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Minimalist Fitness Programs

What are minimalist fitness programs?

Minimalist fitness programs are simplified fitness programs that can be used for total development of one or more components of fitness. Some programs are catered to overall strength development, others for both strength and cardio conditioning, fat loss, muscle gain or just general total body fitness. The programs in this section exist to provide you with very simple, very effective training programs that use a minimalist approach. Minimal equipment, minimal exercises to learn, minimal explanations and overall simplicity.

This section will be updated from time to time to include more and more minimalist fitness training programs that will help those of you that are busy and need a simplified, minimalist approach to fitness, fat loss and sports performance training.

Minimalist Fitness Programs


Sprint and Strength Program Minimalist fitness programs

Why it works

Sprint training is a proven way to ramp up metabolism, develop power and deliver a hard hit to your cardio fitness. Check out elite level sprinters, they are some of the fittest, most muscular athletes around. The sprints are combined with a small amount of strength training 2-3 days per week, with sprinting being the same frequency.

The Program

Frequency: 2-3 days for sprints and 2-3 days for strength training. In total do no more than 5 sessions per week.

Duration: 20-30 minutes.

Instructions

Alternate sessions between strength and sprint training. So if Monday is sprints then Tuesday is strength, then Wednesday sprints again etc.

Sprint Session

Complete sprints of the following distances at absolute maximum pace.

25m x 4, 50m x 3, 100m x 2, 200m x 1.

Rest 60-90 seconds between sprints. Run every sprint like it's the Olympic final.

Strength Sessions

Strength sessions will each just include ONE exercise per session. You will do 5 sets of 5 reps of that one exercise. Each workout you will choose a different exercise from the list of the following...

--- Squats (back or front squat)

--- Deadlift

--- Bent over barbell row

--- Pull-ups (if you can exceed 5 reps then do weighted pull-ups)

--- Bench press

--- Standing military press

--- Overhead lunges (holding a barbell overhead with elbows locked, perform lunges without lowering the bar throughout each set)


Simple Total Fitness Program Minimalist fitness programs

Why it works

This program involves a few more moving parts than many of the programs in this section. This program can be followed for a longer period of time and will produce broader results than many others. The program is a full body strength session followed by high intensity intervals to be done after the session. Follow it as prescribed and you will notice a profound shift in just about every area of fitness.

The Program

Full body strength followed by high intensity intervals.

Frequency: 3-5 days per week.

Duration: Approximately 45 minutes.

Variation: Vary the number of reps you do per set from one workout to the next. Range in reps from 1-2 reps per set all the way to 20 reps. Keep your body guessing.

The Workout

Deadlift x 3 sets (first set being a warm-up)

Split squat holding dumbells x 2 sets each leg

Bent over row/superset with pull-ups (pull-ups are always to be done for max reps) x 2 sets

Weighted push-ups x 2 sets

Single arm dumbell overhead press (one side at a time) x 2 sets each arm

Finish with 3 cardio intervals of 1 minute each at absolute maximum intensity, resting 40 seconds between intervals. For these you can use treadmill, outdoor running, or my personal choice, the indoor rower.


High Intensity Body Weight Circuit Program Minimalist fitness programs

Why it works

This program is fast and efficient and covers all major muscle groups in a short period of time. The movements chosen develop explosive power and the format of the workouts challenges the cardiovascular system in the extreme.

The Program

Frequency: 2-4 days per week.

Duration: 20 minutes.

Format: Go through each of the exercises for the specified number of reps for each, without resting between exercises. Once you have been through all exercises that is one round. Do as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes. It is advised to use a stopwatch or countdown timer.

The Circuit

Burpees (full push-up version) x 7

Squat jumps x 7

Scissor Jumps x 14

Pull-ups x 7


Full Body Strength Program

Why it works

This program is a simple strength program using just four exercises. These four exercises were chosen because they cover all of the body's major muscle groups. We have included a two push exercises, a pull exercise and something for lower body.

The Program

Frequency: 3 days per week.

Duration: 30 minutes.

Sets and reps: 3 sets of each exercise. On day one you will do 3-5 reps at a heavy weight. On day two you will do 7-10 reps at a moderate weight. On day three you will do 12-15 reps at a lighter weight.

Rest periods: Day one rest 90 seconds or more between sets. Day two rest 60-90 seconds between sets. On day three rest just 30 seconds between sets.

Exercises: 1. Back squat -- 2. Bent over barbell row -- 3. Bench press -- 4. Standing military press with a barbell.


Overhead Squat Program

Why it works

The overhead squat is a total body movement involving essentially every single muscle you can possibly imagine. When learned properly and performed heavy enough, with enough reps per set, it will condition every major muscle group, it will develop balance and coordination, will build total body strength and it will challenge the cardiovascular system and increase heart rate.

The Program

Frequency: 3 days per week.

Duration: 15-30 minutes.

Sets and reps: Perform sets ranging from 1-7 reps per set, varying the weight and the reps each workout. Perform 5-7 sets in each workout.

Rest periods: Rest 60-90 seconds between sets.


Swings Program

This involves the kettlebell swing and/or the dumbbell swing.

Why it works

Many of the major muscles in the body are located in the posterior chain, being the muscles that extend all the way down the back of your body, including the hamstrings, glutes and major muscles of the back. These are the muscles that contribute to most functional and powerful movement. The swing is a great way to achieve total development of the posterior chain while also igniting the metabolic rate and the cardiovascular system.

The Program

Frequency: 2-3 days per week.

Duration: 7-20 minutes. Duration will be based on your fitness level and/or your time availability.

Directions: Select a kettlebell or dumbbell that is 8-12kg for beginners and 16-30kg for advanced. Do as many swings as possible in the allocated time, resting as needed. Maintain good form and maximum intensity.


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YOUR COACH – Chris Lyons

Chris Lyons is an experienced strength and conditioning coach, having trained athletes of all ages and levels since 2002. Chris specialises in coaching athletes for speed and power specific to fast-moving sports such as rugby league, rugby union, soccer, Aussie rules football etc. Since 2002 Chris has conducted close to 15,000 hours of training and coaching directly with athletes and members of the general population. From this experience comes Sprint Ninja, based on tried and tested training methods combined with up to date research. Chris continues to challenge himself not only as a coach, but also as an athlete, competing in sprinting events, strongman and Olympic-style weightlifting.

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