According to Wikipedia, Minimalism, “…describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is stripped down to its most fundamental features.” Exercise is no different. It is the art of getting the utmost from the minimum. To strip away the inessential to find out what is left. It doesn’t mean “simple”, it means fundamental, basic and essential.
With the emergence of the information age we are simply inundated with data on everything. It is almost impossible to escape with smart phones becoming a life wire to the internet and its advertising. This increases our options but it also clouds the decision making process. If you didn’t really know or understand about exercise before, you are really confused now.
Enter the minimalist workout. This is literally nothing new. It is what your Dad did in WW2. It’s probably what you did if you are my age in high school athletics. Currently we have to have some sort of marketing slant. They call this method, old school, urban fitness, prison workout or body weight culture. I don’t like to romanticize things but there is nothing wrong with a bit of sizzle to get you to remember. It is simply exercise using your body weight in a progressive format to gain results in muscle size, strength and endurance.
Several people of note have organize human movement into exercise categories. I have high respect for all of them and this is not a pissing contest. This involves wisdom, vision and minimalism.
Jon Hinds of Monkey Bar Gym divides movements into, Pushing, Pulling, Squatting and Running. He has a sub category of planking or core work.
Dan John, Legendary Strength Coach and a man who has been seen in a Kilt, says there are five movements. Hinging, Squatting, Pushing, Pulling and Carrying.
Paul Wade, author of Convict Conditioning, uses his Big Six. Pushups, Pullups, Squats, Leg Raises, Bridges and Handstand Pushups.
As you can see,.. there is little variation with exercise,.. however there is experience,.. and wisdom.
Let’s take the simple example of Convict Conditioning. How can ANYONE have any excuse about equipment, methods, driving to the gym, workout clothes or results with the simple progressions of Convict Conditioning? It takes you from a grossly weak or unconditioned condition to an elite level with over ten steps for six different exercises.
Remember the answer to most questions can be remarkably simple and this case it is. Find out how the body moves, use the tool of progressive resistance and employ a program with record keeping that measures improvement and is alignment with your goals.
While this article may seem fueled with testosterone, let it be known that the same movements are perfectly acceptable for women. There is no “women’s exercise” or “men’s exercise”. There is just exercise. Genetics determine body proportion and neurological efficiency. Hormones will determine male or female. The science of exercise will determine how far you can go with safety and sanity.
[This article was adapted from an article on Reverse Magazine]