Tip: The Simplest Strength Routine

If you're sick of programs that are tougher to figure out than Sudoku puzzles, here's one that's refreshingly easy to learn.

This is an old strength routine that's recently been dusted off and re-introduced to the weight-training world. It's based on a highly sophisticated premise that might be beyond the understanding of most. Still, to placate the more scientifically inclined out there, I'll lay it out for you while trying to keep the scientific lingo to a minimum. Here it is:

If you want to get stronger, lift weights.

I sincerely hope I didn't scare you off. If you're still here, the routine is known simply as "One Two Three," which is, at the risk of scaring some of you off yet again, based on the mathematical principle of counting to three.

Here's how you do it

  1. Pick a big movement.
    • Squat: Front or Back
    • Push: Bench or Military Press
    • Pull: Pull-Up
    • Hinge: Deadlift
  2. Figure out what weight you can do for 5 reps. With most people, that's about 80% of their 1RM.
  3. Now follow this rep scheme: 1 – 2 – 3. Do a single, rest a bit, do a double, rest a bit, and then do a triple.
  4. Run through it three times. That's 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3.

There are only two rules:

  1. Never miss a rep.
  2. Don't chase fatigue.

The weight should feel light and easy. Inch the resistance up gradually from workout to workout. You don't even need to change your program to incorporate these; just add it here and there to your workout.

Dan John is an elite-level strength and weightlifting coach. He is also an All-American discus thrower, holds the American record in the Weight Pentathlon, and has competed at the highest levels of Olympic lifting and Highland Games. Follow Dan John on Facebook