What does the “perfect” workout look like? Or better question, does “perfect” even exist?

While Men’s Health, Shape or any other mainstream fitness magazine might try and convince us that the “perfect”workout does exist (just buy our magazine to find out), I’m sorry to report that the “perfect” workout just doesn’t exist. Chasing the “perfect” workout will most likely lead to frustration and disappointment. We talked all about how perfection might be getting in the way of your goals in this post here, Would You Rather Be Perfect or Good?

So while the perfect workout might not exist, that doesn’t mean that all workouts are created equal. There are great workouts, there are pretty good workouts and of course there are bad workouts – have you checked out Youtube recently?

So, What’s The Solution?

Here’s what I say – aim for pretty good workouts. And be consistent as hell with your pretty good workouts. That’s it.

If you do pretty good workouts (like the one I provide below) a few days of the week, you’ll be fit.

You’ll feel great and look dashing in the mirror.

(Did I just manage to use dashing in a sentence? I love it when that happens.)

Obviously, the best workout for you depends on your individual goals, but let’s address a very common goal I get all the time with my coaching clients – they want to feel and look good. They want clothes to fit better. They want to get lean and feel strong.

Well then, here’s a good workout template that you should follow to make sure your workouts are pretty good.

It has the following components:

1) Some kind of upper body pushing and pulling movements.

The most obvious pushing movement would be a push-up or a bench press. Pulling movements would be pull-ups or bodyweight rows.

2) Some kind of lower body hip hinge movement.

Most obvious example would be any kind of deadlift movement.

3) Some kind of lower body squat movement.

Pick your favorite squat variety.

4) Movement in different planes of motion.

Most of us spend way too much time in the sagittal plane – front to back. There are 2 other planes of motion, the frontal plane – movement side to side,  and the transverse plane – which is any rotational movement.

5) Some kind of mobility work.

Stretching, foam rolling, or any other soft tissue work.

6) Some kind of conditioning or cardiovascular work.

This could be sprints, jumps, running,  or other plyometric exercises.

7) Some kind of core work.

Planks work really well here. 

Let’s Put Pretty Good Into Action

So we have 7 components that make up a pretty good workout, now let’s look at an actual workout you can do today that satisfies all these conditions.

Here’s one of my favorite Intermediate Kettlebell / Bodyweight combo workout:

Workout Instructions:

1) Set a timer for 15 minutes.

2) Perform the top 4 exercises for 10 reps with little to no rest in between exercises.

3) Hold the side plank for 20 seconds on each side.

  • KB Goblet Squat (bodyweight squat)
  • Push-up (elevated push-up)
  • KB Swing (KB deadlift)
  • Pull-up (band-assisted pull-up)
  • Side Plank (Knee down Side plank)

The idea is to rest as little as you can throughout the entire 15 minutes. Try to complete as many rounds as you can in the 15-minute window. If the exercise is too hard or you don’t have the equipment, perform the “regression” exercise instead, noted in parenthesis below.

Workout Demonstrations:

KB Goblet Squat

Grab the Kettlebell and hold it directly underneath your chin. Brace your torso and sit back into a squat position so that your elbows touch the inside of your knees. Pause for a split second at the bottom of the squat and then stand up. Try to maintain a good back position with your chest up and limited rounding of your lower back.

Push-up

Set up for a strict push-up with your hands underneath your shoulders, your feet together, and a nice straight line from head-to-toe. Squeeze your butt to create tension in your body. Lower down without letting your elbows flare out wide. Think about pressing into the ground as you push yourself up in a controlled tempo.

Kettlebell Swing

Start with the kettlebell a few feet in front of your body. Reach your butt back as you bend over to grab the kettlebell and hike it behind your body, just under your butt. Thrust your hips forward and let your arms swing the kettlebell to waist or chest level. Always maintain a straight back and focus on snapping the hips and squeezing the butt at the top of the swing.

Pull-up

Approach the bar or tree with your hands facing away from your body. Use a step or bench to reach the bar. Slowly pull yourself up over the bar under control. If you need help with the pull-up, use a band to assist you.

Side Plank

DSC_0085

Set up on one elbow with with your feet and hips stacked on top of each other. Drive the hips to the sky without rotating. Lift the top hand straight up. Hold the position for 20 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

Why is this workout pretty good?

This workout has the following components:

  • Upper body push ✔
  • Upper body pull ✔
  • Lower body hinge ✔
  • Lower body squat ✔
  • Core work ✔
  • Mobility work ✔
  • Cardiovascular intensity ✔

It’s a pretty good workout. I promise if you do this 3x per week and you don’t eat like an asshole, you’ll be one fit person. Try this one out and let me know how it goes!

Nick

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