Why Do I Believe In Fundamentals?

I will be honest with you, if there is one thing that really frustrates me in the gym it is watching people continue for months on end without making any ounce of progress in their weightlifting. What is worse is that some of these weightlifters themselves fail to truly see or understand some of the problems in their training methodology, or, question their lack of progress. However, I can understand this. I really can!

But why does this happen? Well, this is simply because most of what people do in the gym is not based on fundamentals. You know, the not-so sexy stuff that has between around since the beginning of weightlifting time? Really, the weightlifting knowledge that has been tried, tested and tested again through several decades of success by professional coaches, athletes and exercise scientists. Today, this is all different. Weightlifting is no longer about fundamentals; it’s about what’s hip, in-trend and current. I can tell you one thing, if you really want access to the most valuable weightlifting information, then you have search hard for it. It’s not easy to find! Realistically, you have to start digging deep into Google to find the best stuff.

Is It Time To Bring The Fundamentals Back?

It’s pretty clear that very few people understand the true fundamentals of weight training. Everytime I step into the gym I can make one quick judgment that really applies to most, that is: yup, it’s clear you have gotten that routine from the latest fitness magazine and your listening to too many so-called fitness celebrities. So what are people actually doing to give me this impression? To name a few: split routines, too much isolation work, in the gym 7 days a week, no form of overload, doing the same thing day in/day out, perfect text book form, crazy amounts of volume, time under tension wizardry. Do all these sound familiar? Well the truth is, none of this type of work is based on any weightlifting fundamentals. This is stuff you typically see being marketed by the fitness celebrities, the latest muscle magazines and the largest supplement companies. It really isn’t a coincidence then that most people I see train actually follow this type of stuff to a tee (especially the new guys). Natural human behavior: you want to be as big and as strong as some of the biggest names in fitness? Then do what these guys are recommending. This is ultimately the trap that most people fall into. They see all this stuff being marketed, written and talked about and start seeing it as weightlifting religion. As a result, people will stick with this stuff for months and even years only to never realize they are wasting precious time. But hey, we will all make it some point, right? Sorry to bring the bad news, but it’s just not going to happen.

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  • “A” represents the general trend followed by most weightlifters
  • Most of these weightlifting tactics don’t work in the long-term for optimal size and strength. In the short-term yes, they might. But in the long-term, weightlifters always have problems.
  • This also represents the insane amount of clutter and noise in the fitness industry

It’s hard trying to convince people that fundamentals are the way forward for your weightlifting progress. In reality, most people are always going to be more attracted to what the big-timers are doing, then what a 30-year-old black and white weightlifting textbook has to say. While it’s interesting to follow up on the latest fitness scoop, it still doesn’t change the fact that you are missing out on the stuff that really matters for your weightlifting progress. What I have found with people who don’t use the weightlifting fundamentals is that they never change. They constantly stall, they never get stronger or bigger and, they are always on the lookout for the next training program. It happens everytime!

In the short-term no one really worries about any of this. People will begin with their weightlifting and not worry about progress stalling until it really happens. But, this is when the problem usually starts to arise for most people and they start to question why their progress has fallen off the face of the earth: why have I stopped making progress? Should I change my routine? What does my current routine look like? If you go onto any fitness forum and you pose these same questions, you will get 100 different answers everytime. Why? This is simply because very few people truly know what exactly the fundamentals are and why they should be in every training program for someone who wants long-term gains in size and strength.

The fundamentals never change no matter who you are. If your goals are long-term gains in size and strength, then there shouldn’t be 100 different answers to your problem. Provided that you are eating enough, sleeping enough and are not sick, the ONLY answer will then lie in the lack of fundamentals in your program. Yes, every weightlifter is at different stages and will have a slightly different program set up. But, the deciding factor between you failing or making progress with a specific routine, will depend on whether it contains the fundamentals or not. No matter how tailored your program is to your needs, it will never work out for you in the long-term if its not based around the fundamentals. They are just that important for long-term gains in size and strength.

Fundamentals Fix 99% Of Your Weightlifting Problems

Assuming you eat enough, sleep enough and are not sick, then problems with long-term progress will come from your programming. Although many people like to hide from this fact and blame their sleep and nutrition for almost all their weightlifting setbacks, most people very rarely consider the underlying nature of their training programming. When problems arise, people will tend to change programs only for the same problems to occur. The fact is, until you start learning about the fundamentals and using them in your training, you are always going to come across the same annoying problems. Forget what the marketing machine of fitness is telling you and start learning how to use the fundamentals. Once you do, 99% of your weightlifting problems will be fixed.

With Fundamentals

  • “B” represents the three basic fundamentals of long-term weightlifting – full body workouts, based around primarily compound exercises and periodised through conjugate undulating periodisation
  • By removing all the noise and clutter, every lifter is left with these three important  training principles that will guarentee success in the long-term. The problem is, very few weightlifters utilise all three successfully.

Full body Workouts.png

  • “A” represents the first fundamental principle of long-term weightlifting – full body workouts. Unlike typical splits and upper/lower and push/pull/leg schemes, full body workouts offer the most optimal balance between training frequency and recovery.
  • The optimal balance between training frequency and recovery means that weightlifters can better target the supercompensation period and progressively overload over time.
  • No other training program can beat the optimal balance between training and recovery provided by a full body workout. It just can’t.

Compound Exercises.png

  • “B” represents the second fundamental principle of long-term weightlifting – compound exercises. Many weightlifters go overboard with isolation exercises and don’t pay enough attention to the compounds.
  • When it comes to long-term gains, compound will always give you more optimal strength and size development. There is better performance transfer between compounds and they reduce the chance of muscle imbalances (which can also affect performance in the long-term)

Conjugate Undulating Periodization bubbles.png

  • “C” represents the third fundamental principle of long-term weightlifting – conjugate undulating periodisation. By far the most important principle you will ever use as a long-term weightlifting
  • Conjugate represents the increased exercise selection and rotation. This will prevent the biological law of accommodation and prevent you from plateauing in the long-term
  • Undulating represents the constant training of both high-volume and high-intensity in your program. This ensures you can keep building up both your size and strength together. This ensures that in the long-term, one is not hindered by lack of development of the other.
  • Linear represents the third element and is a progressive increase in volume and intensity over time (progressive overload)

There is no holy grail of weightlifting out there. Everyone has ups and downs when it comes to weightlifting. It’s no smooth upward slope. It takes a lot of work, effort and dedication to make those long-term size and strength gains. That is just how the weightlifting game goes. Fundamentals or not will never change that fact. However, most people do make their weightlifting journey more challenging, stressful and sub-optimal for themselves by failing to learn about or recognize the importance of programming the fundamentals into their training plan. I see my fellow weightlifters on a constant basis using the same sub-optimal training plans and never really understanding why they are not making the long-term progress they are expecting. What’s more frustrating is that the majority of fitness experts also don’t seem to have a solution to their problem. This is why the fitness industry is cluttered with so much contradictory information. The only result people get from this is a: what the heck, I am so confused moment. By sticking to the weightlifting fundamentals, all of this noise, hassle and confusion are finally stripped away, leaving you nothing but the good old long-term size and strength progress. Always ask yourself this question: if you are going to dedicate a lot of time, effort and energy into your weightlifting journey, wouldn’t it be great to finally see this in the form of real, permanent results? I think I know the answer to that!

“By sticking to the weightlifting fundamentals, all of this noise, hassle and confusion are finally stripped away”.

The reason I care about fundamentals so much is because it’s finally allowed me to distance myself from all the noise, clutter and confusion in the fitness industry and to actually make consistent gains in size and strength. Ever since paying closer attention to the stuff that really matters, my weightlifting has only changed for the best. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I actually had a low point in my training. Fundamentals have meant nothing but constant success and now I want to see my fellow weightlifters also getting the same consistent results.

If you have any questions about the article or would like to discuss further some of the topics mentioned, then please feel free to leave comments down below.Did you know about these three fundamentals? Do you think the fitness industry has become to cluttered with so much contradictory, sub-optimal information? Let me know!