What movements mimic what life throws at us on a daily basis?

- John

Tough question, John.

There is a whole movement, the functional training guys, who dedicate themselves to creating "creative" exercises to mimic life. However, I think your time in the gym would be better spent doing movements that carry over to strength in the real world—not mimic movements.

Stick with the basics and you will be able to tackle what life throws at you:

  • squats
  • clean and press
  • presses (bench and overhead)
  • pull-ups
  • dips
  • deadlifts
  • rows
  • RDL/Keystone
  • pushups
  • Turkish Get Up
  • Burpees
  • Sit-ups
  • Prowler® and regular sprints
  • Kettlebell swings

These will give you a good level of strength and conditioning and leave you prepared for LIFE.

Hey Murph,

I'm 20 years old and lift hard five days a week. I lift as a hobby. I recently fell off a bit due to school vacation and lost some size and strength. My current routine is:

  • Monday/Thursday: chest and triceps
  • Tuesday/Friday: back and biceps
  • Wednesday: shoulders and legs

My goal is to put on clean and lean mass—I want to have some size but stay cut up. I'm looking to see if you would switch anything up to maximize my gains?

Any recommendations would be great, man, along with any specific exercises.

Thanks a lot,

- Tom

Gaining size and getting cut are two different things. Your diet takes care of getting cut, and in order to get ripped, a good fat loss training program helps. A fat loss training program does little to build size.

I suggest following a nutrition plan to handle the "cut" part. Don't try to get ripped if you are looking to get huge. Just do your best to eat to gain muscle and not gain fat.

For the training, I see right off the bat that you are doing shoulders and legs. Your legs are the biggest "bodypart," and hitting them hard will leave you with no energy to do anything else. Try doing a standard powerlifting-style routine with a squat day, a bench day, and a deadlift day. Do a few (three to four) assistance exercises each day for the main lift for 4-6 sets of 6-20 reps and see what happens.

Make sure you do some kind of conditioning work too. Sprints work great.

- Murph


To learn more about Total Performance Sports, visit Murph's website: TPS.