Top 5 Benefits Of Minimalist Style Workouts, Part II


By choosing the essential, we create great impact with minimal resources. Always choose the essential to maximize your time and energy.”

- Leo Babauta

Yo, Dudes. I'm back with part 2 of our top 5 benefits to minimalist style workouts.

If you missed part 1, slap yourself in the face for missing anything on this blog and read this first.

Judging by the amount of comments we got on Part 1, I am excited to see that YOU are excited about minimalist workouts as well.

Let's jump right into the last 2 benefits of Minimalist workouts, although there are MORE than 5 reasons why you should be using brief, intense workouts, I wanted to give you the fast truth.

Check it out:

4) Minimalist Workouts Will Reignite Your Passion & Excitement To Train -

When your workouts are short you get to leave the gym with energy in the tank, something I almost always recommend doing.

When you have shorter workouts and energy left over, you can't wait for the next workout.

You're not draggin' ass all day and the next day after a workout if you are in the gym for long periods of time coupled with high frequency.

Back when I was bodybuilding and training with guys who would train with a high frequency model I was getting burnt out.

I eventually dumped my training partners and took on a minimalist approach with almost twice as many days off.

I started getting stronger, bigger, leaner and had a boat load more energy for my daily life and couldn't wait to train each and every time.

Less was more. It almost always is.

5) Decreased Psychological / Emotional Stress -

There is a lot of emotional stress that comes with keeping up with a high frequency training program. You begin stressing out about scheduling your workouts vs finding time for things like LIFE!

You stress out if time is short one day and you begin to stress about not having enough time to perform all your work because it takes 1 hour to complete, sometimes longer.

Emotional stress can AND will wreck you. It can send you into fatigue faster than a 20 rep set of squats.

Now that you know the power of minimalist workouts, I want you to get after it and give them a GO.

Not a half hearted attempt but a straight up honest go for the next 4 weeks.

Drop any comments or questions you have on minimalist workouts in the comments section below. Psyched to see your feedback!

Live The Code


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23 Responses

  1. If you want to ramp up your Conditioning and get Strong go and buy Ross Enamaits Infinite Intensity. No need for Convict Conditioning or any other books, you learn how to put together your own program.

    1. Jussi – I am confused by your comment and your close mindedness

      How does CC or “any other books” not teach you to design your own programs.

      When making comments, please use your brain and be able to back them up.

  2. I love these blog posts here Zach they help keep reminding me of what’s most important when it comes to training.

    Keep them coming man!

    1. Matt, U know it, brutha, my pleasure!

  3. Pierre-Philippe Lefebvre says:

    I’m surprise you didn’t recommand your own bodyweight program! The convict conditionning really serve better the minimalist way?

    1. Pierre – the CC workouts are usually only 2 exercises per day and low volume until you get to the final pahse where volume and reps get crazy

      My program is more than 2 – 3 exercises per workout so I would NOT consider it a Minimalist program.

      You’re the man for bringing this UP!

  4. Minimalist training has always being great haven’t picked up convict training yet but im very interested in it thats all we did in the yard a couple years back cool stuff Z keep em coming

  5. Getting back on the minimalist training. Very easy to get mixed up in the thousands of exercises out there. As soon as I stop gaining I go back to 2-3 of the big lifts in a workout 2-3 times a week. Always gets me back on track. Zach can I ask if you do much at the end of the couple of big lifts in each session? For example if you do Deadlifts and Dips as your main two exercises, do you finish with some abs and forearms? Or do you tend to just do the necessary and then get out of there?
    Thanks again.

    1. Yes, I will hit 2 or 3 sets of grip and abs but often at home as I have a power wheel and several captain of crush hand grippers

  6. Dustin M. says:

    Now-a-days, minimalist training is what I do best. Sometimes people get all hyped up in the craze as you said earlier, stressing out about they cant get a workout in or perhaps too many of them have a laundry list of exercises they want to get in for the day. Bottom line is that the basics never fail.

    There are weeks where I would just pick one big lift for the day, I know I mentioned this already. But for instance, I would train 6 days a week but bust one big lift for the day. Monday through Saturday could look like: Deadlift, Bench, Squat, Bench, Squat, Push-press OR Snatches, Squat, Bench, Squat, Power Clean n Press,Deadlift. There are times when I benched and squatted every other day without any shame. I keep getting stronger and bigger, it fits well within my daily physical stress at the steel mill. When its time for that one big lift, I really bring everything to the table.

    1. one lift a day is legit, no doubt!

  7. Awesome Zach,

    I forwarded this to those in my MEDIC/ classmates. Often they just drop training because of the high demand of full-time school/clinicals/and work. And the high stress that comes from odd hours and intense scenarios..I remind them that efficiency is better not more is better.

    I second the post about CC, it teaches you form/progression and how leverages apply to minimalist B/W training so that you can reach maximum results with few exercises properly applied. And the same for your bodyweight book, as it teaches you to use those guidelines to achieve superior bodyweight progression and then incorporate them into higher volume/freq at certain times.

    Also I like Pavel’s Naked Warrior book.
    Makes me wonder why I do hundreds of burps every day? But hay, we gotta start somewhere.

    Thanks, I need these kicks to the face!! After all Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results 🙂

    1. Your prowess of Burpees is inspiring to me and something I will work on! VERY impressive, Brandon!

  8. Just started back with the minimalist approach Zach, and loving it already.
    I’m a bit of a frequency junkie, couple that with normally training full body, or upper/ lower splits, and being the manager of a team of PT’s and you’ve got a lot of stress going on.

    Had my first minimal training session last night –

    Heavy deads
    Front squat loaded Lunges
    DB rows

    Woke up this morning feeling immense!
    Always love reading your stuff Zach, keep it up bro

    1. Thnx, Bro and GREAT workout. NO more than 4 exercises!

      1. Thanks Coach,

        Funny thing, did them in the Seals/Service, but never thought much about them. Then I had to spend about 5 months in confinement in a hospital. I began slowly rebuilding my strength. With an IV PIC line still in my arm, in the middle of the night, I would drag my body out of bed, began by doing baby pushups, then I soon was once again able to stand. Then I built from there, sneaking in Workouts all day , in between nurses cleaning my wounds and surgical sites, them doping me up, and the Docs coming in..
        I built up to doing these burpees all day, with pushups, squats. I think it gave me Solace, allowed me to have something to call my own and forget the tragedy of my fellows not making to the hospital, were I was fortunate to survive. I felt weak, used to be about 50 lbs heavier of muscle, doing pullups with the 50lbs KB, now I could manage one with only Bw.
        But I am getting there, and I really appreciate those like yourself who are out to help others. That is why I am dedicating my second career to medical emergency services-focusing on non-profit work abroad.
        Sorry for the long post, but wanted to say thanks, and KEEP AT IT MAN.

  9. Does your eating plan change at all when you are on a minimalist template? Do you still adhere to the renegade diet?

    1. I would adjust it by lowering calories slightly but truly, go by feel. You might feel hungry and that’s a sign of growth, especially if you were pushing the envelope for a while your body will likely thrive in this minimalist training zone and want more food

  10. Good to see you talking about basics again.
    You’ve kind of turned me off with all the volume stuff you’ve been talking about the past several months.
    I know it has it’s place, especially for elite athletes. And the great thing about the Iron Game is the various different options and routes you can go to make gains, adapt to your needs and just have fun.
    But for ME now, especially with me starting a business and a baby on the way, time is valuable and volume training is not something I can relate to as this point.
    Good stuff Zach!

    1. Jarett, Volume training for me is more about cultivating the warrior spirit and pushing the envelope, not so much about elite athletic training

      Congrats on the baby!!! Will be life changing on many fronts for sure!

  11. Very interesting series of posts. I have a question, do you recommend workouts only 3 days in a week with no cardiovascular workout in between?

    1. Vinnie, full days of rest I suggest

      Or, train one day, short sprints next day, day off, or every other day training w/lifting / strength then sprints the other workout

  12. It has been quite some time since I last visited this forum. Thanks for your reply, which appears to be very interesting.

    How do your suggest for the short sprints, how many repetitions and how much distance to be covered in a single rep?

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