"Are you a Master of the Big 6" (Blog #90)

On any particular day at No Bull Training, you will hear me yelling "Master The Basics" a few dozen times. I am actually a very conservative trainer when it comes to exercise selection, intensities, reps and sets, depending on the client. The number one rule is to do no harm, ever! If you're training general populations, it's vital that you teach them the basics (which is what todays blog is about) and save all the fancy stuff for later. When I get clients that tell me they've been training for years and they cant do a simple bodyweight squat or push up, it's simply because they have skipped steps on the line of progressions. They tried to run before they crawled, and this is almost always the reason for their countless injuries.

Todays blog will go over the six Big Basic lifts that everyone needs to master in some form or another. There is some room for debate on what the six big lifts actually are, but generally speaking, most decent coaches would agree that these six lifts are necessary if you want a strong, lean, healthy human.

The Big 6 are:

Bench Press or (Push Up)



Military Press

Dead Lift

Pull Up

Now there are hundreds of variations on each of these 6 movements. Take the Squat for example, you can have a client Kettle Bell Goblet Squat, Barbell Back Squat, Zercher Squat, Front Squat, Single Leg Squat, Overhead Squat, SS Bar Squat, Anderson Squat, Body Weight Squat, Jump Squat, Dumbbell Goblet Squat, and the list goes on....

What type of squat you do with a client will be up to you and your client depending on many factors: (training age, ability, injury history, femoral length, goals, needs, wants, etc). The same goes for the Push Up (and all of the Basics), you can have 50+ different types of Push ups, but can your client do a regular basic Push Up?! If not, why jump ahead and skip proper progressions? I'll tell you why: EGO! The new, cool, harder Push Up variation looks "Bad Ass" - But is it the proper choice for a client that cant even hold a 30 Second Plank?!

Once you honestly "master" the basic lifts, your world gets better. You feel better, you look better and you move better.

In the videos below is my lovely Fiancé, Andrea Bahia. Andrea loves lifting heavy and enjoys the benefits of a good lifting program. She may not love hitting the gym everyday for an hour, but training is really a means to an end for most of us. Lifting allows you to have what you want (strength, lean body, feel better, etc) after the work is done. Many people don't actually love heavy Dead Lifting (like I do), but they know that they will be better if they do it.

In this first video, Andrea is demoing a simple "Triple": She does a set of Barbell Bench Press right to a Kettle Bell Goblet Squat and right to a Dumbbell Row. She did a PUSH / LEG / PULL, in its simplest form. Now to be a little more technical, she did a Horizontal Push, a Knee Dominant Leg, and a Horizontal Pull. The body needs balance, and we must work all the muscles groups, especially if you're only training 2, 3 or 4 hours per week.

* The Sets, Reps, Rest and Intensity will totally depend on you and your goals and abilities *

In the second video, Andrea is doing another "Triple" that consists of a Military Press, a Kettle Bell Dead Lift, and a Band Assisted Pull Up. Simple, basic and effective for virtually every human on the planet! To go a step further, Andrea is now performing a Vertical Pushing movement (Military Press), a Hip Dominant Leg (Dead Lift), and a Vertical Pull (Pull Up). Again, there are hundreds of variations on these six big lifts. Pick what works best for you.

In an hour (or less), Andrea can do 4 Sets / 12-15 Reps / 90 Second Rest of Each exercise and feel great and be ready to rock again the next day. Or you could do the 1st Triple for more sets and do the 2nd Triple the next day. That's the beautiful thing about training, there's a ton of freedom. And as long as you go hard, do everything right, and are consistent, you'll be successful!

Now before i get hate mail and negative comments (which will come anyway), these 6 exercises are MY opinion. But I am going to take this a step further and breakdown the different exercises and put them in their proper categories for you guys to pick and choose from.

KNEE DOMINANT: (QUADS) Squats / Step Ups / Lunges / Box Jumps / Rear Foot Elevated Spilt Squats / Etc.

HIP DOMINANT: (GLUTES/HAMSTRINGS) Dead Lifts / Swings / Straight Leg Dead Lifts / Good Mornings / Shuttles / Lateral Lunging / Etc.

HORIZONTAL & VERTICAL PUSH: Bench Press / Push Ups / Fly's / Military Press / Lateral / Skull Crushers / Cable Tricep Press / Etc.

HORIZONTAL & VERTICAL PULL: TRX Inverted Rows / Chest Supported Rows / DB Rows / Cable Seated Rows / Pull Ups / Chin Ups / Lat Pull Down / Curls / Etc.

The list goes on when it comes to Core Work and Olympic Lifts, like Cleans, Snatches and Jerks. I would categorize them in a different List / But are vital to a program depending on who you're training.

With CORE work I break it down into 2 Groups. Rotation/Anti-Rotation and Flexion/Extension/Anti-Flexion/Extension

A Plank is an anti-extension exercise / A Palloff Press is an anti-rotational exercise / A Crunch is a Flexion Exercise / A Med Ball Side Throw is a Rotational Exercise / Etc.

Check out our Youtube Channel: No Bull Training for over 500 videos.

Master The Basics

Use Micro-Progressions

Train Hard

Be Consistent

Add variation once in a while to avoid plateaus

Have Fun

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