Tag Archives: advice

Take my strong hand!

Are you uneven?
 
While the pursuit of strength is the most important element of many good training programs there is a lot to be said for being aesthetically balanced.
 
Apart from looking symmetrical you’ll also be more protected from injury.
 
Typically you’ll find people have one strong and one weak side (often the hand the write with gets more development), this can lead to overall muscle imbalance which starts to take you down the winding road towards of poor posture.
 
It’s not uncommon to hear this little gem:
 
“I can do 10 reps with this weight on this arm but only 5 on my other one.”
 
Now since common sense has long since vanished from our world you’ll find people laugh at this and continue to work the stronger side harder than the weaker one because their idiots.
 
A nice tip I give people in response to this statement is this:
 
“Start with your weaker arm and max out the reps, them match it on your stronger one.”
 
This is often followed by confusion as they say ‘but I can do more on that arm.”, due inevitable face palm.
 
Aside from matching reps on both sides it’s also a good idea to use unilateral movements to even up muscle/strength imbalances.
 
Here are some examples:
 
– Dumbbell Pressing
– Dumbbell Rowing
– Lunges
– Single Leg Deadlifts
– Single Arm Pulldowns
 
You get the idea.
 
While it is true you won’t replace compound movements (bilateral) in terms of getting the most out of your workouts, it can be useful to add in periods where you focus on some unilateral movements as accessory work to help even out those lagging areas.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
 

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That weak body part

Do you have stubborn body parts that won’t grow?

Here is how to change that.

It’s not uncommon for people to have a weak body part that doesn’t want to grow.

You’ll often find people come up with all sorts of excuses as to why it won’t grow, even though they claim to train it as hard as their favoured muscle groups.

Well, let me tell you a little secret.

You ready for it?

You’re not training you weak body part hard enough or frequently enough. If you were it would grow, simple.

Let’s take mens calves for example because plenty of men are #TeamNoCalves these days.

Why can’t they get the to grow?

Overload and the necessary stimulus are not being provided, that is fact because that’s how our body works. It responds to the stress we pace it under, if something isn’t growing it means we’re not putting it under enough adaptive stress, period.

Now it is true the mind muscle connection (feeling the muscle work) will be a great help, this does take time to establish, but not that much time.

If you have a weak body part you’d do well to do the follow:

– Train it 3-5xPW (depending on what it is)
– Track the volume you’re lifting
– Push it to the point of failure, the repeat until no longer small

Everyone has weak body parts typically for the reason that they are not trained because they dent ones ego, put that aside and focus on building a balanced and strong body.

These are the most common weak parts you probably need to train:

– Rear Delts
– Calves
– Legs in general

Weak point no more!

Enjoy,
Ross

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Two training protocols to break plateaus.

The following protocols are simple but very effective.
 
All you have to do is apply them and give it 100% effort and you will soon be in the realms of new results.
 
Protocol 1 – 1-6 Method
 
This method plays with the nifty little trick known as Post-Activation Potentiation, basically you fire up your nervous system with a heavy single (the activation lasts up to 5min), then you lighter the load and start working for a Rep PR or a weight PR on a certain rep range. I learnt this from Charles Poliquin.
 
Perform a heavy single at 90-95% of 1RM. This should be a crisp single with no grinding. Once you have done the single rest 2min and then do 6 reps at 80% and rest 3min after that for the standard protocol – you don’t just have to use 1-6, you can use 1-3, 1-5, 1-8 etc.
 
Repeat for success :).
 
Example: 100kg 1RM
 
Set 1 – 1×92.5kg Rest
Set 2 – 6x80kg Rest
Set 3 – 1×92.5kg Rest
Set 4 – 6×82.5kg Rest
Set 5 – 1×92.5kg Rest
Set 6 – 6x85kg Rest
Set 7 – 1×92.5kg Rest
Set 8 – 6×87.5kg Rest
 
Done.
 
Protocol 2 – 5-4-3-2-1 Count Down to Strength
 
A nice little method I picked up first from reading Beyond Body Building by Pavel Tsatsouline. Others have spoken of this as well because of its effectiveness.
 
How does it work?
 
It allows the body to potentiate and increase strength progressively, by starting off with 5 reps at around 80% 1RM and ending at 90-95% 1RM. You can do higher if you wish but that would not be advised until your familiar with the method and have some experience with it. Once you’ve worked at it for a while you may even be able to go to 100% or even 102% for a new PB.
 
The main idea of this is to allow a lot of skill practice with challenging weights. Note CHALLENGING, not devastating. You want to be able to do this 3+ times per week so do try and kill yourself out of the gate.
 
Here is how it might look:
 
Example: 100kg 1RM
 
Set 1 – 5x80kg
Set 2 – 4x85kg
Set 3 – 3x90kg
Set 4 – 2×92.5kg
Set 5 – 1x95kg
 
It was also a popular method in the days of old (Reg Parks era etc), it is great for building confidence in heavy weights so that they just become normal weights allowing you to realise your strength potential and break through plateaus.
 
Try one of these at a time and see how you get on.
 
How long should you stay on one for? I don’t know. Some say 2 weeks, others say 4, I say you should record your lifts and assess your form/bar speed. If your getting slower or less clean in your reps (not just a one off bad day but on a consistent stream) then it’s time to stop. Ironically if that happens you’ve done too much, it’s better to stop once you have hit some new PB’s even if you feel you can do more.
 
Leave your ego at the door, use either protocol until you hit a new PB then change it up would probably be the logical advice.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Butt Hurt to Commence in, 3…2…1…

Monday, Monday
So good to me
Monday morning
It was all I hoped it would be…
 
That means gym 7-8am, 2 meals already eaten, 2 articles written and a back tweak, yay for me :/.
 
Morning Guys,
 
I trust you all had a productive weekend, if you didn’t, well… shame on you.
 
There is a lot of protection for peoples ego/pride in the modern age and it seems to be having a negative effect because it is making people lazy, more lazy than they have ever been.
 
Obviously there are those who are the other end of the spectrum and are anything but, however those are not the majority, sadly.
 
What ever happened to tough love?
 
You know, people would see you fail in a catastrophic manor, give you a pat on the back with a few words of wisdom and then tell you to crack on and stop wallowing in the mud.
 
These days that approach would be considered insensitive, inconsiderate to peoples feeling, belittling, demotivating and not supportive of people. I’m all for helping people but wrapping them in cotton wool? Nope, not my style, it does nothing for building character or more importantly, resilience.
 
Now that’s a word from the past, resilience.
 
What happened to it?
 
It seems to have been forgotten in the channels of time along with – that’s life, get over it, better luck next time, toughen up and “perhaps you should try knitting”.
 
All joking aside, the kid gloves of the modern world are actually a very dangerous thing, they hold people back and give false expectations or rather, they give people a sense of entitlement and that is a very slippery slope, let me give you an example oh how this relates to fitness.
 
Person A – Works hard, does everything they should be doing to get their desired results, accepts set backs and take on board constructive critique on the chin for what it is (advice to help them grow) to allow progression. The they achieve results because they understand they have to work for them and that nothing ever comes easy. They earn their success. 
 
Person B – Works semi moderate to not really doing anything meaningful, does some of what they should do, feels life is against them and no one ever helps them, rejects critique because it hurts their feelings, stays in the comfort zone but feels they should get the same results as person A because they just should. Sadly results will happen initially then taper off fast, potential regress too and this is obviously not their fault at all… They feel entitled to success (this is not good). 
 
Now these are actually real examples of people, they haven’t been made up I am sorry to say.
 
Many of you know that nothing in life comes easy and chances are for the majority it never will, that’s just life. While I agree we need to be mindful of people and encourage them there also has to be a line where we say “Stop pissing about, the problem is you.” which we seem to be afraid to say nowadays.
 
Maybe it’s my attitude… It’s definitely my attitude, it doesn’t have time to waste on people who feel entitled, yep, that makes me an asshole but hey ho, we can either work hard or not, it’s that easy.
 
Which camp do you fall in to, honestly…
 
Work hard and you will achieve what you deserve in the end, accept life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, become resilient and earn your success, don’t expect it all to be given to you on a plate, you’re not entitled to success, work for it, earn it, deserve it.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Advice so simple you won’t think it will work.

Happy New Year Everyone.
 
It’s the dawn of 2017 and as you are well aware that mean a lot of new people flooding to the gyms in an effort to make a change.
 
Before we go on I have some quick advice about the newbies:
 
– If you don’t like them that’s okay, however probably best you go in at a non-peak time.
 
– If you have no problem with newbies please make sure to give them a helping hand, we were all their once.
 
– Treat newbies how you wanted to be treated.
 
Okay, now those little bits are out of the way we shall go in to some simple yet effective advice for the ‘New Year New Me’ crowd.
 
There are endless things that can be advised but these 5 tips will help you build a solid foundation, don’t ignore them because I did and it heavily stalled my progress.
 
1 – Buy a diary for Training & Nutrition. Tracking is an important habit you NEED to succeed.
 
2 – Eat 3-5 meals per day consisting of whole foods, meat, veg, you know what you should be aiming for. Think 80/20, whole foods/indulgence, that way you will get all your needed nutrients and have some wiggle room for the things you like.
 
3 – Train 2-3 times per week (yep, some people can start off with 2xpw and make great progress, don’t be in a rush to do too much too soon.
 
4 – LIFT WEIGHTS! Guys, I know you will do this. Ladies… Don’t be scared of the weights, they will help you strip fat and get that firm body you had from your youth once again. Aim for a nice simple 5×5 program – Here is a link to a great app: https://stronglifts.com/5×5/
 
New tip is for both Guys & Girls It’s a simple program that focuses on Compound (big lifts) movements which target multiple muscle groups that give you the most bang for your buck, don’t waste time doing lots of isolation work unless you’ve been training 2 years minimum you will find you make plenty of progress without too much faff.
 
You may also find the Dinosaur Strength Training Series of books a great read, you can get them on kindle. Aim for 45-60min lifting 2-3xPW.
 
5 -DO SOME CARDIO! Girls you will be fine with this but don’t do too much, it won’t get you the look you want. Guys, you need to do some because you won’t. Aim to get in 2x30min of good hard CV, no dawdling, work hard (perhaps at the end of your weight session).
 
When it comes to getting started in the gym there will be endless amounts of advice, tonnes of ’12 week transformation’ program and much more to draw you in and drain your money.
 
If you want solid, sustainable results hire a trainer/coach, but ask to see their portfolio of evidence (past client success) or ask to speak to current clients.
 
We all started somewhere and we all made the same mistakes so while you might think “Well I will do it his way for now and see how I go.” Don’t, just don’t…. You are not special, you are like the rest of us, we said the same and held back out progress or didn’t get the most we could in those early stages. Don’t let your ego get in the way, please ask for help from someone who knows what they’re doing because these people really want to help you, honestly.
 
Tomorrow I will post up a nice simple program for the new year. It’s nothing earth shattering, it will be simple but very effective, so much so that you will think it won’t work but you’d be wrong.
 
Now go and get yourself two diaries and start your fitness journey the right way.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Endless Methods, Endless Confusion

Morning Guys,

I wrote something similar not too long ago but I had a question from a couple who train together in terms of wanting a very easy workout set/rep range to follow while also not getting bored. Not an easy question to answer if I’m honest, after all, what people find boring is very subjective.

If I had to give some advice to help people around the dull notions of training It would be to use a DUP style of rep/set rotation and train 2-3 days per week covering the following movements: Push, Pull, Squat, Hinge, Loaded Carry* (exercises can be of ones own choice).

The sets/reps would be as follows for a nice simple guide:

Selection A – 8×3 – Heavy
Selection B – 5×10 – Light
Selection C – 6×6 – Medium

As for exercises for each rep range I like to keep it simple:

Selection A – Front Squat, Incline Press, Deadlift, Pull Up
Selection B – High Bar Squat, OH Press, RDL, Chin Up
Selection C – Low Bar Squat, Close Grip Bench, Trap Bar DL, Row

*Loaded carries are great for conditioning, fat loss and much more, You can keep the distance the same and change the weight, the weight he same and change the distance, follow the link for more ideas.:

https://rossfitpt.wordpress.com/…/10/12/fast-fat-loss-do-t…/

What I have written above is nothing new or ground breaking, it’s basic but it works for the majority of people for the following reasons:

– Hits muscle groups 3 times per week
– Hit minimum of 100reps rep muscle group per week
– Optimises recovery opportunities
– Stimulates, not annihilates the muscles (better for naturals)
– Staves off boredom
– Allows a simple linear progression with fractional plates (0.25kg)

Try it for 3 months and add small amounts of weight when your form/speed on the bar is solid, so an RPE of 8. Try not to rush the progress, you’ll often find the lifter who lifts the longest often becomes the strongest and makes the most progress in the end.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Simply Does It.

Morning Guys,

I am often asked about the best ways to progress and what set/rep schemes to use and because of this I have come up with these simple points to share with you today (they’re nothing new).

– Add weight where possible
– If weight can be added, add reps
– If reps can’t be added, add sets
– If neither weight or reps can be added, decrease rest time
– If rest time can’t go lower, add another day of that movement
– If none of the above can be done, change the exercise variation and start from step one. 

    It’s essentially that simple. Forgo the complicated loading systems and schemes for as long as possible and simply focus on adding more total volume or increasing work capacity in any way you can, for as long as you can.

Enjoy, Ross.

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Simplify

Morning Guys,
 
I get asked about what workout people should be doing with what nutrition protocol. I feel that I repeat myself a lot because the advice/knowledge I share hasn’t really changed over the years and you will find most people sing from the same hymn sheet, albeit with a slightly different point of view. In the end the principles are the same.
 
The most honest thing I can say to everyone who takes the time to read my posts is this; no matter what you follow, you will only get results if you really put in the effort.
 
It is obviously true that if you follow advice that isn’t suited to your goal then you won’t achieve the results you want, however you will still achieve results if you work hard. Everything works but not everything is appropriate.
 
Okay, so do I have any advice for you today? Yes I do and it’s for a busy person who does;t have much time to train. However it is bias towards people who wish to increase strength, performance and lean muscle mass. If you take this and apply a correct nutrition protocol you will achieve either a strong muscular build or a lean athletic build. Please note you can also add in some CV work if that is important to you, I would just do it for 20min bursts in a Fartlek Style.
 
Do 3 week or 8 mini block (both sessions is 1 mini block) before moving on to the next rep range.
 
Here is the loading protocol:
 
– Work up to 8RM (or 5,3 RM) then do 1-2 more sets at this weight.
– Back off set aim to hit 20 rep – take 80-85% of your daily top set.
 
That’s it. You will do this for Squat, Bench, Deadlift and Overhead Press, you may add in some assistance movements (2 at most is always good).
 
So this is how it might look:
 
Day 1 –
A1 – Squat
B1 – Press
B2 – Pull Up
 
Day 2-
A1 – Deadlift
B1 – Bench Press
B2 – Row
 
Day 3 – CV – Optional for 3 on 1 off style, or rest and then repeat days 1/2 in a 2 on 1 off fashion.
 
Now for the nice simple nutrition:
 
Establishing Daily Calorie Needs.
Leaning out – Bodyweight in Lbs x 11-13
Bulking up – Bodyweight in lbs x 17-19
 
Establishing Macro Needs.
Set your protein at 1gram per 1pound of bodyweight for both – 4cals per gram.
 
Set your carbs at a 1/1 ration for leaning and a 3/1 for bulking – 4cals per gram.
 
Set your fat with the remaining calories once you take away the calories from protein/carbs added together from your daily total to leave you with your left over calories, divide that by nine for you grams of fat per day- 9cals per gram of fat.
 
Why do I keep things that simple?
 
I keep things simple because they work, if you hit all of your larger muscles heavy an hard you don’t need much more. Add in come CV for health and you’re away.
 
Now go, simplify and enjoy.
RossUnknown

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The Ongoing Struggle.

Are you struggling to progress?

Chances are your reason (problem) falls in in to one of the following 4 categories:
1 – You’re not eat appropriately.
2 – Your training lacks intensity.
3 – You only train the way you like, not the way you need.
4 – You don’t give it enough time to work.
I will go in to some detail on each of the above, if any sound familiar then you will find the simply yet realistic advice in this post useful.
1 – You’re Not Eating Appropriately.
As crazy as this sounds I am willing to bet that you’re thinking that this doesn’t apply to you and if you’re tracking your calories correctly and are in either a surplus/deficit (depending on your goal) then chances are this does apply to you.
If we take out the training aspect on the proviso that you’re training correctly for your desired goal then all that is left is to establish how many calories you need to achieve your goal.
Gaining – Body Weight in Lbs x 17-19
Losing – Body Weight in Lbs x 11-13
Protein is at 1-2g per 1lbs of bodyweight for both – remember that 1g of protein is 4cals so you will need to work out how many calories that is in total and subtract it from your daily total. For carbs (4cals per 1gram) and fat 9(cals per 1 gram) you can work that out by filling the rest of your remaining calories with them.
Typically people who think they’re eating correctly but when you start to put numbers to paper it becomes obvious that there is  problem. You’re either eating too much or not enough.
2 – Your Training Lacks Intensity.
The hint is in the title with this one. A distinct lack of intensity will derail any chance you have of getting the results you desire. I can’t tell you how you should be training, after all for each person who reads this they will have a marginally different goal, therefore I shall give you the most sensible/logical advice possible.
Are you ready for it?
Make sure you’re progressing. This is either in the form of adding weight to the bar, extra reps, sets, running a further distance in the same or a short time period and so on. If you follow these simple words and write down everything you’re doing (tracking) then you will be able to see if you’re achieving progress (overload & adequate stimulation to force adaptation) or not.
If you don’t have a training diary then I suggest you get one and start making notes as you will fins this is one of the most valuable tools you will ever own.
3 – You Only Train What You Like, Not What You Need.
Does either of these situations sound familiar:
Situation One – Drive to the gym, warm up on the cross trainer for 20min, then 20min on the treadmill or possibly the rower (perhaps both if you’re feeling frivolous) then  some abs and light dumbbells for 15min and finally 5min on the bike and a quick stretch before going home.
or
Situation Two – Drive to the gym, maybe a 5 min warm up of some description followed by bench press, incline bench press, cable flies, dumbbell flies, tricep pull downs, skull crushers and finally some lat pull down and bicep curls for some aesthetic balance…. As for the other body parts they will fall by the wayside because of time and well, who needs legs right?
Both of the above are classic training programs performed by those who lack determination and only want to do what they like. Each proponent could do with hiring a trainer and having a dedicated program written for them that will cater to their goals.
When training you want to ensure that you hit full body (legs are a part of your body after all). A nice simple structure that will work well for anyone and be adaptable for almost all goals is as follows:
Day 1 – Pulling Movements + CV
Day 2 – Pushing Movements + CV
Day 3 – Legs + CV
You will vary the amount of resistance training and CV depending on your overall goal. The take home message is to do things that you need, not only things you like,
4 – You Don’t Give It Enough Time To Work.
Impatience is the death of many a goal. Nothing happens overnight, the sooner this is accepted as fact rather than opinion the sooner goals will start being achieved. On average you will be required to run a program for 6 weeks minimum before you notice some positive results, however… the 6 weeks is part of a longer endeavor/program that can last up to a year (4 in the case of the Olympics). Training it isn’t just for a special occasion, it’s for life.
Take the simple musings above and have a good long look at your current training/progress, if none of these apply to you then you have discovered Nirvana and will be forever blessed with results, if not then it’s time to start taking some accountability and making a change.
Enjoy,
Ross
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