Monthly Archives: April 2018
Rep variability, it’s kind of a big deal.
If you are a seasoned lifter you will know roughly what your max effort rep sets are and the weigh that goes with them.
For example, 7RM = 160kg on squat.
Knowing these is quite useful when it comes to programming for strength, hypertrophy and much more.
Today we will look at an underrated method for getting stronger.
It’s almost feels too easy when you do it.
The best part is that’s exactly how it should feel because you will be doing 1/3 to 1/2 the total reps you possibly could do with the load you pick.
Here is an example of how it works.
9RM – 150kg – Squat
Sets – you can do up to 25, just start off low, say 10 sets
8 reps – half = 4.5 (round to 5), third = 3
Your reps per set will look like this:
3,5,3,5,3,5,3,5 and so on.
You do a max of 5 and a minimum of 3, while resting 2-3 min between sets while practicing fast and loose drills.
Personally I’ve found pairing movements up works nicely for this if like me you can’t sit still too long.
A1 – Press 3,5,3,5,3,5
A2 – Weighted Chin Up 3,5,3,5,3,5
Now this will seem ridiculously easy, laughably so in fact.
One thing you will want to aim for is finishing your session feeling as if you could have done more, strange as is sounds you’d be surprised how fast the volume builds up (that is what contributes to hypertrophy, provided you’re eating optimally) doing this, especially since you’re able to use heavier loads.
If you did 10 sets of 3,5 that’d give you 40 solid reps with what your 9RM, each rep would be quality.
Some would say you could do 4×9 and only be 4 reps short, which is true in theory, however the first set you’d get maybe 5/6 good reps the rest would be a struggle, then the second set you’d maybe only hit 7 repps total with 3/4being good, perhaps 2/3 of rate next set and 1/2 for the last.
Taking the higher ones (being nice) that give you 15 good quality reps, that is a third of the volume you’d get doing the method I’ve prescribed above, 40 quality reps.
The toughest part of this stye of training is learning to stop and fight the urge to do more and just make yourself tired for the sake of it.
Many will go after volume for volumes sake, as such a lot of what they do is junk, this leads to little (or no) meaningful progress.
You should investigate this thoroughly.
Given it was the release on the new Avengers film a mere two days ago, I trust a few of you will be venturing to see it, i know I certainly will be.
You might be wondering what that has to do with the above – ‘Methods in Madness’.
Well, you might be surprised to learn that it is in regard to social gatherings with members of your gym, or even your clients.
Yep, you all go out, perhaps on a sesh, or even just somewhere fun.
You’ll see why it seems made shortly.
I’m sure some of you have already twigged it the little sweetener to each get together.
You cover the costs.
I shall wait for some to pick up their jaws from the floor.
Now this isn’t just a random altruistic act, there is a scientific reason behind it and that my friends is the principle of reciprocity.
– It means you give before you seek to gain.
Doing this will achieve the following:
– Improved Rapport
– Boosted Brand Awareness (people will talk)
– Repeated Client Investment (£££££££, cash monies 👍)
– A Nice Tax Write Off 😂
The same is true for having a welcome pack for all new clients and continued investment in your current ones.
Simply things like getting them personalised training diaries (based on information you’ve gathered), a HR Monitor of sorts to improve their CV training, Birthday cards and everything in-between.
It may seem like you’re trying to buys peoples loyalty, this is not the case, you are instead rewarding it because even though you can then ask for something in return and due to the governing psychological affect this principle holds, you won’t.
That’s right, you don’t do these things for something in return, nor should you want to, even though you can (it’s logical from a business standpoint).
You do things like this because you want to, perhaps even because it’s the right or the nice thing to do.
While it may be one large BBQ or Outing a year that are of course enjoyable and messy, dear god the alcohol I’ve consumed at these events 🤭, it’s been colossal.
It is the little things you can do for people, monthly, weekly, even daily that will make the big difference because when all is said & done, and the time to reflect comes around, you’ll see that the little things were in actual fact the ones that meant the most.
Always look to give back more than you’ve ever received, just because you can.
Enjoy your weekend and please leave your plans/adventures or questions down below.
What is your perceived value of yourself?
Of all the reasons people go to the gym, or at least all the ones they will openly admit, doing it for purely selfish and intrinsic reasons won’t be one of them.
The funny thing is that this is often quite a large factor for many.
To improve our own self worth and feel more valuable to the opposite sex, or who ever you’re trying to impress or gain attention/admiration/praise from, it’s quite the impressive motivator.
Of course this will be one of the harder things for people to admit because even though we are told to do what make us happy and all that other bollocks, if we are actually honest about why we do a lot of things people will be quite quick to turn 180 on us and let their disapproving gavel fall.
You know it’s not wrong to harbour the goal of feeling better about yourself, to know that you are now higher up on the scale of desirability and as such more sought after.
It is human nature to garner attention because it is a valuable resource.
Everyone enjoys positive attention, people who disagree are not being 100% truthful because even if they don’t want general attention, there are certain people or persons that they do want to notice them.
As such there is nothing wrong with wanting to up your perceived value and enjoy the attention.
You’ll find the only people who call you an attention seeking whore are the ones who are having some of theirs taken way from them.
Remember guys, life is a game, no matter if people admit this or not.
There are winners & losers, trust me.
One other positive aspect of increase value is that you start to feel more confident and more resolute, two things that are very useful in this world and can help a great many stop being treated as door mats.
Funny thing about that is it’s only you who can let others treat you in such a way, maybe it’s the only way you know to get some attention of approval from your peers, I don’t know, regardless of why you let it happen the fact remains; you let it happen.
The time for action is now.
If you feel frumpy, lethargic and that you are shaped like a potato, do something about it.
The same is true if you’re stick thin, constantly ill and weaker than a malnourished baby kitten.
No one ever lost the respect of others for wanting to improve themselves.
I have faith in you and know you’re worth more than you I’ve yourself credit for, so please, listen and take action.
If you don’t know where to start all you need do is ask someone for help 🤗
The problem isn’t the choice, it’s the fact you’ve got too many and you know it.
You may have used the excuse “I just don’t know what to do” and while this has some candour to it, there is a certain aspect that people forget to mention.
They don’t lack choice, they just don’t know which choice to pick.
Don’t believe me?
If you claim to not know what training routine, lifting protocol, program to follow or how to put one together all you need do is hop on google and you will find all you need.
Now, the issue here is which one to pick.
So people are not fibbing when they say they don’t know what to do, they might just be being a tad lazy and would rather be told to do XYZ than find out for themselves, which is fair enough.
As such I have three books for you that will take away all of your guess work.
They all have solid examples are various routines that you can apply for 6months, a year or perhaps more (depending on your training age).
1 – Dinosaur Strength Training – Brooks Kubik
^^ any of the series is gold
2 – Beyond BodyBuilding – Pavel Tsatsouline
3 – WS4SB – by Joe DeFranco
^^ Start at part/book 1
All in all you just need to have a little faith in not only the program, you have to have it in yourself as well.
Even if results are slower than you expect, they’re probably not as slow as you think they are.
Progress takes time, a lot of time and that is if you’ve gotten everything dialled in (training, nutrition, recovery, life etc), don’t get dragged in by the endless choices and confused by them, look to one of the books above, pick a protocol and stick with it, milk it for all its worth.
I have faith in you, be sure to have some in yourself too.
While writing another post for somewhere else this morning my mind wandered to this little gem.
Give it a watch, listen to what is said and repeat this until you learn at least one thing.
3 Simple tricks to easier progressive overload planning.
They manipulate volume, density & intensity.
1 – Adding reps, then sets. (Volume)
Weight on the bar stays the same, add a rep each session until you hit your target, then drop to the original set/rep scheme add weight and bering again.
All the way to 5×5, then add weight and go back to 3×3.
2 – Reduce rest time. (Density)
Start with say 3min, then take of 10-20 seconds each session (for an arbitrary example), repeat until resting 60 seconds, or perhaps less, that’s up to you. The add weight and crack the rest back up to 3min between sets.
W1 – 180seconds (3min)
W2 – 160seconds
W3 – 140seconds
W7 – 60seconds – add weight and up rest.
3 – Fractional Plates to 10kg. (Intensity)
Following classic linear progression (adding weight each session), however you add up to half a kilo each time, the reps/set/rest stay the same.
You would do well to keep the reps lower and the sets higher for this and hit the lift 3 times per week, aim to add 10kg then perhaps tweak the reps/set or lift variation.
W1 – S1: 80kg, S2: 80.5kg, S3: 81kg
W2 – S1: 81.5kg, S2: 82kg, S3: 82.5kg
W7 – S1: 89kg, S2: 89.5kg, S3: 90kg
Perhaps change lift variation (overhead press to incline press for example).
There you have it, some simper ways you can achieve progressive overload without needing a CSCS level understanding of programming.
Bonus Trick – Increasing lifting/training frequency.
Simply add an extra day of lifting on a weaker or lagging body part/movement (so 4 session a week cineast of 3 and so on), you can apply one of the above in injection with this.
“Inch wide, mile deep”
An interesting quote.
Many have it in reverse – inch deep, mile wide.
I wrote of this before, yet it seems to be sticking in my mind which means something hasn’t been covered or fully understood my end.
If you’re ready some of the past posts you will have seen the ones on abbreviated training programs and their effectiveness.
The ethos of doing less better.
While that style of training won’t put you on the Olympia stage, they will yield a lot of progress and give a robust look that most people would be quite content with. After all, not everyone has the dream of being the absolute Don.
You can also apply the principle of “Same yet different”, all you need to is utilise these size movement patters as the base (you’d also do well to train in multiple planes of movement as well – frontal, sagittal, traverse).
Push – Pull – Squat – Hinge – Loaded Carry (locomotion) – Full Body
You may train 5 days a week, or on a rotating day on day off, perhaps three on one off, it doesn’t matter, you can manipulate things as needed.
Here is an example:
Day 1 – Push Press & Snatch Grip Deadlift
Day 2 – Squat & Farmer Walks
Day 3 – Snatch
Day 4 – Off
Day 5 – Incline Press & Trap Bar Deadlift
Day 6 – Front Squat & Bent Over Row
Day 7 – Off
All for 8×2-3 or 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 or 5×2-3-5
You got a lot of options.
The idea of this style of training is to stick to a select few exercises that offer a lot of bang for you buck.
You may keep this selection for 4-6 weeks, then adjust them, you may have only one moment per day, it’s up to you.
The take home is this.
It’s okay to do less, just make sure you do it better.
What happened to ‘Squat Everyday’?
It seems another trend has died a death.
The life of a trend is as follows:
– Is it new & exciting?
No = it dies.
– Is it easy to understand?
No = it dies.
– Does it require hard work to get results?
No = success that will stick around because people want the easy option.
Yes – it dies.
Fads only last if they are easy and require very little effort to apply, regardless of if results are a part of the mix, it’s quite sad really.
The ability to tough things out has fallen dramatically over the years.
If it’s not easy then it can make it’s way to the pile with all the other things people don’t have time for now because all that a great many want is the next new & exciting thing.
How many times have you given up and blamed it on the program, the nutrition protocol or some other factor that wasn’t yourself?
Many is the answer I’m guessing.
In a world of ever changing potential inconsistencies we are the only thing that is in every equation, as such shouldn’t there be a tad more attention and accountability put on ourselves, rather than just shifting the blame to anything or everything else?
Do this for yourself, it may highlight some interesting things for you.
1 – Write down your most common excuses or reasons for failure.
2 – Write down why they happen and then how you can overcome them.
3 – Look at what you’ve written and see your problems for what they are, excuses on paper that you already have in your head as to why you can’t succeed and not actual problems.
It is common for us to create issues and barriers that stand in our way, so much so that by doing the above you will see how many you already have that aren’t even in the way yet.
These excuses make it easier for people to believe that more often than not they are not the problem.
Of course somethings can’t be helped, however for the majority we just use them as a convenient reason not to do what we need to be doing, that’s a fact.
Learn to overcome your own bullshit and watch your life change for the better.
As per routine there is always 30min of reading before bed, sometimes more.
The book that was randomly grabbed was called ‘Beast Tamer
How to Master the Ultimate Russian Kettlebell Strength Challenge’
It is geared around completing the Beast Challenge.
1x Pistol, Single Arm Press & Chin/Pull Up with a 48kg kettlebell.
While looking through some of my old highlights and making newer ones, as you always get more from books when you look at them multiple times, I say this nice simple training protocol.
It combines the PTTP/GTG concepts and is remarkably simple.
*Power to the People & Grease the Groove*
– Living in the Gym
It is based on 5 days training per week.
Each day you will do the following in the gym.
A1 – DL (DL variant) 2×5
B1 – Double Kettlebell Press 2×5
You can vary the loads as needed, set in simple progression protocols, perhaps follow the Easy Strength ethos and much more, that is down to your preference/ability/need.
That was the PTTP part.
As for the GTG, it’s easier on paper than in reality.
Every hour perform
2-3 Pistols each leg & 2-3 Pull Ups (you can add in 2-3 single arm push ups too if you feel your recovery can handle it.)
Now it might not seem like much, however doing 2-3 reps of each every hour, 5 days per week soon build up the volume.
In regards to training days you can do Mon-Fri with rest on the weekend, or the variation I tend to give people is Mon-Wed-Rest-Fri-Sat-Rest, this give you the chance if using ES to go heavy more often when feeling strong due to the days off in between.
All in all a cracking little protocol.
As with anything though you will need to plan in your progressions, vary the loads and track your progress because it’s easy to forget that the idea of this style of daily practice is to progress and become strong without ever feeling like you’re putting in too much effort.
If this is something you find interesting, give it a go.
I’d also advise getting a hold of the book as well, it’s less than £5 and well worth the investment.
1 – They improve your postural & core strength.
2 – Increased sporting/athletic crossover.
3 – You get very strong in the upper back doing them.
4 – Their self limiting nature keeps your ego in check and your injures reduced. Once your form goes it’s gone, no cheating those reps.
5 – Mobility & stability benefits.
6 – You’ll finally start to build some impressive legs.
If you are looking for some great little resources I would suggest Juggernaut Training, they have some great videos.
Here is one to get you started –
Head Coach Max of JTS is also a mountain of knowledge for these too.
By adding these to your training you will yield some great results.
You may have some wrist discomfort in the early days, however this goes away once you nail the form, until then, better get practicing.