The 7th of Dan John’s Ten Commandments of Lifting is “Keep it simple. Less is more.”
This one resonates with me on so many levels. When I first started training retention was first and foremost in my mind. My whole approach to training clients centered around what would make them happy and keep them paying me every month.
As a result my training sucked. Every day was a brand new workout, usually created on the fly, and I was all over the place. My clients may have been entertained by a new movement every few minutes but they weren’t progressing and they certainly weren’t reaching their goals.
As I matured I came to realize that integrity as a trainer was more important to me than the simple retention of clients. Which is a scary place to be, but it’s honest. I began to see my client’s desire for something new every single workout was more a reflection of their own need for growth and maturity than it was a challenge to my creativity. My job then was to educate them, show how even the most simple movement done with the right intensity and focus could become way more enriching than a continuous flow of movements never truly mastered.
I began to grow more confident in my knowledge and over time began to train my clients more like I trained myself. Overtime I became confident that for my clients the workouts were anything but boring and within my self imposed framework was tremendous room for creativity.
Best of all my clients progressed and results began to appear.
So what does Dan’s commandment mean for Agoge Fitness Systems?
Keep it simple. Our foundation must be built on basic movements. Complex movements are worse than useless if they’re not built on a solid foundation. The best coaches out there have a short list of basic movement patterns that they categorize all other movements into.
At present I am highly influenced by Bodytribe concepts, for us those movements are the six categories of push, pull, hip, overhead, spine, and spice. Yes, as you begin to place movements into these categories we will see overlap and some are so overlapped they defy easy categorization, hence the spice category.
The idea is to begin thinking about movement in terms of it’s primary attribute. In our weekly training we try to cover the entire spectrum evenly.
Less is more. Our fitness world is overrun at present with more, more, more. More speed. More endurance. More power. We do more so that we can do more. Only there comes a point when doing more actually renders us capable of only doing less.
However, if we focus on the basics, squat, upper body press and pull, and deadlift, and keep are reps schemes at a level supportive of growth, we find we can do more. With the basics as our foundation we create a launching pad for greater abilities, more weight, more mobility, more endurance, more life.