Monthly Archives: March 2018

A different take on Eccentrics.

Morning All,
 
Chances are you’ve heard about lowering a weight slowly and under control when lifting.
 
Have you heard about ‘pulling’ the weight back to the starting position or in to the hole though?
 
Probably not.
 
It may seem like a strange idea however it will help build a lot of strength and serve to increase total body tension in your movements.
 
Here is an example:
 
Press a kettlebell overhead to lock out, stay tense and gripping it tight.
 
From the top you now want to engage your lat hard and star tot PULL the weight down, as opposed to slowly lowering it – think along the lines that you’re trying to do a one arm chin up.
 
At first it will feel weird, however the more you do it the better you’ll get and suddenly you will find yourself becoming a lot stronger.
 
This tactic works well on all movements, especially unilateral ones such as Pistols and Single Arm Press Ups.
 
Here are some books to delve in to to learn more about this (mainly because I can’t remember exactly which book I got it from).
 
All by Pavel Tsatsouline:
 
– Enter the Kettlebell
– Power to the People
– The Naked Warrior
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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Authority or Expert?

“Are you sure about that?”
 
Something you would do well to ask, follow by this –
 
“Great, can you show me how you came to that conclusion.”
 
Basically you’re asking for proof/fact instead of just opinion.
 
However before those two can be asked there is one very important question to be asked.
 
Morning All,
 
Lately I’ve been giving some though to the information that is shared all across the inter-webs and especially who shares it.
 
For simplicities sake we have two main types:
 
Experts & Authorities.
 
Now while you may think they are one and the same, they’re not, in fact they couldn’t be further apart and here is why.
 
Experts = a person who knows almost every detail of a subject inside & out.
 
Authority = a person who the masses will follow and believe wha they say about said subject.
 
Here is an example, think make up adds (stick with it).
 
Let us say that a celebrity is on a TV advert talking about foundation and other make up products, while they may know some tricks of the trade they’re not an expert, they’re only an authority because they will get you to listen/buy the product.
 
However they couldn’t explain the details, for that you’d need the expert – the makeup artist or the creator of the makeup.
 
Authorities are people we think are experts, not experts. Experts are experts. – remember that.
 
In fitness we have a lot of authorities, especially due to Social Media, however a expert is someone you may find in the field practicing their profession or working with people to perfect their craft/understanding.
 
Make sense?
 
The next time you read, listen or speak to someone ask yourself this third question –
 
“Are they an expert or just an authority?”
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Watch your step

“A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.”
 
That quote has never been more true than it is now.
 
In the world of instant information anyone can spout something that ‘sounds right’ and end up causing a lot of potential harm, especially in training/nutrition.
 
To help you avoid falling in to the trap and also of simply searching for what you want to hear keep these points in mind.
 
– Ask the reason why they think as they do.
 
– Request proof of claim where possible.
 
– Believe that what you know is incorrect and seek out more info instead of a single answer to confirm your bias.
 
Remember that everyone can have an opinion or a view on something, however you’re not to confuse these with facts or truth.
 
Just a short post to keep you thinking.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The next big ‘thing’ in fitness

Longevity.
 
I reckon that will be the next big thing.
 
While the aim of being healthy, mobile and abel to live a long and fruitful life has always been a priority to some, it’s not yet mainstream.
 
This is going to change me thinks.
 
Training for things such as strength, aesthetics and other common fitness goals isn’t easy, it requires dedication, accountability and above all else consistency.
 
Longevity on the other hand requires minimal effort, and that my friends is why people will find it appealing.
 
People will want to shy away from the harder stuff and start championing that they are training for longevity, it also helps that people don’t know what it looks like, thus making it easier for people to sell in the upcoming future.
 
In a nutshell here is a guide to it:
 
– Maintaining overall health (regardless of weight)
– Keeping your full ROM (regardless of weight)
– Being strong enough to do daily tasks with ease
– A CV system that allows you to run up stairs, or to the bus
– Keeps you alive past 70
 
All worthy things, however it’s the fact that it has no bias towards look or a numerical achievement that will entice people.
 
Very few want to work hard, many in fact just want to not feel shit about themselves, as such they will search out a group to which they can belong without too much effort and no judgement, seem fair enough to me to want that.
 
We are social creatures, we’d rather belong than not.
 
Give it time, if you’ve watched the trends of fitness you’ll see where I’m coming from with this.
 
Watch this space,
Ross

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Create your very own armour

What’s the best armour to have?
 
Plot armour.
 
Morning All,
 
If you have ever watched any Anime then you’ll understand what that means, if not then I shall explain.
 
*It happens in TV, Films and all stories by the way.
 
Plot armour is essentially what makes a protagonist in a story the protagonist.
 
You’ll see they get a royal trouncing in the early stages, then by miracle of PA they have a last min power boost. Be that achieving Bankai, Ultra Instinct, ‘Final Form’ or The Guyver Gigantic, they always seem to be able to get that extra oomph needed to win.
 
In real life this isn’t quite what happens.
 
It would are great if the louder you screamed it directly correlated with you getting stronger and more badass, however it usually just makes you look like a bit of a pleb.
 
Sometimes and indomitable will just isn’t enough.
 
When it comes to real life we need planning, preparation and a commitment to the grind.
 
Yesterday I mention 5 lifts that people would benefit from doing more of –
 
A1 – Kettlebell Swings 10×25
A2 – Sots Presses 10×1-3
B1 – Front Squats 8×2-3
B2 – Pull Ups 8×4-6 (weighted if possible)
C1 – Overhand Deadlift to Zecher Carry 10×1 + 10-20m carry
 
If you were to follow this for a period of 6 months you’d find you surpass your current limits with these, as such achieving a new form.
 
To us this would be a leaner, more muscular, fitter body.
 
With this new body we will have raised our baseline muscle/strength levels and that my friends, that is our plot armour.
 
We need to think less about hitting the peaks all the time and surpassing them like our Amine counterparts, we need to think about getting close enough to the peak and sustaining it for as long s possible so that we increase our baseline stats.
 
After spending time near the peak (overreaching), perhaps even breaking a limit or two, we then back off and this is where the magic happens.
 
When we back off we will be stronger than we were before, what used to be our bas elf say a 100kg squat is now 110kg.
 
Essentially you’ve gone full Mystic Gohan and widened your base level.
 
Here is a nice little way to think of it –
 
You should be able to walk in to a gym COLD and without any warm up, load 50% of your max on to a bar and smash out 10 reps.
 
This is the greatest lesson in strength I’ve ever received, all thanks to a story Marty Gallagher shared about George Hechter in ‘The Purposeful Primitive”.
 
Time to start building your Plot Amour Me thinks.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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5 lifts that will make you mobile, strong & robust.

The lifts:
– Kettlebell Swings
– Sots Presses
– Front Squats
– Pull Ups
– *Overhand Deadlift to Zecher Carry
 
*If this is just too uncomfortable then a trap bar DL with carry is also a good alternative, or a Suitcase Barbell deadlift with carry.
 
Why these 5?
 
They offer a full complement of power, conditioning, strength, mobility and above all else are not done by many people, as such there will be a lot of room for progressions.
 
Here is an option on how to program these lifts based on training 3 days per week.
 
A1 – Kettlebell Swings 10×25
A2 – Sots Presses 10×1-3
B1 – Front Squats 8×2-3
B2 – Pull Ups 8×4-6 (weighted if possible)
C1 – Overhand Deadlift to Zecher Carry 10×1 + 10-20m carry
 
Add weight when you can complete all reps with solid form, if you want a starting weight use 70% of your max – if you don’t know this then go lighter than you think to allow for longer progression.
 
Repeat this and watch your body change for the better.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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My Anaconda does, does yours?

My anaconda don’t want none unless you got…. A decent amount of concentric and isometric strength held of a definitive amount of time.
 
Buns too.
 
Afternoon All,
 
The term Anaconda Strength was something I came across a fair while ago when reading the wise words of Dan John.
 
This is a great read with a lot of gems – http://danjohn.net/2016/09/hammer-and-stone-training/
 
So in simple terms, what is anaconda strength?
 
As you can imagine it revolves around constant tension.
 
Think about the actual reptile itself, what does it do when it gets in to a tussle with an unfortunate prey?
 
It takes its position, coiling like a spring, then it explosively strikes (think bow & arrow power), then it takes hold, enter the might of the anaconda strength.
 
Inch by inch, centimetre by centimetre, it slowly constricts around its prey get tighter and tighter and tighter, until finally it had no choice but to accept its fate.
 
This style of strength is incredibly useful for grappling sports, general life (carrying things), work (lifting and carrying bits) to name a few uses, it’s not just something for the gym.
 
Isometrics were once seen as the dogs gonads, then they lost favour due to the dramatic elevation in blood pressure they have – if you have BP issues they may be problematic for you.
 
SO what gym lifts can you use to help you build this strength?
 
– Zecher Squat/Deadlifts
– Bear Hug Carries
– Penally Row to Pause
– Deadlifts & Deadlift Variations with pauses
– Pull/Chin ups with pauses
– Front Squats & Rack Walks
– Sled Pushes/Pulls
– Kettlebell Crush/Presses/Hold
 
Anything that requires constant tension or allows you to keep increasing tension little by little.
 
There’s plenty more, those are some examples.
 
You’ve also got what some people call ‘Functional Isometrics’ – you basically take a barbell, load it lightly (or jus use the par), set pin(s) at a point in the rep and drive the bar to that point, then press against the pins as hard as you possibly can, you can set a time per contraction or go until failure, there are reasons for both.
 
How much training do you do around this style of strength?
 
If you look at your split, ideally there should be a balance of extensor work (pushing things away) and pull/holding things close; SHOULD.
 
Give some serious thought in to adding this to your programming, it won’t only make you stronger and more robust, it will also help improve your longevity.
 
Try this little session and see how it makes you feel:
 
A1 – Zecher Squat 3-5×3-5
B1 – Sand Bag Bear Hug Carry – Drop,
B2 – Drag Back – 20m each way, repeat 4-6 times
C1 – KB Crush & Partial Press (eye level) – hold 30sec x8
C2 – Plank, Maximal Tenson 10-20 seconds hold
 
🤗
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Progress = Work for it.

Progress isn’t meant to be easy, it’s meant to be progressive.
 
Morning All,
 
We all want immediate and gratifying results, however most things don’t work this way.
 
Take lifting for example.
 
This protocol will help you get strong:
 
2×5 – 1x5xdaily 5RM, 1x5x90% of that daily 5RM
 
Pick 2 main lifts to follow this with (Squat & Row for example).
 
For accessory work hit the rest of the body with 3×10 (50%, 75% & final set at your 10M).
 
Repeat 5 times per week, simple.
 
If you wanted hypertrophy this is a viable option:
 
2×5 – 1x5xdaily 5RM, 1x5x90% of that daily 5RM
 
Now take 80% of the daily 5RM and do as many sets of 4-6 as possible before you lose speed/form, rest no more than 60seconds between sets.
 
For accessory work hit the rest of the body with 3×10 (50%, 75% & final set at your 10M). If you have the time and energy left.
 
Repeat 3 times per week.
 
You’d aim to add weight to your lifts as and when you could, once you feel you’d milked the lift for all its worth (or done the logical thing and tracked volume/progress) you swap the lifts around.
 
This is not fancy, it’s very repetitive and dull, however it works incredibly well.
 
Another option would be this:
 
After the 2×5, take 60-80% of the daily 5RM (depending on your recovery etc) and do 50 reps in as few sets as possible.
 
What I’m getting at here is that no matter how you choose to plan your training, you must accept that progress will be a long slog and the more seasoned you get the harder progress is to come by.
All of the above is 100% arbitrary by the way.
 
I want you to do well, to achieve your goals and break your limits, however before you can do that you need to look inwards and ask yourself this –
 
Do I really want it, or is the idea of it want excites me?
 
You don’t have to train yourself in to the group, despite what social media tells you.
 
Pick YOUR OWN goal.
 
Work for it, grind hard and enjoy the results when you achieve them.
 
Ross

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Online Coaching 101

Online Coaching.
 
The best thing since sliced bread or a mugs game?
 
Morning All,
 
Given the rise in its popularity both of the above could be argued.
 
***Skip to the bottom for three key things to look for in an online coach.
 
These days we live in a world where everything is at out fingertips, soon enough we will go the way of the humans in Walle.
 
When perusing the sticky web that is social media you see a lot of people offering online services.
 
– Coaching
– Comp Prep
– Programming
– Freedom from the existential suffering of existence
– Movement Coaching
– Nutritional Coaching
 
Plus a great many other things.
 
You can find anything online these days, yet that doesn’t always mean you will be guaranteed to get a quality product, this is where things get tricky.
 
Apart from not knowing if you’re paying for an experience, qualified professional, an ex-competitor in the field you desire, a wannabe who’s done one show or a kid living in their parents basement, it can be a minefield.
 
We buy with our eyes, as such everyone has a plethora of transformation photos from you to pick from. Some real, some fake, others stolen and many of people that were taken so far apart you’d hope they’d make a physical change in that amount of time.
 
Taking all this in to account, what are you to do?
 
Word of mouth is usually a good thing.
 
If you hear positive things, that’s usually a good start.
 
Next up you’ll need to speak to them directly, the good ones usually have a limited amount of coaching space and a screen process as well, something like an interview where you have to prove your worth as a client because time is precious and real coaches don’t want to waste theirs on people that won’t put in the effort.
A good coach will also be very willing to admit when they can’t help you or your desires are out of their field of expertise and have no seconds thoughts in referring you on to someone who they feel is better suited to help you.
A poor coach will sell the dream they can’t deliver because all they care about is their bottom line and this could be rather frustrating for you.
 
A decent coach will also have a large list of ‘asks’ as well.
 
This means that you will need to be sending in training info, videos, nutritional bits & bobs, perhaps even a weekly psychological assessment to see how training is affect you, and so on.
 
Honestly, good coaches expect just as much from their clients as the clients do from them, this is a good thing because it helps create synergy.
 
Coaches & clients work together, it’s not you and them, you’re a team.
 
As such your success is their success, however your failure is also their failure and a good coach will do everything they can to help you avoid that pitfall.
 
What has you experience been with online coaching?
 
Do you currently have a coach, if so what are their minimum asks?
 
Is your coach more interested in your progress photos than you, or is your training and progress their number 1 priority – something to watch out for.
 
Leave your thoughts below.
 
Here are three key things to look for when hiring a Online Coach:
 
1 – A screening/application process.
 
2 – They are open with feedback from previous clients and are happy to share testimonials and for them to speak to you if you ask.
 
3 – They’re less interested in telling you what they’ve done/achieved for themselves/others and more focused on what YOU want.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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MPS in simple terms

MPS 
 
^^ You may have seen this abbreviation in some fitness related writings.
 
It stands for Muscle Protein Synthesis.
 
The technical term you’ll find in the scientific literature describes it as the driving force behind adaptive responses to exercise and represents a widely adopted proxy for gauging chronic efficacy of acute interventions.
 
If you want some real technical info on it (including where I got a chunk of the above paragraph), read this –
 
 
Say on the other hand you simply want basic guide to how it works, how long it lasts and how to trigger it then keep reading this simple post.
 
In terms of how it works, it’s quite simple, you create the need for an adaptive response whereby your muscles will be stimulated and then via adequate nutrition/hormonal balance they repair/recover and adapt becoming stronger/bigger than before.
 
As a beginner this is easy to achieve and can even be done by hitting the nutrition threshold – 3g of leucine per meal (roughly every 2-3 hours).
 
Once you get past a certain stage your limits become harder to break and as a result triggering MPS is a tad harder and requires more planning.
 
Here are the three common ways to trigger it:
 
– Mechanical Tension (heavy lifting loads)
– Metabolic Stress (time under tension while lifting)
– Muscle Damage (both of the above, or max effort work)
 
MPS tends to last for anywhere from 24-48 hours.
 
This is where the recommendation of training a muscle group 2-3 times per week comes in.
 
Once you trigger MPS, you can leave that muscle alone while it reaps the benefits, then when it starts to wean off you will be wanting to hit it again, leaving it too long before hitting it again will mean you don’t build a cumulative amount of ‘in-road’ which will limit your progress, essentially.
 
You can repeat this for 8-12 weeks typically before your ability to recover and utilise MPS correctly is outweighed by your overall/general fatigue, hence why we have rest/de-load weeks.
 
This time off allows what is known as the super-compensation effect to happen, then you start the entire process again.
 
Now, it is worth remembering that maintaining your muscle is easier than building new muscle, based on the info above here is my recommendation.
 
– To build muscle train 3 days out of 5 for long periods
– To maintain muscle 2 days our of 2 will be enough
 
As you can see that is quite the difference.
 
To build in a 2 week time frame you’d train around 9 times, while to maintain you’d only do 4 sessions.
 
The topic is a large one to delve in to and this is just a simple coverage.
 
Any questions leave them below.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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