Back to Basics

In Bodyweight Mastery, Strongman Mastery by admin2 Comments

As I am looking back over 2014 I came to realize something. I had gotten away from the basics in my training a bit too much!

In fact, I can remember in the early part of the year, thinking that at my “advanced” stage of training I could do this. Obviously, that is true to some degree. I could, but that doesn’t mean I should.

Looking back it was a mistake.

So one of my goals this year is to NEVER get away from the basics.

Now when I say basics, what am I talking about?

Its not about specific exercise basics. Like the back squat or pushup could be a basic. But instead its about the basic movement patterns of the human body.

  1. Upper Body Push
  2. Upper Body Pull
  3. Lower Body Push (i.e. Squat)
  4. Lower Body Pull (i.e. Hinge)

To me, those are the basics.

If you want to get a little more advanced to cover the whole body I’d add in something ab-focused and something grip-focused.

Then, what I mean by focusing on the basics, is to always be doing some form of these movements, in your training.

I got away from doing that, and as I reflect now, I think it was a mistake.

If you want to get stronger, you can do it in any way, just make sure you cover these bases.

Inspired by Max Shank and his four exercises, lately I’ve been working with the following.

  • Deadlift (hinge)
  • Handstand pushups (press)
  • Front lever work (pull + abs)
  • Airborne Lunge (squat)
Doesn't matter how you deadlift, just that you do some form of it.

Doesn’t matter how you deadlift, just that you do some form of it.

Besides, the deadlift, I wouldn’t call these “basic” exercises, but they fit for the patterns outlined.

The front lever is a little different than most upper body pulls like rows and chins, as it’s a straight arm pull. But it definitely fits in that category, while at the same time being very core-centric.

Then, on top of these basics, I’m working on a couple other things targeted toward some other specific goals of mine.

As you think about your training are you doing the basics or not?


  1. One thing I’d like to add to your 4 basics is a loaded carry, farmers walk being my favorite. That take care of the grip and gives the core a great work-out too. 😉


  2. Back to basics has been the way of all the great athletes of any sport. My Physical Culture consists of pushups/pull ups, squats/lunges, then planking. The older I get the more I’ve come to appreciate muscle control and Indian clubs.

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