Going back to July I started talking about doing just four exercises. That’s still the plan and it’s working great. There is no need for confusion on this point, or to overcomplicate the matter:
3-5 exercises, 3-5 reps, 3-5 sets. I’m doing this two days per week. I’ve gotten stronger and gained weight. It seems to be just right. I could maybe even pull off 3 days per week. Every fourth week, I take off.
It’s really simple. And I’ve been modifying the exercises so I’m not bored. First it was dip, chin, squat, deadlift. Then I started replacing the deadlift with a heavy swing. Now I’m replacing the heavy swing with double cleans. I’ve replaced the dip with a floor press and the chin with a tbar row. I’ve added different warm up exercises (swings with a 16 kg, kung fu stances, etc.) and the most recent addition is to add a curl and press.
But I’ve been pretty consistent with four exercises per session, around 25 minutes total time, 5 reps, and 3-5 sets, depending on my energy level. Above all, one of Pavel Tsatsouline’s admonitions: “You should feel fit to battle for a kingdom after strength training.” That’s the feeling I’m aiming for.
The latest addition, the double clean, after just two sessions this week, is really hitting me. I love it. So, here is some nuance. I replace the last set of swings with a double clean and treat it as kind of a finisher. That means I do more than five reps.
This plan rests heavily on the idea of movement-based exercise. I don’t think of training body parts, but movements, primarily. That keeps things balanced and although I’m not right now doing many chin ups or pull ups, I’ll get back to them soon enough.
Lastly, I do all this in a circuit, only resting between circuits. It makes the exercise session quick, and brings in a cardio element. It’s taking less than an hour per week. The rest is just staying active and combating the office work. Thankfully, kids keep me busy and that really helps.