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The minimalistic save, part 1


The minimalistic save, part 1

Sometimes we face the daunting prospect of having to go through a few days, or maybe even weeks, without being able to visit the gym. It could be traveling that causes this traumatic experience. Or it could be social circumstances, or job related stuff that hinders us from doing what we really want to do, namely lifting weights in a locale filled with soul mates doing the same thing.

When this happens we can either accept it – or we can fight it by utilising what I will refer to as a minimalistic save. In this and the following posts I will elaborate on a few examples on how this minimalistic save can be carried out.

A minimalistic save workout session is something that can be performed anywhere and in a very short period of time. If you only have 15 minutes at your disposal, these minimalistic workouts can make all the difference between involuntary stagnation (or even, perish the thought, decline…) and continued development in spite of the cancelled gym time.

My first minimalistic save workout consists of 10 sets of one single exercise that can be performed wherever you are: the push up. Do the following:

  1. Take the maximal number of push ups that you can perform in one set and divide it into three. If, for example, you can perform 60 push ups, you will arrive at the number 20.

  2. Perform the number in question. That is one set. Rest for a maximum of 60 seconds and then do another set. In the example you will end up doing 10x20 push ups, for a total of 200 reps. You will find the first few sets very easy. You might even start to wonder: does this really do anything for me? But trust me, after 5 or 6 sets the fight is on – and after 7 or 8 sets you will be struggling in your determination to complete all sets.

I sometimes make a point out of exclaiming that there is no king of exercises. What I mean by this is that there is no exercise that is absolutely essential or that “has to” be involved in your workout routine – no matter what the deadlift lovers and the squat fanatics will have you believe. You can get in top shape and achieve your goals without performing a single squat or a single deadlift.

If, however, I would be pressed to grant one exercise the title of “King of exercise”, despite my reluctance to think in such narrow ways, then my choice would be the following one: the traditional push up.

The reasons behind this: 1. You can perform it anywhere. 2. It targets not only your pecs, but also your triceps, your shoulders, your core, your abs – even your thighs. 3. It can be varied in a gratifying and rewarding way. 4. It will allow you to get a good upper body pump while increasing strength, endurance and even your cardio abilities. 5. You can push yourself really, really hard in this exercise with almost no risk for injury. 6. It is the best serratus exercise there is. And, as we all know, the serratus is one of those muscle groups that, when developed, will grant you an extremely impressive look.

I could come up with even more reasons to why we should all respect this old traditional body weight exercise, but the ones already listed should suffice for anyone seriously interested in muscle training.

So, the next time you find yourself unable to hit the gym – hit the floor instead, for 10 sets that are guaranteed to not only save you but actually help you to keep making gains despite the gym-free predicament you are in.

/Daniel Schou

Daniel Schou, The minimalistic save workout

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