Simple Exercises that Will Never Die

Below is a great video of Kellie Davis doing a workout that’s void of all the silly single-legged, Bosu-balancing, contra-lateral, so-called functional BS exercises that so many people believe are necessary to make them more “balanced” and better athletes. Which is funny because possessing asymmetry and muscular imbalance have never been correlated to pain or dysfunction — and in fact may be the very trait that makes us perform common tasks with better skill and accuracy and may be the fundamental function of being human.

Keep it simple.

Anyway, off my soap box and presenting the video:

Have a great weekend!

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13 Responses to Simple Exercises that Will Never Die

  1. Paul says:

    Oh man, not again! Almost every Bodybuilding Video on youtube is accompanied by copyrighted music and therefore not available in my country.

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Paul,

      Pearl Jam is great. But it’s odd that in several of their songs I can’t even make out a single word that Eddie Vedder belches. But their jam is killer.

      Best,
      Johnny

  2. Stephen says:

    But this is a leg workout and I think having body splits is actually a way to not make it easy and to make things needlessly complicated. Also functional exercises help to get some variety because squats and bench press get boring soon.

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Stephen,

      I don’t plan split routines, either. But there’s nothing complicated about good old fashion deadlifts, squats, lunges and hip extensions — whether you call them leg workouts or not.

      The point of featuring the video on my blog is not to emphasize a split routine as much as making a statement about traditional, straight-forward exercises being more effective at physiological and cellular changes than the over-emphasized balancing circus acts designated as “functional exercises.”

      Are you saying that deadlifts and squats are not “functional”?

      I’m not so much marginalizing these balancing circus acts that too many people do, but making a point that people confuse these methods as necessary, as though they “correct” some discrepancy or imbalance. That’s complete bullshit spun by people who have no clue about biomechanics and motor behavior.

      Sure, let people use these circus acts to keep things mixed up and fresh, but don’t make unsubstantiated and far-reaching claims. Having said that, if you need to use these circus acts to achieve some variety, then you’re probably spending too much time in the gym anyway. Get out of the gym and do other things, if you want variety.

      Best,
      Johnny

  3. Audley says:

    Simple direct exercise works. Although the emphasis was the legs in the video, the deadlift, squat and farmers walk all work the upper body as well, as the upper body is holding/supporting the weight. Some of the best ab/core exercises as well.
    I do some personal training as well. One of my favorite clients started with me 2 years ago at 270 lbs. He would see me once or twice a week doing the basic exercises as the squat, deadlift, overhead press, and so on. He works hard! He is now 190 and twice as strong. Having said that, his diet is what really did the trick for the weight loss, good food and less of it. Simple yet effective.

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Audley,

      Great comment. I agree that these basic exercises are some of the best and functional core exercises anyone can do — far superior to the silly stability ball bullshit that’s overemphasized. The other day I had a client do overhead farmers walk with a set of heavy dumbbells, and it kicked his butt all the way around.

      Best,
      Johnny

  4. Yannick Messaoud says:

    Seriously got injured doing squats and deadlifts, still paying for it today. I don’t believe theses exercises need to be a staple in anyone wanting to lose weight, even build a great body. I now use the leg press for power exercise and still do the dumbbell squats but with moderate weight as per the adonis workout.

    I strongly recommend anyone who wants a solid and serious program to build a great body to look into the adonis workout, its great to build, lose weight and posture at the same time. I am using it to rehab my back pain.

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Yannick,

      I agree that squats and deadlifts, or any exercise in particular, do not need to be a staple in anyone’s exercise program if their goal is to lose weight and have great aesthetics. Whether you use them or not depends on your perception of their effects on your body. I think their effects on your body are more dependent on the volume with which you use them, not just by the mere fact that you squat or deadlift.

      Also, injuries are typically not from the exercise themselves but are from the way they’re used. You can get injured with any exercise if you use poor technique or improper progression — the squats and deadlifts are just more unforgiven. Having said that, I have rehab and reconditioned more backs and knees than I care to keep track by prescribing (often heavy) squats and deadlifts. The same exercises that can injure your back or knees are the very exercises that can keep them bomb-proof.

      Personally I still squat and deadlifts, but I do them infrequently. I use them because they get me “there” faster. I agree, Yannick, that if one does mostly squats and deadlifts in high volume, there is a propensity to look muscularly awkward in the eyes of many females (and males). So be it, if strength and high-level performance is the motivation.

      I chose to feel healthy, look great, while still being able to get out of my own way. For me, there’s just no need to lift a shit-load of weight. That’s what a dolly is for.

      Best,
      Johnny

      • Johnny says:

        And to further support what Yannick wrote, check out “mistake number 3” in this blog post:

        http://www.henkinfitnesssystems.com/sport-performance-blog/top-6-fitness-mistakes/

        Best,
        Johnny

      • Yannick Messaoud says:

        For me i am afraid of the compression felt in the lower and upper back while squatting. Afraid that this pressure will cause a lower back hernia, or split the disc in two. I have been suffering from back pain due to hideous forms using the squat and deadlift. I have just ended a 2 year treatment with a sport doctor that treated me with prolotherapy, from what i understand the treatment was not good at all, my pains are better but still there and the hip is bothering me too.

        He told me that when you squat and deadlift you tear the disc of the spine each time by putting all the compression on it, and at some point the disc will collapse.

        Take a look at this link and that is what scared me the most:

        http://markyoungtrainingsystems.com/2009/11/dissecting-the-spine-part-iii-dangers-of-squatting/

        I am 38 right now and back pain as ruined most of my thirties, right now my goal is go get back in shape, and avoid injuries at all cost. Also if laxed ligaments and tendons are the cause of pain, they often are, then squatting and deadlifting can only make it worst by over stretching what is already laxed.

        I am going to see another sport doctor much more skilled in prolotherapy this week and will talk to him about diet, exercise and i did have plans to mention squatting and deadlifting.

        Might have to get back on you about this tough.

      • Yannick Messaoud says:

        Hey Johnny a big thank you for the ling below, this stuff is gold.

        I used to always train 85% all the time, pyramid style increasing the weights each time.

        Doing the adonis workout right now i find myself doing rep ranging from 13 to 8 and i don’t kill myself doing it.

        There is also dumbell squats, squat and press and some form of dumbell deadlifting and stiff legged deadlift too in the Adonis workout.

        I have been training for a very long time over 20 years now and i guess you can teach an old dog new tricks, also theses bodybuilding magazines are real crap, remember in the 90 when intensity was everywhere. Curious to see how many people got injured pushing weights like that.

        I read the whole article on that website link and its great. And yes i admit it, i did lot of mistakes that i will not repeat in the future, looking into boxing and mma when my back pain is fixed for good with some muay thai.

  5. Audley says:

    Although I do advocate squats and deadlifts, I am with Johnny that I either do them only once a week, or I substitute with another similar lift such as the front squat. You have to go lighter with the front squat, and if you keep a strong upright posture, your back will thank you later. I was rear ended in a car crash years ago, my spine is forever bent in the mid-back region. I can still back squat(not superheavy) however I can still deadlift double my bodyweight, but again, on a limited basis. I rotate the squat and the leg press for my trainees.
    From a pure bodybuiding perspective, the late Vince Gironda was the king of aesthetics. Vince was THE trainer of movie and tv stars in the 60’s and 70’s. He did not recommend the back squat for men as he felt it made the glutes too large. He also had many exercises that seemed strange, but the goal was aesthetics. He also did not advocate the current bodybuilding schedule of hours in the gym, his workouts were 45 minutes or less. Check out his site http://www.ironguru.com.

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