Category Archives: Fitness

You Run Like Shit.

How well do you run?

Morning All,

After being in the industry for a fair while it’s become apparent that for some reason everyone assumes they can run correctly.

A foolish notion as many can’t.

Why do you think a lot of people who run have a bad knee, ankle, hip, lower back and so on. Poor movement equals poor overall body health, remember that.

It is a logical thought because we’re never really taught how to run, we just do it and have done since childhood, however just because we’ve always done something one way it doesn’t mean we are doing it the correct way.

Now before you worry and think I’m telling you to give up running, calm down, I’m not.

If running is something you enjoy then you must do it because it’s your right to, however you’d do well to actually learn how to run correctly, not only because it’s best practice, it will help reduce the risk of injury and improve longevity.

To run effectively you not only need good patterns, you also need a solid base of strength. Yep, lifting weights can help make you a faster and more effective runner, counter to many popular beliefs.

Personally I’m by no means an avid runner, it’s just too boring for me. As such here is a nice little resource to get you started –

https://www.runnersworld.com/…/a2081…/proper-running-form-0/

If you want my best advice though it is this; hire a running coach (ideally one with a solid reputation).

Enjoy pounding the pavements,
Ross

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Fitness, Nutrition & Health

A complex string of events

Stringing exercises together one after the other with the same piece of kit if known, no rest and not putting said kit down is often known as a complex.

You can do them with dumbbells, barbells and a personal favourite, kettlebells.

Here are three short kettlebell complexes to hit the entire body and build strength, lean mass and strip fat (provided calorie requirements are also correct).

Each complex is done with 2 kettlebells.

Push Complex:

– Clean
– Press
– Push Press
– Jerk

Start off with one rep of each, then two, then three, aim to work up to 5 without stopping. 3-5 rounds of this will help create an impressive upper body, increase the weight of the bells by 4kg once you can do 5 rounds of 1-5 unbroken.

Pull Complex:

– Swing
– Swing to Pull (pull elbows towards hips)
– Clean
– Snatch

Reps, sets and progression as above.

Leg Complex:

– Clean
– Squat
– Lunge (any variation of your choice)
– Rack Tip-Toe Walk or Rack Walk

Reps, sets and progression as above.

Now this could be one workout three times per week, several smaller workouts during the day (morning, afternoon, evening) or a short 10-20min workout for each day depending on your commitments and available time to train.

This style of training is one that lends itself well to daily practice (push day, pull day, leg day, repeat works well).

These are by no means the only options, they’re just simple ones to get you started, you’ll find some great complexes in the writing of Dan John.

Give them a go.

Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness

A Simple Program for Strength

Morning Guys,

Occasionally people can struggle to bring up a lift, below is an 8 week program based on performing said lift twice per week. Ideally you will know your 1RM, if not then use this calculation to establish it:

Reps x Weight x 0.0333 + Original Weight = Estimated 1RM

The program focuses on increasing the overall load/accumulated volume while keeping the work capacity (sets/reps) the same. It’s a good place for intermediates to start breaking their plateaus.

Week 1:
Session 1 – 3×8 @70%
Session 2 – 3×8 @72%

Week 2:
Session 3 -3×8 @75%
Session 4 -12×2 @90%

Week 3:
Session 5 – 3×8 @72%
Session 6 – 3×8 @75%

Week 4:
Session 7 -3×8 @77%
Session 8 -12×2 @90%

Week 5:
Session 9 – 3×8 @75%
Session 10 – 3×8 @77%

Week 6:
Session 11 -3×8 @80%
Session 12 -12×2 @90%

Week 7:
Session 13 – Rest or Active Mobility
Session 14 – Test 1 or 2RM for new baseline %

Week 8: Deload
Session 15 – 2×8 Old 70%
Session 16 – 2×8 Old 70%

Once you have finished the program you can either repeat it on the same lift of you can pick a different one.

If you were training 4days per week this could be what the program might look like one the weekly basis:

Day 1 – Squat (using session 1 above)
Day 2 – Pressing Day – 5RM Ramp – OH, INC, DIP or CG
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Squat (using session 2 above)
Day 5 – Pulling Day – 5RM Ramp – Deadlift* Pull Ups, Rows, Face Pulls
Day 6 – Off
Day 7 – Off

*Deadlift only on weeks where the squat is 3×8 for both session only.

This is not fancy but it works because if follows the basic principles of overload.

Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Too Much Too Often

Morning Guys,
 
It’s fairly common practice for people to enjoy going ‘heavy’ in their training but the issue arises when they go heavy too often. This can result in burnout, potential regression and perhaps an unfortunate injury.
 
If you like going heavy that’s not a bad thing but you can easily fall in to the bait of ‘testing’ your 1RM and never building the required numbers & volume to improve it.
 
When you look at an experienced lifters training dairy you will notice that they do have phases where they will max out and test their limits, but these might only be 90-95% tops as they see no reason in leaving PB’s on the gym floor when they look much better on the comp floor.
 
The premise of this is quite simple. It’s basically standard periodisation (increasing weight over time), even with the DUP methods that have come about they still follow the rule of increasing the overall load as this is what you NEED to do to progress.
 
In times of building muscle this allows you the potential to hit new PB’s because as you know a bigger muscle has the potential to be a stronger muscle. There is only so much you can eek out of technique and neurological efficiency.
 
How often should you go have then?
 
Pressing – Every 5 Days
Squat – Every 7 Days
Deadlift – Every 10 days
 
Now, take note that when I say heavy I am referring to a heavy sub max load (90-95%). Doing this will allow you to make some necessary tweaks to your loading, if they’re applicable that is. Personally I would advise you go for a heavy double, this will be less demanding overall on your nervous system and more beneficial in the long run. You an even go for a heavy triple if you wish, this is because a good rule of thumb to remember is that adding roughly 20kg to your max triple gives you a guide to where your 1RM is.
 
There are some advisable rules to follow when going heavy, take not:
 
– This is not a true test.
– The rep(s) must be smooth and fast.
– No grining.
– No smelling salts or slaps to hyper yourself up.
– Concentrate on form, no breakdown allowed.
 
The rest of the time you would do well to have slightly high reps using 60-85% of your 1RM as loading guidelines and 15-50 reps, focus on 5-8 rep range for the majority of your lifting with the occasional 12+ burnout set in there. This will allow both Hypertrophy & Strength to progress nicely.
 
Take the info above and apply it to your training and watch your numbers climb over time.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Fitness, Nutrition & Health

The Dogs…

Mans best friend is quite literally, mans best friend.

You can learn a lot from animals. Be that fighting styles, movement patterns, survival tactics and even psychology, influence and persuasion.

Wait… You can learn psychology, influence and persuasion from a dog?

Yes, yes you can.

Think about it, we know when a dog wants something even though it can’t communicate in any form of human language, but it’s still able to get us to either feed it, take it for a walk or play with it.

Why?

The dog is never forceful, it’s like a child, it just keeps asking until you give in. Just as children do. When people try to sell something they will make up excuses that people are not ready to buy, or they will come back… Bollocks is what I say to that, it just means you did’t ask enough of the right questions.

When we look at the humble creature, we’re often drawn in by it’s friendly appearance (unless it’s pissed off that is). Most dogs will always come up an greet you with what we could say is a smile and friendly aura.

What do we do when this happens?

We kneel down and pet the animal.

How many times have you gone to a friends or relatives house and greeted the dog before you human counterpart? A fair few would be my guess. These creatures seems to have a profound influence on our emotions, all because they know instinctively to appeal to the higher emotional brain because that’s how they get what they want – REMEMBER THAT ONE.

As they appeal to our emotions this makes a strong connection and our brain agrees that giving them what they want it the best option.

Dogs are very clever animals, they learn, despite what people say about teaching old dogs. They will find what works and use it repeatedly, if it stops working they will try a lot of other methods until they find one that works again, if only humans would do this too.

Something else to keep in mind about these amazing animals is their unrelenting attitude to catch the car, find the ball and get up every time the fall down, now that really is something to aspire too.

It would seem the secret to rapport, face to face business and even happiness lay with the dogs.

Lessons from Dog:

– Be Friendly
– Always Greet People Warmly
– Be Persistent
– Learn & Try New Things
– Appeal to Emotion & Intellect
– Stay Loyal
– Never Give Up

Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under business, Fitness, Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Do You Really Need That Specialist Exercise?

Walkouts, Partial Reps, Banded Moments, Movements with Chains, Lockout Reps, Board Pressing, the list of specialist exercises is numerous but do you really need them?

Too many people get caught up in doing things they have no real need for. I am guilty of this on the odd occasion but found that it only severed to hinder my progress in the long run because there was no need for the specialist movements.
You will find these types of exercises common for high level power lifters but they serve little purpose for us normal folk. If I had to give people some variations of lets say the big 3 I would suggest the following:
– Pause Squats
– Front Squats
– Box Squats
– Paused Bench
– Narrow Grip Bench
– Pressing Overhead or High Incline
– 1/2 – 1 inch Deficit Deadlifts
– 2-4 inch Block Pulls
– Snatch Grip Deadlift
– Overhand Deadlift
That’s pretty much it. While it’s nice and quite fun to try some of the specialist exercises there is little to no need unless you’re squatting/deadlifting 3xbw and benching 2xbw. The variations I’ve suggested will be more than enough to help keep you busy for months if you rotate them properly.
Do you need some guidance on a program too?
Warm Up Sets x4 at 3-5 reps (40,60,70,77%)
Week 1 – 10×1 + 70-80% back off AMRAP set -10min
Week 2 – 5×2 + 70-80% back off AMRAP set -10min
Week 3 – 3×3 + 70-80% back off AMRAP set -10min
Week 4 – 2×5 + 70-80% back off AMRAP set -10min
*increase weight and start over.
*2 lifts per day – EG Squat/Row, Deadlift/Press
*Lower body would work better with this programs set rep progression.
*Upper body = Volume or Ramping, try 8×8 on the volume with only 30 seconds rest on upper body pressing/pulling movements or Ramp up to a 3-5RM (meaning you do 3-5 reps and add weight each set until you hit technical failure, then you’re done).
An example day might be as follows:
Workout 1 – Squat/Pull Up
Warm Up Sets – Paused Squat x4 at 3-5 reps (40,60,70,77%)
A1 – Paused Squat – 10×1 – 100kg + 80kg AMRAP (10min time limit)
B1 – Pull Up – 8×8 – Wide Grip Body Weight/Weighted or Pull Down
*Optional C1 – Ab Roll Out – 1×12
Workout 2 – Deadlift/Press
Warm Up Sets – Overhand Deadlift x4 at 3-5 reps (40,60,70,77%)
A1 – Overhand Deadlift – 10×1 – 100kg + 80kg AMRAP (10min time limit)
B1 – Press – 5RM Ramp Start with Overhead Press and hit 5RM (You can alternate your Pressing movement to your own personal desire, one day might be overhead press, the next time around it might be bench and so on.)
*Optional C1 – Ab Roll Out – 1×12
A weeks training might look like this:
Monday – Workout 1
Tuesday – Workout 2
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Workout 1 – Front Squat/Pull Down Neutral Close Grip
Friday – Workout 2 – Snatch Grip Deadlift/Incline Press
Saturday – Off
Sunday – Off
Repeat last weeks exercise selection, keep weights the same on SQ/DL but move on to week 2’s reps (5×2).
There is nothing stopping you from adding in a sprint day on Saturday or some CV just regulate the intensity so that is doesn’t disrupt your recovery and adaptation phases.
In the world of lifting it’s best not to try and run before you can walk. Learn the basic movements and learn then well, then once you’ve started to hit the upper limits of your natural strength (around 3xBW SQ/DL & 2xBW Bench) then it will be worth adding in some specialist exercises to help you past your sticking points.
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness

Squats, with a Sprinkling of Technique

Today I thought I would share some information on 5 tips I’ve learnt over the years and used to improve my squat and help in achieving continued progression.

They are as follows:
– Upper Back Tightness
– Bracing
– Treat Light Weights Heavy & Heavy Weights Light
– Screw Your Feet Into The Floor
– Becoming One
Upper Back Tightness:
I often see people who lack the required tension in their upper back to push their squat numbers up, achieving more upper back tightness is actually quite easy. When you set up to the bar keep these 3 points in mind:
1 – Move your hands as close as you comfortably can.
2 – Squeeze the bar as tightly as you can and try to bend it over your back by drawing your elbows down to activate your lats.
3 – Linked in with 2, after drawing your elbows down, squeezing the bar and trying to bend it over your back try to push your elbows forwards (they might not move but it will help create more tightness).
Bracing:
You often hear the cue “Breathe in to your belly.” which isn’t a bad cue but it leaves out some important information and some people end up breathing in and just pushing their belly out. Now the technical term for this style of breathing is Diaphragmatic Breathing, it’s something we do naturally as children but lose the ability (get lazy) as we get older. Unfortunately it will take practice to re-learn this skill.
Adopt a plank position and completely contract every muscle possible (especially your core musculature) now try to pack out any loose areas with air by controlling your breathing – try 10 second inhalations followed by 5 seconds holding all the air in.
There is a term known as ‘Power Breathing’ which is worth researching.
Treat Light Weights Heavy & Heavy Weights Light:
When you see people squat you will notice they have varying degrees of technique. Their light weights looks smooth and fast while medium weights slow down and their heavy weights just look horrid.
If you get in to the habit of treating all your lifts like you’ve got your max on the bar then you will start to groove a solid technique. If you watch various videos of top lifters you will notice that all their sets look pretty much the same in terms of set up, execution and speed, yours should too.
Screw Your Feet Into The Floor:
The best way to picture this is like you’re stood in some hot sand and you’re having you ‘screw’ your feet in to it so that you can dig tot he cooler sand underneath. I am sure there are lots of you who have been stood on a beach and done this from time to time mucking around. If you haven’t then find a sand pit and practice this because it will help improve your squatting stability.
You want to feel connected to the floor and solid in your stance, while also help prevent knee collapse (valgus) and create a stable hip too.
Becoming One:
This might sound like some sort of religious scripture but in realistic terms it means using your body as one whole connected unit, meaning everything works together and there is no power leakage at any point (most people move in 2 or 3 sections). Your body goes down as one and comes up as one. That means no hips shooting up first, no pitching forwards, no knee collapse etc.
You can practice this technique by doing wall squats, goblet squats, front squats and pause squats as they will all help you to ‘feel’ your body working as one.
Bonus Tip:
To squat a lot you need to squat a lot.
Realistically to help you improve your movement pattern you will be looking at squatting a minimum of 3 days per week. I would suggest recording all of your sessions so that you can see how your form looks and make sure it’s on point.
If you’re wondering how low you should squat then that answer will be held in your own specific build and hip complex. To find out what depth you can handle assume a kneeling position on all fours and rock backwards and see where, if any, but wink or pelvic tilt occurs because that will be your limit (record this drill so you can see what’s going on).
Use the info above and get your squat from a dodgy 1-1.5xBW for 1 to a solid 2xbw for 5.
Enjoy,
Ross

5 Comments

Filed under Fitness

3 Keys to More Muscle

Morning Guys,

There are a few different ways you can build lean muscle, three in particular come to mind:
– Heavy Lifting
– Constant Tension
– Volume/Cumulative Fatigue
Each method will help you build muscle, along with strength but they do it through different pathways and depending on your overall goal or bias you might be better suited to one over another. Lets take a look at the differences in how each method works and what style of training is involved in each of them.
Heavy Lifting –
When you undergo a program that is largely focused on lifting heavy sub maximal loads you stimulate muscle grow because of the micro trauma (basically a high force output leads to a large amount of protein degradation in the muscle), neurological stimulation factors (more recruitment and fatigue of high threshold motor units) and hormonal factors (increase in free testosterone).
This becomes even more true when you are logically following a progressive overload where by you are trying to increase the subsequent load over X-amount of weeks. This is because it forces the muscle to adapt and become stronger so that it can continue to recruit the maximal amount of fast twitch fibers and motor units to continue it’s required performance.
An added bonus with this style of training is that it ‘wakes up’ the rest of the body neurologically and allows for more fast twitch recruitment in the following exercises.
Training in this way (heavy lifting) has a great effect on increasing muscle density and myogenic tone (basically the muscle looks ‘harder’ at rest, meaning you look as strong as your likely are), however the danger with this style of training is people will want to chase 1RM’s all the time which can be very draining on their CNS and lead to a drop in performance which is not what we want. Depending on a persons training level they will be best of using the following recommendations for this style of training:
Beginners – Intermediates: 80-85% 1RM using the 6-8 rep range in a ramping fashion
Advanced: 90% 1RM using a 3-5 rep range in a ramping fashion
*Ramping is where you add 5-10% until you reach your maximal weight with good/smooth form, you would then stay there for anywhere from 3-8 sets depending on your % of 1RM used.
Constant Tension –
As the name suggests this style of training is all about keeping the muscle in a contracted state and will certainly generate a massive pump. This style of training utilises drop sets, partial reps, isometric contractions, EQIC and any other methods to keep the muscle filled with blood and tension because the second you ease off the gas and the muscle gets a chance to relax you will lose some of the effectiveness of the set.
The weights used int his style of training are normally on the lighter side of the scale, especially when compared tot he first method described above.
This style of training is very effective because when the muscle is severely deprived of oxygen several things start to happen; unfortunately lactate production increases making it very hard both physically and mentally but if you can keep pushing through the burn you will also have a dramatic increase in hGH and IGF-1 which are two highly anabolic hormones, there is also some evidence to show that as the fatigue increases so does the activation/recruitment of some deeper fast twitch muscle fibers which lead to increases in strength along with size. It’s worth pushing through each set to reap the rewards of this training style.
How long does each set need to be?
40-70 seconds is ideal, this would be a tempo of 4-0-2-0 and will work best with isolation exercises or variations of compound lifts (dumbbell pressing, single arm rowing, leg press etc).
Volume/Cumulative Fatigue –
In the hefty book that is known as Super Training by Siff & Zatsiorsky wrote that muscle fibers not only need to be recruited but also fatigued to stimulate optimal growth. This is why those who only ever train in one style are missing out because invariably there will be some fibers that aren’t stimulated because of the one dimensional training style.
When you start adding volume work in to the mix you can certainly increase the number of muscle fiber being recruited because of the cumulative fatigue effect. Typically the added volume is better for a hypertrophy bias because the loads used will be light to moderate, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried high volume with sub maximal weights but it’s brutal and leaves you destroyed for days.
To achieve maximal benefit from this style of training you will find reps int he range of 8-12 (upper body) and 15-20 (lower body) with short rest periods (30-60 seconds) are quite effective, something like Vince Gironda’s 8×8 falls in to this style of training perfectly and he looked awesome!
If you’re a more advanced lifter then the use of Super Sets, Pre/Post Fatigue, Drop Sets, One and a Half Reps Sets and alike are great methods to help you amass some rather taste volume amounts. The reason this method works so well is that is enables you to fatigue every last fiber and squeeze almost everything you can out of the muscle in one session.
Now you know about three great methods of training the trick part is being able to apply them to a workout. Is it best to do them separately or all together? Personally I would say for the best possible results you would do well to use all three in one session but you would need to understand come principles/rules on how to apply them first.
Take a read of these:
1 – Heavy movements first (larger more CNS demanding)
2 – Intermediate movements or as some call the assistance work (8-12 & 15-20 reps respectively with moderate loads)
3 – Isolation movements (constant tension lasting between 40-70 seconds)
How might that look in a workout?
A1 – Compound Lift – 5×3 – ramping to 90%
B1 – Assistance Lift 1 – 4×12 –  (aim for 40-70 sec TUT)
C1 – Assistance Lift 2 – 4×12 –  (aim for 40-70 sec TUT)
D1 – Isolation Lift 1 – 8×8 (light/moderate load with 30 seconds rest between sets)
The above will help you not only build a body that looks good but one that is also strong too.
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness

Build A New Body: Part 1

There are a great deal of programs floating around on the internet and today i’m going to give you another one to consider.
This will be one of several programs I will be writing for you that will help create a 12 week training cycle to help you add lean mass, strength, strip fat and feel much more confident because of the results you will achieve.
Today’s program will consist on what you will ideally be looking to do for the first 3 weeks of your training block. It will help you build a good foundation of lean mass while starting to bring up your base strength in preparation for the next 3 week block, here is what the basic outline of what the primary goals of each will look like:
Weeks 1-3 – Hypertrophy/Strength
Weeks 4-6 – Hypertrophy/Strength
Weeks 7-9 – Strength/Conditioning
Weeks 10-12 – Strength/Conditioning
The first 6 weeks is based on building the foundation, then the second 6 weeks will be about utilising/realising the strength you’ve gained from your newly built muscle to it’s full potential while also adding in some conditioning style work to help keep you lean and feeling ‘fit’ don’t worry if you think they will contradict each other, they won’t if programmed properly and the correct volume/approach is used.
So now you’ve got the basic idea shall we get started?
4-4-4 is the first method you will be using is based around the following:
– 4 Workout days per week
– 4 Exercises per workout
– 4 Sets with varying rep ranges
The days you workout are down to you, that could be Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday or whatever.
As for exercises you will want to cover the full body in as little movements as possible, I will give you two guideline workouts A/B where you will hit all the major muscle groups, here they are:
Workout A –
– Front Squat
– Snatch Grip Deadlift
– Bent Over Row
– Supinated Grip Pull Up
Workout B –
– Press – Shoulder Width
– Bench Press – Medium (narrow is you want more triceps, wider if you want more chest)
– Dip
– Face Pull – Pronated Grip W/Thumbs Facing You (think you’re hitting a double bicep pose when pull to your face)
*You can do which ever day you want first, it’s down to personal preference.
Now it’s time for the rep/set scheme I will recommend for you.
– 12,10,8,6
– Use a 4-1-1-1 tempo (4 second eccentric, 1 second pause, 1 second concentric, 1 second pause)
Suggested loading:
– 12 – 65%
– 10 – 70%
– 8 – 75%
– 6 – 80%
A very simple descending pyramid that will help you begin to build a base. As for a warm up I would advice doing what you need to do so that you feel mobile and ready, remember a good mobility routine will help you stay injury free and improve your performance and overall life for that matter (There are lots of options on YouTube, you’ve got a great book called Becoming a Supple Leopard and much more to get ideas from).
I can’t tell you your weights but the suggestion I have given will be a good starting point, but remember the stronger you get the higher these numbers will go, not only % wise but also because you will be able to lift more. Start off light so you have somewhere to go, if you start too heavy you will stagnate and can even get hurt if you’re not careful.
The above program is designed to be followed for 3 weeks, then you will move on to the second 3 week block which I will get uploaded in due course.
You will obviously need to know about nutrition as well, here is a good starting point for you:
LBMx 17-19 = Muscle Gain Caloric Range
Protein – LBM x1 = Grams per day, multiply this by 4 to get calories of protein for the day.
Carbs – Protein x1-3 = Grams per day (depending on style of training/overall daily activity, desk jockeys use x1, site workers use x3 and people in the middle use 1.5 or 2), multiply this by 4 to get calories of carbs for the day.
Fat – What ever calories are left divide them by 9 to get your fat in grams for the day.
Example Equation:
175lbs x 19 = 3325 total cals
175lbs x 1 = protein 175g x4 = 700 cals
175g x 2 = carbs 350g x 4 = 1400 cals
3325 – (700 + 1400) = 1225 cals
1225/9 = 136g fat
So these example calories/macros would be:
3225 Total Cal
175g Protein
350g Carbs
136g Fat
Get the idea?
*Eat mostly single ingredient whole foods to get the bulk of your calories, doing this will sort out your micronutrients without you having to worry too much. think 80/20 – 80% single ingredient foods 20% what ever you fancy. Just keep the callers correct and the overall macronutrient ratio sold and you can’t go far wrong.
Breakfast/AM – Fat/Protein
Snack/AM – Fat/Protein
Lunch/PM – Complex Carbs/Protein
Snack/PM – Complex Carbs/Protein
Dinner/PM – Complex Carbs/Protein
Post Workout Protein/Simple Carbs – regardless on time of day.
This will be a good place to start, you can make adjustments according to your own persona needs as you see fit.
You now have the first 3 weeks and some basic ideas for nutrition, it’s time to get in to the gym and start working (Y).
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness

Do You Even S-R-A?

What does SRA stand for?

Stimulus – Recovery – Adaptation

No typically this is something that is done over the course of several weeks/months and fits in with the principles of progressive overload because you will have the initial Stimulus (volume/intensity) followed by a period of recover (de-load) and then aim for some new personal records (adaptation). A simple concept but one a great many people get horribly wrong.

The common fault people come across is that they don’t follow this simple process, well, not for long anyway. Many will start out a program that lines up nicely with these principles, they will even follow them for perhaps one mini cycle (3-4 weeks) and actually make some progress. Obviously the are pleasantly surprised because it worked, which should really be a surprise considering this methodology has been around for close to 100years now, but I digress. After hitting some new PR’s in the gym they think they can continue to do this and that is where the wheels start to fall off the wagon and I’m going to tell you why.

If a person follows a program that adheres to the SRA principle they will progress, simple. They might even be able to ‘cheat’ they system and hit a few more PB’s, thus leading them to think they’ve cracked this weightlifting malarky and can’t fathom why people struggle when they themselves are making such superb gains and this is when it starts to go wrong. Trying to continuously peak is something that in the worst possible scenario will destroy most people (major injury) if they’re not careful, at best they will stagnate and maintain the level their at, but most likely they will experience regression in both strength and lean body mass because of the excessive cortisol (stress hormones) they’re being exposed too.

How can you avoid this?

Simple, you stick with the plan!

Depending on the end goal, style of your training program, you training age/experience and personal genetics there will be some discrepancies in how long you run things for in terms of Marco/Meso/Micro-Cycles but regardless of this fact following the SRA crude will help you continually progress until your program is at an end, at which point you will certainly have hit a new peak but you would also have amassed a decent level of accumulated fatigue, this is when a complete week off might be necessary at either the 3-6-9-12 month point, sometimes people might take a longer lay off but that’s down to the individual.

What might an example mini cycle that follows this rule look like?

Like this perhaps:

  • Week 1 5×5 – 70-80% of current 1RM
  • Week 2 5×5 + 20lbs Lower/10lbs Upper
  • Week 3 5×5 + 20lbs Lower/10lbs Upper
  • Week 4 3×5 – At Original Weight
  • Week 5 5RM – PR Attempt
  • Week 6 5×5 – 70-80% of calculated 1RM based on new 5RM and Repeat

You could also have something that looks like this:

  • Week 1 1×5 – Current 5RM
  • Week 2 3×5 – Current 5RM
  • Week 3 5×5 – Current 5RM
  • Week 4 1×5 – At Original Weight
  • Week 5 5RM – PR Attempt

Now those are based off of short 5/6 week cycles, you could have a longer one that would have be doing what is described as a volume/intensity wave or sorts.

  • Week 1 1×5 – 70-80% of current 1RM
  • Week 2 3×5 – 70-80% of current 1RM
  • Week 3 5×5 – 70-80% of current 1RM
  • Week 4 1×5 + 20lbs Lower/10lbs Upper
  • Week 5 3×5 – Set at weight in week 4
  • Week 6 5×5 – Set at weight in week 4
  • Week 7 1×5 + 20lbs Lower/10lbs Upper
  • Week 8 3×5 – Set at weight in week 7
  • Week 9 5×5 – Set at weight in week 7
  • Week 10 5×5 – Original Weight
  • Week 11 5RM PR Attempt

Remember these are only example of how the overall program might look,, they are not set in stone, some people use the SRA principle on a weekly basis.

  • Day 1 – Monday 5×5
  • Day 2 – Wednesday 2×5
  • Day 3 – Friday 1×5 – Build to new 5RM

The main thing to remember is that you want a period of accumulation (increasing volume/intensity) followed by a short phase that allows adaptation (de-load to all recovery) and then you attempt to realise the progress you’ve made with a new PR.

Take some time and plan out a sensible program with some logical progression, put in periods of ramping up volume/intensity followed by a slight de-load and then go for a new PR. Keep it simple and watch the progress come in waves.

Enjoy,

Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness