There are two basic categories of my philosophy that I have listed below. The first is Training Principles, these are the pillars of training within the gym: how to progress, how to build all angles, how to do all of that as safely and effectively as possible, and maximize the return for your efforts in the gym.
The other broader Plan Principles. These are how we structure a plan to achieve a goal. How to make training happen, how to focus on what needs your attention, and how to continue toward your goal despite difficulty.
These 7 principles are the basis of which I build the majority of my training recommendations.
In order to get better, you must challenge yourself. Your body is given something that is challenging, and it gets better. To continue getting better, the challenge must scale with your ability. If you provide the same challenge, or in the weight room, lift the same weight for the same number of reps, and the same number of sets, with no other variables changes, you won't continue to progress. You have to add weight to the bar, reps, or sets. Something has to get more challenging over time to continue to push you forward.
The body tends to function at its best and be the most resistant to injury when trained for balance. That means training the front and the back, left and right, and top and bottom in balance. Training in this way allows your body to get consistently stronger with a lower risk of injury while performing at the highest level. An additional benefit of this approach is it also produces a more aesthetic body as well.
Proper lifting technique puts the body in the most efficient place to lift the largest loads possibly as safely and effectively as possible. The correct technique is slightly different for different people with different anatomies and leverages. But there is a correct technique for every individual. And finding and using that correct technique for you is essential for your body injury free and lifting the heaviest weights possible. Proper technique loads certain structures in the body instead of other structures. This means we can load the areas of the body that have a high capacity and a high potential for beneficial adaptation, instead of less resilient parts of the body that chronic loading can lead to injury. This substantially decreases injury risk.
Technique is also the route to lifting the heaviest weight possible. In addition to allow us to train for longer uninjured and therefore make more progress. Proper lifting technique puts the body in the most efficient place to lift the largest loads possibly as safely and effectively as possible.
Biggest bang per buck
There are limits to how much someone can train, whether it's time, energy, or recovery ability and outside stress. There's always some limitation. Training should therefore prioritize the biggest bang for your buck exercises, the ones that provide the biggest benefit for the least amount of input. These tend to be large compound movements, typically barbell lifts. This is not to say that isolation is inherently bad, but that the majority of the focus should be placed on the highest yield activities.
Training must be sustainable
Excellence is not made in 8 weeks, it takes time. It takes years of effort to really be great. So your route to success must be sustainable. Like the tortoise and the hare, rapid progress is typically unsustainable, either you can’t sustain the effort required and you get burnt out, or your body can’t recover and you get injured. The best progress is consistent sustainable progress.
Focus on what you can control
Your goals give you direction, they inform what things you need to do day to day in order to reach those goals. But it is those day-to-day things that are in your control which should receive the majority of your attention. You can control whether you ate the food that supports your goals, whether you did the training that supports your goals, whether you got your sleep, but you cannot directly control you achieving your goals. So you should focus your efforts on the parts you can control, the daily habits that will take you to those goals.
Always do what you can
Life makes achieving your goals hard. Whether it’s a tight schedule, limited energy, or an injury, things can make it difficult to continue toward your goals. You shouldn’t take an all or nothing approach, saying: “if I can’t do the optimal plan, I might as well not do it at all.” Doing something is always better than doing nothing. There will always be roadblocks on the way to your goals, and even more so with a more ambitious goal. You have a much higher chance of success if you do as much as you can given whatever circumstances you are in and adapt your plan to those circumstances you are in so you can consistently be making progress toward your goal.