Consolidated Training

I’ve had a lot of success with consolidated workouts over the years, so wanted to speak to them here. First, let’s define our terms. Consolidated training means cutting your exercise selection back to 2, 3, maybe 4 big movements at the most. These are incredibly demanding exercises, and require a great deal of mental as well as physical effort.

Let’s look at an example:

– Chinups
– Dips
– 20 rep breathing squats
– 20 rep breathing pullovers

Here we have a full body template consisting of just 4 exercises that work the entire body. You’ll notice there are no curls, tricep kickbacks, leg extensions or like isolation exercises that deliver little bang for your buck. At first glance, most of my trainees say, “That’s it”? Yeah, that’s it. Until you try it. Here’s what you’re in for.

Chinups are placed first because they require the most energy of all the upper body movements. You for sure wouldn’t want to try them after 20 rep squats – you’d be wiped out. Dips are up next, a movement that’ve been correctly compared to the upper body squat. 20 rep breathing squats are man-makers, and with any amount of challenging weight will put weight on a rake. The pullovers are done with a light weight/straight arms, to expand the rib cage after all that heavy breathing from the squats. And you’ll for sure be huffing and puffing like a locomotive by the time you hobble over to perform them.

Now here’s the thing: Despite just using 4 exercises, this workout takes around an hour. Why so long? Well, after you’ve built up to some pretty impressive poundages, you need to warm up progressively. I dip with in excess of 100lbs for example, so it takes time to build up to that weight before I launch into my work set. Beyond that, you should be resting at least 3 minutes between sets. More like 5 or more if you really want to be at your strongest.

Observe how this differs from the “typical” chest routine you’ll see in most gyms. 4 sets of flat bench, 3 sets of inclines, 3 sets of flyes and 2-3 sets of cable crossovers. Then they hit arms, LOL. These guys are wasting their time on flyes and cable crossovers IMO, they’d be much better served to pour themselves into the first two exercises and cut the workout then and there. They’d grow better.

Unfortunately, consolidation routines are often looked at as the last resort for most trainees that aren’t gaining. They should be among the first places you look, to get back on track. They needn’t be HIT one set to failure affairs either, but their merit was seen by everyone from Arthur Jones, to mike Mentzer to Perry Rader.

If you’ve been struggling to make progress and looking for a better answer, give this consolidation routine a try. Don’t add work, pour yourself into progressive poundages on these big basics and watch yourself grow.

There is beauty in simplicity, and you’d be wise to put it into practice…

From The BluePrint Power Hour (Oct. 6, 2015)

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Coach Rob Regish

Rob Regish is an internationally recognized name in the field of health and fitness. He's been a weekly contributor to for almost a decade, answering listener questions from around the world.