The 7 Phases of a World Class Workout System
How a systematic approach to your workout can reduce injury, improve flexibility and balance, and make you REALLY strong.
By intelligently structuring your workout with a system you can create whole body gains with nothing but your body, a pull-up bar, a pair of rings, and some mental grit.
If you want to get fancy you can incorporate parallettes, resistance bands, and a single large weight.
We’ll come back to “systems” in more detail but first, let’s start with the big picture.
The Big Picture: Total Fitness, Total Health
At the very core of what we’re presenting is we want the best for all athletes out there – moms staying fit, business warriors, hybrid and competition athletes alike.
We want you to look, feel, and perform your absolute best.
And to do that, we’d like to offer you an expanded view of how to structure your workouts.
In our view, the goal of a workout system isn’t to just to get you sweating and tired. The goal is to improve your physical fitness across all categories and promote an overall healthy lifestyle.
But before we get there, we need to take a little detour, through the 4 Pillars of Performance so you can understand the BIG picture of what creates real gains in fitness and strength.
Each pillar has its own protocols and methods that work together to create the best results. The pillars then combine into a total training system for dramatically improved results. There’s certain methods for an optimal workout mindset. There’s other methods for optimal recovery, and so on.
This distinction between systems and methods is important, so we even put it in a little box:
Look, you can find tons of trainers and online videos that drone on and on about methods for building strength. It’s like having words without knowing how to make a sentence.
For the best results, the method needs to be integrated into a system. Is your body warmed up? How many sets/reps? How much rest between workout days? Lift heavy or light? How long? Etc.
We’re going to break all of this down into The 7 Phases of a World Class Work Out, but let’s look at these big picture pillars first.
The 4 Pillars of Performance
The whole point of a systems approach is to maximize your benefits, your actual measurable gains, however you want to define them. And to do that, there are 4 key areas to address:
“Whether you think you can or can’t, either way you’re right” -Henry Ford
Everything starts with the attitude we bring to our training.
There is a massive difference between half-assing your way through a workout just to check it off your list of “things you’re supposed to do” and showing up fully, giving your entire self to push the limits of what you think your body can do.
This is the difference between improvement and stagnation.
And for better or worse, it’s all in your head.
Fortunately, this attitude rubs off. From your family, coworkers, coaches, anyone you spend time with – including the people you train with.
Excellence is contagious.
Surrounding yourself by an inspired and inspiring community, is THE best way to cultivate a powerful mindset.
Aim to train with individuals who push you to be the best possible version of yourself. People who won’t settle for anything less than your best possible effort, who put your growth before your comfort.
We believe that how you do anything is how you do everything.
It transforms your whole life.
When you train for excellence physically, you promote excellence everywhere else: your career, relationships, creativity, sex, joy, purpose, fulfillment.
Start with an excellence mindset, aim for mastery and your possibilities are endless.
The food you eat has a tremendous impact on every aspect of your life. From your energy levels to your mood to the clarity of your thought.
Your physical performance is no different. If you want to see the best results from your workout, your fuel is a foundational piece of your progress.
An organic diet high in protein, healthy fat, lots of organic vegetables and minimal carbs sets the stage for optimal performance – in training and in life.
There is more to this than meets the eye.
Your repertoire of movement should build balance, coordination, mobility, strength, and stamina. One dimensional training produces one-dimensional results – a method that sets the stage for fragility, injury, or stagnation.
There are many systems out there that meet these criteria and they all have their value. Ours is based on the time-tested tradition of calisthenics – bodyweight training.
After witnessing several devastating injuries (and a few close calls ourselves) in other fitness systems, we set out to create a complete, whole-body training system that met specific criteria:
- Minimal risk of injury
- Maximum gains in strength
- Works across all skill levels
- Develops balance, mobility, coordination
- Minimal equipment requirements
- Develops functional movement for whole-body fitness
Our search to meet these criteria took us back to the basics of physical fitness: calisthenics
Calisthenics comes from ancient Greece – the same civilization that created the foundations of our political systems, modern science, math, medicine, and musical theory.
Turns out they also worked out the keys to optimal physical training.
Calisthenics is the democratization of fitness and strength training: Available to anyone. Works for everyone. Hurts no one. Highly effective. Decidedly practical.
And along with medicine and science and the other seeds planted by the Greeks, it has evolved and grown into a formidable system of complete fitness.
In our modern go-go-go time-crunched stressful modern lives, recovery is perhaps the most underrated aspect of training.
It seems counter intuitive, but without proper recovery you can actually impair your progress, imbalance your system, and set yourself up for injury.
What we teach goes way beyond stretching and resting. It will amplify your results and get you stronger faster.
System vs Method
So let’s come back to this idea of systems and how it helps you make the most of your workout.
A method is a specific way of doing things.
It’s a technique. A procedure. A protocol.
Methods are helpful and have their place, but relying solely on a specific method leaves you vulnerable.
Let’s say your method of training is a weight training machine: bench press, shoulder press, laterals, etc.
How often does real life offer you precise, controlled movements in straight lines? Not very often.
In real life, you encounter situations that require movement and strength at strange angles on uneven ground.
Very different environments than the tightly controlled situations you trained in.
And you will be vulnerable. Inflexible. Weak outside a narrowly defined special circumstance. Faced with a context outside the bounds of your method, your “strength” doesn’t mean very much.
Systems, on the other hand, are dynamic. They involve multiple parts, multiple methods coordinating together and interacting.
Systems are resilient. Systems adapt to changing circumstances.
Systems allow for the integration of different parts – different methods – into a complex whole greater than the sum of its parts.
A lot like life.
So what does this look like in a workout?
7 Components of a Total Workout System
Here’s how we breakdown our system:
Preparation and Mobility → Strength Warm-Up → Strength/Power Training → Energy/Stamina → Stretching → Regeneration
It seems simple, even a little obvious.
The strongest, most dynamic systems usually do.
“Everything must be made as simple as possible. But not simpler.”
― Albert Einstein
The beauty of this framework is within each phase, each element of the system has endless possibilities. There are infinite combinations of movement and exercise (i.e. methods).
This keeps your training from becoming stagnant and boring.
It enables you to explore a whole range of methods, movements and workouts.
The mind and the body are deeply interconnected – this truth is at the core of yoga, martial arts, and every other mind-body discipline, including our system at Mekanix. The more movement you explore, the more you strengthen and expand your mind at the same time.
This system creates an ideal environment for serious strength and performance gains.
Let’s take these elements one at a time.
- Preparation: If your body was frozen piece of meat you wanted to cook into a delicious meal, would you put it directly from the freezer onto the grill?
- Mobility: Next we continue the thawing process, adding a little heat into the mix. We bring in bigger movements to increase temperature, elongate our muscles, and activate the nervous system – where the body and mind meet. We start slow and gradually ramp up the intensity to get our body loose, energized, and in a state to handle some more intense physical work.
- Strength Work Warm Up: Now that we’re all thawed out, it’s time to get cooking. Here we begin with a lighter set of strength work focusing in on the muscles we are going to work on in this set. This gets more blood and oxygen flowing to this specific area – priming the muscles for the more intense strength-building work.
- Strength/Power Training: Now it’s time to grill. We use short, intense strength sets with plenty of rest so your muscles fully recover. This is a research-based method creating the greatest gains in strength in the least amount of time.
- Energy Systems Development: A balanced workout for complete, well-rounded fitness also needs cardio work to build stamina. This is the BBQ sauce. It makes the flavor pop, brings us from functional meal to mouthgasm. Cardio balances us and makes us physically more well-rounded. For our workouts, we prefer an approach with complex movements that work the whole body – medicine ball work, for example. However, from a systems perspective just about any cardio work could fit in here.
- Stretching: Now we need to cool down. When you pull something off the grill, you can’t eat it right away. It’s got to settle a bit. Don’t underestimate this part. Stretching and mobility work improves your strength gains. There are lots of fancy biology reasons for this, but all you need to know is you will start to feel really good once you start to integrate this piece into your workout system.
- Recovery: All your strength gains from training happen while you are resting. You stimulate in training, but the actual growth only happens while at rest. This is when you regenerate. More exercise after a solid workout can prevent your gains. You need to let your body build itself up. So take a load off, relax, and enjoy your meal.
First, you thaw it.
And that’s exactly how we want to start our workouts.
Our bodies are frozen from sitting at desks all day, from laying in bed all night, from poor posture and bad habits.
We need to thaw it out with gentle warm-ups for integrated mobility by focusing on the stability of the hips, trunk, and shoulders.
So there you go, your personal roadmap to whole body fitness.
Want to See What This ACTUALLY Looks Like in Practice?
CLICK HERE and we’ll send you a detailed flow of one of our workouts, complete with pictures, reps, times, and stretches.
Or if you’re really curious, come on down to the Mekanix gym and we’ll take you all the way through it.
Otherwise, Get your FREE Workout here