Short&Simple Training Protocols that WORK

Strength and Conditioning Coach


When it comes to selecting the best training program for yourself, especially if you are an athlete looking to improve your performance on the field, you should always try to choose something simple and effective at the same time.

Competent coaches will be able to provide you with all you need within few, but effective, compound exercises. One of the best training programmes I have ever tried was taking (and indeed mixing) 4 to 5 exercises each session while I try to get better at executing them as time goes by.

If athletes were knowledgeable of what they need and focused only on them, they will be able to save a lot of time in the weight room (shorter gym session = better recovery = better performance on the field). The basics of athletic improvement that are learned in the weight room consist of QUALITY MOVEMENTS in which the main focus is — and should be — on patterns such as squat, hinge, lunge, push and pull and then pay extra attention on some extra core exercises such as plyo, sprint and jumps.

In order to save extra time you can also do exercises in a superset: supersetting a squat with a core movement is going to activate an athlete’s trunk and make him/her more efficient with every set. Additionally, this will also add a “conditioning” component into the training because of the ACTIVE REST (instead of completely relaxing in between sets, the athlete will perform some low-impact exercise) that is included in the mix.

Another example would be supersetting a big compound movement like the deadlift with a similar explosive one like the broad jump. This system or technique is called a contrast method, which saves lots of time while producing a big amount of power. When it comes to the upper body, incorporating the push/pull mechanics will help create amazing results. Take note, however, that splitting push exercises (bench press, push ups, etc.) from pull exercises (bent over row, chin ups, etc.) will not give you the same results achieved when supersetting the same exercises.

Furthermore, while performing a horizontal push exercise, you actually “pre-activate” the antagonist pulling muscles that you will need to use immediately in the second exercise or phase of your training session. Another “trick” I like to use in training the upper body is integrating core training into the push/pull so that you or your athletes do not need to do an extra 15 minute core exercise at the end of the session; but instead focus on, for instance, foam rolling and mobility. What I like to do for example is to build tri-sets, in which athletes perform 1 push, 1 pull, and then 1 core exercise: or I could also keep the traditional superset with 1 push and 1 pull but then modifying the 2 exercises in order to get some core work out of it. So, for example, by changing the barbell military press with a “kneeling single-arm press, you have already created a push/core exercise all in one.

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