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Keep it Simple, Make it Fun

February 21, 2003 10:40 AM

the author of Singles & Doubles - How the Ordinary Become Extraordinary

When I was a sophomore in high school, I took a Physics course. My professor for this course was a rather remarkable teacher. You see, Physics can be a fairly difficult and complicated subject to understand with its different laws, theories, mathematical equations, and such. However, my class was not really that hard at all - in fact, it was one of the most enjoyable classes I took in high school. The reason? Because of my professor's teaching philosophy of KISMIF - "Keep it Simple, Make it Fun." Rather than sitting around reading textbooks and memorizing equations, we took field trips and performed experiments so that we actually understood the principle behind Physics. The result? A class full of students who not only enjoyed their professor and their class, but also learned quite a lot as well.

What is the point of my little story? The point is that, in many ways, exercise is the same way. In the world of exercise, there seems to always be this overwhelming tendency for trainees to gravitate toward overly complicated routines. For some reason, there is this underlying idea that a complicated routine is a successful routine. Now, while on some occasions this is the case, many (if not most) times it's not. In fact, I'd venture to say that most complicated routines are more sensationalistic than they are successful.

So, what should you do if you want to design a routine that you will "stick with," produce results, be simple, and enjoy? Simple - KISMIF. Keep it Simple, Make it Fun.

First of all, figure out what it is you want or need to accomplish with your training routine. By knowing what you want or need to get done, this should be able to start you off in the right direction. From there, outline something that will fit your schedule well (or that you can/will allot time for). Next, pick exercises/movements that are not only result producing, but you simply just enjoy performing (I feel enjoyment is an often overlooked factor when it comes to exercising - it is much easier to "stick to" and get motivated for a routine that you enjoy than not). Lastly, don't go overboard. You don't need to do every exercise in the book, so feel free to just pick a few. Not only will you have a more basic routine, but you will leave some of those "fun" exercises in the bag for the next time you overhaul your training plan.

Let's look at my own new training plan as an example. For the New Year, I would like to lose some body fat, work on overall conditioning, keep strength levels relatively high, and if I happened to put a little size on the ole' arms, well?I wouldn't complain (so I'm a little vain - shoot me). I'm losing an evening per week to train due to going back to school for my MBA at night, so I know that could cause a problem. I wanted to get back to performing some barbell Clean and Press/Push Press (an exercise I really enjoy), as I've been doing dumbbell work for a while. I got a new chinning apparatus and medicine ball for Christmas, as well as Tony Cecchine's new Lucky 13 conditioning tape (available at
www.conditioningsecrets.com), so I wanted to use that stuff, too.

By combining the above ideas with my "Singles & Doubles" methodology, I was able to create the following routine:

Mornings:

Monday-Friday: Conditioning
*3-5 days out of the week I'll do 15-60 minutes of conditioning work. This will be done in the form of long, slow distance running/jogging, interval work, or the Lucky 13 tape. I'll let mood, recovery, and how I feel dictate what I do when and for how long.

Evenings:

Monday:

-Barbell Clean & Press/Push Press - 18-20 sets x 1 rep, 1 x 6-8
-Hammer Curls - 3-5 x 6-8
*rest 30-40 seconds between sets (perform situps or ab wheel as "active rest" between sets of C&P)

Wednesday:
-Curl Grip Chins - 18-20 x 1-5 (at times weighted)
*rest 30-40 seconds between sets (perform reverse knuckle push-ups as "active rest" between sets)

Thursday: -Same as Monday

Saturdays:

Dragging/Fun Day
*This is when I'll do anywhere from 200-1000 yards of different dragging movements (again, letting mood, recovery, and how I feel dictate). After that, I'll "play" with my new medicine ball and any other stuff I want to try.

So, there you have it - Simple (only three weighted movements, four calisthenics movements, and some basic conditioning work) and Fun (well?to me it's fun!).

Use the KISMIF principle when designing your routines, and I guarantee you'll have success!!

Train Hard, Rest Hard, Play Hard-
Matt "Wiggy" Wiggins


picture of Matt Wiggins


# # #

Matt Wiggins is a strength athlete and the author of Singles & Doubles - How the Ordinary Become Extraordinary available from
www.conditioningsecrets.com
Currently Matt is working on his second book that he is co-authoring with Tony Cecchine and Scott Sonnon. 'Wiggy' is available for personalized online training, e-mail him at wigginm@wyeth.com.​
 

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