Focus on the Basics – aka KISS

ACSM Position Stand Title

In my strength and conditioning class today, my students worked through the ACSM Position Stand “Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults“.

A major concept to take home from that paper, and something I try to emphasize in the class, is that the basics are important. The basics are what the biggest part of your progress is going to come from. The basics should be the vast majority of the training that you or your athletes use. Yeah, sure, most lifters think they need fancy programming schemes, and advanced exercise organizational schemes, and potentiation complexes and blah blah blah. In reality, the things that MOST ATHLETES NEED IN RESISTANCE TRAINING are basic in nature.

I like the position stand because it helps to re-emphasize what we have a good basis of research support for, namely, the basics!  Here’s a (very) basic summary of the article:

  • pay attention to specificity, but recognize that the basics, i.e. squats and weightlifting variations, transfer really well to sprinting, jumping and change of direction
  • use variation, but make sure you are systematically applying variation (aka, not Crossfit)
  • do multiple sets
  • use exercises with both eccentric and concentric component
  • lift heavy enough
  • add more weight when it feels lighter
  • use a variety of exercises with a focus on multi-joint exercises
  • use free weights and machines (but focus on free weights)
  • do large muscle group and compound lifts first
  • rest a 2-3 minutes between sets minimum
  • train a minimum of 2-3 times per week and add a day or two extra when you get better trained

There you go, now you’ve got everything you need to know to create effective resistance training programs. It’s not rocket surgery.