Monthly Archives: February 2018

Front Squats FTW!

Struggle with squats?
 
You’re not alone.
 
Morning All,
 
When it comes to squats there are many ways to learn how to do them, my favourite two are as follows:
 
– Goblet Squats
– Front Squats
 
They keep you honest and will teach a natural movement patterns that perhaps the standard squat won’t (barbell back squat).
 
Especially front squats.
 
The most common issue is usually depth, people do some form of hybrid good morning/half squat – please note this is not and never will be a squat – if this sounds like you Id advise you stop doing them immediately.
 
Funnily enough the cause for the poor squatting form mentioned above is often circuit classes, body pump and things of a similar ilk.
 
Don’t get me wrong, classes are great for getting people motivated, however for learning good form and making progress they’re far from ideal.
 
Just saying.
 
You might be thinking that front squats hurt your wrists when you do them, if this is the case then I suggest that you’re holding the bar incorrectly because you probably are.
 
Yep, the fault is on you.
 
There is the option of a crossover grip, however I wouldn’t personally advise this as it’s not optimal for performance or safety.
 
If you jump on google and type in ‘Improve Front Rack Position’ you’ll find endless articles that tell you essentially the same things.
 
– Higher elbows
– The bar rests on your front deltoids
– Improve mobility in lats/upper thoracic spine
 
Do some digging, it’s worth it.
 
The front squat also keeps you humble because you can’t really cheat it, you either lift with solid/safe form or you don’t make the lift – most of the time.
 
Here is a great little resource –
 
 
Now go, start working on that squat.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

3 Quick ways to build grip strength.

A strong grip is one of the signs of not only a healthy body but also a healthy nervous system.
 
Performance is also improved by your grip strength too.
 
Here are some easy methods to use to build your grip strength.
 
1 – Towel Pull Ups
 
Chuck a towel over a bar and off you go. Aim for as many eps as possible.
 
2 – Fat Grip Deadlifts
 
You can either buy some fat gripz or wrap a towel around the bar to thicken it up and start lifting.
 
Sets of 3-5 until you lose speed is optimal for this exercise.
 
3 – Farmers Walks
 
A classic that has stood the test of time. You can do this with dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, plates, anything you can hold on to.
 
Simply hold the weight and walk until you can’t go any more, put said object down, rest then walk it back.
 
Do that 2-3 times a week and watch your grip strength soar.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Easier than you think.

What training should you be doing?
 
The answer is simple, or complex, I guess it all comes down o what you want.
 
Morning All,
 
Training isn’t hard, not really.
 
The main aim of it is to elicit an adaptive response so that you become stronger, more conditioned and improve your overall longevity.
 
That’s it.
 
What is so hard about that to achieve?
 
Well, quite a lot actually. Especially if you’ve been indoctrinated in to the thought process of the masses which is rarely conducive to YOU making progress unless you’re happy being a part of the mediocrity that is.
 
From my experience, people get confused as to what is best.
 
This is fair enough, with all the potential avenues to take, and by the way, they all work, it can be hard to find just one path to follow.
 
Guess what though…
 
You don’t need to follow just one, honestly, you don’t.
 
That is UNLESS you have a specific goal, say becoming a pro bodybuilder, then your path is already set before you in the down trodden grass of all those before you who chose to walk the same path.
 
What’s that?
 
There is no ‘one size fits all program’ – this is true, yet you’ll find all the people that have done what you have yet to even contemplate to achieve the goal you desire have all followed smithing that looks remarkably similar, trust me, you’re not as unique as you think you are.
 
Now let us say you don’t have a specific goal and just want to ‘lose some weight and get fitter’ – you’re not alone, as such here is an option for your consideration.
 
Run a 3 session rotation, this can be done as 3 days on 1 days off, 2 on – 1 off – 1 on – 1 off – repeat (this is optimal), or even just done three days per week if that’s all the time you have.
 
The sessions you will want are as follows:
 
– Skill
– Strength
– Conditioning
 
What do these consist of?
 
Here’s an example:
 
Skill = Learning something, perhaps the quick lifts (clean & jerk, Snatch, Kettlebell sport, gymnastic skills such as hand balancing and so on).
 
Strength = You lift heavy things and aim to cover the full complement of human movement patterns: Push-Pull-Squat-Hinge-Loaded Carry, could be all on the same day, or you might do an anterior chain/posterior chain split, endless options really.
 
Conditioning = Lung pump, the most horrible of pumps.
 
All joking aside, this would be in regards to improving your VO2 Max, aerobic capacity, endurance and locomotive abilities.
 
We can go on all day about what people ‘could’ be doing or perhaps even ‘should’ be doing with all the science and proof to go with it as to WHY it will work, however it’s been done to death and honestly, I just can’t assed anymore.
 
When you’ve spent a lifetime trying to help people learn and find the way, you gain a certain omnipotence to deaf ears & biases.
 
People often only want to hear what they want to hear, never what they need to hear.
 
As such if you have any questions leave them below.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

An Odd Lift for epic results.

The Bent Press.
 
Have you heard of it?
 
 
Here is a quick video to show you.
 
The world record in the bent press is 371 lbs by Arthur Saxon, but there were unofficial reports of him bent pressing 409.5 lbs.
 
This movement requires not only strength, it also requires mobility/flexibility, as strong core, coordination and skill to master.
 
Once you nail this movement you’ll find it does wonders not only for your lifting numbers and overall strength, it’s great for shoulder health too.
 
A solid way to program this is to use the ‘Ladder Sets’ sequence as described by Pavel Tsatsouline in his book ‘Enter the Kettlebell’.
 
^^ I would buy or download this book for more detailed info on what I will outline below.
 
There are of course other methods, however this one works especially well.
 
Here is what to do –
 
Start off doing 1-2-3 (that’s one rep each arm, then two, then three before resting) for three total rounds.
 
Next session add a 4th round while keeping the reps at 1-2-3 and sticking with the same weight you used.
 
Next session add a 5th round, this is as high as it goes for rounds, still use 1-2-3 for now.
 
After you’ve started doing 5 rounds start aiming to build up to doing 1-2-3-4×5, then 1-2-3-4-5×5 – when you can do 1-5×5 with good form and plenty left in the tank it’s time to increase the weight and start back at 1-2-3×3 or even 1-2×3 if you take a large jump in weight.
 
^^ I’d do this movement with kettlebells and take half pood jumps (8kg increases).
 
Add this to your training and rep the rewards of strength, mobility and above all else, challenge.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

‘AND’

I’m sure you’ve heard of this classic phrase –
 
“Quality & Quantity”
 
Notice that whenever it is uttered there is a key word that isn’t changed.
 
– AND –
 
Meaning you need both elements to be successful in a chosen endeavour.
 
It’s never been ‘quality or quantity’, that’s just illogical.
 
This is where you find people who champion one or t’other don’t seem to make much headway, essentially because they’re missing 50% of the equation, that’s a lot to miss.
 
Let us look at nutrition for the example –
 
We can all agree that for optimal health you need a high quality of foods, right?
 
Now there are plenty who say that the quality of food is all that matters and while I personally agree quality it a high priority for a lot of people, the quantity needs to be addressed as well.
 
This being said….
 
If you address the quality you will find the quantity drops as a happy side effect because you can only consume so much nutrient dense, high quality food before you start to feel uncomfortably full.
 
Now this type of food would be things such as lean meats, vegetables, fruits, essentially non-processed or man-made/store bought foods.
 
So things such as peanut butter/nut butters wouldn’t be in here.
 
Despite what the media may say, they’re not that great for you because they can easily be over consumed leading to quite a large calorie surplus, thus no potential shift in body composition or weight.
 
The thing with such thoughts is that is goes against people principles, values, beliefs and biases, which is often he case what ‘best practice’.
 
People want what they want.
 
As such they will see out things that confirm what they want (bias), then wonder why they still look the same or worse than they used too.
 
You can also think of this in terms of ‘Product & Production Capacity’.
 
Product – what you want.
 
Product Capacity – what you must do to achieve/sustain the desired product.
 
Yep, to achieve a specific goal you have to do and then adhere to specific criteria.
 
Of course you can let it revert, however you will then forfeit the basic principle of specificity and get something different in return. This is what you may consider a fundamental law.
 
So tell me, how much of the above do you think about & more importantly, how much of the above do you apply?
 
Leave your thoughts/questions below.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

What’s old can be young again

You can’t stop the hands of time.
 
Eventually you will become old, withered and grey, or bald.
 
You can however delay the degradation of your body by lifting weights and making optimal nutrition choices.
 
Take some time and think.
 
Do you want to be 75+ and always in constant pain, with little to no ability to move and do things for yourself or do you want to be one of the 75+ that can still get out and about on their own and have the quality of life they did in their 50’s?
 
Regular training (lifting weights & cv work) will help, this is because if you don’t give your body a reason to stay healthy, it won’t.
 
It’s the whole ‘use it or lose it’ concept.
 
Funnily enough it’s quite an important one to keep in mind in regards to your body and ability to live an active life.
 
I’ve been lucky enough to work with a wide range of clients.
 
The biggest changes and appreciation of them comes from those in their later years of life 65+.
 
Why?
 
Simple, it gives them back a little of what they’ve lost.
 
I wish I could help them get it all back, however the damage was already done from years of neglect, sad yet true.
 
If your goal is sport, competitions or anything else, great, fill your boots, however give some forethought to the future and your body to come.
 
Here are five key points to remember that happen to us as we age:
 
(based on a typical untrained elderly person)
 
1 – Tonic muscles get shorter and tighter
2 – Phasic muscles get weaker (especially in the *PKC)
3 – Bone density goes down
4 – Resting heart rate elevates
5 – Your hormones are less than optimal
 
*Posterior Kinetic Chain
 
You can address these points in the following way (like today, don’t wait)
 
1 – Have a daily flexibility/mobility routine
2 – Kettlebell swings, loaded carries, Get Ups 2-5x P/W
3 – Lift weights 2-3xP/W, focus on compound movements
4 – Daily cardio can be useful, not HIT, simple LISS (walking)
5 – Nutritious food & some extra supplements daily
 
Now this is of course a massive topic to delve in to, however if you do the above, with a focus on health, movement and longevity – as opposed to being a gym bro or gym bunny, you’ll set the foundations for long term health.
 
Just because we get older it doesn’t mean we have to get old.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Some more quick thought on variability

Morning All,
 
Last week I mentioned variability.
 
More importantly, how it could benefit your training.
 
As such, I have a question – do you vary your sets, reps, rest, frequency & loading?
 
A great many have this answer: No….
 
Fear not, you still have time to change this.
 
Here is what to start off with:
 
– Write down several combinations of sets/reps
 
^^ For now set a rep limit of 50 and under, you’ll easily come up with the combinations, think 5×5, 10×5, 10-8-6-4, etc.
 
– Write down several rest options
 
– Write down several loading options
 
Finally
 
– Write down different frequency options
 
You’ll be surprised how much variety there is.
 
if you’re someone who claims that they want this, then you’ve got a lot of options, however perhaps what you really want is for someone else to do it all for you, give that some thought.
 
Here is one example using a 4 day repeating block and one lift per day.
 
Day 1 – Squats – 10x10x12-15RM
Day 2 – Press – 10x5x8-10RM
Day 3 – Deadlift – 10x3x5-7RM
Rest
Day 4 – Squats – 10x3x5-7RM
Day 5 – Press – 10x10x12-15RM
Day 6 – Deadlift – 10x5x8-10RM
Rest
Day 7 – Squats – 10x5x8-10RM
Day 8 – Press – 10x3x5-7RM
Day 9 – Deadlift – 10x10x12-15RM
Rest – block now repast from first – increase load or change another variable.
 
Pretty simple really.
 
Of course you can do more movements per workout, I sued one lift a day just for the ease of the example, you could pair some super sets for 2 lifts a day, or have 3-4 for a strength circuit, however then things start to get tricky.
 
Take a look at your current training and see if you end up doing the same things day in, day out.
 
I’m guilt you it, are you?
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

3 reasons why you should add Push Press to your training.

1 – It allows you to handle more weight overhead, and even boost your volume in a strict pressing set by adding in a couple of extra push presses at the end.

(Plus it’s less technically than the jerk or push jerk)

2 – You can work on overload eccentrics with it which will have potential carryover to your strict press.

3 – Sporting benefit. The PP is multipoint movement, it has a quarter squat, a jump and a press, very useful for athletic goals.

When it comes to this lift you will find it can make for a great addition to your overhead or pressing sessions.

I would advise doing it first due to the high technical component required, unless you’re doing push jerks as well, in which case do those first, then push press, then finish with strict.

Here are a couple of method for you to try for planning push press 3x per week.

Day 1 – Monday – 50 reps in as few sets as possible
Day 2 – Thursday – 5x2x90%, this is just hard
Day 3 – Saturday – 30/30 (30 sec PP, 30 sec rest), for 30min

I’d chuck in some chins/rows, lateral raises, face pulls as accessory work as well.

Try this with dumbbells, barbell, kettlebells or odd objects, it’s quite fun.

Don’t forget to train legs as well 🙂

Enjoy,
Ross

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Enough or More?

Can you wing it?
 
Yes you can.
 
Morning All,
 
In regards to training you can wing it for the longest period of time, however you’ll reach an impasse eventually.
 
This will be the moment you do one of the following:
 
– Sustain what you have
– Take it to the next level
 
Either is fine.
 
The main difference will be how much effort, attention to detail and time you’ll be willing to devote to training.
 
It’s easier to maintain what you have than it is progress.
 
Taking things above and beyond is hard.
 
Soul crushingly hard.
 
Are you really willing to put in the gumption required?
 
I truly hope you are, because while it will be a struggle and you will want to quite, the result is often worth it, to be immortalised for achieving something noteworthy.
 
No one can take that away once you’ve achieved it.
 
Well, they could because, politics 😂
 
Best not think like that though.
 
Which do you want?
 
What you have or more?
 
If it is the latter then you will need to not only do the above, you will also need to have a solid plan with all the numbers you need to be hitting set out.
 
Give it some thought.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Time to get varied

Variability.
 
An interesting word, especially when it is applied to training, nutrition and many other things actually.
 
What is variability in nutrition?
 
Well, say you know your calorie goal for the day (TDEE), you can vary the foods you consume to hit that goal, you can play with the macros to hit that goal.
 
Essentially you can create daily change to avoid boredom and improve sustainability.
 
Chicken & broccoli everyday?
 
Nope, you can have tuna and broccoli too 🤗😂
 
Many see nutrition as dull and repetitive.
 
Ironically if you look at the most successful they often eat the same things rather regularly, at pretty much the same times too.
 
Now this might be what you need to do, if you have an ultra specific goal, however if that’s not the case then you can vary your food choices and macro splits to your hearts content.
 
Who said nutrition was dull, eh?
 
So now we’ve looked at a brief example of variability in nutrition, it’s time to cover training.
 
We shall take one aspect today to look at.
 
Training time.
 
Many go in at the same time and spend the exact same length of time in the gym, each and every time.
 
Is this bad?
 
Of course not, however it can become monotonous and cause issues with adherence.
 
You don’t NEED to do 60min every session.
 
Being a sentient creature of the world you can vary your training times to your hearts content, here are some examples, say you train 5 days a week:
 
Day 1 – 45min – Heavy Loads
Day 2 – 60min – Moderate Loads
Day 3 – off
Day 4 – 20min – Heavy Loads
Day 5 – 40min – Light Loads
Day 6 – 20min – Moderate Loads
Day 7 – off
 
Get the idea?
 
Breaking away from the dogmatic view that you NEED to be in the gym for a specific amount of time will help you make progress.
 
If you have a set amount of things to get done and you do it in 35min, great, you’re done, now go home.
 
Do what you need to do, no more, no less, just what is required.
 
Perhaps it takes you 75min to get it all done, again this is fine, however perhaps the next time you might chop off a little volume and get in and out in 45min instead.
 
This is of course one element of variability that can be applied in training, we shall cover more soon.
 
Any question, pop them below.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health