Monthly Archives: October 2014

One sided?

Are you a one sided?

Bilateral training is where you use both limbs to support the weight and perform the exercise, barbell bench press or seated leg press for example. This form of training is common practice in many gyms.

This type of training yields excellent results in the form of strength and size but can also lead to a large strength deficit between your dominant and weak sides, over time this can result in injury.

Is there any way you can prevent this? Yes is the answer, and it is called unilateral training.

Unilateral training involves using individual weights in each limb such as dumbbells, cables etc. This form of training is great for evening out muscular and strength imbalances between your dominant and non dominant sides.

There is a place for both styles of training, when combined they will provide excellent gains in strength, size, balance and coordination, I would recommend having both in your training program.


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Plateau Buster

I have a little tip for everyone that will not only help increase size, strength and lean muscle mass, it will also give you a reason to rest for at least 5min!

Heavy Eccentric Training with a Drop Set and a Plyometric Exercise.
This is an excellent way of recruiting the all the high threshold fibres in your muscles that tend to be neglected.

I suggest using 110%-120% of your 1 rep max for this, then lower the weight as slowly as possible 10seconds+ is good, you will need a spotter or two to help you get the weight back up.

Once the weight is back in the rack, strip the weight down to 80% 1RM and do as many reps as possible. The eccentric portion of the lift will be 4-6 seconds and the concentric will be as explosive as possible.

Your last part of this set will then be a plyometric movement, aim for 3-5 full power reps. Focus on pure acceleration on the concentric part of the movement, and trying to generate as much force as possible. (If possible start from the bottom position of the movement you’re doing.)

The above can be hard to picture so here is an example:

Bench Press (bar) – 1rep – @120% – Eccentric focus.
Bench Press (bar) – 5-8rep minimum – @80% – Eccentric 4-6sec, concentric 2sec.
Clapping Press Up – 3-5rep – Concentric focus on maximal force production, starting from the bottom position, or even a deficit. (Getting as high as possible off the floor.)

3-5 total sets are all that is needed.

This will help you bust plateaus.


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So many questions…

So many questions and so little time to learn all the answers.

A common problem for those who seek that which can’t be found, except for those who already know where the answer already is.

I was talking to a young lady yesterday who has the desire to change, but like many she lacks the overall motivation to do it. I noticed a common pattern in what she was asking for, and this got me thinking.

It would seem people always ask and want to be told what to do.

We like being guided, but at the same time we are then able to push the responsibility on to another person, that way if we don’t achieve our goals it’s not our fault. Perhaps it helps by allowing us to think “It’s ok if I fail, it’s not my fault I was only doing what I was told, I didn’t know any better.”…… utterly preposterous twaddle speak says I.

It’s all very well being told what to do, but if we don’t have the drive to continue and push ourselves then what is the point?

I spoke about accountability once before. I stand by my views on that subject, because we have to accept that we are the only ones really in control of what we do or don’t do, what we choose to accept or reject, what we hold on to or what we let go.

This may seem harsh and insensitive, but it’s the simple truth, we can be free of our problems of let them chain us down, it’s our choice.

I have faith in anyone who starts going to the gym or training towards a goal, but, the question is do you have faith in yourself?

If you want to achieve something, go and do it. Don’t get caught up in excuses. Why not try using the advice below to help you alter your mindset and your perception?

– Instead of saying why, Say How?
– Instead of thinking “I can’t…” say “This is how I can…”
– Instead of focusing on the behaviour that hasn’t worked, think about what behaviour will work.
– Instead of giving up on what you’ve not got, realised everything that you have achieved and how much you want your end goal.

Self improvement is not something that happens overnight, nor is it something that ever stops happening. We grown each day, and should always strive to be the best we can be, and it doesn’t matter if your best is different from someone else’s best as long as you give it your all.

Stand up, smile, be proud and never stop wanting more.


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It Depends…

It depends….

This is the mediocrity of the world. This is the person sitting on the fence. This is the famous answer of people not willing to have an opinion.

The funny thing is, this answer is actually a very relevant one.

When it comes to training, nutrition or even health, many of the answers will depend on what people are trying to achieve. True enough people should aim to have a minimum standard of health they should sustain, but what is a minimum standard?

It depends is the best and worst answer anyone can give because of its relevance. I will always have my opinions of training, nutrition etc, and from many they will cause offence, while others will welcome them with open arms.

There is no right or wrong way to achieve anything. You can only experiment and accept there is a need for us to adapt and change what we do to keep progressing.

Try new things, listen to people opinion, have your own opinion and don’t be afraid to change your opinions.

Remember, right and wrong are only a matter of opinion, so who’s opinion is the one to agree with? well, It depends…


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Support System?

Over the past months I have written about various topic concerning fitness, mindset, goal setting and much more. I always speak to as many people as possible so that I can understand what it is that people need, and because of this I have noticed one simple element that is often overlooked.

This basic need that often gets missed can mean the difference between someone achieving their goals, and giving up at the first sign of trouble and even after they achieve their first big goal. What is it?

Support, people just being there.

As simple as this sounds, it’s really not an easy thing to give someone, or even receive.

As humans we find it difficult to receive this kind of help. Although we appreciate peoples words we often don’t feel deserving of them. As a result we give up on our goals once we have enjoyed the euphoria of our initial achievement and parse from our peers.

After the beginning where people give us the standard “Well Done.” or “You look amazing.” many will wait for the negative vibes to pour in from the world. Eventually, this can lead to people giving up with the mind set that everyone will secretly be thinking “I knew this would happen, they’ve done this before.” it’s funny really, we sabotage ourselves.

If you have friends or family who are hitting the gym or a weight watchers style meeting type thing, give them a heart warming well done in the initial stages, but more importantly make it known that you’re there to support them when they need it. We don’t need a constant pat on the back, what many need is just a simple hug or nod so that they know people are there.


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Sample Training Program

As a passionate gym goer I know how frustrating it can be to have no guidance. Today I have decided to write a basic 3 day program for all new gym goers looking to build some decent lean muscle and strength.

Here are the basic requirements to follow:
– The tempo for all exercises if 4-1-2 (Eccentric, Pause, Concentric).
– Rest is 60-90 seconds unless otherwise stated.
– Aim to be finished in under 1 hour.
– No Phones!!

Day 1 – Shoulders/Back/Arms – Monday

Warm Up – 15,12,10,8 of Dumbbell Press/Lat Pull Down – No rest

A1 – Barbell Press 5×8
A2 – Single Arm Row 5×8
B1 – Y-Press 8-12 reps
B2 – Lateral Raise 12-15 reps
B3 – Reverse Fly 15-20 reps
4 Rounds & 3min rest after each set.
C1 – Skull Crusher 4×12
C2 – Overhead Tricep Extension 4×12

Day 2 – Quads/Hamstrings/Calf/Abs – Wednesday

Warm Up 5,4,3,2,1 Back Squat

A1 – Back Squat 6×8
2min Rest after each set
B1 – Deadlift x 5,5,5,3,3,3,2,2,2
2min Rest after each set
C1 – Calf Raise 300 reps
No rest. DO as many rounds as it takes.
D1 – Hanging Leg Raise 8×5
D2 – Gym Ball Crunch 8×12-15

Day 3 – Chest/Back/Arms

Warm Up 50/50 Dips/Chins (Assisted if necessary)

A1 – Flat Barbell Bench 12,10,8,6,4,2
A2 – Seated Row x12 each set
B1 – Incline Dumbbell press 4×12
B2 – Barbell Row 4×8
C1 – Cable Fly 3×12
C2 – Cable Reverse Fly 3×15
D1 – EZ bar Curl 4×12
D2 – Dumbbell Curl x Fail

This basic program will help you ale some solid progress in the gym. I would suggest following it for 4-6 weeks, then take a rest week and begin a new program after your rest.


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Smile & Wave Boys, Smile & Wave.

Are you struggling to push yourself in to doing high rep squats?

If you are, I have the perfect solution for you. It comes in the form of Wave Training.

Wave Training is often done with 3 different rep ranges, such as: 9,7,5 or 7,5,3 and lastly 5,3,2. This will allow you to still keep your weights relatively high while achieving a good amount of total reps, but, you won’t gain the mental toughness of smashing through a set of 8-12 or rip your shorts as I have done multiple times.

What are the benefits of each?

-9,7,3: Total Hypertrophy (Mostly Size Gains with some Strength.)

-7,5,3: Functional Hypertrophy (In my opinion the perfect blend of Size & Strength.)

-5,3,2: Limit Strength (Mostly Strength Gains with some Size.)

When Squatting you’re doing 7,5,3 and your first weight is 100kg for 7 reps, add 2.5kg to the bar and do another 5 reps, then add another 2.5kg and do 3 reps. You have no extra rest during the working set, you only use the time required to load the extra weight on to the bar.

Once that is done rest 90sec-3min. You will repeat this starting not he second weight from the previous set so your weights would go as follows:

Set 1
7 -100kg
5 -102.5kg
3 -105kg
Set 2
7 -102.5kg
5 – 105kg
3 -107.5kg
And so on.

2-5 sets of Waves will often be enough to smoke event he most conditioned athlete. I would advise 2 warm up waves and then your working sets.

This will help you break through not only your plateaus but also your boredom, so smile and wave.


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Does height make a difference?

Today’s post will be short and simple, like Tom Cruse.

I apologise for that shameless jibe at Mr Cruse, I actually happen to like his acting, but the fact that he is merely half the size of the average woman brings me perfectly to my topic of discussion.

Do smaller people have an advantage when it comes to lifting weights?

In short… Yes. Their angles and proportions are better suited for lifting , and as a result the movements seem to come easier when compared to their lankier counterparts.

If you were to watch a person over 6foot squat it might not be the prettiest sight to behold, but watching a person who is closer to 5foot or shorter will seem almost magical.

I often see people trying to copy the movements performed by others, yet they fail to take into account the difference in height and body structure. This is why some exercises just don’t work for some people.

It is worth seeing how you measure up on the scale. This will allow you to select the best exercises that suit you. For example: A tall lifter with long femurs will benefit from using a Sumo style Deadlift as it will not place as much stress on the lower back, where as a person with shorter femurs will prosper from using a Conventional style because it will allow them to drive their hips through faster.


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Training Age. Are you Mature?

Have you ever heard of such a thing called Training Age?

This the reason you will see people out lifting you 9/10 times. It may seem confusing, but it’s actually quite simple.

Training age is exactly what you think it is: How long someone has been training. If we were to have two people of different training ages but the same physical age compared there would be noticeable difference in strength and neural output.

A person who has a training age of lets say 5 years will have built a decent level of lean muscle, strength and neuromuscular control, compared to someone who has only been training for 1 year. Obvious right?

However this is where this simple concept can baffle some people, how? Because sometimes it can be hard to grasp how people much younger than ourselves can be phenomenally stronger. This is where they will have a training age that far surpasses our own. Even though we get naturally stronger as we move into our prime it is not uncommon for someone who at 30 years old with 1 year training age to be out lifted by a 20 year old with a training age of 3-4years.

It’s worth remembering this when you’re looking at not only other people in the gym, but also the models on cover magazines, athletes, pro body builders and your peers, they have been training for years to develop the strength or aesthetic look they have, as much as they might have liked it over night.

So the next time you find yourself envious of what someone has, it’s worth remembering that chances are they’re older than you in terms of their training age. If they happen to be one of these few rare people in the world that just have it all, you have my permission to make them laugh while they are squatting so they get stuck at the bottom.


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Squat till you drop: Part 3

Today is the third and final part of my squat series. I will be informing you about the affect squatting has on your nervous system.

In the first post I mentioned the weight %, sets and reps. These will serve as your guide for your goals. Lets start with Total Hypertrophy first.

Total Hypertrophy: Using the %’s, sets and reps describe you will find that your nervous system will have recovered within around 1 day, so as a result you will be able to get in a second session of a similar volume and intensity to stimulate muscle growth. This is ideal for beginners and I would advise using it for 12-18 months, the reason being is that your body will build a decent amount of solid muscle and a strong base of neural connections, and further more it will also help your nervous systems tolerance.

Functional Hypertrophy: This is where training gets interesting, because the weight % is heavier, the reps have dropped, but the sets have gone up. Your nervous system will be more fatigued and as a result I would advice 48hour between sessions, which means that if you squat Monday then Thursday will be your best bet, and then again on Saturday (Potentially). I would start Monday using 75% 1RM, Thur 80% 1RM and Sat 85% 1RM. I would suggest sticking with this style for at least 18month or so and cycling your %, this will allow better neuromuscular adaptation and lead to the most fun part of training.

Total Strength: Ok this is where things begin to contradict themselves, because to even contemplate training at this level you’re training experience will be at least 5 years. To achieve this style of strength you will be squatting on the same three days (Mon, Thur, Sat), but you will be likely to be doing double sessions, the first would be based around high % of 1RM and the second would be technique and speed. Once you reach this level of training I high doubt you will be reading what I write because you will be old enough and wise enough to know your body and how it works.

If your thinking achieving 5 years of training experience is excessive then I apologise, but that’s the way it needs to be. Specific techniques can be very taxing and lead to injury if you’re not ready for them.

Try and use some common sense guys.


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