothly. If you drive a car with this stuff out of whack, you’re going to damage those and other parts. Even leaving a car in this state in the garage for a while won’t fix the misalignment; you have to work on keeping the parts in good order. This is you, but waaaaay more complex. Ok? So you absolutely must work on this. Finding a quality massage therapist is recommended, however, here are a couple of clips to get working on, both foam rolling and mobility ball trigger point work with some positional holds too.
Mobility for men 1:
Mobility for men 2:
Click here to get your free workout plus instructions on how to do it, what the details mean, how to do each exercise and how to attack your week’s training. This is a full week sample training plan plus considerable detail on what to do, why and how. I’ve spent a lot of time on this to make a resource for guys wanting to know what to do- the answers are here.
It’s FREE on ONE CONDITION: that you share this post with someone who could do with getting training. There is nothing stopping them with this detailed guide.
Want to improve more than just the physical? Join our mailing list below
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]