Monthly Archives: October 2016
I wrote something similar not too long ago but I had a question from a couple who train together in terms of wanting a very easy workout set/rep range to follow while also not getting bored. Not an easy question to answer if I’m honest, after all, what people find boring is very subjective.
If I had to give some advice to help people around the dull notions of training It would be to use a DUP style of rep/set rotation and train 2-3 days per week covering the following movements: Push, Pull, Squat, Hinge, Loaded Carry* (exercises can be of ones own choice).
The sets/reps would be as follows for a nice simple guide:
Selection A – 8×3 – Heavy
Selection B – 5×10 – Light
Selection C – 6×6 – Medium
As for exercises for each rep range I like to keep it simple:
Selection A – Front Squat, Incline Press, Deadlift, Pull Up
Selection B – High Bar Squat, OH Press, RDL, Chin Up
Selection C – Low Bar Squat, Close Grip Bench, Trap Bar DL, Row
*Loaded carries are great for conditioning, fat loss and much more, You can keep the distance the same and change the weight, the weight he same and change the distance, follow the link for more ideas.:
What I have written above is nothing new or ground breaking, it’s basic but it works for the majority of people for the following reasons:
– Hits muscle groups 3 times per week
– Hit minimum of 100reps rep muscle group per week
– Optimises recovery opportunities
– Stimulates, not annihilates the muscles (better for naturals)
– Staves off boredom
– Allows a simple linear progression with fractional plates (0.25kg)
Try it for 3 months and add small amounts of weight when your form/speed on the bar is solid, so an RPE of 8. Try not to rush the progress, you’ll often find the lifter who lifts the longest often becomes the strongest and makes the most progress in the end.
I would like you to share three tips for improving two lifts that you often see being done incorrectly.
The lifts are as follows:
– Curls (Dumbbell, Barbell etc)
– Pull Ups
Interesting choices of exercises, right. I have given advice and critique on squats, deadlifts and various other large compound movements over they years but there are plenty more that catch my attention and the two above are almost always done poorly.
*Record all your form and you will see what you’re doing wrong, you can also feel free to post it in here for feedback. Don’t be afraid of critique, your ego might get bruised but at least you won’t end up on a GymFails video on youtube.
Here are my tips for these lifts.
Corrections for Curling:
1 – Utilise 80 degree seated curls to help reduce unwanted momentum on dumbbell curls. Keep your body tight and focus on smooth controlled reps with no swinging, tempting as it might be. You can stand against the edge of a wall for barbell curls to help reduce momentum, just make sure your back stays against the wall and your hips don’t creep forwards.
2 – TEMPO TEMPO TEMPO! A decent PT I know used to say “Go slow to grow” to his clients so that they would have a focus on increasing TUT (time under tension) and for isolation movements such as curls I couldn’t agree more. Try using a 6-0-3-0 tempo and just watch how your form improves.
3 – Lighten the load and CONTRACT the target muscle with everything you have, too many people go far heavier than they should on this particular exercise and as a result use momentum and forget to contract the target muscle. Don’t be one of them.
Bonus – Use fat grips or thick bars to get some extra arm gains.
Pull Up Priorities:
1 – Full ROM every rep. This means you start from a dead hang (arms straight) then you pull your chin up and over the bar (ideally try and get your chest to the bar if possible), that’s one rep. A lot of people do half reps and cut short their ROM and the top or bottom end of the exercise, don’t be one of them. If you can only do 2 strict reps in a row that’s okay, just do multiple sets of two.
2 – Stop kipping/flailing, you’re not a salmon. This style of pull up has become popular over the years but unless you’re competing in an activity that allows them then they’re best left out of your training. Avoid this by pausing at both the top and bottom of the pull/chin up (1-2 seconds at each point). It’s also worth keeping your abs braced (as if you’re about to be punched) and pinching your glutes hard, this will also help reduce momentum.
3 – Avoid too much protraction at the top. Yep, it can happen, usually because the person doing the movement hasn’t activated their back correctly and retracted their scapula at the start of the movement, you see it in seated rows as well, the person impressively/unfortunately is rounding forwards in a pulling movement. Rectify this by practicing dead hangs and pulling your scapula back and down – https://www.exercise.com/exerci…/hanging-scapular-retraction – incase you’re not sure what I mean.
Bonus – Improve your pull ups by following Pavel’s GTG – https://docs.google.com/…/1oIB-V4m26GwYkbyw_tSKsQlbxs…/edit…
I know there are plenty more teaching points that can be said for Pull Ups/Curls but those three are the most common I give.
I see lot’s of people trying endless things to shift unwanted body fat and while their efforts are admirable, they sadly lack the intensity necessary to promote a disturbance in homeostasis that will force a positive adaptive change.
How often do you hear of people doing 6+ classes a week or 2-3 classes back to back and perhaps even subjecting themselves to the newest fad diet that has an unhealthy level of calorie restriction and still get no results? Pretty often I would guess.
People get stuck in a routine that eventually fails to deliver results.
The reason people don’t get results can vary but typically it has something to do with effort levels, calorie balance, recovery and training that their body has become too efficient at. I would like to give you a little workout to day that will be completely different from the norm and produce the results you want. If you’re after nutrition guidance then that’s a topic for another day.
Here is what you need to do… Pick up moderate to heavy (remember to be safe) awkward objects and carry them for a select period of time or distance for repeated efforts. This will cause every muscle in your body to work in an inefficient (but SAFE, remember to be safe) way which will force an increased oxygen debt, metabolic disturbance and kick start your fat loss while also improving strength, lean muscle mass and CV health.
Now some guidelines of how to build a workout:
– Hit all the major muscle groups of the body
– Limit training time to 30-45min 3-5 days per week (sometimes less is more)
– Use different objects (more on this soon) to stimulate your body
– Rounds can be up to you – Timed books of 5,10,15min work well, as does setting a distance, say 400m
– Rest as needed (ideally keep it short, say 60-90 seconds)
– Repeat your efforts for optimal results
Below is a workout for your consideration (3 and *5 days):
Monday: Bear Hug Bodyweight Sandbag Carry – 3-5x500m
*Tuesday: Bodyweight Prowler Push – 1 mile, repeat if feeling strong
Wednesday: Off – Foam Roll/Stretch
Thursday: Farmers Walk (half BW in each hand) – 2-4x400m
*Friday: Bodyweight Sled Drag – 1mile, repeat if feeling strong
Saturday: Half to Bodyweight SandBag Shoulder Carry – 3-5x500m
Sunday: Off – Foam Roll/Stretch
What is written above is only a guideline, take the time to have a think about loaded carries and give them a try, after all, what’s the worst thing that can happen? You don’t get results meaning you’re no worse off than you were, or potentially you get great results and learn that change is actually a good thing.
Do you like to read?
I’m sure you like to read because reading helps us grow as people and is one of the greatest ways of gathering years of accumulated knowledge in a very short space of time, pretty amazing, right.
Here are three books that will help you improve not only your training but also your mindset as well.
1 – Eat That Frog – Brian Tracey
2 – Dinosaur Strength Training – Brooks Kubik
3 – The Renaissance Diet – Renaissance Periodisation
These three books will help you in the following ways:
1 – Doing what you NEED to do and understanding what it is.
2 – Simplifying your training for maximal benefit.
3 – Understanding how nutrition actually works.
Aim to read a chapter of each book per day and you will find you start to make sense of a lot of things in the world.
*Bonus Book – The Art of Thinking Clearly – Rolf Donelli – Break free of YOUR logical fallacy.
*Bonus Book 2 – The Art of War – Sun Tzu – It’s just an epic read, plus it’s useful if you’re planning world domination too.
Morning Ladies & Gents,
Sayings such as;
“Train insane or remain the same”
“Pain is just weakness leaving the body”
“You must confuse the body by changing it up every week”
and so on.
While these sayings have a place, they often cause people to overcomplicate things.
When it comes to training there are many opposing views and ironically they are all right because they all work but it can become very confusing. The longer I’ve been training the more inclined to the mantra of ‘less is more’ because there comes a point where you can’t keep adding large amounts of volume/intensity, it just becomes too much to handle. The result is improper recovery and a distinct lack of progress, we seem o forget that rest/recovery is the secret to making some gains, the whole ‘S.A.I.D & G.A.S*’ are often forgotten. That said, a good bit of advice for the majority of people is to try training 2-3xP/W (2-3 big lifts and 2-3 accessory movements hitting all major muscle groups/movements) while keeping a keen focus on adding a tiny amount of weight (as in half a kilo or less), just something to keep in mind.
I’m sure plenty of you know about the following types of set/rep progression:
– Single: Adding weight = 5×12
– Double: Adding reps, then weight = 5×8-12
– Triple: Adding reps, then sets, then weight 3-5×8-12
The use of fractional plates with these styles of progression is a recipe for continued progress. This is a nice simple structure that doesn’t involve in-depth knowledge of Periodisation, Concurrent Programming etc. All you need is some basic movements that you wish to progress on (If training 3xP/W I would create two workouts A/B that contain variations of the lifts and alternate them to avoid boredom but still generate the desired training effect for each muscle group), then stick with them for an extended amount of time and make slow and steady progress by moving through the set/rep progression as needed.
Press Program – 5×8 – hitting all reps and adding 0.5kg until you stall (fail to hit reps with good solid from for 2 weeks or sessions in a row), then take off 5-10% total load and start again using 5×5-8 until you once again plateau. When you hit the next road block drop the weight 5-10% and start using 3-5×5-8.
While only an example you can see the merit in this simple method.
How has your mindset for training changed over the years, how have you grown as a lifter?
*S.A.I.D – Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands – http://www.exrx.net/ExInfo/Specificity.html
*G.A.S – General Adaptation Syndrome – http://www.humankinetics.com/…/understand-the-general-princ…
This post is not intended to scare or discourage anyone, it is here to educate to the hidden nasties of fitness that no one talks about.
Sadly it’s not all sunshine and rainbows as Social Media would have you believe.
Here is typically why people start their fitness journey:
– Feel Happier
– Boost Self-Confidence/Esteem
– Feel More Attractive (both to themselves & the opposite sex)
– Look Great Naked
Now, taking these reasons in to consideration and also my experience working with clients of all ages, these are only ever achieved for a short period of time and in actual fact people end up feeling the following:
– Not Good Enough/Unworthy
– Paranoid of Regressing (Fear of Regression)
There is an immense pressure in our modern culture and the once nobel act of trying to get fitter can lead people to some very dark places and cause these problems:
– Eating Disorders
– Obsessive Behaviours
– Reclusive Behaviour
– Mental Health Issues
– Hormonal Issues
Now those are potential problems that people don’t tell you about that yo really should know. It pains me to say that I have seem all of these and more besiege people and it’s not nice to watch because no matter the help offered only they can break out of that place and find a balance/happiness again. Social Media doesn’t help matters, the fact that ‘natural’ fit-pros sell products left right and centre, train seemingly everyday and live a perfect life problem free is incredibly misleading. Remember Social Media will only ever show you the good, never the whole truth.
As I said above, this is not meant to scare you or deter you from fitness, it’s here to educate you. There are plenty of ways you can train and progress without coming in to these problems and most of them stem from the thought process of “Do what you need to do to progress, not more.”. Here are some quick tips to help you stay the course and be safe:
– Take Your Time
– Have Holidays
– Enjoy Training
– Hire a Coach
– Admire, Never Aspire (you’re you, you’re not someone else, don’t try and be anyone else because you’re you, not them)
If you want a good place to start your fitness journey here are two great places for both guys and girls (ladies you need to lift, men you need to do cardio. lift weights 3xper week and do moderate CV twice per week and you’ll make great progress):
– Reg Parks 5×5 Routine*
– Pavels Power to the People*
*CV – Learn about energy systems and how the body works, that way you can create a CV workout that suits you: http://www.teachpe.com/anatomy/aerobic_respiration.php
Enjoy your training and remember that staying happy is the number one priority.