The Basics Win, Every Time

There is a common trend seen in athletes, trainers, and even the everyday fitness enthusiast. The need to find the newest, most interesting exercise and add it to their training. Even arguable the best basketball player in the world has been bitten by the bug.

“But Lebron does it so it must work!”

This thinking has some serious faults. Most elite athletes are genetic freaks and can still perform in spite of their training. Professional and elite athletes are the epitome of natural selection.

Emulating Lebron, or any athlete’s training videos for that matter, won’t have you doing this….

But this is just good marketing by some trainers, being able to sell you crap and having you buy it.

Brilliant at the Basics

Social media has help feed this monster. It is great for sharing information but instead becomes a popularity contest.

Think about it…what is going to garner more ‘likes’ on instagram? A beautifully performed back squat or balancing on a physioball while using a shake weight??

Instead of trying to find the coolest new exercise we should spend more time becoming brilliant at the basics. We don’t need as much novelty as people think.

Tony Gentilcore says, “People (on both sides of the fence: fitness pros and non-fitness pros alike) seem to be under the impression that fancy or complex is somehow better than simple.”

He also says that this couldn’t be further from the truth. The KISS principle is extremely effective in fitness but is often forgotten

Functional Doesn’t Equal Fancy

There is a common belief that sports and even life is done in a dynamic environment where the surface may change. Let’s think about it, when you run or jump does the ground just deform underneath you?? Probably not. If so, you are putting some impressive forces into the ground.

“Simple things done savagely well” rings true when it comes to exercise. Kneeling on a ball while using a shake weight isn’t the magic pill to being a better athlete. In fact, I’m not sure what that will do for you. Maybe it gives you the option of joining the circus?

Before classifying an exercise as functional, you should consider a few factors.

  • Train the ability to develop and express force into the ground while maintaining efficient postures.
  • Require as much of the kinetic chain as possible.
  • Require creating or controlling movement in multiple planes.
  • Reinforces proper movement and muscle sequencing.

Nothing says that an exercise has to be fancy to be considered fancy. Stick to the basic human movement patterns if you want to remain “functional”.


So before you start copying Lebron’s training methods you need to remember that he, and his professional athlete buddies, are athletic freaks. They would probably still be high performers without some fancy exercise. You on the other hand may have been an average athlete at best like me. The basics, while not flashy, have always worked and will continue to work.