Super Simple Stength

Categories: Blog Oct 18, 2021

I once made a video about a super simple strength training program. It was mostly inspired by my relationship with my good friend, Dan John, and my own experience. 

Dan John really shined a spotlight on the human movements: Push, Pull, Hinge, Squat, Carry, Get Up. In my super simple strength program, all you do is “pick 2, then carry or crawl.” You pick two movements, superset them back and forth for ten minutes, getting in the work that you can WHILE maintaining NASAL BREATHING, then you perform a carry or a crawl for ten minutes. It’s twenty total minutes of work that can be split up into two separate ten-minute segments to fit your day. 

The two movements you pick - I like sticking with the Fab Four: Push, Pull, Hinge, Squat - can be bodyweight or loaded; it’s up to you. BUT, you want to try to maintain a steady, constant work effort throughout, resting as little as you need to. So, the loads don’t need to be very heavy, they just need to be challenging. 

For example, you might pick the bodyweight squat for 10 reps and the pushup for 5 reps and stack them back and forth one after another at a steady pace for 10 minutes. Then, or later that day, you might choose to perform a “Goblet Carry” (front-loaded carry chest high) for 10 minutes, or you may decide you want to backward leopard crawl for 10 minutes. 

The carries and crawls DO NOT have to be continuous, without rest. They can simply be done in 10 minutes. For example, You may have 20 yards of real estate and a 50-pound kettlebell. You could perform 10 minutes of suitcase carries by picking the bell up in the right hand and walking for 20 yards and then putting it down. Turn around, pick it up in the left hand and walk back the 20 yards. You put it down on the ends and carry it in the middle. 

You can do the same thing with the crawls. You could leopard crawl for 20 yards, then stand up and walk back the 20 yards. Repeat this for 10 minutes. This is an amazing life-changing drill by the way. It GIVES so much more than it takes. 

For the carries, I like using loads of 20 - 30% bodyweight. Not heavy, but enough to elicit a wonderful reflexive response from the body. 

Now, I know I said Pick 2, then crawl or carry. But, and this is just me, I like to keep the getups on their own, then crawl or carry. So that is a Pick 1, then crawl or carry. But it’s okay if you pair it with any of those other movements. 

You may be thinking this is too simple or simply too light to build a strong and capable body. But the proof is in the doing. If you can churn steady work while nasal breathing for 10 minutes and then perform carries or crawls for 10 minutes while nasal breathing, you’ll build a strong AND resilient body, inside and out. 

Here is an example of what this may look like: 

Day 1: Squats x 10, Pushups x 5 for 10 minutes. Then Overhead Carries x 10 minutes.

Day 2: Kettlebell Swings x 10, Pull-ups x 3 for 10 minutes. Then Backward Leopard Crawl x 10 minutes.

Day 3: Bodyweight Getups, or Formal Turkish Get-ups, for 10 minutes. Then Goblet Carries x 10 minutes. 

Day 4: rest

Rinse and repeat with the same movements, or similar movements, or mix it up. 

There is a lot of gold here to mine if you are seeking it. This is super simple. And it works. But it's also free... Dan John often closes his free offerings with the phrase, “your mileage may vary.” Anyway, If you’re curious, this could give you many miles to come. 

Comments (42)

  1. J-P:
    Oct 18, 2021 at 03:46 PM

    This is really a program that one could do for life. It doesn’t ask much, 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there. It’s not repetitive or boring as one can do different variations of exercises.
    The most important thing is just show up, every day, and do what you can. Consistency is king.
    I’m sure the “industry” cringes when simplicity like this is put out there for the masses.
    Thanks Tim, good work, God bless.


    1. Tim Anderson:
      Oct 18, 2021 at 03:48 PM

      YES! It’s really just about showing up and being consistent!

      Thank you JP!


  2. Marilynn:
    Oct 18, 2021 at 04:06 PM

    I love the simplicity of your offerings. Today was my first day, and I can tell already that this is a "keeper!" Many thanks!


    1. Tim Anderson:
      Oct 18, 2021 at 06:08 PM

      That’s awesome, Marilynn!


  3. Kirby:
    Oct 18, 2021 at 04:08 PM

    I have been keeping on, keeping on for years. Works for me.


    1. Tim Anderson:
      Oct 18, 2021 at 06:08 PM

      I believe.


  4. Brandon:
    Oct 18, 2021 at 04:55 PM

    This is a great compliment to the video! Nobody is better at making the simple even simpler. Thank you Tim!


    1. Tim Anderson:
      Oct 18, 2021 at 06:09 PM

      Thanks for the encouragement, Brandon! Glad this is useful!


  5. Brandon:
    Oct 18, 2021 at 04:55 PM

    This is a great compliment to the video! Nobody is better at making the simple even simpler. Thank you Tim!


  6. Daniel A John:
    Oct 18, 2021 at 05:05 PM

    Well, this is just fabulous. Ah honest...doable...program with all the checkmarks checked. Good job, Tim!!


    1. Tim Anderson:
      Oct 18, 2021 at 06:10 PM

      Thanks, buddy. You’re a great influence.


  7. Edgar:
    Oct 19, 2021 at 01:43 AM

    The ole saying "K.I.S.S." comes to mind on this article. Lol.
    Well done Mr. Tim, mankind likes things difficult but your 'original strength' is a God designed ingenuity we have 'out grown' & most have forgotten & some not payed attention to, how our creator designed us. You have enlightened quite a of few of us to reprogram ourselves to simple exercises from our past.....scriptures do say the old ways are better. Like your ideas on exercises & simplicity to it. Thank you!


    1. Tim Anderson:
      Oct 19, 2021 at 01:52 PM

      Thanks for the encouragement, Edgar. We are wonderfully designed for sure!


  8. Jim Hatcher:
    Oct 19, 2021 at 12:13 PM

    Tim, you have a special gift in the way that you are able to deliver your message's. In written, video or podcast format you always deliver in a manner that is clear, concise and doable. In times like these when we are all held captive to an unforgiving virus, you give us an important opportunity to adapt our physical activity in the simplest of ways. Thank you.


    1. Tim Anderson:
      Oct 19, 2021 at 01:50 PM

      I love you, Jim! Thank you for always inspiring me.


  9. T:
    Oct 22, 2021 at 04:51 PM

    This is a wonderful plan. Finally made the switch to it. Thank you for (re-)introducing this one!


    1. Tim Anderson:
      Oct 22, 2021 at 06:40 PM

      That’s awesome! I hope it serves you well.


  10. Ian:
    Oct 23, 2021 at 04:50 PM

    I recently decided to start including rocking for 10 mins as this is my favourite re-set. I did this session today with 10 mins of kettlebell swings + push ups followed by 10 mins of rocking - what a great session.
    Many thanks for this idea.


    1. Tim Anderson:
      Oct 23, 2021 at 04:56 PM

      Ian, that is a great session indeed! Awesome!


  11. Marilynn:
    Oct 24, 2021 at 06:42 AM

    I have done these for a week. I wish you would add links to tutorials. Is a reverse leopard crawl with navel point up? That sure works the triceps, which would be a counter to the pull-ups. I can't find this exercise, so please clarify and thank you!!


    1. Tim Anderson:
      Oct 24, 2021 at 04:05 PM

      I hope it’s been a good week! Navel up is a crab crawl. Reverse leopard is a backwards leopard crawl. Moving feet first. If you’ve been doing the crab crawl - that’s brutal!


      1. Marilynn:
        Oct 25, 2021 at 05:04 PM

        Yes it was, Tim! Can't wait to try it "feet first!"


  12. Yanis:
    Oct 31, 2021 at 09:05 AM

    Hi Tim !
    I recently added steel club movements into my repertoire with a 6 kg clubbell. How would you include club moves into the classic 5 movements matrix ? I'd like to include two handed shield cast and intuitively I'd see it as a pulling motion but maybe it doesn't fit at all and I'd be better off adding one or two days a week dedicated to clubs. Both ideas might also work !
    I would love to have your thoughts on this :)


  13. Tim Anderson:
    Oct 31, 2021 at 05:32 PM

    I think both ideas could work. Or, you could even combine them or swap them with carries and crawls as well.


  14. Marcel:
    Nov 06, 2021 at 07:59 AM

    Hi there,
    first of all I want to say I really like the workout. You know what to do and you can clear your mind. A question about the repetitions or rounds. Is it important to track them? And what would a progression look like? Sorry for my bad english, i'm from germany.


    1. Tim Anderson:
      Nov 06, 2021 at 04:34 PM

      Hey Marcel!

      You don’t have to count your sets and reps if you don’t want to, but you can count them if you want to try to measure progress. If you do count them, you can train for escalating density - trying to meet or best the amount of sets and reps you were able to perform each time you show up to train. Eventually, you will hit a lid, but that’s okay! That’s when it’s time to add load, or change a variable, and restart the process. I hope this helps!


  15. Christian Stursberg:
    Nov 19, 2021 at 03:28 PM

    Thank you, Tim for sharing that. This is so great and amazing!
    I really should try it in the future. In my mind, it would perfectly fit in my daily schedule. So simple & easy.

    But, like always, I've got three little questions. ;-)

    1) Would that schedule fit with the "Daily 21s"?
    2) If I had on a few days more time, could I add a third section of "conditioning or core work"? For core, hanging Cross Crawls & Deadbugs for 10:00 or Elevated Rolls for 10:00, etc. For conditioning, Tire Strikes for 10:00 or Battle Rope for 10:00, etc
    3) The fourth day is rest day. Could I use it as an active rest day and go for a light ruck march or an easy run for 20:00 to 30:00?

    Again, thanks a lot.

    Best, Chris


  16. Tim Anderson:
    Nov 19, 2021 at 03:46 PM

    Hey Chris, One answer for your Three questions: yes


  17. Frank:
    May 19, 2022 at 05:25 PM

    Hi Tim, thank you for this article.

    Just two quick questions:

    - can we choose two movements that are both upper body or lower body dominant (e.g. pushup/inverted row one day, squat/single leg RDL the next)?

    - is rest on the fourth day mandatory, or can we keep training like this basically every day?

    Thank you very much!


  18. Tim Anderson:
    May 20, 2022 at 12:17 AM

    Hey, Frank

    Yes. You can choose two upper or lower body movements. And yessir, this could be done every day if desired


  19. Brent:
    Jun 21, 2022 at 05:00 PM

    Tim, this looks awesome. OS has done more for my back pain than anything else I have ever tried. Thank you for that. I just recently read Performance and I am curious if there is a way you would suggest combining this format and structuring it around the performance grid?


  20. T:
    Aug 22, 2022 at 09:25 AM

    Hi Tim,

    This program really stands out. It is excellent in all it's simplicity. Thank you for sharing it! I do have a question, though (there's always one hehe).

    How would you introduce accessory movements to the program? For example, before pull-ups I like to do some scapular pull-ups and hanging to wake up my shoulders. Before push-ups I like to do a plank. Before squats I like to do hamstring work. You get the idea. Have you used this program or something similar that has a short, dedicated space for accessory work?


    1. Tim Anderson:
      Aug 23, 2022 at 12:56 AM

      Hey T, I think it’s okay to do just as you suggest. I often “press reset” before I pick my two movements. So, you could press reset or warm-up with your accessory preparation movements before engaging in the training portion of your routine. 10 minutes of accessory prep, 10 minutes of pick 2, 10 minutes of carry or crawl and you’re still only 30 minutes in. Not too bad sounding to me.


  21. Gerd:
    Nov 08, 2022 at 04:56 PM

    Hello Tim, I stumbled across the blog by accident. I've read your book reset before but sorry for forgetting to use it again. Well, no matter, I came back to the OS and I think the plan is a great. as a warm up i will use the resets you showed at os and easy strength. thanks for you ideas


    1. Tim Anderson:
      Nov 08, 2022 at 05:00 PM

      I’m just glad OS is helpful to you! Thanks so much for writing in.


  22. Ted:
    Feb 07, 2023 at 01:29 PM

    10 minutes of leopard crawling... or any of the other movements/carries you mention here: is an accomplishment of and by itself.

    Anyone who can get to that - the entry point for your program - is already doing amazing!

    Thank you for this. Definitely a goal of mine, now.


    1. Tim Anderson:
      Feb 07, 2023 at 03:36 PM

      You can do this Ted! Just show up often and be curious.


      1. Ted Marcus:
        Feb 07, 2023 at 06:32 PM

        Greetings from Jerusalem!
        How lovely that you respond here. I'm grateful to all that you've done with OS.

        Actually, I know that i can "do this". When i first started with OS (as a recovery for S&S) - i almost lost my front teeth and my nose trying to leopard crawl. i humbly started to baby crawl - following Aleks's "9 minute challenge" - and eventually I got faster than [some] of my grandchildren....
        Fast forward a few months... I can do a minute at a time of leopard crawling, but only 2 minutes per session. And I'm pretty proud of that.

        In another 6 months, I plan/hope to be at 10 minute sessions.
        All the best,


        1. Ted:
          May 22, 2023 at 11:15 AM

          Actually.... not working out so well. I have an arthritic big toe which has temporarily curtailed my crawling :(


          1. Tim Anderson:
            May 22, 2023 at 06:36 PM

            Sorry to hear about the toe, Ted. A cranky big toe can certainly stop you in your tracks. I hope it soothes down soon my friend.


  23. Tim:
    May 22, 2023 at 07:06 AM

    Hi Tim. I've been doing a variation of this program post a rather grueling strength program and am getting some fabulous results. Working on a six day routine of swings/push/pull plus carries and get ups plus crawls with sprints or easy cardio on days 3 and 6. Haven't felt fitter or looked better in a long time. Mining gold indeed. Thanks Tim.


    1. Tim Anderson:
      May 22, 2023 at 06:37 PM

      This is fantastic! Love your plan. I too get in sprints twice a week. That’s another bit of the “secret sauce!”
      Keep up the good work buddy!


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