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Reach new levels of athleticism, strength, and mobility. Change your body, build lean muscle, and eliminate fat.  3 exercises. 3 sets each. A few times per week. Simple.

(VIDEO: “The Simple Workout”)

Motivation

Basic Idea: Imagine that you can only do 10 push ups today. Imagine what you would look like. Now, imagine that 1 year from now, you can do 10 one-handed-push ups. Imagine what you will look like, feel like, 1 year from now.

Time: I don’t have time to get into shape.  It’s easy to make the excuse.  To not workout because “I’m too busy with work/school/Instagram”. The Simple Workout doesn’t let you make that excuse anymore. 3 exercises, 3 sets each. We all have time for that.

Motivation: It’s hard. If it is easy, you are doing it wrong. Working out is hard. It takes motivation. Every single workout. Bad news first: The Simple Workout is not easy. Good news: The Simple Workout creates motivation. Each workout gives you 3 chances to set 3 personal records. When you set simple goals the motivation is clear. Accomplish those goals every single workout, and the motivation grows.

Commitment: You can’t be a flake if you want to get in shape. You have to commit. You have to show up. Decide now that you are a person who works out, and you will be that person until the day that you die. A hell of a commitment, but anything less is not worth it. I mean, do you really want to get in shape for a little while, quit, and then long for that great feeling you once had?

That’s why The Simple Workout is designed to help keep that commitment. Maybe you start out with it, do it for a while, and then decide you are bored and want to try something else. Maybe you never try The Simple Workout. Go ahead, explore the world of exercise. Just keep your commitment to be a person that works out, and always remember you can fall back on The Simple Workout during those busy, chaotic times of your life. Your commitment kept.

Just start. It’s the hardest part, so get it out of the way first.

Here is The Simple Workout:

Exercise Sets Repetitions
Squats 3 Between 2 and 10
Push Ups 3 Between 2 and 10
Pull Ups 3 Between 2 and 10

 ***No pull up bar? No problem. Read this

Skeptical? Great. Here is how It works:

Progression: In ancient Greece, there was a guy name Milo. Milo was weak. Out of shape. But Milo wanted to be the strongest man in Greece, to win Olympic wrestling championships. So he borrowed his neighbor’s calf, threw it over his shoulders, and carried it around town. The same the next day. The same the next. The calf grew. Milo’s strength grew. Time passed. The calf grew. Milo’s muscles grew. More time passed. The calf became a bull. Milo became big enough and strong enough to carry a bull. Milo won many Olympic wrestling championships. Though it may be a myth, the principle is clear. Little progressions lead to great results.

I took Milo’s brilliant idea for strength training: start small, progress steadily, and progress far, and I applied it to the greatest strength training exercises ever created. Milo didn’t start out carrying a bull, so you will not either. You will start with exercises you can do well, and each workout you will up the ante, just as Milo’s calf grew each day. And like Milo, you will transform your body.

Critical Exercises: Squat. Push Up. Pull Up. There is a reason that most people are familiar with these exercises. There is a reason they are widely used by athletes and the military. They have been tested by the sands of time. These exercises are so special because they move your body. That is, when you are doing squats, push ups, and pull ups, you are moving your body up and down. When you move your body you have to stabilize your body. You are designed this way to avoid injury. This need to stabilize requires core-strength, balance, coordination, mobility, and ESPECIALLY strength throughout your entire body. Only exercises that move your body are capable of this ultra-high level of stimulation.

However, the Squat, Push Up, and Pull Up are really categories of exercises, as there are hundreds of variations of each. Think of “Squat” as the category of exercises that push your body up using your legs, “Push Up” as the category that pushes your body up using your arms, and “Pull Up” as the category that pulls your body up. You will select one variation to use for each category, based on your skill level. You will master it. And then you will pick a new variation. Just when you think these exercises are too easy. (Maybe you are thinking that now.) There is a harder variation. And then a much harder variation.

Time-under-tension: Time-under-tension is the key that makes this workout so effective. It is the amount of time your muscles are under a certain level of tension. A true measurement of how hard your muscles actually work. Focusing on time-under-tension has been shown increase muscle development, heighten strength, increase your levels of muscle-growing and fat-burning hormones (your body’s natural “steroids”) TK, and to build muscle longer after a workout (this helps to reduce fat as well, as the metabolism is sped up) TK.

We will focus on Time-under-tension by doing each repetition of squats, push ups, and pull ups slowly. Slooowwwwwwly. I mean really slow. Going slow increases tension. Going slow increases time. Therefore going slow really increases time-under-tension. And because we are using Critical Exercises, this time-under-tension value is applied to every muscle in your body. Try doing ten push ups as slow as you possibly can. Chances are, everything will hurt. That’s good. It means you can get a higher time-under-tension value for your entire body with only 20 minutes of squats, push ups, and pull ups than you can with 90 minutes of a dozen different machine and free weight exercises at the gym.

Detailed Instructions:

  1. tSw Starter (3 exercises, 3 per workout)
  2. tSw Next level (5 exercises, 3 per workout)
  3. tSw Moving up (7 exercises, 5 per workout)
  4. tSw Custom Workout
  5. tSw Pro (coming soon)

tSw Starter

1 workout, 3 exercises, 3 per workout

(VIDEO: “tSw Starter”)

Step 1: Pull Out a piece of paper. Down the left side of the paper write the following list:

  1. Squats
  2. Push Ups
  3. Pull Ups

***FAQ: Where are the Ab Exercises?

Step 2: Choose an exercise from each category of Exercises (Squats, Push Ups, and Pull Ups). Choose based on your current skill level, the exercises are in order from easiest to hardest. Write your chosen exercises next to their respective categories. Example:

  1. Squats: Weighted Vest Squats
  2. Push Ups: Decline Push Ups
  3. Pull Ups: Negative Pull Ups

You should be able to complete at least 6 repetitions (3 for more advanced) SLOWLY and with good form for the exercises you choose, otherwise they are too difficult, choose easier ones. If you are able to complete 10 repetitions (6 for more advanced) SLOWLY for the exercises you choose, then the exercises are too easy, and choose more difficult ones. *Some exercise descriptions will have different ranges for what is too easy or difficult.

Step 3: Using a new sheet of paper, draw the following graph with the exercises that you chose:

Date: Date: Date:
Exercises Set 1 Set 2 Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 3
Weighted Vest Squats
Decline Push Ups
Negative Pull Ups

This is what you will use as a map and a log of your first week of workouts. You will draw or print a new log for each week (I recommend putting several weeks on the same page)

Schedule: Perform this workout as often as you like, so long as you have at least 48 hours rest between workouts.

  • Recommended Schedule (especially for beginners):
    • Monday, Wednesday, Friday
  • Other good schedules (especially for highly-active non beginners):
    • Monday, Thursday
    • Monday, Friday
    • Tuesday, Friday
  • If worse comes to worst, one day per week is better than nothing. At the very minimum it allows you to keep your commitment TO ALWAYS BE A PERSON THAT WORKS OUT.

 

The First Workout:

  1. Go through the exercises in order
  2. Perform each set of each exercise before moving on to the next exercise
  3. Do 2 less repetitions than you think you can for the first set of each exercise
    1. Example: if I think I can do 8 Weighted Vest Squats, I will do 6 in my first set
  4. For the second set of each exercise, do 1 fewer rep than you did the first set
    1. Example: if I did 6 Weighted Vest Squats in the first set, I will do 5 Weighted Vest Squats for the second set
  5. For the third set, do 1 fewer rep than you did the first set
    1. Example: if I did 5 Weighted Vest Squats in the second set, I will do 4 Weighted Vest Squats for the third set
  6. Perform each repetition of each set SLOWLY (10 seconds per repetition). The portion of the repetition where you are lowering your body should take about 6 seconds*, the portion where you are raising your body should take about 4 seconds* (6+4=10)
    1. *Don’t worry about counting, just keep this in mind. Focus on your form. However, it might help to count for the first couple of repetitions just to become familiar with the pace.
    2. Tip: Use a stopwatch to time each set. Multiply how many repetitions you are trying to do by 10 seconds. Example: 6 Weighted Vest Squats * 10 seconds = 60 seconds. If your set doesn’t take at least 60 seconds, you are not moving slow enough, and should move slower next time. If you still are struggling, try less reps or an easier exercise.
    3. (LINK: “Stopwatch Review”)
  7. Take 60 seconds rest between each set.
    1. Tip: Use a stopwatch to time each rest period. If you do not use exactly 60 second rest periods each workout, you will never truly know whether you are improving or not.
  8. Write it all down. After your first workout your log should look similar to the following example:
Date: 1/1/2017 Date: Date:
Exercises Set 1 Set 2 Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 3
Weighted Vest Squats 6 5 4
Decline Push Ups 5 4 3
Negative Pull Ups 7 6 4

The Second Workout: Follow the same instructions as you did for the first workout, except MAKE IT YOUR GOAL to complete 1 additional repetition for each set for each exercise. After your second workout your log should look similar to the following example:

Date: 1/1/2017 Date: 1/3/2017 Date:
Exercises Set 1 Set 2 Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 3
Weighted Vest Squats 6 5 4 7 6 5
Decline Push Ups 5 4 3 6 4 3
Negative Pull Ups 7 6 4 8 7 6

Eventually you might fail to reach your goal for each set. Try again next time. If you fail three times in a row read this page on how to keep progressing.

Future Workouts: Once you master an exercise, and can do 8 repetitions SLOWLY and with good form (6 for more advanced), choose a more difficult exercise for that category and start over. *Some exercise descriptions will have different rep ranges for “mastery”.