One of the most frequently asked questions I get in the gym is ‘Why do we do the same exercises?’
The easy answer is – because they work. Simple.
This might not be the answer you were looking for. There isn’t some amazing new exercise/diet/detox drink out there that is the answer to everyone’s prayer. If there was, surely we would all being doing it?
Back in my engineering days there was a process called Pareto analysis which is a very simple quality control tool created by Juran, that determined that a few issues would usually cause the majority of defects.
But this rule can also be applied to many other areas of your life and is probably one of the greatest productivity tools that you can use today.
The 80/20 Principle by Robert Koch went on to simply Pareto to “The 80/20 Principle asserts that a minority of causes, inputs, or effort usually lead to the majority of the results, outputs, or rewards.” Twenty percent effort will give you eighty percent of the results.
Simply stated; the majority of what you want will come from the minority of what you do.
Obviously the proportions can vary but in my twenty five years of training, seven of which have been coaching other folks, this rule is pretty much bang on.
It’s the basics that work. Training the fundamental movement patterns , the ‘basic’ twenty percent of exercises will give eighty percent of what you want.
There is a lot of variation within those movement patterns. Take the squat. I can name at least 10 variations using the kettle bell. Or the push up. We have eccentrics, static holds, rack push ups, ring push ups. And we will keep doing these variations until you can can hit the movement standards.
There is also the consideration of injury prevention. Unfortunately some people are not ready to, for example, back squat and my first duty as a health care practitioner is do no harm. If that means, we as coaches, believe the best choice for you is the goblet squat, that’s what you will be doing variations of.
Let’s do the basics and do the basics well. This is where we build a fit, healthy and capable human being for the rest of your life.