Simple is Better – 5 Moves to Build Endless Workouts

Seems too good to be true, but simple is better when it comes to improving your health. Many are at a loss when it comes to working out. I used to be in that camp at one time too.

We’re conditioned to believe that body-transforming results are achieved only by putting in hours and hours with complicated routines and lots of equipment. But, working out doesn’t have to be complicated, take hours and hours in the gym, nor do you have to own expensive equipment if you understand the how the human body moves.

Building a workout comes down to remembering the following five basic human movements that you can modify and endlessly adapt to your needs, ability and equipment for the rest of your life.

The categories are: push (pressing away from you), pull (tugging toward you), hip-hinge (bending from the middle), squat (flexing at the knee), and “plank/carry”  (stabilizing your core).

The time-crunched can embrace working out using this model as it offers an efficient and effective workout—more taxing on all of the major muscle groups, leading to increased strength and a faster metabolism. Plus, once you understand the basics, it’s incredibly easy to construct your own workouts anywhere.

Do this style of workout no more than three or four times a week. You can mix and match the moves as needed and feel great in a less-time-consuming way.

How It Works

Pick one move from each of the categories. Then do 2-4 sets of 12-20 reps. You can change the moves and repeat the plan 3 or 4 times a week. For cardio, see FINISHERS below. If you need some visuals to work through creating a plan, see this resource (or I, as a Personal Trainer, can build you a plan!)


The Standard: Bench Press
Lie face-up on a bench, holding a heavy barbell at your sternum, hands shoulder-width apart, elbows bent into sides. Extend arms, pushing bar directly above chest. Pause, then lower barbell to start.
The Alternates: Push-up, dumbbell shoulder press, single-arm kettlebell press, push press


The Standard:  Pull-up
Hang from a bar with palms facing away from you, arms straight, knees bent so feet don’t touch floor. Bend elbows, pulling chest toward bar. Slowly lower yourself to start.
The Alternates: Dumbbell row, TRX row, chin-up, cable row, lat pull-down


The Standard:  Deadlift
Set a heavy barbell on the floor in front of you. Push hips back as you bend forward, grabbing the bar with hands more than shoulder-width apart, palms facing body. Keep back straight as you stand up, lifting the bar and thrusting hips forward. Slowly lower bar to start.
The Alternates: Kettlebell swing, Romanian deadlift, trap-bar deadlift


The Standard:  Split Squat
Stand on your right leg, left foot resting on a bench or box behind you, and hold a heavy dumbbell in each hand. Bend right knee, lowering body until left knee hovers just above the ground. Straighten right leg, returning to start. Complete all the reps on one side before switching legs.
The Alternates: Barbell squat, forward lunge, goblet squat, reverse lunge, heels elevated squat


The Standard:  Farmer’s Walk

Stand up straight holding a heavy dumbbell in each hand, palms facing body. Maintain your posture as you walk 20 meters. Turn, repeat, returning to start.
The Alternates: Plank, bird dog, side plank, suitcase carry


To check off cardio add one of these to your five-move session – Kettlebell Swings, Mountain Climbers, Med Ball Slams, 5-minute Farmer’s Carry, Burpees. You can do any of the 5 moves from your workout – just with less weight, at a slightly faster pace and for more time to get in the cardio.

Be creative and let me know what you created!


I work with mid-life men and women who want to feel younger through improving their relationship to food, movement and mindfulness.

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