Monthly Archives: September 2019

A creature of not letting go

Creature comforts, that’s all they are and yet you won’t let them go. Even the detrimental ones.
 
Please do tell me why.
 
Be these your supplements for training, binge watching habits or destructive food choices, do tell me why you can’t let them go.
 
I too had these… Have these, although most have been given away and the realisation they were no longer of any use was accepted a couple still hang on.
 
The reason they’re there for me is nothing other than comfort, protection and the satiation of a lingering childhood ego the has yet to fade into the back of my memories to be forgotten and replaced by something better.
 
Growth take times, yet the first step will often be looking deeply at what we do and understanding why.
 
Knowing plenty of people who willing get stuck in a loop is inherently fascinating to me.
 
Why would someone choose suffering, stagnation and on occasion regression over growth and moving forwards?
 
What emotional tie to do they to this ‘thing’, because that’s all our attachments really are in the end, emotions that hold on to things that no longer serve a purpose.
 
Are yours because of self imposed punishment, an inability to forgive yourself for your past mistakes or maybe it’s something as simple as denial.
 
Questions worth some of your time, although ultimately you’ve no need to listen to me or entertain/consider what I say, this is because I’m not the boss of you, in fact I’m no one in the grand scheme of things, yet that won’t stop me from being forever curious as to why it is people, we, do what we do.
 
You should investigate this thoroughly.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Well that’s just not cricket

Misleading before and after photos.

Believe it or not you see these all the time.

The amazing results you see that are often claimed to have happened in such a short space of time can often be up to 10 years apart.

The same is true for the shots that people have angles the shit out of, filtered to within an inch of existence and sharpened so much that you’ll get cut just by gazing upon them.

Yep, after seeing plenty of colleagues/friends share their transformations photo’s to gain a nice hefty chunk of appreciation this elf us that have been in their lives for some years recognise the before picture, and it’s old.

These will of course pack the desired punch needed.

While the photos are all real, the story is misleading and that just bugs me.

If you’re going to compare a photo of yourself then 6-12months apart is a good idea as it will allow you to share the lessons you’ve learned in that time with your followers and fans with some honesty and for the purpose of helping them, not just boosting your likes.

This is of course not to say that a collage of your journey from day one isn’t worth of praise, oh no it is, so long as you exhaling how long the expanse of time covered from photo 1 to this present one is.

A year by year comparison will do many things:

1 – Show how progress is slow and change is gradual (for the most part)
2 – That consistency wins out in the end
3 – Change need applied effort (explained in lessons learned in each photo/reflection)
4 – Provide a true account of your journey, the progress/ & regress because that happens too
5 – Keeps you humble

We could list many more things here however I’d like to keep the one short for once.

In closing, be honest with your photos, your stories and worry less about trying to be impressive for the sake of it.

Share your knowledge, experience and let people know that you too struggled to get where you are and that one day, if that’s what they want, they can get there as well.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Old Texts, New Findings

Digging through some older writings of Russian powerlifters has been quite interesting of late. 

Apart from the magic numbers that seem to be floating around and the common use of certain well known set/rep protocols there is pattern in the way they train. 

Most claim to follow this pattern:

  • Press heavy every 3-5 days
  • Squat heavy every  5-7 days
  • DL heavy every 10-14 days  

A good general rule, yet as they got more experienced they seemed less focused on the heavy element and more on building up the medium/light numbers and volume, that was very fascinating to me. 

The really interesting part is how they set up a training week because it’s clear that some could train any day required, whereas others still had full times jobs and as such had to stick to specific days of the week, as such this gave some dramatically different looking programs they yet still followed the same basic principles.

The expression of Light-Medium-Heavy is often in reference to their efforts, as opposed to just pure load not he bar, however you can rest assured the loads were also hefty. 

Example: Rotating days 

Monday – Press (medium) & Squat (Heavy)

Thursday – Deadlift (Light)

Sunday – Press (light) & Squat (Light)

Wednesday – Deadlift (Light)

Saturday – Press (Heavy) & Squat (Medium)

Tuesday – Deadlift (Heavy)

Friday – Press (Light) & Squat (Light)

Monday – Deadlift (Light)

Thursday – Press (Medium) & Squat (Heavy)

Sunday – Deadlift (Light)

Wednesday – Press (Heavy) & Squat (Light)

Saturday – Deadlift (Heavy)

Tuesday – Press (Light) & Squat (Medium)

Friday – Deadlift (Light)

Monday: Potential lift variation change, protocol change or repeat of previous. 

You can see they lift every 3 days, alternating Press & Squat sessions with Deadlift Sessions, some would choose to also press on the DL day as well however that would often be light or a special variation press to target weak/sticking points from what I read. 

Leaving 6-9days between heavy pressing and more between heavy squats and DL seemed counterintuitive at first to making progress, yet it worked. 

Looking at the older lifting protocols these people followed was truly a worthy habit hole to go down. 

**Please note that light or even medium to these people in say pressing was 400lbs, which to us mere mortals isn’t light at all**

For those that had set days, such as 2-3 sessions per week this was what it tended to look like:

Monday – Deadlift (rotating H-L)

Thursday – Press & Squat  (Rotating H-L-M)

Saturday –  Press & Squat & RDL/Stiff leg variation (mostly L-M)

A lot also added 2-3 accessory lifts for weak points and lagging areas, this seemed to be a lot of Lats, Tricpes, Hamstrings, Glutes & Lower Back. 

Some added in additional shoulder pressing however as it wasn’t a given necessity for comp many would do it in the off season unless they specifically responded very well to it on a personal level. 

Now after reading their loading parameters and seeing their overall strength levels the above didn’t seem too odd to me, yet reading some journal notes it seemed many trained this way from day dot, just because that’s what the ‘strong comrades’ did, and that is food for thought. 

Many got into the pattern/routine of people much stronger than they where, and while the frequency may go against current science for optimal, many stuck with it one the long haul and seems dot make great progress, yet these days many would argue they shouldn’t have, yet, they did. 

I can’t tell you why. 

Perhaps they were able to focus more on RFD in a session, of maximal contraction each rep, utilise heavier loads and push the envelope a tad more due to the extra rest. Hell they may have been on all the PED’s from the start (doubtful though), there are many potential extra factors, however one thing that seems clear is this; they did less better and made it work. 

There were also several notes regarding people who were tempted to do extra training (boxing, wrestling etc) and told not to as it owed effect their recovery, so it is worth remembering that the people chose to do only PL.

Limiting their other activities meant they worked when they had to, and at what we may predict was a high effort, whereas these days we add in a lot of extra training/stress, meaning that while we can keep it all up, the total accumulation of volume still takes a toll  because we can only adapt from what we can revere from and if there is more to recovery from then the adaptations il be minimal due to the massive amount of resources used by our body to return us to our baseline from all that training/stress. 

***Allostatic load! been trying to think of that term since posting this as it disappeared from my mind the second I went to write it down. It would have been in the above in this sort of form – ‘We have to be careful not to overshoot the hermetic effect and our total amount of necessary allostatic load.’ – Been bugging me all morning that has.

Certainly worth more digging into. 

How much training do you do, and when did you find that doing more started getting you less?

Enjoy, 

Ross 

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Excuse me, your bias is showing

Fellow Trainers & coaches.

Your own experience will influence the way you train others. 

We touched on this yesterday, and this is by no means a bad thing however it’s easy to fall in to the trap of giving everyone what you like to program or feel comfortable programming. 

Again, while not necessarily a terrible thing, it is 100% a lazy thing.

Don’t get me wrong and think that this never happened my end because it did. 

Many times. 

While you can indeed find reasons for falling back on something that is quick and easy to spam out in a program, such as people asking for free advice, when you have paying clients it’s not the most optimal thing to be doing. 

Of course we will have various tools/protocols/programs stored in memory that we can draw on and guess what, they will work for a lot of people. 

This usually happens because these adhere to some basic and fundamental principles of training. 

If you take some time to look at the way people write programs you’ll notice a pattern in what they do. 

One of mine is the classic 3-week wave, often varying the lift itself at the end of each micro block, this is because it keeps people consistent because sadly most can’t stick with the same things for too long due to their addiction to social media and the constant need for novel stimulus and dopamine hits. 

While variety is a good and sometimes necessary thing, too much of it will not have you getting any form of decent result. 

How do we know this?

Look round at people who attend multiple classes or hope from program to program weekly, they may have some degree of fitness however it’s a far cry from where their current potential is. 

Now many will jump up an down championing “If it makes them happy leave them to it.” and these people are justified in saying that, however would you really be happy putting in what you feel is a tremendous amount of effort and not getting any real results?

Personally that is madness to me, why put in all that effort for no reward?

That’s like going to work and not getting paid.

You are by no means required to get results from your training/nutrition though, becoming strong, confident and have favourable body composition isn’t something you MUST do, yet if you’re going to put in the effort why not aim for that result?

The choice is yours on that one because that will come down to priorities.

You can train like a demon and do everything that will yield the above, yet you enjoy multiple alcoholic beverages each night so while you may build incredible fitness/strength you may still look like you don’t even train and hey, if you’re cool with that then fair play to you, fill your boots. 

I’ve digressed. 

Fellow coaches/trainers, do you program based on what is needed of simply what you know and can fall back on easily?

Training ideally wants to focus on these three things:

  • Keeping the goal the goal
  • Enhancing the participants life
  • Making that person better than they currently are (physically & mentally)

To do this we have many tools, these three principles will help you massively though:

  • Consistency 
  • Waviness of load 
  • Specialised Variety 

Feel free to look back on here and you’ll find plenty of programs I’ve thrown up over the years. 

You’ll see my biases creeping through, all geared towards strength for the most part and of late gaining maximum benefit with minimum effort, so a high ROI (tertian on investment).

Any questions please leave them below. 

Enjoy, 

Ross

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Are you real?

Why do you try to be something you’re not?

As tempting as it is to play a role flawlessly, it’ll never be you and as a result you’ll always be on edge, anxious someone will find out and mercilessly unmask you for all to see. 

Leaving you broken and wallowing in an endless flood of shame. 

So here is my advice; stop pretending and defending that is the real you because it’s not. 

The fitness industry is rife with this. 

Online persona’s are very far removed from that of the one owned in reality, I’d even go as far as to say it may be the reason so many more people suffer from anxiety these days. The pressure of trying to live up to who they proclaim to be online is just too much, so these being anxious as an excuse not to go outside or be with people that might cause their house of cards to come crumbling down. 

Like it or not we can’t change who we are. 

This is not to say we can’t become a better person though, yet there still needs to be that acceptance of what the raw source material is. 

If you’re a piece of shit to the very core then that’s your lot in life, however you can concisely choose not to do shitty things to others. 

Perhaps you’re someone with a heart of gold who puts on a tough demeanour, stop it. You’re not going to win any prizes or acting like a tough person when that’s not you, yet you can learn some resilience.

Too many people talk of change, or being the best version of themselves and yet they ironically don’t even who they are. 

How can you hope to change that which you don’t understand or even know?

As a person we need to embrace everything we are and simply be content with just being. 

Once this hurdle is past us we can become more self aware.

The longer you hide behind who you say you are in the internet or pretend to be in real life, the longer you will suffer. 

Don’t do that to yourself.

Go take a long hard look at the image of the person you portray, is that really you or the you you wish you were.

Acknowledge the raw materials at the essence of your heart and soul because you can’t change those for anything else what is there is there, you’ve got what you’ve got, however you can refine them over time. 

Who know, perhaps that lump of coal if given enough time and the right pressure will oneway reveal itself to be something more, something that’s always been there, or maybe it won’t. 

Regardless, you’ve got to take the first step by taking a good long look inwards. 

You should investigate this thoroughly.

Enjoy,

Ross 

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Dial in, and die.

Or is it dice now?

Once upon a time die was considered the singular term and dice was plural, however I think now it might just be dice for both singular and plural.

Anyway, this nifty little tool can provide some great training sessions.

All you need to is have one (you can use two, or you just roll one multiple times like a logical person would).

^^ Personally I quite like having two though as there’s nothing better than rolling two of them and getting a double 6.

If you are a person who needs structure yet finds it hard to stick to said structure then this will be a great tool for you.

Simply follow the below:

Set up 6 sessions for each of numbers on the dice.

Example:
1 – Clean & Push Press > Pull Up: Super Set
2 – Sprints (any kit)
3 – Deadlift > Kettlebell Swing >Farmers Walk> Floor Press: Giant-set
4 – Slams (any kit – think ropes, med balls, sand bags, etc)
5 – Squats
6 – Front Squat > Squat > Lunge: Ti-set

Next for the sets and reps, as an example.

On the lifting rolls form the above:
First roll (one dice) = reps you will do (1-6)
Second roll (two dice) = sets you will do (2-12)

That’s it, you may get a very easy day, or a very hard one, these don’t include warm ups though.

On the CV option from above:
First roll (one dice) = seconds of work (10-60 seconds)
Second roll (one dice) = seconds of rest (10-60 seconds)
Third roll (two dice) = total amount of rounds (2-12)

Personally I’d only preform one of the example sessions, even if it ended up being something like this:

Squats – 2 sets of 1 rep.

See it as a gift for a low volume session, the temptation would be to avoid doing more because when I’ve prescribed this in the past people have thought they’ve known better and make what would have been a very easy session stupidly hard by doing extra because of ego, then when the dice cast gave them a hard session they couldn’t perform.

Poor performance apparently happens to 1 in 5 you know.

Don’t give in to your ego, train once per day, if you have an easy session today, then train again tomorrow, if that is again super easy, train the day after that as well and keep repeating this until you get a session that takes a lot of effort and then you HAVE to rest for one or two days.

It’s a nice was to have some structure and yet still a good amount of variety because you don’t know what you will roll (unless the dice are weighted), so you could end upsetting the same session a couple of times in a row, unlikely however it might happen.

As you can see the above is super easy to plan/program.

My main advice for you would be this though; have 4 numbers with things you don’t do often and really need to be doing more of, and two that you like doing, this sill help your overall progress because we get better by doing the things we need to do (or don’t do), not what we want to do.

So go grab a die, or dice and have some fun.

Enjoy,
Ross

P.S – if you’re really sadistic you can use D&D dice.

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Frustrations

While chatting to a client last night the goal was to listen o their frustrations. 

The didn’t feel for the effort they put in (to all aspects of their life) that they were getting their just desserts.

“My training is consistent.”

“My nutrition has been varied and clarions tracked.”

“My work has improved in both productivity and efficiency.”

“My life couldn’t be at a better point, and yet I’m not where I want to be, it’s so frustrating! I just start to think things will never change and just don’t know what the point is in keeping it all up.”

“I know things take time, I just want some hint it’s going to be worth it.”

A truly heartfelt frustration.

Often the effort we put into a great many things doesn’t yield the results we’d perhaps desire.

While this might not be fair it just is what it is. 

I have friends who dislike that quote ‘it is what is is’, potentially because of it being the attitude of people who have become resigned to the deterministic philosophy due to their life experience in always knocking them down or the undeserving getting that which they feel should have been theirs. 

It’s an understandable annoyance, yet these are also the same people that won’t outwardly express what is it hey want, or vocalise what is perhaps needed to be said to the right people,  they often just sit and wait in the hope that they will get recognised just because they feel they should. 

Sadly in this life if you want something you have to not only want it, work for it, or go for it, you must also make it known you want it by asking for it. 

Fortune favours the bold or brave (depending now his quote you prefer). 

It’s quite true. You’d be surprised what you can actually get simply by asking for it. 

Anyway, back to the frustrated client above. 

I was quite honest in telling them I didn’t know why they where not where they wanted to be or showered with glories praise, from an emotional standpoint that is. 

From a training/empirical standpoint it’s been 3 weeks into their current training after they spent 5months being inconsistent and basically pissing about and making poor choices. 

Yes I did tell them that directly because pandering isn’t what they needed and the simple truth is that you won’t often see much change in 3weeks, maybe 3 months or 3 years, however not 3 weeks. If you had dramatic change in such a short space of time, like say losing 2 stone I’d advise you go to the the doctor as you may have a terminal illness, yet this is the result people feel they deserve.

This was what prompted me to re-ask “What result/expectations do you feel you should have by now and why?, No, really, why? Why do you have the expectations you do?”.

Now for something a little bigger to consider, especially if you’ve felt/feel this way…..

Why out of all the people on this planet do you feel your the only one with these frustrations?

Why are you so special that the process should be different or miraculous?

Is it because you know someone who knows someone or you say it on social media?

Very few things in this life happen by accident. They are often an accumulation of minor, or major choices we’ve made or didn’t make and eventually they all come to fruition and result in X, Y or Z,which may or may not be your desired outcome.

As with any endeavour, even those that are truly frustrating, you must just accept that they will take time and perhaps be a tad more realistic with your expectations.

Frustration affects us all, yet like a lot of things they’re fleeting and not worth dwelling on.

Take a look around you, see that most other people are in the same boat and enjoy the journey because it’s rarely the destination that makes it worth while, it’s often the experiences you pick up along the way. 

Enjoy, 

Ross

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Does that sound right?

Sometimes we forget to appreciate just how easy we have things.
 
Taking for granted everything that is in abundance for us.
 
Even in a first world if life is hard, it’s not that hard when you really look at how some other places have it.
 
Same goes for fitness.
 
We rarely appreciate what we have, taking it for granted until eventually it’s gone and we’re left wandering what happened.
 
Suddenly we’re old and decrepit, a shadow of our former selves.
 
You only miss what you have when it’s gone.
 
This you know, you’re fully aware of it, yet I reckon you still take a lot, perhaps too much for granted.
 
I know I have…. I do.
 
Chances are you’ve noticed my attitude towards training has changed over the years, well, I suppose that will depend on how long you’ve followed these ramblings.
 
While on a personal level I love all things highly technical and to the number, it’s not always the best way to move forwards.
 
Sure enough on paper it’s the most optimal, yet in reality and at that specific point in time it may not be the right path to follow.
 
Hence the shift towards simpler training principles that leave little to the imagination and provide people a simple choice – do the work or don’t.
 
Single lift training day.
 
Hitting 2-3 movements every 3-5 days varying their intensity.
 
Essentially doing less better than doing more worse.
 
Limiting the options we have really does force us to change.
 
Or at least find a way to progress.
 
Yesterday I was talking to a gourd of enthusiastic students and covering how to set up training days that allowed for high effort sessions and recovery ones.
 
One came out with a question about how this would apply to training muscle groups.
 
My answer was this – “It’ doesn’t matter, not really, you’re better off training the body based on movement patterns.”
 
It then dawned on me.
 
Looking at her face, l could see the discomfort because a belief or at least what is being taught to her currently got challenged and perhaps even contradicted it, and for many this is quite troubling because it leaves them unsure of ‘what they know’ which can affect their sense of self and confidence, all because we forget that sometimes a person might not know what you know because they’ve not lived the life you have up until this point.
 
“You cannot have the experience of being middle aged without living to be and living through being middle aged.”
 
I am guilty of forgetting that not everyone sees things the same way because they don’t know what I know.
 
Ironically I’ve been ‘them’, once upon a time thinking one way, confidently speaking out to be cut off and told differently without the person doing it explaining why, this is why not and on a personal note I will always try to expelling ‘why’ I answer as I do and the context behind it.
 
It’s easy to leave people hanging, yet it’s not right, because it doesn’t help them grow, and it shows that you’re still not too sure of your own knowledge/self and won’t give more just incase someone adds in something you might not have been aware of or another angle you didn’t consider.
 
Funny how we reflect on how we used to be.
 
No one person has infallible knowledge.
 
One lesson I learned a long time ago is that rather than being concerned with just being right for the sake of it and making the context/situation fit the need to be right, simply give the best answer you can for the question asked and always be willing to explore things further.
 
You should investigate this thoroughly.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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You probably won’t like this

Dear friends and even my enemies too, you also deserve to hear this.
 
Sadly I bring you a harrowing truth.
 
You’ll struggle to break you cycle of self-loathing, depression, anxiety and overall indifference if you continue to pose, filter, edit and photo shop every god damn picture you upload on social media.
 
Seriously people, why go to the hassle?
 
Is your ego that fragile that to truly expose the real you would leave you crushed under the wave of critics and trolls?
 
We create our of downfall you know.
 
I see so many people talking about being ‘the real them’ or ‘living their best life’ and it’s just such fucking bullshit because they don’t live up to their own ideals.
 
Please don’t do it to yourself.
 
The thoughts and feelings of the masses is nothing more than metal fodder or pointless words served to keep you in a specific place.
 
Yes words hurt, however they can only cause a true trauma if YOU allow them to and if you keep living a ‘fake real life’ or ‘real fake life’ (not sure which I prefer to say), you’ll always be cut down by the words, opinions, views and values of others.
 
In a world where how we look matters the more you try to turn yourself into to cold hard plastic to retain your youth the more unhappy you’ll be.
 
Why?
 
Because while looks matter, they only matter to those who have nothing else of substance.
 
How we come across to other people is a mere part of ‘us’ or the global ‘you’. As such you’ll find some of the prettiest people lose their shine once you really begin to know them.
 
Action define us, not words or in this case social media photos.
 
What are your own ideals?
 
Do you even have any?
 
As egotistical and foolish as it sounds, having something to live up to can make all the difference in how you feel about yourself.
 
^^ These can, and often will change over the years as you become older, wiser and more mature.
 
Often because you realise the shit you thought mattered really didn’t in the grand scheme of things.
 
Since I’m in one of this moods I’m going to share something I’ve shared before, listen to the words and enjoy 🙂
 
Ross
 

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One move to almost rule them all

The clean & press (push press/jerk) is a great movement.

Whether you do it with a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells, odd objects or people, it yields some great results.

As far as looking for a movement that covers everything, this is pretty damn close to being perfect.

I say close to because you can’t get maximal speed/power like you could with a snatch, nor the raw pressing strength like that of a bench press, or even the leg strength from a squat, you get the idea.

That being said, it’s still epic.

If you have any of these in your list of goals:

– Strength
– Increase LBM
– Lose Fat
– Increase Athleticism
– Look Cool

Then this is a movement you should be doing in abundance.

These days we have a lot of choice when it comes to training, and while this is great it’s also a problem because the level of results based on the average gym goer have gone down over the years.

Having too many options is the devil.

Back in an almost forgotten time when I would teach classes (well, small groups), the training would be simple, so much so that some used to complain and not come back.

I didn’t miss them, they didn’t have faith int he process and just wanted to have their bis appealed to and their ego stroked.

One thing with training is often the most effective stuff (once you’re past the point of beginner gains) is often a little dull and very repetitive.

To add in all the fancy and flamboyant stuff requires skill.

Not skill in coaching, although that is a necessity in my eyes, it requires skill from the participants in said training because if they can’t keep up then they need to take a step back and start at a level appropriate for them, less the don’t progress.

Anyone who’s worked with large groups will be able to give you lists of what works well and what requires some extra time/attention.

Anywho, back to the C&P.

Here is how you might apply this glorious movement to a three day per week training protocol.

This would yield Fat Loss as the primary function, LBM would be secondary and Strength as a by product.

All C/P variations done with a bar.

Day 1 –
W/U – Kettlebell Swing x15min (5/15 interval)
A1 – Clean & P/P x5-3-2-5-3-2-5-3-2
B1 – Front Squat x10-8-6-8-10
C/D – Stretching

Day 2 –
W/U – Bear Complex 3-5reps x15min (vary load as needed)
A1 – Clean & Press x1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10
A2 – Bent Over Row or Pull Up x6-8
C/D – Stretching

Day 3 –
W/U – Loaded Carry (hug & shoulder, alternate) 20m x15min
A1 – Clean & Jerk x3-2-1-3-2-1-3-2-1-3-2-1-3-2-1
B1 – Floor Press x4-6×4-6
C/D – Stretching

Rest periods can be kept int he 60-120second mark after each wave, rest only long enough to change the weights int he way or briefly if you are going to keep the load static in a wave.

Example:

– 5 > add load, 3 > add load, 2 > add load > rest 120sec
– 5 > 20sec, 3 > 20 sec, 2 > 20sec > add load and rest 90sec

You get the idea.

This is one example, there are many more.

Enjoy,
Ross

P.S –

There are endless videos on how to do this, here is one decent one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcCGLoNqN2U

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