Monthly Archives: September 2018

A Month of Madness

Who likes a challenge?
 
Morning All,
 
During that time before falling asleep, you know the one, where you stare up in to the dark waiting to drift off, I had a thought.
 
The 10,000 swing challenge.
 
5 sessions a week is the recommendation in which you will do 500 swings per session using sets of 50-30-20. You can also superset a grinding movement with it as well for some extra oomph.
 
The above is great for improving the following:
 
– Posterior chain
– Grip/Core strength
– CV
– Fat loss (provided nutrition is appropriate)
 
It’s a good 4 week block of training for those who need a cookie cutter approach that is easy to follow.
 
While mulling over this last night it occurred to me that you could do this for any lift, perhaps not with 10,000 reps mind you as that would be a killer on some, however utilising the same theory a 1000 rep challenge over 4 weeks could be very viable for many lifts.
 
Instead of 50-30-20×5 you’d do 5-3-2×5 or 2-3-5×5.
 
Still 5 seasons a week (unless you can only manage 3 or 4 because of work/family/life commitments in which case you’d just extend the length of the protocol), you can still super set a movement for extra oomph and it could be great way to really hit a lift or muscle that you feel needs work.
 
If nothing else it’d keep you focused for 4 weeks, or more if life dictates a longer period is needed.
 
Immediately these lifts came to mind:
 
– Squat
– Press (any)
– Pull (any)
– Hinge (some variations, not DL)
 
The loading would be the tricky part, personally I wouldn’t go above 70% (60% would be a nice starting point) due to the high volume, it may kill you, well not literally, I hope.
 
So yea, say 60-70% for most people starting as the 50 reps each day and frequency of 5 times (potentially) a week would be hefty.
 
With the Swing challenge the weight stays consistent, however with a single lift a logical approach would be to follow a periodised loading/unloading stye microcycle, here is an example.
 
Day 1 – 2-3-5×5 at 67.5%
Day 2 – at 62.5%
Day 3 – at 70%
Day 4 – at 60%
Day 5 – at 65%
 
You get the idea, or you can just rotate 60,65 & 70% loads, it’s not gospel, just an idea.
 
The above days may also not be consecutive which will also potentially change the wave like loading flow, if you can doing 3 days on, 1 off, 2 on, 1 off is good.
 
When it comes to the other lifts that you’re not focusing on here are some suggestions of how to keep them in the mix.
 
In an ideal world you’d be able to keep the rest to a minimum and be in and out of the gym within 45-60min tops.
 
If you’re one of the lucky people who has time to train more than once a day then you can split your training session in to perhaps 30-45min in the AM with the challenge lift and partner (antagonistic) movement, then do either some SQ/DL and light accessory work in the PM for 20-30min.
 
Let us say you’re focusing on your press for the challenge and you decide to super set that with a pulling movement, you would alternate a SQ/DL as the warm up lifts for the day.
 
W/U – 5min Genreal Mobility etc
A1 – 2-4×2-4 SQ or DL (ramping)
B1 – Press 2-3-5×5
B2 – Face Pull x4-8
C1 – Remedial Accessory Lift (if time)
 
This style of training would be very much around the hypertrophy end of the spectrum due to the volume and is not for the inexperienced lifter because of the total amount of work that will be done.
Be sure to have your nutrition tailored accordingly.
 
There you have it, a small block of training to focus on a lagging lift or muscle that will keep you occupied for 4 weeks, or perhaps a few more if your diary dictates it.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Rest for Strength

“If you really want to be strong the rest period is 5-15min between sets, if you have the time, that’s crazy long.” – Pavel Tsatsouline

Many will often say they never have that kind of time, however if you are to program effectively then you can potentially get that amount of rest, it’s a hard mindset for people to adopt as people these days chase fatigue.

I’d suggest you take some time to dig in to energy systems and how they work. In the latest revision of ‘Periodisation’ by Tudor Boompa you’ll find a great chapter on this topic and why a long rest is optimal for performance/strength.

If you are interested in strength then here are some examples of how you can achieve the above rest.

A1 – Press x2-3
– Rest 3min
A2 – Pull Up x2-3
– Rest 3min
While a small amount of effort is required in the pull up you are getting in a good amount of rest before your next pressing set.

A1 – Press x2-3
– Rest 3min
A2 – Pull Up x2-3
– Rest 3min
A3 – Farmers Walk x20m
– Rest 3min
I’m sure you can see where this is going in regards to potentially adding in extra movements or even just adding more rest if the weights require it.

A1 – Press x2-3
– Rest 5min
A2 – Pull Up x2-3
– Rest 5min
A3 – Farmers Walk x20m
– Rest 5min
What would the loads be? 85% of max and above, however if that was the case it would be preferable that you just take a decent rest, however if you feel you need to be doing something then a super set or tri-set option is a good one.

Remember that strength is a skill.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Why you hate the truth

Three reasons why people don’t like the truth.
 
1 – It forces them to become accountable.
 
2 – It provides no quick fix and confirms no bias.
 
3 – It often makes them feel bad.
 
Looking at the above and accepting the simper fact that often what we need to hear makes us uncomfortable is something we have to deal with, and yet a great many people KNOW this is the case, they just choose to bury their head in the sand a feign ignorance.
 
Guys, ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s just ignorance.
 
It doesn’t protect you, if anything it causes you more problems and makes you look like a mug, honestly.
 
In out world of magical quick fixes, surgical procedures and wonder drugs we are becoming very delusional, or rather willingly blind and ready to give up our freedom to fall in to the middle ground.
 
Of course people can choose how they live, they will say, yet is this really best?
 
Many will fall back on a cop out answer that sits firmly on the fence because they’re scared of speaking out, of having an opinion, in claiming a mind of their own.
 
Do you know where this fear comes from?
 
It’s surmised to be a habitual trait passed down genetically from times where we lived in small tribes and that ostracism from said tribe meant death, therefor we will subconsciously do what ever it takes to fit our square selves in to round holes.
 
Do you know what, I get it. I understand that fear.
 
Yet letting it rule you is not always the best option, especially in a social setting, have you ever noticed that your circle of friends will support you in only so much as so that they can still keep a hold over you, keep you in your place in the dominance hierarchy.
 
People always say the want you to do well, what they mean is that they want you to do well so long as it doesn’t compromise their own status or make the question their place.
 
If you start reaching for more and climbing out of the hole the other who are still there will pull you back down, much like crabs do when they have been caught and thrown in to a bucket.
 
^^ Yep, this little crab fact is true.
 
This is where the truth comes in to play.
 
It’s easier to go with the majorities convenient truth than it is to seek out what you may find it actually the truth.
 
I won’t lie to you and say it’s easy, it’s not.
 
In fact it’s very scary and will force you in to places of thought you never knew existed, you will be uncomfortable, stressed, perhaps even feel like you’re fighting for your very survival once you leave the comfort of the group, and yet it is the only way you will ever grow.
 
Organisms, even complex ones like us humans need stressors. We need them to make us adapt, become more resilient, to survive and become stronger, better and evolve.
 
Without stress of this magnetite, without truth there can be no evolution, something worth thinking about.
 
Take the time to have a look at your life.
 
Does it challenge you anymore?
Does it fill you with equal amounts excitement and dread?
Does it have you yearning for more?
 
As they say, the truth will set you free.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The Scouser’s had it right.

To hit a big lift you’ve got to get fired up and get angry, right?

Well not necessarily.

Did you know that this excess excitation will actually cause a great detriment to your sympathetic nervous system over a long period of time.

There are a lot of people who hit the gym and do so with their aggression levels set at full, and while this may seem like a good way to destress it actually have the opposite affect due to a spike in adrenaline levels and can in fact leave you more fatigued in the long run.

Given we live in a world that is bombarded with stress almost 24/7 in some areas, the use of ammonia for a deaf lit that is less than 700lbs minimum is probably a bit of a waste in all honestly.

Have you ever heard the term ‘Lift with a calm heart’.

*You’d also do well to dig in to heart rate variability and heart rate recovery for performance/health reasons as well, just for extra learning 🤗

If not it is one you should highly consider taking a note of because the more you try and rag your body with high octane efforts of aggression, the faster your body will decline and you’ll soon be a smouldering pile of mulch.

Of course you don’t need to listen to me, however for your own health, wellbeing and longevity I’d suggest looking in to this subject.

In fact here is a great place to start –

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Before-We-Go-Philosop…/…/B017M96XYI

All of his books and also the ones he has co-authored with people such as Pavel Tsatsouline are worth their weight in gold for performance.

Don’t be angry in the gym, be calm, be focused, be successful in your lifts and above all else be happy you’ve got the chance to lift, learn & live as you do.

Enjoy,
Ross

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The 90min Warm Up

Always be ready, you never know when you may have to jump to action.
 
How often are you told to make sure you thoroughly warm up before a training session?
 
Since the earliest days of lifting we have had it engrained that we need to fire up the body, or as it can be know now – RAMP.
 
Raise the Pulse
Activate the desired muscles
Mobilise the required joints
Potentiate the nervous system
 
One common practice these days is that you find people spend 30min or more warming up sometimes, which is just excessive really.
 
If you are an individual who is of immense strength then perhaps 30min is what you need, however from the majority of people 10min would be more than sufficient, most can do just fine on 5.
 
In some cases you may find you can literally step up to what ever it is you’re about to lift and just lift it with no warm up, which from experience is around 70% of your comfortable max, honestly.
 
A great many people have become enamoured with trigger point work, foam rolling, excessive dynamic stretching and other things before they even grab the bar and start lifting.
 
While a warm up is always advisable in some form, if you plan on squatting then warm up with squats and simply warm up in to your working sets, if you feel some strange stiffness else where then in-between squat sets do some gentle stretching/dynamic work (10-20 seconds).
 
The obsession with a comprehensive warm up is getting a bit mad now.
 
There is an old saying – “You play how you practice.”
 
Seeing training as practice is a good mindset to have because it means that you will always be ready to lift something of a decent weight without any real effort.
 
Think about it logical for a second, in the days of manual labour being common for a career, how many of them did a warm up before they started a days graft?
 
None, that’s my guess.
 
If they have do lift beams of 70kg, then they had to lift beams of 70kg, there was no option of smaller ones as a warm up, if there were smaller beams they’d leave those until last and get the heavier more taxing ones out of the way first.
 
The next time you go to train try and keep keep your warm up to 10min or under and aim to maximise your time by being as productive as possible.
 
Here is an example of a sub 5min general warm up:
 
– 20m of crawling and 3-5 chin/pull ups
– Turkish Get Up 3 each arm (increase weight each get up)
– 3-5 single deadlifts or squats increasing weigh each time
 
Alternatively, try 5min of kettlebell snatches with a light to medium bell, trust me you’ll be ready for anything after that.
 
Simple.
 
If you have a day of pressing then simply add in some single presses to the mix and boom, your ready to go.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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