Why Mastering the Basics of Training is Cool

Why Mastering the Basics of Training is Cool

Years ago when I was on Tinder, I remember the plethora of pick-up lines I received from men.

Some were super bombastic.
Some were 500 words essays.
Some were rhythmic haikus.
Some were overdone love poems.

Put simply, all of these opening lines were way too thought-out, and it seemed every guy was trying too hard. The complexity here ended up having the opposite effect on me, propelling me to sprint in the other direction.

To that end, no one sparked my interest. Men were too damn complicated and overbearing and just downright creepy. So away I walked.

However, there was one guy who caught my interest with the most sweet and succinct opener that blew my mind.

His first line: “hey, who do you prefer…Messi or Robben?”

Immediately, the simplicity of his words caught my attention, and I later fell in love with him. He ended up being the best guy I met on Tinder to this day. Well, quite arguably, the best guy I met in my life.

Alas, this article isn’t about my my rose-colored love life and how I’ve had one divine relationship my entire life that was so fucking awesome I didn’t need to broadcast it to every social media channel.


The simplicity of this man was what had me hooked.

I’d argue, finding the simplicity in everything – love, business, and training – goes a long way.

I’ve spoken on this topic before when it comes to soccer skills training via my article The Lost Art of Simple Skills Training.

Like Tinder opening lines, keep it simple. Don’t overthink.

When it comes to skill work, you’ll find that you don’t need the added fluff of contraptions and equipment.

As an example, what is attaching a 9-year-old to a speed harness while dribbling through cones teaching them? What do you want them to get out of the drill? Are we teaching dribbling technique? Are we teaching acceleration? Or are we creating a social media star?

Can you fucking answer any of these questions already?

Thought so.

Alas, I digress.

Let’s move onto complicated training in the weight room.

Here’s what I see as I peruse my Instagram feed:

– trainers doing bird dogs with bands attached to feet while rowing a kettlebell.
– clients wearing duct tape over their mouths as they deadlift.
– trainers performing split squats with a dumbbell press to deadlift to dumbbell row.
– kids balancing on a Bosu while heading a soccer ball while listening to Justin Bieber.

Look fools: master the basics first.

In fact, master the mundane.

I’d be remiss not to mention behind every elite athlete is someone who reinforces the basics daily.

Things like: bird dogs, dead bugs, bear crawls, squats, lunges, carries, deadlifts, running mechanics and coordination.

Even with my college girls, we’re reviewing the basics each week so we’re able to optimize movement and not regress over time.

And with my youth athletes, you bet we’re operating under a “repetition, repetition, repetition” template when it comes to deadlift form:

Establishing the basics over and over again not only contributes to overall athleticism, but it allows athletes to continue to progress in their strength.

We don’t need to get as crazy and acrobatic as we think.

However, there will be times when you’ll have to add in fun progressions for several reasons:

1. to provide new challenges to athletes.
2. to ensure athletes don’t get bored.
3. to grow your Instagram following. <— sarcasm

So when adding in funky progressions, try to build off of the basics.

As an example, upping the ante from a basic Dead Bug can look like this:

Or changing things up from a conventional Hollow Hold can look like this:

Or after mastering the contralateral mechanics and athletic stance of ladder drills, it may be a good idea to progress to a speed and competitive drill like this:

Again, mastering the mundane first is tremendously powerful.

Clients and athletes need to learn how to move safely and effectively first before the fancy shenanigans take place.

I call this “simplicity with creativity.”

How are you going to use the basics to blossom into your strongest, most athletic self?

Mastering the basics of training is cool.

And mastering the basics of Tinder is also cool.

Do both.

The results will be nothing short of amazing.

And if you meet the love of your life after this post, invite me to your wedding.

K, thanks.

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