Keep It Stupid Simple

The gym is riddled with so many different types of athletes who have to differentiate their training for the respective discipline that they are training for. Furthermore, even within those disciplines are different body types and inherent deficits that the individual athlete must address if they want to improve performance or aesthetics specifically for their  body. While in the gym, it can be quite defeating to immolate the guy next to you unless you are training for the same sport AND have the same body type and needs.

Even with all of these parameters in mind, you will get so much more out of your training if you just K.I.S.S.!  Let’s go back to basics, the foundation that training is built upon. Reliable research has been published for years that, if followed, will bring about the desired outcome, whether that be aesthetics or performance.

Keep in mind there are a lot of  different philosophies on modalities of exercise (the what, when, where, why, and how of training).  Research will support much of it. Even if sometimes the research seems to contradict itself or other published data.  This is why it is important to understand the fundamental principals behind the sub-categories we will discuss,  and try to employ different combinations until you find what makes you the best in your field.


No matter what sport you are training for, you have to overwhelm and fatigue what your body can already accomplish if you want your body to adapt to a higher level of performance.  Think of what your respective sport requires of your body and mock this resistance in the gym.

GOAL: To increase…
  #1 Power- work at 80% of your maximum
  #2 Hypertrophy (size)-  65-75% of max
  #3 Stamina– 40-60% of max


Rest and repetition go hand in hand.  The less rest you give yourself will dictate whether or not you can do the next set at the desired resistance for the desired amount of reps.  By decreasing recovery time, you will increase intensity and force your body to adapt to a very intense atmosphere like “competing”  However, if your discipline allows for adequate rest, but you still must produce power, or you are trying to get larger muscles and stamina isn’t a factor, then rest as much as needed for the results you need to produce.  But allowing your body to recover as “it” dictates will never bring about a more fit level of performance.  (Did you here me bodybuilders and powerlifters?)

To Increase Power:
Rest- 2-3 minutes recovery
Repetition-  1-6 reps

To Increase Hypertrophy:
Rest- 1-2 minutes
Repetition- 8-15 reps

To Increase Stamina:
Rest- 10-60 seconds
Repetition- 15+


How fast or slow we execute each repetition can extremely change the intensity of training.  Tempo is a very effective tool to help facilitate more muscle fiber recruitment at different points of the range of motion.  For instance, we could accentuate the negative (eccentric contraction) by “slowing our roll” on the return. There are many different advantages to tempo changes and holds during the different phases of the repetition.  Again, we must dissect the movements that are used in our respective disciplines.  Fighters may want a very explosive concentric contraction and a very fast eccentric return as well.  A powerlifter may want a slow return during the negative, and a bodybuilder might benefit from maintaining constant tension throughout the lift with no starting and no stopping.


This is a very controversial category.  It is safe to say we need to train up to, and at sometimes beyond, the length of time we will be competing. For example, if I am running a 5K, and I know I can complete a 10K effortlessly, then I should dominate anything less.  If a fighter needs to be ready for 7 five-minute rounds, and they can fight for 8 six-minute rounds at the same intensity, then they will be ready to compete at the highest level possible for fewer rounds.

Be careful not to overtrain, but please push your self, make your body adapt, and DO NOT UNDER-TRAIN!  If you have a 1.2 mile swim coming up in a tri, don’t let race day be the first time you try that distance.  Train for it, and be prepared!


Finally, make sure you are getting the supplements you need to perform your best, repair and grow. As most of you know, I use the Beyond Raw line and truly love it. Unfortunately with training, you are only as good as what you eat. If you eat like a ballerina, you will never be able to look, or perform like, a football player. The fuel you choose for your body is crucial to making positive gains.

Each one of these sub-categories could be its own text book.  I just wanted to touch on some fundamentals.  You don’t need to know all the crazy science  on a cellular level (I love that stuff).  It’s more important to look at these things as they relate to, and manifest themselves into, performing at your very best!!!!!

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.


About Steve Pfiester

Certified CrossFit, TRX, Kettlebell Athletics Trainer with a B.S. in Physical Therapy. Owner of Longevity Max Fitness and BCx Boot Camp.

Posted on June 17, 2012, in PFUNDAMENTALS and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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