One of the most frequent questions I get that has to do with training is, “How many exercises should I be doing in my sessions?”

I’ve had guys email me their program and I would see 10, 12, and even 15 movements in one session!  15 movements!!!

You take that x’s 3-4 days and you’re hitting a crazy amount of movements!  Too many to any gain ground in the strength game!  That’s overkill!  I’d say a good number to stay around or below as far as movements go when it comes to STRENGTH, is 8.  I would only use 10 movements for more advanced / specilized trainees or people looking to lose fat by doing interval type of workouts.

If you’re trying to get STRONG, add muscle and build more power, one of your best bets would be to train with 3 movements or less.

I wrote an earlier post on minimalist training a while back and with the recent influx of training questions regarding how many movements and different exercises people should be using within their workouts, I wanted to go over a few points to explain my thoughts on this.

For me, I can guarantee you that if you were to pick just 2-3 movements and hit those in your workouts, your results would greatly increase.  The main problem a lot of people are running into that’s preventing them from getting the absolute best results possible is the fact that they’re doing way too much with way too many different movements.

Deads – One of my favorites!

If you’re doing too many different movements, there’s no real time for your body to adapt to anything your throwing at it.

The reason I stated above to use 2-3 movements in each workouts is so you can really focus in on perfecting these movements so your body gets better and more efficient at doing them.


In return, you’ll see gains in strength, power, and muscle IF you’re training with the correct movements in the correct way.

STRENGTH is a skill, therefor it takes time and PRACTICE to get better at it (AKA – GET STRONGER)

Full body workouts work well but not when you’re hitting a 100 different movements in the course of 3-5 days.  People would see way more in results returned if they focused in on anywhere from 4-8 total movements in their workouts instead.

The most basic types of movements I would use to GAIN STRENGTH, more POWER, and MUSCLE would be these “ESSENTIAL 15”:

  • Deadlift
  • Front Squat
  • Back Squat
  • Barbell Standing Military Press
  • Barbell Push Press
  • Barbell Power Clean
  • Barbell Snatch
  • Barbell Good Morning
  • Barbell Bent Rows
  • Barbell Zercher Squats
  • Barbell RDL
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Pull Ups
  • Dips
  • Push Ups

If you refer back to my post on Herchel Walker and how he only used to use about 4 different movements (ALL Bodyweight BTW…) you would hopefully understand that it doesn’t take a 100 different movements to get the job done.

Another key would be to focus in on your WEAKNESS’ and hammer movements that will help get that area or areas strong.  Do this for 3-4 weeks and I can bet you your house that ALL of your strength will go up.  Just give it a try!

While some people may find by keeping the amount of movements they do over the course of a few weeks limited to just 4-8 to get boring, they really don’t care enough about their overall end results.

As for me, the next 3-4 weeks I’ll be hammering Good Mornings, RDL’s, and Front Squats because these are my weaker lifts and I know each of these will help improve my overall strength and end results.

I tend to get workout ADD and get bored from time to time but I know it’s important to lock in and get focused in on sticking to a program.

I’ll obviously still be adding in a good amount of bodyweight training, kettlebell work, and sled/ prowler conditioning as well but I won’t be straying off path too far from those basic barbell lifts.  It’s always good to keep these types of accessory movements within your program to keep it balanced.

But, if STRENGTH is your overall goal with nothing else, you could simply focus in on hammering 3-4 movements over the course of 3-4 weeks and be GOLDEN.  So for example, if you really wanted to bring up your squats, you could do – Squats, RDL’s, and Good Mornings, and maybe some HEAVY sled dragging and you’d be fine.  If you wanted to include upper body in there, all you would need to include would be pull ups, bent rows, bench, and military presses, and some dips for good measure and you’d be ok.

All you gotta do is keep it Old School” and simple!

For a ALL out Simple and Minimalistic approach to training, I’ve created a system built around simplicity.

Workouts that only last 40 mins MAX and require only a Barbell, kettlebells, or dumbbells.

Minimal equipment, minimal time = MAXIMAL results.

Check it out here = Minimalist Training

Scroll down the page and you may recognize somebody on there…

Let me know what you’re TWO most favorite exercises are when it comes to BUILDING STRENGTH.  If you could only choose TWO more movements for the rest of the time you grace this earth, what would they be???

Live Aggressive and Get Strong!