Training for Actual Results

Filed under: Training

The past few weeks I have had to train a few times at a commercial gym since I am at CP only a few days per week. That shit is depressing. I look around and feel like everything that high level strength coaches like Mike Boyle, Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, etc espouse just does not reach the masses.

I look around the gym and guys are still just training like meat-heads. I know that was crude, but it is also unfortunately true. Guys bench pressing for what seems like hours, with horrendous form. People using machine after machine. Using Smith machines and the leg press if legs are being done at all. It really frustrates and saddens me.

If all of that wasn’t bad enough, I watched several of the personal trainers take their clients through a session, and it was an embarassment to the profession. Clients doing squats on a Bosu ball, machine circuits, sit-ups, the atrocities were endless. You are not making your clients better!

I have harped on this before but properly warming up, working hard and smart, and cleaning up your diet will give you truly astounding results. Far better than doing 1-leg bicep curls with your eyes closed.

A basic program that just about anyone could do would be something more like this:

Pre Work: Foam Roll & warm up (10 minutes)

do yourself a favor and pick up a foam roller, it will save you a lot of pain

do yourself a favor and pick up a foam roller, it will save you a lot of pain

Weight Train (35 minutes)

A1. Goblet Squats 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

A2. Stability Ball Rollouts 3 sets of 8-12 reps

B1. Pushups 3 sets of 8 reps

B2. Standing 1-Arm Cable Rows 3 sets of 10 reps/side

Conditioning (15 minutes)

Bike Intervals:

  • 4 minute warm up
  • 8 intervals – 15 seconds hard, 45 seconds easy
  • 3 minute cool down

Or Just 15 minutes of steady state cardio

This is obviously a very simple program and just one day, but it would be an excellent starting point for the vast majority of trainees. If your personal trainer has you doing ridiculous circus tricks, you are only wasting your money.

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Posted on April 22nd, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre


  1. Pete Says:

    You missed a historic CP training session today…

    All you need to know is that the group included:

    - the 3 remaining CP full-timers
    - George surprise appearance)
    - Danny V
    - Dan T
    - and the one and only Jake Sprague

    Needless to say, I got dominated on the farmer’s walks.

  2. Nia Shanks Says:

    Wait . . . that’s not how Jillian does it on Biggest Loser . . .


    I feel your frustation. I see the same thing day in and day out.

  3. Jeff Brewster Says:


    Speaking of Standing 1-arm cable rows, do you think this is a better alternative to seated variants with clients who are classic “computer guys?”

    I chuckled at the meat-head comment, but this also begs the question (all the more so after working at a place like CP, where Bodybuilding isn;t really in the mix), can a person go after competition bodybuilding and still be doing enough “cross-over” stuff that all populations would benefit from in order to compete without sacrificing the body in the process (or at least minimizing the negative effects attributed to bodybuilding-style training)?

  4. Joe Says:

    Great point made Brian!

    In the past three months, you, Tony and Eric have all assisted in revolutionizing how I train, eat and overall take care of my body. Since I spoke with you regarding nutrition and have been working out using Eric’s Maximum Strength Training the results are indescribable. For a gym rat who has run 2 marathons, competed in countless triathlons, swam hours on end as a teenager and recently tried every fad diet or hyped up weight loss supplement the truth on how to get “fitter” is in your post. Don’t over train but be smarter about your training. Don’t overeat or ingest garbage food products that claim to fill you up or assist your metabolism but eat real food and again do it in a smart way. It’s a simple a tragedy that those of us who do things in a smarter, more efficient and productive manner have to deal with those in the gym who simply stand, flex, and repeat the same ole same ole routines day in and day out. Thanks for everything you post and share and know that it is influencing many to think about how they train and eat and live.

  5. Efficiency: Applications to Program Design « Harold Gibbons Says:

    [...] meet the goals of every single person, there is a general format you can follow.  In his article Training for Actual Results, Brian St. Pierre lays out a simple but killer format that works for the best athletes and fitness [...]

  6. Brian St. Pierre Says:


    Yeah it is ridiculous.


    Thanks for the kind words, very glad to hear that things are going so well. Keep it up!


    I think both are great exercises. I do prefer the Standing 1-Arm Cable Row as I think it gives you a little more bang for your buck, but the Seated Cable Row is still an excellent exercise.

    As for the bodybuilding question, absolutely! Look at one of EC’s recent blogs (, where he talks about a bodybuilding client of his. Sure worked for him!

  7. Don’t miss these great links! Says:

    [...] a similar vein, Brian St Pierre has drawn up another minimalist programme, but topped-and-tailed with foam rolling and interval [...]

  8. Erik Dandy Says:

    Where is the contact form because i cant seem to find it, maybe you could make it more easier to locate.

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