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Back to Basics

Hard work and sheer perseverance are both traits that are conducive to experiencing success. The harder you work, the more you train and the more years you can string together in doing so will ultimately decide the end results for you with whatever the endeavour may be. When it comes to training, these two traits set the tone for your progress and gains. Those who are willing to leave everything they have out on the gym floor are the ones surpassing what you even thought was possible. The others who are already there and have solidified their standing amongst the mass, have been doing so for decades. The two groups just mentioned don’t just have hard work and perseverance in common, they also understand and practice the importance of keeping things as simplified as possible. In an era where turning tried and true exercises into something unlike anything anyone has ever seen before with the hopes it’ll catch someone’s attention or spark a new following, sticking to what’s always worked will get you further than some new trick. Getting back to basics could be exactly what you’re physique is in need of and here are a few reasons as to why.

Basic Lifts Work

Before fancy machines and the latest gym gadgets, what we had were barbells, steel plates and some dumbbells. There might have been a pull-up bar attached to the wall somewhere and if you were lucky, some sort of cable-based station. Some of the best physiques we have ever seen were built with the basic movements that have been lost on the new generation. Exercises such as the deadlift, the back squat, the clean and press, barbell shrugs, dumbbell curls, preacher curls and sissy squats have now been replaced with the machine equivalent that allows for a certain degree of mechanical advantage thereby making it, dare I say, a little easier and most certainly more comfortable. Unless you’ve trained with minimal equipment options available to you for some time, you won’t really understand this but in saying so, doing the basic stuff was and is just harder to perform overall. You need more stabilizers to control the weight, more balance for proper form to occur and much more recruitment of the primary and secondary muscles to execute the lift. All said that means more work being performed and subsequently more gains being made. Now, I’m not saying machines are bad because they certainly play an integral part in training, it’s just that the basic movements will always prove to be more advantageous for overall growth.

Measuring Overload

When you have lots of different options available to you in a fully equipped gym, it’s very exciting, to say the least. You can always switch things up, you can always target the muscle from different angles to initiate a new training stimulus and you will always have the option if you train in a gym like Brickhouse Gym which carries top of the line and state of the art equipment, the freedom to adjust these machines to fit your person. So training with machines exclusively or in part can be a great thing even though you may be thinking this is contradictory to what was just said in the previous paragraph; but here’s the point. Even if you plan on making machines the majority of your exercise selections within the workout, you can still take a back to basics approach and work on getting better each week within these same movements. That’s how you simplify your training with all of the options you have at your disposal. Pick your favourite pieces of equipment/machines and just keep working on them a week to week. The same exercises over and over again until you feel you’ve maxed them out. Just keep trying to lift more or do more every time you train on that piece. That’s about as simple and basic as training gets yet highly effective in the end.

Train or Entertain?

This last piece of advice for going back to basics within your training may not sit well with everyone but it is a simple fact that those who have been doing this for a long time will tell you; training isn’t always fun. Sometimes going to the gym is work and hard work at that and sometimes you don’t feel great and other times you may feel on top of the world. In the long run, however, you have to ask yourself whether you’re at the gym to train and take on all that comes with that or are you there for entertainment purposes? Do you always have to switch things up, are you always in need of new scenery and atmosphere, do you need to follow and be on top of the latest trends in training and do them yourself or can you just put the blinders on and go to work with what could be the most boring of training programs that you could ever do yet still progress and make the gains you are in search of? These are questions you need to ask yourself. If you’re a true iron warrior you’ll say all you need is some weight and some space to lift it in. If not, that’s fine too but at the end of the day, your longevity in this sport will be based upon your determination to grow regardless of what it takes to get there and sometimes as I said, there’s nothing fun about it and the only entertainment you’ll ever see is the progress in the mirror staring back at you.

Over-complicating things seem to be something we end up doing to ourselves unknowingly in the hopes that we can make things better for ourselves. However, sometimes we just need to take a step back, eliminate all the noise and focus in on what’s important and what works. The basics of bodybuilding and lifting weights come right down to one single goal, the one that started it all and the one you’re still chasing; get bigger. So why then do we constantly clog things up for ourselves with unnecessary tasks and behaviours? Take a look at what you’re doing right now, zero in on what you know to work and get rid of the rest. You’ll find clarity in doing so and those two traits for which you possess in spades will come shining through allowing you to experience a whole new level of success you didn’t even know was there.

Author: Dana Bushell

Gym Star Team Member